The SmarK Rant for WWF Armageddon 1999 – 12.12.99
Live from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, drawing 15,749. The show did 371,000 buys, which is pretty normal for a B PPV in 1999.
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
Tag team battle royal:
We’ve got the Dudley Boyz, Acolytes, Edge & Christian, Hardy Boyz, Headbangers, Mean Street Posse, Godfather & Mark Henry, and Too Cool. JR talks about how the Dudley Boyz laid a “first class mugging” on Christian on Smackdown. What? They wrestled Angle & Blackman on Smackdown and Christian got beat up by the MSP. I just watched the show two hours ago! Winner of this gets a tag title shot at the Rumble. Rodney immediately gets tossed out, but Joey Abs switches in for him for your running gag of the match. Then he gets thrown out and Rodney switches back in. Hilarious. Then all three get thrown out by Faarooq at 2:14 and that joke ends with a thud. Mosh gets backdropped out at 2:42 to thankfully eliminate them. Acolytes team up to dump Henry at 3:21 and there’s just nothing going on here. Scotty tries to suplex Christian on the apron and they slug it out, but Sexay accidentally knocks Scotty off on the way out at 5:00. D-Von goes under the bottom and then pulls Edge out at 6:17 to eliminate them. Dudz double-team Jeff Hardy while the Acolytes beat on Matt and this is slow and BORING. Dudleyz get the Wazzup on Bradshaw, but Matt tosses D-Von at 7:55 while he’s gloating about it. So it’s down to the Acolytes and Hardyz and the crowd finally wakes up as Jeff makes his comeback, but Matt and Bradshaw go out at the same time, so we continue. The Acolytes double-team Jeff, but he takes Faarooq out with a headscissors while the ref is helping Matt and thus doesn’t see it. Thus Bradshaw teases going out and Faarooq tosses Jeff to win at 11:00 and immediately sucks the life out of the crowd. Boy, it took them a LONG time to really clue into what the crowd wanted from the tag team division, didn’t it? Thankfully they figured it out after the Rumble. This match was a complete drag and a waste of a bunch of potential great matches for this show.
Meanwhile, Kurt Angle doesn’t really understand why the fans don’t appreciate him.
Kurt Angle v. Steve Blackman
Blackman attacks and slugs away in the corner, and goes up with a missile dropkick, but Angle takes over on him and gets a forearm for two. Angle goes up and misses the moonsault, and Blackman wraps him up in a submission. Angle gets a DDT for two and a suplex for two and the crowd completely turns on the match. They fight to the floor and Blackman whips him into the stairs and comes back in with a sunset flip for two. Bodypress gets two. Angle with a butterfly suplex and he chokes Blackman in the corner, but misses a blind charge and Blackman fights back with a shoulderblock and snap suplex for two. Blackman with a spinebuster for two. Blackman looks like he’s completely blown up, and he goes up with a pump splash that hits knee, and Angle rolls him up for two. Angle finishes with a german suplex at 7:00. Kind of a disaster. * If only there was better competition for Angle to work with and learn his craft! Perhaps from WCW! But how likely is it for THAT to happen in the next month or so?
WWF Women’s title, Evening Gown rules: Ivory v. Jacqueline v. Nurse BB v. The Kat
BB was a completely misguided push even by the low standards of the division at the time. Oh yeah, and the match takes place in a pool. And they were wondering why sponsors were bitching? I can’t even believe I’m recapping this. Jackie immediately loses her dress and almost comes out of her bra on the way out. Kitty and Ivory try to drown BB with no success, but pull the dress off to eliminate her. Ivory tries to tear off her bra afterwards for no adequately explored reason, which allows Kitty to pull Ivory back in the pool and tear off the dress to win the title at 2:57. I’d say we could safely call this the low point of the title, but it would actually get WORSE. Trish Stratus and Lita really rescued that thing from the dumpster. Anyway, Kitty claims that “They made me wear underwear” and then strips for the crowd, famously tearing off her bra on live PPV before Slaughter runs out and covers her up with a towel. It’s blurred out on the Network, in case you’re wondering. Mae Young also threatens to strip and thankfully Slaughter covers her up as well.
Hardcore & Crash Holly v. Rikishi Phatu & Viscera
Who booked THIS crap? Rikishi now has the classic music, so I’m wondering if there was an overdub on the Smackdown show. Rikishi this Crash with a butt splash for two, but Hardcore comes in and Rikishi kills him as well with a belly to belly for two. Vis declines to tag in, so Rikishi forces him into the match and Vis hits Bob with a samoan drop. Belly to belly on Crash, but he misses a splash and the Hollies double-team him. Vis misses a blind charge and Bob goes up with a missile dropkick for two. They double-team Vis some more, but Rikishi tags himself back in and hits Crash with a cutter and superkicks Bob. The sitout piledriver looks to finish, but Vis comes in and hits Rikishi by mistake and Bob pins Rikishi to end this disaster at 4:27. -** Rikishi and Viscera get into a brawl to tease us with more of THAT, and we don’t even get the Too Cool dance for the crowd.
European title: British Bulldog v. D-Lo Brown v. Val Venis
OK, hopefully Bulldog can get his shit together enough to have a decent PPV match because this show is DYING. Everyone slugs it out in the corner to start and Bulldog clotheslines both guys, but Val dumps him to the floor and they fight out there. D-Lo hits them both with an Undertaker dive, but Val gets a powerslam in the ring for two. Val with a flying elbow for two, but Bulldog saves and whips him into the stairs outside. Lawler: “When Val was a kid, he used to wet the bed…from the hallway!”
Val beats on D-Lo in the ring after recovering, then hauls Bulldog back in and runs the others together. D-Lo and Val slug it out and this match is going NOWHERE. Val and D-Lo double-team Bulldog with a hiptoss and Bulldog can’t even take that bump properly. Oh man. They team up with a double suplex, but then D-Lo turns on Val and they slug it out again. Bulldog bails as the other two keep fighting, and D-Lo goes up and gets crotched by Val. D-Lo comes back with a sunset bomb for two, but Bulldog pulls out the ref to save. Val and Bulldog double-team D-Lo now, but Val turns on Bulldog with a spinebuster. Bulldog powerslams Val, but D-Lo saves this time. D-Lo comes back on Bulldog with the heel kick and legdrop, and hits the Sky High (which again Bulldog can barely take) and Lo Down, but Val steals the pin and the European title at 8:23. Whole lot of nothing here and Bulldog looked terrible as ever. *
Cage match: X-Pac v. Kane
So the odds are dramatically stacked against Kane here, as he can only win by pinfall or submission, but X-Pac can climb out. They fight on the floor before the match and X-Pac hits him with the bell, but Kane no-sells it and chases him into the cage for a slam while Lawler makes dick jokes about Kane. JR: “Would you stop with all these penis innuendoes?” I’ve been saying that for 20 years. He should tell that to John Cena. X-Pac goes up and Kane catches him, but X-Pac escapes and hits the spinkick. He goes up with the legdrop off the top, and that gets two. Kane tosses him around, but now the Outlaws run in with bolt cutters and open the door so they can throw in a chair for X-Pac. “You gotta think this whole thing was premeditated!” declares JR. You THINK? X-Pac with the carpet muncher on the chair and he also finds a pair of handcuffs in his D-X care package and chains Kane to the cage. Anything else in there? X-Pac beats on him with the chair and climbs out, but Tori comes in and saves, so he gives her an X-Factor as well. X-Pac goes to climb out, but Kane breaks the cuffs and walks out of the cage, where he throws X-Pac back in and slams the door on his head. See, because Kane can’t win by climbing out. Back in, Kane climbs to the top of the cage for a flying clothesline off there, and finishes with a tombstone at 8:12. You’d think that this would be a pretty cut-and-dried blowoff for the feud, but NOPE. Pretty dull match, although the finish was good. *1/2
Intercontinental title: Chyna v. Chris Jericho
Chyna actually retained the title against Jericho at Survivor Series and everyone was like “WTF?” but Jericho pretty much had to win here. They slug it out in the corner to start and Jericho throws knees, but he charges and runs into the post on the way to the floor, and Chyna follows him out with a clothesline from the apron. Jericho suplexes her onto the announce table as JR freaks out, but Chyna dropkicks a chair at him. Jericho runs her into the stairs and goes after Miss Kitty for a kiss, but Chyna hits him with a low blow on the way into the ring and follows with her shitty handspring elbow and DDT for two. Jericho hits her with a leg lariat and Chyna gets tied in the ropes after an awkward sell, and that allows Jericho to punch her in the broken thumb and dropkick it. What a great heel. Jericho with a corner clothesline, but Chyna reverses a powerbomb into a rollup for two. Jericho is doing an amazing job of leading her by the hand, almost literally. Jericho puts her down again for the ARROGANT COVER and it gets two, and he undoes the turnbuckle, but Chyna comes back with a clothesline. Jericho bulldogs her for two and follows with a backbreaker. Chyna escapes and they collide, with Chyna on top for two. Jericho bulldogs her to set up the Lionsault, but it hits the knees and Chyna makes her blown up comeback. Neckbreaker gets two. Jericho tries a rana and Chyna powerbombs him and catapults him into his own exposed turnbuckle, which gets two. Jericho’s literally working the entire match by himself and it’s kind of fascinating. Too bad he doesn’t know how to work! Jericho counters the Pedigree into a backslide for two. Jericho with a superplex, but Jericho falls on top for two. Chyna with a rollup, but Jericho reverses into the Walls of Jericho (and Chyna is flexible enough to take it properly) and the crowd goes APESHIT as Chyna taps at 10:18 to give Jericho his first of many, many IC titles. What a fantastic performance from Jericho, as he worked around all of her myriad weaknesses and made them both look like a million bucks. I really enjoyed this one. ***1/2 Unfortunately the rematch at Rumble 2000 was kind of a trainwreck.
Meanwhile, Chyna confronts Jericho backstage and offers him congratulations. The whole storyline that came from that was pretty stupid.
WWF tag team title: The New Age Outlaws v. The Rock N Sock Connection
Can everyone guess the finish right now based on Al Snow’s involvement on RAW and Smackdown? Mankind slugs it out with Mr. Ass to start, but Rock comes in and beats on Billy for two while JR has an aside about “getting bags put over your head” in Oklahoma. The fuck? Road Dogg comes in and tries the shaky knee on Mankind, but gets cut off by the Mandible Claw and the brawl is on. Everyone fights on the floor and Rock battles Mr. Ass in the crowd and hiptosses him back to ringside in a nice bump. So there’s at least one thing Gunn can do. Back in, the Outlaws suddenly cut off the Rock and work him over in the corner. Gunn gets a shitty cutter, which JR calls “kind of a modified neckbreaker type of maneuver.” It’s the ASSCRACKER! No? OK, carry on. Rock continues his run as face-in-peril and Jammes slugs him down for two and this is kind of dull. Rock slugs back, but Dogg tries the pumphandle slam and wastes too much time, allowing Rock to fight back again. The Outlaws cut him off again and Gunn drops a knee on him and goes to the chinlock. Rock fights out and makes the hot tag to Mick, but the ref gets bumped as he hits the DDT on Dogg. Oh no, now the Rock and Sock are robbed of the super-prestigious tag titles, whatever will they do? Mandible Sock on Dogg, but SHOCKINGLY Al Snow runs out and hits Mankind with the Head, which gets two. Rock saves and goes after Snow, running him into the helicopter stationed by the entrance, while the Outlaws hit Mankind with the bell and get two. Billy Gunn with the piledriver on Mick for two, but he fights out and makes another hot tag to the Rock. Rock Bottom on Billy, but Snow runs in a SECOND time and that’s a DQ at 16:30. What the fuck was the point of having two Snow run-ins? If you’re doing a DQ finish, just have him use Head for the DQ and be done with it. Last couple of minutes were good, but this was some paint-by-numbers stuff otherwise. *1/2
WWF title: Big Show v. Big Bossman
Although the storyline quite rightly gets shit on for being stupid and cartoonish, this match left no question who won the feud. Show hurls Bossman around the ring by his gear and throws him outside, then chokeslams Albert through the table to get rid of him. Bossman hits Show with the stairs to take over and runs him into the post. Back in, Bossman gets two after hauling Show’s body in. Show suddenly kips up and puts him down with the big boot, and AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH CHOKESLAM ends this at 3:10. So after enduring all the abuse from the heel challenger for weeks, Show destroyed him and put him away with the chokeslam cleanly to win the war. Fine! ½*
No Holds Barred Street Fight: HHH v. Vince McMahon
I have to relate Dave’s story about asking Vince his age at this point, from the Observer review of this show:
“As it regards McMahon’s age, I should mention a conversation I had with him in August of 1991, just before his birthday. He brought up his birthday was in the next day or two and mentioned he was going to be 45 or 46. I asked, well, which is it. He replied, I swear I’m not making this up, in that Vince McMahon voice right out of the question on who was going to win before the Survivor Series match, “I honestly don’t know” with that same dramatic remark. So I said, well, were you born in 1945 or 1946. He said he was born in 1945. I said that would make you 46. He said, “well, I guess so.” So anyway, he’s 54”
Anyway, as a reminder, if Vince wins, then the marriage is annulled, but if HHH wins he gets a title shot at Big Show. HHH brings a sledgehammer with him, which I believe is the debut for that particular weapon! HHH is still working out the details of the water-spit entrance at this point and doesn’t have it down yet. HHH charges with the hammer and Vince throws powder in his face to counter and slugs away on Hunter. He’s throwing some pretty snug-looking punches, in fact, and adds a shot to the nuts. It should be noted that HHH’s knee was getting pretty messed up again at this point and there was fear that he wouldn’t be able to work this match. Now THAT would have screwed things up. They fight to the floor and Vince sends him into the stairs and tosses him into the crowd for that portion of the match. So they head into a loading dock and HHH runs Vince into various doors and chokes him out on the way back to ringside again. Vince backdrops him into the ringside area, and Mick Foley lives up to his promise from Smackdown and brings out a cart of plunder for Vince to use. Hunter fights off the deadly trash can lid, but stops to clear his vision and Vince beats on him with the lid again. Vince adds some punishment with the actual garbage can while Stephanie does her best babyface trash-talking (“How’s it feel to have my dad kicking your butt?”) and Vince chokes him down, but Hunter uses the stairs to escape and goes low on Vince with a crutch. Oh, there’s a lot of crutches in this match, all right.
HHH goes to work with a road sign next and Vince fights back as they wander over to the Call of Duty-themed set and this match is already running long and we’re not even a third into it yet. HHH literally sandbags Vince and retrieves more weapons from ringside, then runs a shopping cart into Vince’s head. Oh damn, now Vince is gonna go to the Bad Place! Vince fights back with the trash can and grabs a comically oversized wrench, but HHH guides him back to the military vehicles again and swings a machine gun at his head, but Vince uses airplane parts to fight back again. This whole match has just been walk around, use a weapon, walk to the next place, use another weapon. It’s OK in short bursts for the Hardcore title matches, but as an epic main event you need more than smoke and mirrors.
Case in point, we’re done with that portion of the set for the moment, so they walk backstage, and Hunter puts Vince on a truck hood and drops an elbow on him. Then they head outside, as HHH disappears into the parking lot and Vince walks out after him. There’s been a LOT of walking in this match. So we get a couple of minutes of Vince walking around the parking lot looking for him, but Hunter apparently steals a car and tries to run Vince over as we cut to the wide shot for the stuntman bump. Although a replay shows Vince really did take the bump over the guard rail, so I’m not sure why they didn’t do the tight shot from the start. So we’re 20:00 into this with no signs of ending soon, and Hunter slams Vince on top of a limo and they walk, AGAIN, this time back to the military set again. Really, that entire 10:00 of the match could have been cut and probably should have been. So they fight up a ladder and Vince falls onto an obvious crash pad, and the crowd boos that. I mean, they weren’t even subtle about it. The force of landing on the canvas back-first somehow causes Vince’s forehead to erupt in blood, but we have no time to ponder this miracle of nature because HHH has a promo to cut now.
So it’s more walking and HHH grabs a lead pipe and hauls Vince into the ring to finish him off, but he changes his mind and wants to use the sledgehammer instead. This gives Vince the chance to go low and beat him down with the pipe, but Stephanie comes in and calls him off because she wants to finish HHH off herself with the hammer. And of course, HHH steals it, hits Vince, and ends this slog at 29:53. WHY DIDN’T HE JUST DO THAT 30 MINUTES AGO?!? Stephanie is distraught and HHH teases hitting her with the hammer, but then the business changes forever as Steph reveals that she was in on it all along and she starts wearing a lot more leather pants for the next 20 years. That was of course a HELL of an angle to end the show, to say the least, but holy crap did we not need the match to run that long to get there. -*
So yeah, this whole show is a big “nope” from me, as the Stephanie angle was a big one but nowadays we have this thing called “YouTube” where you don’t need to endure 30 minutes of walk-fighting to get there. Thumbs way down.