Before we close out the month of June, we want to say that Wade Barrett can rest easy knowing his King of the Ring honor is not the worst use of it. Because of this, we look at the last KOTR of the Vince Russo era. So with that, we give you the 1999 King of the Ring.
We start with recap of Austin as kayfabe CEO mixed with images of great leaders like JFK, bad ones like Mussolini, and Jesse Jackson as, well, someone.
Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcome us from Greensboro, NC. We are updated on future NWA Champion Ken Shamrock being assaulted by Steve Blackman during a match with Shane McMahon on Heat. Shamrock still refusing help after biting blood capsules. Michael Coe says Shane might not wrestle again in the main event. In which he teams with his father to face Stone Cold Steve Austin for WWF ownership.
Hardcore Holly vs. X-Pac in a KOTR quarterfinal match. Two former WWF Tag Team Champions collide. We find out that X-Pac stopped Triple-H and Chyna from assaulting Road Dogg on Heat. Holly starts off showboating while he’s in control. Holly targets the head and neck early in the match. Most of this likely leads Harvard Student Chris Nowinski to think of a new job. X-Pac uses a back suplex to take over. Using a series of kicks, X-Pac then does a bronco buster without hurting himself. As quick as the match starts, Holly uses a chair and gets DQ. The assault brings out Road Dogg to make the save. A DQ finish that early brings the whole match down. Road Dogg’s “Down where? Down here” shirt apply to ratings now.
Terry Taylor asks Holly about what he did. Holly’s rude to the cock of the walk before saying he hasn’t forgotten about The Big Show.
Speaking of Big Show, he’s in action next in a quarterfinal match. Back when he only turned a few times. We see a recap of Big Show pushing a junk car down. His opponent tonight is Kane. Yes, these two men were once well loved. The two skyscrapers stare each other, then exchange blows. Battling for ground early on, Kane uses his power to throw Big Show around, but then Big Show uses his imposing presence before getting hit with an enziguri. Yes AN ENZUGURI! After a double boot, Kane is on the outside. He regains momentum with a slingshot on Big Show off the rope before using a top rope clothesline. Kane accidentally hits referee Jimmy Korderas before Big Show hits Jimmy. After a low blow by Kane on Big Show, Holly returns with the chair before getting disposed of by Kane. After a brief Big Show offense, Kane goozles Big Show with the intention of choking him. After what seems like forever, Big Show breaks the hold. This leads to Kane using the chair for the win. Not totally bad, but could’e done without interference, or choking.
Cole asks Vince McMahon if Shane will wrestle. Vince dismisses him like he was a report about the current angles.
Billy Gunn is out next. We get a recap that doesn’t explain much as to why he’s got a WWF Tag Team Championship belt. Billy challenges Shamrock and mocks him. This leads Shamrock to push medical officials aside to wrestle his quarterfinal match. Referee Teddy Long takes time away from the tag belt to tell Shamrock he shouldn’t wrestle. Billy takes advantage to punch and kick Shamrock’s ribs. Any offense by Shamrock early on, including an ankle lock, is brief before Billy continues to work on the torso. Even sending him crashing onto the guardrail. Shamrock tries an ankle lock outside, but Billy again gets out. When Billy gets Shamrock back inside, he tries to splash, but Shamrock rolls out of the way. Once Billy hits a powerbomb, Teddy basically says “you can’t go on playa”, and ends the match. Shamrock is angered by this, and throws Teddy out.
Ring of Honor’s Kevin Kelly interviews Chyna, who says she wants to be Queen. We won’t make a joke here. And Triple-H, who says he won’t take orders. Hopefully this is his NXT stance.
Road Dogg comes out showing why he needs a promo off with Enzo Amore. He’s in the last quarterfinal match with Chyna. If you told us that in 2015, Triple-H would hide behind his kid when asked about Chyna, we’d say we want to see this. It may be the whiskey talking, but Chyna is not completely scary at this time. Her build is Charlotte-like. Chyna uses power to take over in early exchange. Just when Road Dogg looks to be in control, Chyna uses elbows. The match spends too long with the resthold stuff before Chyna starts to strike with elbows and kicks. Chyna whips Road Dogg into the turnbuckles several times. Chyna, like Triple-H, was trained by Killer Kowalski. Interesting fact. When Road Doggreverses and sends Chyna outside, Triple-H gets in his face. When Chyna distracts the referee, Triple-H begins to assault him. Once Road Dogg is back in the ring, Chyna again uses elbows. When JR says “Chyna is on top”, we forget he’s not reviewing her movies. Road Dogg briefly battles back with puches before getting a DDT for a two. Chyna looks frustrated before going back to the power game. Chyna mocks Road Dogg’s knee drop. Eventually, Chyna uses a sleeper hold, which given the pace of this match, feels extra slow. Road Dogg finally starts to rally. Going with a sleeper of his own. Eventually, we get a second ref bump. Leading to Triple-H using a well-placed chain to try to get Chyna the win. Shawn Michaels, wearing a shirt for his own wrestling school, prevents Triple-H from getting involved. Michaels is Commissioner, so he sends Triple-H away. When Chyna attempts a low blow, we see Bret is wearing a steal plate. By which, we mean Road Dogg wore a cup. A pumphandle slam later, and Road Dogg wins. An all D-Generation X semifinal if that green Kane suit is to be believed.
Cole is interviewing The Rock about his WWF Championship match against The Undertaker. Rock talks about Taker lighting him on fire. Only Russo would think a match with THE UNDER F---ING TAKER! AND THE F---ING ROCK! Needs fire.
Edge and Christian vs. The Hardys for #1 contendership is next. We see that this match was also on Heat. That’s right, the B-shows then are better than the A-shows now. As we were saying, this match was on Heat, but the Acolytes got involved and beat both teams. Matt starts off against Christian. 2 WWECW greats facing off. A double team by the Hardys makes their manager, Michael Hayes, happy. Christian battles back and tags in Edge. Interesting to note all four wrestlers would hold main event gold in WWE. The WWECW Championship counts. After Edge dominates, Jeff reverses and tags Matt in. Once Christian tags in, the pace quickens in this match. It even sees all four in the ring at once. Gangrel tries to argue with referee/Andre travel buddy/Bartender/Storyline suicide attempter Tim White, only for Hayes, the reason the Hardys wear baggy pants, interfering He gets a spear chucked at him for his troubles. This enables the Hardys to attempt a double team, only for Jeff to be next in the spear party. Gangrel’s blood spit attempt leads to Jeff getting the pin. Gangrel makes nice for the night, but you know an Edge face turn is upcoming. Great match, but you know the Dudleys are needed.
Taker asked if he can handle the Brahma Bull leads to Taker threatening to castrate Rock. This same man threatened to gut CM Punk after all.
Vince comes out next and informs fans that Shane will not be able to wrestle. He teases that the match is off before Michaels basically says that Vince will not weasel out. If anyone is able to spot weaseling out of a job, it’s him. Vince then says since the match will go on, he will choose a new partner. We imagine this is where Vince started his feud with God. JR and Jerry talk about the Higher Power and other nonsense.
Billy vs. Kane is the first semifinal. Kane vs. a man with long blond hair and white boots. Are we watching 1999 or 2015? Billy starts by taking the fight to the big man before Kane reverses. Kane then proceeds to take Billy apart in and around the ring. However, when he attempts to use the steps, Billy dropkicks him and takes over. Billy hammers away along the walkway. The referees around this time are more lenient t this time. When Jerry says King Kane, we suspect Hayes wanted to give him the name Ken as well. Billy brings him into the ring. Kane reverses the assault with a scoop powerslam, and shows more agility with a dropkick. Billy tries to use a chair before Big Show takes it from him, then likely turns again by hitting Kane with the chair. Billy still uses the tights to get the win. Kane, whether angry at the finish or the booking, Jason spots to send Billy running.
Kevin Kelly is in the back with X-Pac. He asks about possible mixed feelings. X-Pac basically says he and Road Dogg are friends, but tonight is about the better man, whoever it is.
X-Pac vs. Road Dogg is the last semifinal match. JR talks about the KOTR tonight will be the last one of the millennium. Hope it’s not a waste. Kevin Kelly asks Road Dogg about the match. Road Doggtalks a bit too fast to be understood by any non-Boomhauer in the audience before coming out. Road Dogg starts controlling the match before X-Pac takes over. Random “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy”, “TakerDiva” and “I am a Mikdunals imploiee of da Munth!” signs deserve attention. Road Dogg gets out of another chinlock Randy, and punches and knee drops is way back into the match. However, X-Pac uses his quick kicking to take over. Though Road Dogg getting out of the way of the bronco buster leads to his most painful one of the time. When Road Dogg goes for another Pumphandle slam, X-Pac reverses into an X-Factor to win. The two men shake hands afterwards. Another match that rises above the booking.
Taker vs. Rock is next up. Taker in the hype video goozling Chyna is an interesting opposite to the man that saved Elizabeth from getting hit with a chair. Taker starts by punching Rock, and donkey punching referee Mike Chioda. This actually helps Taker when Rock Rock Bottoms him. Taker next Chokeslams Rock, Rock kicks out. Not a lot of grappling here, but given Taker’s wrestling with a torn groin, we will not complain. The two men brawl along the outside near the entrance. The referee again letting a lot of stuff slide. Including Taker sending Rock into spare guardrails. Rock battles back toward the ring, but Taker reverses a suplex with one of his own. Taker eventually gets Rock back into the ring. Taker then sets up Rock for what will later be known as old school, but Rock crotches Taker on the rope. Rock then grabs a water to spit in Taker’s face. The two men then brawl in the stands by the hard camera, where Taker uses more water. When you see Taker from behind, you understand why WWE was trying so very hard to push Roman Reigns. Rock gets Taker back to ringside, where Taker uses the ring bell to block Rock’s chair shot. Boy this referee is very conservative with his power. Taker gets Rock on the apron, where Paul Bearer uses his shoe. Taker scaring away the referee always gets a LAUGH FROM US. Rock battles back before Taker DDT’s Rock. Taker then remains in control with a chinlock. But Rock will not stop. We can see Taker telling Rock to reverse, which leads to a Samoan drop. As quick as Rock’s control was, a double clothesline puts both men down. After they use the ropes to get up, the brawl continues. Rock reverses a tombstone into a DDT for two. Bump #3 for referees tonight sees Rock people’s elbow Taker. Though with no referee, Taker still has the Championship. Bearer hands Taker an ether rag. Rock is able to grab it and use it on Taker. Triple-H runs down and pedigrees Rock. Both men are down. Taker tries getting up before deciding to pin Rock for only two. Taker then tombstones Rock to get the win. The brawl was good, but the ether and Triple-H were unnecessary.
Triple-H is dragged away as Vince tells Michaels that’s his partner. Vince, wearing batters gloves that make him look like the president of the Pat Benetar superfans, then uses a phone to tell someone to turn around. Bonus for a dazed Rock.
X-Pac vs. Billy for the final. Belly lets Cole know he’s targeting X-Pac’s neck before he says he can kiss his royal ass. We hope he’s not winning here. Billy starts targeting the neck like he said. Using thing like kicks and Stinger splashes. X-Pac sends Belly outside and planchas Billy. As the match returns to the ring. Billy is able to recalibrate his sight on the neck. Billy keeps a hold on the neck for what feels like a minute. Billy uses a fameasser, but only gets two. When he goes to rgue with the referee, he walks into an X-factor. Only two. X-Pac again bronco busts, but the pain is too much, as Billy still has the presence to use a neckbreaker. Both men fight along the top rope before Billy uses a second fameasser, this time from the second turnbuckle to become the 1999 King of the Ring. We do hope in two years, he’s not at a WWF bar eating a sandwich.
We get a video for the main event, including what we’ll call the 1999 Gooker award winner the Higher Power. When JR refers to Shane as fourth generation, many fans are angry about what the future holds. Vince gets refered to as an a—hole as Jerry says Vince is from NC. Bad move Jerry. Vince reveals Blackman is his partner. Suddenly, GTV reveals Shane relaxing with the Mean Street Posse. We do hope the payoff to GTV is good. Michaels will not let another wrestler avoid getting beaten, as he escorts Shane to the ring. Michaels says Blackman looks like a G.I. Joe, which reminds us of the one wrestler beaten up by a naval officer story not resulting in a lawsuit. Man Austin is over. You want organic over for our flagbearer. When Vince and Shane try to leave, Austin attacks them and brings Vince back. When Shane returns to the ring, Austin strikes at him as well. He focuses on Vince again. He will only be as brual as here again when he asks about why there aren’t a lot of young WWE main eventers. JR wonders if there will be grandchildren after Austin crotches Shane on the ringpost. Looking at his wife, we imagine he’ll try. When Austin tries to go after Vince, Shane then attacks. Austin however, fights back and goes after Vince. Shane pursues and goes up the ladders set up as setpieces. Austun follows him and forces him off. Austin then throws Vince into several loose ladders, and hits him with a few. Austin then sends Shane into a ladder before knocking down the ladders over both of them. Austin then grabs a ladder, and heads for the ring. When Shane tries to stop him, Austin sends him over the top. He then uses the ladder to incapacitate both men before going off of the halfway point of the ladder onto a prone Shane, who is laid out on the Spanish announce table. Austin and Vince then brawl on the ladder before Austin is send off the English/American announce table. Vince sets up the ladder to try to get the briefcase. Austin frantically gets in and low blows Vince and ramming him into the ladder before sending him off. When Shane tries to attack, Austin uses the ladder to keep Shane trapped. Austin then sends Vince into the ladder. When Austin sets up the ladder to slingshot one, he decides to do so to both. Austin then sandwiches Shane with the ladder, leading to him tapping out. Austin sets up the ladder to attempt to grab it. Vince knocks it down. They then try to not use the ladder, but still grab the briefcase. Austin turns Vince around, and punches him. He then gives both men a stunner. Austin goes for it, but someone raises the briefcase. While they never said directly who did it, it is implied later it’s the Big Boss Man. Austin goes to get answers, and notices Vince is going for the briefcase. The two men brawl before Shane knocks the ladder down. He then sets it up, and grabs the briefcase. Don’t feel so bad for Austin. He booked himself a WWF Championship match for the next night.
While this was not a purely bad event, it certainly was not great. Too many ref bumps, too many matches with interference, and the fact that Billy Gunn would be Billy Gunn’ed, make this tough to defend. So ends another edition of Bad PPV Summer. Next month awaits the worst July PPVs WCW put out around this time. Until then, have a great weekend, and try to remember Slammiversary.