Wednesday, March 23, 2022

WWF Unforgiven 1999

Haven't watched Mania yet... after this year's Rumble, could you blame me for having better things to do than to watch a show I wasn't really looking 

You know, I had a grand ol' time revisiting that Fully Loaded PPV from last week that I decided to continue down this road of 1999 WWF PPVs. I rewatched Summerslam for the sake of it, but I had already done musings for that show some time ago and it still holds up even with the added context. And that brings us to out September 1999 PPV called WWF Unforgiven, which is now its own thing and not the subtitle for an In Your House event, which ended its run with Backlash back in April.

Anyway, the show is known for three things; it is known for the Six-Pack Challenge for the vacant WWF Championship, which was last held by Vince McMahon... yeah, don't ask. It is known for being the final WWF PPV in the tenure of head writer Vince Russo, as he would jump ship to World Championship Wrestling some time later... though this would not be the final WWF show that he would influence... and of course, it is known for the most infamous match in WWF history; the Kennel From Hell.

Oh yeah, this is a great way to kick off the show.

Val Venis defeated Steve Blackman, who took his defeat in stride by beating up Val with a kendo stick right after. The only good part was when the match ended and Blackman hit Val with the stick afterwards, but other than that, this was just there to fill time and both guys would be floundering for the most part around this time.

D'Lo Brown defeated European champion Mark Henry to win the title in a pretty dull and boring match. Mark was "gifted" the title by previous holder Jeff Jarrett for helping him defeat D'Lo at Summerslam for both the Euro and IC belts. For this latest edition of "The Nation Explodes", you'd figure two guys who knew each other would put on a really good or at least, fun little match, but alas, it was not to be.

I should probably mention the other angle that's been going, where all the WWF referees are on strike. So now we've got these scab referees and such officiating the match. I recall this being a thing on WWF television back in the day and I can tell you that even as the more diehard fan of this stuff - perhaps a bit too die hard at times - even I thought this whole ref strike business was fucking ridiculous. You'd figure they'd learn a lesson after this... and then a little over a decade later, they'd do the walkout angle on RAW. The less said, the better. Anyway, I bring up this angle because it plays a key point in our next match, which is...

Chyna defeated Intercontinental champion Jeff Jarrett with an assist from Debra to win the... no, wait, here comes scab referee Tom Pritchard with the replay showing Debra doing the dirty and so scab referee Harvey Whippleman reverses the decision and it's a DQ win for Jarrett. This was a perfectly acceptable wrestling match and I'm probably being generous. No doubt Chyna was a trendsetter and a fierce physical speciman, but she wasn't the most graceful performer in the field. It's something, I suppose. Oh and Chyna shows her frustrations on one of the scabs. I forget who and quite frankly, I don't care.

The Acolytes defeated he Dudley Boyz with a Stevie-Kick assist from Stevie Richards, who's dressed like an Acolyte, complete with the old UPN logo painted on his chest. This was a thing that happened and not an auspicious first impression of the multi-time ECW tag champs on WWF PPV.

Women's champion Ivory defeated Luna Vachon with a pipe shot in a short and painful match to retain the title. The nicest thing I could say is that they tried, but this didn't work for me. Sorry.

Tag-Team Champions New Age Outlaws defeated Edge & Christian to retain the tag titles in a perfectly acceptable tag wrestling match. Funny how Billy Gunn went from winning King Of The Ring and being primed for a singles run to rejoining with the DOGG to form his old tag team and win more tag gold. And then they'd rejoin DX... and then Billy would be hit with an injury and out for a few months. Not exactly a royal push or anything.

Al Snow defeated Big Bossman in a Kennel From Hell match; an overworked piece of work where you have the old Blue Bar Cage surrounding the ring, with the Hell in A Cell cage surrounding the Blue Bar Cage, and the goal is to escape both cages to win, all the while avoiding the "dangerous" and "lethal" Rottweilers lurking in between both cages, whose only lethal contribution are the piss puddles they left behind. I gotta admit that the sight of the Cell over the smaller cage makes for an intimidating visual and if you got trained dogs, it could've worked... barely. But the whole thing comes across as comical that you can't help but laugh at the absurdity. Mick Foley and some other guy did commentary for this match as a DVD bonus and it's probably the only way you could watch this match with any semblance of entertainment value. Anyway, Al scales the cage, leaps across to the Cell wall, and escapes through the door to win. This was every bit the horrible piece of shit that history makes it out to be and I want people to remember something whenever they bring up Vince Russo's accolades as the writer who brought WWF its best ratings or whatever; he's also the guy who brought you the Kennel From Hell match... and then he jumped ship to WCW, where he would proceed to write television so bad the Kennel is holding all sorts of beers as we speak.

By the way, this is the match that killed the Blue Bar Cage for good. So thanks a lot, Russo.

X-Pac defeated Chris Jericho via DQ when Jericho's second, Mr. Hughes, ran in to beat up the scab ref and X-Pac for good measure before Road Dogg could make the save. Probably the best match on this show by a considerable chasm and then you got that shitty finish.

Triple H defeated The Rock, The British Bulldog, Mankind, Big Show, and Kane in the Six-Pack Challenge to win the vacant WWF Championship. Undertaker was supposed to be part of this match, but he had to pull out due to a groin injury - the likes of which you've never seen in your whole life, Dean Malenko! - and thus was replaced by the returning British Bulldog, who turned heel on Smackdown by beating up the Rock. Austin is the guest enforcer who'd get the next title shot and the ending of him counting the pinfall to give Hunter the win and the title before hitting the bastard with a Stunner is such a beautiful ending because it fits Austin so well and plays into their title match at the next PPV. The match itself had some moments that make it worthwhile and I'd go so far to say that it was an entertaining main event that almost - almost - makes up for the rest of this show.

Look, if you're going to watch this show, skip ahead after the Kennel match and watch the last two matches because those more than make up for the rest of the dreck that came before. This was a largely horrible show that has aged extremely poorly.

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