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WWF Over the Edge 1999
by Scrooge McSuck
- Originally presented LIVE on Pay-Per-View on May 23rd, 1999, from the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, MO. Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. The advertisements were heavily centered on the Undertaker, which makes the main event an obvious choice. The "In Your House" name has officially been retired, with Backlash being the last to even have that somehow tagged on to the title, even if it wasnít advertised as such.
- In matches that took place on the live edition of Sunday Night Heat, Meat (Sean Stasiak, son of the former WWWF Champion) defeated Brian Christopher, the Hardy Boyz defeated Goldust and the Blue Meanie, and Vince McMahon fought Mideon (yeah, spelling changed again) to a No Contest. That last one is a real head-scratcher, but I guess it was an attempt to take Vince out of the Main Event as one of the... you guessed it, special referees. That gimmick sure got tired in the Attitude Era.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
X-Pac & Kane © vs. DíLo Brown & Mark Henry (w/ Ivory):
Iím surprised Ivory hasnít turned on her men, yet. Itís been three months! Thatís like 11 years in Attitude Eraô time. Kane is onto partner number three when it comes to the Tag Team Championship. There will be more. Remember the days where it was rumored Kane would join DX and wear an alternate green and black outfit? The days of being a total mark. J.R. sure has a hard on pointing out the ages of most of the participants. I guess WCW was pushing a bunch of old guys at this point. Brown with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. X-Pac counters another headlock with a wrist-lock and takes DíLo over with a hip toss. X-Pac with a back suplex and spinning heel kick, but a Bronco Buster attempt is avoided. Henry and Kane tag in to slow things down. 16 years later, both are on the roster. Henry with a hard whip to the corner, followed by an avalanche. He sends Kane to the opposite corner and drops Kane with a PRESS SLAM. Kane no-sells it and runs over Henry with a pair of clotheslines. Whip to the ropes and Kane throws a dropkick. He teases a Choke-Slam, but Henry runs and tags out to DíLo. He unloads with rights, with zero success. He lands on his feet on a back drop, but runs into a boot. Kane with a choke lift and throw into the corner. X-Pac tags in and connects with a spinning heel kick. Whip to the corner, Henry trips X-Pac up and crotches him on the post.
DíLo with a slam and the snap leg drop as X-Pac becomes our Generate-in-Peril. Henry with punchy-kicky stuff as I just realized Henry is wearing what looks like slacks and a black t-shirt. Did he lose his luggage? Henry with a leg drop, and for all intent and purpose, should be death for X-Pac. Henry plants X-Pac with a slam, but a splash misses. DíLo in for our first chin-lock of the night X-Pac quickly escapes with elbows, but meets elbow on a charge. DíLo with a Running Lier-Bomb, but Kane breaks the cover. DíLo goes for a springboard senton, but X-Pac rolls away. Kane with the hot tag, unloading on Henry. Kane with a scoop slam on the Worldís Strongest Man, followed by a tilt-o-whirl slam on DíLo. X-Pac goes for a plancha, but Henry catches him and rams his back into the post. Kane with a REVERSE SUPLEX on DíLo while Henry continues to destroy X-Pac. Kane with a slam, but he gets nailed from the apron running the ropes. DíLo with a jumping heel kick for two. DíLo and Henry double up on X-Pac, so Kane climbs to the top and dives to the floor with a full body plancha! Back inside, Kane hits Henry with the flying clothesline for two. X-Pac with the Bronco Buster on DíLo. Kane sits up, plants Henry with the Choke-Slam, and covers for three to retain the titles at 14:45. ***1/4 I donít know what was in the water that night, but Kane, X-Pac, and DíLo really brought their working boots and busted out some awesome stuff.
WWF Hardcore Championship Match:
Al Snow © vs. Hardcore Holly:
Hardcore Holly destroyed Snowís friend "Pierre"? Do I want to know? (Google searches) Nope, I didnít want to. I guess Snow was bringing a deer head to the ring as his new companion, but Holly hates people who have imaginary friends. This feud really dragged on. They actually start the match in the ring, but it doesnít take long for them to take it to the floor. A little kid actually takes a weak shot at Holly, forcing security to do their job and tell him to stop with a stern finger pointing. Is that ugly deer head wearing a neck brace? Holly plays Whack-a-Snow with a cooking sheet for a near fall. This is officially the longest theyíve gone without going backstage. After three long minutes, they make their way into the crowd. Snowís shirt has an air-brushed "In Memory of" for Pierre, with a birthdate of 1972. Popcorn, soda, and funnel cake are the next weapons of choice. Iím suddenly in the mood for Frozen Delights. Uh-Oh, the entire stock of Cotton Candy just became a casualty. That comes out of the vendorís paycheck, dammit! A harsh lesson Bobby Hill would learn, too. Snow stomps the nuts and puts them out like a cigarette. I guess the bowling ball spot is about a year away. Now a poor, defenseless table gets brought in the ring. Holly comes back from the dead and connects with the Holly-Caust (or Falcon Arrow, suplex-slam combo, as it soon would be called, since HOLLYCAUST sounds a bit, I donít know, insensitive). Snow with the Snow Plow for two. Snow goes low and has a bizarre conversation with Head. Holly ducks the blow and DDTís Snow onto a chair for two. The table gets set up and Snow puts Holly through it with a Power-Bomb to retain the title at 12:52. ** The same old match these two did, just more comical, I guess. Didnít my commentary give the same impression?
- This is the WWE Network version, so hereís what I believe is the scheduled placement of the Intercontinental Championship Match between the Godfather (still the reigning Champion) and the Blue Blazer. We throw things to a video package highlighting the Blue Blazer and his campy super-hero goofiness. We return to the live feed, and Jim Ross quickly sends us to a pre-recorded interview with the Blazer, hinting that something serious just happened.
Itís been over 16 years, and thereís a good chance thereís a great number of wrestling fans out there who donít even know what happened on May 23rd, 1999. To paraphrase Jim Ross, Owen Hart, under the Blue Blazer gimmick, was supposed to make an entrance that involved him being lowered from the rafters of the Kemper Arena and dropped into a ring, a stunt that Owen had done before for TV, and was done almost weekly in WCW with Sting during the height of his program with the New World Order. Something went wrong with his harness, either a faulty construction or a trigger that released too early, but the only detail that matters is that Owen Hart fell a great height (approximately 75 feet) and landed chest first on the ropes. EMTs rushed to his aid while Jim Ross was put in the position of trying to get it across that this was not part of the entertainment, and was not a storyline or a sensationalized stunt. This was real life, and a human being just had a terrible accident.
One of the greatest debates of the incident was whether or not the show should be stopped, and thereís obviously strong opinions coming from both sides. In stage and theatric performance, the phrase "the show must go on" is a long-standing tradition that no matter what happens, you have to complete the performance for the paying audience. Close friends and family of Owen insisted he would want the show to end, close friends and relatives say he would want the show to go on. Is there a right answer? No. No matter what the answer is you come up with, thereís going to be a strong argument against it. Does keeping the show going make someone cold and heartless? If thatís what you want to be believe, then so be it. Iím not advocating the decision to keep the show going, but I understand why it was done. There have been so many other tragedies in wrestling that can be thrown around in this argument, but it would be unfair to try and compare such instances and the circumstances surrounding them.
Val Venis & Nicole Bass vs. Jeff Jarrett & Debra:
And so we continue... to say Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler sound like they donít want to be there would be an under-statement. This seems like a fair matchup. Jarrett and Val start, of course. They trade blows with Jarrett getting the upper hand. Whip to the ropes, Val with an elbow, followed by a double under-hook suplex. Criss-cross and Jarrett comes back with a swinging neck breaker and single-arm DDT for two. Val with a Power-Slam for two. Whip to the ropes and Val with a spine-buster. Debra and Bass tag in for the freak-show part of the match. Debra strikes first with a slap and hops on for a... sleeper? Bass escapes, but misses a charge to the corner and Debra quickly tags out. Val with knees to the midsection, followed by a Russian leg sweep. He heads to the second rope and misses an elbow. Jarrett with the forward leg sweep (The Stroke), but Bass pulls him off at two. Debra with a guitar shot to the back of Bass, but she no sells it. Debra gets her shit ripped off, and Val puts Jarrett away with the Money Shot at 6:07. The involvement of Bass and Debra made this match an awful circus side-show. Post-match, Bass forces herself on Val, and I think Val liked it. Bass has blood on the back of her neck... I guess Debraís poor shot with the guitar was worse than it looked.
The Road Dogg vs. "Mr. Ass" Billy Gunn:
The New Age Outlaws Explode! I guess Gunnís heel turn is fueled by wanting to be at the top of the WWF on his own. This must be the saddest version of DX, with just Road Dogg and X-Pac. I guess Kane is unofficially affiliated, but it doesnít count. Oh God, itís the PPV debut of Gunnís "Ass Man" theme music. Gunn slugs away with rights to start. He plants Road Dogg with a slam and comes off the ropes with a knee drop. Road Dogg battles back and sends Gunn to the floor with a clothesline. They take it to the floor, with Gunn being sent into the steps. Gunn takes control, throwin Road Dogg over the top rope. Back inside, Gunn with a delayed vertical suplex for two. We slow it down with a chin-lock. Road Dogg fights free, but runs into a Power-Slam. Gunn with a leg drop for two. We change things up with a SEATED chin-lock. Road Dogg escapes again, and this time a neck breaker slows his comeback. Gunn grabs a sleeper, and it somehow affects me. Road Dogg reverses and takes Gunn down with a face-buster. He does his signature jabs and shake rattle ní roll knee drop for two. Gunn KOís Road Dogg with the timekeeperís hammer, somehow away from the refereeís view, but Road Dogg somehow kicks out at two. Whip to the corner, Gunn clotheslines Road Dogg with his wrist tape, and the Fame Asser finishes at 11:14. Bad match with mostly resting from Mr. Ass. Under any circumstances, Gunn vs. Road Dogg doesnít sound too promising of a singles match.
Elimination Tag Team Match: The Union vs. The Corporate Ministry:
(Mankind, Big Show, Test, Ken Shamrock vs. Big Boss Man, Viscera, Bradshaw, Faarooq)
Itís time for the Survivor Series! I tried to block out the era of the Corporate Ministry, but was there any more a pointless stable of midcarders than the Union? A bunch of guys doing nothing so weíll make them a stable for the sake of giving them a cute name. Am I alone in hating Mankindís "hobo" look of sweat pants for ring attire? Viscera crushes Test in the corner to start, but misses an elbow drop. Test tries a body press, but Viscera counters with a Power-Slam for two. Belly-to-belly suplex by Vis, and Bradshaw with a leg sweep for two. Test with a Power-Slam and Side Slam. Hegoes to the top rope and hits the elbow drop for two. Bradshaw with the Clothesline from Hell to finish Test at 3:46. Maybe he shouldíve tagged out. Shamrock counters the Clothesline with a cross arm-breaker, but Faarooq breaks it. Shamrock with a hurricanrana, takedown, and the Ankle Lock to tap out Bradshaw at 4:45. Viscera uses his girth to control... and now the Network is acting up again with the time skips. Shamrock with a pair of jumping heel kicks on Faarooq, followed by a belly-to-belly suplex. Ankle Lock applied, but Boss Man helps Faarooq reach the ropes. Shamrock wonít let go, so he slams the referee to draw the DQ at 7:20. What is this, the 1990 Survivor Series with protective booking? Show Stopper to Faarooq evens it up at 7:37. Show with a clothesline and shoulder tackle, sending Boss Man to the floor. Boss Man takes a walk, and Show follows to bring him back. Iím AMAZED we didnít get a double count-out. Boss Man slows Show down with a kick to the ass, sold as a low blow. Boss Man with a chin-lock as the crowd musters a "Foley" chant. Chaos erupts and Show slams Vis. Show and Viscera take it to the floor and are counted out at 12:30, or were supposed to be but the referee just forgot they exist. Mankind and Boss Man have a short exchange before Mankind puts him away with the Mandible Claw at 14:58 to be the Sole Survivor. Weak booking to protect people and only a few instances of actual tag team work.
- We have another edit on the WWE Network. Jim Ross has the unfortunate task of telling the television audience that Owen Hart had passed away.
The Rock vs. Triple H (w/ Chyna):
Iím assuming this is fallout from the Rock being turfed from the Corporation and Triple Hís continued push to the top of the card. Rock is selling a broken arm, but heís forced to wrestle without a cast because Shane is EVIL. Before the match begins, we get a backstage assault on the Rock, and Mankindís efforts to make the save are futile. Hunter is sporting trunks for the first time on PPV, and has his "My Time" music sans the lyrics. EVOLUTION! Rock ends up coming out with the cast, so weíve got a bait-and-switch for a pointless storyline Rock controls early with rights. We spend time on the floor for some aimless brawling. Rock commandeers a headset from the SAT and suffers for it, with Hunter ripping the cast off and smacking Rock over the head with it. Uh... DQ? Hunter stomps and chokes in the corner. Anyone remember the Candy-Ass Cafť? I guess it was a failed spin-off of the Smackdown Hotel. Rock with a Samoan Drop for two. Criss-Cross until Hunter hits a running high knee. Chyna gets some cheap shots in while the referee is distracted. Rock rallies with rights and a DDT for two. Whip to the ropes and HHH with a single-arm DDT. He continues to punish the BROKEN arm, but Rock isnít selling it half the time. Rock rallies again, but gets tossed over the top rope. Back in the ring, Hunter counters a Rock Bottom attempt with a DDT. They bring a chair in the ring, but the referee wrestles it out of his hands. Triple H vs. Earl Hebner: Greatest Forgotten Referee Angle. Hunter lays him out with a right to draw a cheap DQ at 11:41. Post-match, Rock blasts him with the chair for a Grand Slam. They tried to make something of it, but it would take time for Triple Hís new ring style to flourish.
WWF Championship Match:
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin © vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer):
Once again, Shane McMahon is the COMPLETELY UNBIAS, WILL CALL IT DOWN THE MIDDLE Special Referee who is affiliated with the challenger as a bunch of no-good-niks. Vince is supposed to be a referee, too, but was carted off in an ambulance (boo) to sell an alleged broken ankle, so Pat Patterson is replacing him. That is until Undertaker lays him out with a Choke-Slam. Brawl to start. Austin hangs him up across the top rope and comes off the top with a clothesline for two. He stomps a mud-hole while ignoring Shaneís count. Taker takes advantage of a distraction from Shane and chokes in the corner. Austin reverses a whip, but Taker catches a boot, sweeps the leg, and drops a series of elbows on the left knee. Austin with legs across the face to force a break, followed by a flurry of rights. Austin with a deliberate low blow, but Shane wonít DQ him since it wonít result in a title change. Austin wraps the left leg in the ropes and pounds away. I donít think many people expected this to be a mat-based match, at least with what weíve seen so far. Austin takes a shot at Paul Bearer, allowing Taker to kick him into the security wall and ram his back into the post. Taker with some choking via a ringside cable. He uses the steps to sandwich Austinís leg against the post.
Back in the ring, Taker puts the boots to the knee, then follows up with more choking. Austin teases a comeback, but Taker nails him in the throat. Austin slips out of a slam and sends Taker to the floor with a clothesline. Whip to the ropes, Austin goes for the Thesz Press, but Taker counters with a spine-buster. Bearer gets a cheap shot in with his shoe. Jim Ross sells the smell of his shoe more than the impact of actually being hit with it. They brawl on the floor and make their way up the entrance aisle. If thereís one thing I donít miss is the overly-dependent work that involves brawling in the aisle. Back inside, Undertaker with more choking. Austin goes low again and comes off the second rope with an elbow for a "two" count. Taker with a chair but Austin fights it from him, sends him into Shane, and KOís Taker with the chair for a near fall from Special Referee #4, Gerald Brisco. Taker lays him out with a clothesline, and weíre back to having zero referees. Whip to the ropes and Taker with the diving clothesline. Here comes Vince, still selling the ankle injury. I guess heís Referee #2.5. Double clothesline puts both men down. They sit up simultaneously and slug it out. Austin with the Stunner, but Shane breaks the count. Shane and Vince argue, Austin gets bumped over into Undertaker in an awkward roll-up position, and Shane fast counts him at 22:58 to give Undertaker his 3rd official reign (I donít count the double pin at IYH: Breakdown as a true reign). Post-match, Austin cleans house of the Corporate Ministry for the sake of it. Not a bad match, just too long with a lot of pointless brawling.
Final Thoughts: As a wrestling show, thereís no need to see it except for a bizarre curiosity or just having to watch every PPV ever. If there was one criticism Iíd have to hold onto against the booking choices, considering what happened, they shouldíve just wiped away all their plans and put all the good guys over clean, and re-start the direction of the company a week later. This show was never going to be referenced again, and wasnít going to be rebroadcast on PPV or released on physical form, so who cares if you put Rock and Austin over clean under the circumstances? Petty argument aside, Over the Edge is a name that means nothing to me as a wrestling show and entirely as the night of a great wrestling tragedy.
Iím not going to pretend to be the biggest Owen Hart fan in the world, but if I may, Iíd like to talk about what his death meant to me. I was 13 at the time, probably in 7th grade. I didnít see the PPV, and didnít watch the news that night, so the next morning at school, the big news wasnít "Undertaker won the Title", it was "Owen Hart died." I think Iím not alone in feeling like my initial reaction was denial. Maybe it was some morbid wrestling prank. Then I read it in our small town newspaper and saw it on the news that evening. Monday Night Raw was still broadcast, but all existing storylines were put on hold in favor of a Tribute Show in Owenís Memory, with the majority of the roster working matches just because they wanted to, and a good portion of the roster spoke candidly about Owen. It was the first time that I could recall the curtain being pulled back, and wrestlers were allowed to completely break character. Watching people like Mark Henry and Jeff Jarrett, in tears, talking about someone they cared so much about mightíve been the hardest thing to watch that night.
In my short life up to that point, I knew of wrestler deaths. I knew Andre The Giant, Kerry Von Erich, Dino Bravo, and Eddie Gilbert, among others, were gone, most of them at young ages and under terrible circumstances, but Owenís death was the first time I remember crying for a death. I was, and always have been, a WWF fan. I guess I had seen Owen Hart work consistently for nearly a decade, as his debut in the company as the Blue Blazer was around the time I started watching (of course, being the age I was at the time, I had no idea who Owen was). He came back in 1992 wearing goofy baggy pants and had lackluster tag team runs with Jim Neidhart and Koko B. Ware. Then, his big break in the WWF came with his year-long feud with his brother, Bret. He never really touched that level of success again, but remained a steady performer in the upper-midcard, even following the split between the WWF and his brother. Owen was amazing at being that obnoxious heel who could get under your skin with ease. He was fun to hate. Somewhere along the way, I guess I grew to love hating him. Itís been over 16 years, and no other wrestling related tragedy saddens me more than Owen Hartís passing, and I donít think Iíll ever forget the last impression he left on me as a wrestling fan.
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