Summerslam Countdown 2021: The SmarK Rant for WWF Summerslam 99

The SmarK Rant for WWF Summerslam 99 – 08.22.99

Here’s another one DESPERATELY in need of a redo from the original version back in 99. This was also one of the first DVDs released by the WWF, although I bought it and never watched it again. Oddly enough, it also marks one of the shows where I bought it twice on DVD, because I got the original DVD release and then also bought the various Summerslam Anthology sets and ended up with 99 duplicated as a result. And now I’m just watching it on the Network anyway.

Live from Minneapolis, MN, drawing 17370 and a 1.61 buyrate, about the same as 98 in fact. Clearly the product was still red-hot even as Vince Russo was self-destructing.

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

Meanwhile, Jesse Ventura explains the rules to HHH and Chyna.

Meanwhile, Howard Finkel shows up late with Chris Jericho’s bags.

WWF Intercontinental & European title: D-Lo Brown v. Jeff Jarrett

D-Lo had successfully unified the titles the month before, beating Mideon at Fully Loaded to win the European title and then beating Jarrett to add the IC title on RAW. Also, Debra wears a suit jacket over a bikini as her outfit here, which allows Jeff to send her back to the dressing room and instantly make him into the biggest heel in the building. That’s, uh, quite the outfit she was wearing. And then she meets up with D-Lo in the dressing room and he invites her into his corner to get back at Jarrett as you can see the swerve coming from 17 miles away. Jarrett attacks and beats on Brown to start, but he fights back with a powerslam for two. Jarrett runs away and tries to attack from behind, but D-Lo catches him with the Sky High for two. I never got why the powerbomb was the Sky High but the frog splash was the Low Down. Shouldn’t they be reversed? Brown goes up and tries a bulldog, but JJ reverses him into a sideslam and that looked ugly and immediately silenced the crowd. They fight to the floor and D-Lo sends him into the crowd and tries a suplex back to ringside, but Jarrett reverses him into the post to take over. Back in, Jarrett works the arm in the corner and takes him down with a single arm DDT while the crowd is much more concerned with Debra. D-Lo comes back with the running powerbomb and nearly drops him on that one. Honestly that move was asking for trouble. Legdrop gets two for Brown. He goes up and misses the Low Down, so Debra takes the ref while Jarrett grabs the guitar, and Mark Henry also comes out and steals it, then of course turns on D-Lo and guitars him, putting Jarrett on top for the pin and titles at 7:30. How stupid was that ref to miss THREE PEOPLE in the ring? Decent RAW match. **1/2 Of course Jarrett spun off into a COMPLETELY different direction after this and Mark Henry’s heel push went nowhere.

Meanwhile, current 2021 WWE and AEW main eventers Edge and Christian declare that they’re tired of following Gangrel and they’re doing their own thing now.

TAG TEAM TURMOIL!

Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz

This is a six team gauntlet for a shot at the tag team titles on RAW the next night. The Hardyz are now The New Brood and paired with Gangrel in a weird vampire rebound angle. E&C double-team Matt to start and hit a double hiptoss for two. Christian goes for a rollup and Gangrel hits him from the floor, allowing Matt to get two. Hardyz double-slam Christian for two and Jeff hits a moonsault for two. Matt drops a leg for two and Jeff hits the swanton for two. Christian manages to hit them with a double DDT and makes the hot tag to Edge, but Matt tosses him over the top. So Edge jumps on the railing while Jeff does the same, and Edge hits him with a spear while Jeff is running the railing, and the camera COMPLETELY MISSES IT. And then they do dives and Christian finishes Matt with a flying elbow at 5:00.

Edge & Christian v. Mideon & Viscera

Carrying on, as Vis whips Christian around and hits him with a samoan drop, and they follow with a double-elbow before Mideon drops a knee for two. Mideon goes up and misses whatever, as Edge gets a hot tag and then walks into the heel kick from Vis. But Vis splashes his own partner by mistake and Edge spears Mideon for the pin at 7:38.

Edge & Christian v. Droz & Prince Albert

Droz charges in and stomps Edge down immediately before hitting a back elbow, and Albert slugs away in the corner before missing a charge. He recovers with a torture rack into a neckbreaker for two, but tries a press slam and Christian clips the knee for two. Edge with the downward spiral to finish at 9:36.

Edge & Christian v. The Acolytes

The Acolytes hit the ring before the bell even rings, and Bradshaw puts Edge down with a big boot, but Edge DDTs him and goes up with a missile dropkick. He slugs away in the corner, but Bradshaw powerbombs him for two. Edge fights back with a leg lariat on Faarooq, so Bradshaw comes in and clobbers Christian off the apron before clotheslining Edge for two. Faarooq with a backbreaker for two and he goes to a chinlock, before hitting a spinebuster for two. Edge finally comes back with a DDT and makes the hot tag to Christian, but the Hollies come out and run interference and Bradshaw hits Christian with the Clothesline from Hell and pins him at 14:50.

The Acolytes v. Hardcore & Crash Holly

Faarooq immediately hits Crash with the Dominator and then they double-team Hardcore, but Bob comes back with a suplex on Faarooq and Crash makes his own tag. So the Acolytes take turns beating him up, but the Hollies get into an argument and Faarooq pins Hardcore with a spinebuster to win the gauntlet at 17:43. The first couple of segments with E&C were fun but the rest was REALLY bad. In particular the Acolytes looked bored and had little interest in selling much of anything here. Call it *1/2 for the whole thing.

Meanwhile, Al Snow talks to his dog about the Big Bossman situation.

Road Dogg joins us for no particularly defined purpose to cut a promo, but Chris Jericho interrupts, fresh off his debut two weeks earlier. Apparently this show is even more boring than “RAW is Snore” and now we’re at “Summer Sham” and everyone who paid money to see it are a bunch of fools. Especially Road Dogg, who nobody cares about. If you want to impress Jericho, spell “lugubrious”! This isn’t exactly the Rock debut segment. Road Dogg: “Hey, why don’t you shut up, BITCH?” Big words from a guy wearing a fanny pack. This was DEATH and I’m not surprised if Vince was losing faith in Jericho afterwards. Not that I’m blaming Chris for the material.

WWF Hardcore title: Big Bossman v. Al Snow

Al wisely hides on the staging and dives onto Bossman during the entrance while Road Dogg grabs a mic and does commentary over the PA when they go backstage. So they do the usual Attitude Era brawl back there and walk around hitting each other with stuff while Dogg occasionally gets a “funny” line and basically serves no purpose. So they end up on the street and it turns into a found footage movie, with Snow superkicking him on the sidewalk for two before Bossman smashes him into a patio set for two. They head into a bar and slug it out there, ending up in the bathroom where Snow shoves a urinal cake in his face. Some guy hands Snow his wallet with a chain on it and Snow chokes Bossman out with that and then moonsaults Bossman through a table. Oddly convenient that all of the patrons of this establishment are wearing WWF branded merchandise. Off to the pool hall, where Snow puts Bossman on the table with help from Road Dogg, and hits him in the balls for the pin and the title at 7:31. So Snow sprints back to the arena, but gets into a brawl with Stevie Richards and Blue Meanie, who seem to be kidnapping the stupid dog, so Snow beats the shit out of both of them. Man, the hardcore stuff was SO played out even in 1999 and does not hold up at all. This was just two guys walking around and hitting each other with random stuff. * I’m guessing we’ll need a rematch next month! Hopefully they can come up with a more inventive match stipulation for Bossman and Snow.

WWF Women’s title: Ivory v. Tori

This was set up by Ivory attacking her and writing “Slut” and “Skank” on her with shoe polish, just like the setup of Gotch v. Hackenschmidt. Tori attacks and gets nowhere, as Ivory puts her down with a back elbow, but Tori comes back with a suplex and a pair of kicks for two. Ivory slugs back as this is getting absolutely embarrassing to watch even by 1999 women’s wrestling standards. Ivory with some hair tosses and she chokes Tori out and drops a leg. Ivory with the giant swing, which only gets two rotations, and that gets two. Tori fights back with an “Edge-like spear”, which is true in the sense that they have the same hairstyle, and Tori goes up with a crossbody for two. Sunset flip gets two and they somehow fuck THAT up as well. Another one, and they fuck it up AGAIN, even more than the first time, and Ivory somehow gets the pin off that at 4:09 despite taking the move. A complete abomination of a match. -** Afterwards Ivory tries to pull of Tori’s bra, but Luna reappears and makes the save.

Meanwhile, the Rock finally wakes up this awful show and interviews Michael Cole (“Are you a little comme ci comme ca?”) because he’s not concerned about Billy Gunn and whatever surprises he has.

Lion’s Den match: Ken Shamrock v. Steve Blackman

They debuted this match at Summerslam 98 against Owen and I can’t imagine Blackman doing better than Owen but after the first half of this show I’ll take what I can get. So of course this takes place in a weird Octagon style cage with no ref, and the winner is the first to escape the cage. Blackman brings the ‘chuks but Shamrock SWEEPS THE LEG…

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…and uses Blackman’s own weapon against him. He runs Steve into the cage and throws knees to put him down, and follows with another trip to the cage and a high kick on the rebound. Shamrock finds a kendo stick stashed at the top of the cage, but Blackman whips him into the cage a few times to take over. Blackman tries to climb the cage and Shamrock brings him down with a suplex off the cage, but Blackman hits him with a DDT as they’re basically just having a below average wrestling match inside the weird cage. Shamrock whips him into the cage and powerslams him, but Blackman gets another kendo stick and beats on Shamrock with that, but Shamrock gets a belly to belly and beats on him with the stick. And the ref apparently counts him down and out at 9:04? What happened to escaping the cage? This was dumb. *

Greenwich Street Fight: Test v. Shane McMahon

It’s the final blowoff of Shane’s overprotective brother storyline, as Test has to leave Stephanie if he loses and Shane has to back off if HE loses. It’s also an interesting match because Shane was only known for the X-Pac feud in 1999 and there was no perception that he was able to have a good match on his own at this point in his career. The Mean Street Posse all join Shane at ringside while selling various injuries inflicted by Test, complete with awesome Hawaiian shirts and a couch that just happens to be set up for them. Test attacks at ringside, but Shane spears him in the ring and they slug it out. Test with a backdrop and they fight to the floor, where Test runs him into the stairs and powerslams him on the floor. The Posse gets in his face, so Test presses Shane onto them and they all fight in the crowd. “This Greenwich Street Fight is completely out of hand!” notes JR. Perish the thought. Unsurprisingly, fighting three guys at once goes badly for Test and Shane is able to find a mailbox and roadsign and beat on Test with them. Next up, a framed portrait of Shane and the Posse, which he smashes on Test’s head for two. THANK GOD that Test wasn’t wearing a baseball cap. Back in, Shane leapfrogs into a back elbow and tries a damn corkscrew moonsault, but that misses. Another leapfrog is caught by Test with a powerbomb for two, but Rodney was distracting the ref. Test’s big boot misses and takes out the ref, so Test clotheslines Shane to the floor and beats on him with the roadsign. So the Posse all attack and mug Test, putting him on the Spanish announce table, and Shane goes up and debuts the flying elbow through the table and both guys are dead. The Posse throws both guys back in the ring and Shane gets two off that, but Pete Gas runs in and hits Shane by mistake. Test with a big boot for two off that, but Joey Abs pulls Shane out to make the save. And that allows Rodney to knock out Test with his arm cast, and that gets two for Shane. Finally the Stooges can take no more and return to beat the shit out of the Posse, and Test boots Joey off the apron and hits the Meltdown on Shane, followed by a flying elbow to finish and win Stephanie at 12:10. Well that certainly ended up going badly for him. He should have swiped left in retrospect. This was clearly the match of the night, a crazy smoke and mirrors brawl to pay off the sad sack babyface storyline. ****

WWF tag team title: Kane & X-Pac v. Big Show & Undertaker

Everyone slugs it out to start and Undertaker beats on X-Pac and puts him down with a headbutt, so X-Pac brings in Kane. They double-team Taker in their corner and Kane clotheslines him to the floor before X-Pac dives onto him, but he stops to crotch-chop and gets throttled. Never stop to crotch-chop in a real fight! I think we’ve all learned that one the hard way. Back in, Kane with the flying clothesline for two, but Big Show pulls him out to save. Taker catches Kane with a DDT and Show beats on Kane with chops in the corner and puts him down with a big boot before dropping an elbow on him. Kane slugs back but Show powerslams him for two. Taker comes in and collides with Kane for the double down, but X-Pac gets a hot tag and cleans house with a spinkick on Taker for two. And then Show cuts him off and we get to beating on X-Pac like we should. Show drops him on the railing and throws him back into the ring, and that’s EXACTLY the kind of stuff that they should have been doing with Show all along. Book him against the little guy who can bump for him and make him look like a literal giant. Taker runs X-Pac into the post crotch-first and Show headbutts him in the groin. Waltman getting hit in the junk always adds an extra star for me. X-Pac fights back on Show and walks into a bearhug, which Show turns into a tree slam for two. He sets up the chokeslam, but Kane takes the ref and X-Pac goes low to escape and then kicks Taker in the nuts as well and makes the hot tag to Kane. Crowd is surprisingly subdued for that one. We’re BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and X-Pac dives onto Taker and runs him into the post while Kane beats on Show in the corner, setting up the broncobuster on Show. But then Show pops right up, and it’s JESUS H CHOKESLAM for two. I wouldn’t have let him kick out of that, but Show was using one foot so there’s an out. But then Taker comes in, hits the tombstone on X-Pac, and THAT is enough to finish at 12:05 and give them the tag team titles. X-Pac and Kane were such a perfect face in peril / hot tag combination and it’s too bad they fizzled out before they could live up to their full potential. ***

Kiss My Ass match: Billy Gunn v. The Rock

Speaking of fizzling out and not fulfilling potential, this was Billy’s big chance to break out after winning King of the Ring and we all know how well that went. So Billy’s big surprise is a short fat lady under a blanket, and apparently Rocky will have to kiss HER ass when he loses. Oh we’re already off to a great start. Gunn attacks in the corner and slugs away, but Rock lays the smackdown on him and chases him to the floor. They fight up the aisle and Gunn clotheslines him as they do the usual walk-and-brawl match and then back to ringside as Billy runs him into the stairs and slugs away. Rock puts Lawler’s crown on him and beats on him to show what he thinks of “King Ass”, but Gunn hits him with the bell and we finally get into the ring. Rock comes back and slugs away, but Gunn catches him with a neckbreaker for two. Billy works the neck for a bit and hits a bulldog for two. Gunn follows with the corner splash, but Rock hits him with the clothesline and hurricane DDT and both guys are out. Rock seems to have suffered a bloodied nose at some point, which probably explains the later reports that he never wanted to work with Gunn again after this. Rock comes back with a neckbreaker for two and samoan drop for two. Gunn escapes the Rock Bottom and hits the fameasser, but Billy calls his companion into the ring and prepares the posterior. Of course, Rock shoves Billy’s face into her ass, hits Rock Bottom and the People’s Elbow, and that’s the closest Billy Bitchcakes ever got to the main event at 10:18. And then Rock literally went on RAW the next night and compared to him to the Brooklyn Brawler to shovel more dirt on his grave. I mean, I wouldn’t even classify this is as a bad match in the least, and in fact it was pretty good by Gunn’s standards, but if you manage to get both Rock AND Steve Austin refusing to ever work with you again, your ceiling is gonna be pretty low. ***1/4 I should note that it probably goes without saying that they didn’t even bother with the stipulation and Rock just walks out as we go to the main event right away. Sadly, we never got the epic tag team out of these two to end the feud, where they could have won the tag titles as The RockaBilly Connection.

WWF title: Steve Austin v. HHH v. Mankind

There were stories about Jesse Ventura not wanting to raise the heel’s hand here, although in the Observer at the time Meltzer notes that it was more Shawn Michaels getting in HHH’s ear and telling him not to do the job here, so they put Mankind in to get his hand raised because he would happily do business the next night and move the belt onto HHH as planned. So of course, Jesse Ventura is special referee here, 11 years after refereeing the first Summerslam main event, having made up with Vince McMahon to the reported tune of a $100,000 payoff, which may or may not have gone to charity. HHH attacks Austin right away, but Mankind pulls out Hunter and beats on him at ringside before teaming up with Austin for a clothesline. Back in, the faces double-team HHH and takes turns beating on him, with Mick hitting a kneelift before offering a handshake to Austin. And of course that goes badly for him, so they go at it and Austin backdrops Mankind over the top. They fight on the floor and Chyna runs Mankind into the post while Austin and HHH fight by the tables. Jesse is busy dealing with Chyna and Mankind, so Austin chokes out HHH with a cable and then HHH hits him with a chair to escape. That’s some pretty questionable refereeing from the Body! Jesse: “Did you hit him with a chair?” Well what’s he gonna do, tell the truth? HHH beats on Mankind in the corner after surviving that round of interrogation and Mankind fights back with the Mandible Claw, but Chyna trips him up and crotches him on the post. However, Jesse catches this and ejects Chyna, finally doing his job.

So Austin and Hunter fight out to the Lion’s Den and brawl there, before heading back into the ring for HHH to take out the knee and go to work on it. Mankind revives and takes turns with Hunter putting the boots to Austin in the corner and they have a fun bit where Mick feels the dark side again and works as a heel. So Mankind is right into it, directing traffic and telling HHH to put him in a figure-four, and he drops a leg on Austin for two before HHH saves to end their team. So those two fight on the apron and Mick tries a cannonball and misses, splatting on the floor. All three fight into the crowd and poor Mick gets slammed on the concrete as usual. Back to ringside as Austin goes into the stairs and it looks like he’s blatantly gigging himself on camera, but no blood is evident. Back in the ring, Austin fights back on both guys and slingshots Hunter into Mankind, and it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER on Mick for two. Hunter saves with a chair, and Jesse again reprimands HHH about using the chair and tells him he’s not counting anything from using a chair. And indeed Hunter knocks out Mankind with the chair and Jesse refuses to count. Hey, that’s fair. HHH of course wants to start a fight over it, and that brings out Shane McMahon to advocate for HHH, and Austin hits him with an epic stunner to allow Jesse to throw Shane out of the ring and quip “THAT’S FOR YOUR OLD MAN, YOU LITTLE BASTARD!” Ha! Hunter and Austin clothesline each other for the double down and Mankind preps Mr. Socko, getting a double mandible claw, but everyone is down and Austin is up first with KICK WHAM STUNNER on HHH for two. Mankind saves, but Austin runs him into the post to get rid of him. This allows Hunter to go KICK WHAM PEDIGREE on Austin, but Mankind saves, throws Hunter out, and DDTs Austin for the pin and the WWF title at 16:20, his third and final one. A weird and flat finish, what with everyone expecting Hunter to walk out with the belt. It was a really fun and good main event, though. ***1/4 And then sore loser HHH destroys Austin’s knee with a chair afterwards, setting up his big run as top heel. The crowd chants for Jesse to save, but he’s already gone and we end the night with Hunter getting the HEAT. And of course we kicked off the HHH Era the next night on RAW and our lives were never the same again.

Hey, this turned into a pretty good show by the end, with all the top stuff mostly delivering. Not a classic but a solid thumbs up show that’s worth watching.