Date: August 22, 1999
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
Well not much has changed since last year. Austin is still dominating the wrestling world, but he’d be injured very soon and get run over, leaving for a year. Tonight though, he’s facing the young stud known as HHH and Mankind in a triple threat for the belt. The only big change that’s happened is HHH and Rock have switched sides in the eternal struggle between heel and face.
Also, a lot of the Attitude Era favorites are here now, such as the APA, the hardcore title, the Big Show and Billy Gunn. Oh and Al Snow, but no one likes him. (Foley is my all time favorite. I couldn’t help it.) Angle has been there for about 4 months, Jericho has been there less than two weeks, debuting 13 days prior to this show, and Benoit and co. would show up at the end of January.
The big deal to this show is that there’s a special referee for the main event: the governor of the state of Minnesota, Jesse “The Body” Ventura!!!! This was huge at the time because he was in office at the time, so if nothing else it got a lot of mainstream publicity. Therefore, let’s get to this. Oh and one more thing: Smackdown would debut as a regular series four days after this.
We get a recap of guest referee history (coming soon to a history channel near YOU) which include Tyson and McMahon and McMahon Jr. HHH and Austin say they’ll beat up Jesse if they have to, but he says he has the power. Now we’re in the arena with a huge pyro show. Jesse is in the back with HHH and Chyna, saying that HHH has to follow the rules or he won’t be champion. We cut to Jericho from earlier today, waiting on someone. Harold Finkle comes running up and apologizes for being late.
IC/European Titles: D’Lo Brown vs. Jeff Jarrett
Yes, Brown has both titles. Jarrett comes out with Debra, who is in a bikini and a coat. He sends her back, much to the King’s dismay, but we see her with Brown who she accompanies to ringside instead. Ross tries to convince the people that the pop is for Brown and not Debra. Even I don’t buy that one Jimmy boy. They talk about Brown’s incredible weight loss as at one point he weighed over 400lbs, yet for this match he weighs in at about 250.
That really is not only impressive but should be applauded, if nothing else for the health aspect. Once again, the lady is the main focus of this match, or in this case her chest is. If her face wasn’t so unnatural looking, she’d be VERY hot instead of just having a huge chest. The match is short, yet interesting. We’re in the fast paced, more intense style that’s always fun. Here, Brown actually controls most of this, which isn’t something that you see very often actually.
Jarrett makes him look good, which is better because Jarrett would be gone within two months, heading back to WCW as a big name until they closed. Anyway, Debra gets on the apron, yet Jarrett grabs the guitar and yells at her. If he’s going to use the guitar and Debra is there, why not hit him while she has the referee? Anyway, Mark Henry runs out and helps Brown, only to nail him seconds later to give Jeff two titles. Debra wasn’t with Brown and it was a swerve, which is fine I guess. At least they didn’t’ try to make it something major.
Rating: B-. Solid opener here, with some nice intense stuff. Never been a fan of unified titles like this but I guess it’s ok. Debra was the big deal here, but unlike last year with Sable it was more subtle and it certainly wasn’t like having a big spotlight on her all night, which was a major plus. Not a great match, but good for an opener.
Edge and Christian say they’ll win the tag team turmoil match.
Tag Team Turmoil
I’ve always liked this idea. You have 6 teams. Two start and have a tag match. The losers are eliminated, and then the third team comes in. You keep going until there’s one team left. The winners get a tag title shot tomorrow night on Raw. Oh while Edge and Christian are coming out, JR is still upset about what Henry did, because D’lo was trying to help his career. My goodness what would he have been like had Brown not helped?
Anyway, we start with E/C and the New Brood, aka the Hardys, who are heels if you can believe that. The Dudleyz weren’t quite there yet, but very soon these three would start dominating the tag division as you already know. The match starts with a standard back and forth fast paced match. I’ll spare a lot of the details here as most of these are going to last about three minutes at most. It amazes me that you have these four guys and Matt is easily the least successful of them all.
Who would have believed that you have at least 13 world title reigns in there? That’s unbelievable. Anyway, we go to the floor and it gets insane. You can tell how much these four are loving this as they’re killing each other out there. When the Dudleys came in a few months or maybe even weeks, the ante would be upped even more, especially with the ladders becoming more prevalent. Anyway, Edge hits an electric chair followed by what I think is a diving elbow from Christian to eliminate the Hardys.
Out next are Mideon and Viscera. And here is where the match starts to become an issue with the time. This lasts all of two minutes so there’s not a lot I can say. It might be better for it to be short though, given the wrestling abilities or lack thereof in the new team out there. Big Daddy V is somehow more annoying here with that stupid looking yellow Mohawk of his.
He uses that spin kick which is one of his best ever, nearly hitting Edge in the shoulder. It looks impressive, but it never actually connects, at least not that I can remember. Other than that, this is exactly what you would expect. Christian gets beaten up, Edge comes in and they double team Vis before spearing Mideon for the pin, and we get team #4.
Ross is talking about how spent Edge and Christian must be. Why in the world would they be spent? They’ve been wrestling less than 10 minutes and they get about 45 seconds to rest between falls. To say they’re tired is just stupid. The next team is Droz and Prince Albert. I’ll spare you the jokes about piercings, but years later when I found out what the name meant, I wince every time I hear it.
Anyway, this is more or less a team that was just thrown together because there was nothing else to do with them, which can work just fine. The New Age Outlaws got together this way and it worked fine. Anyway, neither guy was anything special yet and for the most part, they never were period. In case you don’t know, Albert became the A-Train.
Sadly enough, Droz would be paralyzed within two months of this, never walking again for the rest of his life, at least since then. This one goes even shorter, with Edge hitting the Downward Spiral after about two minutes. This is the problem with matches like these: unless you let them go an hour, you make a lot of matches and teams just seem like wastes of time and filler.
The fifth team is the Acolytes, not yet the APA. APA was the team that lost the belts to X-Pac and Kane, the current champions, so this was their chance to get the belts back the next night on Raw. Anyway, they’re the big monsters here and one of my favorite teams at the time, at least until the Dudleyz came in a few weeks later to really breathe new life into the division, not that it really needed it at the time, but it didn’t hurt things at all really.
It’s weird to think that at the time, Simmons was by far and away the most successful of these four, yet in the end, he’ll be the least successful. They just beat the tar out of Edge before we go to a big brawl, with Christian taking over on Farooq. For no reason at all, the Hollies come down as the final team, despite not being in the match yet. I guess they just jumped too early? Anyway, Bradshaw, big clothesline, yeah.
Hollies and APA to end this, and this seems REALLY simple here. The bad team fight over who gets to beat up their opponent, which is something I’d just let them do. If they’re going to expend energy and hurt each other, why stop them? Bradshaw, the Einstein of this group, beats Hardcore up while he’s fighting with Crash.
They both do blind tags, leading to another fight. Simmons, the smart one, just lets them do it. Hardcore turns around and walks into a spinebuster for the pin. See how smart it is to just let them beat each other up? Post match, the Hollies go at it even more. Somehow they would become tag champions someday.
Rating: B-. This is a hard one to call, as it was really 5 matches in one, but there were a lot of squashes in there too. Edge and Christian were on display here, as it was obvious they were the best in the company at this point. Overall, this was fine, but it needed more time, which is saying something as it was almost 20 minutes as it was. These kinds of matches are cool in theory, but they have to be done just right. This one came close to doing that.
Show and Taker are just getting here. Yeah thanks for showing up on time.
We cut to a shot of Pepper, Al Snow’s Chihuahua. He says something about how Bossman promised to get both of them, which he eventually would.
Before the match, Road Dogg, who is billed as a big deal in the division despite winning the title only one time, He challenges the winner of the Hardcore title match for tomorrow night. The more I see of him, the more I really like him. He’s very solid in the ring, he’s great on the mic, the fans are into him, and he has a decent resume. Jericho interrupts him though, as a complete rookie at this point.
He hadn’t even been in the company two weeks at this point. Jericho is on an extension of the stage which is up in the air. This was when he was the king of the internet, kind of like Danielson is today. Everyone knew he had all kinds of talent but was being completely wasted in WCW. In a few months with Angle and Benoit being around, they would start tearing the house down every time they were in the ring together and really revolutionize the company as a whole.
You can tell they trusted Jericho a lot, as he debuted in an argument with the Rock. That’s saying a lot when you think about it. He insults Road Dogg as its clear WWF understood him FAR better than WCW did, putting him with two of the best talkers in the company immediately. He is just tearing Road Dogg apart here, as he has the entire crowd going nuts with insults. Roadie’s response: Why don’t you shut up, boy? Yeah, Jericho is light years ahead of him here.
If you can ever find it online, get a copy of Jericho and Foley’s promos together. It’s just them trading these amazing insults and one liners about each other as they both keep trying to top one another. It’s some of the funniest work I’ve ever seen.
Hardcore Title: Al Snow vs. Big Bossman
Roadie joins JR and Jerry for commentary for this match. He immediately threatens to punch Jerry for using the same lines over and over again, gaining cheers from half the audience. Bossman is champion by the way. They do something that’s pretty cool here, as they give Road Dogg a microphone and he follows them around the arena giving commentary. I really like his style as he sounds like a fan cracking jokes about the match as it goes.
He has a very smooth voice and he’s easy to listen to. It’s also a treat for the fans as they never get to hear anything when they’re in the arena. They go into the back and in a spot I shouldn’t laugh at, Bossman picks up Snow’s dog’s box and throws it and the dog across the floor. They fight towards a Pepsi case, which they knock over.
There was no Pepsi in it which is good because Pepsi sucks. This is actually cool as they go outside the arena and fight more. They go across the street which I’m assuming was closed off and fight on the patio of a bar. This is actually really cool when you think about it, but it easily could have gone bad had cops or something not been filled in on this and thought it was a legit bar fight.
Bossman hits him in the head with a yellow pages, which would hurt actually as those things are heavy, especially for a major city like Minneapolis and possibly St. Paul. They do a bunch of random brawling using a bunch of weapons. Snow with a moonsault off a bar. The funny part of this is I’m reviewing this on the night that IC, Norcal and D-Man got together at a bar.
For no reason at all, Road Dogg hits Bossman in the back with the nightstick, followed by Snow hitting Bossman with some pool balls, which allows Snow to pin him on a pool table. Snow runs back to the arena to check on his dog and for no apparent reason beats up Stevie Richards and Blue Meanie. In the process of this he steals a guy’s crutch, causing him to fall down.
Rating: B. This was a run of the mill hardcore match from this era, meaning it was fun. You have to grade some matches on a different kind of scale and this one of them. You can’t grade this like you would a Benoit/Angle match. For what it was, this was a fun match that worked.
Mankind and Ventura are talking. Ventura says that while Mankind is hardcore and Jess is fine with that, if Foley uses a weapon for the pin, Jesse won’t count it. This somehow turns into a political debate that I’d pay to hear.
There’s another Lion’s Den match tonight, but this one has weapons.
Women’s Title: Ivory vs. Tori
Now this isn’t the Torrie that hung out with Stacy. This is Tori that was just around for awhile, mainly hanging out with X-Pac. She never really did much and from what I remember was AWFUL in the ring. Looked hot though. JR apologizes in advance, knowing that it’s going to suck. They’ve been….I guess you’d call it feuding, but this is pre-Lita/Trish, meaning it’s horrible at best for the most part.
Apparently the dog wasn’t in the dog box when Bossman threw it. This makes no sense as he yelled into the cage before throwing it, but whatever. This was when Ivory was just done being Henry’s sex toy, meaning she was still quite hot as long as you didn’t see her full face. Tori is a women’s wrestler, so naturally she has a martial arts background. Here’s some examples of the epicness of this match: Ivory hits a legdrop. Tori literally does not move.
She doesn’t sell, she doesn’t react, she doesn’t do anything and it just looks bad. Ivory then shouts “get ready for the big swing.” Yes, she’s using a giant swing. The crowd is chanting Take It Off, so you get the idea. The finish…might be the worst I’ve ever seen. I’ve been a fan of wrestling for over 20 years, I’ve seen thousands of matches, and I honestly have no clue what this was supposed to be.
Tori goes for a sunset flip and botches it, leading to Ivory being back in control. That’s all fine and good. They botch it, with Ivory being pushed too far and being out of the pin. Immediately after this, they do the EXACT SAME SPOT, but this time instead of Ivory going down like she normally would, she just sits on Tori’s chest. Ivory then “covers” Tori, who’s shoulder is AT LEAST three inches off the mat, for the pin to retain.
The air was allegedly knocked out of her, but she’s up withing seconds and is just fine. Afterwards, for no apparent reason, Ivory throws her on her stomach and starts to unhook her top. While I’m not complaining…actually yes I am. This makes no sense at all other than to embarrass him I guess, but still what’s the point?
She gets it off but before she can fulfill her latent lesbian desires, Luna freaking Vachon, who I swear has been with the company forever, runs out for the save. It went nowhere as far as I can remember.
Rating: F. Oy this was bad. Tori is just flat out awful and while Ivory would become good, she wasn’t there yet. This was just terrible in any and all forms, with the ending being one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Terrible match to say the least.
Rock is with Michael Cole and embarrasses him, as it’s the best thing Cole did. Rock is just amazing here as he’s at his best, just before his hottest period, his summer long feud with HHH in 2000 over the title. For some reason tonight though, he’s against Billy Gunn, who is shown coming in with someone under a sheet.
We get a very different kind of video package, with Lawler and Ross doing prerecorded stuff which just sounds different. It’s odd to hear those two doing voiceover work. Anyway, basically both guy thinks they’re better with weapons than the other, so we have this to determine it.
Lion’s Den: Steve Blackman vs. Ken Shamrock
They start with Blackman pulling nunchucks from his tights which he swings very well. This is more or less a martial arts match in a cage with weapons. It’s actually cool to see two guys that can do this kind of stuff, but I don’t want to see the weapons in there. Seeing these two trying to choke each other out and kicking the heck out of each other would be fun based on the short bits that they do here. I think you can only win by KO or tapping.
We get a kendo stick brought in. So far the weapons use is limited, which makes this a lot better for me. Blackman was ok I guess, but he just bored me to tears a lot of the time. I hated his time as hardcore champion. Those sticks he would use just drove me insane. As I restart the video after typing that, he’s got the sticks. This fight is ok, but I’m still not sold on the weapons stuff. This is kind of like MMA I guess, but only parts of it.
It’s close to a hybrid I guess you could call it, and that’s just fine. This cage is really small actually. Blackman is dominating, but he keeps letting Shamrock get up and it’s just kind of pointless looking. Shamrock’s belly to bellies are just freaking sick looking. Shamrock kills Blackman with the kendo stick to knock him out and end this. Shamrock celebrates to end this segment.
Rating: B-. This is a very hard one to grade as I could see people loving it, liking it or hating it. I could certainly get the argument of there’s no point to having this on a wrestling show and there’s a certain amount of truth to that. However, there’s certainly wrestling in there, and while I’d prefer no weapons, this was fine I thought.
We get a recap of Shane attacking Test on Heat. This was a very cool angle that I always liked, which directly led to the McMahon-Helmsley Era the next year. Here’s the idea: Vince McMahon, back in the spring, had a stable called the Union, comprised of Test, Shamrock, Big Show and Mankind. They were there to simply help him fight off Taker and the Ministry. The reason you’ve never heard of them was they disbanded after literally a month.
Anyway, one night Stephanie was kidnapped and the Union rescued her. Due to this, Vince granted them all a favor of their choice. Most of them picked matches, but Test said he wanted a date with Stephanie. He got what he wanted, and they became an onscreen couple. Now you have to remember at this time, Test was something like John Morrison is now: young, cool looking, tough, and looking like the next big thing.
Shane, being the big brother, decides that a wrestler isn’t good enough for his sister. Let the HHH jokes begin. Anyway, Stephanie yells at him to stay out, so he gets his friends, the Mean Street Posse, to help him fight Test. Naturally, he beats the tar out of all of them and gives them all injuries. Eventually we get to this: Shane vs. Test in a Love Her or Leave Her Greenwich Street Fight. The idea is simple: if Test wins, Shane stays out of their relationship. If Shane wins, they break up.
Street Fight: Shane McMahon vs. Test
The MSP comes out before we get started, all bandaged up etc. There just happens to be a couch waiting on them. Test has bad ribs btw. Within a minute they’re already out in the crowd. Naturally the Posse is already interfering, but Test throws Shane into them. Stephanie, pre implants, is watching in the back. There’s a mailbox next to the Posse, so of course they use it in the match. It’s more or less a standard street fight.
The crowd is way into Test here, so I’ve always wondered why he never took off. We go back to the ring and Shane busts out a freaking corkscrew moonsault from the top. Every time he’s in the ring he does something impressive and this is no exception. It looks great to say the least. It missed, but it looked great. Test misses a boot and kicks the heck out of the referee. Shane hits the elbow through the table.
That’s the real battle here: who has the better top rope elbow drop? For some reason in a match where there are no rules, the referee has to be distracted. That’s just kind of pointless don’t you think? Back in, Test kicks out to a big pop. For the life of me I don’t get why they dropped his push. He seems to be really over, at least in this match. More or less this is a four on one match, but it’s three jobbers and a part time wrestler.
This really shouldn’t be too much of a challenge, but they’re making it work. The Stooges are here to make the save though, as you don’t mess with the Real Americans. They beat up 2 of the Posse, allowing Test to kick the 3rd in the head, then beat the tar out of Shane with a SWEET looking elbow for the pin. Stephanie runs out to celebrate.
Rating: B. This was a very good street fight. The Posse interfering makes perfect sense as Shane isn’t a polished wrestler and would need help to win. The crowd was WAY into this too. There were good weapons spots, big moves and a solid ending. In short, this was very good and very fun.
Anyway, moving on we have the recap of the tag title match, which is the new champions Kane and X-Pac vs. Big Show and Undertaker. Taker was probably the most evil in his entire career at this point, more or less being the devil. This was around the time that X-Pac was trying to humanize Kane, which never really worked. These kinds of matches are why X-Pac gets the reputation he gets.
Against guy his size he works really well and he’s a fun guy to watch. However, putting him in the ring with three guys whose smallest is the 6’10 328lb Undertaker just does not work at all. He looks out of place and you get into the area where it’s about his heart, which makes even less sense. Also, the X Factor was a horrible move.
It’s a facebuster for those of you unfamiliar with it. For someone his size he needs to be using the ropes for a big high impact move. Those two things changed, Waltman could have been a decent guy. Instead, he’s more or less universally hated, which I don’t think is fair.
Tag Titles: X-Pac/Kane vs. Big Show/Undertaker
The announcers are asking about whether or not the challengers can trust each other. Kane has a different outfit which is his old red and black but inverted. It looks fairly awesome actually. Taker’s music is just freaking SWEET around this time. For some reason this feels like a No Mercy match to me. I mean the N64 game that is. Not sure why that’s the case but it feels like one.
Basically, this is what you’d expect: faces clean house to start and it gets down to Pac vs. Taker, but the size gets the better of it until Kane comes in. They do a spot that I really like as Taker is about to chokeslam Pac through the table but Kane just pulls him in over the top rope. I think I’m getting where the NM aspect comes in. Kane would be the first player, saving his much weaker partner from the other two guys on Expert mode.
He hits a move, goes for a cover, and saves his partner. Eventually he starts to get beaten down though, as would be expected I suppose. Watching Taker and Kane fight is almost always fun. The history there just makes it fun. It’s odd to see Kane as the face, and there’s a joke there somewhere, vs. Taker as the heel. Just realized the flaw in my No Mercy analogy: Big Show wasn’t in it, and Taker was a biker.
Pac gets in and finally gets the beating that we all knew was coming. The main thing here of course is the heart of X-Pac which I think I’ve mentioned before. Anyway, Show beats on him for awhile but since he hasn’t had a twinkie (I’m sure Rhodes or DiBiase would do) in awhile, he goes to the resthold of doom. We get one of the moves I’ve always hated: the Bronco Buster. Dang can someone just shoot whoever made that move?
Pac kicks out of a Showstopper and Taker is PISSED. He tags himself in, punches the small one, and tombstones the living heck out of him to get the tag titles. The belt looks small in Show’s hands.
Rating: D+. This just didn’t do it for me. I mean, I know the ending to about 95% of these matches, but a lot of them get me into it. This simply didn’t at all. It was just there and it wasn’t interesting, there was no drama, and it didn’t work. I think the issue here is you have three guys that combine to be over 1000 pounds, and then someone that barely clears 200.
The problem is that there’s far too much of a difference between the sizes and it just didn’t work for me. It would be the Rock N Sock Connection that would take the belts from these monsters in I think about three weeks.
Ventura gives his same speech to Austin.
Rock vs. Billy Gunn
This was a really weird period for Rock as he was over beyond belief, but Austin was just way too big of a star for Rock to get that top spot. The neck surgery was coming, and Rock would be launched so far into the stratosphere that you couldn’t see him anymore. By the way, this is being written just after Night of Champions ended, so if there’s some anti-Hardy remarks in here, don’t be surprised.
Anyway, Rock was thrown into worthless feud after worthless feud, even being paired with Gangrel for all of a minute. That should speak volumes for how out there they were with him. Anyway, Gunn has a fat lady with him, saying if Rock loses he kisses her, not his, so the ending is pretty obvious already. There was no point to this feud but it filled Rock’s time I guess. Billy Gunn…..where do I begin? This guy was given so many pushes and he never could get it right.
Somehow, this was his most successful gimmick. They’re on the floor and Rock puts King’s crown on Gunn before punching him. Why has no one ever used that as a weapon? If a cookie sheet hurts, that has to have some force behind it. For some reason, Lawler starts going over the possible types of underwear that the fat lady could be wearing. Ross’ reactions are just funny here.
They do the standard near falls, with Rock taking the fameasser, which for you young guys that don’t know, it’s what Cena does with the leg drop from the top, but Billy just got a running start. It always sucked though as he never got the leg in the right place. Eventually, the woman comes in and sets up in the corner, and you know what’s coming. Yes, Billy takes it which makes the woman smile. Rock is on fire here, drilling the Rock Bottom and the Elbow, as the fans are losing it.
Rating: B-. Seriously, the guy headlines Mania and this is the best they can do for him at the second biggest show of the year? That’s just kind of pathetic. Anyway, this was pretty bland, with no one thinking Rock would lose, but unlike in the Hardy/Punk match, they got the booking right! Ok I think I’m good now. Anyway, Rock wins, he looked good, he got the big pop, and his time was coming, but no one knew it yet.
Oh great. Now I get to recap the buildup for the main event. Sit back, because this might be the most complicated story outside of TNA in wrestling history. Ok, so one night, there was supposed to be a triple threat match to determine the #1 contender for Summerslam, but we didn’t know who the 3rd person was. We had HHH and Taker, but no third person. Commissioner HBK decided that the third person was Chyna.
Now, earlier in the night, someone had jumped Austin and hurt him. Austin shows up at the end of the show with a chair and kills HHH with it, implying he’s the one. It’s a hardcore match, so Austin throws Chyna onto HHH, making her the #1 contender. From what I remember reading, there was actually a debate going on about not only having Austin vs. Chyna, but actually GIVING HER THE TITLE.
Luckily, this lasted all of 9 seconds though as they came back to reality. Anyway, HHH is pissed about this, as at the time he was completely obsessed with being the WWF Champion. It was one of the best builds for someone being desperate to be champion that I’ve ever seen. His theme music was My Time at the moment, so everything for him was about claiming his destiny as WWF Champion.
The next week, we got HHH vs. Chyna for the spot. For no reason that I can remember at all, Mankind runs out and hits HHH with the stairs, allowing Chyna to pin him. THEN the next week, Mankind says that he wants a piece of the Summerslam action, and due to the obvious sexual tension between he and Chyna (find this promo. I don’t ever recall laughing so hard at wrestling as the look on Chyna’s face is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.)
Anyway, Mankind wins, but THEN Shane returns to announce that right here and right now, we’re having a no holds barred match to determine the undisputed #1 contender for Summerslam. HBK and Shane are both referees. Mankind gets the Claw on HHH, but the Game lands a belly to back onto a chair and we get a double pin.
Note: in one of the funniest and stupidest things I’ve ever heard, during this package (pun coming), we hear every curse word I can think of that you can say on TV, yet they censor Chyna saying balls. This amazed me to no end.
WWF Title: Steve Austin vs. Mankind vs. HHH
Before the match, Jesse cuts a short but great promo, talking about how the media has said that he’s a disgrace to the office for being there. He says he’s proud he was a wrestler and he’s proud to be here tonight. That is just awesome. You have to stop and think for a second: at the time, Ventura was the governor of Minnesota. This wasn’t some American Idol guy or NBA impersonator.
This is a major politician, who was considered a dark horse candidate for the White House. Another person called a dark horse candidate in the past: President Obama. Just think about that. Imagine 4 years ago having Barack Obama refereeing the main event of Summerslam and clearly being excited about it and not just waving and looking like he’d rather pound a rusty spike into his face.
You can tell Jesse is having fun up there and wants to be there. That’s a nice thing to see. For the most part, people that are wrestlers are proud of it and it’s not just something you do and then don’t do. Oh apparently Foley is in this because HHH injured his knee with the hammer. We get the shots of the walk towards the entrance, which I’m not sure if I like or not. Nothing beats the shot of the fans when the music hits, and I don’t want to see the guys before that.
HHH was wearing some weird vest made of chain link around this time. I never got the point of that. Foley’s pop is actually very solid so you know he’s still over, which is odd as he would be retired in about 8 months. Austin’s pop is MASSIVE. Foley is very smart here, staying on the floor at first and letting Austin and HHH fight. That’s brilliant, and it’s coming from one of the craziest wrestlers of all time.
Austin and Mankind beat up HHH, so Mankind hugs him and offers a handshake. Right hands follow. It’s your standard wild brawl to start with HHH and Austin doing most of the work. Wow. Upon a bit of research, Austin is only 34 here. It’s hard to think that his career was mostly over at this point. Chyna interferes and low blows Mankind, so Jesse throws her out.
The cool thing about Ventura is that he was always a guy that wasn’t afraid of anyone, and as a Navy SEAL, you knew he was tough. He’s perfect for this and has to be the best guest ref I can think of. Mankind and HHH work together, which you’ll never hear again. This match is just kind of going with the motions so far and while it’s good, it’s not great. HHH sets for what might have been a figure four while Mankind drops a leg.
It’s Hogan and Flair vs. Austin. This partnership lasts all of 18 seconds and it ends with a Cactus clothesline before Mankind runs across the apron and flips onto HHH. Mankind is doing flippys. Maybe he does belong in TNA. HHH is working on Austin’s bad knees which makes sense. Austin and HHH go into the crowd as Foley follows. You know one day someone needs to land a piledriver on the floor.
We always get it teased but we never see it. MORE VIOLENCE BLAST IT! Foley takes a good stunner. He just falls to the side, plain and simple. HHH breaks it up with a chair, and Jesse says he won’t count it. That’s just awesome on so many levels. Shane slides in to break up the fight between HHH and Jesse. The mouth on Jesse could rival Austin’s if my lip reading is working. Jesse throws Shane over the top as I’m loving this. This is just awesome.
He says that was for your old man you little bastard. Vince vs. Jesse NEEDS to happen. Who cares if they’re both senior citizens? Correction: Jesse is….58? WOW. I would have had him pushing social security. So….wow he was in his late 40s here? That explains a lot. Late 30s as well for the Mania stuff? I’m impressed. Mankind breaks up the pin on the stunner as we’re running very low on time.
HHH gets the pedigree, but Foley breaks it up and hits the double arm on Austin to win the title and shock the world. The fans are almost dead silent for about ten seconds, then go nuts as someone not named HHH is champion. HHH is just losing it in the corner as Jesse hands Foley the title. HHH lands about ten chair shots to the legs of Austin as he can’t believe he didn’t get the belt again.
He’d win the next night on Raw, with the rumor being that he was supposed to get it here, but Austin refused to job for him. That’s never been confirmed one way or the other though, and since this was the Attitude Era, it certainly could be wrong.
Rating: B+. This just didn’t have the main event feeling to it. Jesse definitely lived up to the hype here as he was about as good as you can get for a special guest referee. The match itself was good, but the ending was out of nowhere. It wasn’t bad or anything, but this was the definition of a swerve.
NO ONE saw this coming as the stars aligned for HHH on this night it seemed. Anyway, Foley winning was a nice surprise and kind of his last hurrah, saying that he still had it before the completely underrated feud with HHH started in about 2-3 months time.
Overall Rating: B-. This show was good, but just good. The matches are good enough, the main event was a twist, the fans were happy I suppose and there were some fun moments, but there’s no big spark to make it a great show. This would have been awesome as something like Judgment Day or No Way Out, but for Summerslam, it’s just a good show.
Mild recommendation, as it’s your traditional Attitude Era stuff: if you like this era you’ll love it and if you’re not a fan you’ll be very mildly entertained but get bored at some parts. It’s ok, but just barely.