Sunday, August 16, 2015

WWF Backlash 1999


Pulled this one out of the archives and had a chance to watch this one via very old VHS recording transferred to DVD-R. Consider this a bonus of sorts; seeing as I'm posting the first In Your House musings, we might as well toss in the final In Your House-branded WWF PPV, which just so happens to be the very first Backlash event.

Context: this PPV follows Wrestlemania XV, which saw Steve Austin usurp the Rock to win his third WWF Championship. The next night on RAW, Austin gives Vince back the Big Eagle because he wants his Smoking Skull belt back... except now the Rock has said belt. And so we have the rematch where Austin holds the "proper" title while Rock has the trophy belt. Also on the card is a Boiler Room Brawl between Mankind and FUCKING BIG SHOW, who debuted in WWF back in February and has already pulled off a dozen turns in his short time with the company. Brilliant.

The Acolytes (Ron "Farooq" Simmons and Brad "JBL" Shaw) and Mideon (before he was nekkid) defeated The Brood (Edge, Christian, and Gangrel) in the opening match. I liked the Brood entrance; it was cool and unique. I liked Gangrel's theme and gimmick... I don't know if I care so much for the actual matches. A case where presentation was the major factor in selling the gimmick than the in-ring content. This was a thing that happened; nothing special, went by quickly, can't complain. But hey, everyone involved (save Gangrel) would eventually move on to bigger and better things.

Al Snow defeated Hardcore champion Bob "Hardcore" Holly in a hardcore match that went backstage, to the parking lot, into the audio truck, and other places backstage to win the title. This was every hardcore match ever where people would hit each other with random crap and it ended up being more goofy than brutal. Reality based television my ass. Still, this was good silly fun even if the headshots irk me somewhat nowadays.

Intercontinental Champion The Godfather (with several of his ladies or "hos") defeated Goldust (along with the Blue Meanie trying to pull of the sultry Sable gimmick to no avail... clearly sixteen years ahead of his time) to retain the title. So... yeah, this was a thing that happened. Not much else to say here.

The New Age Outlaws defeated Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart to earn a tag title opportunity in the future. This match had mixed feelings; on the one hand, it's perfectly acceptable tag-team wrestling fare that is hampered by the commentary focusing on Debra and her dogs. On the other hand, you're watching this match, wondering where this whole Jarrett-Owen-Debra thing is going, and then you realize that the next PPV is where Owen Hart died in that horrific stunt gone wrong. This was Owen's last PPV match up and it's ruined by the puppy talk.

Mankind defeated Big Show Paul Wight in a Boiler Room Brawl, where the goal is to leave the room and that's it. A brutal fight in a brutal environment is right up Foley's ally and Show holds his own here. I do find it completely fucking stupid that FUCKING BIG SHOW is doing the favors to Mankind, even though he should have been able to kill this guy rather easily. Reality based television my ass... and then after he leaves, Foley gets attacked by Test and the Big Bossman because sure, why not?

HHH (w/ Chyna) defeated X-Pac in a good match. HHH is one month removed from joining the Corporation (the Vince McMahon-led heel faction) by betraying X-Pac and here's the follow-up. HHH also has some really generic entrance music; I think he blew threw a couple before getting the superior "My Time" theme and a couple years before the Motorhead tune. This is a great match; both guys worked their asses off, Kane coming in to help Pac made sense, Chyna got a bit of action, and when all was said and done, HHH came out the winner and Pac looked good even in defeat. We need that sort of concept in today's sports-entertainment product.

Undertaker defeated Ken Shamrock in a boring match that relied more on MMA-style leg holds and submissions than actual wrestling. There used to be a time when an Undertaker match was the drizzling shits and this is a clear-cut example, as the crowd is actively chanting boring here. It's not a bad match persey ; just an unexciting one. And yet somehow, Taker got another World title reign out of this the next month. Amazing.

Speaking of which... WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock in a No-Holds-Barred match to retain the title. Stripping away the imposed countouts and DQs meant both guys can go to WAR and go to WAR they did. Inside the ring, outside the ring, Rock doing camera work and bonus commentary (with a shot of Austin flipping the bird before KICK! WHAM! STUNNER! with the camera catching it all - beautiful0. And then there's Shane McMahon being a dick referee and refusing the count the one fall and walking away... only to get whacked by Vince, who brought along his own ref... and then Austin wins. This was better than their Mania XV match by miles and it was also FUN. Awesome main event.

And then Steph gets in the car, with Undertaker at the wheel. Classic Moment...TM.

Backlash '99 started off with good footing and eventually got better as it went along as the big matches delivered the goods and left me satisfied. A good show, I tell you. Bloody good show.

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