– Click here to watch this week’s episode on WWE Network. If you want to watch Unforgiven 1999 so you can catch up, here’s where you do that. If you’d like to read about previous episodes, check out the Vintage Best and Worst tag!
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And now, let’s take a look at the major points of WWF Unforgiven 1999.
Chyna Got Screwed Out Of The Intercontinental Championship By Instant Replay
Really? This is a thing we’re doing? Our scab referees are so incompetent that we’ve established a booth review system? I BLAME ROGER GOODELL FOR THIS (and many other atrocities, including the deforestation of the Amazon).
After a match full of dubious Harvey Wippleman officiating, The Ninth Wonder of the World pinned Jeff Jarrett after Debra stole his guitar and kabong’d him for good measure. This prompts Head Replacement Referee Tom Prichard to storm the ring, signaling for the tron to play the finish back. Wippleman sees what happened while his back was turned and overturns the decision, and Chyna has learned a valuable lesson about wrestling: Occasionally, people just make shit up.
Triple H Won Back His Title, And The Big Show Should Have Killed A Few Referees
The first ever Six-Pack Challenge for the vacant WWF Championship was bound to be a chaotic affair, which is why Stone Cold Steve Austin was designated as the special enforcer in case things got too crazy. Sure enough, the match spills outside of the ring, while Stone Cold swigs beer beside Jim Ross at the commentary table. Eventually we get a run-in from the striking WWF referees, who have decided to move their protest indoors, where people can actually see them.
That’s all fine and dandy, except they spend several minutes just twiddling their thumbs like idiots, only waiting UNTIL THE BIG SHOW IS ONE SECOND AWAY FROM WINNING THE WWF TITLE before dragging scab referee Jimmy Korderas out of the ring and stomping him half to death, gangland-style. Listen, if the Intercontinental Title is important enough for booth review on a decisive pinfall, then something like this should not be okay. Earl Hebner should have been praying that Big Show doesn’t still own a monster truck, because his house was in danger of being run over.
With the referee situation thoroughly borked, Steve Austin is forced to reluctantly count the final pinfall himself, awarding Triple H the championship. This would not have happened had he allowed the British Bulldog to clock HHH with the chair he brought in the ring, but at least Stone Cold now realizes that he’s at least partly to blame for his downfall. That’s what happens when you play chaotic neutral.
Probably The Worst WWF Match That Doesn’t Involve Pat Patterson In An Evening Gown
The Kennel From Hell probably looked good on paper. Two wrestlers enter, and to win, they must navigate a treacherous moat of dogflesh. Savage, jugular-seeking beasts separate you from Hardcore Championship glory.
The dogs were peeing on the floor within a literal half-second of entering the cell, I kid you not.
What we get is Al Snow and Big Boss Man playing the world’s worst game of The Floor Is Lava. The dogs aren’t threatening in the slightest. If you’re a dog lover like me, you probably even think Rottweilers are cute! They’re more concerned with each other than the wrestlers, as proven by their tendency to bark at each other constantly. They’re probably shouting “WHY ARE WE HERE” and “WHO ARE ALL THESE HUMANS” in dog language. Did I mention the pee? There’s so much pee.
It’s absolutely worth a watch on the Network, just to hear Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross give up on the damn thing about three minutes in. So, so bad. Historically bad. Pepper deserved better.
- Val Venis defeated Steve Blackman, but Blackman was in good enough spirits to smack Val with a kendo stick and shove around the ringside medics.
- D’Lo Brown defeated Mark Henry to win the European Championship. Mark tried to get out of the match by claiming he received a “brainerism” when Lilian Garcia slapped him for whispering something dirty in her ear.
- The Dudley Boys lost their WWF pay-per-view debut when Stevie Richards helped the Acolytes… while dressed like an Acolyte. The UPN logo was painted on his chest.
- Ivory retained her Women’s Championship in a hardcore rules match that spilled out into every backstage area available on Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain.
- The New Age Outlaws retained their Tag Team Championships when Gangrel and the Hardys attacked Edge and Christian from behind.
- X-Pac defeated Chris Jericho by disqualification, even though referee Tom Prichard was far too unconscious to call for the bell. Something was happening in the stands for most of this match, so the entire audience was distracted.
And now, The Best and Worst of WWF Smackdown for September 30, 1999.
Worst: Starting With Wrestling Doesn’t Always Work
I was pleasantly surprised to see Smackdown shoot right into wrestling mode with Road Dogg vs. Chris Jericho, but as with a lot of recent Smackdown matchups, the actual match isn’t the story they’re trying to tell here. The two immediately spill out of the ring while Crash and Hardcore Holly make their way to commentary, airing their grievances about having X-Pac and Kane cut in front of them for tag team title shots. Right away, I do want to congratulate Hardcore for not calling Michael Cole a “little shithead” right off the bat. Don’t worry, he’ll eventually get around to it.
Aside from the Hollys wanting a championship shot, another story we’re telling is the resolution of the referee strike. This week on Raw, Vince McMahon finally set things right with the zebras. And how did he do it? Well… he basically just told the referees to nut up. He was like, “You guys know you can disqualify people, right? How about you start doing that?” That’s the long and short of it. Vinny Mac just clapped his hands and said he believed in fairies, and suddenly the referees weren’t stupid whiners anymore. Storytelling!
Earl Hebner, newly emboldened, DQ’s Road Dogg for shoving him around. What follows is a messy brawl between the Hollys and the New Age Outlaws, while Chris Jericho is rushed to safety by Curtis Hughes. I have “I’m confused” written in my notes, and this is just the first segment. Just a warning, a lot transpires tonight, and most of it is outside the context of actual pro wrestling matches.
90’s Best, But Modern Worst: A Very Long Series Of Dick Jokes
Ha ha, long! (It helps if you read that in Phil Ken Sebben’s voice.)
This edition of Smackdown is actually the first chunk of WWF programming to air after the now-famous “This Is Your Life” segment between The Rock and Mankind. It was a segment that got massive ratings and is now considered a watershed Attitude Era moment, even though it was just Mick Foley trying to be a sweetheart while The Rock insulted a few out-of-work actors.
Anyway, one of the key points of “This Is Your Life” was Mankind bestowing gifts upon The Great One, including matching jackets and a customized sock named “Mr. Rocko.” Naturally, The Rock reacts to these like a child would react to receiving a five-year subscription to Field and Stream, and he spends a lot of this episode keeping Mankind busy by sending him on fetch quests to retrieve them, even though he has no intention of wearing either item.
Now that we have that out of the way, here’s where the penis jokes begin.
Val Venis comes (ha!) to the ring after being summoned by Mankind, who suspects him of having Mr. Rocko in his posession. But instead of being a normal human being about it, he beats around the bush (ha!) and plays the pronoun game. Here, I’ll paraphrase.
MANKIND: There’s something in your pants and I want it!
MANKIND: Yeah, it’s big and long and it belongs to me!
VENIS: That sounds hella gay, and it’s 1999, so my natural reaction is to be creeped out
MANKIND: If you don’t whip it out right now, I’ll reach in there myself!
VENIS: You have no idea what a dick is, do you
AUDIENCE: [literally cannot stop laughing]
After an eternity of phallic misunderstandings, Mankind rolls GTV footage from Raw showing Venis retrieving Mr. Rocko from the trash and stuffing it down his pants. In short, it’s the most 1999 comedy segment ever. If we’re ranking it in terms of late 90’s comedy writing, I’d put it somewhere between Cartman’s song about Kyle’s mom being a bitch and Tom Green’s song about not being able to jerk off with a broken arm.
Best: The Rock, Secret Game Show Enthusiast
What is he looking at here? Lilian’s trying to ask him stuff and he’s totally zoning out. Be a professional, dude.
Rock’s been made the special guest referee for tonight’s WWF Championship main event between Triple H and the British Bulldog, and he’s less than enthused. When asked for comment, he goes pretty deep in his bag of references.
“What is this, Let’s Make a Deal? What is Vince McMahon, Monty Hall?”
First of all, I love the idea of The Rock just watching the Game Show Network in all his free time. But for real, Let’s Make a Deal? I mean, I guess I owe him one for making sure my Tom Green Show reference isn’t the oldest in the column, but geez. You gotta update your stuff, man. “The People’s Champ is going to walk down that aisle, play The People’s Pricing Game, guess closest to the actual retail price without going over, win The People’s Dinette Set, then spin that big wheel and land DIRECTLY on $1.”
Also, while we’re at it, he promises to bend Bulldog over and add an item to the list of Things The Rock Threatens To Turn Sideways And Stick Straight Up Your Candy Ass:
7. Triple H’s “three-foot nose”
That’s an exaggeration and you know it. He’s probably quite self-conscious about it.
Worst: 2016 Called, They Want Their Meaningless “Best Of” Series Back
Hey, remember how Terri Runnels was an expert manager of tag team wrestlers who would often lead teams to championship success? Me neither. But nevertheless, she’s looking for fresh meat, and she’s decided that she’ll manage either the Hardys or Edge and Christian – whoever wins a best-of-five series. Hindsight being 20/20, those are some pretty low stakes. However, the series would eventually lead to a ladder match between the teams at No Mercy, and I think we can classify that as Fireworks Factory territory. E&C are on level playing ground when Gangrel gets ejected, and they pick up the win with a pretty nasty-looking tower superplex on Jeff. Not a whole lot else going on here.
Worst: Another Meaningless Match
Real-Life Worst: The Last Time We’ll See Droz Walking
Best: Mark Henry Has Been Awesome For A Long Time
So, there’s a European Championship match here between D’Lo Brown and The Big Show, but you’d hardly know it. Droz and Prince Albert are at ringside for commentary, and a lot like the Hollys, they’re just present to throw a wrench in the works. The match is thrown out when the future NXT Head Coach intervenes, only to get powerbombed by Show for his troubles.
Speaking of this duo’s future, Droz also has something significant coming up, but I’m not looking forward to writing about it at all. It’s only fair that I talk about it next week when the incident actually happens, but just remember… pro wrestling is really f*cking dangerous, you guys. Man, between The Undertaker, Ken Shamrock, and Droz, this column features too many departures thus far.
On a lighter note, Mark Henry breaks all of this up and gets on the microphone. Remember a few weeks ago when I joked about Mark Henry being a sex addict? Yeah, it turns out I forgot, but that totally happened. The World’s Strongest Man gets on a live mic and tells thousands of people that he can’t stop thinking about sex. And here’s the thing… it works. Seriously, I don’t know what magical place Mark Henry was plucked from, but wherever it is, they teach you amazing stage delivery there. He’s sincere and darkly funny at the same time, and he starts crying halfway through. Real tears! The World’s Strongest Tears! He’s worried what his friends and his mother will think, and it’s somehow hilarious and devastating simultaneously. Powerlifters should not be this good at acting, you guys.
We see Stephanie McMahon looking through bridal magazines, trying to settle on a dress. Test is occupied with something off-screen, and she notices. “Hey,” she says, “quit watching the game.”
I love the irony, because if they’d only been watching The Game a little closer, maybe they could have avoided this whole thing. Also, I really hope Test’s internal monologue here was just George Strait’s “You Know Me Better Than That.”
Worst: I Have No Idea What’s Going On Here
Let me see if I have this right.
- Kane and X-Pac are back together, because X-Pac realized getting beaten up by the Ministry isn’t fun
- Bubba Ray Dudley has somehow found The Rock’s missing “Rock & Sock Connection” jacket
- The Acolytes get disqualified because referee Mike Chioda leveled up and earned the Power of Self-Respect
- Kane suddenly has an impressive dropkick
- Bubba still hasn’t learned his Brooklyn dialect or how to stop stuttering
- Stevie Richards’ gimmick of the week is Dude Love
Sometimes wrestling just loads up a pitching machine full of stuff and fires it at your face, hoping you’ll synthesize all the information on the fly. This is one of those times. Anyway, this all leads to Bubba beating up Mankind until Stevie makes the save, but THEN Val Venis uses Mr. Rocko to squeeze Mankind’s balls until he passes out. If you’re keeping score, Mankind is on record pace for World’s Saddest Human, now having lost his friend’s jacket and novelty sock. Not to mention the use of his testicles for the near future. I swear I didn’t make any of this up.
Best: Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
Due to questionable officiating, Jeff Jarrett is still your Intercontinental Champion. However, he’s doubling down on the misogyny, challenging Chyna to a Good Housekeeping match at No Mercy for the title. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is the go-home show, because Jarrett gets one heck of a heel comeuppance moment here. All the women that he’s been putting in the figure-four start coming out of the woodwork and surrounding him. This includes Mae Young, Fabulous Moolah, Jacqueline, Debra, Lilian Garcia, WWF’s makeup lady, and eventually Chyna, who all start whooping on him like an extremely Tennessean piñata. Also, 1999 Playmate of the Year Heather Kozar and a returning Cindy Margolis join the angry mob because they’re promoting something called “Shasta McNasty,” which I’m assuming was a failed UPN project and not a beverage aimed at rollerblade enthusiasts.
I’m not going to lie, it’s a fun segment. Shout-out to Jacqueline, by the way, for dressing like Carmen Sandiego and running at top speed in some dramatically tall shoes. Not just anyone can look majestic while chasing Jeff Jarrett with a broom handle, but she nails it here.
Best: The Oldest Trick In The Book
This is Jim Dotson, head of WWF Security. He and Steve Blackman got into a bit of a scrap at Unforgiven when Blackman tried to put his hands on an EMT. Sadly, Dotson passed away around this time last year, but I’m choosing to remember this great moment rather than be sad. Steve Blackman launches a sneak attack and dumps the chain-link background down on Dotson, thereby employing the TINY NET STRATEGY from Kung Pow: Enter The Fist.
I implore you to reconsider.
Best: Two Classic Moments From The Rock In One Night
Main event time, and surprise! This match isn’t really about Triple H, or the British Bulldog, or the WWF Championship. It’s about The Rock – more specifically, it’s about The Rock saying “I’m way cooler than either of you nerds, and I’ll ruin your match to prove it.” Normally, an ego trip from The Rock big enough to ruin a championship main event would automatically get under my skin. However, the man just so happens to be on his A-game tonight.
Remember, he’s the referee for this, and he could not care less. He spends considerable amounts of time pulling a Veda Scott and doing commentary on a match he’s supposed to be involved in, and sometimes he just straight-up assaults the competitors. Again, usually a major red flag. However, it gets a pass tonight for a couple of reasons. Exhibit A:
And Exhibit B, hereby submitted to the court as The Greatest People’s Elbow Ever:
That’s a walk-off grand slam, basically. Pack it up, go home. The match is a no-contest, naturally, with The Rock grabbing the championship and heading to the back. He eventually brawls off-screen with Bulldog, leaving Triple H alone with his title and an agonizingly long walk to his dressing room. One last question, though … who has two middle fingers and is usually a great person to end Smackdown with?
Best: This Guy
Question: How is Smackdown different than my dating life?
Answer: Smackdown always made people happy by sending them home with Austin.