WWF Smackdown!- Apr 29, 1999
by Scrooge McSuck
- It might be from sitting through roughly 11 hours worth of Smackdown in the last week or so, but I figured I might dig this one out again and relive an era when the WWF didn't oversaturate the television market as it has become known to do. Remember an era when all WWF had was Monday Night Raw and Sunday Night Heat? Sure, some markets had Shotgun, but who was up at 1 in the morning to watch them?
- We're taped on April 27th, 1999, from the New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, CT, and broadcasted on April 29th on UPN. The look of the show is like another episode of Raw, with Smackdown not adopting its signature look until being picked up as a regular series in August. Michael Cole and Jim Cornette are calling the action, unless otherwise noted.
- We kick things off with one of those wonderful 20-minute promos. This week's participant(s): Vince and Stephanie McMahon. It was sunday at Backlash where Undertaker kidnapped her (Where to, Stephanie?!), and monday Steve Austin saved her from a Black Wedding. Despite their failure at success, Vince offers thanks to Ken Shamrock and the Big Show for attempting to do what Steve Austin was able to accomplish. This brings out Shane McMahon and the Corporation. Feels weird to see Triple H acting as background eye candy with the Mean Street Posse. Things keep going until the Undertaker interrupts with a Titantron promo. The short and sweet: Tonight's main event will be Triple H and the Undertaker taking on Steve Austin... and the Rock. Didn't they just fight at the last two PPV's?
Val Venis vs. The Blue Blazer (w/ Jeff Jarrett & Debra):
I honestly don't know why this Blazer nonsense was still going on. I thought the whole issue with Steve Blackman, which brought the Blazer gimmick out of the broom closet, was long finished. Blazer attacks from behind and pounds away. Whip to the ropes, and he takes Venis over with a back drop. Blazer with a slam, followed by a missile dropkick from the top rope. Blazer rams him into the corner and continues to stomp away. Whip across the ring is reversed, but Venis misses a charge. Oh well, he still manages to mount a comeback, laying into Owen, I mean the Blazer, with rights. Whip to the corner, and Venis follows in with a clothesline. Whip to the ropes, Venis with an back elbow, followed by an elbow drop. Venis with a delayed vertical suplex, but his trip up the ropes is interrupted by Debra. Blazer tries to attack, but Venis connects with a Fisherman Suplex. Debra continues to distract the referee, so Jarrett runs in, punts Venis in the junk, and the Blazer covers for three at 2:21. For whatever reasons, Nicole Bass shows up, and then the Godfather... Yeah, the booking around this time was a total mess.
- Post-match interview with the Blue Blazer. He tells the little Blazers to take their vitamins, say their prayers, and drink their milk. Maybe we should add Ovaltine to our milk, too? I need further directions!
Big Show vs. Test:
Here's a good game to play: identify each of the aborted pushes that either of these guys recieved during their careers. Test was just coming off the generic "heel enforcer" gimmick, but was still a ways from being the guy that's banging Stephanie and standing up to her brother in her honor. We recap from Raw, where Test is kicked out of the Corporation, courtesy of the Big Boss Man. Test starts things off with a boot to the face, followed by rights. Suddenly the Boss Man makes his way to ringside. Whip to the ropes is reversed, and Big Show throws a dropkick. A F*CKING DROPKICK! Big Show calls for the end, and the Showstopper (Chokeslam) does indeed finish things at the 48-second mark. Wow, that was pointless. Boss Man lays a post-match beating in on Test until Big Show makes the save. If you forgot, we're building towards the greatest stable of all time... the Union.
- The Rock comes out and trades words with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, because, you see, they still kind of hate each other, but the Rock is turning face, so it's easy to forgive people. The Undertaker interrupts, again, but this time in person... and it's the formation of the Corporate Ministry. Because the WWF really needed a stable consisting of, what, 15 people? Seriously, check the list: Undertaker, Midion, Viscera, Acolytes, Paul Bearer, Big Boss Man, Triple H, Chyna, Mean Street Posse, and Shane McMahon. Okay, that's 13. Still way too friggin' many. Nice to see Boss Man and Undertaker patch things up over that hanging a month earlier. The fally so far is, what, 3 minutes of wrestling, and 35 of talking?
- Kane and X-Pac Interview. This past monday on Raw, following a match against the Brood, Kane recieved a BloodBath, then chokeslammed X-Pac for whatever reasons.
D'Lo Brown (w/ Ivory) vs. Droz (w/ Prince Albert):
With Russo around, you need at least one wrestler named after genitalia. I honestly couldn't tell you what anyone in this match was doing at the time. Lockup to start, with Droz driving a knee into the midsection. Whip to the ropes, and Brown puts him down with a shoulder. Brown blocks a hip toss attempt and takes Droz over with one of his own. Whip to the corner, and Droz comes back with a back elbow. Whip to the ropes and he takes Brown over with a powerslam. Brown pretty much no-sells it and takes Droz down with a Running Ligerbomb. Didn't see that move much after 1999, for obvious reasons. Brown pounds away until taking a boot to the face, and Droz puts him down with a clothesline. Whip to the ropes, and Brown connects with a jumping heel kick, followed by his signature leg drop. Brown with the Sky-High, but a trip to the top rope is interrupted by Albert. We get heel miscommunication, so Albert ssays screw it, runs in, and plants Brown with the Baldo Bomb to draw a Disqualification at 3:20. They attempt to pierce D'Lo, but Mark Henry runs in to make the save. Welcome to Mark Henry Push #3. Or Maybe 4. I forget.
- Video package featuring Sable, appearing on Pacific Blue and the Howard Stern Show. Less than a month later, she's no longer welcome in the company and erased from history until an unlikely return in 2003. No one saw that one coming.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Battle of the Babyfaces! Kane and X-Pac had yet to develope their deep friendship, so they do seperate entrances. Billy Gunn refuses to play the sing-along with the crowd game, setting up his heel turn a few weeks later. X-Pac and Road Dogg start. Lockup, and X-Pac works a headlock, followed by a hammerlock. Dogg escapes with elbows, but takes a heel kick to the face. Whip to the ropes, and Dogg eventually takes X-Pac over with a hip toss. Gunn tags in, then Kane forcefully tags himself in, too. Gunn hammers away, but Kane no-sells and throws him into the corner for his own brand of punishment. Whip to the ropes, Kane with a clothesline, followed by a leg drop for two. Gunn offers a comeback, but Kane lays him out with a short-arm clothesline. X-Pac tags back in, and quickly gets laid out with a dropkick. The Outlaws argue over Gunn's unusual behavior (ahem... they were heartless pricks about a year earlier, if anything, he's been acting neutered) until Dogg takes over with an armbar. Gunn with his dive into the corner, but a second attempt misses and he eats post. Kane with the tag and he puts Gunn down with a big boot. Road Dogg with his signature jabs, and a double dropkick puts Kane down. Dogg with the knee drop, but Kane no-sells and starts attacking everyone in site, including X-Pac. Dogg with a low blow on Kane during the chaos, and Gunn with a Fame-Asser for two. The Outlaws continue to argue, and accidental miscommunication (see Rocker syndrome) allows X-Pac to cover Gunn for the three count at 7:01. That was a boring mess of a match. If it wasn't punchy-kicky, it was everyone doing whatever the hell they wanted with no real structure.
Kane & X-Pac © vs. The New Age Outlaws:
- Doc Hendrix (or is it Dok?) brings out the Brood for one of their first interviews, after months (and months) of silence. Gangrel was still the leader, with Christian and Edge acting as his flunkies. Who knew that the roles would be reversed to the point Gangrel became a C-Show mainstay, and both of them went on to highly successful singles careers? Well, anyone who hears Gangrel talk. His mic' skills are almost non-existant, and it shows. The interview ends with Hendrix getting a BloodBath, pissing him off enough to remember he's Michael Hayes and hiring on the Hardy Boys for payback.
No Holds Barred Match: Ken Shamrock vs. Bradshaw:
You know it's the Vince Russo Era, when we're getting random gimmick matches just for the sake of having them. It's like playing Smackdown! on the original PlayStation. Just fantasy booking to the point it made no sense. Bradshaw comes to the ring with a bat. Shamrock attacks from behind, and sends him into the post. Shamrock grabs the bat, but swings and misses like his name is Carlos Pena, and gets sent into the steps. Into the ring, and Shamrock gets sent to the corner. Bradshaw with clotheslines, followed by a fallaway slam for a two count. Shamrock with a crappy sunset flip, into the leg grapevine/ankle-lock, but Bradshaw grabs the ropes. I guess weapons are allowed, but rope breaks are enforced? To the floor, Shamrock rams Bradshaw into the steps and sends him into the time keeper's table. Shamrock with the bat, and he misses, again. Who is he, Josh Hamilton during an important game? Bradshaw with the bat, and he manages to hit Shamrock with it. Finally. They fight over the bat until Shamrock bops Bradshaw with it, then chokes him out for the victory at 4:04. This sucked.
Mankind vs. Big Boss Man:
So many matches, so little effort to care. Honestly, it's only match #6, but each match has either sucked wet farts or has been incredibly rushed, but the big picture is all of them have been pointless, match quality wise. Boss Man attacks from behind and does his signature splash across the second rope. Whip to the ropes, and Mankind comes back with the double-arm DDT. Mankind signals for Socko, but Boss Man bails. Suddenly, Test shows up and throws Boss Man back in the ring, allowing Mankind to roll him up for two. Boss Man pounds away, but misses a clothesline and goes spilling to the floor. Suddenly (Part Two), Big Show shows up and throws Boss Man back in the ring. Mankind with the Socko-Claw, and it's over at 1:35. Ugh. The Union is almost complete...
- Backstage, Billy Gunn is laying a beating on X-Pac because he's a sore loser, but Kane shows up to scare him away. Maybe Kane has a crystal ball and was able to scare him off with tales of being part of a same-sex "commitment ceremony"?
Main Event: Steve Austin & The Rock vs. Triple H & The Undertaker (w/ Everyone and Their Mother):
The Rock attacks immediately, but falls to a 2-on-1 beating until Steve Austin makes his entrance, and the save. I hate that spot. Austin and Trips take it to the floor while Rock and Undertaker battle in the ring. Austin goes for 'Taker, hits the Thesz Press, and drops the F-U elbow for a quick two count. Triple H with stomping in the corner. Austin with a Stunner attempt, but Hunter shoves him off and connects with a running high knee. Helmsley with a slam, but he misses a knee drop. Whip to the ropes is reversed, and Hunter with another knee to the face for a two count. Helmsley with clubberin' in the corner. He sets Austin across the top rope, only to be knocked back. Austin with a double axehandle, and in comes the Rock to lay the smackdown (pun intended) on the... well, I guess he wasn't the Game or Cerebral Assassin, yet. Undertaker tags in and runs into a clothesline. Whip to the ropes, and Undertaker comes back with a DDT. Repeat the process, but the roles are reversed. We get a double clothesline spot, and suddenly all hell breaks loose. The Corporate Ministry runs in, as well as the Big Show, Shamrock, and Test, and it's a wild mess of a brawl with the match being thrown out at the 5-minute mark. Vince McMahon runs in and takes a chairshot to the head. Austin with Stunners to the Undertaker and Shane as we close out the show. Match stunk, by the way.
Final Thoughts: For anyone who longs for the Attitude Era, I have to ask are you out of your flipping minds? Yes, for every great Rock segment we also got pointless, never-ending promos from the McMahon's, countless interviews that lead to nothing, a bunch of random matches where we either got cheap finishes or 60-second rush jobs, robbing us of any potential quality matches, and worst of all, just a lot of stupid shit. The WWF was so hot at this point in popularity, I don't think many people even paid attention to match quality, at least when it came down to casual fans, but my God, how this stuff hasn't aged well... it's amazing. I'm sorry, I'd rather watch Wade Barrett or Damian Sandow working 15-20 minute matches on Raw with Sheamus than 2-minutes of Droz/Dlo or whatever random combination of a match Vince Russo tossed against the dart board.
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