SummerFest Countdown: 1999

(Now we get into the period where I don’t remember ANYTHING about these shows, so it’ll be a fun look back for me, hopefully.)  The Netcop Rant for Summerslam 99 Live from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fun fact: The governor used to be a wrestler. A pretty well-known one, too. I forget his name. Your hosts are JR and the King. Quick review of the matches on Heat: …um, there were none. Well, at least that’s ONE show I don’t have to waste my time watching any more. Opening match, IC & European title: D-Lo Brown v. Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett sends the puppies back to the dressing room, drawing a HUGE “Asshole” chant from the crowd. So Debra joins D-Lo at ringside instead, which is generally the setup for a setup in wrestling. (This would be the last Russo-fied WWF PPV, would it not?)  D-Lo controls to start with his normal offense, getting a few two counts. D-Lo comes off the second rope and runs into a JJ elbow, and they brawl outside the ring. D-Lo gets sent into the post and sells an arm injury. Jarrett does a good job of working it over, including a single-arm DDT done from the top rope. D-Lo comes back with a stungun/hotshot and a running powerbomb for two. Double-KO spot follows, and D-Lo ends up with a legdrop for two. Backdrop suplex and D-Lo goes to the top for the Lowdown, but Jarrett moves and Debra jumps onto the apron for distraction. Mark Henry comes in to watch D-Lo’s back…and turns on him! Shouldn’t have pushed him so hard in those training sessions. (SWERVE!  SWERVEY SWERVE SWERVE!) There’s nothing more dangerous than a fat guy denied his dinner. Ask Mark Madden. Guitar to the head gives Jarrett the pin and both titles. That’s what, 14 titles for Jarrett now? Good opener. *** (Of course, they would later regret putting THAT title on Jarrett, given that his contract was set to end two months later.)  Tag Team Turmoil! I feel like I’m watching one of those Coliseum Videos where they’d preface midget matches with titles like “Midget Madness!” Match #1: Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boys. Good start. The Hardys control most of the way, hitting the usual highspots (who’d have thought we’d be saying things like “The usual Hardys highspots” on a regular basis?) (Yes indeed, who would have thought that Matt and Jeff Hardy would get over?  Ah, for the days when they were internet darlings managed by Michael Hayes.)  They seem a little off tonight, but the wild ending makes up for it, as Jeff tries his rail-running trick, and Edge counters by running the other rail and spearing him in mid-air! Camera mostly missed it, however. Back in the ring and Edge flapjacks Matt and Christian pins him after a flying elbow. *** Match #2: Edge & Christian v. Mideon & Viscera. Viscera tries to eat Edge a few times, but he moves out of the way (that’s like dodging a rampaging sloth – not exactly a challenge) and spears Mideon for the pin. DUD Match #3: Edge & Christian v. Droz & Prince Albert. Same as the last match, but with a couple of highspots tossed in, and Edge hitting the Downward Spiral instead of the spear for the pin. 1/2* (Remember when Tensai was Droz’s personal piercing consultant?)  Match #4: Edge & Christian v. The Acolytes. Edge gets methodically killed by the Acolytes, who I am rapidly tiring of. (Just wait until 2004!)  Christian manages to get the hot tag, and hits a tornado DDT on Bradshaw for two, but gets hit with the Clothesline From Hell and pinned. ** Final: The Acolytes v. The Hollys. Total slaughter. The Hollys can’t stop arguing, and after one strategy session too many, Bob Holly turns around and gets spinebustered for the pin. I didn’t need to see the Acolytes go over AGAIN, and I certainly don’t want them to win their third tag title tomorrow. * (Spoiler:  They don’t, although the Rock N Sock Connection do win them the week after THAT.  Fear not, though, the APA win one more further down the line.)  Road Dogg comes out to challenge the winner of the Hardcore title…but wait! 5…4…3…2…1….and it’s Y2J time! Jericho runs down the Dogg, the PPV, RAW, the WWF, the fans, and Road Dogg’s spelling ability. Man, that last one was just cold. Big heat for Jericho. Road Dogg has two words for him.  (Fozzy Tour?  This was quite the step down for Jericho from having a verbal duel with the Rock.)  Hardcore title match: Big Bossman v. Al Snow. Nice start as Snow perches on the scaffolding by the entrance and jumps Bossman. Road Dogg volunteers for commentary duty, grabbing a mike so he can be on the scene. Usual WWF brawl follows, as they fight across the street and into a local bar. This concept is really nearing the end of it’s usefulness. (And yet they wouldn’t put the title out of its misery until 2002!)  Gross-out spot of the match sees Snow grabbing a urinal cake out of the men’s bathroom and rubbing it in Bossman’s face. Off into the billiards room, where Bossman decides to smash a drink over the Dogg’s head. Jesse retaliates by whacking Bossman with his own nightstick, and Snow makes the pin on the pool table to regain the title. **1/4 Entertaining enough but didn’t break any new ground. (I mean, it could have been WORSE.  Like, they could have booked it inside a cage surrounded by dogs, inside another cage!)  Backstage, Mick and Jesse discuss politics. Women’s title: Ivory v. Tori. Yeah, like anyone actually cares about this one. Ivory gets the pin, can’t say as I bothered to pay attention. Luna makes the save after Ivory tries to rip Tori’s top off. BOOO! Match looked to be about * from what I saw.  (That is some A1 professional PPV reviewing right there, kids.  Top notch.)  Lion’s Den match: Ken Shamrock v. Steve Blackman. Shamrock has to put Blackman over ONE of these times, doesn’t he? Blackman pulls out a pair of numchaka, thus proving that the real lethal weapon is indeed in his pants. Ahem. (High five!  Anyone?)  Blackman nails Shamrock with some pretty brutal looking shots. Good thing these guys are friends in real life. They do a lot of ramming each other into the cage and hitting each other with the weapons surrounding the cage. Announcers seem confused as to the winning condition: They’re selling it as an escape cage match, but the guys are going for the KO. Anyway, cut to the finish, as Blackman hammers Shamrock into oblivion with the kendo stick, but apparently doesn’t want the win. Shamrock snaps, tees off on Blackman with the stick, and the bell rings for some reason. Not sure how exactly to rate it, but it wasn’t boring. Call it **1/2 (I don’t remember any of this.)  “Love Her or Leave Her”: Test v. Shane McMahon. The Mean Street Posse (with various casts and bandages) make their way to ringside, where a couch and champagne is awaiting them. Test totally destroys Shane to start, then tosses him into the arms of the Posse. Test gets laid out by them as a result, with the crowd chanting “Posse Sucks!”. They start handing Shane a variety of weapons, the funniest of which is a framed portrait of themselves.  (Say what you will about Russo, but sometimes things were allowed to get over by sheer goofy anarchy, much like the dark days of WCW.)  It gets shattered over Test’s head, of course. Back in the ring and Shane actually goes for a corkscrew senton off the top! It misses, and Test powerbombs Shane, but the ref is distracted by Rodney. Ref bump follows, which makes no sense in a no-DQ match. The Posse lays out Test on the Spanish announce table…and Shane hits a flying elbow off the top rope, through the table! WHOA! Shane is the McMAN! Back in the ring, but it only gets two for Shane. Pete accidentally nails Shane with a sign, giving Test a two count. Crowd is going NUTS. Rodney hits Test with the cast, which I thought was the end, but it gets two. Finally, after all that interference, the Stooges make their return, taking out the punks (BIG pop for that), leaving Shane and Test mano-a-mano. And from there, it’s Meltdown and flying elbow for the Test pin, which was TOTALLY the right booking and got a HUGE pop from the crowd, and the group of people watching the show at our gathering tonight, including a few non-fans. When you can make people who haven’t been following pop for the finish, it’s something good. Stephanie and Test have a celebration, as Test makes his first big PPV shot COUNT. ***1/2 (Unfortunately that was the only PPV shot he made count, as he stopped giving a crap immediately after for some reason.  I recently watched the match again for the Street Fight DVD set, and it’s still fun and awesome.  This was also a huge surprise because Shane had not yet established himself as a street fight specialist, which obviously in hindsight was the easiest way to disguise his limitations as a worker, and there was zero expectations of a good match going into this.)  WWF tag team title: Kane & X-Pac v. Undertaker & The Big Slow. Kane has his alternate, reversed costume tonight. Brawl to start, and a funny bit as X-Pac crotch chops at Undertaker and gets elbowed in the mouth. (There’s an extra star right there.)  Kane gets a clothesline off the top for two, and then Kane and Big Slow do their usual classic. X-Pac gets the hot tag, but that goes nowhere as the Show bumps him around like a superball outside the ring, then dumps him back in over the top. That looked impressive. X-Pac of course works in the massive crotch-shot-to-the-post spot that he does in every match. (Much like Vince McMahon, I automatically add another star to any match that features X-Pac getting hit in the crotch, groin, or nutsack.)  Big Slow with a bearhug into a two-handed chokeslam for two. Kane blocks AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHTHEChokeslam and X-Pac lowblows him for good measure, then UT, and makes the hot tag to Kane. Pier-six brawl erupts and UT goes face-first to the post. X-Pac with the broncobuster, but the Show shrugs it off and chokeslams him. It gets two, so Undertaker tags himself in and shows him the proper way to kill X-Pac dead, tombstoning him for the pin and the tag titles. I don’t think anyone gave the champs a shot here, and rightly so. **1/2 UT at least had his working boots on tonight. “Kiss My Ass”: The Rock v. Billy Gunn. Billy brings a fat chick with him, and she gets the honor of having her ass kissed by the Rock, apparently. We get the usual Rock brawl to start, and once it gets back to the ring Gunn controls in the standard RAW match. It seems designed not to expose anyone. Rock hits the floatover DDT for two. Samoan drop gets two. Billy wiggles out of Rock Bottom and hits the Fame-asser in a nice sequence, but instead of going for the cover, he invites the fat lady into the ring to ready her ass for kissing. Billy, of course, ends up going face-first into it (Mr. Ass tosses salad, too? Man, what a pervo…) and it’s Rock Bottom, People’s Elbow, welcome back to the mid-card, Billy, and I hope you have a long stay there. **3/4 (Yes he would.  This feud was notable only for giving the world “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!”, which is one more contribution than Billy Gunn ever made to the wrestling world.)  WWF World title match: Steve Austin v. HHH v. Mankind. Entrances alone eat up 15 minutes. Jesse says he’s proud to have been a wrestler, and he’s proud to be here tonight. Mick and Austin double-team HHH to start, but poor, sweet Mick offers a hand of friendship to Austin and gets nailed. A chair to Austin’s knee takes him out for a while. Chyna interferes and Jesse sends her back to the dressing room. HHH goes to work on Austin’s knee, and Foley helps out. Mick encourages HHH to do a figure-four, then legdrops Austin for two while HHH is applying it. Mankind and HHH fight outside the ring, where Mankind misses a dive off the apron. Austin & HHH fight briefly into the crowd, but Jesse’s refusal to follow brings them back into the ring. You go, Jesse! Austin fights off both guys, and slingshots HHH into Mick. Stunner to Mick, with the pin being broken up by a Helmsley chairshot. Another for Mick, but Jesse won’t count due to the chairshot. Shane comes in to protest the injustice of rules being enforced in a wrestling match, so Austin stunners him, then Jesse tosses him over the top rope, getting the line of the night: “That’s one for your old man, you little bastard!” Priceless. HHH and Austin do a double-KO, and Mick gets the Mandible Sock on both guys. Austin escapes, and HHH goes for the Pedigree but gets clotheslined by Austin. Stunner on HHH, Foley makes the save. Pedigree on Austin, Foley makes the save again, hits his own double-arm DDT on Austin…and GETS THE PIN! YEAH, MICK! Austin jobs clean for once in his life, just to shut up the critics, I guess. (Nope.  This was all set up to give HHH his first World title on PPV, but Jesse didn’t want to raise the heel’s hand in his hometown, so they switched it to Mick getting the title instead before the inevitable Era Of The Game began the next night on RAW instead.  To paraphrase Family Guy, it was like sex with Kobe Bryant.  You can kick and scream all you want, but it’s gonna happen whether you want it or not.)  HHH & Chyna brutalize the knee with a chair, and Mick is awarded the title by Jesse as the show ends. Great match. **** (Really?  REALLY?  Really?)  The Bottom Line: Hey, I’m happy. A great match in the main where I was expecting a mediocre one, a really good match in Test/Shane where I was expecting crap, and a pretty decent match in Rock/Ass where I was expecting nothing. Can’t really complain, as the effort was evident in everyone tonight. Thumbs up.  (Thumbs in the middle.)