WWE PPV Flashbacks: Fully Loaded - July 25, 1999

Fully Loaded
July 25, 1999
Marine Midland Arena, Buffalo, NY

Hi everyone, this will be the last flashback for the next two weeks or so as I’ll be heading overseas on a family holiday. We’ll continue where we left off when I return.

This is it - the end of the rivalry that put the WWF back on top of the wrestling world and pretty much won them the Monday Night Wars - Austin vs McMahon. A lot has changed over the past month since Austin lost his share of control of the company in the ladder match at King of the Ring against the McMahons, but he is also once again the WWF Champion. Tonight he defends his championship against the former champion, the Undertaker, in a first blood match. There's a few stipulations involved though. Should Austin lose, he will never receive another WWF Championship match. Should Austin win though, Mr McMahon will be forced to surrender his duties in running the WWF forever. Or at least for a while. Also tonight, The Rock continues his heated rivalry with Triple H in a strap match, whilst former members of D-Generation X battle over the rights to the name of the faction. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91 and leave all your thoughts and feedback.

The opening video package is all about the WWF not being big enough for both Austin and McMahon. Tonight will be the end of an era. Into the arena our announce team is Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler as usual, and they kick off the show showing us footage from moments earlier on Heat where the Undertaker assaulted Austin backstage, busting him open. We follow up with comments from Mr McMahon who says he had nothing to do with the attack.

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

Yep we've had a few changes to the I.C title picture over the past few months. The last time we saw the championship on PPV was of course the tragic Over the Edge, where then champion the Godfather was set to defend the title against the late Owen Hart. A few weeks after that show, the Godfather would lose the title to Jeff Jarrett on Raw is War. Jarrett had kind of been floating around aimlessly since after missing the last PPV, however he does not have the title tonight. That's because he was defeated by Edge on a house show the night before this event. Jarrett was actually supposed to defend the title against Ken Shamrock on that night, but Shamrock did not show, resulting in the young rookie from Toronto taking his placing, and winning his first championship. I should also mention that Edge & Christian have broken away from the Brood by this point following the miscommunication with Gangrel last month. Anyway, we start out with some back and forth from both competitors as this one gets started, with Jarrett eventually getting the advantage. He works over the champion whilst the crowd chants for Puppies, directed at Debra of course. Edge briefly comes back with an Impaler DDT followed by a spear attempt, but Jarrett ends up throwing the new champion to the outside before he can connect. At this point the lights go out, and Edge's former friend Gangrel jumps the champ. Edge fights him off though and returns to the ring, continuing to build momentum with a Spear to Jarrett. Rather than capitalise however, he gets distracted by Debra, who climbs up on the apron and works her wiles. Meanwhile Jarrett recovers and goes after Edge and as they go at it some more, Debra gets bumped from the apron. The distraction allows Gangrel to come in and hit Edge, which is followed by Jarrett putting the champion away with the Stroke, which scores the pin at 13:20. Pretty solid stuff here, with Edge getting a chance to show his stuff in defeat, whilst putting the belt back on Jarrett. The original title change was pretty much just to make up for the no-show at the aforementioned house show, so it was expected that Jarrett would regain the title, especially with Edge more a tag wrestler at this point. Fun opener though.
Grade: **1/2

With Jarrett in the ring celebrating his victory, we cut backstage to Austin, who is getting his wound tended too from the earlier assault by Taker. He ends up storming to the ring and laying Jarrett out with the stunner to a big pop. He gets on the mic and vows to bust Taker open before their match gets started later in the evening.

WWF Tag Team Championship - No DQ Match:
Hardy Boyz (c) & Michael Hayes vs The Acolytes

As we know, the Hardy Boyz, under the tutelage of their manager Michael Hayes, defeated Edge & Christian last month at the King of the Ring to earn a shot at the tag titles. They would get that shot a few weeks later on Raw is War where they were successful in defeating the Acolytes to win the titles, starting their first reign as champions. The Acolytes get their rematch here, but its three on two rules, with Hayes also being involved in the match, since he helped them win the titles to begin with. Its also under "Acolyte rules", which basically just means its no disqualifications. The crowd don't really care about these guys at this point, but that would change a few months down the line. By the way, the Hardyz have their classic theme here. The action starts out with a brawl in the aisle between the teams before returning to the ring where the Hardyz take the advantage. They use their fast paced double teaming offence before the Acolytes come back and unleash their stiff power moves. They also get their shots in on Hayes, with Bradshaw flipping the former Freebird off at one point after putting a beating on him. With Jeff back in the ring, this leads to all hell breaking loose as all the guys end up going at it. Matt hits the Twist of Fate on Faarooq, but Bradshaw takes him out shortly after. As Bradshaw goes to do more damage, Jeff grabs Hayes cane and whacks the Acolyte with it, and the Hardyz follow up with Poetry in Motion. Its unsuccessful though as Bradshaw nails Jeff with the clothesline from hell, and Faarooq gets rid of Matt. With Hayes all alone, the Acolytes take him down with a double powerbomb and Bradshaw pins him to regain the titles for his team at 10:59. A short but solid, speed versus power match here. The Hardyz would dump Hayes shortly after this due to him losing the titles for them, which was pretty much the end for him as an active manager.
Grade: **1/2

Backstage we see Austin looking for Taker before sending it to D'Lo Brown. D'Lo, who had experienced a quick rise in popularity over the past few weeks, vows to regain the European Championship from Mideon up next. Yeah, Mideon is holding a title. Stay tuned.

WWF European Championship:
Mideon (c) vs D'Lo Brown

Now the last we saw of the European Championship, it was around the waist of Shane McMahon. Shortly after his feud with X-Pac however, Shane would retire the championship, resulting in it disappearing from TV. The championship would make its return around a month before this show however, when Corporate Ministry member Mideon asked Shane if he could have a belt being carried around in his bag. Shane told him to take it, and it would end up being the European Championship, which resulted in Mideon becoming the champion out of nowhere. Later that night, Mideon kicked off a feud with D'Lo Brown, assaulting him and partner Mark Henry. The two men would continue to interfere in each others matches heading in to this show, but this whole feud was really just to put the title back on someone credible. Anyway, as I mentioned, D'Lo was getting pretty over here, so he gets a good pop on his entrance. Mideon slaps his opponent following some initial trash talk, but D'Lo responds by taking the fight to the champion. D'Lo is in control until Mideon throws him into the ring steps on the outside to catch a breather. Back in the ring, the champion remains in control, getting D'Lo in a chin lock whilst yelling at the crowd. D'Lo manages to come back with a sunset flip however to regain control. He follows up with the Lo-Down to pick up the win at 7:00. Nothing special here, but as I said, this was just thrown together to get the title back on someone people cared about in D'Lo. Its probably Mideon's best singles match which should say a fair bit.
Grade: *1/2

In the back, Michael Cole is standing by with Al Snow. And of course Head, who now has a spike driven through her...um, Head, courtesy of Prince Albert, which has pretty much made Snow go crazier than usual. He talks about his upcoming match with the Bossman.

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

The idea here is that our reigning Hardcore Champion, Al Snow, has pretty much lost it following the aforementioned incident which saw Prince Albert pierce Head a few weeks ago on Raw is War. The next week, Snow called out the Big Bossman, and basically asked him to hit him with his nightstick through his insanity. Bossman would oblige and proceed to destroy the Hardcore Champion with repeated shots, setting this match up. As Snow makes his entrance, he asks Bossman to hit him some more, but Bossman responds by whacking Head around. This gets Snow angry and he unloads on Bossman until he is thrown into a production box. This is a standard hardcore division match as we have come to expect by this point, as they brawl up to the entrance set and backstage. Bossman is in control, but Snow turns the tables by throwing some hot coffee over the challenger. The brawl goes back and forth with both men using anything they can get their hands on and they eventually end up out on the street. After almost getting run over in traffic, they fight to the other side of the road and Bossman smashes a bottle over Snow's head then handcuffs the champion to a fence. Bossman beats on the helpless Snow, who is begging to be put out of his misery, with repeated nightstick shots before finally ending it with a boot to the chest to score the pinfall at 10:30. Big Bossman is the new Hardcore Champion! Fun stuff, but nothing we haven't seen before in the hardcore division. After the match, Snow looks happy despite losing the title, adding to his descent into craziness.
Grade: **1/4

Before our next match, we get some footage highlighting the build to the next contest.

Kane vs Big Show
Special Guest Referee: Hardcore Holly

This is a rematch from the King of the Ring, and Big Show is a heel again. I'm fairly certain that was a result of his actions at that PPV after all. Its hard to keep track of Show's turns - this is number three in just a few months being with the company after all. Hardcore Holly is the referee for this one, still doing his super heavyweight gimmick, although since King of the Ring he and Show have become loose allies. There was actually another interesting angle heading in to this match where Kane seemed to briefly reunite with the Undertaker to battle the Big Show and Holly on Raw but that allegiance came to a quick end when Taker beat up Kane's partner, X-Pac, resulting in the Big Red Machine making the save. Now then, Show starts out by dominating this match with his power, quickly throwing Kane out to the floor. He gets back in the ring, but Show continues to overpower the Big Red Machine until Kane manages to move out of the way of an elbow drop and takes over on offence. As Kane goes for a chokeslam however, Holly attacks the Big Red Machine's knee, which allows Show to level his opponent with a chokeslam of his own. He makes the cover and Holly makes a fast count to give the win to the Big Show at 8:18. Another basic slow and plodding match between these two, albeit slightly better than their King of the Ring mess.
Grade: *

After the previous match, the heels attack Kane some more, but X-Pac rushes to the ring to make the save. He fights Holly off, but the Undertaker comes out and hits him with a chokeslam. Taker and Show beat on Kane & X-Pac which leads to a new alliance being formed.

As Taker makes his way back through the curtain, he is jumped by Austin, who lives up to his word and busts the Phenom open after ramming him head first into the wall. Both men have now drawn blood before their match later on.

Iron Circle Match:
Ken Shamrock vs Steve Blackman

I always forget that Shamrock stuck around so far into 1999. This stems back to Steve Blackman assaulting Shamrock on Sunday Night Heat immediately prior to the King of the Ring, pretty much causing him to be eliminated from the tournament that night due to injury. The next night on Raw is War, Shamrock took on Blackman in a no holds barred match, but Blackman again got the upper hand, decimating his adversary with his kendo stick. This led to Shamrock challenging Blackman to an iron circle match, which JR mentions here is not a sanctioned WWF match. Its basically a parking lot brawl taking place backstage, with a ring of cars surrounding the two men as they take the fight to each other. There's also a whole bunch of guys hanging around watching and honking car horns. Anyway, both guys enter the car circle, and Blackman gets the early advantage, thrust kicking Shamrock into the hood of one of the cars. As Shamrock recovers, Blackman grabs a tire iron and goes to hit Shamrock, only to miss and smash the windshield. Shamrock responds by whacking Blackman with a trash can and then grabs a chain and unloads on him before proceeding to choke Blackman with it. Blackman passes out, and the referee awards the match to the World's Most Dangerous Man at 3:57. This was kept short as it should have been, and as a result it was fine for what it was. Nothing you have to go out of your way to see by any stretch though. A pretty decisive win for Shamrock, but this rivalry would continue.
Grade: *

Elsewhere backstage, Terry Taylor gets a word with the Undertaker about Austin's attack. Or he hopes to, as Taker responds by assaulting him. Poor Rooster. We also hear from Mr Ass and Chyna elsewhere, who say they are going to win the rights to the DX name up next.

X-Pac & Road Dogg vs Billy Gunn & Chyna
As I've mentioned, the winners of this next match earn the right to the DX name. It was a bit of a strange premise behind a match, but there was obviously history between all four competitors in this match, being teammates prior to being double crossed by both Chyna and Gunn earlier in the year. This all started on Raw is War when the 1999 King of the Ring's celebration was interrupted by Triple H. Triple H asked Gunn if he had been getting royalty cheques from the DX merchandise being sold. It turned out neither man had been, with all proceeds going to the remaining two members, X-Pac and Road Dogg. Triple H and Billy Gunn felt entitled, but Trips told Mr Ass that he was also too busy dealing with the Rock and pursuing the WWF Championship to get involved, so he said that Chyna would team up with Gunn in his place. Anyway, X-Pac and Road Dogg responded by challenging them to fight for the rights to the DX name, and that's where we are today. Chyna and Road Dogg start this one out, with Chyna going on offence, only for the Dogg to send her crashing into Gunn on the apron when she takes her eye off him. Gunn comes in and works over Road Dogg, getting the advantage thanks to Chyna's repeated interference. The Dogg ends up getting the tag to X-Pac, but his momentum is short lived as Mr Ass stays in control. The heels continue to dominate the match, with the referee missing a tag to Road Dogg resulting in a continued heel beat down on the still legal X-Pac. By the way, I believe X-Pac was still working through his injury here. X-Pac eventually comes back, sending Chyna down with a clothesline, getting the hot tag to Road Dogg and following up with the Bronco Buster to Chyna. Gunn goes to blind side X-Pac with a clothesline of his own, but following some heel miscommunication he ends up accidentally nailing Chyna instead! Dogg capitalises by hitting his former Outlaw partner with a Pumphandle slam to score the pin at 11:36. X-Pac and Road Dogg officially have earned the right to go by the DX name. Decent enough match with the fans strongly behind X-Pac & Road Dogg. See, Gunn isn't bad in a tag setting. Speaking of Gunn it was interesting to see him take the fall here considering he was about to embark on the biggest feud of his singles career next month.
Grade: **3/4

Backstage we see Austin is ready for his upcoming match before we get a recap of the issues between the Rock and Triple H. Their match is up next.

No. 1 Contender Strap Match:
The Rock vs Triple H

This rivalry has been going on a few months now, with Triple H of course costing the Rock his opportunity at the title last month. Triple H was really coming into this own as a legitimate bad ass heel over this stretch, with him conducting the famous sit down interview with Jim Ross on Raw heading into this show, where he talked about being held down for too long (mentioning the Curtain Call from 1996) and that from now on the only thing that mattered to him was becoming WWF Champion. Anyway, Triple H and the Rock exchanged blows for the weeks heading into this match, with the winner being entitled to a future WWF Championship match. Its a strap match by the way, but not the traditional kind where you have to touch the corners to win, just that they are strapped together and can do whatever they want with it. Falls count anywhere as well. Anyway, we start out with both men brawling to the outside and over to the Spanish announce table. Rock ends up whipping Trips into the ring steps and the action spills into the crowd because its a big Attitude era match. Rock gets the upper hand as they come back across the barricade, but back in the ring, Trips takes his opponent down with his knee to the face. Rock manages to recover though and he hits the Game with the Rock Bottom, but as he goes to cover, Chyna makes her way out to ringside and distracts the official. Triple H takes advantage of the distraction, choking Rock with the strap but Rock fires back with a Samoan Drop. The Great One now unloads on Triple H with some stiff strap shots after disconnecting from his opponent and follows up with a DDT. As Rock seems to be closing in on victory however, Chyna distracts the ref once more, which brings Billy Gunn out to nail Rock with some kind of club. It only gets two though, and Rock counters a subsequent pedigree attempt with a low blow and goes to follow up with the People's Elbow. Gunn intervenes before it can connect though, but takes a Rock Bottom for his efforts. From there, Triple H recovers and this time successfully takes Rock down for the three with the pedigree at 19:23. A solid match between these two, with the interference leading to a rivalry between Rock and Gunn going forward whilst the Game moves into the WWF title picture.
Grade: ***

The main event is up next so we get a video package all about the Austin/Taker and Austin/McMahon rivalries. The end of an era comes now. Mr McMahon makes his way out to do commentary for the match, due to his involvement with his company is on the line and all. He's on crutches due to Austin's previous attacks.

WWF Championship - First Blood Match:
Steve Austin (c) vs Undertaker w/Paul Bearer

First of all, we have a new WWF Champion here. That came about on the Raw is War the night after the King of the Ring. On that night, Mr McMahon announced that Triple H was the number one contender and would face the Undertaker at the next PPV for the WWF Championship. He was interrupted by Austin however, who revealed that before he had lost his CEO position the night before, he had granted himself one more shot at the WWF Championship, with the added stipulation that if Taker got disqualified, he would lost the title. That same night, Austin defeated the Undertaker to win his fourth WWF Championship, but the Texas Rattlesnake was attacked by the Phenom after the match. The Undertaker laid down the challenge to a rematch under First Blood rules on the next episode of Sunday Night Heat, and the match was set for the next PPV (Triple H being shafted here also added to his case about being overlooked as I mentioned earlier). On the next episode of Raw, McMahon imposed the stipulations I mentioned at the start of the review, namely that if Austin lost he would get no more shots at the title, whilst if Austin won, McMahon would leave the WWF. Austin and Taker would attack each other for the weeks heading into this show, focusing on busting each other open, which included a memorable segment in which Austin commandeered a blood mobile to the ring and got his hands on McMahon before being destroyed by the Phenom. Anyway, Taker confronts Austin in the aisle and they brawl down towards ringside to get the match started. Taker gets the upper hand and throws Austin into the crowd and then actually throws the ring steps out after him! Wow, talk about risking a lawsuit! The action returns to the ring shortly after and Austin launches a brief come back, attacking Taker's knee, but the match soon goes back out, and Taker boots the champion into the crowd again. Back over the barricade, Taker grabs a chair, but Austin dodges it and sends his opponent into the ring steps. They get back in the ring, but the referee gets knocked out and Austin grabs the chair. He goes to whack Taker, hoping to bust him open, but Shane McMahon runs in and takes it instead. Austin follows up with a stunner to Taker which brings Vince out from the announce table. He attempts to hit Austin with his crutch, but Austin easily fights him off. As he goes to turn his attention back to Taker though, the Phenom hits Austin with a chair to the midsection. He goes to follow up with one to the skull, but X-Pac runs down for the save, and kicks the chair into Taker's face, getting some revenge from earlier. Austin follows up by grabbing a camera and whacking Taker in the skull, which busts him open. Hebner recovers and sees the Phenom bleeding, so he awards the match to Austin at 16:00. Pretty good brawl that the crowd was hot for. A fitting end to the Austin/McMahon rivalry that propelled the WWF to new heights over a year prior.
Grade: ***1/2

After the match, Triple H heads out to attack Austin, but he's fought off by the Rock shortly after. Rock and Triple H brawl to the back whilst Austin and Taker go at it some more only to be separated by officials. With Austin and McMahon now alone, Austin gives the chairman another stunner for good measure, as the crowd goes crazy. Austin celebrates to end the show and McMahon is gone forever...or a month or so.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
A decent PPV that was carried more by the storylines than the actual in-ring action, as was customary for much of the Attitude era. I still find it a little strange that the McMahon/Austin rivalry (only one of the biggest of all time) culminated at a secondary PPV, but I suppose they wanted to spike the buy rate. As I already mentioned, the main event was a fitting end, with Austin and Taker putting on a solid brawl. Speaking of brawls, the number one contender match was also solid, even if it did lead to Rock being stuck in a feud with Billy Gunn of all people afterwards. You could tell Triple H was being pushed hard at this show, and with Taker soon looking to take some time off to heal up some nagging injuries, the Game's time to assume the number one heel spot in the company was coming. The undercard here was nothing spectacular for the most part, although it wasn't at all bad either. It was middle of the line mostly, which coupled with two solid main events puts this show at slightly above that.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Steve Austin - back on top of the WWF having sent his arch enemy packing.
2. Triple H - as his entrance music said, his time was indeed now. His victory over the Rock was another step up the ladder to his inevitable shot at the WWF Championship.
3. The Rock - incredibly popular as a face here, the Rock did a good job in his match against Triple H. Their feud in 1999 was pretty much about elevating the Game to the top, but Rock was no slouch either.

FINAL GRADE: 5.5 out of 10

ALL TIME PERFORMANCE TALLY:
What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1.

Bret Hart = 83
Steve Austin = 80
Shawn Michaels = 67
Mick Foley = 29
Randy Savage = 28
The Rock = 27
Undertaker = 25
Owen Hart = 21
Triple H = 19
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Diesel = 15
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 11
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Vince McMahon = 9
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
Tanaka = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Sato = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Hakushi = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Savio Vega = 3
Ken Shamrock = 3
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Shane McMahon = 3
Andre the Giant = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Billy Gunn = 1
Bart Gunn = 1
Marc Mero = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Animal = 1
Hawk = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Christian = 1

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91. Thanks for reading!