Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 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: June 7, 1999
Location: Fleet Center, Boston, Massachusetts
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
We’re just one week after Undertaker beat Austin for the title with the help of both McMahons and Austin broken heart due to Owen Hart passing away earlier in the night. Other than that it’s Rock vs. HHH because this is 1999 and what else is it going to be? Oh wait apparently there’s a somewhat significant moment on here so let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Austin stunning everyone in sight in recent weeks.
Here’s Vince to open the show and looking like he wants to fight. He talks about how the Greater Power is here tonight and it doesn’t matter who it is. It might be Shawn Michaels, it might be one of the McMahons, it might be Jake Roberts, it might be the bartender from down the street. Vince wants a street fight with the Greater Power tonight so he calls out Shane for a fight. However he’ll sweeten the pot a bit further: if Shane will put up his 50% ownership of the company, Vince will do the same, making the fight winner take all.
This brings out Shane who immediately accepts the challenge, but disappoints Vince because he isn’t the Greater Power. However, he’ll bring out the Greater Power in just a few moments. Ok then.
We run down the card tonight: there’s a Lion’s Den match with Shamrock vs. Jeff Jarrett, the Acolytes defending the tag titles against the Brood, Debra defending against the monster Nicole Bass and of course that whole Greater Power deal.
Austin is in the back talking to someone in a limo.
Speaking of the Greater Power deal, it’s already time for it. Undertaker leads the Corporate Ministry (HHH, Chyna, Acolytes, Mideon, Viscera, Big Boss Man, Shane who isn’t present here and Paul Bearer) which is a pretty impressive army. Undertaker talks about assembling an army for the arrival of a power greater than himself. The Ministry and the Corporation merged to show what kind of power was at hand.
With that, the lights go dark and a man in a cloak comes to the ring. Everyone but Undertaker is kneeling in the ring. JR and King think it’s Shane, but as the hooded figure stands in the ring, Shane comes out through the curtain saying he told us it wasn’t him. Shane talks about what a mastermind the Greater Power is and how smart the Power is. Before we reveal the identity though, Shane wants Vince to be the one that unveils the Greater Power. Vince pops up on screen and says this is close enough for him.
The Greater Power pulls back his hood to reveal……Vince McMahon, saying that it was him all along and that every one of us bought it. Even his family bought the story and he blames Austin for causing all this. The entire plan (oh we’ll get to that later) was enacted to teach Austin a lesson: Vince will do anything he has to do in order to torment Austin. Vince thanks Shane, Undertaker, and everyone else involved with the Corporate Ministry….and here are Linda and Stephanie McMahon, Vince’s wife and daughter.
Stephanie wants to know how this could happen and Vince says it was just business. Linda says let’s talk business then. Vince sucks up to her but she says love has nothing to do with business. First of all, when Vince says that he and Shane both own 50% of the company, Vince is lying. Since there are four McMahons, they all own equal shares. Vince didn’t build this company on his own. That’s why this morning, there was a meeting of the board of directors. First and foremost, there are changes to the dress code. It’s now less formal, with more cutoff jeans. Also, some profanity and drinking on the job are now perfectly acceptable.
That’s not the biggest deal though. The real story is that Linda has stepped down as CEO of the company while picking a new CEO. That new CEO will have FULL authority to run this company as he sees fit. The new CEO: STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN! COMPLETE WITH A TIE!!! The look on Vince’s face is absolutely hysterical as he is, in a word, absolutely STUNNED. Austin takes off the tie because he has a power finger instead of a power tie. There’s a middle finger for Vince before Austin talks about making a fast transition to power.
First and foremost, Austin WILL be getting a title shot in the near future and WILL be taking his title back. As for the next PPV, which is King of the Ring, it’s going to be Austin vs. Vince and Shane in a handicap match. Vince is fine with that but Austin doesn’t want to hear about that. As for tonight, it’s Shane vs. Kane and X-Pac in a handicap match. As for the remaining members of the Union, which would be Shamrock, Test and Big Show, they can pick any opponent they like.
Since HHH put out Mankind with a sledgehammer last week, there’s going to be a cast match with HHH vs. Rock. Since Rock’s arm is in a cast, we’re going to put HHH’s leg in a cast and have a one on one match. If anyone has a problem with any of that, come find Austin and if he’s not having too much beer, he’ll talk to you.
After a much needed break, Linda and Stephanie present Austin with a briefcase full of beer.
Ok so now that we’re about a third of the way done with the show, let’s recap for a second. For those of you unfamiliar with the story that led up to all this, here you are. Back in the late fall/winter, Undertaker started to get more and more “into his character”, which meant he was starting to become more and more demonic. This led to him starting to kidnap people and recruit the army that would become his Ministry of Darkness.
Undertaker’s plans were revealed as him wanting to own the WWF and run the company as he saw fit, but Vince was too busy fighting the war against Austin with his Corporation. Soon after that, Undertaker invaded Vince’s home and stole a teddy bear, which belonged to Stephanie, showing that Vince and his family weren’t safe anywhere. Also around this time, Undertaker began talking about serving a Higher Power. Vince began to crack under the pressure which became even more intense when Undertaker kidnapped Stephanie at the end of Backlash.
This resulted in the Black Wedding, where Stephanie appeared on Raw tied to an Undertaker symbol resembling a cross. Paul Bearer attempted to wed Stephanie to Undertaker, but Austin made the save because it was the right thing to do, not because of any care for Vince. THIS led us to Over the Edge, where Austin defended the title against Undertaker with both Vince and Shane as guest referees. Shane screwed Austin out of the title, which led us to tonight.
As you now know, Vince was the Greater Power all along, meaning that he terrorized his family, tormented himself (in a way), lied, cheated, acted like a crazy man, and cried on national television, all to get the WWF Title off of Steve Austin. Now THOSE are the actions of a crazy man. Why do you ask?
BECAUSE VINCE ALREADY HAD THE TITLE OFF OF AUSTIN IN THE FIRST PLACE! Austin hadn’t been champion since September. Vince had his Corporate Champion in the Rock, he had Undertaker under his power, he apparently had Shane under his power, and Austin was the only target he had. Why in the world did he allow Undertaker and the Corporation to fight at Wrestlemania instead of focusing everything they had on stopping Austin from getting the title back?
On top of THAT, just looking at tonight, since Austin now has 50% power which gives him more than either Vince or Shane, why don’t they combine their shares into one so that they can balance out Austin? That all being said, the last half hour of this show was AMAZINGLY entertaining and back in 1999 this had me losing my mind watching it. However, much like Russo’s other master plan angles, it falls apart when you think about it for more than 15 seconds.
Overall Rating: …….oh wait we’ve got like an hour and fifteen minutes left don’t we?
Tag Titles: Acolytes vs. Gangrel/Edge
The Brood (Edge and Gangrel) were recently thrown out of the Corporate Ministry after Christian had told Shamrock where Stephanie was. The Acolytes won the belts last week from Kane and X-Pac thanks to interference by Shane. The champions run over their far smaller challengers to start until we get down to Bradshaw against Gangrel. Gangrel fires off what few shots he can but there’s too much Texas, allowing Bradshaw to hit the fallaway slam to take control.
Faarooq comes in for more of the same as he pounds away on the back of the vampire. Off to Edge who speeds things up a bit with clotheslines and spinwheel kicks. Not that it matters though as it’s back to a still weak (must be the garlic from catering) Gangrel who is distracted by the Hardys and their manager Michael Hayes on the stage. As Gangrel turns around it’s the Clothesline from Bradshaw to retain the titles.
Rating: D. This was short and sour like most matches from this point in time. The Acolytes would continue to dominate for awhile until losing the titles to the Hardys in a few weeks. The new champions would move on to feud with Edge and his new partner Christian, more or less redefining tag team wrestling for years to come.
Here’s what’s left of the Union (a stable of four guys that lasted a month) to receive their blank checks from Austin. Big Show does the smart thing and demands a title match with Undertaker TONIGHT. That gets the crowd going all over again. Shamrock is mad about what Vince did, so the match with Jarrett is out and now it’s Vince in the Lion’s Den against him. Oh dear.
This leaves Test, who says there’s only one person he wants to be in the ring with tonight: Stephanie McMahon. We cut to Vince and Shane in the back who PANIC. Stephanie is all of 22 at this point and looking beyond awkward at this point. Test ASKS HER OUT and she says yes, sending her father and brother into fits in the back. There’s a summer long angle for you.
HHH puts his cast on.
X-Pac/Kane vs. Shane McMahon
X-Pac starts and lets Shane get in a few free shots before taking him to the corner for a BIG beating. Shane runs to the floor but gets kicked in the face for being a coward. Cue the Mean Street Posse in Mankind masks to save Shane and throw the match out, but here are Patterson and Brisco to throw them into the ring for an X-Factor and a chokeslam. This was barely a “match”. Pete Gas gets a Bronco Buster and Rodney gets tombstoned.
Cole is in the back with Debra who wants to change the title match tonight to a bikini contest. If Nicole wins, she gets a title match next week. If Debra wins, Nicole has to leave the puppies alone. Yeah whatever.
HHH vs. The Rock
This is a cast match with HHH’s leg and Rock’s arm in casts. HHH broke the knee of Mankind and the arm of the Rock which is where Austin got the idea from. Rock has a good right arm here so he pounds HHH into the corner but HHH has no balance at all because of his cast. A DDT puts HHH down and it’s time for a chair. JR takes shots at WCW and there’s a chair to HHH’s back. There’s the Rock Bottom and the chair goes over HHH’s face for the People’s Elbow, but Undertaker comes in for the save. I’m guessing that’s a no contest. It’s Rock vs. Undertaker for the title at King of the Ring.
Undertaker tombstones Rock on the chair but Big Show chases Undertaker off.
Time for the bikini contest. What do you want me to say here? Debra is a decent looking woman and when Nicole Bass walks through the woods, Bigfoot takes pictures of her. Debra wins in a landslide and Val Venis comes out to stand up for Nicole. He tells her to hit Jeff Jarrett with the guitar but gets laid out by an errant shot. Val wakes up and yells at Nicole, resulting in Bass dumping her. Val chases after her in a bizarre segment.
We get GTV (basically a hidden camera segment where a never named videographer (it was supposed to be Goldust I believe) would spy on people) of PMS making fun of various men. Nothing to see here.
Billy Gunn vs. Godfather
Apparently Billy hit Godfather with a chair on Heat for some reason. Godfather comes out all aggressive to start and punches Billy into the corner before hitting some knees to the ribs. The announcers talk about the PMS bit despite NOTHING BEING SAID. Godfather loads up the Ho Train but gets low bridged to the floor instead. During the ten count, Road Dogg, who has recently broken up with Billy, comes in and gives him a pumphandle slam. Godfather comes in and drops a leg for the fast pin. Just build for Dogg vs. Gunn, which wound up going nowhere because, amazingly enough, no one wanted to see them fight.
Droz vomits in the back.
Hardcore Title: Darren Drozdov vs. Al Snow
Snow is defending and they never even go into the ring. They immediately fight into the crowd and use whatever weapons just happen to be lying around, like chairs and trashcans because this is HARDCORE after all. They fight up to what looks like a sports bar in the arena and things start getting WACKY! I think you can figure it out from here: pool cues, chairs, drinks, a sculpture goes upside Droz’s head and Snow retains. Seriously, that’s the whole match.
Ken Shamrock vs. Vince McMahon
This is a Lion’s Den Match, which means they’re in a small cage next to the stage. On the way to the ring, Vince says he isn’t afraid. Vince gets in first and locks the cage door. Shamrock tries to get in but as he does, Jarrett comes up and blasts him with a chair, giving Vince the win by TKO. Again, seriously, that’s the whole match.
WWF World Title: Undertaker vs. Big Show
Man they’re booking tonight. Taker jumps the challenger in the corner before he even takes the belt off but Big Show clotheslines him down. A suplex puts Taker down again for two and there’s a HARD whip into the corner by Big Show. Taker is whipped into the corner and stomped down as this is almost all Big Show so far. Taker fights back with right hands but a single headbutt puts him right back down.
They both grab chokeslams but Taker uses a Paul Bearer distraction to kick Big Show low. A flying clothesline puts Big Show down and Taker stomps away, sending Big Show out to the floor. Show blocks a shot into the steps and sends the champion face first into them instead. A headbutt staggers Undertaker and there’s a big right hand. Taker escapes a posting attempt and sends Big Show head first into the post to get himself a breaker. Show is slammed into the announce table and it’s chair time.
The chair is cracked over Big Show’s back and somehow the referee didn’t notice it. I love how that works. Taker pounds away on the floor and rakes away at his eyes for good measure. Back in and Undertaker goes up top which can’t end well for him. Big Show catches him in mid air and chokeslams Undertaker THROUGH THE RING. The match is thrown out for obvious reasons.
Rating: C. The match was nothing of note but obviously that wasn’t the point here. The idea was to show that Undertaker was vulnerable and to make Big Show look all the more awesome which I think they safely did. This would be one of the more famous spots in the history of the show and would be nominated for biggest spot ever at some anniversary show.
Post match the Ministry runs in and is quickly dispatched to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. If you’re watching this for wrestling, you’re better off with Nitro. If you’re watching this for drama, you’re in Heaven. This was ALL storyline and that made it a very fast two hours. The Higher Power reveal is one of the dumbest moments of all time, but man alive is it FUN when you actually watch it. The whole story is still the epitome of Russo booking with how intricate it was, but again when you think about if for very long at all it comes falling down. The Undertaker reign of terror would be done in about a month or so.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 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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