What happens when the owner of a wrestling company wins Heavyweight Championship? Everything goes bonkers and people are left scrambling to pick up the pieces. That was one of the many stories coming into the second annual event built on unforgiveness thanks to the actions of Steve Austin, Triple H and Vince McMahon – producing a six-way bout to crown a new WWF Heavyweight champion. But a bigger question of who will walk away with the gold is whether or not WWF “Unforgiven 1999” is a classic.
September 26, 1999
It’s For Your Health: Mark Henry had a serious weight problem in 1999. His best friend and tag team partner D’Lo Brown looked to help whip Mark into shape. But Henry felt Brown was being too hard on him and decided to cost D’Lo the European Championship a month earlier at “Summerslam”. By helping Brown’s opponent in Jeff Jarrett, “Double J” awarded Henry the European title, setting up a clash of friends over the gold.
Brown entered the ring like a house of fire, taking the fight to Henry like no one had seen before; utilizing highflying maneuvers like a tope that saw Brown sail over the top rope without touching it before crashing into Henry. But Brown’s risky offense would come at a price as he ran into the massive clutches of Henry and put himself in dire straits for several minutes as the fans rallied behind the former champion. Brown used the crowd’s energy to fight through the pain, power bombing Henry from his cornered perch before executing the Lo Down to pin and win back the European Championship to a great response.
Though Henry’s offense left a lot to be desired during the match’s middle portion, Brown came in with his working boots on and the fans recognized just how much he was attempting to steal the show early. This could’ve been a better choice for an opening match (more on that later) as the fans were hot for everything Brown did and loved the title change.
Chauvinistic Attrition: Since winning the Intercontinental Championship again, Jeff Jarrett had become a chauvinist pig who didn’t care if the women who hung around him – Debra & Ms. Kitty – got hurt or not. Jarrett went as far as to attack women like the elderly, yet legendary Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah to prove why women shouldn’t be in a wrestling ring. One woman took great exception to Jarrett’s attitude, “The Ninth Wonder of the World” Chyna.
Chyna actually took the fight to the champ in the early going, forcing him to retreat outside of the ring until he was able to send her face first into the steel ring post. The fans were furious as Jarrett repeatedly stopped Chyna’s comeback attempts with slams and suplexes while shouting at the booing crowd. Noticing the aforementioned Young and Moolah at ringside, Jarrett lost his focus and gave Chyna the chance to finally gain some consistent offense based around her strength and power bombs. Chyna seemed to be on the verge of becoming the first woman to win the Intercontinental title when the referee (in this case Harvey Wippleman) was taken down by a flying Chyna. Then things went a little crazy. Moolah and Young stopped Jeff Jarrett from using his infamous guitar before beating the life out of “Double J” to a huge ovation. Then Jarrett double clotheslined the aged duo to make the fans hate him even more. Jarrett’s former manager Debra entered the fray to knock down Jeff’s new lady Ms. Kitty before breaking the guitar over Jeff’s head so Chyna could make the cover and become the new champion…. Oh so we thought.
“Head Scab” referee Tom Prichard showed the replay of everything that went down during Harvey’s unconscious state, causing Wippleman to reverse his decision.
A lot better than it had any rite of being. One of reasons for the match being highly enjoyable was Jarrett fighting Chyna like he would anyone, man or woman. Chyna not only hung with Jarrett, but also fired back with offense that was just as stiff and crowd-pleasing. The ending left a little to be desired, but did leave things open for a rematch.
I Knew I Knew You: For some odd reason, The New Age Outlaws of Road Dogg and Billy Gunn unceremoniously reunited after feuding for months to recapture the WWF Tag Team Championship from the Rock ‘N’ Sock Connection. Trying to take advantage of a new situation, Edge & Christian challenged the champs an hour before the show on “Heat” – a challenge The Outlaws accepted. Though E & C were looked upon fondly by the fans, The NAO reunion was running strong and had this crowd supporting the champions. So if the fans wanted to chant for Dogg and/or Gunn, the challengers had no problems cheating to attain an advantage while antagonizing the fans. But it would take a little while before the challengers had a chance take control by beating down Road Dogg.
The momentum changed as the fans rallied behind The Outlaws more and more until Dogg was able to counter a spine buster and tag out to his fired up partner. Things broke down and bodies started flying everywhere until Christian got a hold of Road Dogg again. Just when it seemed everything was over, The New Brood of Gangrel and The Hardy Boyz pulled Christian out of the ring and attacked him behind the referee’s back as Gunn finished a stunned Edge off with his Fameasser leg drop. Though formulaic until the end, this was a very strong tag team match that was simply thrown onto the card to extend the show. Sometimes filler works, sometimes it doesn’t. This was a perfect example of the former.
Card Subject to Change: After several weeks of interactions, Chris Jericho and Ken Shamrock were on a collision path. But Shamrock opted to let his contract expire and left the WWF, causing a reshuffling of the card and X-Pac being thrown in the ring with “Y2J”. The feeling out process produced some awkward moments, so the wrestlers known around the world for their highflying credentials started abusing each other with strikes until they had the opportunity to dive on each other. For Pac’s plancha, Jericho responded with a slingshot splash following his tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Between the legal action, Jericho’s second in Mr. Curtis Hughes got in some cheap shots on the downed X-Pac whenever “Y2J” would toss him to the floor.
Rallying to his feet thanks to the fans’ energy, X-Pac made a fiery comeback, even taking out Hughes with a dive. The action swung back and forth as both men traded big maneuvers until X-Pac put his opponent in the tree of woe for his modified version of the broncobuster. Seemingly upset over the diving takedown, Hughes interfered and cost Jericho the match by attacking X-Pac.
Between a few clumsy opening minutes and an ending that didn’t necessarily help anyone, it was a very good encounter between two wrestlers fitting a cruiserweight style seen more in WCW than the WWF (with both, ironically enough, being former WCW Cruiserweight champions). This was a fine semi main event and came across much better than it really was thanks to it following “Kennel From Hell”.
Six Ways Till Sunday: As mentioned above, the WWF title was vacated by Vince McMahon after “Stone Cold” Steve Austin helped his arch rival get one over Triple H by helping McMahon win. But McMahon couldn’t be a champion and owner of the company at the same time, opting to put the title up for grabs in a “Six-Pack Challenge” where Triple H, Big Show, Kane, Mankind, The British Bulldog and The Rock clashed with Steve Austin as the special enforcer to ensure the rightful champion was crowned.
As expected from a match like this, alliances (both new and old) were formed and broken as the bout progressed. Mankind and The Rock’s connection saw Mankind attempt to help his reluctant tag team partner gain near falls while avoiding abuse that Mankind gladly took dissolve until he realized The Rock wouldn’t return the favor. Triple H and The Bulldog’s partnership that helped HHH win his match against The Rock a few nights earlier saw Bulldog almost cost “The Game” the bout. And then there was Kane and Big Show colliding like two behemoths.
The real WWF referees decided at the worst possible time to get involved and attacked one of the referees that broke the line. Austin settled the physical dispute by beating up all the referees until he remembered a match was still going on. Before The Rock could win the title with his Rock Bottom-People’s Elbow combo, Austin had to dispose of Big Show. This momentary distraction saw Bulldog crown The Rock with a chair before being chaired himself by Austin. HHH took advantage of the situation The Bulldog created, covering The Rock after hitting his Pedigree finisher to regain the WWF title. Of course Austin had to use his Stone Cold Stunner on the celebrating new champion to remind everyone that he was coming after the gold.
Easily the match of the night – a prototypical multi-man match featuring a wild brawl at the end that set the stage for a Triple H-Austin match. The fans loved nearly every minute of the match and almost made up for the event’s shortcomings.
Using the Big Stick: Since his debut a year earlier, Val Venis had been known for his sexual exploits with various ladies. But a little known fact was Venis’ penchant for thievery. Apparently, Venis took martial arts master Steve Blackman’s duffle bag full of weapons and equipment, placing a vibrator inside that angered Steve and caused a fight between the two that result in the opening contest of this event. After a hot start in favor of Venis, Blackman took over and worked over the back of his horizontal opponent. Muscling his way out of precarious predicament, Venis regained control before hitting his Money Shot big splash to pick up the pin fall victory.
While technically sound, the match was dull as dirt and as boring as watching paint dry. The fans didn’t care whatsoever after the bell rang both before and after the match, only responding to Blackman caning Venis and the company’s Head of Security spearing the unrelenting martial artist after the match. Not a good way to kick off the show.
Not Taking it to the Extreme: A few weeks earlier, Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley – collectively known as The Dudley Boyz – made their WWF debuts, angering company mainstays, The Acolytes of Faarooq and Bradshaw. The Acolytes, who beat former ECW Tag Team champions Public Enemy out of the WWF, entered the arena looking to do the same thing. The two teams traded punches, splashes and suplexes in the early going in front of an apathetic crowd. The Dudley Boyz took over after D-Von turned Faarooq’s Dominator into a DDT that would eventually set up their 3D finisher. Before Bubba could finish the night in a positive way immediately, he felt Bradshaw’s Clothesline From Hell. Then Stevie Richards (who was in the middle of a multi-character imitation transformation) came to the ring dressed like The Acolytes, Stevie Kicking D-Von for a Faarooq pin fall victory. Of course The Acolytes attacked Richards after the match as a show of thanks.
What should’ve been a fun brawl turned out to be an underwhelming affair featuring two teams who hadn’t found the chemistry needed to produce something worth watching. The best part of the match was Stevie Richards’ run-in. And you know you just watched a bad match when someone not originally involved in the bout and used for nothing but laughs is the best thing to happen from bell to bell.
She’s Hardcore: With Ivory angering every woman in the WWF locker room since becoming the Women’s champion, Luna stepped up to put Ivory in her place while accomplishing a goal of attaining the Women’s Championship. The fight started in the arena’s hallway, going around a short area of the building while they attempt to toss televisions, break camera equipment and make copies of each other with a nearby copy machine. Tori – one of those aforementioned women done wrong by Ivory – arrived on the scene, trying to decapitate the champ with a wild swing while holding a metal pole. Ivory ducked, stuffing Tori in a loading cart. Bashing Luna in the back with the pole, Ivory was able to pin Luna in quick fashion. Though the girls went crazy, jumped off high platforms and tried to bash each other’s head in, the fact remains they could’ve had something truly memorable if given more than three minutes.
Stacking the Deck: The infamous “Dog Eat Dog” storyline where the dastardly Big Boss Man killed and processed Al Snow’s puppy Pepper and fed Snow’s pet to its owner. The “”big, blue cage” would be constructed on the ring while the infamous Hell in a Cell enveloped ringside. Between the two cages would be a pack of Rottwielers ready to attack anything that came near them. Well, not “anything”. The dogs were more obsessed with barking at each other and pooping that gnawing off wrestlers’ limbs. The crowd slowly died as itemized weapon attacks and some blood couldn’t make up for the fact the dangerous animals wanted no parts of this match. Eventually Al Snow escaped and left his enemy to plan how he would exit his holding (rather easily, actually) as Snow was declared the victor.
While not as atrocious or terrible as history has made it out to be (mostly thanks to Snow and Boss Man bludgeoning each other), the first and last Kennel From Hell match in WWF history isn’t very good simply due to the fact the main reason this match should’ve been interesting (the dogs) didn’t want to cooperate.
1. Val Venis defeated Steve Blackman
2. D’Lo Brown defeated Mark Henry to win the European Championship
3. Jeff Jarrett defeated Chyna to retain the Intercontinental Championship
4. The Acolytes defeated The Dudley Boyz
5. Ivory defeated Luna Vachon to retain the Women’s Championship
6. The New Age Outlaws defeated Edge & Christian to retain the World Tag Team Championship
7. Al Snow defeated The Big Boss Man in a Kennel from Hell to retain the Hardcore Championship
8. X-Pac defeated Chris Jericho
9 Triple H won the WWF Heavyweight Championship by winning a “Six Pack Challenge” that also included Kane, Davey Boy Smith, The Big Show, The Rock and Mankind
Is It A Classic:
Though this event has several Rights, most of those good points were borderline and ultimately forgettable. The show ended with a nice 1-2 combo of good matches that are worth seeing just for novelty’s sake. But as a whole, this event is incredibly mediocre.