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WWF SummerSlam 1999: An Out of Body Experience

by Scrooge McSuck

Jesse Ventura

- Dammit, I should've called dibs on the 1998 SummerSlam. Oh well, I'm sure this show will be just as strong from top to bottom as that card was. To get me all pumped up, I'm actually going to watch the episode of Sunday Night Heat that preceded it!

Or not. I forgot, in 1999 the WWF was ran by what could best be described as a mental patient with the attention span of a 4 year old with severe ADD, so we are in the few week stretch where zero original wrestling content was used on Sunday Night Heat. Considering how bloated the WWF's undercard was at the time, I find it a bit laughable NOT to feature some of the lesser used guys on a night where more fans than usual would probably be watching their B-Show (until Smackdown! debuted a week later on UPN.)

- Originally presented on Pay-Per-View on August 22nd, 1999, from the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN, and sponsored by Chef Boyardee (MMMM! BEEFY!). Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. Pre-PPV prediction for Jerry Lawler "Puppy" references: 11.

- The recently introduced to the WWE audience Chris Jericho talks down to his new gopher, "Harold" Finkel.

WWF Intercontinental and European Championship Match:
D'Lo Brown © vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra):

Yes, D'Lo Brown was a "double Champion", having won the European Title from seriously-non-Champion Mideon a few weeks back, and with the help of Ben Stiller (promoting MYSTERY MEN, EW), won the Intercontinental Title the week earlier on Raw from Jarrett. Jarrett dismisses Debra from ringside because he's becoming a He-Man-Woman-Hater, resulting in Debra pleading with D'Lo to let her accompany him to the ring, instead... it's Russo. Lawler's puppy count has reached my official prediction before the match even starts, so I'm just going to stop now.

Jarrett attacks before the bell, but D'Lo quickly takes over with a hip toss and forearm. Whip and a Powerslam gets two. Jarrett jumps into a modified Sky High, but it only gets two. D'Lo slips out of a sleeper and takes Jarrett over with a suplex. Jarrett catches him coming off the turnbuckles with... something botched, then dropkicks him to the floor. They brawl on the floor, and they continue to be a bit off, with D'Lo missing the post, and having to redo the spot. NEVER REDO THE SPOT. Jarrett works the arm and takes Brown down with a single-arm DDT. Jarrett with mounted punches until D'Lo counters with a modified snake eyes. He plants Jarrett with the Running Ligerbomb (I miss that move...), but is too hurt himself to cover. D'Lo with a tilt-o-whirl slam, jumping heel kick, scoop slam, and the funky head-bobbin' leg drop for two. Brown heads to the top rope, missing a senton splash. Jarrett grabs the guitar, Debra hops on the apron. Mark Henry runs in to pull the guitar away from Jarrett, then smashes it over D'Lo in a heel turn that actually made sense, but only because they teased it. Jarrett covers for three and BOTH Titles at 7:28. Debra and Jarrett celebrate, meaning Debra "turned face" only to reveal she was really still a heel, only to turn face for real a couple of weeks later. Russo. **1/2 They were a bit sloppy at times, and most of the heat up until the final couple of minutes was for Debra, but this was perfectly acceptable, if incredibly short.

Tag Team Turmoil!

Winners of the match receive a Tag Team Title Match tomorrow night on Monday Night Raw. Yep, using a PPV to build a match on free television. RUSSO! I don't think we're formally introduced of all the participants, but we do know the two teams starting the match.

Fall #1: Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (w/ Gangrel)
At least Russo knew that this combination would start it off hot. The Hardyz were technically the "New Brood", but screw that. Who would've guessed all four of these guys would launch into such great success, both in tag teams and as singles workers? Anyone else ever notice that Fink almost always introduced Edge & Christian as "Christian and Edge"? All four mean brawl to kick it off. Edge takes Matt down with a Russian leg sweep, followed by a double-team hip toss for two. Christian with a spinning heel kick (missing by a good foot or so). Gangrel with a cheap shot and Matt rolls him up for two. The Hardys face plant Christian and the shirts come off... TO ZERO REACTION. That only pops the crowd when people know you. Springboard splash from Jeff gets two. Jeff with Poetry in Motion, and Matt puts Christian down with a clothesline for a near fall. Jeff with the senton bomb, but Edge breaks the cover. Christian recovers and takes both Hardys down with a reverse DDT. Edge gets the hot tag and cleans house. The action spills to the floor and Edge SPEARS Jeff in the middle of his security wall run! Christian with a twisting plancha onto Gangrel, and Matt jumps onto the pile with a moonsault. Back in the ring, Edge face plants Matt and Christian drops an elbow for three at 5:01.

Fall #2: Edge & Christian vs. Mideon & Viscera:
Ugh... this should suck. Viscera sends Christian to the buckle and takes him down with a Samoan Drop. Mideon tags in for a pair of double elbows. Mideon with a lazy slam and knee drop for two. Who knew being PHINEAS GODWINN brought better workrate out of Dennis Knight? He misses something from the second rope. Edge works over both men, but runs into a rolling heel kick from Viscera. Whip to the corner, Viscera accidentally splashes Mideon. A double dropkick and shoulder tackle sends Viscera to the floor, and a Spear finishes Mideon at 7:36.

Fall #3: Edge & Christian vs. Droz & Prince Albert:
Edge quickly sends Albert to the floor with a clothesline, but Droz puts him down and stomps away. Whip to the ropes and Droz with a jumping back elbow. Edge avoids a charge from Albert and pounds away. Albert counters a whip and connects with an oddball neckbreaker, TKO/F5 style. Droz gets dumped to the floor, and Christian follows with a sloppy plancha. Christian clips the knee of Albert, allowing Edge to fall on top for a two count. Downward Spiral gets three at 9:39.

Fall #4: Edge & Christian vs. The Acolytes:
The Acolytes hit the ring before the three count completed. Faarooq takes Christian to the floor, leaving Edge with Bradshaw. Edge to the top rope for a missile dropkick. Edge with mounted punches, and Bradshaw counters with a Powerbomb for two. Edge with a spinning heel kick on Faarooq, but Bradshaw cuts off the hot tag. Bradshaw with a back suplex on Edge for two. Edge slips out of a Dominator and takes Faarooq down with a DDT. Christian gets the hot tag and connects with a pair of dropkicks. He heads to the top, but Faarooq crotches him on the turnbuckle. He still has it in him to take Bradshaw down with a DDT. Heck breaks loose again and Bradshaw kills Christian with the Clothesline From Hell at 14:38.

Fall #5: The Acolytes vs. Hardcore & Crash Holly:
After building up Edge and Christian, we're given heel vs. heel as the final fall of the match... now that I think of it, was E&C the only face team of the six involved?! I know we're in "Shades of Grey", but all the other teams were clearly established as heels, even by Russo standards. Either way, the crowd DIED once Edge and Christian were eliminated. Faarooq with the Dominator on Crash, but Hardcore makes the save. Double shoulder tackle from the Acolytes gets two. Crash tags back in and continues to get worked over. The Holly Cousins keep arguing, and Faarooq finally ends the match by planting Hardcore with a Spinebuster at 17:31. I never really knew how I should rate these kinds of matches (gauntlet style), so ** for the whole thing. Edge and Christian carried the workload, but they weren't exactly "great" workers yet, and other than the opening fall, the rest of the competition was either incredibly sub-par workers or the crowd had zero interest.

- Road Dogg comes out and winds up having a verbal showdown with the man that's going to save the WWF, Y2J, Chris Jericho. Hmm.... from cutting promos on the Rock to the ROAD DOGG. Did Jericho already get buried or am I looking too into things? They babble back and forth, so I walk away for a beverage, hoping the next match starts.

WWF Hardcore Championship Match:
Big Boss Man © vs. Al Snow:

I have a hard time remembering most title reigns from 1999, and have zero clue who Boss Man won the Title from. Snow has Pepper with him backstage, before Boss Man called Mr. Fuji on tips for cooking recipes. Snow surprises Boss Man with a plancha off the SummerSlam set, and Road Dogg follows them around with running commentary, with gems like "Look at this stick I found!" and "That was fake." There's an empty dog cage that we are tried to be sold on containing Pepper, but anyone with vision should know better. Snow bashes Boss Man with a chalkboard, thus ruining one of Bret Hart's classic doodles of Ed Leslie sucking up to Hulk Hogan. They brawl senselessly out of the arena and into the streets. Lawler makes a random Blair Witch reference, which suggests Vince McMahon wasn't feeding him lines, since he never heard of it. They fight into a nearby pub. Beer bottles are smashed, Road Dogg interferes after Boss Man takes a cheap shot at him, and Snow finishes him with a pair of billiard balls to the gonnads for the three count and Hardcore Title at 7:25. *1/2 I just randomly threw that out there. I had no idea how to rate this. It was OK, wasn't awful, but I didn't really enjoy it, either... if that makes sense. This feud is far from over.

WWF Women's Championship Match:
Ivory © vs. Tori:

I don't know. Two weeks ago on Heat, Ivory beat down Tori to "turn heel" (I don't even remember when she won the Title) and SHARPIED "Slut" and "Skank" on her body. Really, a SHARPIE. Not spray paint. A Sharpie. Tori bum rushes the ring, and it's downhill from here. BREAKING NEWS: Pepper was NOT in the doggy-carrier that Boss Man threw across the room earlier tonight. Thank goodness for that, now I can sleep easy. Sign of the Match: "I Poop Too Much." Tori with a snap suplex and "dropkick" for two. Ivory takes over with a face buster. then picks her wedgie. Slow motion hair-assisted snapmares. Crowd chants "Take it off." Ivory calls for the Giant Swing, but only gets three rotations before covering for two. Cesaro would be disappointed. Tori with a spear and awful punches. She throws Ivory over with the crotch-grope flip and comes off the second turnbuckle with a body press for two. Poor sunset flip gets two. Another ugly sunset flip, and Ivory sits on Tori's head for three at 4:11. DUD This stunk. Ivory goes for the clothes, but Luna Vachon shows up for the save, because it makes zero sense.

Lion's Den Match:
Ken Shamrock vs. "Lethal Weapon" Steve Blackman:

This is the EXTREME RULES Version, with weapons littering the inside of the (don't call it an) Octagon-style envrionment. These two have been feuding for several months, over God knows what. Blackman whips out a pair of nunchukus, and unfortunately, Shamrock doesn't have a Bo Staff to counter. Blackman whacks the ankle, but a roundhouse kick is countered with a dragon whip. Shamrock fails at using the nunchukus, allowing Blackman to take over. Shamrock with a takedown and cross armbreaker. Remember how good the match between Shamrock and Owen was at the previous SummerSlam? This one just stinks. Shamrock tries using a Kendo Stick, but Blackman fights it away. Blackman works him over with sticks. Shamrock springboards off the cage with an elbow and takes Blackman down with a back suplex. Whip to the Cage and Shamrock with a Powerslam. Blackman takes over, again, using a Kendo Stick, but Shamrock finally snaps, taking him over with a belly-to-belly suplex. Shamrock canes Blackman a few times and... the bell rings at 9:01? Shamrock climbs on top of the catwalk to celebrate his victory, in a match where the victor was decided by pure randomness. * I thought this would never end. I hate to use comparison, but Shamrock and Owen used the gimmick to their advantage and create a different kind of match. These two just traded weapon shots and no-selling big offensive moves for 10-minutes.

Love Her or Leave Her Match:
Test vs. Shane McMahon:

Did anyone expect anything from this match? Several months earlier, Test went on a date with Stephanie McMahon, but older brother Shane did not approve, so he, along with his goon squad, the Mean Street Posse (Rodney, Pete Gas, and Joey Abs, for those who don't remember them), have been doing their best to put an end to Test. If Test wins, he's free to do whatever he wants with Stephanie (anal?), if Test loses, they can never see each other again. RUSSO booked this? Makes too much sense, has too clear of a face vs. heel role, and seems too "intelligence" mature rather than "vulgar" mature. Over the last few weeks, Test has put a beating on each member of the Mean Street Posse, but that doesn't stop them from sitting front-row ringside (on a conveniently placed couch) with various bandages and casts on to sell the injuries.

Test stalks Shane at ringside and brings him down with a simple but effective tackle. Into the ring, Shane returns the favor, but Test quickly over-powers him. Test sends Shane into the steps, but misses his attempt at a curb stomping. Shane gets some offense in, but jumps into the arms of Test and planted with a Powerslam. Test pie-faces various Posse members, then press slams Shane onto the pile, knocking them all over with the couch. Backstage, Stephanie looks on, approvingly. Test hops into the crowd to continue the punishment, but the Posse get involved for a three-on-one beating while Shane looks on. Gas hands Shane a MSP mailbox, and Shane delivers. Next weapon of note? A framed picture of Shane and the Mean Street Posse. That too is smashed over the head of Test. Backstage, Stephanie looks on, "concerned." Back in the ring, Shane puts Test down with a diving elbow. He heads to the top rope, missing a corkscrew moonsault. Test counters a head scissors with a Powerbomb, but Rodney keeps the referee from making a timely count. Test goes for a running boot, but Shane ducks and referee Mike Chioda takes it like a man. Why a ref' bump in a Street Fight? It's all legal. The Posse attack, set up Test across the Spanish Announcer's Table, and Shane drops the elbow from the top rope for your Holy Sh*t Bump of the Night™. Backstage, Stephanie looks on, "shocked."

For reasons unknown, despite being a Street Fight with tons of ringside brawling, Chioda starts counting them out?! Pete Gas interrupts the count, while Rodney and Joey Abs roll Test and Shane back in. They revive Shane with the Magic Water straight out of Hyrule, and he covers for two. Pete Gas tries to KO Test, but hits Shane by mistake, and Test covers for two. Rodney with a cast blow to Test, and it's another two count. The Posse's excessive interference is countered by the return of THE STOOGES! Who knew PAT PATTERSON AND GERALD BRISCO would get major face pops in 1999!? Test boots a chair into the face of Joey Abs, Shane misses a charge to the post, and Test plants him with the Pumphandle Slam! Test to the top rope, and the flying elbow drop finishes Shane off at 12:13! **** I'm going all in with the 4-stars, because it wasn't just a great brawl, but the storyline actually made sense, and to my surprise, had a satisfying (and correct) finish without a stupid swerve. Something I always appreciated after this match: The continuity kept between Shane and Test throughout the years following this, including stuff like in 2000 despite Test and Stephanie's break up when Test was a heel in T & A but still working as a hired goon for the McMahon's enemies, and then turning heel to join Shane's Invasion Alliance in 2001.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Kane & X-Pac © vs. The Undertaker & Big Show (w/ Paul Bearer):

This should be... something. Kane is wearing the Alternate Jersey of his original tights, with black and red instead of red and black. I know, that makes a lot of sense when typing it like that. I always expected Kane to debut green and black DX colors, but it never happened. 'Taker quickly sends X-Pac to the floor and they double up on Kane. Kane avoids a Big Show charge and lays both challengers out with clotheslines. X-Pac with a cross body from the top for two. X-Pac survives with 'Taker a bit before tagging out to Kane. X-Pac gets cocky and takes an elbow to the side of the head for it. Kane saves him from a Chokeslam and the brothers of destruction brawl. Kane to the top rope with his signature flying clothesline for two. Undertaker with a DDT, and here comes the Big Show. I don't think I've ever seen Big Show vs. Kane, so this should be fun (said NO ONE. EVER). Show with a powerslam for two. 'Taker and Kane do another slugfest until laying each other out with a double clothesline. X-Pac gets the hot tag and connects with a spinning heel kick for two. Show with a cheap shot from the apron and tosses X-Pac around like a bag of weed. 'Taker rams X-Pac balls first into the post, because it's fun to knock him in the nuts. Kane (eventually) get the (real) hot tag after two blatant nut shots in clear view of the referee. Kane does all the walk and X-Pac does the Bronco Buster on Big Show. Show no-sells it and Chokeslams X-Pac... for two!? 'Taker tags himself in, and the Tombstone Piledriver finishes X-Pac at 12:01. That's as decisive as you can get. * You had X-Pac getting zero offense in, and the other three lumbering around in slow motion. You're surprised by the low rating?

Kiss My Ass Match: The Rock vs. Mr. Ass:

Yep, the Rock was wasted in an angle that was basically designed to kill off Billy Gunn as a "top of the card" player, following an abysmal King of the Ring Tournament and being obsessed with his ass. Loser is supposed to kiss the winner's ass, but Mr. Ass brings a short, (very) frumpy woman with him for the Rock to kiss, instead. Russo must've learned from Cornette how to book humiliation angles and cop-out on the stipulations. Gunn pounds away to start. Rock quickly retaliates, knocking him to the floor. Senseless wandering up the aisle without anything resembling a count-out. Lawler's crown is inserted into a comedy spot as I wait for something, ANYTHING, of real interest. Gunn with a neck breaker for what might be the first actual move of the match, at the 6-minute mark. It's been all punchy-kicky-clothesline, otherwise. Whip to the corner and Gunn with a bulldog for two. The camera spends too much time panning the large woman's bottom, but it's not like we're missing much from the match. Rock with his Layin' The Smackdown DDT for two. Swinging neck breaker gets two. Samoan Drop gets another two count. Rock Bottom is countered with the Fame-Asser! He calls Hefty Lady in the ring... and she whips ip her skirt for an unpleasant visual, complete with ripped stockings. Gunn's plans fail, and... well, here's Jim Ross' call for you: "The Rock just put Billy Gunn's face in that large woman's ass!" Rock Bottom and People's Elbow ends this nightmare at 10:12. 1/2* Gunn would be cemented back into a Tag Team role immediately after this, and stayed there for most of the duration of his WWF tenure (through 2004). Not to play "I could've seen it coming" games, but even in 1999, I never bought Gunn as a serious opponent for the Rock, or anyone else at that level.

WWF Championship Match:
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin © vs. Mankind vs. Triple H (w/ Chyna):

Governor of Minnesota Jesse "The Body" Ventura is YOUR Special Referee for this match, his second duty as referee in a SummerSlam Main Event. The build up to this PPV was a Vince Russo wet dream, with Chyna at one point, at least in storyline continuity, penciled in as a challenger. Who knows, maybe Russo really wanted it to happen. Smart money says Triple H goes over. Austin and Hunter kick it off, but Mankind intervenes almost immediately to double up on "The Game." They are former Tag Team Champions, after all. Foley gives Austin a hug and Austin responds with rights. All three men brawl on the floor, because it's a required spot in all Attitude Era matches. Ventura, Mankind, and Chyna discuss politics while Hunter whacks Austin with a chair. Mankind goes for the Mandible Claw, but Chyna interjects herself into the action, again. Ventura actually saw it and ejects her from ringside! Austin brings Hunter back to the ring after another extended "wander up and down the aisle" sequence, only to have his leg and "injured" knee wrapped around the post. I use quotations because I don't know if he was really hurt or if it's just kayfabe.

Mankind finally comes back to life, and joins Helmsley in stomping a mudhole in Austin. Double clothesline connects. Helmsley with a spinning toe hold while Mankind drops the leg... for two! Mankind's double-cross means it's on! He sends Hunter to the floor with the Cactus Clothesline, but a somersault from the apron meets nothing but the floor. And people wonder why he retired (mostly) at 33 years old? The action spills into the crowd, which was the style at the time. You couldn't get the little white ones on account of the War, so all you could get were those big yellow ones... Whoops, sorry. Amusing myself with Grandpa Simpson quotes. Austin counters a Pedigree, and sends him to the floor on a slingshot. Stunner on Mankind, but Hunter breaks the cover with a chair. Mankind takes a shot to the head, and true to his word, Ventura doesn't count because of the methods used. To be fair... it's a No DQ match. Shane McMahon runs in to argue with Ventura on Helmsley's behalf and gets knocked out with the Stunner. Ventura pulls Shane off the canvas and dumps him over the top rope as a message for his father. Back to the actual match... Austin and Helmsley knock each other out on a double clothesline. Mandible Claw on both men, but it's broken with a low blow. Austin with the Stunner on Helmsley, but Mankind breaks the count. Pedigree on Austin! Mankind knocks Hunter silly, Double- Arm DDT's Austin, and covers... for three at 16:23?! What the hell?! I guess strong rumors suggest Helmsley was booked to go over, but Ventura's involvement meant demands from him including raising a babyfaces arm in victory. Don't fret, Triple H fans: He wins the title the next night on Raw. *** This was fine for what it was, but the Attitude Era "Main Event Style" hasn't aged well with me, and they seemed too reliant on senseless brawling, with the occasional cute spots like unlikely alliances formed and a hot closing minutes.

Final Thoughts: There's some bone-headed booking choices and a handful of really bad matches, but SummerSlam '99 is somehow better than I remember it being. Shane McMahon vs. Test is a great brawl and one of the only good storylines at the time, and the undercard has some decent wrestling, but my God, the over-booking of everything just makes you want to drill a hole in your skull to relieve the pressure mounting from the headache developed. Other than the Street Fight, there's nothing here to really go out of your way to see, either for historical significance or match quality. Strong Recommendation to Avoid.

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