(Despite one frequent bloggie pondering whether I’d review this show for $100, it’s not actually available on video or DVD and it’s incomplete on YouTube anyway. Morals are one thing, but I have a family to feed and it’s not a life-defining choice for me anyway. If you guys want to take up a collection for that and the Extreme Reunion show, I’m game as long as someone can find a complete copy. But here’s a compromise of sorts for the moment, as reader Rock Star Gary (of rockstargary.com according to the watermark on the Word file) offered up his review of the show and the next night’s RAW is Owen, which I will post tomorrow.)
By Rock Star Gary
Live from Kansas City, MO (attendance: 18, 244)
Airdate: May 23, 1999
Hosted by Jim Ross (JR) and Jerry “the King” Lawler
We begin the show with a soliloquy from Undertaker professing his ministry of darkness and his mission to take Stone Cold Steve Austin’s most prized possession – the WWF title!
Earlier tonight on Sunday Night Heat Mideon of the Corporate Ministry cracked a steel chair upon Vince McMahon’s ankle on the steel steps!
Match 1 for the WWF tag team titles: X-Pac & Kane (champions) versus D’Lo Brown & Sexual Chocolate Mark Henry (w/ Ivory)
JR right off the bat accentuates the youth in the ring by stating the combatants are in their 20s (Hint, hint WCW). The crowd lets D’Lo know that he sucks. Prior to locking up with D’Lo X-Pac crotch-chops Ivory. D’Lo uses his size to his advantage while X-Pac uses his speed and agility. 5 minutes in and X-Pac unsuccessfully attempts to break out the Bronco Buster on D’Lo. Henry and Kane tag in. After an avalanche Henry press-drops Kane—a move similar to what the Ultimate Warrior used to do to jobbers. Kane proceeds to no-sell and deliver some clotheslines. Kane follows up with an Irish Whip into a dropkick! The dynamic changes when D’Lo is tagged in as he uses agility in his exchange with Kane. After a brief flurry by X-Pac D’Lo feigns a knee injury so that Henry can crotch X-Pac on the ring post. X-Pac gets pressed and hot shot on the barricade by Henry. Back in and D’Lo executes a running powerbomb to X-Pac. Kane, however, breaks up the pin attempt. After both teams exchange tags again Kane slams the 400 pounder and then hits a tilt-a-whirl slam on D’Lo. X-Pac then tries a plancha onto Henry but gets caught and rammed into the ring post back-first. Reverse suplex by Kane. Double-teaming on Kane leads to a near pinfall but with an authoritative kick-out by Kane. That sends D’Lo to the floor! Kane mounts the turnbuckle and dives onto both D’Lo and Henry! Top rope clothesline by Kane. D’Lo makes the save. X-Pac comes in and gives the Bronco Buster to D’Lo. Kane then chokeslams Henry for the 3-count!
Winners and still WWF Tag Team Champions…Kane and X-Pac! Hot match! The crowd was into it. Big man-small man dynamic was used very well while Kane’s talents were showcased.
Michael Cole speculates that due to Vince’s injury he may not be able to serve as the second special guest referee for the title match tonight.
Hardcore Holly is interviewed and cuts a promo about Al Snow. He wants to “peel Al’s head wide open.” Ick.
Match 2 for the WWF Hardcore Championship: Al Snow (champion) (w/ Head) versus Hardcore Holly
Snow also brings a moose head (not the beer) to the ring. After a brief exchange Holly and Snow head outside the ring where Snow meets the railing face-first. Then Holly meets the steel steps on a reversal of an Irish whip. Having grabbed a cookie sheet Holly smacks Snow from the outside coming in and then again for a near fall. In order to cool down Snow’s need for Head Holly grabs the fire extinguisher but can’t get it to work. He finally pulls the pin out of it but Snow hits him with the cookie sheet inadvertently setting off the extinguisher. Snow then grabs the extinguisher and gives Holly a mouthful. Yuck! They take the bout into the crowd all the way to the concession stand. A series of concessions are exchanged almost leading them into the women’s restroom. Funnel cake for everyone! Especially for Holly who is wearing powdered sugar on his face. After a near fall on the concrete they head back to the ring. From the railing Snow executes a leg drop that barely makes contact with Holly’s head. He then throws Holly in the ring, puts him in the corner, and performs an excruciating stomp to the groin! The crowd cringes for that one. Snow grabs a chair from ringside, then goes to the other side of the ring, and pulls out a table! Back in the ring upon setting up the table Snow is on the receiving end of a patented Holly dropkick. The “Hollycaust” (Falcon arrow) gets a 2 count. After jawing with the referee Holly gets caught in the Snow Plow for another near fall. Ballshot #2 to Holly. It’s no wonder why he has such a negative attitude. Snow grabs the Head and gets DDT’d on a chair. Holly sets up the table in the ring only to fall prey to a powerbomb through it! Snow falls forward and gets the pin to retain.
Standard hardcore fare here. Move along.
Michael Cole interviews Pat Patterson and Gerry Brisco. An ambulance has been called supposedly to take Vince to the hospital for his ankle. Patterson swears it’s broken.
And now the moment no one neither expected nor wanted. The promo for the Intercontinental title match is shown. JR states that “we know it’s Owen Hart” referring to the Blue Blazer. Then clips of the Blue Blazer running wild are shown. The Blue Blazer’s words of wisdom to the kids: “Take your vitamins. Say your prayers. And drink your milk!” JR tries to throw it to an earlier interview with Kevin Kelly and the Blue Blazer and states: “We got big problems out here.”
During the interview the Blue Blazer speaks as a superhero calling the Godfather his arch-nemesis. He professes that good will triumph over evil due to his daily intake of vitamins, prayers, and milk.
JR then begins to apologize. He states that the Blue Blazer was supposed to make a “spectacular” entrance and something has gone wrong. He states that the EMTs are now tending to him. According to JR, “This is not a part of the entertainment here tonight. This is as real as real can be here.” The camera only shows JR and shots of the crowd. “This is not your typical wrestling storyline.” The Blue Blazer was supposed to descend from the ceiling. JR speculates that possibly the harness broke. He then segues into the Nicole Bass/Val Venis versus Jeff Jarrett/Debra mixed tag match.
During the promo the match is described as a love rectangle. Nicole has her eyes on Val while Val has his eyes on Debra. Jarrett defends the honor of Debra by destroying Nicole Bass with his guitar prompting Val to fight Jarrett. Nicole vows to make “chow’ out of Debra’s puppies.
JR brings us out of the promo to note that this is “not part of the show. This is not a wrestling angle.” Again JR notes that the WWF will not sensationalize this by putting it on camera. According to JR Owen Hart has been “terribly injured”. Lawler rejoins JR at the desk and states “No. It doesn’t look good at all.”
Kevin Kelly interviews Jeff Jarrett and Debra. Jeff is noticeably upset. Jarrett wishes Owen well with a very serious tone in his voice. After Jarrett does a promo on Val and Nicole he says: “Owen, you’re in our prayers.” Debra then states “Owen, we love you.”
More on this at the end of the review.
Match 3: Jeff Jarrett and WWF Women’s Champion Debra versus Val Venis and Nicole Bass in a mixed tag match
The first words out of JR’s mouth are “Unfortunately, the show must go on here.” Updates on Owen Hart are promised. JR stresses that Debra is not a trained wrestler yet will compete in this “soap opera-laced confrontation”. JR spews his “bowling shoe ugly” comment in anticipation of this match. Val confuses Kansas with Missouri as the “Show Me State”. JR rallies off Nicole’s stats as 6’3” and about 240 pounds. As a small aside it’s painfully obvious the director is not putting the corner where Owen fell in the shot from the hard camera. At the very beginning of the match the crowd proudly wants “puppies”. Val gets the early advantage and gives Jarrett a butterfly suplex. Interesting to note Teddy Long is the referee for this match. A neckbreaker, right-hand, and DDT to the shoulder is applied by Jarrett. Val catches Jarrett coming off the ropes with a powerslam and a near fall. Another whip into the ropes and Jarrett receives a spinebuster from Venis. Bass is tagged in which brings in Debra. Debra’s outfit not only showcases her lung capacity but also her toned ass. Debra climbs on Bass’ back and gets placed into the corner. Bass misses a blind charge so Debra makes her eat turnbuckle and literally kicks her ass. Jarrett is tagged in and puts Venis in the sleeper. Val reverses into a couple of knee lifts and a Russian legsweep. Val then vehemently swivels his hips in celebration. He then misses a middle rope elbow. Jarrett then executes the Stroke on Venis. Bass breaks up the pin and Jarrett threatens Bass with violence. The referee is distracted by Jarrett and Debra waffles Bass with the guitar. Bass no-sells the weak shot and rips Debra’s shirt off to reveal a black bra. Jarrett threatens to violently educate Bass with the guitar but gets suplexed by Venis. Val then heads to the top rope and hits the Money Shot for the pin. Bass celebrates the victory by planting a big wet one on Val much to his surprise! Val smiles and seems quite impressed.
Definitely this was neither WWF PG content here nor a technical masterpiece by any means.
Backstage Vince McMahon is on a gurney. Cole attempts to interview him and Shane antagonizes Vince while flaunting his referee’s shirt. Vince appears to be unable to work in the main event as he gets loaded into the ambulance.
Send your cable bill to the address on your screen to receive an Undertaker pewter pendant!
Outlaw versus Outlaw is then promoted. Mr. Ass is born and has turned on DX members X-Pac and Road Dogg.
Kevin Kelly interviews Road Dogg. Road Dogg doesn’t hesitate to offer prayers to Owen Hart. 13 years later and I still enjoy Jesse James’ “Oh, you didn’t know” bit. Road Dogg hits his catchphrase then recites his spiel with full crowd participation. Road Dogg wants a piece of Billy Gunn’s ass. I hope he’s hungry.
Kevin Kelly then interviews Billy Gunn. Gunn states that he’s been “carrying you around like a bad case of the clap” with regards to Road Dogg. If I were him I’d seek out a physician.
Match 4: Road Dogg versus “Mr. Ass” Billy Gunn
JR pumps up Billy Gunn on commentary but states “Don’t count out the Marine!” in favor of Road Dogg. Fists are exchanged and once Road Dogg gets the advantage he clotheslines Gunn over the top rope to the floor. Gunn takes a powder while Road Dogg gives chase. As a quick aside it is astonishing how much everyone uses the letters WWF rather than World Wrestling Federation. It’s hard to argue against the World Wildlife Fund with their beef on this matter. While still outside the ring Road Dogg whips Gunn into the steps which he clears. Back in the ring after a brief flurry Gunn sends Road Dogg over the top to the floor. Road Dogg’s face then meets the steel steps and the ring post. Gunn puts Road Dogg back in the ring and applies a standing vertical suplex. Road Dogg attempts to take the advantage but receives a powerslam off the ropes. Legdrop gets a near fall. Gunn continues his offense by applying a neckbreaker. Gunn stalls by jawing with the crowd then grabs a sleeper. Road Dogg might be counting sheep right here. The crowd must also feel the effects of this move because they’re eerily silent as well. Road Dogg’s arm doesn’t go down the third time and he fights out and reverses the sleeper on Gunn. After Gunn escapes Road Dogg increases the intensity of the match and gives Gunn a “shake-rattle-right hand” called by JR. Shakey-shakey kneedrop follows. Gunn rolls outside and nails Road Dogg with the timekeeper’s hammer. Since the referee was too close to the action and didn’t see it the match continues. Lawler tries to sell the move as a hammerlock. After some brawling Gunn gets the quick advantage using his wrist tape for a clothesline. Then he hits the Fame-Asser for the pin with a handful of tights.
Gunn was definitely not over with the crowd as a heel. The crowd only got into it with Road Dogg on offense. This was definitely not a feud settling match or a classic.
WWF King of the Ring airs on PPV on June 27.
Michael Cole interviews Shane McMahon. He states that he will be the sole referee and will call it down the middle.
Match 5 Eight man elimination tag match: Corporate Ministry (Bossman, Viscera, and the Acolytes) versus The Union (Mankind, Test, Ken Shamrock, and the Big Show)
This PPV isn’t Survivor Series. What’s this match doing here? On a positive note Big Show leaps over the top rope to enter it. Viscera starts off with Test. Viscera takes the early advantage and catches Test with a modified powerslam. Test gains the advantage and delivers a dropkick to Viscera! Mistakenly Test tries to antagonize the rest of the Ministry and gets caught in a belly-to-belly suplex by Viscera. Bradshaw tags in and applies a Russian legsweep. Test meets boot on a blind charge, but Bradshaw sprints out of the corner and receives a powerslam then a sidewalk slam. Surprisingly Test mounts the top turnbuckle and delivers an elbow! Faarooq makes the save. Shortly thereafter the Clothesline from Hell from Bradshaw finishes off Test. Shamrock comes in and wallops Bradshaw with a kick to the head. Bradshaw gains the advantage and gives Ken a fallaway slam. Shamrock regains control and tries to apply an MMA-style arm-bar submission but Faarooq saves again. Shamrock then gives Bradshaw the huracanrana followed by an anklelock causing Bradshaw to tap out. Faarooq takes immediate control on Shamrock by giving him a powerslam. Viscera tags in and sidewalk slams Shamrock. A botched crucifix by Shamrock leads to a Viscera elbow and a near fall. Faarooq comes back in but gets caught with a high knee. Modified suplex by Shamrock leads to another anklelock. Bossman helps Faarooq reach the ropes but Shamrock won’t let go. The referee gets in Ken’s face and gets belly-to-belly suplexed. Big Show comes in and chokeslams Faarooq which JR calls the “showstopper”. Teddy Long comes in to make the count and Faarooq has been eliminated. Meanwhile Shamrock has been disqualified for not breaking on a five count and referee abuse. Bossman comes in and is rightfully hesitant to hook up with Big Show. Once he does Show powers Bossman completely out of the ring with a tackle. Bossman wants to leave but get unceremoniously thrown back in the ring by Show. Show tosses Bossman across the ring similar to the way that Bam Bam Bigelow would throw Little Spike Dudley. Nash choke in the corner leads to a Bossman field goal. A double team puts Show on the mat. Mankind has yet to get into the match but receives “Mick” chants from the crowd. Show fights out of a chinlock and delivers a big boot. A second showstopper is blocked by Viscera. All 4 men are in the ring and Show slams Viscera! Mankind and Bossman tangle inside the ring while Show and Viscera fight on the outside. Bossman delivers his standard leg across the back of the neck on Mankind. They fight outside the ring as the two giants disappear backstage. Mankind eats the steel steps. Back in the ring Mankind gains control and delivers a double-arm DDT to Bossman. And now it’s time for Mr. Socko! The Union wins!
Long match with some good spots by the big men. Test made a great impression here, but the focus was primarily on Mankind getting the final decision and the win for the Union.
Uh-oh! JR brings us back to earlier in the evening. JR states that Owen Hart fell from the ceiling. To quote JR: “I have the unfortunate responsibility to let everyone know that Owen Hart has died. Owen Hart has tragically died from that accident here tonight.” We now take a brief moment of silence.
A promo for Rock-HHH is shown. According to HHH Rock’s fate is in “my hands”.
Kevin Kelly interviews The Rock who is sporting a cast on his left arm. Before Rock can begin his promo Chyna interrupts but only acts as a distraction because HHH hits Rock from behind. Chyna hands HHH a pair of scissors and HHH tries to cut the cast off Rock’s arm. However, Mankind comes out to help the Rock but gets double-teamed then hit with a metal pipe.
Match 6: HHH (with Chyna) versus The Rock
Despite HHH’s belief that The Rock won’t show the Rock answers the bell by making HHH eat his fists a few times. Rock invites HHH to charge him but Rock evades him and sends him over the top. Outside the ring HHH and The Rock brawl around ringside. A clothesline puts HHH down. HHH’s face meets the Spanish announce table and The Rock grabs the headset. The Rock dedicates his next move to his Latino followers and sends HHH over the table into the announcers. That was awesome! HHH regains momentum and slams The Rock’s arm into the English announce table. A second slam of the arm shoots the cast right off! HHH then proceeds to knock The Rock silly with his own cast. They brawl back into the ring and HHH receives a Samoan drop. HHH responds with the high knee. The Rock ends up on the floor and Chyna rams The Rock’s “broken” arm into the English announce table again! She does it a second time and JR is outraged! JR refers to Chyna as a “witch”. Chyna then forearms The Rock to the head. HHH makes The Rock eat more table. HHH tries to clothesline The Rock but The Rock thought the same thing so both men are down. Back in the ring The Rock hammers HHH and delivers the DDT. The Rock drapes his arm over HHH and gets a very near fall. HHH retaliates with an armbar takedown off the ropes. HHH persistently works the arm and even rams the arm into the ring post. Off the ropes and HHH sends The Rock over the top onto his busted arm. The Rock’s arm then meets the steel steps. HHH hammerlocks The Rock and sends him shoulder-first into the ring post. Back in the ring they try to deliver blows to one another; however, since they have fought one another on numerous occasions they know what’s coming. Nice nod to continuity. The Rock attempts the Rock Bottom but HHH blocks it and delivers his own DDT. Chyna grabs a chair to give to HHH, but Earl Hebner steals it away from HHH and tosses it out of the ring. Hebner and HHH exchange each other’s displeasure with that decision. HHH just wallops Hebner! HHH gets promptly disqualified. He brings the chair back in the ring, but The Rock kicks it out of his hands. The Rock grabs the chair and belts HHH right in the head busting him open! Hebner attempts to raise The Rock’s left arm but The Rock felt pain and punches out Hebner! The Rock helps HHH meet the ring post and the steel steps to draw some more blood. The Rock then hammers HHH with JR’s electric fan. Back in the ring The Rock works over HHH while Chyna brings in a chair. The Rock stops her with a kick to her gut. He raises the chair and HHH pushes The Rock right into Chyna knocking her completely out of the ring! However, The Rock grabs HHH and gives him the Rock Bottom much to the crowd’s delight! And now The Rock wants to deliver the People’s Elbow. But first The Rock places the chair on HHH’s face. As The Rock glides across the ring to attempt it Chyna grabs his foot. The Rock loses his cool and grabs Chyna by the hair to pull her up on the apron. HHH then levels The Rock with a chair to the left arm! Another chairshot to the arm by HHH! Another chairshot! And another! Here comes Mankind with the aforementioned metal pipe to put a stop to this!
WWF Main Event Style was definitely showcased in this match. While the Cerebral Assassin had not yet surfaced HHH was sowing the seeds here for his upcoming push. I found the post-match shenanigans much more entertaining than the match. These guys would have better matches down the road.
A promo for the main event is shown including the infamous “Where to, Stephanie?” quote by Undertaker. Stephanie is shown tied to Undertaker’s symbol. Stone Cold comes to her rescue. Shane McMahon betrays his own family for the sake of the Ministry. While Shane appoints himself as the special guest referee Commissioner Shawn Michaels also appoints Vince McMahon as special guest referee. In one segment Undertaker is tied to his own symbol while in another segment Austin is tied to the symbol high in the air. Undertaker wants Austin’s title and the respect as the lord of darkness.
Match 7 for the WWF Championship: Stone Cold Steve Austin (champion) versus Undertaker (with Paul Bearer)
Shane makes his entrance; however, Pat Patterson also comes out to the ring sporting a referee’s shirt. I must admit that Undertaker’s Corporate Ministry music is extremely cool. Undertaker takes exception to Pat Patterson’s presence in this match and emphatically chokeslams him! Austin’s music hits and the crowd EXPLODES! A brawl ensues in the ring until Austin is dumped out. Crowd loudly chants for Austin. Undertaker tries his best to keep Austin out of the ring but receives a hangman’s neckbreaker on the top rope. Austin delivers a clothesline via the top rope! Austin proceeds to stomp a mudhole and walk it dry. He then gives a non-verbal suggestion to Shane when his warnings go unnoticed. He flips him off again and Shane pulls Austin away. According to JR Austin cannot touch Shane or he will lose the WWF title! Due to Shane’s interference Undertaker gets his own mudhole but chokes Austin to a very slow 5-count from Shane. Undertaker then proceeds to work on Austin’s left leg. Just for clarification purposes by this point in Austin’s career he only wore a knee brace on his left knee. So Undertaker working on the left leg makes for some great psychology. Austin breaks with a series of leg drops to Undertaker’s head. Austin opens up a can and then goes to work on Undertaker’s left leg. At one point in the corner Austin kicks Undertaker’s leg to where it gets tied up in the ropes as Undertaker falls to the mat. OUCH! Shane assists Undertaker before he rips his knee apart. They brawl outside the ring and Undertaker’s knee meets the steel steps. They’re quite popular tonight! Austin takes Undertaker back in the ring and continues to work on the leg. Paul Bearer attempts to interfere on behalf of Undertaker and eats a fist from Austin! Undertaker overtakes Austin and throws him into the crowd. Quite the paradox there. The crowd once again shows its support for the Rattlesnake. Back to ringside and the Undertaker chokes Austin with a video cable. Austin meets those popular steel steps. Undertaker then pushes the top step off, takes the bottom steps and kicks them into Austin’s leg! They fight back into the ring where Undertaker attempts to tombstone Stone Cold but he slips out the back and clotheslines Undertaker out of the ring. Undertaker attempts to pull Austin under the bottom rope by the leg but Austin kicks him onto the announce table then rams his head into it. Austin manhandles Undertaker and throws him back in the ring. Austin goes for the Thesz press but gets caught and spinebustered! Austin tries to crawl outside the ring only to be met by Paul Bearer’s shoe twice! They brawl all the way to the entrance where Undertaker punches out the makeshift wall of glass! Austin has him meet another part of the glass with his head. Once again they brawl for a while outside but upon re-entry the crowd is eerily silent. Undertaker controls with a choke but Austin turns the tide with a low blow. Austin then drops the middle rope elbow. Pin appears to be academic and Shane is in position. He counts 1, 2, but doesn’t count 3. While Austin berates Shane Paul Bearer tosses a chair into the ring. Undertaker grabs the chair but gets caught with a kick to the gut. Austin then whips Undertaker directly into Shane and brains the Undertaker with the chair! Austin goes for the pin but Shane is out. Gerry Brisco runs into the ring but can only count to 2 before Undertaker kicks out. Undertaker seizes control and then punches Brisco out! With no referee the crowd chants for HBK. Undertaker hits a flying clothesline. To add more intrigue Vince McMahon hobbles to ringside. Austin attempts a Stunner but gets countered. Each man knocks each other down with a clothesline. Vince counts to 7 when both men get up to continue brawling. Austin then hits the Stone Cold Stunner! Vince goes to make the count and is interrupted at 2 by Shane! Vince tries to get in Shane’s face and pushes him down. Austin spins Vince around and Shane pushes Vince directly into Austin. Undertaker then gets on top of Austin where Shane fast counts the pin! Undertaker has won the WWF title! Austin puts the boots to Undertaker. The Corporate Ministry hits the ring. Austin gives the Stunner to the Bossman and then to Mideon! The Acolytes try to hit the ring but Austin commandeers a chair to keep them back. Austin has been screwed out of the WWF title by Shane McMahon!
Wow! Drama, psychology, and a ballsy ending make for a really good match. While some would say that Shane screwing Austin was a foregone conclusion the storytelling still entertained me.
Overall, in spite of what occurred during the first hour of the show I felt this show delivered strongly from an entertainment perspective. While WWF Main Event Style took some but not all of the psychology out of the matches I enjoyed this show for what it brought to the table wrestling-wise.
However, it cannot be ignored that a long-time player on the WWF roster lost his life during this show. Owen Hart did not deserve to die this way. While I applaud both WCW and WWF for trying to push the envelope to generate interest and income losing Owen Hart this way was a major eye-opener to everyone. I hope Owen Hart is resting in peace while his family misses him every single day. Whereas some wrestlers lost their lives due to illicit or prescription drugs Owen Hart’s death was an accident that wasn’t supposed to happen to such a well-respected member of the WWF locker room.
Should the show have been stopped? If so, at what point should it be stopped? Do you stop it right after the accident? Or do you stop it after JR makes his necessary announcement? Or do you stop it at all? Over 18,000 witnessed the event live in KC that evening. The buyrate for the show was a tremendous 1.24. Could you imagine how many refunds and/or lawsuits the WWF would have to endure if they had stopped the show? WCW overran their 3-hour timeslot just 7 months prior to this show and was forced to fork over serious money in refunds alone. I’m sure the WWF knew already it would be dealing with serious negative publicity from this accident. And they did. The negative publicity from having to stop the show on Sunday and possibly completing the remainder of the show in a different town on Tuesday doesn’t make the company look good in my eyes. For the most part the WWF works in a democratic environment within a capitalistic society. The right decision was to keep doing business and handle the publicity at a later time.