On This Day: June 27, 1999 – King of the Ring 1999: Austin vs. A Briefcase

King of the Ring 1999
Date: June 27, 1999
Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina
Attendance: 19,761
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross

We’re at the very end of the Corporate Ministry here as Taker is champion and Austin is the CEO due to some complete insanity. The main event tonight is Austin vs. the McMahons in a handicap ladder match for control of the company. Also Taker defends against Rock and there’s the tournament.

They’ve shifted back to having the final 8 on the show, which tells me they didn’t have much else to work with. However, given how bad WCW was doing at the time, it wasn’t really needed. This is a show I vaguely remember, so let’s get to it as I could use a refreshing.

The intro is fairly creative as it’s kind of a crash course of how we got to the main event with little sound bites from political issues such as Kennedy’s do for your country speech which is switched to company here and Nixon saying he isn’t a crook. It’s better than it sounds. No mention of the title match or the tournament but no one cared about those matches anyway so it’s all good.

Before we get going, here are your brackets, which aren’t given at all and we’re halfway through the first match.

Billy Gunn
Ken Shamrock

Big Show
Kane

Road Dogg
Chyna

Hardcore Holly
X-Pac

Back to the midcard guys as it should be I think.

On Heat, Shane fought Shamrock and might be injured. Blackman beat the tar out of him which comes into play later tonight.

Cole says Shane might not be able to fight in the main event tonight.

KOTR Quarterfinals: Hardcore Holly vs. X-Pac

Holly is booed out of the building here so we have a smart crowd. Holly beat Snow and Pac beat Boss Man. Lawler is surprised by Pac’s pyro, despite it having gone off about 100 times before. X-Pac is holding his neck which will also come into play later. I’ve always loved Lawler being such a McMahon fan. X-Pac hits a great cross body off the middle rope.

Pac speeds things up and then Holly slips into the proper position for the Bronco Buster which I hate. And then he goes to the floor and grabs a chair which he blasts Pac with for no apparent reason other than that we need to save time because we have seven matches tonight in the tournament alone. Road Dogg makes the save but X-Pac’s neck is hurt.

Rating: C-. It was just long enough to grade. It’s not bad or anything but with just over three minutes, what can I really get out of this? It’s not terrible I guess, but it’s far from anything of note. Pac was against a relatively small person so he was bearable.

Terry Taylor, somehow more worthless than he used to be, asks Holly why he did that. Holly’s reaction of who are you is great stuff. Holly says he does what he wants and hasn’t forgotten the Big Show, which was a bad idea that went nowhere.

KOTR Quarterfinals: Big Show vs. Kane

Show has been a face for all of five minutes at this point and has been showing off his strength. This is match number one I think in their never ending rivalry. In an amazing stat, Kane is 172 pounds lighter than show. That’s saying a lot as Kane is a giant. Show beat Droz and Kane beat Test. Kane is of course a tweener here as he almost always was. Show manhandles Kane which is just awesome to see.

This is standard monster vs. monster so that’s all that’s needed. Show is on the box of the tape which is odd as he’s just a regular wrestler in the tournament. They mention the internet, but say they mean WWF.com despite making inferences they mean people like us. Ross says that Show is a lot like Andre, which they could make better jokes about in about two years. Kane hits an enziguri and I’m still not sure if I’m spelling that right.

I’ve always marked for that flying clothesline that Kane uses. Show hits a big boot to the referee and Kane hits a low blow. Hardcore Holly comes out because it’s another year and they have to push him again and he takes a Kane chokeslam making him drop the chair he brought with him. I know Kane has slammed Show before, but has he ever hit a chokeslam on him? I don’t remember him doing so.

At least the referee going down here is because of a solid shot like a boot and not just getting run into. Kane puts a choke on Show for about a minute and a half, which should kill him but it’s wrestling so whatever. The fans get very bored very fast with this.

Show just slaps Kane’s arm away because he’s strong to do that from one knee to a man the size of Kane after being choked for about two minutes straight. Kane picks up the chair and pops Show with it to get the pin as the referee just happens to get up on time for the count. Great chair shot if nothing else.

Rating: D+. That choke was 1/3 of the match. Other than that it was your standard stuff from these two so it was ok. Holly needs to fall in a hole though as for the life of me I don’t get why he kept getting pushes like these. It never worked and he never got over but he kept getting them anyway. As for the match, it wasn’t anything special, but I’ve always liked Kane so there we go.

Shane can’t compete according to Vince but you can hear him shouting frpm the locker room that he can go tonight.

KOTR Quarterfinals: Ken Shamrock vs. Billy Gunn

Gunn is in his most famous gimmick here and he beat Viscera and Shamrock beat Jarrett. Gunn has a tag belt but isn’t a champion in a way too complicated storyline that was shockingly a Russo idea. He won one of the titles or something like that in a 6 man but it was never official and the APA got them back in a few days. Yeah it was pointless. Gunn says get out here and forfeit. Shamrock beats up the EMTs and comes out anyway to a nice pop but no music until it comes on as I’m typing that and I’m too lazy to fix it.

Teddy Long, the referee here says that Ken is too hurt to fight but he rings the bell anyway. Gunn is actually smart here and pounds on the chest and ribs and nothing else. Shamrock actually gets a quick ankle lock but a shot to the ribs gets Gunn out of it. You can more or less see the ending coming from miles away. Shamrock starts a comeback and drops a ton of F bombs while spitting up pink blood that’s staining his skin.

I like the blood from the mouth but Vince, you’re miles ahead of everyone in the wrestling world. Buy good fake blood. Shamrock tries a hurricanrana but it’s countered into a powerbomb and the blood flow causes the referee to call it due to the injuries. Also, blood doesn’t hang off the lip like a string. Long takes the safest through the ropes bump I’ve ever seen.

Rating: C+. Although it’s three minutes long, this was actually decent. In those three minutes, we have psychology in the chest/rib work, some decent shots, a decent performance from Shamrock, and an ending that makes sense. It’s weak, but it makes sense. They have way too many matches here so we have three matches and no regular endings yet. That can’t be a good sign.

Buy these WWF video releases that show very little about the wrestlers but were actually pretty good.

Chyna says that she wants to be a queen and Road Dogg has big balls. HHH says that he’s his own man.

KOTR Quarterfinals: Road Dogg vs. Chyna

Road Dogg has a “Down Where, Down There” shirt. Yeah they didn’t steal a thing of that from the NWO, not a thing. He does his standard intro which forever proves that wrestling doesn’t need to exist to get a character over. DX is more or less dead here as it’s just him and X-Pac. Chyna and HHH are heels now. Oh and Roadie got in over Godfather and Chyna over Val Venis.

For an idea on the in ring stuff at the time, none of the 8 qualifying matches went longer than 3 minutes. This is really just a way for Chyna to showcase herself and that’s fine. They start with a very nice hammerlock sequence. The thing that’s forgotten about Chyna is that she could wrestle. Killer Kowalski said she could so that’s pretty solid. I said that before Ross did so I’m happy.

She dominates for a decent while until we hit the floor and HHH slams Roadie into the post. We hear Chyna call a spot which happens at times so that’s ok. Chyna gets points for using a DDT so I like her more than I did for her looks. She steals the Road Dogg’s knee drop which makes me chuckle and gets her a lot of heat. It amazes me how far she fell. Road Dogg can’t really fight back here which is the storyline of the match, which makes a lot of sense actually.

And there’s your ref bump and HHH putting Chyna on top. Make your own jokes. It only gets two though to a GREAT pop. Now Commissioner Shawn comes out for no apparent reason other than to stop HHH. Road Dogg finally snaps and uses his regular offense as HHH is thrown out by Shawn. Chyna goes for her mega low blow but Road Dogg is wearing a metal cup which makes a lot of sense. The pumphandle ends it.

Rating: C+. There was some interesting stuff here. Chyna was a big deal on a semi national level so that’s always a cool thing. Road Dogg was showing he could actually put on a passable match, and the cup thing was smart but simple. This was certainly ok, but it could have been improved by being a few minutes shorter. It wasn’t bad at all though.

Updated brackets:

Billy Gunn
Kane

Road Dogg
X-Pac

There’s one matchup here that makes sense. Can you see it?

Cole is with Rock who says he’ll beat up Taker tonight. This was pretty weak.

Edge/Christian vs. Hardy Boys

This is a rematch from earlier in the night as the APA came out and beat up both teams to demand a match with Billy for the next night to get the other belt back. Edge and Christian are currently the Brood and the Hardys have Michael Hayes as a manager. The winners are the number one contenders also. This is very short but it’s good. Oh like I needed to tell you guys that.

This is when both teams were both very young and very not over. There’s no point in doing any play by play here as just about everything they’re doing here is stuff they’ve done in a million better matches. Edge is starting to use the spear around this time and we get a nice jab from JR by saying that a spear Edge uses to counter Poetry in Motion is the darndest spear that you’ll ever see.

It ends with Gangrel shooting the liquid at Edge by mistake and a Twist of Fate without a name yet by Jeff for the pin. Oh and Michael Hayes and Gangrel fought a lot. The Hardys would take the titles about two weeks later from the Acolytes and lose them back a few days later. Post match JR raves about the spear from the second rope to Jeff. I’m actually laughing at JR saying that’s the greatest spear you’ll ever seen, considering they did the same thing at 10 feet in the air in less than two years.

Rating: B-. It was less than five minutes but it was a good five minutes. These four had a very hard time having a bad match and this was no exception. They just flowed really well together and this was still a fresh match at this time so that helps a lot. The first ladder match was in about 4-5 months.

Buy Fully Loaded!

Taker says balls, making it the third time in one show.

Vince comes out and says Shane is hurt and the winner take all match won’t happen. This would be the first of at least two winner take all matches in this arena that Shane and Austin would be in, the other being Survivor Series 2001. Shawn comes out and Lawler gets a quick losing my smile joke.

Vince says he’ll have a replacement, meaning the match will happen despite Vince saying it wouldn’t. I’m confused already. Lawler says that there should be a church of McMahon started. Somehow, that actually happened later on.

KOTR Semi-Finals: Kane vs. Billy Gunn

Oh well we get more great music here. Kane’s pyro is the loudest thing you will ever hear. Ok, so this is about as basic of a match as you could imagine, but it’s just boring. For one thing they actually let Billy run the match and he calls a few spots VERY loudly. It’s one of the worst I’ve ever heard as he’s got Kane in a chinlock and he calls out about the next 30 seconds of spots.

Both guys hit very nice dropkicks, with Gunn nearly clearing Kane’s head. The guy had insane ability but with all of the atrocious gimmicks and the drugs, he was just worthless so much of the time. Also being as lazy as he was didn’t help either. The problem here is simple: Gunn is dominating Kane more than Taker, the current world champion, ever did. Kane hits nothing big at all and I’m just trying to figure out what the theory is behind having Gunn dominate a former world champion.

My only guess would be having him win the whole thing for failed push number 10,000. After about five minutes of just wasting time when I could be picking flies out of a pile of dead wildebeests which would be far more interesting, Show comes down and grabs the chair from Gunn to whack Kane with it. The referee is down. Why is he down? Like we need to know something stupid like that! Gunn gets the pin.

Rating: D. Russo is just annoying. Seriously, Gunn over Kane? And it’s not like the chair changed everything. Gunn was in complete control before that. Basically they jobbed out Kane to a guy whose theme song talked about beating and kicking them. Think about that for a minute. The match was boring beyond belief too.

X-Pac, holding his neck, says that between him and Brian James tonight, may the best man win. Pac’s neck really was messed up here, but they either didn’t know that or just didn’t care, which makes things even worse.

KOTR Semi-Finals: Road Dogg vs. X-Pac

Ok, so Billy Gunn is in the finals. We have his legendary tag partner in the other semi-final. Anyone else see what the given final should be? Oh just wait. It’s Russo, so you know he’s going to screw it up. In a funny bit, Road Dogg is in the back with Cole where he says he doesn’t want to do this but he will anyway. He grabs the mic from Cole and uses it for his intro. That’s awesome to me for some reason.

Pac is clearly missing a step here and it’s because of his neck. In other words, not only are they going to mess up the freaking lay up of a final, but they’re going to put X-Pac, who is legit hurt in there and have him risk even more of an injury. And it’s a three minute match that I missed most of because I was typing.

That can’t be a good sign. Pac reversed a pumphandle slam and hit the X-Factor. He holds his neck despite it not being worked on at all, which should have been clue number 8 or so, but perish the thought of Russo using logic or caring about his workers during a match.

Rating: N/A. There’s just not enough here to go on, at least not in a three minute match. Somehow, this is the only clean finish so far tonight.

We get a recap of Rock vs. Taker, set to techo music in the opening. I wish I was making this up. Rock won a triple threat with Taker and HHH to get this shot.

WWF Title: Rock vs. Undertaker

Well at least they’re getting this right by having the ladder match in the main event since it’s the real main event of the show. Taker is in the demon gimmick here and is just a few months away from leaving for about 8 months. The Corporate Ministry was beginning to crumble here and it was very clear. Two seconds into the match Taker punches the referee and Russomania lives!

Rock gets a Rock Bottom after about 10 seconds and another referee hits the ring for two as Bearer pulls the referee out and punches him. There’s a chokeslam at 50 seconds which gets two. We go up to the entrance because it’s the late 90s and it’s required by some sort of law I think. We hear that Rock is 27 for the second time in about 5 minutes. And we’re still on the floor like we have been for about 4 minutes now.

Hey we’re in the ring now! There’s a novel idea. After Taker dominates for a good while, Rock counters by crotching Taker on the top rope. And hey we’re back in the crowd now because we haven’t done that in all of two minutes. In a funny line, Lawler asks Ross if he’s scared. “Yeah I’m scared!”. That was funny for some reason. Ok, so Rock gets a chair and swings it but Taker gets the bell to block it and Rock gets hit in the face by his own chair.

We’re about 8 minutes in and at least 5 or 6 has been on the floor. Bearer gets in a shot with a shoe. That’s kind of a downgrade from the urn wouldn’t you say? Taker keeps the advantage and uses the powers of evil to put on a chinlock. OOO that’s just EVIL! There’s a group of fans in the front section that keep trying to get in the camera shot which is very annoying. This match is just boring.

There’s nothing here that’s making me care about it at all. And the referee goes down AGAIN. And hey, since nothing of interest has happened in this match, Taker knocks Rock down and Bearer pulls out a cloth and a bottle. As soon as it’s opened, Ross says he thinks it smells like ether. Rock gets the cloth on Taker’s face. HHH comes out and before he does anything at all Ross calls him a no good lousy SOB.

Yes, the challenger allegedly has ETHER on another man’s face and HHH is evil for walking. Ross makes my head throb at times. Taker adds a tombstone to end it to massive booing. He would lose the title in less than 24 hours.

Rating: D. This was just crap. It was beyond overbooked which just makes it awful. These two have zero chemistry together and never did at all. Taker was just not doing anything at all around this time and it was clear that he was just showing up to get a paycheck and then go home. This was just stupid and the booking of it didn’t do it any favors.

Ad for WWF.com which was a new thing back then.

The announcers say that HHH could be the replacement.

Send in your cable bill and get a free WWF CD case. Again, this is something that they should do today. It’s not much, but it’s a little thank you for ordering. I really don’t think they’ll miss a Cena arm band or something like that.

In the back we see a brawl where HHH is trying to get at Shawn and a ton of security and Vince are between them. HHH is thrown out by Shawn as Vince says that HHH was his partner. He gets on a phone and says to get back here now.

King of the Ring Finals: X-Pac vs. Billy Gunn

Again I am baffled by how this could be messed up. Gunn says he’s going for X-Pac’s neck. Oh how I hate Russo’s mindless booking. You can see clearly that Pac is messed up beyond belief. But hey, we have a pointless match since we can’t have the smart match right? Billy has the tag title still and no one gets it. Pac is clearly in agony. WOW I have never heard a crowd so quiet.

Gunn has somehow turned heel here I think, but according to Russo there’s no such thing as a face or a heel so there we go. The fans are just dead as three matches from anyone is just WAY too much for one night no matter what. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I feel bad for X-Pac. He clearly has no business at all to be in there but he’s doing it anyway as he doesn’t know how bad he’s hurt.

Pac keeps kicking out and hits an X-Factor that gets two. He hits a Bronco Buster that even I won’t make fun of here. Billy hits a Fameasser off the middle rope after a weak comeback to make himself King while X-Pac is heading to a hospital and some time off to heal. There’s no coronation either.

Rating: F. No. This was just completely ridiculous on every level. One guy was clearly hurt very badly and had no business being in the ring. I can’t blame Pac at all for getting in there as any athlete is always going to want to compete and very well could have been told go out there or go find another job.

The fact that they had him out there is completely inexcusable. Also, they missed the Outlaws exploding because they would rather have a match that makes ZERO sense because that’s Russo for you. This is a great example of why the guy is hated.

LONG recap of Vince vs. Austin which was about as over the top as anything in history. In case you don’t know it, Vince terrorized his own family and had his daughter kidnapped and almost married to a demon to get the title off of Austin. He acted all serious and upset but turned out to be the mastermind behind the whole thing, which was a great swerve.

Austin was then declared the new CEO and had 50% of the power. Stephanie is very young and pre-implants here so she looks great. HHH and her were just getting together here and you can’t see anything of it yet.

Vince McMahon/Shane McMahon vs. Steve Austin

Oh of course Shane is in it. This is a ladder match for control of the company, which is of course logical: the future of a billion dollar company and its ownership is being decided by a ladder match. Shane is announced as the replacement…for himself…making the whole thing earlier tonight about Shane being too hurt and a replacement being needed, you guessed it, COMPLETELY POINTLESS.

That should be Russo’s middle name: Vince Completely Pointless Russo. The problem with Shane being the partner is that it’s exactly what it was supposed to be in the first place, so the whole idea of having a replacement and the whole idea of having him not compete gets the crowd into it. Then that night it’s announced that it’s still him, which makes perfect sense. The partner is actually announced as Steve Blackman but GTV pops up to show that Shane is ok.

Shane and the Posse try to get out of the arena but Shawn stops him and says go to the ring. We’ll ignore the fact that Shane has 25% of the company and could just fire Shawn and appoint one of the Posse to his spot and let Blackman do his thing but whatever. Shawn brings Shane to the ring and says it’s the original match, again living up to Russo’s name.

The set is really cool as it’s a bunch of ladders holding up a canopy of ladders. It really is awesome looking. Austin’s music sets off a freaking eruption. I don’t care what anyone says: Hogan was never this hot, period. Austin would be gone for neck surgery in about six months, taking a year off to FINALLY get fixed after Owen hurt him. The Corporation is barred from ringside in case you’re wondering.

Lawler brings up the obvious point that Austin is going to dominate every one on one match here so the McMahons need to double team him. I know it’s basic, but that’s what an analyst is supposed to do. This has been all Austin to the shock of no one. Shane has a McMahon 6:32 jersey on which is kind of clever.

Shane hits a clothesline to finally change things a bit. We get a Home Improvement reference to really date the show a bit. We’re up at the entrance now and Shane climbs up into the display of ladders and Austin, ever the genius, follows him.

After knocking Shane back to the floor, he stops to throw up two fingers for the crowd. See what he did right there? He took about three seconds and got the crowd into it all over again. Any wrestling crowd will love nothing more than to be acknowledged. That is one of the few universal truths in wrestling. Look at guys like Rock, Austin, Hogan and Flair.

They’re four of the biggest names ever and every one of them gets the crowd involved in their promos and matches. Flair shouts at fans and says he’ll make women out of people’s mothers, Hogan does the hand to the ear, Austin flips them off, and Rock gets them chanting his name. They directly talk to the crowd rather than saying something about the crowd like mentioning a team, which isn’t directly at them.

See what I’m getting at here? The big stars are the ones that interact with the fans and it always works as it always will. Austin puts Vince through two of the ladders holding up the set which doesn’t fall, completely defying the laws of physics. In other words, the top of a ladder which is maybe two feet by six inches is holding up a ladder display that’s about 12 feet long.

They knock it out and the whole thing crashes down on Vince and Shane. That’s a great looking spot. Since they own the company though, they’re fine and catch Austin as he’s setting up the ladder. Who cares that they should be dead or severely injured? Austin goes airborne and puts Shane through the Spanish announce table which is one of the few classic bumps that will never die in my mind.

Vince knocks Austin onto the English table which doesn’t break at all. That has to be some kind of a joke. King’s microphone is broken. Ah he’s back. Austin now has a bad leg and stops Vince with a low blow. Austin is just beating the tar out of them now. Shane starts tapping out which is funny to me for some reason, which apparently means it’s good that he’s wearing black pants as Ross continues to just be freaking stupid.

Vince stops Austin from getting the case and the heat is great. The ladder is broken so they try to boost Shane up. Of course it doesn’t work and Austin is up. The look on his face more or less says boy are you crazy? Both guys get stunned. Ross says it’s in the book and you can see it coming.

Austin goes up and the briefcase goes up higher. This was another thing that went absolutely nowhere as the person that controlled it was never revealed. Vince gets his hands on it as Austin goes after everyone. Shane shoves both guys down and Shane goes up for the briefcase.

Austin, knowing he might get screwed, would announced tomorrow night that while still CEO he had booked a title shot the next night on Raw against Taker, which is still to this day the highest rated wrestling match in cable history, drawing an insane quarter hour of something like an 8.4.

An ad for Fully Loaded ends the show.

Rating: C-. It’s ok, but that’s all. The screwjob ending was about as much of a given as you could ask for, yet somehow this might have been the best match all night since the tag match got less than five minutes. This was just a way to make you watch Raw the next night, which is what it’s designed to do I guess.

They really should have had HHH in there acting for Vince and had the McMahons interfere instead so that the match would have been more solid. This just wasn’t that interesting as it was about 80% Austin which is exactly what was expected.

Rating: F. There is not one appealing thing about this show. The tournament is one of the worst in history, the crowd popped maybe twice, the matches are bad as there are two, count them two, clean finishes out of ten, and nothing of note happens here, since the whole Austin’s life is a living nightmare lasted a freaking day as he won the title back the next night on Raw.

This was just a freaking waste of three hours and it was somehow worse than I remember it being. Don’t watch anything here unless you’re being subjected to torture, as I think this is now the preferred method of death in 8 countries.

 

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2 comments

  1. Wayne says:

    I remember being pretty hype for this show at the time, but it has not aged well. Now, I’ll admit I did like the Rock vs. Taker match. They never had the “big” match they were capable of, but this was their second best match they had together after the match they had on Raw in 1998 (September or October).

  2. Rahsolo says:

    Well, Shane couldn’t just fire Shawn Michaels (regardless of how much stock he had and neither could Vince) because the only way Shawn would be removed as the commissioner is if he resigned (which he did in 2000). They mentioned that when Vince tried to fire Shawn the first time on the last episode of RAW in 1998.