Triple H, October 2011:
“When I grew up, I hated Hogan. I thought he was terrible and didn’t like to watch him. I was like Punk in a way. I liked the Steamboats and Flairs and the ones that could go. Would I be right in saying that Hogan was the wrong guy to go with, and they should’ve changed directions and gone with Steamboat because he was the better wrestler? Ludicrous.” - Triple H. October, 2011.
Wrestlemania XV 1999
Saturday, March 04, 2006
The Rumble is here.
Wrestlemania XV – 1999 Philadelphia
(Dark – Edge/Christian d. 2 Cold/Taka)
(Public Enemy d. Road Warriors)
Cole. Lawler. Hayes.
Some vaguely Indian music plays - and who emerges to introduce Wrestlemania XV...
Vince, back from Nepal, dressed in robes, a dot on his forehead, he's completely bald and weighs maybe 140 pounds, steps into the ring.
Vince says thanks for coming to the Hardcore Wrestlemania!!
Says he flew halfway around the world for two reasons; first because he wants to introduce a very special guest – a real American hero is in attendance – 1996 Olympic wrestling gold Medal Winner, and a native son of Pennsylvania, Kurt Angle!
On the video screen, we learn about Kurt Angle. You know, broke his neck in the trials, doctors told him he could be paralyzed – went ahead and wrestled anyway, won the gold medal.
It’s a simple story, but true, and everyone interviewed will sell the absolute balls out, “who the hell is this guy” nature of it.
Angle finishes the piece, says people ask him all the time what he was thinking, there was no money in it, people really don’t care about amateur wrestling anymore so he didn’t really get famous, and it wasn’t even that he did it for his country, don’t get him wrong, he’s proud when people call him an American hero – but to be honest, that’s not why he did it either – the truth is he did it (here’s your catchphrase, kids) because “I’m Kurt Angle.”
Angle is then shown in the front row – he waves, people clap. He’s just there to watch the show, after all. He signs a couple of autographs. That kinda thing.
Then Vince says, the other reason I came back is because my son, Skip McMahon, well, let's just bring him out here.
Skip enters, gives Vince a hug.
Vince is concerned, disappointed, he didn't raise Skip like this, etc...
Skip punks out, "yes, daddy, no daddy, please don't take away my toy daddy"
Vince says there's no other way.
Skip smiles. "There's one other way."
And then the lights go out.
And when the lights go on - Vince McMahon is lying in a heap in a broken table at ringside.
Skip laughs - tells daddy that he's in charge now - and tonight, Skip's toy, the man who destroyed Kane, Markie, and now the great Vincent K. McMahon - will take over Hardcore Wrestlemania!
1. Cage: HHH/Waltman d. Road Dogg/Gunn (special guest referee - Pete Rose)
This is the blow off to the feud, we get a highlight package as this version of the Clique has been around a long time, HHH joined Waltman in ’95 – and then Waltman and HHH added the Dogg and Billy in ’96. They took out Razor and Diesel, they took out Michaels, they battled the Nation on and off, the Dogg and Billy took the tag straps – and that divided the group irreparably.
So, they play it up big – it’s the better workers who go over – HHH getting the fall on the Dogg – and they sell this as the end of the feud. Crotch chops over the fallen Outlaws – HHH says “Hey JV – the Clique’s got 2 words for you…”
2. Legend’s Match: Octagon: Ken Shamrock no contest Undertaker
Dead Man fails in his attempt to pass Andre and Hogan - match is probably pretty good as Undertaker can bust out all his submission stuff. It's a 50/50 match the whole way, maybe with the Taker starting to use his size to wear down Shamrock - then the lights go out.
This is it! Cole yells! This is it!
In the ring....Paul Wight.
Good God. Good God - from the NWA - it's the Giant - from the NWA - it's the Giant! That's who Skip McMahon has! Paul Wight!
Shamrock attacks with kicks - no sell - chokeslam.
Undertaker and Wight go nose to nose. Undertaker fires right hands, backing Wight up - but, say, he's been selling a leg the whole match, and Paul (who they're gonna call Paul the Giant..actually, PAUL THE GIANT~) dives for it, clipping the leg, and then driving a knee into the Dead Man.
PAUL~ yells for Skip, who is now at rignside, to get a table - Skip brings a table into the ring - PAUL's gonna chokeslam the Dead Man through a table.
Here comes Kane.
Kane turns, running to the ring, grabbing his brother from the table, standing in between the Undertaker and PAUL~
Skip takes the mic...
“Very nice, very, very nice. Bravo. Bravo, Dead Man. Bravo, Shamrock. Bravo, Big Red Person. Not quite like seeing Placido Domingo at the Met or watching Dame Judi Dench tred the boards in London – but Bravo, nonetheless.
The problem is that none of you matter. The WWF is just my little plaything, nothing more than my yacht or my my Testerosa. I do - what I want - when I want. And what I want now is for My Giant -- PAUL~ to win his first match in the WWF...against Kane! Ring the bell!
3. PAUL THE GIANT~ (w/Skip) d. Kane
Unannounced match, a series of officials help Shamrock and Undertaker from the ring. Kane attacks – Paul no sells everything – then the chokeslam. Chokeslam. Chokeslam. The table is set up --- Chokeslam.
The Undertaker…down. Shamrock...down. Vince...Kane…down. THE GIANT PAUL! HAS EXPLODED ALL OVER WRESTLEMANIA.
Thank you Michael.
PAUL~ has destroyed Kane. He’s a monster! He’s a monster! Who could possibly stop the Giant Paul? Who? Who? Who?
4. Southern Man Dustin Rhodes (w/Jarrett) d. Alabama Bob
Dustin and Jarrett double team at the appropriate times and Dustin gets the win. Jarrett – again, with the figure four postmatch – and Bob has to be helped from the ring. Jarrett gets on the mic., says that Philadelphia is about to see Ulysess S. Morley, "the Abolitionist" lose his first singles match – and they will then see the American flag burned – right here at Wrestlemania!
5. Southern Man Jeff Jarrett (w/Dustin) d. Ulysess S. Morley
Hot match, Jarrett wins with Dustin’s aid, shocking the crowd, as that means Jarrett gets to burn the flag. Morley submits to the figure four – Jarrett won’t release – and when he does, Morley is incapacitated so he can’t get up to try to stop Jarrett as he takes the American flag – and takes the acetalyne torch – yells out “Sic simper tyrannis y’all” and takes the torch to the flag…
…when he is stopped by....
Long way to go to set this one up.
Angle Slam on Dustin. Angle Slam on Jarrett. Angle gets the ankle lock on Dustin, who feverishly taps out – Angle releases the hold and the Southern Men scamper – Angle waves the American flag as the crowd chants his name. And that’s how they're debuting Kurt Angle in the WWF. He's an American hero, after all, and this is Wrestlemania.
6. Tags: Ladder Match: Hardys (w/Trish) d. Nation
And then after that – we have this. The longtime WWF fan favorites, we saw them grow up! Matt and Jeff win the tag belts at Wrestlemania. They make sure they bump big early in case some of the hardcores want to boo them for their clean cut image. All the ladder bumps all four guys can do. 4 way color. It's Matt who grabs the belts to get the win and the titles.
The Nation is shocked – Dlo is hot and looks like he’s going to go after the Hardys – E and C enter with chairs postmatch – backing DLo down.
Crowd’s happy, E and C lead the "let them play" chants - Trish kisses Jeff, all is well at Hardcore Wrestlemania! All the members of the Young Boys, clearly Young Boys no more, in the ring celebrating. The Hardy Boys, after all these years, have gone to Wrestlemania and won the tag team championships from Rock and DLo!!
It's a great story.
But it's not over yet.
Dlo and Rock have words as they walk back up the aisle – where they are met by a smirking Waltman and HHH --- there’s a nose to nose – but Rock pulls DLo away and they exit as the Clique enters.
What do they want? Are they going to challenge the Hardys? Or - are they here to congratulate their Young Boys? The Hardys have been seconding the Clique for years, since it was Michaels and Razor and Diesel. They wiped their sweat, carried the bags, and spent hours in the gym learning from the Clique - and now here come HHH and Waltman - and you can see the tears in the eyes of the young men, of Matt and Jeff, as HHH and Waltman approach.
HHH gets in the ring with that HHH sense of entitlement that he’s displayed in recent appearances – he tells the Hardys that they used to ask the Clique for autographs – they used to detail his car, get his lunch – HHH addresses Trish – says her boyfriend Jeff used to beg him for some of the Clique leftovers. And he ain’t talking about food. Me and HBK and the Kid would tear up a couple of the rats – and then there would be your boyfriend, always there with his handout for sloppy seconds. You know what, honey, how about you come on over to the room tonight, and me and the Kid will break you in just like your boyfriend likes.
Matt and Jeff are going to charge – but they are stopped by E and C – E and C – still holding the chairs – hold the Hardys back while E takes the mic…
“You’re a real class act, Hunter – you know that – a real class act – this is the best night in Matt and Jeff’s life – they won the WWF tag titles at Wrestlemania! What kind of guy are you, Hunter– what kind of guy would try to ruin the best night in someone’s life?
And Edge and Christian lay the Hardys out. Just lay them out. Splatter them with the chairs. Full on Con-Chair-To shots. – Waltman keeps Trish from interfering while HHH directs traffic.
HHH takes the mic – “That’s right, that’s right – you people boo – you people boo – but when you’re booing I want you to know what you are seeing – you aren’t just seeing some random asskicking – you are seeing the rebirth of the finest organization in the history of this business --- you are seeing the rebirth – of the Clique!”
HHH and Waltman make the Clique handsign....
...and then so do Edge and Christian...
all four men posing over the fallen bodies of the Hardys, the two Canadians, the Young Boys of the Hart Foundation - they've joined the Clique! Shocking! Shocking! Shocking!
As they are about to exit – HHH again takes the mic…
“I almost forgot – as much as I’d like to take credit for masterminding this – it wasn’t me who put this together (the other 3 guys shake their heads as if they didn’t do it either) this was a plan executed by the 5 th member of the Clique...
Trish takes off the glasses, lets down the hair – gives a couple of kicks to the boys, gets on the mic and tells Jeff that now she's with men who actually like girls, makes the Clique handsign and the five of them exit.
It’s a callback to Sunny, obviously, ‘cept as opposed to having them pass her around – they're gonna put her in charge.
Trish is crazyhot, can talk – and will become an awfully good worker. And since she's around for years (and have most of these guys around for years) I’m making her the boss. A new day dawning for the Clique.
Admit it - you're liking this. The Giant, Angle, the E and C turn - are you feeling some hardcore Wrestlemania?
7. IC: Falls Count Anywhere: Al Snow (w/Head) d. Steve Austin
Yup. Kinda an emotional night here at the old ballyard. Undertaker. Angle. Hardys. And now – Al Snow comes back to Philadelphia and wins the Intercontinental Title.
Heavy garbage here too, all you could ask for. Austin’s advantage over Snow is blunted by Al’s willingness to hurt himself beyond reason. ‘Cause he’s crazy Al. And he wants to be IC champ. And he’s back in barbed wire city.
Fans will be split – Austin’s Austin, but they play up the Al-ECW connection – and given the kind of night it is, we’ll be loaded with ECW chants. So, that’s cool with me – particularly as your finish comes when Foley runs in to lay Austin out. When you see one, you see the other.
And Al covers him – and gets the 3 count.
Al Snow wins the IC over Steve Austin at Wrestlemania in Philly.
No, seriously, that’s how it happens.
Al weeps, clutches the belt to his chest – goes to all four buckles in an emotional moment with the Philly fans – who are filling the building with the ECW chants – and when Al gets to the final buckle – he, obviously – moonsaults to the canvas. Heads were given out before the show - and if they want to fill the ring with styroafoam heads - thousands of heads flying into the ring until it becomes a security risk - that's cool with me too.
Austin, by the way, left the ring vowing to kill Cactus Jack.
We cut to the back – and Austin explodes into the locker room as Foley’s getting ready for the title match – Austin’s all over him, threatening the title match, obviously, so Austin is dragged out of the building by security – Austin screaming, “I’m gonna kill you Cactus! Your yellow ass belongs to Stone Cold…”
8. WWF Title: Pure Wrestling Match: Cactus Jack d. Owen Hart
And that’s Owen’s last match.
Owen dies two months later, before we get to Summer Slam in August. I still don’t know what to do with that, my secret impetus for the whole project, utilizing the Quantum Leap metaphor, was that I was looking for a way to save Owen Hart.
(I wrote that sentence in early 2005, and now Eddy's dead too. It makes me sad.)
(And now it's fall of 2009, and Benoit's been dead two years. Hell, Misawa's dead too.)
I can’t, of course, but he sure doesn’t get in that Blue Blazer costume and fall to the mat in Kansas City. What I’m gonna go with this is that this is Owen’s last match, he makes a surprise retirement announcement at the top of RAW tomorrow night – surprising everyone in the company – so there’s no special tribute show – and then he just walks out of the building. We’ll go with the “his number was up” notion, which I don’t remotely believe on any level, and he dies at home. The tribute RAW will be a clip show of his greatest matches.
Rick Rude, incidentally, also dies before we get to Summer Slam. Tough summer.
This match is totally clean, as promised. It might be better on paper than on its feet, I don't know if Foley can carry this off. But he'll give it all he has, and I'm willing to take the shot. It's the antithesis of the rest of the night, which will serve to make it stand out.
Owen gets to go out with a clean loss to a guy he liked, ending a terrific feud and a good story – and Foley elevates, at this point, probably even beyond Austin – as he wins his second WWF title in a technical wrestling match against Owen Hart.
Crowd’s split – but probably in Foley’s favor, given we’re in Philly – and they liked his aid of Al – even though Austin is a megaface.
After the match – Owen offers his hand and Foley shakes it – which might be the full pendulum swing. Owen leaves and Foley celebrates – until he is attacked by Austin – it’s Cactus and Austin in an all out, full scale brawl as the show ends.
In the NWA…Harlem Heat gets a win, Flair beats Piper – and man, they be old. Bigelow wins, Goldberg beats Nash. Sting beats Raven. Perry and Page go over the Steiners. Rey keeps, beating Kidman – and Benoit keeps, beating Dean.
Slamboree – 1999 StLouis
NWA Title: Chris Benoit d. Dean Malenko
US: Rey Mysterio d. Billy Kidman
Tags: Perry/DDP d. Steiners
Sting d. Raven
Bill Goldberg d. Kevin Nash
Bam Bam Bigelow d. Konnan
Ric Flair d. Roddy Piper
Harlem Heat d. Knobbs/Bagwell
In ECW…the Dudleys drop the tags to Nova and Guido (who will eventually become a longrunning WWF tag that you'll never see) Jerry Lynn beats Spike, Tommy beats Sid, Justin beats Lance, RVD keeps the US over Taka – and your new ECW World Champ is Tajiri, who ends Taz’s long run.
Hardcore Heaven – 1999 Poughkeepsie
ECW Title: Tajiri d. Taz
TV Title: RVD d. Taka Michinoku
Tags: Dudleys d. Justin/Lance
Super Crazy d. Jerry Lynn
Tommy Dreamer d. Sid
Guido d. Spike
Doring d. Balls
Dudleys d. Doring/Balls
Heatwave – 1999 Dayton
ECW Title: Tajiri d. Super Crazy
TV Title: RVD d. Taz
Tags: Nova/Guido d. Dudleys
Justin d. Lance
Jerry Lynn d. Spike
Chetti d. Doring
Balls d. Roadkill
Nova/Guido d. Balls/Roadkill
As we begin the march to Summer Slam, we have some additions.
There’s a clock on the bottom right corner of the screen, counting down the days, hours, minutes, seconds until the day_ after_ Summer Slam.
We give Alabama Bob, grumpy face, a little brother, Crash, an even grumpier face. I like the idea of tiny, baby face Crash doing a world weary gimmick, pissing and moaning in the back like he’s been with the company 15 years. Bob will be in the back with the boys, whomever the boys are at the time, bitching about the rental cars or the hotels – you know, locker room stuff, life on the road – when Crash will chime in with a story about the old days and Buddy Rogers’s heart attack and Andre drinking 47 beers on a car ride to St. Louis. That kinda thing. Everyone will look at Crash like he’s, you know, a 12 year old who just started with his big brother’s company today – which is what he is – although he acts like he’s, you know, Freddie Blassie. Fun!
And they're gonna sign Angle to a WWF contract. We’ll have another video wall package, the punch line of which is to get Angle to say that the truth is he never wanted to be a professional wrestler (true) that, the WWF came to him after he won the gold in ’96 with a huge offer that he turned down (true) and that now that he’s joining his plan is very simple –
--to win every single match he’s in—
JR, making his return to TV (but not to claling live action until Summer Slam) is interviewing him on the taped piece – and is puzzled – well, that’s not really how it works – even champions, even the greatest wrestlers who ever lived, a Bret Hart, a Shawn Michaels, an Owen Hart, they lost hundreds of times –
Angle says, I’m not those guys…
"I’m Kurt Angle."
Feel the catchphrase. Buy the shirt.
JR will announce that Angle has overseas commitments that will prevent him from making his debut until Survivor Series – but as part of the contract he’s about to sign, Kurt Angle will be able to name his first opponent, any opponent he wants other than one of the champions, and he will announce his opponent at Summer Slam!
It’s a little convoluted, sure. They'll sell it. The idea is that Angle is a huge free agent signing, and has the ability to dictate terms - and the main term he's dictated is, that other than title matches - Kurt Angle gets to pick his opponents for a full year.
The Undertaker cuts a promo on PAUL~ (the caps lock was actually inadvertent the first time I did it, but it’s a good idea), saying that a couple of chokeslams doesn’t impress the Dead Man. He’s seen a lot of big guys come into the WWF, Sid, Yoko, Adam Bomb – they rack up a win or two – and then, they have to go to a PPV and face the Legend.
You don’t get to be the 4 time WWF Legend by backing down when a new gun comes to town. You meet him head on.
So the Undertaker’s calling PAUL’S ass out for Summer Slam. Skip accepts - says he's gonna go to Minnesota and party like it's 1999.
The Fightin' Hollys will also get a match, against the team of Test and Albert, about whom we really don’t need to say much. Billy Gunn’s gonna get a singles match, working against...well, the angle is that whenever we see Billy and the Dogg, clips from Clique past come up on the Titan Tron. It's as if someone is taunting the New Age Outlaws with the legacy that they've left behind.
They're challenged to a tag match on RAW against mystery opponents who promise to take them to school - Clique style.
On that RAW, who appears?
Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie - doing the BWO gimmick.
Stevie gets the superkick pinfall on the Dogg - and Stevie will meet Billy at Summer Slam.
We’ve got the tags – which of course will be the Ring Crew Explosion – Hardys defend their new belts against E and C. Hardys are pure babyface, they talk about working their butts off for years – for years to get their chance – and then, a couple of showboats, a couple of hot dogs – heck, a couple of jackasses (hardys swear! Woo-hoo) want to steal their spotlight! And E and C do the E and C thing – the crazy clothes and the 5 second poses for the benefit of those with flash photography (I’m jumping that idea a little bit, which is against the rules, but it’s the most interesting E and C version, so I’ll fudge a year here) they call the Hardys squares, mommas boys, not eclectic, enigmatic, mysteriosos drizzled in awesomeness like E and C. They’ll have Trish with them, she’ll cut withering promos on the Hardys, who have the belts – but obviously, E and C have the heat.
The singles mix….
DLo/Rock and Waltman/HHH keep feuding, maybe having two matches that go non-finish when everyone gets DQ’d or counted out because there’s just too much brawl!
So, when they come out for a third match in their third straight week – they are made to switch partners.
Rock and HHH v. Waltman and Dlo.
So – they’re unhappy about this, obviously – and maybe they won’t go through with it – but they have incentive…
Winning team will go to Summer Slam to wrestle Al Snow in a 3 way for the IC. That's right, both members of the winning team get the IC shot.
IC is good, of course, none of these 4 guys have held singles gold, and Al’s perceived as a weak champion, relatively speaking.
Waltman and Dlo go over – Dlo pinning the Rock (Rock and HHH, try as they might, wind up not getting along) Dlo and Waltman even celebrate for a moment – before everyone in the ring turns on each other in the way you’d expect.
A particularly big match for Waltman, as Summer Slam’s in his hometown of Minneapolis.
So, that’s the IC – we still have the 2 singles midcard matches. Rock and HHH are pissed, and we see, say, a HHH promo where he does the “how long do I have to put up with this crap – I ended Razor, I ended Diesel, I ended Michaels -- where’s my shot?” stuff --- and that leads Rock to join him in the ring, “Where’s your shot, jabroni? I am a 2 time tag champ and the most electrifying man in sports entertainment – if anyone deserves to be WWF Champion – it’s the Rock.” – and that brings out Jarrett – Jarrett says he’s the Southern Man – unbeaten in his return and with a body count higher than Stonewall Jackson’s. Savio – gone. Mero – gone. Bart – gone – And he won the right to burn the American flag when he beat Morley at XV – and that was stolen from him – rasslin’ is a southern sport and if anyone should be WWF Champion – it’s the Southern Man!” And that brings out Shamrock who suplexes all three guys – lets out a scream and makes the motion for the belt.
So, at Summer Slam – a 4 man thing – Rock v. Jarrett; HHH v. Shamrock – winners will meet in the RAW main the following night – and the winner of that – goes on to Survivor Series to meet the WWF Champion. They do Rock against the Southern Men racial stuff all summer long, which ends with Rock really hurting Dustin in some type of signficant way - and that ends Dustin's run.
Which, one assumes, would be the winner of the title match at Summer Slam.
Cactus v. Austin.
Their first ever singles in WWF, they've been building to it forever. And we’re gonna have stakes – say, there’s a RAW that the two of them just burn down – Cactus opens with a promo that Austin interrupts – they brawl through the commercial and into the next segment – wiping out whomever is supposed to be in the next match – they brawl in the back and in the stands and in the parking lot – returning to the ring to wipe out another match.
They each have singles matches scheduled for the last hour of the show – and they’re told they absolutely can’t interfere in each other’s matches – if they do – they’ll be suspended for next week.
Of course, they both interfere – and they get suspended – and then they wind up showing up anyway to brawl anyway and ruin someone’s match…
This town, clearly not big enough for both of them. What are we gonna do.
With both Austin and Foley in the ring – their brawl is stopped by…
Michaels, gone for a year since doing color at Summer Slam '98, says that he has a lot of respect for both Cactus and Stone Cold – they are two of the greatest wrestlers in WWF history – but they’re right, the WWF just isn’t big enough for both of them – in fact – the wrestling business isn’t big enough for both of them.
So, when Cactus and Austin meet for the WWF Title at Summer Slam – it will be Career v. Career. Specifically, as they go to explain later, the winner will take possession of the loser's career - if he wants to wrestle, not just in the WWF, but anywhere in the world, the rest of his life, he needs permission from the winner.
And why would they do that? Why would they risk their careers over one match?
Shawn makes a motion up the aisle, and WWF officials enter with – the Triple Crown – held in possession by the WWF since both Cactus and Austin won it on the same night –
Because the winner of this match, Shawn says, is not only WWF Champion – but will receive his rightful possession of the most prized honor on all of sport – the Triple Crown!
And since no one else in this company can control these two - Michaels himself will be serving as the special guest referee.
Also at Summer Slam - the return of JR to play by play - and his color commentator for one very special night only...
...a clip of Wrestlemania plays and we seen Gorilla and Jesse...
...the Governor of the State of Minnesota. Jesse the Body Ventura.
Yeah, daddy, yeah. Summer Slam '99. Cactus and Austin, for all the marbles. Winner gets the Triple Crown, Loser Leaves Town, HBK as the referee. The 3 way for the IC: Al v. Waltman v. DLo. The Ring Boys explode! The number one contenders tournament: Hunter meeting Shamrock and Rock meeting Jarrett. PAUL meets the Dead Man!! Big Stevie Cool comes to WWF PPV and the Fightin' Hollys in the opening tag. JR returns to the announce - and with him - Jesse the Body Ventura!
Summer Slam '99! Call your cable thing!