Mike Reviews WWF Unforgiven 1999
By Michael Fitzgerald on 1st October 2022
Happy Saturday Everyone!
If you weren’t around at the time, Scott Keith gave the X-Pac Vs Chris Jericho match on this show ****1/4 back in the day and caught a lot of flak for it. I don’t really have much memory of it so I thought I’d watch the show and see how it holds up, especially as the Six Pack Challenge Main Event for the WWF Title is really good.
There’s also a notable dog of a bout (pun intended) on the under card that might provide some laughs.
This was Vince Russo’s last pay per view for the WWF I believe, as by the time No Mercy came along he was in WCW. Pour one out for Vinny Ru I guess…
The event is emanating from Charlotte, North Carolina, on the 26th of September 1999
Calling the action are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler
We get the usual dark and gothic intro that the WWF would do for the more biblical shows like this and Judgment Day.
The referees are on strike, so we’ve got scab referees for tonight including the likes of Downtown Bruno and Dr. Tom Pritchard.
Val Venis Vs Steve Blackman
Venis stole Blackmans weapons in order to set this one up, which I believe made him the babyface, but it’s the Attitude Era so who really knows. Because it’s the Attitude Era, the crowd pops for Venis’ entrance and promo but then don’t care when the actual wrestling starts. It’s not a bad match though; as Venis may be a far right nut job in real life but he was a solid enough worker and Blackman could handle the basics, so it’s fine.
It’s mostly punching and kicking in front of an uninterested crowd, with Venis getting a shine until Blackman sends him spine first into the ring post to cut him off. Blackman works Venis over back inside following that, with Venis doing a decent job of bumping and selling, with Blackman targeting the back, which makes sense considering the cut off. Venis gets a bit of a reaction when he mounts a comeback, but it’s still pretty disappointing from a crowd heat perspective.
Both men get some near falls, with Blackman getting the nice jack knife pinning hold he did on the first Smackdown game at one stage, but Venis ends up getting the better of him and heads up top with the Money Shot (splash off the top) which is enough for the three count.
WINNER: VAL VENIS
This was okay; the crowd just didn’t really care about any of it
Blackman clobbers Venis with a Singapore cane in order to get his weapons match post-match, which kind of serves Venis right to be honest, but it’s portrayed as a Heel move here. Large chested paramedic Barbara Bush makes one of her earliest WWF appearances here I think as she comes down to help Venis. Blackman yells at her so a security guard spears Blackman down to prevent that. I’m not sure if that ever actually led to anything between Blackman and security or if it was just a one night thing.
Michael Cole is backstage with The Big Show. Cole wants to know where Big Show’s tag partner The Undertaker is, but Big Show says that Undertaker is not on the roster and they says he’ll be leaving with the WWF Title tonight.
Lilian Garcia is backstage with Mark Henry and slaps him when Henry says something rude.
The referees are still striking.
WWF European Title
Champ: The Walking Root Canal Mark Henry Vs D-Lo Brown
The story here was that Henry and Brown were friends, and Brown even tried to help his buddy lose some weight. Henry didn’t like the tough love that came with that though and ended up costing Brown a match with Jeff Jarrett for the European Title. Jarrett then just handed Henry the belt as a reward for a job well done (which sure helped the belts prestige) setting up Brown getting a chance to win it back here.
Henry tries to back out of the match by saying that Garcia’s slap gave him a “brainyurism” and now he can’t wrestle. Brown isn’t having any of that though and runs down to attack Henry in the aisle to start us out. Brown looks really good in this one, as he actually manages to heave Henry up into a Sky High Powerbomb at one stage during the shine. The crowd doesn’t really care about this one either, and it was probably a good thing that Russo buggered off soon and they could start training the fans to actually like wrestling again.
Brown even busts out a big TOPE CON HILO at one stage, which does succeed in getting a pop from the crowd and a mild “D-Lo” chant at least. Henry manages to cut Brown off with a sloppy press slam at one stage and then works some heat, with Brown doing a good job bumping and selling for him. Henry’s stuff looks pretty awful though, as it took him a LONG time to actually get anywhere close to being passable in the ring, and even then I thought the praise of his abilities was exaggerated. However, put up against the 1999 version, the 2010 version of Mark Henry may as well have been The Great Sasuke.
Brown eventually makes the comeback and the crowd is into him, and it’s nice to see the crowd actually care about the match. Henry does the standard big man mistake of delivering punches in the corner when his opponent uses a variant of a powerbomb, and indeed Brown bombs Henry and then heads up top for the Lo-Down Frogsplash, which nets Brown the three count and the belt.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: D-LO BROWN
Brown managed to keep it watchable, although Henry was awful for the most part and the match notably dropped in quality when he was the one in control. Brown looked great at points though, and he managed to get a reaction out of what has been a pretty lousy crowd at points
Michael Cole is backstage with Bradshaw and Faarooq. They elude to running The Public Enemy out of the WWF and now they’ll do the same with The Dudley Boyz. The interview gets halted when we see that Chaz Warrington is getting beaten up by a bunch of mid-carders because they think he has been beating up his girlfriend. I believe it got revealed via GTV that the girlfriend was making it all up, which is an angle that totally wouldn’t fly today of course.
Lilian Garcia is backstage with Debra and Miss Kitty. Kitty was ostensibly hired as an assistant/lackey by Jeff Jarrett as a reward for Debra’s scheming, but I think in reality they wanted to get Debra away from Jarrett as she would regularly get big pops and Jarrett was supposed to be a Heel. Debra says that she no longer wants to manage Jarrett anymore, which leads to Jarrett telling Debra to stay in the back when he wrestles Chyna next.
WWF Intercontinental Title
Champ: The Misogynist Jeffrey Jarrett w/ Miss Kitty Vs Chyna
This was an odd feud as Chyna was doing the woman’s empowerment girl power thing by standing up to nasty misogynist Jarrett, which would of course make her a babyface, and whenever she was involved with Jarrett that was how she was booked, but at the same time she was a Heel manager of Triple H and did many a dastardly thing whilst in that role. Shades of grey bro!
This is a decent match, with Chyna getting a shine on Jarrett to start before Jarrett manages to cut her off and work her over. Chyna’s selling isn’t great, but it’s good enough, and Jarrett does a very good job holding the match together. Chyna does the old Flair Flip in Flair Country at one stage, which gets a smattering of woo’s from the crowd, but she ends up getting superplexed down, which gives Jarrett a two count.
We see that The Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young are at ringside cheering on Chyna as Jarrett had attacked them in the build-up to this one. Chyna eventually manages to fight her way out of a Sleeper Hold and gets a big vertical suplex on Jarrett for a double down. That was one heck of a post from Jarrett there, as he went up super light for Chyna. Chyna makes the comeback following that, getting a nice looking powerslam for two before countering a Jarrett rana attempt into a powerbomb for another two.
The fans were biting on those near falls, so they’re into the story being told at least. There is an odd moment where the two fight outside and Chyna hits Jarrett with a chair in full view of the referee, which isn’t a DQ for some reason. Lawler tries to cover for it by saying that Downtown Bruno’s thick glasses meant he didn’t see it. Speaking of Bruno, he ends up getting bumped, leading to Jarrett trying to cheat. Moolah and Mae come in to stop that and end up getting clotheslined for their troubles.
However, Debra joins us following that and clocks Jarrett with his own guitar (possibly not drawing a dime in the process) and that’s enough for a three count. Head scab referee Tom Pritchard runs down to show Bruno the footage of the guitar shot though, which leads to the decision getting reversed, meaning that Jarrett retains. This was all to build to a rematch at No Mercy 99 where Chyna would eventually win the Title and Jarrett would leave the company straight after.
WINNER BY DUSTY FINISH AND STILL CHAMPION: JEFF JARRETT
This was probably one of Chyna’s best matches, as Jarrett held it together well and she looked good when she was on offence. At the time the thought process was they did the wacky finish so that Jarrett could keep the belt without Chyna having to actually do a job, but then they kept the feud going afterwards anyway so this was just another chapter in the story. It was a lame finish but it actually had a payoff the next month so it didn’t ruin the match too much for me
Chyna batters Pritchard following the match to get her heat back.
We see footage from HeAT earlier in the night, where Stone Cold promises Michael Cole that we’re going to have a new WWF Champion tonight.
The Acolytes (Bradshaw and Faarooq) Vs The Dudley Boyz (D-Von and Buh-Buh Ray)
The Dudley Boyz were new to the WWF at the time after jumping from ECW and this was one of their first feuds. This was before they had started putting people through tables so they weren’t really that over yet. Both of these teams were ostensibly Heels at the time, although by the time 2000 rolled around they would both be babyfaces, with The Acolytes running a protection racket whilst The Dudleyz were putting everyone through tables.
The crowd completely dies here due to The Dudleyz being new and both of these teams being Heels, but the match itself is fine. It’s mostly four blokes throwing one another around, and that’s normally at least watchable, even if the crowd is comatose like it is here. Some of the action is actually quite good, with Bradshaw giving D-Von a monster back suplex off the top rope at one stage in a very impressive bump when you consider how big both men are.
Stevie Richards was doing a gimmick at the time where he’d cosplay as other wrestlers, including Dude Love on an episode of Raw at one stage, and he runs down here dressed as an Acolyte and gives D-Von a Stevie Kick whilst the referee isn’t looking and this leads to The Acolytes getting the three count. In a cute gag, Stevie has “UPN” written on his chest to mock the gothic symbols the Acolytes normally had on their chests. UPN was the channel Smackdown aired on at the time
WINNERS: THE ACOLYTES
I thought the action here was decent but the crowd was so quiet the match may as well have been taking place at The Emirates
The Acolytes don’t appreciate Stevie’s help and beat him up post-match. That’s gratitude for you!
Hardcore Match for the WWF Women’s Title
Champ: Ivory Vs Luna Vachon
Ivory was actually pretty entertaining during this period as she was playing a mega bitch on TV and getting some decent mileage out of it. Sadly she didn’t really have much in the way of good matches due to her own limitations and a lack of any real good opponents. It also didn’t help that women’s matches were lucky to get a couple of minutes on most WWF shows and the crowd didn’t want to see women wrestling back then due to how the WWF has presented women since the Attitude Era had begun.
They start this one backstage and it’s an enjoyable brawl for the most part, but they only get a few minutes and they don’t get to do much as a result. It’s a shame as they probably could have delivered something fun and a bit different from the norm if they’d been allowed to go for more than three minutes. Luna even leaps off a forklift to give Ivory at splash at one stage. Ivory was lying on some cardboard boxes so it was totally safe, but it was still cool they let Luna do that.
Tori had previously had a hardcore match with Ivory and had been burned with an iron in the process, so she tries to get at Ivory here in a quest for revenge. Ivory easily deals with here though and then clobbers Luna with a metal pole for the win. That finish sure made both of the babyfaces look like absolute chumps.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: IVORY
Too short to rate really, but I thought it was fun for the most part
Tori just lets Ivory walk off following that, which makes no sense seeing as she ran over to try and beat her up and now she’s giving up so easy.
Lilian Garcia is trying to interview Moolah and Mae but Ivory comes over to yell at them to set up her next feud. Moolah ended up getting another Women’s Title win out of that as well *shudder*
WWF Tag Team Titles
Champs: The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) Vs Edge and Christian
Dogg and Gunn had only recently reunited as a team after splitting up and feuding earlier in the year. Both teams were babyfaces here, but they end up having Edge and Christian work as subtle Heels for the night as The Outlaws get a big shine and then Road Dogg gets cut off and worked over in the challengers’ half of the ring. In a funny moment on commentary, Lawler chides Ross for not mentioning which high school football team Moolah and Mae played for, which actually cracks Ross for real as he enquires who put Lawler up to it on the headsets.
Road Dogg sells well whilst being cut off, whilst Edge and Christian work well in the Heel role, which they would of course go on to do for most of 2000 and 2001 before breaking up as a team. The crowd continues to not be great, but they work the formula and eventually manage to get them to engage a bit. Dogg and Christian (called “Christopher” incorrectly by Ross) end up colliding on a double cross body attempt, but Edge is able to tag in before Gunn can and the challengers continue to work Dogg over in their half of the ring.
Dogg eventually manages to catch the challengers with a Double DDT and it’s hot tag Gunn, who runs wild and looks good in the process, although he does chase the challengers around a bit rather than just waiting in the middle and letting them come to him. The closing stretch is done well, with all four guys going at it. The Hardy Boyz and Gangrel run down to attack both Edge and Christian whilst the referee is distracted though and that allows Gunn to get the Rocker Dropper on Edge for three to retain.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: THE NEW AGE OUTLAWS
This was a solid tag team formula match and they did well to get a mostly uninterested crowd somewhat invested in what they were doing
We get clips of Davey Boy Smith costing The Rock a match with Triple H on Smackdown, which would appear to be a Heel turn. We then get a backstage promo segment with Lilian Garcia, Smith and Triple H, where Triple H implies that Bulldog will help him out tonight.
Michael Cole is backstage with The Big Boss Man. Boss Man says that he doesn’t regret any of his recent actions and states that Al Snow will never forget this night. I don’t think any of us will to be honest Ray…
Speaking of Al Snow, he’s backstage with Lilian Garcia. Snow says he will be a one man crime spree tonight.
Kennel From Hell Match for the WWF Hardcore Title
Champ: Al Snow Vs The Big Boss Man
Boss Man had killed Snow’s pet dog and fed it to him via subterfuge, so we’ve got this match here as the payoff. The idea is that we have a normal cage and the Hell in a Cell cage, with dogs surrounding the space between the two cages. Basically you have to climb out of both cages in order to win and survive a mauling from the angry pooches in the process. It’s one of those gimmick matches that you’d see in a wacky e-fed or something.
A cage inside a cage was probably a good enough gimmick match to be honest; you don’t need the nonsense with the dogs. The dogs themselves seem more interested in urinating, defecating and fornicating than playing ball, which means we’re left with a heatless brawl between Boss Man and Snow. The actual wrestling isn’t terrible as both men are working hard, but the entire concept of the match just doesn’t work and it’s DOA regardless of what they try or do.
Snow even does a blade job for this one, which almost upsets me because he’s clearly trying so hard to make this into an important blood feud bout and the crowd just couldn’t care less due to how silly the match is. Boss Man tries to cut his way through the Hell in a Cell roof at one stage, but Snow cuts him off with a weapon of some kind. I should point out that Snow was also handed his belt by another wrestler who didn’t want it, as Vince Russo conspired to kill the prestige of every belt in the promotion because he only saw them as props, which highlights how he just had no understanding of how wrestling worked.
Boss Man starts bleeding after a certain point, as the crowd continues to be so quiet that Bjork probably got a great idea for a song from watching this match. Boss Man tries cuffing Snow to the corner and then escaping, but Snow breaks the cuffs and then re-debuts Head after Head had been away for a while. Snow clocks Boss Man with Head and that gets the biggest pop of the match. I do like how Snow tried replacing Head with the dog Pepper, but now Boss Man has killed Pepper off Snow has gone back to his old tried and trusted friend. It’s kind of like how Mr. Garrison tried replacing Mr. Hat with Mr. Twig but eventually went back to Mr. Hat in the end. Anyway, both wrestlers make a break for it following that and Snow manages to escape first in order to end the misery.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: AL SNOW
There’s a particular adage in the world of showbiz which is that you shouldn’t work with animals or kids, and this match was a good example as to why. I felt bad for the two competitors as they worked hard and did the best they could, but the match just didn’t work as a concept and it was hot garbage as a result. This is an example of two wrestlers being set up to fail and sadly not being able to overcome it
Michael Cole is backstage with Mankind, who is conflicted because his buddy The Rock is in the Main Event with him later but it’s everyman for himself. Mankind says he will lay the smacketh down on The Rock tonight, although he doesn’t seem so sure.
Chris Jericho w/ Mr. Hughes Vs X-Pac
Jericho had been feuding with Ken Shamrock and was supposed to wrestle him here, but Shamrock had recently decided to step away from the WWF so they’ve put X-Pac in there instead. Jericho was kind of doing a version of his WCW gimmick at this stage because Russo really liked that character, but it wasn’t really working in the WWF as well as it had there and Jericho ended up changing his gimmick up a bit when Russo left and started getting over as a big babyface as a result.
This is an enjoyable match, as they wrestle it at a quick pace and do some nice counters to one another. There are some moments of sloppiness, but in general it’s good action. X-Pac goes for the Bronco Buster a couple of times and Jericho always manages to avoid it, making it so it will mean more when X-Pac does finally get it. I’m not seeing the ****+ match Scott saw thus far, but it’s been pretty good. Sadly Hughes is a bit of a lousy bodyguard, as he’s supposed to clothesline X-Pac outside the ring whilst Jericho takes the ref, but he jumps the gun and the referee ends up looking like an idiot for not calling for the DQ.
At one stage the crowd gets distracted by something, likely a punch-up between drunken idiots, and that means the two wrestlers have to break the momentum by sitting in a hold until the fans start paying attention to the ring again. It’s annoying but there’s not much else they can do when the fans are distracted. X-Pac eventually makes the comeback, getting some nice high impact offence such as a big spin kick and a springboard clothesline. The Bronco Buster still eludes him though, with Jericho getting a foot up to block it and then following with a big back senton splash off the ropes for two.
X-Pac manages to jam the ropes on Jericho to prevent a move off the top though and brings Jericho down with a superplex. X-Pac does finally get the Bronco Buster after teasing it all match, but just as it feels like the match is about to hit a crescendo, Hughes runs in and clobbers the ref for a lame DQ. That finish was ridiculously cheap and it spoiled things a bit.
WINNER: X-PAC BY DQ
This match had some really nice stuff in it, but it also suffered from some sloppiness and a distracted crowd, so that dragged it down a bit. The finish was also a stinker, especially as I can’t see why they couldn’t have had X-Pac do a job. It’s not like X-Pac couldn’t have survived a loss to Jericho, especially if Hughes had been involved. I didn’t enjoy this as much as Scott did, but I still though it was a good match
Road Dogg saves X-Pac from a two on one beat down post-match.
We get a video package to hype up the Main Event. Triple H was the WWF Champ, but then he started messing with Linda McMahon, which led to Vince McMahon returning from exile to defend his wife. This led to Vince improbably winning the WWF Title thanks to Stone Cold attacking Triple H. However, Vince decided to vacate the belt, meaning we have a Six Pack Challenge match tonight, with Stone Cold as guest enforcer due to the refs being on strike. That was a nice concise video package that got us all up to date, although apparently they scrubbed out the Fear Factory song that played over the top of it on the WWE Network/Peacock.
Six Pack Challenge for the WWF Title
Special Guest Enforcer: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Triple H Vs Davey Boy Smith Vs The Big Show Vs Kane Vs Mankind Vs The Rock
Undertaker was originally supposed to be in this one but he was off doing wheelies on his motorbike in the desert and wouldn’t be back until May 2000, so Davey Boy has been added into the match instead. Taker was a Heel at the time so they might have decided to turn Davey Boy in order to keep the Face/Heel balance atop the card or the plan might have always been to turn Davey Heel. It seemed like a random time to do it seeing as they were going to have a big UK show the week after this where Davey would now have to be a Heel, which seemed pretty counterproductive.
Rock is way over in this one, with his pop challenging Austin’s almost. Austin spends most of the match sitting in with the commentary team and he does a good job in that role. The way this works is that two guys fight in the ring whilst the other four wait on the apron for a tag, with it being first pin wins it. The match is fought at a quick clip and wrestlers keep swapping in and out regularly so you get numerous combinations of guys working together and the action flows well. This is an example of a match concept that works, especially as guys either only tag out to save the match if they are near defeat or guys on the apron tag themselves in, so it doesn’t constrict the wrestlers like the Kennel match from earlier did.
There are some good storylines weaved into the match, such as Mankind not wanting to fight The Rock and actually feeling bad when he does, whilst Kane and Big Show had an ongoing feud and want to get a piece of each other whenever possible as a result. At one stage all six men are fighting around ringside and by the entrance area, as the match gradually descends into anarchy. They actually do a really good job of structuring and building this, with the storylines being woven in well with the action, especially when the striking referees join us to get at scab referee Jimmy K.
We of course get Finisher Madness™, where we get the conveyor belt of guys coming in to hit big moves, leading to some near falls and submission teases, such as when Mankind locks in the Mandible Claw to Rock, only for Rock to counter it to the Rock Bottom, which gets two when Triple H beats the count. Eventually the referees attack Jimmy K, which leads to Stone Cold coming off commentary in order to send the referee corps packing. Austin has to be the referee himself following that, and he ends up having to count the pin for Triple H when Bulldog hits Rock with a chair and Triple H follows up with the Pedigree. Austin is true to his word though and counts the pin as promised to give Triple H the belt again.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: TRIPLE H
This was an excellent Main Event, as the WWF had a decent track record in the “stick as many people in a match as possible and see what happens” genre during the Attitude Era when they did it with the Main Event guys, and this match was no exception. There was good action, good storytelling and the crowd really got into it in the closing stages. It also did a good job of furthering existing feuds and laying the table for some future matches
Triple H makes a mistake of taunting Austin post-match and gets a Stunner for his troubles to set up the two wrestling the following month at No Mercy.
Outside of the Kennel From Hell, this was a mostly decent show. The Main Event was excellent and probably the only thing you really need to go out of your way to see, but if you do decide to watch the rest of the show then it should be a reasonably easy watch provided you skip the Kennel.
Mildly recommended show