Saturday, August 22, 2015

WWF King Of The Ring 1999

There is indeed a king reigning in this ring. His name? Vince Russo.

In all honesty, this is where we get to the point in which a lot of the Attitude Era stuff becomes hard to sit through nowadays. It's that feeling I get where I would watch something I hadn't seen in ages for the first time in a long while, recalling how much I enjoyed that thing the first time, and then after watching it, I often wondered how I got into that stuff. This is one of those instances. Anyway, here we go...

Oh, lookie. We've got quarterfinal matches... hurray. Anyway, given that these things are usually short, I'll keep my thoughts short and sweet.

X-Pac beat Hardcore Holly. This match was too short to be worth anything.

Kane beat Big Show with a number of chair shots following a choke hold that took more air out of the audience than it did Big Show. For fuck's sake, why did that choke hold need to last fifty years? The sad part is that if that spot happened today, #ChokeHoldCityBitch would be trending on Twitter because that's how sad things have gotten.

Billy Gunn beat Ken Shamrock via blood stoppage when Shamrock started "bleeding" from the mouth due to some unspecified injury that is never elaborated on. The blood looks so phoney and fake it's sad. I could come up with "more real blood" (sic) on Microsoft Paint.

Roadd Dogg beat Chyna thanks to a metal cup. See, Chyna generally likes to go for ball shots and this has taken many of males down, but Road Dogg shows off some intelligence by actually wearing a cup. If only others had shown as much foresight...

So it's Kane vs. Billy Gunn and X-Pac vs. Road Dogg for the semi-finals. Smart money would suggest that this would lead to a tournament finals between two former partners dueling it out... but then again, this is Vince Russo we're talking about here.

The Hardy Boyz beat Edge & Christian to earn themselves a tag-team title shot against then-champions the Acolytes (or A.P.A. as they would be known later on). Quick match, but you can already tell these guys had something. And that would be expanded upon in their later feuds over the years.

Alright, time for the semi-finals. Looking forward to this... not.

First semi-final match; Billy Gunn beat Kane. Whatever; just go with it.

Second semi-final match; X-Pac (who looks like he could be really hurt here) beats Road Dogg. Because who wouldn't want to see Billy Gunn vs. Road Dogg in the Outlaws EXPLODE?!

Oh, right. Russo.

WWF Champion Undertaker defeated the Rock in a Russorific Match to retain the title. Undertaker would lose the title back to Stone Cold the next night on RAW... sorry if I spoiled the show for you. Look, there's a couple ref bumps, some ether thrown around, some run-ins and inane calls from Jim Ross, who refer to HHH as a horrible human being just for walking down the aisle.

Billy Gunn beats X-Pac to win the King Of The Ring crown... fuck me. This was a load to sit through... how did this shit get popular again? I'm trying to rack my brain here... but really, why couldn't it be Billy versus Roadie in the finals? Sure, it'd be predictable, but it'd also make LOGICAL sense. I guess Russo is ignorant of what the word LOGIC actually means.

Despite a short feud with the Rock that involved a Kiss-My-Ass match, Billy would eventually go back to tagging with the Road Dog and winning a couple more tag titles. His Kingship is merely an historical footnote these days... I doubt ol' Billy himself remembers this tidbit. Oh well.

Vince and Shane McMahon beat Stone Cold Steve Austin in a handicapble ladder match for control of the company. See, once upon a time, the Ministry of Darkness were terrorizing the McMahons and then teased a great power that turned out to be... Vince McMahon, because sure, why not? In any case, Linda and Stephanie give their stocks to Stone Cold, who subsequently becomes CEO and this leads to a rather funny bit where Stone Cold is running Titan Towers (now WWE headquarters) and so we get this match.

With me, so far?

All throughout the night, Shane was apparently injured and unable to compete, so questions abound surrounding his replacement in said ladder match. Said replacement turned out to be Steve Blackman, but then that dastardly GTV (another Attitude era staple that went no where) revealed that Shane-O-Mac was a-okay after all and so we have our original match as advertised... my head hurts.

So it's a one-side match for the most part; Austin is pretty much kicking their asses and the crowd is popping huge for this. There'll be instances where the McMahons would get an upper hand, but it's all too brief. After what seems like an eternity, Austin finally makes a go for the briefcase and it moves up... yes, this is the match with the magical moving briefcase that, like a lot of Russo ideas, never got a true resolution. And of course, Shane would grab the case to win the match.

"Oh noes!" J.R. would proclaim, "The McMahons have control of the WWF. Austin's livelihood is now a living nightmare! SO LONG, EVERYBODY! BUY MY SLOBBERKNOCKIN' BARBECUE SAUCE!"

Steve Austin would beat the Undertaker for the WWF Title the very next night in one of the highest-rated segments in the Monday Night Wars (even more so than This Is Your Life) and the following month would see the Austin/McMahon feud come to a close... or was it a temporary sabbatical?

Yeah, so, this show - say it with me, now - was a thing that happened... why did I watch this again? I don't know, but I kinda wished I hadn't, actually... this was pretty bad. It just points to an issue being that a lot of the early Attitude-era stuff hasn't really aged all that well, if at all. What seemed like compelling stuff back in 1999 just feels like a waste of time and talent. And while there are shows from this time that hold up like fine wine, there's also stuff like, well, this show that fall apart faster than a Vince Russo defense essay. In some strange way, that's the general feeling I get with a lot of the Russo stuff in WWF, WCW, TNA, or even some of his recent writings. It's generally interesting stuff the first time you check it out, but then after a while, you get back to it and wonder... "Why did I watch/read that stuff?"

And with that, we come to the close of this look back at the various King Of The Ring PPVs, as I don't have any of the remaining three events on hand to check out. If I do come across more KOTRs, I'll let you know if I end up doing quite musings for those. Until then... well, there's a whole bunch of other stuff I could look at, I guess.

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