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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 1999

December 5, 2010 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 1999  

DVD Packaging: This is the Royal Rumble Anthology edition so it comes in different packages with 5 discs in each one. The third volume box is black with gold trim.

DVD Presentation: The menu is simple but it’s the same for every disc in the set. It has this triumphant fanfare playing over a brief montage from that year’s RR on the right half of the screen. The left half is the same as the box design except it’s white with gold trim.

Relevant Storylines: Steve Blackman is still an up and comer. Billy Gunn sells and Ken Shamrock doesn’t. Pissed they had a casket match the previous year without him, Mabel decides to return. Rock thinks Mankind is a piece of monkey crap. And Austin’s definition of a limo is a monster truck.

Scheduled Card:
1. The Big Bossman vs. Road Dogg.
2. WWE Intercontinental Championship: Billy Gunn vs. Ken Shamrock (c).
3. WWE European Championship: Gangrel vs. X-Pac (c).
4. Strap Match for WWE Women’s Championship: Luna vs. Sable (c).
5. I Quit Match for the WWE Championship: The Rock vs. Mankind (c).
6. Royal Rumble Match.

• We start with the home video exclusives of backstage interviews with Road Dogg, Mark Henry, Big Bossman, and Jeff Jarrett all talking up the $100,000 bounty for taking out Stone Cold. Bounties are another seriously underutilized gimmick/prop in wrestling today.

• The opening video is next and it focuses on Austin vs. McMahon and The Corporation as Austin drew 1 and Vince got 2 (via HBK as commish) in the RR. The background music is Vince’s theme and the subtitle to the show is “No Chance in Hell.” I *think* that Vince started using that phrase and the music as early as Breakdown 1998 but I couldn’t be sure. This is during the height of The Corporation.

• Michael Cole and Lawler on commentary. JR was battling Bell’s palsy.

Road Dogg vs. Big Bossman. Bossman was tag champs with Shamrock and Road Dogg is the hardcore champ but neither belt is on the line. This is during one of the periods when the belts, especially secondary titles, began to change hands so frequently that they didn’t matter as much. As evidence, Bossman and Shamrock would lose the tag titles the next night to Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett and Road Dogg had only been hardcore champ for 2 weeks by defeating none other than the Bossman. Michael Cole tells us Road Dogg will play to his strengths of “speed and agility.” Um, yeah.

• Bossman runs the ropes early to try to get the “psychological” advantage according to Cole. This is going to be a long night if that’s the kind of shit he says. Road Dogg tells Bossman to suck it. Bossman dominates the lock ups early. Road Dogg with a right hand and he dances. Bossman corners and karate chops him in the eyes a few times. Bossman hits a Ho Train and then tells the crowd to suck it. Bossman chokes and then tells a fan in the front row to go to hell. Cole tells us that Road Dogg has been “unbeatable the last few weeks.” Bossman whiffs on another charge and crotches himself. Road Dogg mounts and goes for the 10 punches. Bossman counters to the inverted atomic drop but RD no sells it and hits a drop kick. Bossman grabs the night stick but Chioda aint having it. Road Dogg takes a breather. He trips Bossman and crotches him on the ring post. He chokes away in the corner. He sends Bossman across who comes back with a back elbow. On the floor, Bossman gives him another shot to the throat. Back in, he pounds away. Road Dogg tries blocking and fighting back but Bossman goes to the eyes again. He hits a big boot and stands on the ropes to posture and the fans let him hear it. Bossman sends him across with a hard whip and gets 2. Bossman goes to the bearhug. For a few seconds there, it provides a weird visual like Bossman dancing with a catatonic, lifeless RD. Road Dogg pretends to bite his nose to get free but runs into a knee. Bossman with a uppercut and some choking in the corner. Bossman goes to the opposite corner and removes the turnbuckle pad. Bossman hits a delayed sidewalk slam and tells the crowd to go to hell again. Bossman chokes some more in the corner. He hits some more right hands and Road Dogg is bumping his ass off for these shots. Bossman chokes some more and hits a Bossman attack and goes to another fucking choke. Alright, let’s get a move on. Road Dogg ducks a clothesline and goes to a sleeper. Bossman goes to the eye to counter and hits a rib breaker. He goes up top but Road Dogg recovers to slam him off the top. They slug it out and Road Dogg gets the Shake, Rattle, and Roll and hits his own version of the Bossman Attack and more Shake, Rattle, and Roll for 2. Road Dogg gets a head of steam but runs right into the Black Hole Slam for the 3 out of nowhere at 11:52. Punch, kick, choke, rest hold, cut off, brawl, repeat. Standard RAW match during this period and the finish didn’t even use the turnbuckle. *1/2

Intercontinental Championship: Billy Gunn vs. Ken Shamrock (c). This was set up by Gunn mooning Shamrock’s sister. Cole tells that Shamrock is unbeatable just like Road Dogg was. Shamrock jumps him at the bell. They slug it out. Gunn gets the advantage with a running clothesline and then mounts with some more rights. Gunn goes to the choke and then boots away. Shamrock cuts him off and hits a turnbuckle smash and gets his own clothesline. He send Gunn off who comes back with a clothesline for 2. Billy goes to a noseplug assisted chinlock. Hanging vertical suplex gets 2. Gunn whiffs on a charge and Shamrock kicks him in the ass a few times. Shamrock gets a knee lift, a bodyslam, and a knee drop. He then gets a couple Tajiri kicks and just takes his time walking around. Shamrock hits a spinwheel kick for 2. Gunn counters a back drop attempt with a Fame-asser for 2. They must not have named it yet. Gunn mounts in the corner and tells Shamrock to suck it and hits the 10 punches. He charges but Shamrock lowers the bridge and dumps him. Shamrock hits some knees in the face and rams Gunn into the ringpost. Shamrock jawing with Tim White. More generic brawling as the fans in the front row hate Shamrock. Shamrock with some right hands on the apron and it looks too fucking awkward so you know something is up and Gunn sure enough counters and throws Shamrock into the announce table. That’s been the only remotely interesting thing so far and they telegraphed it. Back in, Gunn with a facebuster. Shamrock counters with some more kicks and starts working on the leg. FINALLY, some psychology. Gunn tries selling as Shamrock tells the front row that he “smells blood.” Well thanks. Another WHATAKICKBYSHAMROCK follows to use Cole’s McMahonism. Shamrock goes to a guillotine/front facelock which makes no sense and Cole calls it a “unique manuever.” Gunn punches out and forgets about his fucking leg because apparently Shamrock did too and pulls Gunn down by the hair. Shamrock goes back to the front facelock and Cole calls it correctly twice so someone must have got in his ear. Gunn punches out again and gets a nice roll up for 2. Shamrock comes back with a fisherman suplex for 2. NOW, we go back to the leg as Shamrock trips him. They do a whip reversal and Shamrock accidentally clothesline the ref. Double clothesline and all are down. Val Venis out and hits a DDT and leaves. He had beef with Shamrock over his sister too. Shamrock kicks out at 2. They slug it out and Gunn wins and hits a back elbow. Gunn hits a Stinger splash and goes up top. He whiffs on a flying clothesline and his ankle buckles. Shamrock jumps on him and applies the ankle lock and Gunn taps immediately at 14:26. This was 2 minutes of a good match (the leg work, the ankle buckling, and the ankle lock) surrounded by 12 minutes of directionless offense but was still better than the previous match. **

• Backstage, Shane and The Stooges are pumping up Vince.

WWE European Championship: Gangrel vs. X-Pac (c). I really hope the best part of this match isn’t Gangrel’s entrance and music. X-pac with a side headlock but Gangrel gets the shoulder block and X-pac gets the arm drag. Gangrel with his own side headlock. X-pac sends him off and tries a hip toss but Gangrel blocks it. X-pac flips out and hits a back suplex. X-pac with a whip and WHATAKICKBYXPAC in the corner. He whiffs on a Bronco Buster and Gangrel rams him and hits a belly to belly suplex for 2. He hotshots X-pac for 2 as Teddy “thuggin’ and buggin'” Long tells him to cut it out. We go to the chinlock. X-pac punches out but runs into WHATAMANUEVERBYGANGREL aka flapjack. Gangrel goes up top but whiffs on an elbow drop. X-pac comebacks with some rights and a roundhouse and a running clothesline for 2. X-pac with another kick. X-pac mounts in the corner and gets the 10 punches. Every fucking guy in DX has done that shit. Did they have a team strategy meeting on it? X-pac hits the Bronco Buster and Gangrel no sells but runs into another goddamn roundhouse. X-pac goes up top but Gangrel crotches him. Gangrel follows him up but X-pac knocks him off and hits a splash. They accidentally roll it in a pin where both have their shoulders down and Teddy Long counts 3 but everyone ignores it and just keeps going. Well that was definitely a botch. A “You fucked up” chant breaks out as Gangrel hits a powerslam for 2. Gangrel tries another flapjack but X-pac counters to an X-factor for 3 at 5:52. That was certainly abrupt. At least the finishes have been clean. *

• Post-match, DX has an average promo where they say it’s everyone for himself tonight.

• Shane-O-Mac out next to some music that isn’t “Here Comes the Money” and it sucks. He brings out Luna and they plead ignorance at the attack on Women’s Champion Sable on Sunday Night Heat. He says that Sable has to come out and forfeit the title. Sable comes out and says to ring the bell.

Strap Match for WWE Women’s Championship: Luna vs. Sable (c). Yes that’s right; it’s a strap match. They are doing the 4 corners rules. Shane jumps on commentary. Sable jumps and whips her early. Luna takes a breather but Sable pulls her into the ringpost. Back in, Sable whips some more. Sable with a clothesline and then chokes some. Sable with a hairtoss. Sable touches two corner but Luna cuts her off and chokes her. Luna goes to the injured back and puts her in a variation of the Camel Clutch. Luna touches 2 corners but Sable cuts her off with a whirlwind toss. Then she whips some more. Sable with some kicks but misses a charge. Luna hits a backbreaker. Luna puts her in a choke hold and then drags Sable in tow to each corner but Luna isn’t aware she’s also touching the corners. They get to the third at the same time. Shane gets up to distract the ref but a crazed fan (Tori that was with Kane then DX) lays out Luna and Sable hits the fourth turnbuckle to retain at 4:45. This actually wasn’t awful. The gimmick helped surprisingly. *

• Backstage, we get a voyeuristic angle of Bossman talking to Test and Shamrock about the $100,000 bounty on Austin. I always like those suspicious camera angles. It makes more sense then them just openly talking in front of a camera they can see.

• Meanwhile, Lawler smells dissension in DX but wants the Corporation to work together to get the money. After all, “you can split the money.”

I Quit Match for the WWE Championship: The Rock vs. Mankind (c). Yes this is that match. The video package shows Foley continually rejecting Rock’s match offers (No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere, Corporation barred from ringside) and finally settling on this match type. We get classic Foley footage of the King of the Death Match tournament and of course HIAC. Also, we get classic Rock footage of him really hitting his stride as a heel and their great feud that lasted through the latter parts of 98 and finally ending the night after the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre PPV with a ladder match on RAW with Paul Wight swinging the series in Rock’s favor.

• Michael PS Hayes interviews Rock backstage. His sideburns are out of control at this point. It’s basically the greatest hits of his catchphrases although he hadn’t mastered the timing yet and the fans didn’t chant along with everything he said. He is a heel after all.

• Rock comes out to his Nation-flavored theme wearing the infamous black tracksuit. Earlier that night on Heat, Foley had to wrestle Mabel but Rock came out and gave Foley the Rock Bottom to get Mabel DQ’ed.

• Foley with some rights to start and a clothesline. He hits the nut charge in the corner. Foley gets the mic to ask him but it’s not working. Rock just gets up and starts in with his own rights. Foley comes back with some boots. He sends Rock across and coming out of the corner nails a bulldog. He mounts with some rights and asks The Rock if he wants to quit. Rock responds with, “The Rock says you can kiss his–” but Foley waffles him with the mic before the punchline. OK, that’s great stuff. Foley destroys him with the mic some more. The sound of the microphone strikes are always great because they are amplified through the sound system. Foley asks again but Rock says he’s going to kick his fatass. Foley comes with back with Cactus clothesline. On the floor they battle and Rock sends Foley into the steps and he eats it knees first. While Foley recovers, Rock decides to do some commentary and threatens King but Foley attacks from behind. He tosses Rock into the timekeeper’s table. He thrashes Rock with a chair which Cole calls both the steel stairs and then WHATCHAIRSHOTBYMANKIND. Foley asks again and Rock still refuses. Foley with some more mic shots for good measure. Back in, Foley hits the Double Arm DDT and pulls out Socko for the Mandible Claw. Hebner asks Rock but he’s too out of it to say anything. Foley with more boots. To the floor, he tosses Rock into the crowd. Foley is mobbed by fans. He runs toward the Rock who counters with a belly to belly over the barricade (WHATASLAMBYTHEROCK). Rock back on the offense. He throws Foley around and then rings the bell on Foley’s head. Awesome. He gets the mic and sings a line from Charles Brown’s “Please Come Home For Christmas,” “Bells will be ringing…” and then waffles Foley again with the bell. More rights and Rock preps the Rock Bottom through the table but it collapses early. That could have been bad considering Angle got a concussion at Summerslam 2000 when the same thing happened. Rock asks him again but no go. Rock gets a bottle of water and spits some on Foley who comes back with rights. Cole starts cutting an old Dusty Rhodes promo to tell us that Foley slept on floors an in alleys to get to places like here but King cuts him off to say that was last night. Good line. They brawl up the entranceway. Rock fights back with a fucking Karate chop and some rights. More indiscriminate brawling until Rock hits a whiplash DDT on the concrete. The crowd lets Rock hear it and he stops to pose before going to get a ladder. Foley cuts him off though and then chokes Rock with the ladder. He goes for an elbow drop but Rock moves and Foley eats ladder. Rock hits another pose as they chant “Rocky sucks.” Rock sets up the ladder at the fucking entrance set up. Foley follows him up there. They walk across some ledge and trade shots but Rock goes low. He nails a right that sends Foley flying Nestea Plunge style a good 10 feet down into some breaker boxes complete with sparks and a brief power outage in the building. Someone quickly turns a spotlight on to give us some light. Shane-O-Mac is out to call it off but Rock isn’t having it. Rock with more right hands as he drags Foley back up the entranceway. Back in the ring, Rock grabs some handcuffs from ringside and puts Foley in them. Rock hammers away in the corner but Foley counters with a low blow and some of his own boots. He bites Rock and hits another low blow. Rock comes back with a clothesline and gets a chair and it’s about to get ugly. He hits a Corporate Elbow on the chair on Foley but still no dice. Rock hits unprotected chair shot 1 and Rocky goes down to both knees. Rock hits number 2 but Foley still won’t quit. Number 3, 4, and 5 happen in quick succession. Even King wants them to stop it. Foley rolls to the floor. Number 6 and 7 follow as he walks up the ramp. Number 8 and Foley drops down in a pile. He slowly gets up and there’s Number 9 and 10 and again Foley practically collapses. Rock asks him and after a delay they play the piped in Foley screaming “I quit!” from an earlier segment and that’s it at 21:54. Even if you’re never seen Beyond The Mat, the finishing stretch is tough to watch, especially with the added information we have now about concussions. Still, the match is an awesome mixture of a hardcore match, a brawl, and promos. Very good spots and character work. ****1/4

Royal Rumble: The video package focuses on McMahon vs. Austin going back to at least Breakdown where Austin lost the Smoking Skull belt. McMahon made Austin #1 in the RR but Shawn Michaels made Vince # 2. We also get footage of Stone Cold being denied entry to the building because he didn’t have a limo on Sunday Night Heat. So he returned with a limo monster truck and ran over 4 conveniently placed junkers. Austin is 1 and a seriously juiced and oiled up McMahon is out second with no music. At the bell, Austin demolishes him with rights and boots. Austin with double middle fingers and hits… a bodyslam? Then he teases a low blow forever before hitting it. He checks and sees which side wants McMahon tossed to them. He teases a toss but just clothesline him back down. Next out is Golga of the Oddities. Austin with a Thesz press but Golga jumps him but Austin dumps him. In the meantime, McMahon goes under the bottom rope. Austin chases him and they “brawl” through the crowd. Out next is Droz (100 second intervals so far) but no one gives a shit because the camera is following Austin brawling with Vince into a bathroom on the concourse but the entire Corporation happens to be in there. Edge is 4 and hits a crossbody and a troll yell early. Droz fights back. Edge comes back with a dropkick. Gillberg and some piped in chants are next. After a minute of posturing, he gets in and Edge dumps him to a pop. We cut to Austin being laid out in the bathroom and the Corporation leaving. Steve Blackman, “a young and up and coming superstar,” is out. It’s hilarious that for 2 straight years they tried to sell Steve fucking Blackman as the energetic future of the company. He hits some kicks. Droz tries to eliminate him and in a dead ringer for Scorpion demands that Edge “get over here!” and help him. Edge obliges by poking his eye. Dan Severn is next and I didn’t remember he had a badass rock song riff for his entrance. But he’s wearing a fucking t-shirt. Him and Blackman go at it. Meanwhile, Austin is taken out on a stretcher and the fans chant for Austin. Tiger Ali Singh is next but we don’t care because AUSTIN IS IN AN AMBULANCE! Back to the ring and the fans are dead already.

Blue Meanie out next at 10. He takes down Singh and dances. Edge tries to give Meanie a pink belly because The Brood and The JOB Squad had a feud going. The horn sounds but no one shows up. Backstage, Mabel takes out Mosh and takes his spot. Mabel immediately dumps Severn, Blackman and Singh. When Mabel is your saving grace, you know shit isn’t going well. Road Dogg is next. Mabel dumps Meanie and Droz. Edge goes low on Mabel. Road Dogg makes a beeline for Edge and dumps him. No horn rings but the lows go light and UT’s music starts. The lights go back on and The Acolytes have taken out Mabel. What the hell is going on? Darth Calloway is out to sacrifice Mabel to some higher power (not yet Vince). The Acolytes continue beating him up and Road Dogg just waits. Gangrel is out next. He overpowers Road Dogg and goes on the offense but Road Dogg dumps him off a whip. Kurrgan is out next. Kurrgan with a sideslam. Cole mentions McMahon but King pleads ignorance. A headless Al Snow is next. After teaming up on Kurrgan, Road Dogg dumps Snow from behind. Kurrgan hits the worst Director’s Cut flying hipcheck ever but Goldust is out next. He DDTs Kurrgan but because Kurrgan sucks you can’t tell. Road Dogg mocks Goldust but Goldust goes low. Godfather and The Hoes are next. A “We Want Hoes” chant crops up. Kane is next. The badass old entrance strikes again and the fans love it. Kane dumps Road Dogg and Kurrgan immediately. Godfather is next and Kane choke slams Goldust over the top and the crowd loves it. But “The White Coats” aka the orderlies are out to restrain Kane and the crowd boos them like hell. Kane takes out a couple and eliminates himself to chase down the rest. The ring is empty again and Ken Shamrock is next and Vince returns too on commentary.

Billy Gunn minus a boot but plus a limp and a brace is out at 20. OK, that attention to detail and selling is fucking great. He tries to fight but Shamrock immediately trips him. Gunn counters with a back suplex and a one footed press slam. He tries to dump Shamrock but he skins the cat and clips the knee. Test is out next. Meanwhile, The Acolytes brawl with Mabel and dump him into a hearse. But here comes an ambulance and Stone Cold has commandeered the sonofabitch. Gunn goes low on both Corporation members as Lawler says someone should calls the cops because Austin is a car thief. Bossman is next. Austin chases McMahon but he runs right into Shamrock and Test. But Austin dumps Shamrock. Bossman chokes away on Austin. Austin grabs the tag rope and chokes Bossman in kind. Triple H is next. H hits a high knee on Test. Billy Gunn on one leg goes after Austin but gets nowhere. Austin nails Gunn with a clothesline. Val Venis is next but runs into a clothesline from Triple H. Gunn with some rights on Austin but Austin stomps him bad foot and dumps him. That was funny. X-Pac is next. Val Venis boots Austin to the floor under the bottom rope. Austin back in with a double ax handle. Mark Henry is next. Henry goes after Austin but then pounds on Bossman. Jeff Jarrett and Debra are out next to a pop but it turns to heat once they see that Debra is not getting naked. D-Lo and his Bob Orton-esque chest protector are next accompanied Jacqueline and Terri Runnels in a complete see-through shirt. Meanwhile, Austin dumps Test. Bossman dumps X-Pac. Austin with a Thesz press on Jarrett. Triple H then dumps him as Owen Hart is next. D-Lo and Owen trying working together but Trips smashes their hands together. Austin rolls to the floor to take a swig of a Boilermaker or some shit but tosses it in McMahon’s face. Chyna is out last. She goes after Mark Henry and dumps him but then Austin dumps her. Triple H goes irate and jumps him. Val Venis jumps him from behind. They trade places trying to take out Austin until Triple H finally dumps Val. Austin hits a Stunner immediately and dumps Triple H.

Final Four (er.. Five): Bossman, D-Lo, Owen Hart, and Austin (and McMahon). D-Lo works over Austin. And Owen works over Bossman. Crowd is just waiting because they know none of these guys except Austin (or McMahon) could win. Austin dumps Owen but Bossman jumps him. D-Lo hits the LoDown but Bossman dumps him from behind. From behind, Austin hits the Stunner and dumps Bossman. Austin and McMahon brawl on the floor on the announce table. Into the crowd, we go for more right hands. Austin grabs a chair and waffles McMahon on the head with it. Back in, Austin gloats and McMahon begs. McMahon goes low to even the score. Austin to his feet first and hits the Stunner. He’s not done as he hits a second row elbow drop but here comes The Rock to talk some smack. He gets to the apron. Austin jumps him but McMahon from behind pushes Austin over the top to win at 56:36.

• What a bizarre Rumble. They emptied the ring three different times and had a single wrestler just stand there awkwardly for 90 seconds and then filled it back up with mostly midcard fodder which is such a counterproductive strategy for producing a dramatic rumble. It’s almost like the match was a collection of 5 or 6 RAW segments all taking place in the ring just with timed intervals. The match was mostly based around midcard feuds which is a good and bad thing. There was a dearth of main eventers and no real threat to Austin in the match but it was a showcase for each midcard act. They tried the same thing in the 95 RR but hardly any of them were over. But somehow, this time it worked. They caught lightning in a bottle because almost every act on the card and in the rumble itself was over. If nothing else, this is a fascinating document for this period in wrestling history when the WWE could seemingly do no wrong in their fans’ eyes. ***3/4

The 411: Hard to accurately judge. The undercard is mediocre. Rock-Foley is a awesome, but as usual the show lives or dies with the rumble match. The 99 Rumble match is definitely acquired taste, and if you weren’t a fan of the period, you will probably think it sucks. It’s dated as hell and is a microcosm of the Attitude era, but I loved the rumble match itself warts and all and that's mostly what the rating is for (the rumble and Rock-Foley). Your mileage will totally vary.
 
Final Score:  6.5   [ Average ]  legend

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