I reviewed WCW’s April 99 offering last week, so I decided I’d take a glance at what the WWF was doing at the same time, and as an additional bonus I’ll also be watching the Sunday Night HeAT preview show prior to the pay per view portion of the event.
WrestleMania XV had been a bit of a bust for the WWF, as last minute changes to the match card destroyed a chunk of interesting storylines and most of the bouts failed to deliver. It was crash TV of the Attitude Era at its absolute worst.
Thankfully the Main Event between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin was at least a good match, and fans were suitably interested in seeing the two rematch with one another. To set that up The Rock and Shane McMahon teamed up to steal Stone Cold’s “Smoking Skull” Title belt, and then Rock upped the ante even further by flinging Austin into a river!
As for the under card, The Undertaker had been making unwanted advances to Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie, so Vince had enlisted the help of Ken Shamrock to try and take Undertaker down. Meanwhile, Triple H had turned on D-X to go Corporate, setting up a match with former stablemate X-Pac.
The other major match of the under card was Big Show Vs Mankind, with Mankind looking for payback on Show after the big man sent him to the hospital at Mania. Big Show had just started working as a babyface though, so they would do battle in a Boiler Room Brawl so as to ensure that Big Show wouldn’t get booed by the fans.
These top matches, combined with what looked to be a solid selection of bouts elsewhere on the card, suggested that Backlash would be one of the WWF’s better pay per view offerings of 99, but would they stick the landing?
Last week we looked at the 14/02/99 episode of Sunday Night HeAT, which was essentially a pre-game show for this pay per view, so this week we’ll go and review the event itself seeing as we’re a day away from Valentine’s Day in real life anyway. I hope you have as enjoyable a Valentine’s Day as possible, especially if you can share it with a special someone.
This show was notable for being the first proper pay per view singles match between long-time enemies Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. They’d met one another in the Royal Rumble, but this time it was scheduled to be one on one, with a cage being set up to ensure no one would be able to help Vince out.
Surprisingly it didn’t do as big a buy rate as expected when you consider how hot the feud was, but it was sandwiched between the Rumble and WrestleMania XV, so that might have had an effect on whether people wanted to purchase it or not.
I didn’t have satellite TV at the time, which was the only way to watch the WWF in the UK until Channel 4 started showing HeAT in 2000, so I didn’t see this show live at the time but I did eventually get the VHS and watched it quite a bit. We’ll see if that nostalgia gives the show a bit of a boost for me or not.
I thought I’d try something new over the next couple of weeks. Back in the day before the pre-show (Or whatever weird name WWE have come up with to WWEize it, because heaven forfend if everything isn’t branded to buggery and back) WWE would instead just turn the episode of Sunday Night HeAT into a preview for whatever pay per view event was due to happen that Sunday night.
HeAT started out as an important show, but the introduction of Smackdown in late 99 essentially turned it into just your standard weekend show where storylines didn’t advance and the matches didn’t really have any significance outside of rare occasions. In early 99 though HeAT would still see the top guys appearing on it, and on pay per view nights especially you usually saw everyone show up as the WWF tried to get the viewer to part with their money and purchase the event.
Thus this week we’ll look at the Sunday Night HeAT episode prior to the St. Valentine’s Massacre show and next week we’ll watch the actual show itself. How’s about that for a slice of fried gold?
This week we leave the confines of Titan Towers and head
over to Bill Apter’s side of the wrestling magazine universe. Launched in 1999, WOW Magazine was an alternative to other wrestling magazines, which
largely kept kayfabe alive. WOW catered to smart fans, using the
terminology of “face” and “heel,” and even tried to smarten up younger fans by
providing a vocabulary list of “smart wrestling terms.” WOW also
featured more color photographs, had more pages, and was larger than
traditional wrestling magazines.
Unfortunately, the magazine did not produce enough sales to remain
profitable and it folded in the summer of 2001.
The magazine chosen for this week’s review is the July
1999 edition of WOW, just the third
issue of the magazine to hit newsstands.
I remember buying this edition on a school field trip when we went to a
mall for lunch. Going over to one of the
bookstores, I picked out the magazine. I
really enjoyed WOW since it was much
more detailed and fun than WWF Magazine,
but there was no way my parents were going to purchase a second wrestling
magazine subscription for me. So, the
only time that I was able to buy WOW
is when I cobbled together enough money on my own, made even harder by the fact
that I did not receive an allowance.
Looking back, I may have purchased this magazine (which
the sticker says cost me $5.95 before tax) more for what is on the back than
the cover. I was a big Dawn Marie fan
and loved her stuff in ECW.
Immediately upon opening the magazine, which has a
foldout cover, we get some of the colorful pictures of WOW. One is of an unmasked
Rey Mysterio, Jr., another of Sabu, and then of course the guy that helped
In his first editorial, Editor-in-Chief Bill Apter lets
us know in his “Apter Thoughts” column that he is glad to be publishing a
smart-style magazine. He says that he is
tired of “protecting the business.” He
also laments the death of Rick Rude, who had recently passed away from a heart
attack. We get quite the contrast of
photos in the column as Nicole Bass chokes out Apter in one shot and a young
Apter argues with Jesse Ventura in the image alongside it. No word on whether Bass filed harassment charges against Apter at a future date.
Every magazine has to have a “Letters to the Editor”
section and WOW was no
different. This month’s issue sees
William Zariske criticize Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair for taking up the spotlight
and not following other pursuits.
Another fan, Frank Recchia, says that he admires technical wrestlers
like Dean Malenko and Curt Hennig, but they do not hold a candle to Lou Thesz
and Bruno Sammartino. He notes that
Thesz and Bruno were superior because they “could hold a title for a year or
more, which rarely happens today.” And
all those signs you used to see in the 1990s at wrestling events? Well, James Reddyk of Peterborough, Ontario
is angry about them because he was not able to see the action from his close
seats at SkyDome for at a WWF event because of them. He demands the WWF do something about
this. I am sure Mr. Reddyk loves
attending live events these days, when there is hardly a sign to be seen. There are also a few fans that praise the
magazine for being different, especially because it had a website, which many
other publications did not have in the late 1990s. One fan comments that the Internet is the
future of the sport because there are “thousands of e-feds and fantasy
wrestling sites.” Are there even more
than 1,000 operating today?
Blake Norton’s column “The Welcome Mat” praises Diamond
Dallas Page for becoming WCW World Champion, something I think was a sign of
the company’s decline because Page was nowhere near as over as he was when he
faced Goldberg at Halloween Havoc the previous year. Norton blasts fans who fear that Kevin Nash
is about to give himself another title run and sends a shout out to Davey Boy
Smith, who was facing a career-ending back injury at the time after falling on
a trap door at Fall Brawl. He also
criticizes the WWF for becoming more of a soap opera than a wrestling
product. Lord only knows what Norton
would think the company has become today.
A review is provided of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Professional Wrestling. The book is praised for providing some of
wrestling’s history. For example, it
discusses how carnivals of the nineteenth century were the origins of the sport
and how a champion wrestler would take on all comers. This led to the rise of men such as Toots
Mondt and Frank Gotch who knew various holds to submit all kinds of opponents
in shoot fights. The book ultimately
receives a recommendation, but educated fans are told that they do not really
need it. An interesting tidbit? Gorgeous George ran for president in 1952.
The cover story of this issue concerns the Rock’s rise to
the top of the wrestling industry, or as Jim Varsallone calls it, “the sports
The article recaps the Rock’s family history, which
readers of this site are likely familiar with.
However, for a smart magazine this piece is still filled with kayfabe,
as the Rock is quoted as saying that he initially turned heel over the “Rocky
Sucks” chants and that he joined the Nation of Domination because he could
“express himself.” Varsallone even
posits that the Nation collapsed because the Rock and Faarooq could not get
along since they came from Miami and Florida State! If you want some facts about the Rock’s
football career, though, this piece has you covered, meaning that Jim Ross
bought this issue when it hits newsstands.
It closes by saying that the Rock is not bothered by kids watching an
adult-oriented RAW product because their parents have to monitor what they are
doing. I should also point out here that
Apter mags traditionally never interviewed wrestlers and made up quotes (WWF Magazine did much of the same thing
before Vince Russo came aboard), so whether the Rock was actually interviewed
for this piece or not is open for debate.
And in case the Ultimate Warrior’s odd comic books were
not enough for you, you could have bought some $3 comic books about the
Undertaker in 1999!
The next piece provides a career recap of “Ravishing”
Rick Rude, who passed away on April 20, 1999 at the age of forty.
At the time, Rude was training for an in-ring comeback,
presumably to return to the WWF since he was trying to get out of his contract
with WCW. Written by Dave Meltzer, it is
a fine article that recaps Rude’s Tough Man days and his eventual wrestling
career in the major promotions. These
articles are where I learned wrestling terminology as terms such as “booker,”
“heat,” and “promo” are thrown in. We
can laugh now at fans not knowing those terms, but back then Meltzer might as
well have been speaking Latin to me. One
of the sad things about these magazines is you come across pictures of people
no longer with us, such as this one, where Ric Flair is the only person in it
that is still alive:
WOW was also
really good about following non-major promotions in North America and Richard
Berger’s article talks about the relaunch of Stampede Wrestling in Calgary in
early April 1999.
Bruce and Ross Hart were behind the idea and the
relaunched product lasted until 2008.
The first card documented here drew nearly 2,000 fans and there is some
unintentional humor when it documents the statements fans were making before
the opening bell such as “Tatanka is in the main event!” For some reason I think that fan probably
said that without much enthusiasm. The
show was indeed headlined by Tatanka, the North American Heavyweight Champion,
who went on to defeat Jason “The Sledgehammer” Neidhart in a two-out-of-three
Since Steve Austin was also on the cover, he is also
profiled in an article with some nice art.
It just recaps Austin’s career, but does have some words of wisdom: “…make sure to enjoy [Steve Austin] while he
is around, because no matter how many people try to copy him, they will never
even come close to the main himself.”
Hence, the WWE’s inability to recreate the magic of Austin-McMahon
despite rotating various people out of Austin’s role over the last two decades.
We then get some WCW news, which includes results from TV
tapings and house shows.
There is a discussion of the severity of the British
Bulldog’s back injury, which is reported as career ending per the orders of his
doctors. The Bulldog had recently been fired
from WCW. It would have been better for
the Bulldog’s health to stay retired, as his 1999 run back in the WWF did very
little for him or his career legacy.
Bischoff is commented as making an allusion to the Bulldog’s drug
problems, quoted in a “WCW Live” report on WCW.com as saying that prior to his
termination that the Bulldog “has had problems in a number of different areas
in his life.” It is also reported that
WCW is looking into creating a Hardcore division, which it eventually did. I always saw that as a poor move since it
came off as WCW blatantly copying a WWF idea.
At least it gave us Screamin’ Norman Smiley. Oh, and at a house show in Tampa, Florida,
Jimmy Hart beat Bubba the Love Sponge by disqualification when Randy Savage
accidentally hit Hart.
Konnan is the subject of an interview piece in this issue
of the magazine.
He takes a dig at WCW, saying that guaranteed income
makes guys reluctant to work while injured or put on good matches. He also criticizes the politics of the
company, which he feels are holding him back.
One of the best points of the interview, which is of a shoot style, is
Konnan referencing how spending time at basketball courts, youth hangouts, and
watching television made him aware of pop culture phenomenon and helped him
stay current. It is a vision that is
sorely lacking in today’s wrestling product.
And what would an Apter mag be like without
rankings? Here are WOW’s rankings of WCW for the spring of 1999. It simply evaluates the top ten men on the
roster, with no regard for their championship status. I have a hard time buying Rey Mysterio as #1
at this time, but his defeat of Kidman, who is ranked #2, is the justification
given for him having the top spot. The
rankings are critical of the WCW’s booking of Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko,
saying that the confusion over whether they “were heels or faces killed their
Blake Norton’s next column highlights some of the
concerns pervading WCW in 1999 and boy is it spot-on.
It talks of Eric Bischoff’s tenuous position in the company
and how the booking power of Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash spells trouble. Also highlighted are WCW’s declining ratings
relative to the WWF. The resurrection of
the tag division is criticized for only creating “makeshift tag teams” such as
Kidman and Chavo Guerrero and Bobby Duncum and Mike Enos as is the company’s
decision to make Barry Windham and Curt Hennig their new champions instead of
Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit. However,
some bright spots are highlighted, such as the cruiserweight division having
better matches and the spotlight going less to authority angles.
The great thing about 1999 was that you had three
prominent wrestling promotions getting coverage, so ECW gets a section of the
magazine, albeit smaller than WCW and the WWF.
We are told that Chris Candido may have reinjured his neck against Taz
at Cyberslam 1999 and that Nova has returned to the tag team ranks with Chris
Chetti. Here are the ECW rankings:
Hard to say that Taz was not the #1 ECW wrestler in early
1999 with Rob Van Dam as the clear #2.
They would eventually fight at November to Remember when Taz was headed
out of the company. We are told that Taz
puts fans into ‘mark’ mode when he makes his entrance.
The ECW Insider column discusses how other companies are
trying to imitate ECW’s hardcore style.
In one of my favorite digs in the magazine it says that “In the G-rated
WCW, somewhere in between ‘Days of NWO Lives,’ Nash-friendly-booking, and the
5,278,189th showing of Konnan’s video, Bam Bam Bigelow calls himself
the ‘king of hardcore.’” It laments that
if WCW gets a Hardcore title that it will just put it on the Booty Man. It also predicts that imitations of ECW will
not hurt the company’s viewership, which might have been true, but it was never
able to use its hardcore status to overtake the other big two wrestling
The WWF news and notes makes us aware that a whole lot of
people were given their pink slips on April 13.
This included Golga, Blue Meanie, and Gillberg. Evidently, Meanie was rehired back a day later
because of an online “Save the Meanie” campaign, which I vaguely remember. There are also rumors that Steve Blackman is
going to get a more Attitude-style gimmick and that the Legion of Doom are
hankering for one last run. Thank god
that did not happen. A Triple H-Rock
feud is discussed for the summer, as well as yet another Austin-Undertaker
feud. So, WOW will bash WCW at will, but no jabs at the WWF for returning to
that feud? Ken Shamrock is also rumored
to be a possible contender for Austin’s title, but he was shunted down the card
Here are the WWF rankings:
Owen Hart makes his last appearance in the rankings at
#6. His excerpt talks about how he and
Jarrett are going to go “full heel” soon by splitting with Debra. The Undertaker receives some criticism for
“uninspiring” matches recently against the Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock. It questions whether the WWF will shelve the
Undertaker persona for good, which ended up coming to fruition at Judgment Day
the following year when the Undertaker appeared in his American Badass gimmick.
Backlash and Spring Stampede are given smark-style recaps
by Blake Norton. They do not provide
star ratings, but it does break down the story each match tried to tell and
crowd reaction. Backlash is criticized
for being mediocre, while Spring Stampede is called “a terrific pay-per-view
event.” I liked these recaps much more
than WWF Magazine, which really
stopped caring about them at this point
A summary of ECW’s Cyberslam is provided, especially its
event for fans at the Holiday Inn.
Justin Credible tells author Brad Perkins that he loves
ECW because “there’s no one better to book Justin Credible than Paul
Heyman.” I cannot say that I disagree,
especially when the alternative is Aldo Montoya. Taz has some good foreshadowing, telling a
fan that even though the WWF or WCW would give him a fresh start they would not
push him as hard as ECW has.
Another interview piece is provided in the magazine, this
time with New Jack
New Jack lets us know that he never had any professional
training and discusses his former career as a bounty hunter. Teaming New Jack and Steve Blackman up to
rope in criminals would be quite the show for WWE Network. He also has some stories of giving back to
fans, such as calling fans who give him their number or meeting kids after shows. He also trashes parts of ECW, saying that it
is just as corrupt and political as the WWF and WCW. New Jack indicates his desire to get into
movies, thereby ending his wrestling career, but that never came to fruition.
In happier news, we are told of Hacksaw Jim Duggan
recovering from kidney cancer. A simple
career recap is provided for fans who may not be aware of his football prowess
and wrestling accomplishments in the 1980s.
WOW also had a
regular trivia feature. If you click on
the image it should magnify it for you and you can see how many you can get
correct. The answers are on the bottom
(upside down) of each section of the quiz.
Other random news and rumors are provided, letting us
know that Torrie Wilson is leaving WCW due to the fact that she was not given
more creative control over her character.
It also informs us that Shawn Michaels has married the Nitro Girl
Whisper. It questions whether that
marriage will last, but thankfully for both of them it did and it was probably
a big part in why Michaels did not die of a drug overdose in this period. Kevin Nash is also identified for bringing Madusa
back to WCW.
We get an interview with Frye of the Nitro Girls. If you have no idea who this is, here’s a
We are told that the Nitro Girls were not professional
dancers and selected from different backgrounds. Frye was just “athletic” when she was picked
out for the team. She says she was not a
wrestling fan before coming to WCW. She
is also excited about the Nitro Girls possibly being in some storylines in
2000. Skepticism is expressed about the
Shawn Michaels-Whisper marriage because they knew each other for only thirty
days before getting married. Frye’s
dream is for the Nitro Girls to “explode like the Spice Girls.”
The magazine also provided lots of “Bombshell
photos.” I remember when I saw the one
of Tammy Sytch in this magazine that she was in bad shape contrary to a slogan
that says she is getting better:
The “Indies and International” section informs us that
Vader recently won the 19th Champion Carnival on April 16, defeating
Kenta Kobashi. This made Vader the first
American to win the tournament since Stan Hansen in 1993. It also lets us know that Mitsuharu Misawa is
taking over the booking for All Japan following the death of Giant Baba. All Pro Wrestling, run by Roland Alexander,
is profiled, with stars such as Vic Grimes and Michael Modest profiled. APW was featured in Beyond the Mat. Grimes is
dubbed as a “future WWF star.” If you
can find his tryout match on YouTube it worth a look as he and a smaller
opponent tear the house down.
WOW could also
have some fun. Its “Ring-Zingers” column
highlighted some of the funnier parodies about wrestling from ScoopTHIS.com.
The best story is how Sting has taken a vow of poverty
after finding religion. Little did WOW know that Sting would find religion
and enact his vow of poverty by wrestling in front of high school gyms and
empty baseball stadiums more than a decade later. The piece says that Sting has given his
fortune away to the less fortunate “beginning with the Disco Inferno, who has
since put away his run-down 1970s clothing in favor of the more contemporary
khaki cargo pants and loose-fitting shirt.”
Other funny stories talk about ECW wrestlers nearly
revolting at Paul Heyman’s Philadelphia office after they found out wrestling
was fake on NBC and how hundreds of WWF fans were injured “in what’s been
called the worst wrestling disaster since the return of the Ultimate Warrior”
in a fire in San Francisco. Evidently, a
fan’s sign that said “Debra Has Tasty Cakes” caught on fire after Kane’s pyro
and spread through the sea of other signs in the arena. During the fire, Mick Foley and Terry Funk
jumped into the flames and rolled around in glee, each suffering a third degree
burn. Ron Simmons also turned in his
resignation after the Undertaker’s symbol caught on fire. After Steve Austin could not douse the flames
with beer, Jeff Jarrett and Tiger Ali came down to the ring, which really
cooled things down.
Another parody piece pits a “fantasy match” of the
Ultimate Warrior against Mankind, simulated with a Dude Love and Rey Mysterio,
Jr. action figure.
Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone do the commentary on the
pages of the magazine and the Warrior keeps disappearing during the match,
frustrating Mankind. Mr. Socko turns on
Mankind, sporting its own “One Warrior Nation” t-shirt, but Mankind rebounds by
pulling out a can of Chef Boyardee and shoving it in the Warrior’s face. The newly fattened Warrior cannot make it
through the trap door anymore and the Undertaker proceeds to do a run-in,
although he takes his time and Ross and Schiavone argue over whether the
Undertaker’s symbol is a cross, even after Mankind is nailed to it. This read like a fantasy booking scenario
Finally, Dutch Mantel’s column “The World According to Dutch”
closes out the magazine. He shills his Dirty Dutch’s Little Handbook for Wrestling
Junkies, which will be autographed and have some “special clip art of
wrestlers” for $20. You have to pay with
a money order, though. He also gives his
list of the top five bleeders in professional wrestling. It is no surprise who is #1 on the list:
Overall, this was a very detailed and fun magazine. It did a much better job shedding light on
what was happening in the wrestling world in the spring of 1999 than any other
wrestling magazine on the market. For
next time, I will review the first edition of RAW Magazine. I figured that
during this cold winter we could all use some “Sunny days.”
This new column to the blog will provide a review of a
different sort of wrestling: that found
on the pages of various wrestling magazines in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Between 1995 and 2002 I was a subscriber to WWF
Magazine and supplemented that subscription by purchasing a few Apter
magazines when I had some extra cash.
After heading off to college, I tossed these magazines into a box and
have not opened it in nearly a decade. I
thought it might be interesting to randomly draw out a magazine a week and
critique it for the Blog of Doom. The
visuals, stories, advertisements, and general ridiculousness of wrestling
magazines during this period will hopefully provide the Blog with a series of
fun discussions in the weeks and months ahead.
This column will normally appear on the weekends, but since I will be away this weekend and could not upload it, I figured that I would just post it today.
The first magazine drawn is the October 1999 issue of WWF Magazine. This was during the time when Vince Russo was
still editing the publication and this was one of his last projects for the
company. Our cover wrestler for this month
was Hardcore Holly, in the midst of his Super Heavyweight gimmick:
This cover was pretty unique because it is the only one
that I can recall that actually folds out for another page. This may also be the only time that Viscera
was ever on the cover of the magazine.
The magazine concept is also flawed in real life, as Kane is actually
about 6’7”, as is the Undertaker, and the Big Show is really about 6’10.” This cover makes it seem like all three men
are 7’ and over. I am not sure of
Viscera’s legit height. Obsessed with
Wrestling tells me he’s 6’6”, but he’s destroying that barrier on the cover.
The letters to the editor section is what leads off the
magazine and, as can be expected, it is full of laughs. First, Jessie Bowman of Lebanon Junction,
Kentucky demands that Mick Foley get his own section in the magazine and that
she is just going to renew her subscription just to see more! “Steve” from Minneapolis complains about
Billy Gunn’s attitude, but not his push, so he is barking up the wrong
tree. Lauren Danek, location unknown, is
mad because the magazine did not feature Val Venis and the Godfather as future
tag team champions in its August issue.
One fan, a guy named Dann Cunningham, challenges an August article that claimed
that Prince Albert – the future Tensai – has a Bachelor’s degree. WWF
Magazine does its own form of a burn by picturing Albert with his diploma:
Albert proceeds to let Mr. Cunningham know that his
“picture speaks louder than words” and reminds him that “If you can grab it,
pierce it!” Wiser words have never been
spoken. A female fan criticizes an
August article about women in business since the article implied that women need
to use their sexuality to get ahead. The
response given is that Debra uses sexual charms to her advantage and “If your
boss-to-be [in an interview] screams ‘We want PUPPIES!’ – you know that Debra
got to him first!” Seriously? What boss does that in an interview? Probably this guy:
By the way, how much was WWF Magazine during this time?
Well, according to a subscription card that I still had in the magazine,
you could get two years of it for $35 and one year for $19.97.
One of my favorite parts of the magazine was the “Rookies
to Legends” section, which usually broke down a new act. Very few of the acts profiled became legends,
such as our profiled stars this month:
The Mean Street Posse.
You know, Shane McMahon’s buddies from the “mean streets”
of Greenwich – Rodney, Pete Gas, and Joey Abs.
The article tells us that they helped Shane McMahon beat down punks in
the streets and in the classroom. It
then chronicles their federation exploits and you can clearly tell this was
during the Russo era as they were kicked out of the company after losing to Pat
Patterson and Gerald Brisco and yet e-emerged when Shane took control of the
company “for a short time.” These guys
never quite lived up to the hype, as they were supposed to bring their “money,
power, and brute force” to bear in the WWF.
During this time, WWF
Magazine was also rotating Vic Venom’s “The Bite” column out to a guest
superstar. Venom was Vince Russo’s alter
ego and was his impression of Dave Meltzer within the pages of the
magazine. Our guest this month is
Stephanie McMahon, who recounts her troubled relationship with Shane. She tells us of Shane ripping up her stuffed
animals – one of which was a stuffed giant pink animal named Big Dog – how he
called her a slut when she wore makeup at school, and how he sent the Mean
Street Posse after her when she went to a party. Unfortunately, we do not get any stories of
Shane mixing it up with Randy Savage.
But beyond that, we get a photograph that you will not be seeing on the
WWE Network anytime soon!
As Scott conducts the David Crockett Memorial Tag Team
Tournament, the next major piece is fitting as we get a profile of the
Undertaker-Big Show tag team. Their
name? The Brothers Grim. Yes, that is the name writer Bill Banks
assigns to this team. At least they are
better than the Grimm Twins, the repackaged Blu Twins that graced our screen in 1996!
We are informed that Kane is a target of the so-called
Brothers Grim because “he cost the Big Show his destiny as the 1999 King of the
Ring.” So before Alberto del Rio was
proclaiming his long last search of destiny, reminiscent of Ponce de Leon’s
quest for the Fountain of Youth, the Big Show was complaining about his. It predicts that the Undertaker will
eventually turn on Big Show to become WWF champion yet again, a puzzling
conclusion when the Big Show had already turned three times in 1999 up to this
point. Of course, Mr. Banks hedges his
bets by saying that Big Show may one day challenge the Undertaker for the title,
a match that would have sent posters here running for the ticket offices
One of our feature articles this month is on Chyna’s
relationship with Triple H. This
magazine is the gift that keeps on giving.
This article will probably never see the light of day out of Titan
Towers ever again as it blatantly states that “Without her [Chyna’s] support
Triple H might have failed in his bid to earn a top spot in the business.” According to Banks, the Chyna-Triple H
relationship is much like another political power couple:
Great parallel, that is if Bill, after he cheated on
Hillary, tossed her to the curb and Hillary went into the adult film
industry. On second thought, let’s not
think about that. More hilarity ensues
in the article as it questions whether Triple H could “swallow his pride” and
give Chyna credit for helping him win the title. Even more, it asks “If Triple H were to
monopolize the spotlight and keep all the glory for himself, how would his female
counterpart react?” Shoot comments…
We even get a photograph of Teddy Long, serving as a
referee at the time, pleading in vain with Shane McMahon to book a tag team
Does anyone remember these toys? I never owned one of these because I did not
get the appeal. Who wants action figures
that sweat? Maybe Vince will reintroduce
this idea based on Big E’s alleged sweating problem:
The next piece, entitled “The Christian Spirit,”
describes Christian’s career with the Brood up to this point. It heralds Christian as the spiritual force
behind the group, while Edge is the intellectual and Gangrel is the physical. It says his spirituality reflects a higher
being who does not have a name and posits that he might heal the recent rift
between Edge and Gangrel that split the Brood apart. However, it says that his negotiating
position might be compromised because – get this – Christian has become a sex
symbol and Gangrel is jealous! The piece
becomes quasi-homoerotic in stating that “There is nothing sexier, more
desirous, more compellingly delicious than a man of mystery.”
Or one could say that nothing is sexier than this month’s
pin up calendar. I remember my mother prohibiting
these in the house:
The feature piece of the month is about “Big Shot”
Hardcore Holly’s cult following among WWF fans, especially those of the
Internet variety. You see, these fans
have been campaigning for him on wwf.com, but this is awful because it is
forcing Holly to take unnecessary risks!
Everything in this magazine has some kind of parallel, so this one says
that he is going to end up like Napoleon at Waterloo, who was too confident in
his abilities and lost everything.
Shockingly, they even reference Holly’s prior gimmick as a stock car
driver. Holly also had a
quasi-partnership with the Big Show during this period that I do not remember
very much. This is the most rationally
written piece yet in the article, probably because it came from Kevin Kelly. And who knew these articles could be
Next, we get the results from Fully Loaded 1999. WWF
Magazine was always late with the pay-per-view results, typically by two
months, so you have a magazine from October giving a summary of events that
took place from a pay-per-view that is a distant memory by this point. The pay-per-view recaps used to be my favorite
feature, but over time the writing staff put little effort into talking about
the play-by-play of a match. For
Back in 1995, the magazine would have given a page of
coverage for each of these matches.
Instead, we get a mere two paragraphs about the Edge-Jeff Jarrett
Intercontinental title match and the “Acolytes Rules Match” between the Hardy
Boyz, the reigning champions at the time, and Michael Hayes and the Acolytes.
This month’s “Private Eye” feature, which followed a WWF
superstar outside of the ring, covers Steve Austin’s weekends with the Philadelphia
Phillies and New York Mets. Austin threw
out the first pitch in a Subway Series Game between the Yankees and the Mets in
July. Evidently, Austin was a good luck
charm as three teams he threw the opening pitch for that year – the Phillies,
Mets, and Royals – all won their respective home games. The article credits Austin with giving some
pointers to Mets pinch hitter Matt Franco, who drove in the winning run in a
“dramatic” 9-8 victory.
My other favorite column was always “The Informer,” which
provided gossip, rumors, and legitimate backstage news about the company. This month’s section includes Paul Bearer in
makeup and a wig, a legitimately horrifying sight:
The article blasts Internet fans for saying that Billy
Gunn was not main event material after winning the King of the Ring. It promises that Gunn will prove “BEYOND A
SHADOW OF A DOUBT that he is a main event man.”
Sadly, this is where the lag time between the magazine and reality
worked against the Informer, as Gunn had been promptly and soundly dispatched
by the Rock when this issue hit newsstands.
And why is Paul Bearer in a wig?
Well, evidently the Godfather taught he and Prince Albert all about
being a ho and how “pimpin’ ain’t easy!”
The magazine ends with fans writing their favorite
superstars and asking them questions.
Road Dogg says that his toughest opponent is an attorney, because you
see he and X-Pac were in an angle in the summer of 1999 where they fought
Chyna, Triple H, and Billy Gunn over the rights to the D-Generation X
name. A feud about trademarks! The Rock makes fun of a fan named Terrence
before telling him that he will not waste his time disclosing where he buys his
clothes because Terrence cannot afford them.
The Rock recommends that Terrence “Stick to the Fruit of the Looms and
work your way up…!” And lastly,
Christian rebuffs a fan request to divulge his idea of a perfect woman with a
bunch of cryptic language that makes little sense. For example, he says that in his “world
‘love’ and ‘hate’ are both four-letter words that cause pain…They only serve to
feed the inner demons that consume [him].”
And so ends the October 1999 issue of WWF magazine. The next magazine drawn from the box is the
first issue I ever owned: the June 1995
edition of WWF magazine. Inside are the
recap of WrestleMania XI, the reunited partnership of Diesel and Shawn
Michaels, and some whacky 1995 goodness!