Friday, February 10, 2017

Random Network Reviews: Fully Loaded 1999

Fully Loaded 1999
July 25th, 1999 | Marine Midland Arena in Buffalo, New York | Attendance: 16,605

The Attitude Era was in full swing and business was booming for the WWF during this time period. This is the first PPV to air after the first live event I ever attended, which is pretty cool. This was a high stakes event with the main event being billed as the “End of an Era” and the show pulled in a 1.09 buyrate. This would be the second of three Fully Loaded Pay-Per-Views in history.

The intro video is weird but focuses on tonight possibly being the end for Mr. McMahon. The main event is “End of an Era” because if Steve Austin wins, Vince is gone from the company and if Undertaker wins, Austin can never have another title shot.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are on commentary. Footage airs from Heat shortly before this where Undertaker attacked Austin backstage and busted him open.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Edge (c) vs. Jeff Jarrett w/ Debra

One night earlier, Edge filled in for Ken Shamrock and faced Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Title, defeating him to become champion in Toronto. Debra is basically not wearing anything tonight. The crowd wants puppies as the competitors feel each other out. Jarrett does the old heel tactic of walking out with the belt but its dumb here since he isn’t champion. I get that he wants to say “this is rightfully mine”, but he just looks like an idiot. He doesn’t actually leaves and returns to the ring, going after the knee when it looks like Edge tweaks it. He continues that focus and does his best to wear down Edge, while JR points out that it negates the quickness of Edge. Edge scores some flash pins as he starts a comeback. The lights go out as if a bloodbath is coming from the Brood, who recently kicked Edge out. When they come back on, Gangrel is laid out as his plan backfired. This does allow Jarrett to try and capitalize on the distraction. Edge still overcomes it and hits the Spear. Debra gets on the apron and uses the outfit she’s barely wearing to distract Edge. Jarrett hits Edge, which knocks Debra off the apron. Gangrel snaps Edge on the top rope, allowing Jarrett to score the pinfall.

Winner and New WWF Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Jarrett in 13:22
A solid match to open things up. I liked how Gangrel’s first interference attempt failed, which was a cool swerve. Yea there was some interference but it made sense within the angle and there was actually probably less than you’d expect in this area. A smartly worked match. ***

Steve Austin is done getting bandaged up and rushes out to the ring. He lays out Jeff Jarrett with a Stone Cold Stunner because he is in a foul mood. He’s so amped that he is bleeding again.

WWF Tag Team Championship
The Hardy Boyz (c) and Michael Hayes vs. The Acolytes

Even though the titles are on the line, Michael Hayes could eat the pin and cost the Hardys the belts. The fight starts in the aisle after a backstage promo where Hayes comes off as a bit egotistical. The brawl continues outside where the Hardys bust out some cool dives onto the challengers. They are about three months away from REALLY breaking out. It’s a physical match as the Acolytes are just tossing the Hardys around. Things break down to a normal tag match. Bradshaw beats the hell out of Hayes, who is surprisingly able to bump pretty well. When Jeff comes in, he just takes a powerbomb, not proving to be much help. The Hardys are the ones to cheat, hitting Bradshaw with a cane, which is how they won the belts. Bradshaw is able to kick out somehow. Also, this was right in front of the official and no DQ was called. The Hardys go for Poetry in Motion but Bradshaw ANNIHILATES Jeff with a midair Clothesline from Hell. The pin gets broken up though, only to lead to Hayes being left alone. He takes a double powerbomb and we have new champions.

Winners and New WWF Tag Team Champions: The Acolytes in 9:32
Better than I thought it would be. Michael Hayes put in a good effort and the Hardys bumped like crazy for the Acolytes. The brawling was fun but when the match broke down it got a bit dull. Overall though, a good performance by both teams. **¾

WWF European Championship
Mideon (c) vs. D-Lo Brown

Before the match, D-Lo is interviewed about how he hasn’t held the European Title in nine months. About a month earlier, Mideon found the European Title in Shane McMahon’s duffel bag. Shane had retired it but allowed Mideon to have it. Brown is a solid hand but Mideon is pretty bad. Mideon sends him into the steel steps and takes control. Having the heel slow the pace and control the match makes sense in theory, but when the heel is Mideon, the execution is not going to be good. D-Lo makes a comeback that the crowd doesn’t care about and wins with the Lo Down.

Winner and New WWF European Champion: D-Lo Brown in 7:11
D-Lo Brown tried, but it’s damn near impossible to get a good match out of Mideon. This was just here to get the title onto someone with some actual credibility. Boring stuff since Mideon controlled most of it. ¾*

WWF Hardcore Championship
Al Snow (c) vs. Big Bossman

Al Snow looks like he hasn’t slept in weeks because a spike was driven though Head. I feel like these two had a feud that lasted through all of 1999. They start this match in the aisle and up by the entrance. Like a lot of hardcore matches from this era, they move backstage. Also like a lot of hardcore matches in the area, they just wail on each other with the most random of weapons, highlighted by Snow pouring hot coffee on Bossman. In a funny spot, Bossman finds the markers they use in the NFL to say that down it is. He finds one that says 4 and punt kicks Snow in the ribs. He tries to drive a golf cart into Snow but can’t get the vehicle to start so they ditch the spot. They go outside where Bossman nails a bulldog on the concrete. JR is stunned that wasn’t the finish. They even nearly get run over. Bossman hits Snow with a bottle and handcuffs him to a fence across the street. Snow is playing the deranged guy wanting more pain throughout this. Bossman lays him out with the nightstick and he puts his foot on Snow to pin the seated champion.

Winner and New WWF Hardcore Champion: Big Bossman in 10:11
While some of the things they did were pretty fun and creative, it was really just two guys beating the hell out of each other with random weapons. I appreciated them playing into the deranged Al Snow stuff, which made this a bit better. Not the worst way to spend ten minutes. **

Big Show vs. Kane
For some reason, Hardcore Holly is the special guest referee. Jim Ross says that both guys are in their twenties, which is incorrect. They work typical big man stuff with Holly continually stepping in and throwing his authority in the faces of the competitors. Honestly, neither Big Show nor Kane look very motivated and kind of plod through their offense. Holly keeps overstepping his boundaries. Kane hits a flying clothesline for the first impressive move of the match. Show then uses a chop block and Chokeslam for the pin as Holly counts fast.

Winner: Big Show in 8:13
Man that was absolutely dreadful. They didn’t do anything terribly or botch anything, but none of it was entertaining in the slightest. The Hardcore Holly story was something they didn’t do a bad job of telling, but again, it wasn’t an interesting story to tell. ¼*

Once the bell rings, X-Pac runs out to kick Hardcore Holly. The Undertaker runs out and Chokeslams X-Pac. Show and Undertaker put the boots to Kane. Undertaker leaves shortly after, but when he gets backstage, Steve Austin attacks and busts him open, evening the score from earlier tonight.

Iron Circle Match
Ken Shamrock vs. Steve Blackman

If you’re wondering what an Iron Circle match is, it’s just a parking lot brawl before it had that name. They are in street clothes and surrounded by cars, while various lower mid-carders and jobbers bang on the cars and honk horns. They brawl and Blackman tries to kill Shamrock with a chain only for Shamrock to dodge it. They do some okay spots with the cars until Shamrock chokes out Blackman with a chain.

Winner: Ken Shamrock in 4:19
A good idea that wasn’t greatly executed. While they didn’t do anything outwardly bad, nothing they did was really great and it was too short for anything to really get going. 

Chyna and Mr. Ass vs. Road Dogg and X-Pac
Yup, this is a match for the rights to the DX name. Yes, Billy Gunn is literally known as Mr. Ass (nameplate, announcing and commentary). Yes, Billy and Chyna have matching attire that shows off their thongs. Jerry Lawler somehow tries to say that Billy and Chyna started DX so they deserve the name. JR is in way better form, wondering if Chyna and Bill ever confuse their trunks. The heels work over Road Dogg which is odd since I would assume X-Pac would take the beating. Not only is he the better seller and more sympathetic babyface, but he did just take a Chokeslam from the Undertaker. Wait, Dogg makes a quick mild tag and now X-Pac is taking the heat. That makes sense. The second hot tag comes and Chyna eats a Bronco Buster. There’s a sex tape joke in here somewhere. Billy gets left alone in the ring and is hit with a pumphandle slam to end it.

Winners: Road Dogg and X-Pac in 11:44
This wasn’t bad. They played the tag formula wisely but it was kind of just there and the crow was only really into the finish. I expected better from people with such knowledge of each other. **

Fully Loaded Strap Match
The Rock vs. Triple H

This is a number one contender’s match and it’s not the traditional “touch all four corners” strap match. The video package beforehand is pretty cool as it shows how their feud originally was about factions and the IC Title, but has graduated now. Rock mentions the curtain call in his pre-match promo which was interesting. Since its Falls Count Anywhere, they brawl on the outside. It features some Rock shenanigans like taking a picture of HHH with a fan’s camera. As they fight to the Spanish announce table, I see Savio Vega is on commentary. Highlight of the night. The fight goes into the crowd where they just continue to beat on each other. The strap comes into play when Rock uses it to pull HHH into a guardrail. Both guys get some near falls by the entrance. They make it back to the ring but Chyna comes out and distracts the referee after a Rock Bottom. HHH uses the strap to choke Rock for a bit, now having the advantage. HHH undoes his strap to get a chair but the Rock just ends up whipping him with it. Rock is near a win again only for Billy Gunn to come out and lay out the Rock with a club. Rock manages to still kick out. Rock again comes back and is near a win when Gunn gets involved. He eats a Rock Bottom for his troubles. Rock turns right into a Pedigree and Triple H wins.

Winner: Triple H in 19:21
These two have had some really great matches in the past. This isn’t one that I would classify as great though it was solid. There was certainly a lot of fighting in the crowd and aisle, which isn’t always the most interesting, but it made good use of the stipulation. It was pretty overbooked too and not in a good way. ***

WWF Championship First Blood Match
Steve Austin (c) vs. The Undertaker

The build for this looked pretty great as Undertaker kept busting Austin open, including Vince signing the contract in Austin’s blood. Vince McMahon joins commentary. This starts in the aisle during Austin’s entrance, which makes sense given how personal the feud has been. Like the last match, they brawl around ringside and in the crowd a bit. I appreciate how Undertaker just keeps punching Austin and trying to rip open the stitches. When Austin turns the tide, he attacks the knee, which is certainly odd in a match like this. Thanks to Austin’s bandage, it looks like he’s busted open numerous times as they fight through the crowd and around the ring. Undertaker gets tied up in the ring and Austin grabs a chair, so out comes Shane McMahon. Austin levels him with the chair, giving us a fantastic Vince reaction at ringside. Vince tries to get involved too, but is laid out for his troubles. Undertaker uses a chair on Austin’s back and looks to do more but X-Pac shows up and kicks the chair into his face. Austin uses this time to steal a TV camera from ringside and hits Undertaker with it. Undertaker is busted open and gets into a slugfest with Austin. He goes for the Tombstone but Earl Hebner sees the blood and calls for the bell.

Winner and Still WWF Champion: Steve Austin in 15:31
A pretty solid match. I remember thinking that these two never really had good matches, but the two that I’ve seen have been pretty good. Nothing great, but enjoyable stuff. It was a bit overbooked, though that kind of makes sense and it expected in this era. It was a fun brawl and most of what they did made sense. ***

Vince McMahon tries to attack Austin but eats a Stunner. Triple H runs out to attack Austin but the Rock shows up to take him out. Somehow Austin gets busted open now and brawls with the Undertaker while both men bleed. Austin ends the night with a goodbye Stunner on Vince.

Overall: 5.5/10; Decent. This was a very middle of the pack show. The best things on it were good at best and they opened the closed the show. Outside of the first two and last two matches, everything on this show is an easy skip, making it a hard show to recommend despite the big time main event. My next “Random Network Review” is scheduled to be Survivor Series 1990!