The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 06.28.99
To follow up on my last Heat review and avoid doing King of the Ring 99 again, instead here’s the RAW after King of the Ring, which was basically the ratings peak of the Monday Night Wars for the WWF. Fear not, for I shall give this subject the fair and unbiased discourse for which I am known.
LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSO!
Last night: Some mysterious person raises the briefcase, which gives the McMahons their shares of the company back again. So how did Stephanie and Linda get THEIR shares back? I presume this episode will answer that question satisfactorily, as well as addressing the mystery of who raised the case!
Live from Charlotte, NC, drawing a sellout 19,000 paying $486,000.
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
The Corporate Ministry joins us to start, complete with confetti and balloons to celebrate! Specifically, we’re celebrating the “sheer and total dejection of Steve Austin”. Vince’s exuberance here is wonderful, as he bounces around the ring, and Shane officially fires Austin as CEO of the company to end that particular storyline. Vince promises to send Austin all the way down to the bottom of the ladder (which Mideon dances with Paul Bearer in the background) and gives the crowd more happy news: Steve Austin is here and he’ll compete in a “preliminary matchup” and then he’ll be breaking down the ring after the show. Who couldn’t be happy for Vince? He’s finally beaten his hated enemy and everything is great with the Ministry! So to celebrate further, Vince offers HHH a title match against Undertaker at Fully Loaded. This brings out Big Bossman, complete with classic music, apparently to enact some law, order, and justice, but then Vince immediately reveals that Bossman is still part of the team. At this point you’d think someone would just take 10 seconds to say “Ha ha, Bossman raised the case!” but NOPE. To this day, it’s still a mystery forever unsolved with no rational explanation, like how vaccines are supposed to cause autism. All this evil merriment brings out Steve Austin, who calls King of the Ring “a bunch of BS”. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. However, it’s another Russo-ism, as the McMahons Didn’t Read the Fine Print In The Contract and Austin can now assault the McMahons whenever he wants. So Vince is getting punched in the mouth a bunch and will apparently be needing dentures with no recourse possible from legal channels or otherwise. That’s one hell of a contract. Oh, and one more bit of the McMahons Didn’t Read the Fine Print: Austin booked himself one last title match for TONIGHT IN THIS VERY RING before he was ousted as CEO. And if anyone interferes, Austin gets the title by DQ. Well that was quite a lot of information to process in 12 minutes.
Weapons match: Steve Blackman v. Ken Shamrock
Despite all the internal bleeding at the PPV, Shamrock is back here ready to go the next night. I feel like the Wellness Policy would have prevented that these days. This is no DQ, no stoppages, and you can use weapons, which is of course 100% distinct from Hardcore matches and such. Shamrock attacks on the floor and runs Blackman into the post, but brings in the weapons bag and gets jumped by Blackman from behind. Steve gets the NUNCHUKS and beats on the vague internal injuries of Shamrock, which of course triggers more blood from the mouth. And then Blackman literally beats him with a stick in a pretty brutal series of blows, right on whatever internal organs are taped up. And then he just walks out of the match around 2:40 and that’s your first Sportz Entertainment Finish of the show, as no bell rings. So…no one wins? ½* However, scientifically speaking, it was a hardcore match on a TV-14 show, so everyone got over huge and became big stars.
The Ass King joins us with his stolen tag team title, as he’s got a bunch of unrelated stuff going on and nothing that actually got him over. Like seriously, what was stealing a tag title from the Acolytes supposed to accomplish? Anyway, it’s now all about him and no more carrying dead weight like Road Dogg and Bart Gunn. HHH interrupts and he’s concerned about lost royalties from DX, because X-Pac and Road Dogg are now claiming all the DX merch money. So now HHH is loaning him Chyna so they can collect merch rights from the other DX members. So to recap here, Billy now has three concurrent storylines going: He’s the King of the Ring and feuding with Road Dogg, plus he’s feuding with Bradshaw for stealing a tag team title for some reason, and now he’s teaming with Chyna and trying to collect merchandise money for DX royalties as well. And then Rock runs down and attacks HHH for reasons that were never adequately explained.
Meanwhile, Michael Cole talks with Chaz Warrington, who “broke character” last week because he’s “been down gimmick alley” as a Spider and a Headbanger and Harry Beaver Cleavage but now he’s just a fun loving guy from Jersey named Chaz and his on-screen mother is now he’s girlfriend. But those were just characters he was playing, and this is the real him! Because, as you know, Everything You Are Watching On This Show Is Fake, Except for What You’re Watching Right Now, Which is Real. How long until he wearing the turban and teaming with D-Lo Brown, again?
Meanwhile, on GTV, Test and Stephanie leave a hotel together and have the least passionate embrace on WWF TV until Seth and Becky some 20 years later.
Meat v. Chaz
Could there BE a more 1999 match than this? Chaz is wrestling in boxer shorts with a big smiley face on them, like some kind of indy geek facing Will Ospreay while Seth Rollins makes the big money. Meat gets some offense and Chaz chokes him on the ropes while all the assorted females at ringside bitch at each other, and Chaz takes advantage of the distracted Meat and finishes with a torture rack drop at 2:02. Fucking awful, with bonus points deducted for Chaz’s terrible Beck ripoff theme. -* Both guys literally worked in gear designed to be underwear, by the way.
Meanwhile, Terry Taylor tries to interview Test, but the Mean Street Posse jumps him before he can say anything. That’s a babyface move in my book.
Hardcore Holly is BREAKING THE FORMAT SHEET and comes out to ask Big Show if throwing a car on him is the best he’s got. “Guess what, you MISSED!” OK, that’s pretty funny. But for now, it’s onto Kane, who got into his business at the PPV.
Hardcore Holly v. Kane
Kane beats on Holly in the corner and chokes him out to start, but Big Show comes out and chokeslams Kane, which the referee somehow misses. And then Holly pins him with one foot on his chest at 1:30. And then Kane immediately no-sells the beating and pops up to chokeslam Holly multiple times, just in case anyone might have accidentally got over as a result of that fluke win. DUD
HHH v. The Rock
At this point the announcers let us know that HHH cost Rock the title at King of the Ring, which would have been good information earlier in the show. Rock’s pre-match promo lets us know that Undertaker has a lengthy new tattoo “on his 33 pound head” which I will paraphrase as saying that Rock stuck assorted stuff up his candy ass, and also HHH is drinking “freshly squeezed monkey piss”. I actually wouldn’t put that past Hawk back in the day. Maybe even in 1999. Slugfest to start and HHH flails around the ring, but comes back with the high knee to get the advantage. He slugs away in the corner but Rock fires back and gets the DDT for two. Rock beats him down in the corner, but Ass King runs in for the DQ at 1:33. * So now in Gunn’s FOURTH thing going on, he’s also feuding with the Rock in addition to the King thing and the DX merch money thing and the stolen tag title thing. This guy is almost as overexposed as Shane McMahon.
Meanwhile, Droz and Albert beat up Val Venis backstage. That marks the THIRD heel beatdown injury angle on this show, I should note.
Edge v. Godfather
Droz and Albert literally come out 15 seconds into the match as Edge gets a bodypress for two. Godfather makes the comeback, but Droz takes the ref and Albert comes in with a press slam powerbomb, allowing Edge to hit a spear for the pin at 2:02. Crowd was completely dead for this and the match sucked. ¼* And then it’s ANOTHER heel beatdown, as the Tattooists try to forcibly pierce the tongue of one of the hos before Edge saves. And Gangrel is in the cheap seats looking upset about everything. This was all incredibly stupid.
Meanwhile, Billy tells an unseen person in the dressing room not to interfere unless he asks for it. This was never explained or paid off, unless it was Chyna, in which case why bother keeping her identity a secret?
Billy Gunn v. Bradshaw
Jesus fuck, MORE fucking Billy Gunn on this fucking show? Gunn attacks to start and gets murdered, as Bradshaw beats on him outside and Faarooq hits him with the tag title. This is not a DQ for reasons I’m unsure about. Back in, Bradshaw goes for a powerbomb and Gunn goes low, but Bradshaw just ignores it and beats the shit out of him with forearms. Hee hee. Gunn comes back with a clothesline but tries his Stinger splash and gets caught in a slam. Bradshaw puts him on the top rope and Billy gets a tornado DDT and stops to moon Faarooq, who gets all riled up and accidentally hits Bradshaw with the tag title. Still not a DQ. And then X-Pac runs in for the distraction and Bradshaw finishes with the Clothesline from Hell at 3:14. And then Chyna runs down and beats up X-Pac, but Road Dogg makes the save and the heels run away. So they’ve got Gunn all over this shitshow trying to make him a main event threat to the Rock, and he’s doing a job for BRADSHAW in the midcard the night after winning the tournament. Good lord. I guess this resolves the tag title situation. Whatever it was. ½*
Ivory is here to celebrate her Women’s title victory as a “real” wrestler (as opposed to Sable, see) and now Nicole Bass is her bodyguard. So she issues an open challenge to anyone in the audience, and some girl comes out and quickly gets destroyed by Bass. Apparently it was Malia Hosaka and the whole thing was supposed to be some kind of message to Sable about taking your ball and going home with all the subtlety of a Seth Rollins podcast appearance, but I have no idea what it was supposed to accomplish. But whatever it was, it didn’t work.
Intercontinental title: Jeff Jarrett v. X-Pac
X-Pac attacks but misses a charge, and they exchange abdominal stretches on the ropes before fighting to the floor. Jarrett sends him into the stairs to take over as JR is totally ignoring the match to hype the main event instead. Hard to disagree with that call, honestly. Jarrett with a sleeper, but X-Pac fights out as everyone is just waiting patiently for the run-in, and he counters a rana with a powerbomb for two. Blind charge hits boot and Jarrett gets a crossbody, but X-Pac rolls through for two. X-Pac with the broncobuster as things look bleak for Jarrett, but sure enough, Billy Gunn runs in with a guitar and Debra takes the ref. So then X-Pac hits Jarrett with the guitar, but then Gunn gets the fameasser behind the ref’s back and Jarrett gets the pin to retain at 5:00. This was fine for what it was, but ENOUGH WITH FUCKING BILLY GUNN ALREADY. **
WWF title: Undertaker v. Steve Austin
Austin gets a couple of quick stunner attempts and Taker bails to escape, so they brawl on the floor. Back in, Austin clotheslines him for two, but runs into a big boot and Bearer gets a shot with his shoe. Taker clotheslines him to the floor again and they have another brawl out there, with Austin beating on Bearer (“The Buffet Buster”, notes JR) but Taker hits him from behind to take over again. Back in, he drops a knee for two. Taker with the chinlock as Lawler warns JR that Michael Cole knows how to suck up to the McMahons and he could take over Jim’s job quite easily. Oh, how true that proved to be. Austin fights out, but Taker goes old school for two. Taker with the chinlock again, but Austin escapes with the jawbreaker. Taker slugs him down again for two and goes back to the chinlock, but Austin fights out and they collide with a double-down. Austin comes back and stomps a mudhole in the corner, and KICK WHAM STUNNER gets two, as Bearer pulls out the ref. This would seem to be a DQ, but Austin just beats him up, and then KICK WHAM STUNNER regains the WWF title at 12:00 as the crowd explodes. Thank god, that Undertaker title reign was pretty dire. And then we get more HEEL HEAT as Taker lays him out with the belt and Austin bleeds all over the place to set up a rematch at Fully Loaded, another forgettable PPV show in a series of them in 1999. This was every Austin-UT match you’ve ever seen in your life. **1/2
See, this is why I couldn’t take the 1999 RAW reviews any longer. SO MUCH BILLY GUNN. BY GAWD, STOP THE SHOW, I’VE GOT A FAMILY!