Royal Rumble Count-Up: 2013 Redo – 1999: Disturbing To Watch For Multiple Reasons

Royal Rumble 1999
Date: January 24, 1999
Location: Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California
Attendance: 14,816
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole

As much as last year’s show was a necessary evil, this show is just evil in general. The company is firing on all cylinders right now but it’s much more about drama than anything else. Mankind won the world title in a shocker 20 days before this, beating the Rock in an impromptu match on Raw. Tonight is the rematch in an I Quit match, which is the only match Mankind knows he can’t lose to Rock. It turns out to be one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen in wrestling. Also the Rumble is nothing but a backdrop for Austin vs. Vince, which isn’t a good thing either. Let’s get to it.

Luckily for me, I’ve been reviewing the Raw’s leading up to this show, so the stories will actually be fresh in my mind for a change.

This version opens with some interviews by guys in the Rumble, talking about how the bounty on Austin (Vince has offered $100,000 to whoever knocks Austin out) has them extra fired up. Chyna getting #30 is also discussed.

Opening video is what you would expect. Also the theme song for this show is No Chance, which would become Vince’s theme song after tonight. The idea is that Austin is #1 in the Rumble and Vince is #2, meaning if Austin wants to go to Wrestlemania, he has to run the gauntlet.

Big Boss Man vs. Road Dogg

Roadie is Hardcore Champion but this is non-title and a regular match. Dang it I forgot Boss Man is a tag champion here so I can’t call one of them a champion. Boss Man runs the ropes to start so Roadie tells him to suck it. The fans get on Boss Man so he shoves Road Dogg into the corner and pounds away. The Big guy misses a splash in the corner and Dogg pounds away. The announcers ask a very good question: why isn’t this for the title? Vince could make it for the title if he wanted, but instead he makes it non-title? Why?

Anyway, Road Dogg crotches Boss Man on the post to take over but gets knocked to the floor by an elbow. Back in and Boss Man pounds away but Dogg steps on his foot to escape. That lasts for about five seconds as Boss Man kicks him in the face to take over again. We hit the bearhug and Boss Man thrusts his hips into Dogg’s crotch. There’s an image I certainly didn’t need.

Dogg bites his way out of the hold but gets kneed right back down. The buckle pad is taken off and Boss Man gets two off a spinebuster. Boss Man wins a brief slugout and chokes away again. Lawler cheers for Boss Man but Dogg grabs a sleeper to get himself a breather. Boss Man goes up for some reason and is slammed down almost immediately. Dogg comes back with his usual and gets two off the shaky knee, but the Boss Man Slam ends this out of nowhere.

Rating: C-. Meh. That’s the only word that came to my head after watching this. At the end of the day, when the Outlaws play things seriously, they get pretty dull. Boss Man was fine in this role and he played it as he always did, but that doesn’t mean he should be having twelve minute matches with the Road Dogg. Not a bad match at all, but I don’t quite get why it existed.

We get a quick recap of Billy Gunn vs. Shamrock. Gunn hit on Ryan Shamrock (Ken’s sister) and Ken snapped, giving Billy a title shot for some reason as a result.

Intercontinental Title: Billy Gunn vs. Ken Shamrock

Surprisingly enough Gunn is the aggressor to start but Ken is a bit of a better ground fighter, giving himself control. Billy comes back with a clothesline on the double (tag/IC) champion as things slow down. A suplex gets two for Gunn but he misses a charge into the corner, allowing Ken to fire off some kicks. Ken fires off more kicks to the chest and back of Gunn and gets two off a spinwheel kick.

Billy comes back out of nowhere with the yet to be named Fameasser to buy himself a breather. He pounds away in the corner but Shamrock dumps him to the floor before pounding Billy into the barricade. The beating continues as Gunn is sent into a chair to keep Shamrock in control. They fight to the apron where Gunn makes a quick comeback, hitting a kind of Stroke into the announce table.

Back in and Shamrock goes right for the knee to take over. No ankle lock yet though as Ken busts out a Robinsdale Crunch of all things. Well if nothing else he has good taste in leg moves. For those of you younger people, it’s basically Shamrock wrapping his legs around Billy’s leg and crushing it between his own knees/legs. A HARD kick to the head puts Billy down again and we hear about Billy’s bad ankle from Raw. Not that he has tape on it or has been limping for the first ten minutes of the match or anything, but apparently he has a bad ankle.

Billy comes back with a clothesline but the referee is bumped. Cue Val Venis who also has issues with Shamrock to DDT the champion, giving Billy a two count. Gunn pounds away but goes up (with a bad ankle because he’s an idiot) and crashes on the ankle. Ankle lock and we’re done.

Rating: D+. Too long here and the Venis thing didn’t change anything at all. Billy’s ankle injury was pretty stupid because you didn’t really need the stuff from Raw to set up what happened here. Shamrock got a solid midcard push around this time and even had some cups of upper midcard coffee (only $5.95 at Starbucks!). The Corporation and DX would keep feuding for a few more months.

Shane fires Vince up in the back.

European Title: Gangrel vs. X-Pac

The vampire is challenging. This is another of those matches that is there so they can have another title match on the card, meaning there’s no story that I can think of. Road Dogg might have gotten a blood bath recently but that’s about it. They hit the ropes very quickly to start with Pac grabbing an armdrag to take over. Gangrel grabs a headlock but they speed things up almost immediately again.

Pac hits a quick legdrop but misses a kick in the corner to shift momentum again. We hit the chinlock to give the guys an earned breather. The champ fights up and gets thrown into the air for two. Gangrel misses a top rope elbow and Pac gets two off his jumping clothesline. A big spinwheel kick takes Gangrel down again and X-Pac hits the Bronco Buster.

The third spinwheel kick in about four minutes takes Gangrel down, but Pac gets crotched on the top, continuing a theme tonight. Pac tries a cross body but Gangrel rolls him through for a botched near fall by referee Teddy Long (he countered three but Pac’s shoulder was up). Not that it matters as the X Factor retains the title a few seconds later.

Rating: C+. Referee’s botch aside, this was a nice surprise. Gangrel is hardly known for his in ring abilities but he looked pretty good out there tonight. Pac was better here against a smaller guy as usual, and we got a good match out of it. After the two longer and not great matches earlier, this was a nice pick up.

DX says they’re united tonight but the $100,000 bounty makes it every man (Chyna: “And woman”) for themselves. Billy was nowhere to be seen here for some reason.

Here’s Shane to be ring announcer for the next match for no apparent reason.

Women’s Title: Luna Vachon vs. Sable

Scratch that ring announcer line as apparently he’s here to accept Sable’s forfeiture of the title. This was supposed to be a strap match which had a total of 18 seconds of build on Raw. That’s not an exaggeration either. They came out during another match and that was the only mention. Luna attacked Sable on Heat before the show tonight and injured the champ’s back, but Sable wants to fight anyway.

This is the four corners variety so Sable can look TOUGH here. Sable shoves her into the corner and whips Luna to the floor. She keeps whipping Luna and gets three corners but Luna makes the stop. We get more choking and whipping before Luna drags Sable around with both of them getting the buckles at the same time. You know, like in every other strap match EVER. Shane gets up on the apron before Sable gets the buckle, but Sable’s psycho fan Tori uses the distraction to deck Luna, giving sable the win.

Rating: D. Sable was insanely over back in 98, but at this point it was starting to wear thin. I always felt sorry for Luna who never got to win the Women’s Title. She really would have been a good choice for an evil chick for some blonde heroine to beat, but instead we got worthless lumps like Jackie. Nothing to see here but it could have been worse.

The Corporation says it’s everyone for themselves.

We recap Rock vs. Mankind, which we’ve covered already. Rock lost the title on January 4 on Raw so he wanted a rematch. Mankind kept saying no until Rock said he’d quit trying, which Mankind immediately accepted. The idea is that Mankind has never quit and has been through so much punishment that there’s nothing Rock can do to beat him.

Rock says that he isn’t just some other guy to Mankind, and he’s going to be the first man to make Mankind give up. If you’ve never seen it and have a stomach for blood, I can highly recommend the documentary Beyond the Mat, which is about the behind the scenes world in the WWF and this match is a focus of the film. This promo was being filmed by the documentary cameras and Mankind was about three feet from Rock here. More on this later.

WWF World Title: The Rock vs. Mankind

I Quit rules here. Rock is in his workout gear, which means his male breast enlargement surgery scars haven’t quite healed yet. There isn’t a single bit of sarcasm or humor in that statement. Mankind is defending and had to fight on Heat against the 500lb Mabel. Also the champ has recently gotten his most well known theme song, but it’s still the original version here which doesn’t have the clapping in it yet.

Mankind takes over early and hits his running knee to Rock’s head in the corner. He pounds away on Rock but Rock isn’t ready to quit yet. Some mic shots to the head keep Rock down but he still won’t say it. The Cactus Clothesline puts both guys on the floor but Rock gets in a shot to take over. They head to the commentary desk where Rock talks some trash to King before getting hit in the back by a chair.

Back in and there’s the double arm DDT from the champ. Mr. Socko makes an appearance to put the Claw on Rock. King: “But you can’t talk with your mouth full!” The hold puts Rock out, meaning he can’t say he quits. Not the smartest move in the world there Mick. We brawl into the crowd but Rock hits a kind of suplex to take them back to ringside. There’s the bell ringing spot (Rock puts the bell on Mankind’s head and rings said bell) before singing a bit as only Rock can pull off in the middle of a match.

Rock loads up the Rock Bottom on the table but it gives way, crashing them to the floor. They slug it out some more and head up the aisle where Mankind clotheslines Rock down. Up to the tech area now and Rock hits the snap DDT onto the concrete. It’s ladder time (almost kind of foreshadowing in a way) but Rock gets crushed underneath it before he can use it. Mankind misses an elbow drop onto the ladder and both guys are down again.

Rock sets up the ladder next to the tech area and they climb up to a ledge in front of a balcony. The slugout ensues and Mankind is knocked off the ledge and onto the electrical stuff which shoots sparks and knocks out the arena lights for a few seconds. Mankind is mostly dead on the floor so here’s Shane to come out and ask Rock to chill a bit. Rock says he’s going to make Mankind say he quits, but he won’t ask him. You know, because Mankind isn’t going to say it and Rock knows this. Cole of course doesn’t get it and whines for about five minutes about it.

We head back into the ring where Mankind is basically out on the mat. Cole: “How is Mick Foley standing?” HE’S FREAKING LAY…..never mind. It’s not worth trying to get through Cole’s thick head. Anyway, Rock finds some handcuffs and this is about to get bad. Rock starts pounding away at Mankind’s unprotected head. Somewhere in there the champ was busted open.

Mankind comes back with a pair of low blows and headbutts (remember his arms are handcuffed behind his back). Rock clotheslines him down….and grabs a chair. We get the Corporate Elbow on the chair on Mankind’s head, but that’s just the beginning. Mick won’t quit, so Rocky hits him in the head (remember, unprotected) twice with HARD chair shots. Here are three more to finally knock Mankind down and out to the floor.

Even Lawler says that’s enough, but Rock hits Mankind in the back and side of the head with the chair. There is blood EVERYWHERE. Rock has a clear shot at Mankind’s back but instead waits for him to stand up and hit him in the head again. ANOTHER shot (we’re up to about 12 now) to the head puts Foley down and Mankind SCREAMS that he quits. Note that Mankind isn’t moving an inch and there’s a noticeable echo to his voice which there hasn’t been all night. That would come into play on Raw the next night.

Rating: B. This is a REALLY hard one to grade because the last five minutes are nothing but disturbing. We saw a guy completely defenseless and having his head smashed in with a piece of metal by a world class athlete. Pre Benoit or post Benoit, that’s a completely unnecessary risk and a terrifying thing to see. I love these two fighting, but this was legitimately disturbing.

Again, if you’ve never seen it, check out Beyond the Mat. It shows Mankind’s wife and family in the audience in terror watching this, but you can only hear the sound of the chair shots. If it was a horror movie it would be absolutely chilling. Also it shows Foley in the back looking at himself after the beating and the first time he looks in a mirror he stops almost cold. This went WAY too far.

We recap the Rumble, which is literally all about Vince vs. Austin and Austin’s path back to the title which begins tonight. Vince keeps screwing Austin out of the title but he’s kept coming back to get another shot. That’s most of the year in a nutshell actually.

Earlier tonight Austin came in on a monster truck limo for no apparent reason. He got in Vince’s face earlier as well, resulting in the Stooges getting beaten up.

Royal Rumble

There’s a $100,000 bounty on Austin’s head and we have Austin at #1 and Vince at #2. I think you can see what’s coming from here. The intervals are 90 seconds here. Howard goes into a REALLY long winded explanation of the rules, causing Lawler to freak out on him. Vince of course takes the chance to show off his impressive physique. Austin immediately pounds away as Cole sums up Vince vs. Austin: “How often do you get to see an employee rip the CEO of a Fortune 500 company apart?”

Austin destroys Vince for a few moments with basic stuff until Golga is #3. There’s the Thesz Press and Golga slides in but Austin knocks him out in 15 seconds. Vince rolls to the floor and heads into the crowd with Austin chasing after him. They brawl (read as Austin punches him and Vince staggers away) up the crowd as there’s no one in the ring. Droz comes in at #4 with no one to fight. See, why did Golga have to be eliminated? It doesn’t sound great but having Droz vs. Golga is better than nothing.

Anyway, Vince and Austin brawl into the back and into a ladies’ room where the Corporation jumps Austin. Naturally the camera feed is lost so we don’t see what actually happens. We come back to the arena to see Droz just standing there. The years away from meaning anything Edge is #5 to actually give us some action. After about 45 seconds, Gillberg is #6. The hilarious entrance takes forever and Edge dumps him in about five seconds.

We cut back to the bathroom and Austin is out cold on the floor. Steve Blackman is #7 as the low level stuff continues. I mean, at the end of the day NO ONE in the ring at the moment is going to be bought as a serious contender here. Austin is being treated by EMTs as Blackman fires off kicks to Edge. Dan Severn and his wet t-shirt are #8. He and Blackman have the WWF style MMA fight as we see Austin on a stretcher. That’s about the fourth time we’ve cut to Austin and away from the ring.

Tiger Ali Singh (think an Indian Ted DiBiase with ZERO charisma) is #9 as we see the ambulance drive away. The five nothings in the ring continue to waste our time until Blue Meanie is #10. Again in way less than 90 seconds, there’s no #11. We cut to the back (running theme tonight) and see Mabel beating up Mosh to take his place in the match. He immediately dumps Severn and Blackman plus Singh. There go Meanie and Droz, leaving us with Edge, Mabel and Road Dogg who is #12. Road Dogg dumps Edge and there go the lights.

Taker’s music hits and we have the Acolytes and Mideon in the ring beating up Mabel. They dump him out, yet AGAIN leaving us with just one person standing there. Taker and Bearer pop up and stare down Mabel, apparently hypnotizing him, which would lead to Mabel becoming Viscera. Gangrel is #13 with his rocking entrance music. There goes Gangrel so we stand around a bit more.

Kurrgan is #14 and destroys Dogg with power stuff. Psycho Al Snow is #15 and helps double team Kurrgan. Snow tries to get on the ropes for more leverage and is immediately dumped by Dogg. Goldust is #16 and Kurrgan gets double teamed again. With the big man down, Roadie tries Shattered Dreames on Goldie. Kurrgan saves Goldust for no apparent reason and it’s Dogg that goes down instead.

Godfather is #17 but the Ho’s leave, ticking off the fans. After about 30 seconds of Godfather being in the ring, here’s Kane at #18 to FINALLY give us some star power. The ring is cleared in about 30 seconds and the place goes nuts for Kane. Since having Kane as a dominant monster to set up a showdown with another big name would be interesting, the people from the insane asylum come out to try to institutionalize Kane (just go with it), so he eliminates himself.

Shamrock is #19 with no one to fight. Vince comes back out to do commentary. Billy Gunn limps to the ring at #20 and is immediately taken down with a leg shot. The beating goes on for awhile until Test is #21. We cut to the back (AGAIN) to see Mabel being beaten into a hearse. An ambulance pulls up and it’s being drive by a certain bald headed Rattlesnake. Because clearly a guy can be beaten down, wake up less than 20 minutes later, get out of an ambulance bed, take over the ambulance, and get back to the arena in under half an hour.

Austin comes back to the ring as Boss Man is #22. Austin chases Vince around and into the ring but gets jumped by Shamrock. That’s it for Kenny so here’s HHH at #23, giving us three tall guys with long blonde hair. Billy goes after Austin for the sake of the money as Vince plays cheerleader. Vince tries not to slip into commentator mode as he talks about people wanting the money.

Val Venis is #24 and Austin dumps Billy. X-Pac is #25 and Val pounds on Austin. He kicks Steve to the floor as we’re just waiting on the Austin and Vince interaction. A spinwheel kick from Pac puts Austin down as Mark Henry is #26. Henry swings for Austin but decks Boss Man instead. Jeff Jarrett is #27 and nothing happens again. Pac kicks at a lot of people and hits the Bronco Buster on Boss Man.

In a somewhat famous bit, HHH is clearly heard asking Val if he can hang on if HHH throws him over the ropes. After that punch to kayfabe’s stomach, D’Lo Brown is #28. Austin dumps Test and X-Pac to give us some more mat space. Boss Man and Jarrett team up to try to eliminate Austin but he fights them off again. There goes Jarrett as Owen Hart is #29. Austin spits at Vince as the ring is way too full.

Chyna is #30, giving us a final group of Chyna, Austin, Vince, Boss Man, HHH, Venis, Henry, Brown, Hart and Chyna. Chyna manages to dump Henry but is knocked out almost immediately by Austin. HHH throws Val out to get us down to five. There’s a Stunner to dump HHH and get us down to five guys. Austin avoids a dropkick from Brown and they fight in the corner a bit.

Owen hits the enziguri on Austin and is backdropped out just a few seconds later. Boss Man takes Austin down and Brown hits the Low Down. Brown poses too long though and Boss Man tosses him, only to get tossed by Austin. We’re down to Austin vs. McMahon and the beating is on. Austin destroys Vince with a chair shot and the boss is in big trouble. We head back inside and Vince hits a quick low blow to give himself a breather. Austin comes back with the Stunner and beats on Vince until Rock comes out. Rock and Austin have their staredown, allowing Vince to dump Austin and win the Rumble.

Rating: F. No. This was a failure on every level. The premise was stupid, the execution was TERRIBLE, and Vince winning makes the whole thing a big joke. We had THREE part where the booking resulted in the ring being empty. Who in the world thought that was a goo….oh yeah this is still Russo Time. Absolutely horrible here and the worst Rumble of all time, pretty much by far.

Vince has a BIG celebration to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. The Rumble SUCKED, the title match was decent, and the rest of the show was either bad or forgettable. That’s more or less 1999 in a nutshell. On top of that, this would all mean NOTHING by the next week, as we had Halftime Heat coming up to give Mankind the title back, as well as Vince forfeiting his title shot at Mania, resulting in Austin going anyway. Just awful overall.

Ratings Comparison

Big Boss Man vs. Road Dogg

Original: C-

Redo: C-

Ken Shamrock vs. Billy Gunn

Original: D+

Redo: C+

X-Pac vs. Gangrel

Original: B-

Redo: C+

Sable vs. Luna Vachon

Original: F

Redo: D

The Rock vs. Mankind

Original: B

Redo: B

Royal Rumble

Original: F

Redo: F

Overall Rating

Original: D-

Redo: D

It still sucks.

Here’s the original review if you’re interested:

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