Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Monday Night Raw
Date: August 9, 1999
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
The date should look familiar to you because this show is a pretty famous one. Well at least it has a pretty famous moment, as the Countdown to the Millennium comes to a close. I know we are coming up on Summerslam, but there are some times where one moment overshadows everything and that’s what we are getting here. Let’s get to it.
The countdown is on.
Here’s Rock to get things going but first we see Undertaker telling Big Show to wait and hear what Rock has to say. Rock, who was attacked by Show and Undertaker last night on Heat, makes fun of Show’s music and says he knows the millions all head to the bathroom when Show is coming out. Then Show steps over the top rope and raises his hand in the air, like that is supposed to impress someone. Cue Undertaker and Big Show and the fight is on. X-Pac and Road Dogg come in for the failed save so here’s Kane to clear the other monsters out.
Here’s what else is coming on the show.
Commissioner Shawn Michaels arrives.
X-Pac and Kane demand a Tag Team Title shot against the Acolytes tonight.
Christian vs. Gangrel
Gangrel knocks him down in the corner to start as you can hear fire extinguishers putting out the ring of fire. Christian dropkicks him to the floor but the dive hits the barricade. Back in and Christian hits the reverse DDT before loading up the yet to be named Unprettier. Cue the Hardy Boyz for a distraction though, earning themselves a dive from Christian. Back in and Gangrel sprays blood into Christian’s eyes to cut off a dive, setting up the Impaler for the pin.
Post match the Hardys beat down Christian, drawing out Edge for the failed save attempt. Michael Hayes, the Hardys’ manager, comes in to ask what’s going on and gets beaten down as well.
The Acolytes say the title match is on.
Here’s Rock’s Getting Cheffy With It Chef Boyardee commercial. Ok so the song is catchy.
Jerry Lawler brings out Jesse Ventura for a chat. He talks about being a former wrestler and a former Navy SEAL. We get some thinly veiled shots at Hulk Hogan for not being in the military and only playing a SEAL in badly made television movies. Ventura knows the SEAL’s and now is the power in Minnesota. That’s why he was brought in to be the guest referee and at Summerslam we are going to find out who the best wrestler is. Cue HHH and Chyna, who Ventura tells to work on their wrestling move.
HHH says Ventura only talks about how things used to be but this is his ring. Jesse: “This is my country, which is bigger than his ring.” Ventura was standing with the President of the United States this week but HHH says he’ll take Ventura down today. Cue Shawn Michaels to say he brought HHH into this world, so get the glare out of your stare.
HHH shoves Michaels and the jacket comes off, with Ventura having to separate them. Ventura whispers something to Shawn and says HHH can get physical tonight in a triple threat match with Undertaker and Steve Austin. Shawn: “HIT MY MUSIC!” This was a long version of “Jesse is back” and the rest was kind of window dressing.
Some new show called Smackdown is coming later this month.
D’Lo Brown is training Mark Henry, who needs to stop for some relief. During the break, Jeff Jarrett ran out of a car and jumped Brown from behind, sending him into a tree. How did Jeff know where Brown was without being seen?
Jeff Jarrett vs. Val Venis
Jarrett jumps him during the pre-match shtick but we need to talk about something that took place in a stairwell. Venis fights back but gets distracted by Debra. Not that it matters as Venis grabs a Blue Thunder Bomb for the quick pin.
Post match Jarrett yells at Debra so Venis makes the save and the two leave together.
Austin is out cold in the stairwell with a broken cinder block near his head. Post break Austin is taken away in an ambulance so here’s HHH to ask what happened.
Here’s Shawn again to say HHH did it and call him out here right now. HHH and Chyna come out after a little bit but Shawn doesn’t want to hear it. Tonight, it’s HHH vs. Undertaker, Falls Count Anywhere and anything goes. Oh and the #1 contendership is on the line as well. HHH says Shawn can’t do that so Shawn makes himself guest referee. We’re not done yet though as Shawn wants it to be a triple threat match so we’ll add Chyna in as a bonus. HHH says this is no place for a woman but Chyna accepts, much to HHH’s annoyance. I remember watching this live and my head snapped up at the Chyna announcement.
Post break Chyna and HHH argue a lot.
Tag Team Titles: X-Pac/Kane vs. Acolytes
The Acolytes are defending and Lawler has no idea what is with this mashup of Kane and X-Pac’s themes. Bradshaw and Kane fight in the ring as Faarooq beats up X-Pac on the floor. We settle down to Kane getting taken into the corner for the double teaming until a big boot takes Faarooq down.
X-Pac comes in and gets planted just as fast to put the champs in control again. A backbreaker gives Faarooq two and Bradshaw grabs the bearhug. That’s broken up so X-Pac hits an enziguri, allowing the hot tag to Kane. Everything breaks down and Bradshaw breaks up the Bronco Buster, only to walk into the X Factor to give us new champions.
Rating: D+. Nothing to the match of course, but that is to be expected in a situation like this. I never cared for X-Pac and Kane as champions as it turned into way too much of the underdog in the land of giants story. They didn’t have a chance to do much here and while it could have been worse, it still wasn’t exactly thrilling stuff.
Post match Road Dogg runs in to celebrate and Kane says SUCK IT without the voicebox. Cue Big Show and Undertaker to beat down the good guys though, likely setting up Summerslam.
GTV gives us a clip of Billy Gunn being given a massage with some special herbs.
Joey Abs/Steve Blackman vs. Test/Ken Shamrock
This seems a little unfair, even with Shane McMahon on commentary. It’s a brawl to start with Shane getting in a cheap shot to little avail. Test runs Joey over but gets suplexed down for two. Blackman whips out a kendo stick but gets sent over the announcers’ table. That doesn’t mean much though as Test powerbombs Joey and hits the pumphandle powerslam for the fast pin.
Post match Test Pillmanizes Joey’s ankle twice in a row. That gets rid of the Posse and there is only Shane left for Test.
Billy Gunn’s namesake is rather, uh, red. It seems that those herbs may have been poison ivy.
Test is all fired up after getting rid of the Posse and can’t wait to get his hands on Shane.
Blackman wants Shamrock in something called the Lion’s Den, which sounds like a cage lined with weapons. Works for me.
Here’s the Rock for a chat. He wants Big Show tonight and issues the official challenge, but then history is made as the COUNTDOWN TO THE MILLENNIUM clock appears on screen and time is winding down. The clock hits zero and the lights go out, with pyro coming on. A video pops up on screen and it’s CHRIS JERICHO making his debut, with the crowd going from interested to erupting as soon as the name appears.
Jericho: “Welcome to RAW IS JERICHO!” He introduces himself as the new leader and the most charismatic man on your television show. For those of you who don’t know him, be glad to meet your Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla. This show has become so boring that it needs someone to save it and Rock is so impressed that he is silent. For the first time, these people have someone who can make them jump up and shout GO JERICHO GO.
Now that the Y 2 Jericho Problem is here, this place will never e-e-e-e-ver be the same again. Rock tells him to shut his mouth and asks for an introduction, but it doesn’t matter what his name is. Jericho can talk about the Y 2 J plan but Rock has the Y 2 Jelly plan, which involves his boot being turned sideways, if you smell what the Rock….is cooking.
There is a reason that this one is still considered to be the best debut of all time. The pop for Jericho is outstanding but more importantly, look who they put him out there against. Rock got in his catchphrases, but only after Jericho said everything he needed to say. Jericho feels important, comes off like a self obsessed madman (in a good way) and has more charisma than he knows what to do with. This is still outstanding and the pop when Jericho’s name comes on screen is one to remember.
Hardcore Holly is looking for Big Show.
Post break, Hardcore Holly is looking for Big Show.
Big Boss Man vs. Road Dogg
Hardcore rules but not for Boss Man’s Hardcore Title. Dogg hits him with a trashcan lid and loads up a table but Boss Man gets in a shot of his own. Cue Al Snow to hit Boss Man with a pet carrier to give Dogg the fast pin.
The Rock vs. Big Show
Rock slips out of a slam early on and hits a Russian legsweep for an early two. Show sends him into the corner for the big chop and there’s a big right hand to take Rock down again. A big boot sets up the bearhug and a side slam gives Show two. Cue Hardcore Holly for a distraction and it’s a low blow into the Rock Bottom. The People’s Elbow is loaded up but here’s Chris Jericho to jump Rock from behind for the DQ.
Rating: C-. There wasn’t much else they could do here and Rock vs. Show feels like a mini feud for Rock before we get get to the important feud in….Rock vs. Billy Gunn. Yeah 1999 wasn’t kind to Rock at times and this was a big part of it. That being said, well done on making Jericho look like a big deal so soon. It’s a great first impression and I think he’s going to be fine.
Post match Billy Gunn runs in for a Jackhammer to Rock. And some scratching of course because COMEDY!
Chyna vs. HHH vs. Undertaker
For the Summerslam title shot, anything goes, falls count anywhere, Jesse Ventura is on commentary and Shawn Michaels is guest referee. And yes, this is during the Vince Russo era in case you didn’t get that three stipulations in. Undertaker, with Paul Bearer, shoves Chyna down to start and slugs it out with HHH. Chyna is rather smart to sit down and let the other two slug it out until she goes after Undertaker. That earns her a right hand to the face and all three head outside.
HHH posts Undertaker and hits the facebuster for two as Jesse talks about how important this is because it’s about a shot at the title. Now why is that so complicated? Back in and Chyna breaks up a chokeslam attempt and Jesse promises Chyna won’t be a factor. Lawler: “She could be the #1 contender.” Jesse: “I forgot about that.” He’s certainly honest. Chyna hits HHH low but walks into a chokeslam.
HHH is back up with the jumping knee to send Undertaker into the ropes and he….just drops down to the mat. That was kind of weird and Shawn runs over to him to say something so they were out of sync in there somewhere. Undertaker elbows HHH down for two as Jesse and Lawler talk about a match they had in Memphis. Chyna gets knocked off the apron and HHH gets clotheslined outside. Cue Austin to chair HHH and Chyna steals the pin and the title shot.
Rating: C-. The match was the usual wild brawl until the storyline advancement ending but Jesse was so amazingly refreshing on commentary. He wasn’t overly emotional and sounded like someone who knew what they were talking about doing commentary. Above all else though he put over the title being what mattered most, which is sorely lacking in so much commentary. Yes there are other things going on, but the core of the whole thing should be the title (most of the time at least). Chyna winning was a surprise, but given how things go around here, how likely is it to last until….oh let’s say next week?
Overall Rating: C+. This era is always hard to grade because there is so much stuff going on at the same time and it gets a little jumbled up. That being said, this one had Ventura sounding like the most important commentator ever, Chyna winning the main event in a surprise, and Chris Jericho coming off as a total star on his first night in the company. Well done for the most part, though don’t expect much in the way of wrestling.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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