During the summer of 1999, I was working two jobs in Lake Placid, NY during my summer break from college. I was pretty far removed from the wrestling scene. I was just a few hours away from where this show took place, in Buffalo, NY, but I wouldn’t have known where it was happening, or even that the card was taking place. A lot of fans started watching during the Attitude Era of professional wrestling, but it was a time when I checked out.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Edge (c) vs. Jeff Jarrett – Edge won the title the title the night before this event at a house show in Canada, so the ramifications of this match are a little different than what was planned. Jarrett’s valet, Debra, however is the most over person in the match, as the crowd lays in chants of “We Want Puppies.” 1999 was a banner year for professional wrestling. Even this early, Edge was pretty good at this whole wrestling thing. But tonight wasn’t his night. A combination of Debra showing off her body and Gangrel dropping Edge’s neck over the top rope leads to Jarrett regaining the Intercontinental Championship he lost the night before. Lots of gaga made kind of hard to watch with color commentator Jerry Lawler drooling over Debra.
While Jarrett puts the belt around his waist, Steve Austin runs out and hits a Stunner with a bandage on his head from an earlier attack from the Undertaker, his opponent in the main event. Stone Cold says he’s going after ‘Taker first chance he gets to even up the odds.
WWF Tag Team Championship Acolytes Rules Match: Matt and Jeff Hardy (c) and Michael Hayes vs. Faarooq and Bradshaw – Faarooq and Bradshaw beat the hell out of the champions and their manager/partner before the bell even rings, and then the Hardy brothers pick business up with some high-risk action. This is a good mix of some extreme brawling and classic tag team action, with only a little bit of the guys using the tag ropes before all hell broke loose again. A double powerbomb on the former Freebird gives the Acolytes the win and the tag team championships. I didn’t hate it, but I’m a Faarooq and Bradshaw mark.
WWF European Championship: Mideon (c) vs. D-Lo Brown – Well, any good feelings I had about this show after the last match are completely out the window. Unless Davey Boy Smith had the European Championship, I never saw the point. And it’s even worse when you consider that Mideon got the title from fishing it out of Shane McMahon’s bag, as D-Lo and play-by-play commentator Jim Ross point out. Three championship matches so far with three new champions, as D-Lo hits a frog splash for the win.
WWF Hardcore Championship Match: Al Snow (c) vs. Big Boss Man – This is the point in the show where the audience has to watch TV, as Snow and Boss Man fight in the entranceway, in the backstage area and then outside the arena. Boss Man eventually wins after handcuffing Snow to a gate across the street from the arena and puts his foot on Snow’s chest while Snow was sitting and leaning against the gate. Does that actually count?
Kane vs. The Big Show – Hardcore Holly is the special referee here. This is maybe the greatest scientific match in the history of the WWF! Kane and Big Show have such a mastery for Greco-Roman holds and reversals, we were quickly heading to a 5-star mat classic before Hardcore Holly chop blocked Kane and allowed Big Show to pin the Big Red Machine for the win! Undertaker and X-Pac get involved in the post-match, which leads to Steve Austin attacking Undertaker in the back after the match and busting him wide open as a receipt for earlier.
Iron Circle Match: Steve Blackman vs. Ken Shamrock – Earlier in July 1999, WCW had a pay-per-view match in a junkyard. Not to be out-done, WWF has a match in a parking garage surrounded by cars, with similar rules – you have to escape the Iron Circle to get the duke. Wrestlers are also surrounding the circle of cars, slamming hoods and honking horns for added effect. These guys are two legit bad asses and they’re put in the gimmickiest of gimmick matches. Shamrock uses a chain to choke Blackman out and escapes the Iron Circle in a nothing segment.
Billy Gunn and Chyna vs. Road Dogg and X-Pac – D-Generation X explodes! According to Jim Ross, the battle comes down to Gunn and Chyna wanting the trademark for marketing and monetary purposes, but Dogg and Pac think it’s about “a feeling.” At least neither side here decided on calling themselves the Wolf Pack, but other than Chyna, none of the people in this match actually had anything to do with the creation of DX. The crowd was into the match, though, especially once everyone started doing their signature spots. Road Dogg and X-Pac get the win.
Fully Loaded Strap Match: Triple H vs. The Rock – The People’s Champ was already on his way to officially being “The Great One,” but Triple H was just on the cusp of getting to the top of the WWF mountain. This strap match, thankfully, is not about touching all four turnbuckles to win. Rather, it’s no disqualification, no countout and falls count anywhere. I can get behind this kind of strap match. Despite the no-DQ stip, Chyna and Billy Gunn wait until the ref is distracted to try and interfere in the match, but the numbers game finally gets the better of the Rock and Triple H gets the win after the Pedigree. With the win, he becomes the number one contender to the WWF Championship.
WWF Championship First Blood Match: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (c) vs. The Undertaker – With both of these guys having been busted open earlier in the evening, the crux of the match is who’s gaping head would will be reopened first. The action was fast and furious, going in and outside of the ring. It’s a classic WWF Main Event style brawl. People interfere. Weapons are used. The crowd, unbelievably, pops huge when X-Pac runs in and kicks a chair into Undertaker’s head. From there, a camera to the cranium gets Undertaker some color, which means Austin retains. But the end of the match just leads to more gaga with Taker, Austin, Triple H, The Rock and Vince McMahon, who still takes the worst stunner in wrestling.
Final Thoughts: Fun show that bottomed out a bit in the middle but picked right back up for a great ending.