Happy Royal Saturday Everyone!
We’re back again with another Stinker Review, where I look at a show with a bad reputation and see if it’s deserved or if the show is really just misunderstood. Seeing as its June, I thought I would go back and look at one of the more notably bad King of the Ring efforts from the WWF. 1995 is the one that usually gets the most press, but 1999 was pretty rubbish too, especially when you consider the fact it took place during the Attitude Era, one of the hottest periods in company history.
The WWF had been thrown into disarray to a certain extent due to the tragic death of Owen Hart, and things weren’t helped by them building up a mystery over who The Undertaker’s “Higher Power” was when they didn’t actually have an end game in mind, leading to them panicking and going with Vince McMahon and basically resetting things. This all set up a Main Event between the freshly Heel Vince and his son Shane against Stone Cold in a Ladder match for control of the company.
Meanwhile, in the King of the Ring tournament itself, the plan was to elevate Billy Gunn by having him get a big push, whilst X-Pac was due to make a run to the Finals. X-Pac ended up suffering a legit injury prior to the show, but the WWF decided to stick with the plan of him going all the way to the Final even though it would mean he couldn’t put much time in during his matches. Thus the tournament was hamstrung on one side of the bracket with Gunn making it to the Final when the crowd didn’t really want to see that, whilst the other side of the bracket had walking wounded X-Pac doing his best to gut it out when he didn’t really need to.
But hey, maybe my memory is overly harsh and when I watch the show it will have aged well?
The show is emanating from Greensboro, North Carolina on the 27th of June 1999
Calling the action are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler
We open up with the usual video package focusing on how much Vince McMahon and Stone Cold hate one another. It had been done before, and a lot of the footage was stuff we’d already seen in previous show opening packages, which added to the feeling of this feud being a re-hash.
Ross and Lawler open us up by saying that Ken Shamrock injured Shane McMahon on HeAT, although Steve Blackman then assaulted Shamrock with a Singapore Cane in order to give him a serious case of Ken Shamrock Disease. Shamrock is refusing medical attention, but Michael Cole tells us that Shane might be too injured to wrestle later.
King of the Ring Quarter Final
Hardcore Holly Vs X-Pac
Holly was currently “The Big Shot” at the time, where he would try and mix it up with big dudes like Kane and Big Show. It was a decent gimmick and he was becoming a bit of an internet darling as a result of it. That status wouldn’t last for him of course. X-Pac was very over as a babyface in the mid-card here, although fans would grow tired of him in 2000 when was part of a Heel D-X group.
Ross lets us know that X-Pac got “dinged” at MSG last night to explain why X-Pac isn’t at his best. There’s an audible humming in the background here which I think was from the sponsorship blimp in the arena. Holly takes most of the match, working over X-Pac’s neck to give him something to sell for the rest of the evening. His stuff looks good and X-Pac sells well, although the Attitude Era crowd doesn’t really care because they didn’t come to this wrestling show for actual wrestling.
X-Pac eventually makes a comeback to wake up the crowd and gets the Bronco Buster in the corner for a pop. That causes Hardcore Holly to decide he’s had enough of this mother loving Waltman on this Monday to Friday pay per view event, as he heads to the outside and grabs a chair before walloping X-Pac with it for the DQ.
WINNER BY DQ: X-PAC
There was barely any match there, but what we got was decent at least
Road Dogg runs down to save his pal X-Pac from any further beating.
They really should have just put Hardcore Holly over there to be honest, at least then he could have put some time in for the Semi-Final against Road Dogg or Chyna. Honestly, Holly would have been as good a pick to win it as Gunn was if you weren’t going for the obvious candidate of Big Show.
Terry Taylor asks Hardcore Holly why he got himself DQ’ed. He says he’s The Big Shot and we’re going to play by his rules, even The Big Show. Foreshadowing!
King of the Ring Quarter Final
The Big Show Vs Kane
Big Show gets a sizeable pop for his entrance as they hadn’t ruined him with multiple turns yet. I think he’d turned exactly once in his WWF stint at this stage. Kane is a babyface as well, with this being a pretty stacked match for just the Quarter Final stage. At the time Kane was on-again off-again buddies with X-Pac. We see that Big Show had tried to crush Holly with a car on Raw the previous week, which will probably come up later.
This isn’t exactly a technical classic or anything, but it’s not a bad spectacle either. Big Show flings Kane around in a way that rarely ever happened and it gets him over as a result. Kane replies by busting out an enziguri, and then both men sadly mistime the old double big boot spot and it looks a little sloppy. Kane redeems himself somewhat with a nice clothesline off the top though, which leads to a two count.
Kane keeps trying multiple times to choke Big Show, with the ref always stopping him, which leads to the ref taking an errant shot from Big Show. This brings Hardcore Holly down to the ring but Kane doesn’t want his help and Choke Slams him. Kane then teases that he’ll Choke Slam Big Show, which gets the crowd really excited, but Kane opts to just choke him out for a long time before finishing him off with a chair shot for three from the reawakened ref.
Up until the finish I was digging that, but Kane choking Big Show was ridiculous as he would have died if this were real and the referee had to lie down for a ludicrous amount of time as well. Plus, the crowd got very excited at the prospect of seeing a Choke Slam and then absolutely turned on the match when they realised the Choke Slam wasn’t coming. It’s a shame as I thought it wasn’t a bad spectacle up to that point. This was also classic Vince Russo SHADES OF GREY BRO booking, as Kane acted like a complete Heel in the finish, even though he was supposed to be a babyface, and the crowd was then confused whether to cheer or boo at the end
They protected Big Show in defeat somewhat at least, even if it stretched the suspension of disbelief past breaking point.
Michael Cole is with Vince McMahon. Vince says that Shane cannot compete later and that he’s going to the hospital. But what about the Main Event?!?!
King of the Ring Quarter Final
Mr Posterior Vs Ken Shamrock
I can’t use Gunn’s actual gimmick name as it won’t make it past the websites swear filter. We see that Gunn has one of the WWF Tag Title belts with him here as he scored the pin when teaming with The Acolytes against X-Pac and Kane. Gunn goads Shamrock on the mic, which leads to Shamrock coming down to the ring even though he’s bleeding from the mouth. Shamrock won the tournament in 1998 and he’s looking to repeat as King here in 1999.
Gunn goes after Shamrock’s mid-section to work over his supposed internal injuries, although we don’t actually know what part of his internal body is actually injured. It’s a very nebulous injury, but an injury none-the-less. Shamrock gets the odd hope spot, which the crowd responds to so they’re into the story being told at least in that regard, but Gunn always manages to cut Shamrock off again. Gunn eventually counters a rana attempt into a powerbomb and that’s enough for referee Teddy Long to call the match off.
WINNER: BILLY GUNN
I’m shocked Long didn’t just choose to turn it into a tag match rather than award the contest to Gunn. This was fine but overly short. The ref stoppage finish didn’t happen a lot but it was a good way of giving Gunn a win without making Shamrock eat a pin
Shamrock is furious following that and soup cans Teddy Long in order to get his heat back.
Chyna and Triple H have promo time with Kevin Kelly, where she said she grew up wanting to be a princess, but tonight she’ll be a Queen. Triple H adds that he walks to the beat of his own drum and no one can tell him what to do in reference to Kelly asking him about wanting a WWF Title shot.
King of the Ring Quarter Final
Chyna w/ Triple H Vs Road Dogg Jesse James
All three of these wrestlers were in D-X at one stage of course until Chyna and Triple H went Corporate. At the time the D-X name was in dispute, leading to a match between Chyna and Gunn against Road Dogg and X-Pac at the July pay per view where Pac and Dogg would win the rights to the D-X name. We see that during HeAT Chyna and Triple H attacked Road Dogg, with Chyna getting a low blow, which will become important later.
They structure this really well, with Road Dogg selling big for Chyna in order to make her look like a viable opponent. This was back when Chyna wrestling men in official matches was still a bit of a novelty because they hadn’t made it the norm yet, so this draws decent heat from the crowd for the most part. Chyna actually takes a lot of the match, with Road Dogg not really getting much of a babyface shine. Chyna even mocks Dogg by doing his shaky leg knee drop, which gets a notable pop from the crowd.
Road Dogg’s selling is awesome here, as he makes Chyna look good without making himself look weak, which isn’t always an easy balance to attain. Triple H runs interference whenever it looks like Dogg might fight back as well, which is a believable way of keeping Chyna on the offence and stopping Dogg from gaining momentum. The match maybe does go on for a tad too long, but when the Holly/Pac and Gunn/Shamrock matches were so short they didn’t really have much of a choice with this one.
Chyna audibly calls a spot at some stage, as does Dogg, which means this match needs to be sent to Maffew if he hasn’t covered it already. Chyna and Dogg both trade sleeper hold attempts, with Dogg getting his second, leading to Triple H putting Chyna’s foot on the rope in order to rescue her from defeat. Chyna gets a roll up off that but Dogg is able to kick out at two. The ref ends up getting bumped somehow, which leads to Triple H knocking Dogg out with a chain for two.
The crowd loved that kick out and popped big. Shawn Michaels now joins us as the D-X drama continues, with Dogg making his full comeback and the crowd loving that as well. Michaels drags Triple H to the back, which distracts both the ref and Dogg. Chyna tries the low blow again on Dogg, but this time Dogg has a cup on to block it in a cute spot before following up with the Stretch Armstrong for three and a monster pop from the crowd.
WINNER: ROAD DOGG
Hey, smart babyfaces are cool, maybe we should see more of them in modern WWE? This match was a bit slow in places but it told a good story and the crowd was biting big time on the near falls, so I’ll be generous with the rating
Rock has promo time with Michael Cole. Rock says that Undertaker doesn’t impress him and makes fun of Taker’s promos. This was a Rock promo, so it was good. In other news, water is wet.
The Brood (Edge and Christian) w/ Gangrel Vs The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) w/ Michael Hayes
The Acolytes ruined a match between these two teams on HeAT so Shawn Michaels booked a rematch, with the winning team getting a Tag Title shot eventually. The Hardyz have the entrance music they would use on WrestleMania 2000 for the N64 here but I don’t think they stuck with it for too long after this.
This one is all action, and it’s fun to watch, if a little too short. The crowd doesn’t really care that much but the WWF stuck with both teams and eventually this would end up being a big match in the tag division. I’m not really sure who the Heels and babyfaces are here, with there not really being much of a heat segment and both teams trading the momentum throughout the bout.
Eventually Edge runs wild on both of The Hardyz, which brings in Michael Hayes for a cheap shot. Edge survives that and even gets to Spear Hayes, which leads to the two managers fighting outside the ring. Edge wakes the crowd up by catching Jeff with a Spear in mid-air, but Matt breaks up the pin. Gangrel tries spitting blood at Jeff, but he gets Edge by mistake and Jeff gets a Twist of Fate for three.
WINNERS: THE HARDY BOYZ
This was way too short but it was also good fun whilst it lasted and a precursor for things to come when it came to the two teams feuding with one another
The Brood makes nice post-match.
The Hardyz would go on to get a fluke reign with the tag belts until The Acolytes crushed them at the July pay per view to win them back.
Michael Cole interviews WWF Champ The Undertaker backstage. He says tonight he’s going to rip the balls off the Brahma Bull. Sounds eye watering.
Vince McMahon joins us for an in-ring promo, as this has felt more like an episode of Raw than a pay per view at points tonight. Vince says that Shane McMahon is too injured to wrestle tonight and thus the match won’t take place. WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels joins us to take umbrage with that though, which leads to Vince saying he has a suitable replacement for Shane for the match later on.
King of the Ring Semi-Final
Herr Arsch Vs Kane
Kane clobbers Gunn in the early going, which the crowd doesn’t really care about, which has been a trend thus far tonight. The fight heads outside and Kane tries to use the ring steps, but Gunn is able to counter with a dropkick, which I guess would be the cut off, although it’s not like Gunn did anything especially heelish there seeing as Kane was the one who introduced the steps.
Gunn flings Kane into the ring post a couple of times, as they’ve been out there for way longer than 10 seconds now, and then works Kane over with basic fare such as punches whilst the crowd is so quiet you could hear a rat pass water on cotton. This hasn’t even been a terrible match or anything; the crowd just couldn’t care any less about it.
Kane eventually counters the Rocker-Dropper into a powerslam and then delivers a dropkick to send Gunn down to the floor. This is Big Show’s cue to join us, as he clobbers Kane with a chair whilst the ref is momentarily down and that leads to Gunn picking up the win. How many ref bumps is that now? No wonder they went on strike in the autumn!
WINNER: BILLY GUNN
This wasn’t even a bad match in the sense that it was mostly just punching and kicking and was serviceable in that regard. It had so little crowd heat that it may as well have had icicles hanging off it though and we had something like our third ref bump of the evening, which is frankly ludicrous
Kevin Kelly is backstage with X-Pac, who has mixed feelings about wrestling his friend Road Dogg later, but he has to take the match seriously.
King of the Ring Semi-Final
X-Pac Vs Road Dogg
Road Dogg is with Kevin Kelly before the match starts saying this will be one of the toughest matches of his career, before taking the mic so he can go and do his entrance in a cute bit. Both wrestlers actually don’t do their normal entrance routine in an effort to make this feel different and special, which is a nice idea but it would work better in a match that actually had some hype behind it and the wrestlers had more than 3 minutes match time to work with.
What we do get to see is fine, but it’s just so hard to tell a good story in the time allotted and it really makes me think it was a mistake to put X-Pac in this position when he wasn’t capable to putting any real time in there due to his injury. Would it really have messed things up to have Holly win the opener and then had Road Dogg beat Holly here to set up a New Age Outlaws Final?
X-Pac misses the Bronco Buster in the corner and that leads to Dogg going for the Stretch Armstrong, but X-Pac is able to slip out and gets the X-Factor for the flash three count. The fans barely popped for that as I don’t think they actually expected it to be the finish as it came out of nowhere and the match had barely got going.
This was fine for a quick three minute match, but on pay per view and in a big tournament like this you really expect more
X-Pac and Road Dogg make nice following the match, much to the disgust of Lawler on commentary.
We get a video package to hype up the WWF Title match between Undertaker and Rock, with 90’s styled disco music playing over the top of it. For a second I thought I was watching the Premiership Year’s there. The gist of the story is that Undertaker has been a pretty boring Heel World Champ who has battered Rock a few times, but Rock has refused to back down and eventually defeated Triple H and Undertaker in a glorified handicap match to earn himself a Title shot when the two Heels couldn’t get along. The question now is whether Triple H will have Undertaker’s back in the match itself.
Champ: Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer Vs The Rock
This was during the whole “Undertaker is too into his character and might actually be into the occult” phase of Undertaker’s career, which was probably the worst one he ever had from both an in-ring and character perspective. He’d only had the belt for a month and I was already way past the point of wanting him to drop it. People like to rag on Biker Taker, but after this nonsense going to a more realistic gimmick like that went a long way to keeping him relevant in the Attitude Era. Rock had only been a babyface for a couple of months but he was already way over and a solid #2 to Stone Cold who would eventually slide easily into #1 when Austin got injured later in the year.
Ross actually manages to work a Ric Flair reference in here, although he uses it as a way to put the WWF over by saying that the classic NWA guys didn’t ever draw a crowd like this in Greensboro. Undertaker looks like he would rather be anywhere else than here in Greensboro on this pay per view, and he actually opens the bout by giving us our fourth ref bump of the evening by outright clocking him before the bell. Rock quickly snaps off a Rock Bottom, but Bearer takes out the replacement ref to give us our FIFTH ref bump of the evening. I think the referee corps has taken more bumps on this one pay per view than Kevin Nash did in the entire year of 1999!
Things settle down into a typical Attitude Era Main Event match following that, as Taker and Rock brawl out of the ring and fight with one another in the entrance area. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before but it’s entertaining enough. Mike Chioda, the original ref, has recovered now at least so he just refs the match like nothing happened. In the WWF’s defence, Taker did jump Chioda from behind so Chioda didn’t actually see what happened, which explains why he didn’t wake up and immediately DQ Taker for cleaning his clock. It doesn’t really explain why the second ref didn’t call for a DQ once he woke up, but in general it makes sense more than stuff during this period usually did so I’ll cut them some slack.
Taker controls things when both men get back into the ring, working Rock over with the usual and setting up the Old School (although at the time I think it would have been Contemporary School). Rock manages to fight that off though and then SPITS WATER in Undertaker’s face. Shockingly Undertaker doesn’t start to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West, but it does stun him momentarily, which allows Rock to drag Taker into the crowd for some more brawling. They head over to the commentary area and Rock tries a chair shot, only for Taker to block it with the ring bell. The ref decides that seeing as both guys were using weapons at the same time he’ll let it slide, although the commentary team doesn’t really explain that.
Paul Bearer probably gets one of the more entertaining moments of the match, as he clocks Rock with his shoe whilst the ref is distracted before cackling like a silent movie villain. That was hilarious. Taker gets a DDT for two back inside the ring and then takes us to Resthold City, population DJ. The crowd gets behind Rock and eventually fights out and makes the comeback with a Samoan Drop for two. They didn’t really transition that smoothly into that, as it looks like they are having some chemistry issues.
They then telegraph another ref bump, as Rock gets whipped into Chioda and clotheslines him down for some reason, which gives us our SIXTH ref bump of the evening. Sweet merciful cheese sandwich, they’re not going to have any refs left at this rate! It looked like Rock did that intentionally as well, which makes no sense, especially as he then gets a People’s Elbow and there is no one to count. One thing they’ve done well here is give Rock a lot of visible pins on Undertaker, so that when he loses they can at least say he would have won if x, y and z didn’t happen.
Undertaker clocks Rock right in his Johnson’s with the ref down, which leads to Paul Bearer setting the clock back to 1993 by giving Taker an ether soaked rag to use. I do like the call-back though, as Giant Gonzalez used one against Taker in the past and he clearly remembered it and kept it in his locker in case he needed to use it sometime. It would have been nice if the commentary team could have addressed that historical fact though. Rock manages to get the rag though and uses it on Undertaker, but that draws out Triple H, who delivers a Pedigree to Rock. Undertaker gets two from that to give Rock one last pop, before getting the Tombstone for three.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: THE UNDERTAKER
This meandered at points and the stuff with the refs was beyond stupid on a night where there had already been copious amounts of ref bumps, but parts of it were entertaining and they did a good job protecting The Rock so I’ll give it an okayish rating
Undertaker would thankfully lose the WWF Title the next night on Raw to bring this lousy run to an end.
Ross and Lawler ponder if Triple H will be the new partner for Vince later, but Shawn Michaels has police remove Triple H from the building.
King of the Ring Final
Monsieur Derrière Vs X-Pac
Gunn admits in his pre-match promo that he’s going to target X-Pac’s injured neck in the match. This one follows the trend of the whole tournament by being a rushed match, clocking in at just under six minutes, although X-Pac would have probably struggled to go any longer. Again, sorry to harp on, but going with Road Dogg would have been the smarter play when they knew X-Pac was hurt and that Final would have potentially had more heat as well due to Dogg and Gunn being former Tag Team Champions together.
This is an okay match, with Gunn going after the neck and X-Pac selling the injury well. It just feels like any other TV match though and not the Final of a showcase event like the King of the Ring. The crowd is scary quiet for it as well, with Gunn actually yelling at the crowd to shut up at one stage in an effort to rile them up, only to find silence waiting for him. This should have probably set off some warning alarms for the WWF in regards to Gunn as a top guy.
Gunn manages to get the Rocker-Dropper, but he makes a cocky cover and that allows X-Pac to kick out at two before following up with an X-Factor for a two of his own. That sequence was executed well but the crowd still wasn’t biting. X-Pac gets the Bronco Buster but Gunn cuts him off with a neck breaker and then heads up with a Rocker-Dropper off the second rope for the three count and the crown.
WINNER: BILLY GUNN
This was fine, if too short, and felt like a TV match on a pay per view event. Gunn winning felt like such a non-event as well, as he wasn’t crowned and they didn’t even really make that much of a big deal over it either. He just won and then left with his tag belt, which I think he lost the next night anyway.
Gunn teases mooning the crowd following that but then walks off.
I know quite a few question the WWF for trying to elevate Gunn, but in defence of him it was a pretty half-hearted effort by the WWF and it’s no surprise to me that it didn’t take. Even with the full promotional machine behind him, it would have been a challenge to get Gunn over as a top singles act, so when they went at it half-speed then it was never going to work.
We get the video package for the Main Event, as they try really hard to make this whole storyline make sense.
Control of the WWF
Shane and Vince McMahon Vs Stone Cold Steve Austin
Vince McMahon had been revealed as the “Higher Power” behind Undertaker’s Ministry group, in a SWERVE that didn’t really make much sense, but Mick Foley didn’t want to turn Heel so they decided to go with the proven winning hand of Heel Vince. I was particularly unimpressed with the reveal at the time as I’d been enjoying Vince as a babyface because it meant Shane McMahon could spread his wings a bit more as the main Heel authority figure, whereas turning Vince Heel again basically rendered the previous three months or so of storylines pretty worthless.
Anyway, Austin had seen a week before the reveal happened that the Higher Power was Vince, so he went to Vince’s wife Linda and daughter Stephanie to let them in on it too. As a result they signed over their ownership of the WWF to Austin, thus giving Austin 50% ownership of the company. Vince and Shane were not happy with that, so this ladder match was booked, with the winner getting 100% ownership of the WWF. The music in the pre-match video package is good example of how the WWF production crew could make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what during this period, as they actually make this silly storyline seem dramatic and interesting. Austin showing up wearing a tie over his usual t-shirt and jeans was a pretty funny visual too.
Austin won a match on Raw against Big Boss Man to make it so the Corporation can’t interfere, but sneaky Vince tries to insert Steve Blackman as his partner due to Shane being “injured” on Sunday Night HeAT. However, GTV reveals that Shane is just fine and dandy, so he has to compete after all. I think that would have been the only official meeting between the two Steve’s wouldn’t it? Please feel free to correct me if they did indeed have a match together at some point. I actually feel bad for Blackman that he had a sniff of a Main Event with STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN and he ended up getting removed from it at the last moment.
If you’ve ever seen Austin Vs McMahon matches from this period then you’ll probably already know how this one goes, as Austin clobbers both Vince and the product of his semen from one end of the arena to the other, with Los McMahonos occasionally getting a rare bit of offence now and then. The crowd loves watching Vince Jr and El Hijo Del Vince get battered, so they have plenty of fun at their expense whilst Austin clobbers them. One of the better moments involves Austin destroying the ladder themed entrance way so that The McMahons get buried under them all. It was a safe spot but an impressive visual, which is what you want at the end of the day.
Austin makes an attempt to climb following that, but The McMahon’s make it back down to the ring, so Austin clobbers both of them with the ladder. Shane takes some really good bumps actually, whilst Vince mostly staggers around with almost zero coordination. Austin leaps off a ladder to put Shane through the Spanish table, but when he tries to attack Vince on the ladder he ends up getting shoved off onto the English table, bouncing off it in a gnarly bump. Vince does the old ladder match slow climb back inside, which gives Austin time to recover and stop him from getting the briefcase.
Vince actually takes a bump off the ladder down to the mat, which is pretty impressive considering he was 53 at the time. Tenryu was a better worker at the same age to be fair, but credit to Vince for at least taking risks himself now and then rather than just making the wrestlers do it all the time. Austin eventually takes out both of his opponents with Stunners and climbs the ladder to win, but the briefcase gets mysteriously raised out of reach from him so that he can’t get it. I don’t think it was ever explained who did that, but talk on the playground at the time was that it was either Big Boss Man or Droz. I don’t know why Droz was implicated but a lot of people at school seemed to think he was responsible. I went to a weird school I guess. Anyway, Austin tries climbing again and fights with Vince, but Shane knocks the ladder over and then climbs up to grab the case.
WINNERS: SHANE AND VINCE
That wasn’t an especially good match or anything, but it was entertaining for what it was and I have to commend both Vince and Shane for taking some truly wacky bumps to try and get the whole thing over. Austin had an out for losing and would win the WWF Title the next night anyway, so it’s not like this did any long term damage to his character either.
We don’t really get much of a post-match, as Vince and Shane get out of there whilst Austin looks on disgruntled.
Is It Really A Stinker?
This show probably doesn’t qualify as a full-on Stinker due to the fact that it didn’t really have any outright disasters and a few matches are at least watchable. It certainly didn’t justify the pay per view price tag as it felt more like an episode of Raw with all the angles and short matches.
It certainly wasn’t a good show, and I could totally understand why people would feel ripped off if they plumped down the dosh to watch it back in 1999 as you really did not get a pay per view quality card when all was said and done. The WWE Network version of the show only clocks in at a paltry 2 hours and 26 minutes, which made it feel more like one of those UK only pay per views from this time period rather than a “Big Five” event like it was supposed to be.
X-Pac being booked to wrestle three times when he was injured was head scratching, especially as they could have easily subbed in Road Dogg to his role and still got the finish to the tournament they wanted of Gunn picking up the win. Gunn’s win felt really flat when all was said and done, even though his own performance was fine. He got a helping hand to win both his Quarter and Semi-Final matches and the match with X-Pac was so short that it felt like an afterthought, so he didn’t really gain anything from his tournament victory.
The Main Event was watchable Attitude Era nonsense and the live crowd seemed to enjoy it, even if they sat on their hands for most of the rest of the card. The Fully Loaded and SummerSlam shows were much better and got the WWF on the right track again, but this show felt like a re-tread with Vince going back to being a Heel and Austin’s archenemy again.
I’m sure some will disagree, but Vince going babyface not only worked but it freshened both him and the Main Event storylines up and they had plenty more mileage to get from it. Revealing that Vince was secretly the villain all along almost felt like they were rebooting the company back to the way it was prior to WrestleMania, and by that stage the Austin Vs McMahon feud had been going on for nearly a year and it was time for a new direction.
The handful of okay matches keeps this one from descending into full-on Stinkerdom, but it still isn’t a good show and I certainly wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to watch it.
Final Rating – Stinky
(Ratings done on a scale of Stinker/Stinky/Odourless/Pleasant/Fragrant)