The SmarK Rant for WWF Sunday Night Heat – 04.04.99
I know. This show and myself have a complex and heated relationship. I hate watching it, and it doesn’t even do particularly impressive numbers on the blog. But it’s quick and easy to recap and now that I’ve started, I only have to make it to July and then it’s DONE! At least as far as the Network is concerned.
Taped from the back of Undertaker’s limo.
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Kevin Kelly
Shane McMahon and the Corporation join us to start, which now includes HHH as of Wrestlemania, and Rock with the Smoking Skull belt. So Vince is busy dealing with Stephanie’s abduction, which leaves Shane in charge. First up, Shane announces the retirement of the European title (which would actually stick around for another three years) and then introduces HHH, who declares that he owns all the intellectual property associated with DX, and he’s got two words for his former team: COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. Man, who would have thunk that this silly Russo heel turn would set off a push that would change the wrestling business forever? Also, holy crap was that whole “who owns DX” deal a dumb storyline. Hunter does get some funny lines, calling DX “The 1-2-3 Kid, The Real Double J, and Rockabilly”, portraying them as losers who wanted to be cool until HHH “got them over”.
So yeah, Backlash will feature X-Pac v. HHH, plus Rock getting his rematch with Steve Austin, with Shane acting as special guest referee. Rock does his promo against Austin and even while doing a heel promo and insulting the fans, they still all chant everything along with him and are just BEGGING for him to turn babyface again. That had to be killing HHH to be immediately outclassed in his very first heel promo.
Meanwhile, Vince is at home in Greenwich with Stephanie and Jerry Lawler, as everyone recovers from the horrific abduction that may have inspired a bunch of Netflix true crime documentaries.
Jacqueline v. Tori
Tori gets a backslide for two immediately and throws chops in the corner, but Terri gets involved and Jackie takes over with kicks. And then Terri comes in for the DQ at 1:25. The announcers were talking about “Backlash: In Your House” over and over, which is weird because I thought that IYH was long dead by that point. Anyway, Terri tries to burn Tori with her cigar, but Ivory saves. This was as terrible as you’d expect.
Meanwhile, Val Venis is trying to do a backstage promo, but Ryan Shamrock interrupts. “Ryan, I told you it was real, I told you it was good, but I never told you it was real good. Adios.” HA! OK, that was a funny kiss-off.
Val Venis v. Steve Blackman
Goldust won the IC title on RAW leading up to this show, which for those keeping track is when I completely lost the ability to recite all the champions in order for good. Val doesn’t even have a witty intro line, just doing “Hello ladies…” and then moving on. Blackman attacks in the corner and chokes him out, but Val gets a spinebuster and throws knees, into a legsweep. Blackman catches him with a backbreaker and goes to a half-crab, using the ropes for some heel tactics that I’m pretty sure were never mentioned again after this match. Val makes a comeback, but Blackman thumbs him in the eye, so Val powerslams him and finishes with the Money Shot at 2:30. What the fuck was with Blackman suddenly acting like an 80s heel? Blackman then beats on Val with the kendo sticks for good measure.
Meanwhile, FUCK ME. It’s fucking Beaver Cleavage’s house. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to ever deal with that.
Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett are here, begging for competition, so tonight it’s an open challenge for anyone who has the guts. So Kane’s music plays and he appears behind them and chases them out of the ring. So later tonight, he gets a title match, apparently.
Droz v. Big Bossman
Droz attacks and Bossman quickly tosses him out of the ring and slams him on the floor, then rips the nose ring off Droz’s face as Droz smears fake blood on himself. Back in, Bossman slam finishes at 1:33.
Meanwhile, on RAW, Big Show turns babyface for the first time in the WWF, only a month after his debut as a heel.
Meanwhile, we recap the Stephanie kidnapping and HOLY SHIT this interview goes completely off the cliff as Vince and Steph talk about “Mark” and how he’s “living the gimmick” because Everything You’re Watching Is Fake Except For What You’re Watching Right Now, Which Is Real.
Fuck right off with that shit. Anyway, for those keeping track, this interview reveals that the mysterious envelope contained pictures of Stephanie in various facets of her personal life, and the teddy bear was a gift she received as a little kid and was very important to Vince. This whole period between Wrestlemania and Russo having a nervous breakdown and fleeing to WCW was one of the creative zeniths of the company.
Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart v. Kane
This is a handicap match, apparently for the tag titles? Kane lays out JJ and then beats on Owen outside, but the champs double-team him in the corner until Kane takes them down with a double suplex by himself. Chokeslam for Jarrett, but El Kabong draws the DQ at 1:40. Beatdown follows, but X-Pac makes the save, setting up one of the few bright spots of this period. I do believe they won the tag titles the next night on RAW, in fact.
The Rock was amazing being the Rock, Val v. Blackman was pretty decent for the 2:00 it lasted, nonsensical Blackman heel turn for no reason aside. The rest was prime Russo bullshit that can fuck off and die.