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Thread: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

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    Royal Rumble WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    Royal Rumble
    January 24, 1999



    Road Dogg vs The Boss Man
    Road Dogg recently won the Hardcore Title from Boss Man while Boss Man is one half of the tag team champions, after winning the titles from the New Age Outlaws in late 1998. The booking has some pretty gigantic holes in logic in that the McMahons kept the Hardcore Title from being on the line. Why would they do that? Even odder is that Boss Man wins cleanly with the Boss Man Slam. Why? I can understand that you're trying to put over the fact that while Road Dogg has found a ton of success in the newly created Hardcore Division, but are you really helping the guy lose cleanly to Boss Man, even if Boss Man is preparing for a Mania match against Taker? Match was as dull as watching paint dry with Boss Man controlling the majority of the bout by working over the back of Road Dogg. Road Dogg's offense was over, but it doesn't mean a whole lot when Boss Man was boring and Roadie lost cleanly. Such an oddly booked match. * 1/2


    Ken Shamrock (c) vs Billy Gunn - WWE IC Title
    Besides being the IC Champion, Shamrock is also one half of the tag team champions with Boss Man. Oh yeah, if there's one man deserving of holding two titles in the WWE circa 1999, it's Shamrock. This Corporation/DX feud heated up as a singles program after Gunn defeated Shamrock in a non-title match and then mooned Shamrock's sister, Ryan Shamrock. The match was a little better than the opening match thanks solely due to all of Shamrock's strikes, mostly his kicks. He tries to create a big of a story with one roundhouse kick after another to the back of Gunn's knee. Gunn proves how deserving his is of his million different singles pushes by refusing to sell the knee at all. Why do you have to suck so much, Billy? The strange booking of the night continues as referee, Tim White, goes down. That brings out Val Venis to give Shamrock a DDT. That finally allows Gunn to gain the advantage, but the moron can't even pick up the victory once the referee recovers. Gunn tries a spot off of the top rope, but lands badly on his knee and he finally sells the knee. Gunn drops in pain and Shamrock quickly slaps on the Ankle Lock to win the match cleanly by submission. So not only does the babyface get his ass kicked for the entire match, but he's only able to gain the advantage with a run in and yet he still loses cleanly? What are you doing, Russo? **


    X-Pac (c) vs Gangrel - WWE European Title
    Gangrel seemingly earned this title shot by losing a Hardcore Title match against Road Dogg on a recent edition of Raw. Despite the sheer randomness of booking this match (I guess they didn't want to book X-Pac vs Test?), this match was actually pretty fun. Granted, I imagine this would have been a hell of a lot more entertaining with Edge or Christian in the match instead of Gangrel, but everyone's favorite wrestling vampire put in a good deal of effort here. X-Pac, naturally, is hard working and manages to make even Gangrel look like a solid midcarder. There's not much of a story here with X-Pac working in his fast pace style while Gangrel fails time and again with his attempts at offense. His Dick Togo style top rope back senton was pretty groovy looking. Referee, Teddy Long, lives up to his shitty reputation as a ref by botching a nearfall by counting too soon (X-Pac's shoulders weren't down yet), thus accidentally counting to three before it was time for X-Pac to properly kick out at two and a half. X-Pac counters a spinebuster like pop-up into the X-Factor to pick up the victory. Hell of a HEAT main event type of a match. I would criticize the randomness more, but with two duds earlier in the night, this sort of fun, yet pointless match, is welcomed. ** 3/4


    Shane McMahon comes out to announce that Sable is injured and will be forfeiting the Women's Title to Luna. Instead, Sable comes out and orders for the match to began.

    Sable (c) vs Luna - Strap Match - WWE Women's Title
    I don't remember the Shane/Sable feud at all. Likewise, I had no idea that this was scheduled to be a strap match. Random, but it actually helped the quality some as the ladies were able to use the strap in their offense instead of having to watch Sable botch wrestling moves. What's the deal with Luna never winning the WWE Women's Title? She had a program with Alundra Blayze in 1994, this short one with Sable and a one later in the year against Ivory. She was far more talented than the average Diva. Again, the random booking of the show rears it's ugly head again as they began the cliche finish of Luna hitting three of the turnbuckle pads with Sable touching them afterward without Luna realizing. Shane would jump on the ring apron to distract the referee, but Luna managed to knock Sable down and was just about to touch the final turnbuckle when the still unnamed Sable fan (Later known as Tori) would knock Luna out with a punch. The referee turns around and catches Sable touching the final turnbuckle to win the match. Congrats Shane, You tried to cheat the champion out of her title, but you allowed her to cheat to win. Not a terrible match at all. * 3/4

    Mankind (c) vs The Rock - I Quit Match - WWE World Title
    Thanks to the wrestling documentary, Beyond the Mat, and knowing what we know now about concussions, this is quite the controversial match. I fully admit to being a bigger fan of this match than most. In fact, it remains my WWE MOTY for 1999. The match played out a lot like Taker/Mankind from King of the Ring 1998 where the fan was supposed to be so impressed for Foley coming back after taking such crazy bumps and shots. While there aren't any run-ins, there is a lot of Sports Entertainment spots and wackiness added to the match. Throughout the match, both Foley and Rock get in a bunch of one liners whenever they use the mic, whether to talk their opponents into saying "I quit" or to refuse to say it. Part of what makes this entertaining is that you have two of the best talkers in the company at the time. Hell, Rock was already getting on the mic to talk in some of his matches at this time. Then there's the big dive when Foley is sent from the stands onto some electric equipment, sending out a bunch of sparks and causing the arena to lose lighting for a bit. Despite all of the craziness that the WWE had been doing for the past year, this spot still stood out for being one of the craziest of that age. The series of chair strikes to Foley's head while his hands are handcuffed behind his back gets a lot of hate, but it's a great emotional moment with Michael Cole begging the referee to stop the match and Foley doing his best to refuse to drop to the floor. Regardless of how risky it is to hit someone over the head with a chair, the spot of someone trying to absorb the damage and remain on their feet will likely always be a big deal to me. Finally, there's the ending with the production tape playing a pre-recorded comments from Foley where he screamed "I quit" to give the match and title to Rock. Sure, it may seem like a cheap finish, but for 1999, it was actually a clever little idea and unlike their St. Valentine's Day Massacre match, at least we had a finish here. I love the match and besides the infamous Hell in a Cell, it's likely Foley's most well known WWE bout. If you're going to do something as stupid as take a dozen unprotected chair shots to the head, at least Foley did it in a major match. As I said, it's my pick for the WWE MOTY for 1999 and it's a match big enough to warrant watching at least once. On a major dud like Royal Rumble '99, that's exactly what this lame show needed. **** 1/2


    30 Man Royal Rumble Match
    While this match was certainly underwhelming, it does perfectly sum up what the Attitude Era was all about. The main story of the match is the Austin and the McMahon angle, which begins and ends the match. In fact, at the end of the show when they're showing the music video montage of the entire match, they skip everything between Austin's attack by the Corporation and Austin's return late in the Rumble match. One of the very few things that does matter besides McMahon/Austin is the Taker angle. At the start of the second third of the match, The Ministry of Darkness (Mideon and Acolytes) run out and attack the returning Mabel. All of this would set-up the transformation of Mabel into the newest member of the Ministry - Viscera. From there, the rest of the match has a lot of inactivity with guys that aren't very over, a brief Kane segment and a final third where things become somewhat important again due to the inclusion of some of the very few other over talents coming into the match, who were mostly just Degeneration X. So as disappointing as it may be, you can't fault the match for being a product of it's period.

    Once Austin and McMahon bailed, the first third of the match dragged on. Out of those other eight guys, the biggest star was likely Edge and you have to remember that this was early 1999 Edge we're talking about. Hardly a big deal. All of the cuts to the back to focus on McMahon/Austin made it clear that that was what was important, not the actual wrestlers. Things improved a little in the second third with the Undertaker calling for the kidnap of Mabel, Kane destroying everyone before the attempt to send him back to the insane asylum (Ugh...) and the renewal of the Shamrock/Gunn feud to close out the second third. Surprisingly, Gunn does a swell job at selling his injured ankle, working the entire Rumble match without his boot on his injured foot. The quality improves a little bit again with the final third. Most of DX and the Corporation enters at this point, as does Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart and the return of Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon. It's hardly great, but at least we're seeing some stars in the match inside of guys like Tiger Ali Singh, The Blue Meanie, Droz and Kurrgan. I'm not a fan of the final four of McMahon, Austin, D-Lo and Boss Man though. Why have D-Lo and Boss Man still in the ring when the far bigger star duo of Owen Hart and Triple H were in the final six? Outside of McMahon and Austin, The Boss Man survived the longest, yet he was only in the Rumble for a mere eighteen minutes. Compare that to 1998 and there were 11 men that lasted for a longer amount of time than Boss Man. In the end, McMahon won the match after last eliminating Austin when The Rock came out to distract Austin, to add a little more heat to their eventual Mania match. I'm not sure if it exactly helps the prestige of the Rumble when someone who started the Rumble match, won the match despite only being involved for a few minutes. Rather than be a good Rumble match, it's an angle based Rumble, which still happens to be superior to the worst Rumbles of 1995 and 1997. **




    Overall
    The WWE kicks off their highly important 1999 with a typical Vince Russo era PPV - one that makes little sense. Starting with the first two matches, you have Russo splitting up the WWE's hottest tag team in years and having both men lose their matches cleanly. It'd be one thing if they lost to wrestlers that truly mattered, but a way past his prime Boss Man and an overpushed Ken Shamrock? Yikes. Then there's the European Title match. At the time, X-Pac was likely one of the top five workers the company had. So who does Russo book X-Pac against? Perhaps a member of the Corporation? Nope. Just Gangrel. A guy who hadn't won a singles match on Raw or PPV since his debut month way back in August 1998. Waltman is great though and he manages to get a good match out of Gangrel though. The Rumble match is especially frustrating as it was just an excuse to highlight more McMahon/Austin rivalry. Looking back, the '99 Rumble match didn't mean anything as Austin simply won the Mania title shot after defeating McMahon at St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Who likes Rumble matches where the winner doesn't end up having a gigantic Wrestlemania? Unless you're a McMahon/Austin completest, there's one real reason to watch Royal Rumble '99 and that's the WWE World Title match. Just as Foley helped Austin have a couple of incredible early PPV title defenses in '98 (Including my WWE '98 MOTY) and Triple H in early 2000 (Again, including my WWE 2000 MOTY), Foley works his magic and produces his second of three straight WWE MOTY's, this time with the Rock. For a feud that was meant to just keep Rock busy until the Austin feud could officially kick off, the Rock/Foley feud is highly memorable. The show may have sucked, but at least we had one great match. The sad part is that for as many mistakes Russo made in failing to make this show feel important, Royal Rumble '99 is a hell of a lot more memorable than WCW Souled Out '99. So yeah, check out the WWE World Title match and feel free to skip everything else unless you enjoy hour long matches where everything minus the first and last two minutes are meaningless.

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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    Surprised to see you rate the I Quit match so highly, I thought it would be something you'd hate. Personally I think it's one of the most overrated attitude era matches. The electrified prop bump is hilarious goofy and the Russo finish is lame. The brawling and trask talk is decent but the LMS match hits all the same high notes and is a much better match all round. I also liked the Ladder match more as well. 1999 WWF is really weird to watch nowadays.


  3. #3

    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by King Steventon View Post
    Surprised to see you rate the I Quit match so highly, I thought it would be something you'd hate. Personally I think it's one of the most overrated attitude era matches. The electrified prop bump is hilarious goofy and the Russo finish is lame. The brawling and trask talk is decent but the LMS match hits all the same high notes and is a much better match all round. I also liked the Ladder match more as well. 1999 WWF is really weird to watch nowadays.
    While I enjoyed the Last Man Standing match, I absolutely hate the finish. I can't stand the amount of Last Man Standing matches that ended in draws or no contests. The Rumble title match may be over the top, but I feel it works partly because everything felt fresh and because the match is just one of the bigger title defenses in the modern era. Admittedly, I loved the Rock/Foley feud with the Survivor Series match not receiving enough solid praise, the ladder match is a nice hidden gem and even the Halftime HEAT match is fun in it's completely wacky and over the top way.

    I can see myself not liking the match as much had some of those bigger spots have been done before though.

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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    How many LMS matches have ended in draws? I really can't think of many.


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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    Outside of this match I can only think of Michaels vs Triple H & Batista vs The Undertaker


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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    Outside of the ones Crocker named, there was also Ryback/Cena from Extreme Rules and a couple of TV matches.

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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    All of which were like 5 years after Rock vs Foley.


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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by King Steventon View Post
    All of which were like 5 years after Rock vs Foley.
    You're correct. I'm just saying a non-finish in a Last Man Standing match is one of my least favorite finishes ever.

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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    why?


  10. #10

    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by King Steventon View Post
    why?
    I find it to be one of the cheapest possible finishes a wrestling match can have. The entire idea of the match is that we're going to find out which man will be able to remain standing at the end. That's nice in the regard that the loser doesn't have to do the job, so you don't have to worry much about the loser looking badly in losing. When it goes to a no contest, the match and all of the big build up wasn't very important at all.

    If you have a gimmick match, you should really have a proper finish.

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    Curtain Jerker

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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 1999 Review

    1999 was mostly a terrible year in my opinion. Financially it was very successful but I can't think of much at all I look back on fondly. Take away the Rock/Mankind feud which was excellent and I can't think of much else I liked at all.

    The New Age Outlaws should never have split up. DX broke up way too soon. Austin-McMahon had really run it's course by Wrestlemania. I really hated every second of the Ministry/Vince McMahon storyline which was the main focus for a good 6 months. The Big Show was mostly misused. I didn't care for most of the roster at all. The overall workrate was just really low in general. WCW had some really awful things going on and were still pushing guys like Luger and Piper but I still enjoyed the main-event scene much more and the undercard was so much better than the WWF's.

    After all the Ministry BS ran it's course the WWF started to get back on track. The Rock finally got back on track after having little to do for a big chunk of the year. HHH was really emerging as a top heel. E&C and The Hardy Boys had their epic ladder match. Jericho debuted. Rock and Sock. Test looked like becoming the next big thing. Billy Gunn's push ended. The hardcore division was becoming alot of fun. Things were definitely getting back on track later in the year. 2000 was so much better though. It's amazing how much better the company got after Russo left.

    As for this event in particular. It was one of the few PPVs I owned on video so I'm a bit nostalgic for it. Rock/Mankind was an all-time great match and the best match they had together by far. The Rumble match was purely about Austin and McMahon which was disappointing. Like you said, the Rumble match was rendered kind of pointless since the title shot was up for grabs at the next PPV before Mania anyway. A quintessentially Russo era PPV.

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