TJR Retro: WWE Backlash 1999 Review (Steve Austin vs. The Rock)

TJR Retro: WWE Backlash 1999 Review (Steve Austin vs. The Rock)

The first-ever Backlash pay-per-view took place in 1999 about one month after WrestleMania 15. It was a time when WWE business was booming with huge television ratings, sold out shows everywhere they went and a lot of enthusiasm at their shows. When looking back on it decades later, the quality of the shows in 1999 wasn’t necessarily the best, but there were a lot of fun moments and big names involved

All of the big names were part of the show here with Steve Austin defending the WWE Title against former champion The Rock with Shane McMahon and Vince McMahon playing big roles in the storyline as well. Other matches on this show included The Undertaker facing Ken Shamrock, newly turned heel Triple H vs. his former friend X-Pac, Mankind vs. Big Show in a Boiler Room Brawl and more.

It was a big success in terms of PPV buyrates with 398,000 buys. It was the third best Backlash number ever after 2000 (that one did a huge number with 675,000 thanks to Steve Austin’s return) and 2002 barely beat it with 400,000 buys. It was a hot time for the company. No doubt about that.

This show followed WrestleMania 15. That show was headlined by Austin vs. Rock as well.

Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:

“The Godfather defends the Intercontinental Championship against Goldust. Mankind and Big Show battle in a Boiler Room Brawl. Al Snow faces Hardcore Holly for the Hardcore Championship. Shane McMahon serves as the special guest referee when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock battle for the WWE Championship. Triple H faces X-Pac and more.” TV-14 (D,L,V)

The DVD looks like this:

Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Let’s get to the show.

WWE Backlash
From Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island
April 25, 1999

The opening video package focused on the main event matchup between WWE Champion Steve Austin and challenger The Rock. It featured voiceover guy talking about how they are two men fighting over something that only one man can have – the WWE Title. They didn’t mention anything else in the opening video package.

The pyro went off on the stage and the building was full as usual with lots of signs in the crowd. The announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler were shown at ringside to call the action.

The Brood trio entered first for the opening six-man tag team match. The Ministry of Darkness team were next. They were part of The Undertaker’s evil group of dark characters.

Ministry of Darkness (Bradshaw, Faarooq and Mideon) vs. The Brood (Gangrel, Edge and Christian)

Pre-match notes: Ministry of Darkness were heels while The Brood were faces. The story was that The Brood were a part of The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness, but then they got kicked out of the group.

Mideon worked over Christian with punches and then Christian hit a spinning heel kick followed by an armbar. Gangrel tagged in, Mideon with a headbutt and Bradshaw was in with a boot to the face. Gangrel with an elbow to the face, but then Bradshaw caught him and hit a fallaway slam. Edge tagged in with a clothesline to the back followed by a double team suplex for Edge/Gangrel. Faarooq got the tag with punches on Edge, then Christian went in with a dropkick leading to Edge getting a two count. Edge hit a spinning heel kick, but Faarooq came back with a spinebuster. Mideon with a delayed vertical suplex on Edge for two. Bradshaw was back in with a shoulder tackle on Edge. The crowd was quiet for most of this match. Faarooq got in some cheap shots on Edge. Faarooq with a headbutt on Edge along with a clothesline that led into a chinlock with Edge breaking free with a jawbreaker. Mideon tagged back in with a headbutt near the groin after Gangrel tried to get into the ring. Bradshaw got in a cheap shot on Edge. Mideon charged at Edge, who got a boot up and then Edge hit a Spear on Mideon to break free. Christian got the tag to barely any reaction as he hit a reverse DDT on Mideon for two. Gangrel went in for a double back body drop. Edge went into the ring with a cross body block on Mideon and then Christian did a cross body block on Bradshaw as well. Christian with a Tornado DDT on Bradshaw for two even though I’m pretty sure Mideon was the legal man. I rewound a bit and Mideon was definitely legal. Bradshaw missed a corner splash on Christian, who worked over Bradshaw with the ten punches. Bradshaw came back with a Powerbomb out of the corner with Gangrel saving Christian. Edge hit a missile dropkick on Bradshaw into Christian’s pin for a two count. Christian went over the top onto Faarooq and Edge dropkicked Christian onto Faarooq. Viscera went down to ringside and splashed Christian against the ring apron. Bradshaw hit the Clothesline from Hell on Christian for the pinfall win even though Bradshaw was not the legal man. The match went 11:38.

Winners by pinfall: Ministry of Darkness (Bradshaw, Faarooq and Mideon)

Analysis: *3/4 A boring tag for the most part with a dead crowd that didn’t react to much of it. I don’t think it was a good choice for an opening match since it was slow-paced and usually you want to see a more exciting match in the opening spot. The ending was messed up since Mideon was legal, but nobody seemed to notice it. Edge was the face in peril that did a nice job of selling while Christian nearly won for his team. Gangrel wasn’t in the ring very much at all.

The Rock was shown arriving at the arena with Rock dragging Austin’s Smokin’ Skull title across the ground.

Al Snow made his entrance with the mannequin head named…Head. Hardcore Holly entered as the Hardcore Champion.

Hardcore Championship: Hardcore Holly vs. Al Snow

Pre-match notes: Holly was the heel champion while Snow was the face.

Holly punched Snow to start the match. Snow tossed Holly over the top to the floor and then Holly whipped Snow into the steel steps. Holly grabbed a jug of water from under the ring and hit Snow with it. Snow was bleeding from one of the early punches from Holly, I guess. They went brawling into the crowd a bit, just punches and back to ringside with Snow slamming Holly on the floor. Snow hit a moonsault off the barricade onto Holly on the floor. Snow hit Holly with the dreaded jug of water. Back in the ring, Snow hit Holly with a hockey stick to the ribs and back. Snow hit Holly repeatedly with the hockey stick while jumping in the ring to make noise. Snow brought in a table, but Holly hit him with the hockey stick and the table was set up in the ring. They left the ring with Snow hitting Holly with a cookie sheet to the head. Snow with the cookie sheet to the back. Holly suplexed Snow on the floor in the aisle for a two count. They walked back through the entrance area with the fans booing because they had to watch the screens now. Holly sent Snow into a Zamboni, but then Snow sprayed water on him and Holly dropped the kitchen sink he was carrying. They threw eachother into a truck in the parking lot. Snow whipped Holly into some barricade and then smashed a broom across the back. They went up some steps, Snow was standing on some ledge and Holly pushed Snow onto a full garbage bin. That got a two count for Holly. They fought by the television truck that was full of people with JR shouting out an audio guy working there. Snow tossed Holly on top of a car hood and Snow hit an elbow drop for two. They went back to the back part of the arena with Holly smashing some steel object on the back. Holly whipped Snow into some crate for a two count on the floor.

The wrestlers walked back through the curtain and then they went into the ring. Snow hit Holly in the head with a frying pan. Ouch. Snow set up Holly onto the table and Snow slowly climbed to the top rope, but Holly was back up with a frying pan to the head. They went up top with Holly hitting a superplex that drove both guys through the table. They went through with their whole bodies so it was not like a weak bump. The referee counted them down with JR wondering why he was counting with no countouts and Holly got his hand on Snow for a two count because Snow got his arm up. Snow grabbed his mannequin Head and hit Holly in the head with it. Snow covered by putting on top of Holly and the referee counted the pin at 15:27

Winner by pinfall AND NEW Hardcore Champion: Al Snow

Analysis: **1/2 They worked hard, but it wasn’t that interesting as they fought around the arena while also going into the parking lot area. Snow showed he was willing to take some big bumps during the match while Holly also took a lot of punishment. The finish was a bit underwhelming although it did put over the idea that Head was some powerful object that can knock somebody out.

They showed Steve Austin arriving at the building.

The Undertaker was shown talking to his Ministry of Darkness. The audio was off saying that he can forgive their faults, but never forgotten. Undertaker mentioned the Higher Power and his unholiness. Undertaker said that now the destruction begins and now the tragedy begins.

Goldust made his entrance with the Blue Meanie. Two weeks earlier on Raw, The Godfather beat Goldust to win the Intercontinental Title and this is the rematch. Meanie did a Sable parody style promo and asked if we wanted to see The Grind, which drew boos from the crowd. The Godfather made his entrance with the ho’s – there were about five of them. The fans and Jerry Lawler loved seeing them. The Godfather did one of his fan-friendly promos leading to the “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy” chant. Godfather said no ho’s for Goldust because his girls “don’t like no scrubs.” It was a popular song at the time.

Intercontinental Championship: The Godfather vs. Goldust (w/Blue Meanie)

Pre-match notes: The Godfather was the babyface Intercontinental Champion thanks to the ho’s by his side. Goldust was the heel that was a former three-time IC Champion.

Godfather with a back body drop and two clotheslines. Godfather with a back body drop that sent Goldust over the top to the floor. Goldust was about to leave, but Meanie told him to get back in the ring to win the title. Fans chanted “We Want Ho’s” as Goldust went back into the ring. Godfather with a body slam and a leg drop for two. Godfather ran the ropes, Meanie with a trip and Goldust clotheslined Godfather over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Goldust with a clothesline for two leading to Meanie doing some choking across the middle rope. Goldust with a punch followed by a clothesline. Meanie handed Goldust a bag with powder, but Godfather hit it in Goldust’s face, so Goldust as blinded by it. Goldust punched Meanie, who was in the ring at that point. Godfather made Goldust punch Meanie and then Goldust did the Shattered Dreams kick to Meanie because Goldust couldn’t see due to the powder. Goldust with a kick for two and Meanie hit a splash on Goldust because Godfather moved. Godfather with the Ho Train splash on both guys. Godfather hit the Death Valley Driver for the pinfall win at 5:12.

Winner by pinfall: The Godfather

Analysis: *1/2 It was short and that’s for the best probably. The Godfather was popular, but he wasn’t known for having long matches. I give them credit for coming up some creative spots involving Meanie by doing the powder spot with Goldust hitting Meanie by accident and then Godfather came back for the decisive win.

The Godfather celebrated with the ho’s after the match.

Al Snow was interviewed by Michael Cole by the urinals in the bathroom. Snow did a promo talking to Head and then responding to Head as if Head could talk. Snow let Cole know he was having a private conversation, so Cole left and that was it.

The New Age Outlaws duo of Road Dogg and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn aka Mr. Ass made their entrance to a big pop. They were very popular. A fan has a sign that says “Chuck’s Ass Stinks.” Poor Chuck. Dogg did his usual intro with the crowd singing along with every word. Then Gunn finished it off leading to the “suck it” chant from the crowd. Speaking of popular, even though Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart were heels, the crowd popped big for Debra wearing a revealing black bikini-style outfit with a jacket over the top. What a fine looking woman. Lawler: “Oh my Lord.” Yeah. JR called her a “potential distraction.” Strongly agree with that.

Analysis: At this point, Debra was probably the most popular woman in the company. She was certainly my favorite at the time. Sable was a heel that was out of WWE about a month after this. Chyna was obviously well known by the fans too, but a different kind of woman performer compared to the eye candy. This was a year before Trish Stratus and Lita were on the scene.

Road Dogg said that everybody here in Providence came here for two reasons and since he’s the D-O-G-G, let’s see those “puppies” in reference to Debra’s goods. JR: “What else is there left of them?” Jeff held Debra back and Road Dogg said she should do what she wants. Jeff got more heat from the crowd and Billy was about to show his ass, but then the bell rang.

Analysis: Road Dogg coined the “puppies” term on the previous episode of Raw. A lot of people associate it with Jerry Lawler since he screamed “puppies” for Debra whenever she (or other women) were on the screen after this. However, it was Road Dogg that said it first. Kudos to the WWE Creative team for using adorable animals as an affectionate term for a popular part of the female body.

New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & “Mr. Ass” Billy Gunn) vs. Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart (w/Debra)

Pre-match notes: New Age Outlaws were the faces while Jarrett & Hart were the heels. Sadly, this was the last pay-per-view match that Owen would ever wrestle in. One of the nicknames for Jarrett & Hart was “Canadian Country” although that didn’t stick as an official name. The winners of this match will get a future Tag Team Title match.

Gunn worked over Hart a bit, Dogg was cleared from the ring and Jarrett got in a few shots on Gunn as the heels took over. Gunn with a leapfrog into a dropkick and a press slam. Dogg was back in with a kick to the arm, but Hart came back with a neckbreaker. The heels took over with Jarrett hitting a swinging neckbreaker followed by a jumping splash on Dogg’s back. Dogg came back with punches as the fans chanted “Show Your Puppies” and Dogg hit a knee drop for two. Hart tagged in with Dogg sending Jarrett into him. Both Outlaws hit dropkicks. Jarrett with a knee to the back of Dogg, which led to an enziguri kick by Owen followed by a leg drop for two. Jarrett back in with a double clothesline. Jarrett stomped on Dogg in the corner as another “puppies” chant started up and Dogg hit an atomic drop. Jarrett hit a dropkick that sent Dogg out of the ring to the floor. Jarrett missed a running splash by the ropes, so he crotched himself, but Hart managed to get a cheap clothesline on Dogg. There was a backslide by Dogg, but Jarrett distracted referee Tim White, so Owen kicked out at two. Owen hit an impressive spinning heel kick for two with Gunn breaking up the pin. Jarrett with a powerslam for two. There was yet another “show your puppies” chant as Jarrett and Dogg did a collision spot that knocked both guys down. That allowed for more closeup shots of Debra, which was better than the actual match. Hart slapped on a sleeper, Debra claimed it was all over and of course Dogg had more fight left in him as Dogg did a collision spot with Hart as they did a double clothesline spot. Back to shots of Debra looking concerned at ringside. JR: “Do you have a breast fetish?” Lawler was stunned and said: “Yes.” Riveting question. Gunn got the hot tag with a dropkick and a powerslam with Owen breaking up the count at two. Gunn and Dogg each did the ten corner punches on their opponents. Gunn with a clothesline that sent Jarrett and Gunn over the top to the floor. It was distraction time for Debra as she was on the apron, Dogg wanted more of a reveal, Debra teased a bit and Hart hit Dogg in the back. Dogg hit a pumphandle slam on Hart and that got a two count. Owen came back with a Sharpshooter on Dogg while Gunn kicked Jarrett out of the ring when Jeff was going for a Figure Four Leglock. That allowed Gunn to hit a Fameasser on Hart for the pinfall win at 10:27. Gunn was athletic enough to do a left-legged Fameasser instead of the usual right leg.

Winners by pinfall: New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn)

Analysis: *** This was a pretty good tag team match with an exciting conclusion after Gunn got the hot tag. I liked how the heels almost found a way to win, but Gunn was able to stop Jarrett’s submission attempt and hit Hart with the Fameasser while Owen had Dogg in the Sharpshooter. Cool spot for the finish. A lot of the match saw the heels working over Dogg, so it was all about building to the hot tag spot. Debra was also a highlight of the match thanks to her outfit showing off the “puppies” and the crowd really wanted to see more of them.

The New Age Outlaws celebrated the win while Jarrett was mad at Debra for not showing more of the puppies. The heels left looking frustrated. Billy Gunn showed his ass to the crowd and some of the women in the crowd were screaming for that. Dogg did some dancing as well. The fans loved these guys.

Shane McMahon was interviewed in the locker room by Michael Cole. Shane was the referee for the main event. Shane gave us his word in the name of his grandfather Vincent James McMahon, if Austin can pin The Rock’s shoulders to the match then he’ll count the pin. Shane claimed that Vince McMahon was not his father and wanted him to stay out of his way.

Vince McMahon was interviewed in a dressing room with daughter Stephanie McMahon. Kevin Kelly interviewed Vince, who talked about the situation with Shane. Stephanie said that Shane knows how much grandpa meant to Vince. Vince said he thought Shane made a big mistake on Raw and he hopes tonight he doesn’t make a bigger mistake.

Analysis: This was when Stephanie was debuting as an on-screen character. All of this was a swerve that was done to throw people off and then in late May, Vince was introduced as the “Higher Power” that was working with Shane.

Big Show was shown walking into the boiler room to meet Mankind, who was undefeated in a Boiler Room Brawl. Mankind attacked, so the match was on.

Boiler Room Brawl: Big Show vs. Mankind

Pre-match notes: Big Show was a heel that debuted in WWE two months earlier and Mankind was a face. The winner of the match is the first man to leave the boiler room.

Mankind attacked Show with a broom handle and closed a door onto Show’s head and arm. Show got a hold of Mankind and sent him back first into some locker. Show sent Mankind into a table and then Show hit Mankind with a table. Mankind sent Show into a wooden ladder. Show sent Mankind into a refrigerator, Mankind moved and Show punched the fridge. Foley hit Show with sheetrock repeatedly. Show took over with a trash can shot to the body. Show put Foley into a shopping cart that was there for some reason with Show sending him into some other objects. Show slammed Mankind onto some wooden pallets. Show was walking around in the room, so Mankind came back by slamming a glass object onto Show’s head. Mankind was bleeding by the hand. Mankind was climbing some ladder for some object and Show slammed him through two tables. Show was bleeding after doing a blade job after the glass attack. Foley’s left hand was bleeding a lot. Show with a body slam onto some cart, then he pushed Mankind on the cart and Mankind went crashing into some steel objects. Mankind hit some steam pipe that shot some spray into Show’s face. Mankind attacked with a steel pipe from behind and Mankind sent Show into a pile of pipes. Foley was a bloody mess with blood all over his hands, so it was all over the floor. Mankind left the room where referee Teddy Long was, so Mankind was the winner. It went 7:50.

Winner by escaping the room: Mankind

Analysis: **1/2 It was just a brawl going into objects and using objects to attack eachother. I’ll give them props for taking some hard bumps in this match. They did some cool spots in it. The bigger guy lost because Mankind’s “specialty” is being in a boiler room. That’s why Mankind found a way to win.

When Mankind got out of the room, he was attacked by Big Boss Man and Test, who were heels that were part of Shane McMahon’s Corporation. Boss Man and Test attacked Mankind for a bit. Show got up and knocked Test down. Show chased Boss Man out of the ring. Mankind got Mr. Socko on his hand and he put the Mandible Claw on Test to put him down.

Analysis: Big Show would turn babyface after this. He was part of a short-lived group called The Union that failed miserably.

Triple H and Chyna were interviewed by Michael Cole. Chyna said that somebody needs to put X-Pac in his place. Hunter said that X-Pac asked for this and tonight he’s going to get it. Hunter said that he made X-Pac’s ass and tonight he’s going to break it.

There was a video shown of Big Show getting checked on by a doctor. Mankind was shown walking around saying he didn’t want to fight Big Show anymore. Mankind was walking through the boiler room pointing out all the things they destroyed in the boiler room. Mankind pointed out where he buried Show in pipes and pointed out the bloody handprints on the floor and the wall.

Analysis: That looked like a video exclusive rather than something that was on the PPV.

X-Pac made his entrance to a pretty good pop. X-Pac was a Tag Team Champion with Kane at this point. Triple H entered with Chyna with Hunter being introduced as “Triple H – Hunter Hearst Helmsley.” This was before Triple H got his singles theme song. There was a very generic song here that I don’t even remember.

Triple H (w/Chyna) vs. X-Pac

Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel and X-Pac was the face. They were the best of friends that were part of Degeneration X together, but Hunter turned heel against him at WrestleMania.

X-Pac hit a nice spin kick early on, Hunter left and X-Pac went after him to send Hunter into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Hunter whipped X-Pac into the ropes leading to Hunter launching X-Pac over the top to the floor. Hunter went for an attack off the apron, but X-Pac punched him in the ribs. Hunter sent X-Pac face first into the Spanish announce table. Hunter sent X-Pac into the steel steps. X-Pac fought back with punches and Hunter ran right into a spin kick by X-Pac for two. X-Pac with another spin kick that put Hunter down by the turnbuckle. Chyna grabbed X-Pac’s foot, so that delayed a charge by X-Pac, who missed the Bronco Buster because Hunter moved. Hunter with a clothesline to take over. Hunter worked over X-Pac with punches, kicks and more against the neck of X-Pac. Chyna got in a cheap shot punch to the face of X-Pac for a two count. Hunter with a neckbreaker as JR did a nice job of adding to the story by talking about how X-Pac has had serious neck issues in the past. Hunter with a headlock followed by two knee drops to the back of the head for a two count. Hunter with a headlock again, X-Pac fought back and Hunter did a facebuster into the knee for a two count. Hunter sent X-Pac to the floor leading to Chyna sending X-Pac into the barricade. Hunter delivered repeated elbows to the neck of X-Pac. There was an inside cradle by X-Pac, Hunter got out at two and grabbed a headlock. Hunter slapped on a sleeper with some fans chanting “boring” for it. X-Pac fought out of it with a brief sleeper of his own, but Hunter drove him back first into the turnbuckle two times in a row. Hunter came back with a belly-to-back suplex. X-Pac with a spinning heel kick and then a jumping spin kick. Hunter sent X-Pac into the turnbuckle leading to X-Pac hitting a clothesline out of the corner. X-Pac hit a DDT out of the corner for a two count. Chyna got on the apron to distract referee Mike Chioda, X-Pac countered a Pedigree attempt and gave Hunter a headbutt to the groin (the referee never saw it) for a two count.

Hunter grabbed X-Pac’s tights and sent him between the ropes to the floor. X-Pac countered a whip on the floor to send Hunter into the steel steps. X-Pac tried a dropkick, but Hunter pulled referee Mike Chioda in the way, so X-Pac kicked the referee. Hunter with a clothesline on the floor. Back in the ring, X-Pac hit the X-Factor with no referee around to count, so Chyna hit X-Pac with a low blow punch followed by a reverse DDT. That’s when the lights went out in the building with Kane making his entrance. Kane was about to Chokeslam Chyna, but Hunter saved her. Kane gave Hunter a Chokeslam and also a Chokeslam to Chyna. That one looked pretty safe with the crowd reacting to it in a big way with cheers. Kane set up Hunter and Chyna in the corners, so X-Pac hit a Bronco Buster on Hunter and a Bronco Buster on Chyna as well while referee Mike Chioda was back in the ring. Hunter was back up, kick to the gut and a Pedigree on X-Pac for the pinfall win at 19:19.

Winner by pinfall: Triple H

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match that was given a lot of time as they told the story of Hunter focusing on X-Pac’s neck throughout the match. The crowd was into it, but there were moments where the fans lost interest since Hunter kept on grabbing headlocks. The Kane return drew a huge reaction and it was payback for him against Triple H and Chyna. Triple H getting the win made sense because his heel turn was done to build him up to the main event level, so winning a match like this helped him get there. I thought it was booked well for the most part even with the cheap stuff at the end. It fit the story.

Ken Shamrock made his entrance to a decent pop from the crowd. The Undertaker made his entrance with Paul Bearer by his side.

The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Ken Shamrock

Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was a heel leading the Ministry of Darkness. Ken Shamrock was transitioning to a babyface role after being a heel for several months. Shamrock was no longer part of the Corporation group led by Shane McMahon. The Undertaker tormented Ken’s “sister” Ryan Shamrock in the weeks leading up to this match.

Shamrock tried to attack with punches, but Undertaker took over and hit a clothesline. Taker did the old school rope walk with a punch to the back. Taker hit an impressive leaping clothesline for a two count. Taker with a whip to the turnbuckle, Shamrock moved and Shamrock targeted the left leg of Taker with repeated kicks to the legs. Shamrock stretched the left leg of Taker against the ropes. Taker came back with a belly-to-back suplex followed by a choke. Shamrock ran the ropes, then did a sunset flip leading into a kneebar submission. Shamrock continued to wrench on the left leg of Undertaker, who got out of it after about one minute. Taker worked over Shamrock with punches, but then Shamrock went right back to a kneebar submission with JR trying to put over Shamrock by saying he had never heard Undertaker screaming in pain like that, so Taker grabbed the bottom rope to break free. They left the ring with Shamrock stomping on the left foot while it was against the steel steps. They were back into the ring with Undertaker punching Shamrock, then scaring referee Earl Hebner out of the ring and a drop toe hold by Taker with Shamrock countering into punches. Shamrock with a cross armbreaker on the left arm and the fans chanted “boring” as Undertaker got to the ropes to break the hold again. Shamrock punched Taker off the apron to the barricade. Taker caught Shamrock in his arms and drove Shamrock back first into the ring post.

They were back in the ring with Taker delivering forearms to the lower back followed by a backbreaker into a submission stretch across the knee. Undertaker stretched Shamrock’s back across Taker’s knees. Taker with a body slam into a leg drop with the left leg, so that led to Shamrock slapping on a kneebar submission again. Taker did a great counter into a half crab submission. They messed up a clothesline spot that led to Taker hitting him with a forearm. Shamrock with a jumping knee and then he ran right into a big boot to the face by Taker for two. I’m not sure if Shamrock got his shoulder up, but apparently so. Shamrock with a chop block to the left knee followed by a hurricanrana for two. Shamrock went for the Ankle Lock, but Undertaker kicked himself free and hit a clothesline for two. Shamrock slapped on his Ankle Lock submission move that led to a bit of a reaction, but that led to Bradshaw running out there with a baseball bat. Shamrock was distracted by that so he knocked Bradshaw down. Taker went for a Chokeslam, but Shamrock countered into a great-looking armbar. Shamrock went after Paul Bearer on the apron and then Shamrock hit the belly-to-belly suplex that he loved to do. Shamrock went for a Tombstone, but Undertaker powered out of that with a Tombstone of his own and Taker connected with it for the pinfall win at 18:53.

Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker

Analysis: *3/4 It was a bad match that went on for too long and wasn’t very exciting at all. The fans barely reacted to Shamrock for most of the match while chanting “boring” when they lost interest in the match. I don’t think this was the right kind of match in this era with Shamrock going after the left knee the whole match and the fans just didn’t seem to care about it. If they had a more faster-paced match that was longer, it probably would have been better and more interesting for the fans. This just didn’t work very well.

Post match, The Undertaker left. Bradshaw went into the ring and hit Shamrock in the ribs with a baseball bat. Bradshaw hit Shamrock with a stiff Powerbomb. Bradshaw slapped on a chokehold using the baseball bat across the throat (or at least that was the idea) and Shamrock sold it like he was choked out from it. Bradshaw left the baseball bat on Shamrock.

Analysis: It was a way to continue to build up Shamrock as a face since he was the victim of a cheap attack here.

The video package aired for the main event between WWE Champion Steve Austin and The Rock. They had a feud over Steve Austin getting his Stone Cold version of the WWE Title, but then Rock got a hold of it after he sent Austin into a river. Austin had a “funeral” for Austin on Raw, which led to Austin using an Austin 3:16 truck to drive over The Rock’s Lincoln Continental car. Austin got back into the building and then Shane McMahon hit Austin in the back with a shovel.

They showed Vince McMahon in the parking lot with daughter Stephanie. Vince put Stephanie into the limo with police officers on hand to make sure she was safe. Vince told Stephanie he’ll be back and they’ll be on their way to Hartford. Vince told the cops a good eye on her and he’ll be back after this match is over.

Shane McMahon made his entrance to the “No Chance in Hell” song as the special referee for the main event that is a No Holds Barred match. Shane was announced as the “Acting Chairman” of the WWF according to ring announcer Howard Finkel.

The Rock made his entrance with the “Smoking Skull” version of the WWE Title that belonged to Austin. After Rock went into the ring with that version of the WWE Title, Shane told a ringside attendant to wait until Austin got into the ring and then put the Smoking Skull version of the WWF Title in Shane’s office.

The WWE Champion “Stone Cold” Steve Austin made his entrance to a HUGE pop. The fans went wild for Austin, who ran down the aisle and tossed the WWF Title into the ring.

WWE Championship No Holds Barred Match: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (Shane McMahon was the referee)

Pre-match notes: Steve Austin was the babyface WWE Champion while The Rock was the heel challenger. It was a No Holds Barred match. Austin isn’t allowed to touch Shane McMahon during the match. The Rock was a three-time WWE Champion at 26 years of age. At this point, he was the youngest WWE Champion ever (until Brock Lesnar in 2002). Austin was 34 years old at this point.

Austin went after Rock with punches, Shane pulled Austin back and then Rock worked over Austin with punches. The ringside attendant carried the Smoking Skull title to the back just as he was instructed. Austin came back with punches and an elbow drop. Rock came back with a swinging neckbreaker. Austin came back with punches, but then Rock managed to toss Austin over the top to the floor. Rock ran over Austin with a clothesline in the aisle. Rock got his hands on a fire extinguisher and hit Austin in the head with it. Rock whipped Austin into a chain-link fence that was part of the set by the entrance. The crowd was loudly chanting for Austin again. Austin gave Rock a suplex on the floor. There was no ramp in the PPV setup. Austin whipped Rock into the other side of the chain-link fence. Austin hit Rock with an equipment case. Austin gave Rock a clothesline while on the fence and then Austin grabbed his own head because he hit some steel. Austin choked Rock with some cable that was nearby. Austin whipped Rock into a guardrail that was by the entrance area followed by Austin jumping off a case with a clothesline that knocked Rock down. Austin rolled an equipment case into Rock, but then missed an elbow smash because Rock moved. Rock sent the equipment case into Austin. Rock sent Austin into a camera boom operator followed by Rock hitting a clothesline. Austin whipped Rock into the barricade by the fans and hit a clothesline to knock down Rock. Austin with a body slam on the concrete floor. They walked back towards the ringside area with Austin whipping Rock into the steel steps.

The wrestlers were back in the ring with Austin stomping on Rock, so Shane shoved Austin to back away. Rock charged at Austin, who was ready for it and tossed Rock over the top to the floor. Austin hit a clothesline off the apron onto Rock on the floor. Austin cleared off the Spanish announce table, he was about to set up Rock for something, but Rock hit a low blow to the groin and Rock hit a Rock Bottom through the Spanish announce table. The Rock put on the headset saying that he hated Austin and that Austin was a piece of trash. Rock took the headset off, he punched Austin and Austin grabbed a chair. Shane took the chair from Austin, tossed it to Rock and then Austin blocked that chair shot. Rock sent Austin over the barricade leading to a bump on the floor from Austin. Rock went over the barricade and hit Austin with a clothesline. Rock with a blatant low blow punch to the groin of Austin. Rock sent Austin back to the ringside area where Rock hit Austin with the hood of the English announce table. Rock sent Austin into the announce table. Rock grabbed a camera from a camera guy at ringside and talked trash to Austin with Rock giving Austin the middle finger. Austin got back up, two middle finger salute and Austin hit a Stone Cold Stunner on the announce table, which did not break. Both guys went down to the cement floor by the announce table. That was memorable and a wild scene as well! That shot of Austin doing the double middle finger salute was classic.

Austin sent Rock back into the ring, Austin with a kick to the gut and Rock shoved Austin into Shane to knock Austin down. JR noted that was inadvertent since Rock pushed Austin into Shane. Rock hit a Rock Bottom, Shane put Rock’s hand on Austin’s chest and Shane counted to two with Austin kicking out. There was no fast count. Shane grabbed the WWE Title, brought it into the ring, Austin moved and Shane hit Rock with the WWE Title. Austin covered Rock with his left arm, he wanted a count, so Shane counted one…two…and a double middle finger salute. No count from Shane there. That led to Vince McMahon walking past Shane with the Smoking Skull WWE Title and Vince hit Shane with the title. Huge pop for that as JR was screaming that he couldn’t believe that. The fans were GOING CRAZY in excitement at this point. Vince had referee Earl Hebner with him and Rock hit Austin with the WWF Title. Hebner counted the pin one…two…and no because Austin got his shoulder up! Austin hit a Stone Cold Stunner on Rock and Austin hit Rock with the WWE Title! Austin covered Rock and Hebner counted the one…two…and three! Austin wins! It went 17:10.

Winner by pinfall: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Analysis: **** This was a great match that was full of action as Austin and Rock did a lot of brawling all over the building. They didn’t do chinlocks or other holds to kill time. It was all action. They fought the whole way through it. The key spot was that moment where Shane refused to count and then when Vince hit Shane with the WWE Title, the place went crazy. They followed that up with the dramatic nearfall with Rock nearly getting the win, but Austin quickly came back with the Stunner and the title shot to the head leading to the win. You could say it was overbooked a bit, but I think it was booked in a way that was very exciting and made the fans love wrestlers and matches of this era. If you want to compare this to the Austin vs. Rock matches at WrestleMania, it wasn’t as good as their best match at WrestleMania 17, but I think it was around the same level as the WrestleMania 19 match and better than the WrestleMania 15 match.

Post match, Austin celebrated with the classic version of the WWE Title and then Vince slid the Smoking Skull version of the WWE Title into the ring. Austin had both titles in his hands and celebrated with them as the fans popped loudly for Austin remaining the WWE Champion.

There was a backstage scene with Stephanie McMahon in a limousine while police officers were talking to her. The Acolytes walked out there, so the cops told the limousine to go. They went to limo cam with Stephanie saying: “Wait for my dad!” Then The Undertaker was shown driving with a classic line: “Where to, Stephanie?” Taker did an evil laugh.

Analysis: This was cheesy, but it worked. It also made you want to tune into Raw to see what the evil Undertaker might do to Vince’s daughter Stephanie. Most people watching at this time will remember the “Where to, Stephanie?” and evil laugh.

It was back in the arena with Austin celebrating while the announcers noted that Vince didn’t know what was happening to Stephanie. Austin celebrated with one of his classic beer bashes as the fans cheered for the popular WWF Champion. The show signed off with Austin’s celebration.

Analysis: Austin being on the same side of Vince didn’t last because over a month after this, they said Vince was the Higher Power joining Shane McMahon, The Undertaker and other heels. As for The Rock, his first big babyface run began after Backlash 1999, so this was the end of heel days for several years.

This event had a runtime of 2:39:23 on WWE Network.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. The Rock - WWE Championship Match: Backlash 1999

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show rating (out of 10): 7.5

It was a very good PPV overall with an entertaining main event between Austin and Rock that made the fans happy. The part where Vince attacked Shane drew a huge reaction from the crowd and led to the exciting finish. The pace of the Austin/Rock match made it a lot of fun because they went nearly 20 minutes without a rest hold. It was all action. Other than Austin/Rock, I really liked the Triple H match with X-Pac and even though it had a bit of a cheap finish, it was well booked based on the storylines. Plenty of other solid matches including New Age Outlaws vs. Jarrett/Hart (hello Debra) and Snow vs. Holly. Boiler Room Brawl with Mankind and Big Show had some violent moments. The Undertaker’s match with Ken Shamrock was a big miss with a dead crowd. It went on way too long.

I rated WrestleMania 15 a 5 out of 10, so that tells you right there that I thought it was a better show than WrestleMania. I enjoyed most of Backlash 1999 and thought it was one of WWE’s better PPVs that year.

 

FIVE STARS

  1. Steve Austin
  2. The Rock
  3. Triple H
  4. X-Pac
  5. New Age Outlaws and Jeff Jarrett/Owen Hart/Debra

 

OPINIONS

Best Match: Steve Austin vs. The Rock (**** out of 5)

Worst Match: The Godfather vs. Goldust (*1/2)

Most Memorable Moment: Vince McMahon hitting Shane McMahon with the WWE Title. The pop was deafening for that.

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

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John Canton

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