Monday Night Raw
Date: November 29, 1999
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
This was a special request for one specific reason: Test and Stephanie McMahon are getting married. Oh how I remember this and how I remember how you could feel the Russo effect, even though he’s already left the promotion. Test was one of Russo’s big projects and this is pretty much the high point of his career, which should tell you everything you need to know about him. Let’s get to it.
Big Show/Kane vs. Viscera/Big Boss Man
This is during Big Show’s original WWF World Title reign and it’s still odd to see this version of him with the title. Kane has Tori in his corner. Big Show and Boss Man immediately fight to the floor so we’re down to Kane vs. Viscera inside. The masked man takes over but here’s X-Pac to hit Kane in the back with a chair. An X-Factor onto the chair sets up a Viscera splash for the pin in less than two minutes.
X-Pac spits at Tori and kicks her in the head.
We recap Test proposing to Stephanie and Vince making Test’s life a nightmare as a result. This includes Stephanie taking a bump on the head and getting amnesia. She’s marrying Test anyway.
Here’s D-Generation X (heels here) for a chat. After some random music cuts off, HHH wants to talk to Vince. It’s Vince’s fault that this has escalated so much, leaving DX no choice but to get a temporary order of protection (I’m really not a fan of that idea but it keeps coming up in wrestling). We see a clip of Vince ramming DX’s limo with his own car and HHH says there will be NO wedding here tonight.
Cue Vince to laugh at the idea that DX needs protection from him. As for tonight, Vince is giving Test a special wedding present: a one on one match with HHH. The rest of DX gets a six man tag against Rock/Mankind/a partner of their choosing just because the boss is feeling generous. Finally, if anyone interferes in the wedding tonight, they’ll be fired.
Al Snow talks to Head, guaranteeing that he’ll be Rock and Mankind’s mystery partner in the six man.
Edge vs. Matt Hardy
Matt has Terri in his corner. Edge charges into an elbow in the corner to start and a bad looking tornado DDT puts the Canadian down. Since this match is going to be lucky to get two and a half minutes, Edge picks up the pace by grabbing an atomic drop. A German suplex gets two on Matt but he comes right back with a superplex for the same. The cameraman gets decked and the partners get involved, leading to a spear ending Matt.
Rating: C. These guys always have chemistry together but, as usual, you need more time than just a few minutes to get anywhere. The interference didn’t need to exist but you can see another big match coming because that’s all these guys were allowed to be. Things would get a bit better once Lita would replace Terri as well.
We go to Stephanie’s bachelorette party last night, complete with Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young and Truth or Dare. This goes nowhere, yet.
Here’s Intercontinental Champion Chyna with her bad thumb for a chat. Her thumb has been feeling better since hitting Chris Jericho in the head with a hammer (this is WAY too causal of a line) so he needs to get out here so she can finish the job. Cue Jericho to show us a clip of the hammer shot(s), which COMPLETELY ruined his Thanksgiving. He’ll be ready for their match at the pay per view but here’s Miss Kitty (Chyna’s semi-lesbian servant) to blast him with a fire extinguisher.
Back to the party where more drinking ensues.
Godfather vs. Steve Blackman
They trade kicks to start and Godfather’s spinning legdrop gets two. A bicycle kick ends Godfather in a minute.
The Acolytes and the freshly debuted Dudley Boyz play cards and insults are exchanged.
Dance time at the party.
Snow tries to get Mankind to accept him as his partner, even though Al hates Rock.
Too Cool vs. Hollys
Before the match, Hardcore makes unoriginal fat jokes about Rikishi. Crash starts, gets caught with the Worm and is finished by the Trash Compactor in less than a minute.
Rikishi gives Hardcore a Banzai Drop, followed by the required dancing.
It’s striptease time!
HHH vs. Test
Someone in a Vince McMahon mask comes out to referee. Ok then. Anyway Test slugs away to start as the announcers immediately start talking about the angle instead of the match because that’s what matters around here. The Stooges are in the back, shouting to Vince that he needs to see this. HHH comes back with right hands and his kneedrop for no cover.
Instead HHH starts pounding in right hands to the face before choking away. A sleeper slow things down even more but the referee pulls HHH off. That always good looking gutwrench powerbomb plants HHH but he escapes the pumphandle powerslam. The referee won’t count a cover off a facebuster so HHH goes for the mask. Cue Shane McMahon with a chair to HHH’s head, setting up Test’s top rope elbow for the pin.
Rating: D. I was waiting on Vince to come out and reveal Shane as the referee so well done on not going with the obvious. This is the high point of Test’s in ring career and it means a grand total of nothing because it’s a match in 1999. As usual it was all about the angle, which is only going to have something resembling a payoff because there’s so much other stuff to cover.
Someone sends Stephanie a shot, which she downs like a pro.
HHH orders the cops to arrest Vince.
We look at last week’s gravy bowl match with Miss Kitty needing the Heimlick Manuever to remove a mushroom from her throat. The EMT who saved her was attacked by Ivory and Michael Cole (looking even more like a goon than he does today) brings her out for a chat. The EMT, named B.B., was humiliated by Ivory ripping her shirt off….and wants an evening gown match. Ivory comes out with some insults before clothing is removed. This was some of the most awkward exchanges I’ve ever seen, even by WWF standards.
Patterson and Briscoe say Vince was with them the entire time.
Val Venis vs. Kurt Angle
After Val does his regular schtick (something about scoring like Shaq), Angle rips on this town for having no values. Venis jumps him from behind but is sent outside to turn this into a bit of a brawl. Back in and Angle’s sleeper is countered into a Blue Thunder Bomb for two (of course). Cue the British Bulldog (feuding with Val) to break up the Money Shot, allowing Angle to get two of his own off a superplex. Bulldog hits Val in the back with a chair to set up the Olympic Slam for the pin.
Rating: D. More of the same problems here as we’re actually setting up British Bulldog vs. Val Venis for reasons that aren’t important enough to explain. At the same time, KURT ANGLE, who debuted less than a month ago, can’t even get any attention because we’re setting up some low level midcard match? Really? That’s the best they can do?
Snow is STILL trying to get on the team and keeps insulting Rock. Cue Rock of course, who can’t believe he’s talking about someone named Al. Rock’s advice is for Snow to dress up like a Los Angeles King and do a certain something with the hockey stick. Rock leaves but Snow and Foley are still on for Disneyland tomorrow. The fans were eating Rock up here.
D-Generation X vs. The Rock/Mankind/???
The mystery partner is…..Kane. Makes sense. Kane and Gunn start things off with Billy’s arm being twisted around. Everything breaks down in a hurry with Foley taking a beating while the announcers rip on literary critics for not reading his book. Back in and Gunn spits at Rock so the triple teaming can continue. Someone needs to teach DX how to do the Unicorn Stampede. A low blow gets Mankind out of trouble and everything breaks down off the hot tag to Rock. The Rock Bottom looks to finish Gunn but it’s Snow running in with a Head shot to Dogg, drawing the DQ.
Rating: D+. Slightly better here due to the charisma involved but the lack of time or really anything all that interesting brings it right back down. The Rock N Sock Connection was a funny team but they were another good example of the titles being turned into a prop instead of being used as something important.
Rock beats Snow up.
Back to the poker game where the Acolytes cheat. Bubba: “You sure ain’t the Public Enemy.”
Linda sees Stephanie in the wedding dress and nearly loses it.
Test is nervous.
Bubba bets all of his money because he has six aces in five card draw. The fight is on with the Dudleyz getting the better of things until it’s broken up.
DX is very happy about something.
It’s time for the wedding with the bridesmaids and groomsmen (various wrestlers). After Shane escorts Linda out, here’s Test to his theme music. Eh I like the song so it’s cool. Stupid but cool. Thankfully Stephanie doesn’t have music yet so she comes out to Here Comes the Bride. It’s better than that stupid rap song she has now. The minister says a blessing and two people sing a song.
The main issue here is Stephanie’s face as she doesn’t know how to convey more than about two emotions. Therefore, while it’s supposed to be the happiest day of her life, she looks like she’s about to slap everyone in the ring. We get to the all important “speak now or forever hold their peace”…..and here’s HHH.
Test puts on his mad face as HHH shows us a video. With the camera in the backseat, HHH drives his car into the Little White Chapel and of course picks the cheapest option. HHH talks to….I guess the minister and reveals the unconscious Stephanie in the front seat (Audience: “GASP!”).
HHH does a falsetto voice because THIS WEDDING PERSON IS A FREAKING MORON WHO DOESN’T REALIZE STEPHANIE IS OUT COLD and somehow they’re married. The guy who brought Stephanie the shot earlier is revealed as the cameraman as the couple drives away. Back in the arena, HHH says he’s now a member of the immediate family. That leaves one question for DAD: “How many times did we consummate the marriage?” The McMahons are in tears to end the show.
DANG. I haven’t seen this in full in a long time but my goodness this was amazing. Everyone knew HHH was going to do something big but I don’t think anyone had any idea that it could actually be this big. This is the moment that turned HHH from a top heel to THE heel and Stephanie turning on her dad the next month would make it even better. Couple that with the Rock rising up the card to fight HHH and there’s no wonder why the next year would be some of the best stuff the company has ever done.
It should also be noted that this was NOT Russo’s story. This was one of the first big stories of a guy named Chris Kreski, who had this boneheaded idea of planning stories out and slowly building towards the big payoffs instead of the tried and true method of making this nonsense up as he went with 34 different twists in a two hour show. Clearly that’s how wrestling works and not this “storytelling” thing.
Overall Rating: D. The transition between Russo and sanity wasn’t kind as there were still all the bad matches with no time (two matches lasted less than Goldberg vs. Lesnar II) and the angles all over the place didn’t help things. However, as bad as those were, the star power on the show was more than enough to carry a lot of the dead weight and that’s why 2000 was so great.
With Rock as the undisputed #1 face in the world, Mankind as the perfect comedy buffoon sidekick and HHH as the biggest heel since Vince, the sky was the limit going into the new year. Unfortunately we weren’t there yet and needed a Radical change in the midcard to really make things work. It’s still a work in progress but also the start of a great lesson of what you can do when the effort is put in. Check out the wedding in full if you’ve never seen it though as it’s some of HHH’s best work ever.
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