The SmarK Rant for WWF Sunday Night Heat–01.31.99 (“Halftime Heat”)

The SmarK Rant for WWF Sunday Night Heat – 01.31.99

Yes, it’s another famous show in the annals of Russo…HALFTIME HEAT!

Michael Cole joins us from the empty arena where our main event will happen tonight, with only Rock, Mankind, the referee and Vince in attendance. Still better than those shows Jeff Jarrett promoted with TNA.

Back at whatever arena we’re taping the show from tonight, The Corporation heads to the ring to officially welcome Chyna to the team after she turned on HHH on RAW in a plot twist that makes no damn sense considering where they ended up by Wrestlemania. So Chyna claims that she carried DX and got no recognition for it, until Vince came to her and paid her a lot of money. Chyna trying to cut an intimidating heel promo is pretty hilarious. This brings out HHH for his rebuttal, which is that Chyna is jealous because they all have male genitalia and she wanted them. Also, X-Pac would like to challenge Shane McMahon, and tomorrow night on RAW it’s HHH v. Kane in a cage match. God, this feud was running on fumes at this point.

Meanwhile, Mankind arrives at the empty arena. He was probably confused and just assumed Al Snow was headlining.

Jeff Jarrett v. Big Bossman

So Jarrett and Owen upset Bossman and Shamrock to win the tag titles with the help of the Blue Blazer on RAW, just when you thought that the Blazer angle was gone for good. Bossman clotheslines JJ to the floor and he decides to take a walk, but Bossman chases him back to ringside and Jarrett catches him with a cheapshot on the way into the ring. Bossman makes a comeback and he’s working as a babyface for some stupid reason, and Jarrett gives him a facerub on the ropes and this match is DYING. Bossman comes back with the clubbing forearms and gets a spinebuster, but Debra comes in for the distraction, but Bossman ignores it and finishes with the Bossman slam at 3:22. What in the everloving fuck was the point of this feud? They weren’t building to a rematch and the Jarrett/Owen team went in a completely different direction right away.

Ken Shamrock v. Owen Hart

And here’s the other half of our 50/50 non-rematch. Shamrock attacks in the corner and hits Owen with a clothesline out of the corner as Kevin Kelly notes that this is Owen’s fifth tag team title. The fuck? Did I miss another reign in between the Bulldog team and this one? Owen gets a leg lariat and chokes Ken out with his t-shirt, but Ken escapes with a jawbreaker. Shamrock goes to work on the leg, but Owen goes low and drops the leg for two. Owenzuigiri misses and Shamrock fires away with knees and puts Owen down with an elbow as we take a break. Back with Shamrock getting a rana, but now the Blue Blazer runs in, looking more like the Black Blazer, but Ken runs Owen into him and gets the pin at 4:45. Hell of a start for the new tag champions’ reign. I’m assuming the Blazer was Koko B. Ware. Shane McMahon was completely unbearable on commentary here.

Meanwhile, it’s the historic “Get it?” commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl and paid for itself many times over.

WWF title: The Rock v. Mankind

So we’re off to the pre-taped empty arena match to coincide with the halftime of the Super Bowl, although we get weird overdubbed crowd noise under the pretense that they’re airing this match on screen for the people in attendance at the other pre-taped arena. This is making my head hurt. Vince does solo commentary for this, and Mankind gets a quick back elbow for two and the double arm DDT for two. He quickly gets Mr. Socko and Rock bails to the floor, so Mankind gives him a baseball slide and a neckbreaker on the floor for two. He runs Rock into the ringbell and beats on him in front of Mr. McMahon, but Rock whips him through the barricade and into the rows of empty chairs. Rock then piles chairs on top of him and adds some shots with another chair and grabs Vince’s headset so he can cut a promo, but Mick ambushes him with Mr. Socko for a funny visual gag. Rock goes low to escape while Vince notes that Steve Austin was supposed to do commentary here with him but “chickened out”. What’s the story with that, I wonder? Austin and Vince doing commentary would have been fucking awesome. So they battle up the stairs while Vince tries to explain the concept of pro wrestling as it relates to cartoons and soap opera, and then Rock ambushes Mick with a garbage can and Mick takes a comedy bump down the stairs off that.

Rock empties the garbage on him and they head backstage as we take a break and head backstage, where they’ve moved into the kitchen. Rock does some barkering for the cotton candy and dumps it on Mankind, and then puts Mr. Socko in the oven in a hilarious spot, complete with overdubbed sizzling noises. He offers Mick some cool, refreshing lemonade and hits him with a tray of buns for two. Mick smashes up plates while selling and Rock yells “STOP MAKING A MESS!” and then hits him with a whiskey bottle, but Mankind finds a bag of popcorn and makes his comeback with that. So they head through another exit and battle in the catering area where the crew is eating, and Rock has some popcorn and disgustedly spits it on Mick because there’s “too much salt”. So they fight down the catering table and throw food at each other, leading to Rock throwing salsa at Mick while he sells in horrific pain on the floor. Rock then tastes it and declares “IT’S MILD!” and at that point Mick reveals that he was faking the whole time. Awesome. Rock hits him with some kind of fruit, and he doesn’t even know what it is! “Some kind of nasty looking squash” Vince helpfully points out. Rock grabs a soda and dumps it on Mick, and then they go through another exit like it’s a video game, and we load the next area.

So we’re into the offices now and Mick takes a bump ass over teakettle on an office chair, at which point Rock stops to answer the phone and take a message for Mick, since he’s busy with the Rock’s foot in his mouth and all. And then Mick is tied up by the phone cord and still can’t come to the phone. Sadly, Rock stops to hit on an office worker, which allows Mick to attack again and they battle down the hall and now we’re into the loading dock for the big finale. They slug it out and both guys go down, but Mick recovers first and puts him down with Mr. Socko again. And then to make double sure, he hijacks a forklift and drops a pallet on Rock, which gives us the wacky camera angle where we see Rock’s terrified reaction from below like it’s a horror movie or something. And with Rock pinned down by a pallet of beer kegs, Mankind pins him to regain the WWF title at 17:29. So yeah, this was an AMAZING spectacle of wackiness and completely redeemed the show. At the time a lot of people hated it and thought it was exposing the business or whatever, but if anything it was a few years ahead of its time and eerily prescient of the fourth-wall breaking that would define the business years later. All it needed was a Joey Ryan penis-plex. ****

Ignore all the bullcrap in the “normal” arena and 100% check out Halftime Heat, a hilariously entertaining classic match.