WWE PPV Flashbacks: King of the Ring '99- June 27, 1999

King of the Ring
June 27, 1999
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC

A month removed from the tragic events of our last PPV outing, the WWF continues to be on fire heading in to the next event of the year, the 1999 King of the Ring. For the first time in a few years now we have the entire eight man tournament taking place on the PPV, but the real story here is our main event - Austin vs Vince & Shane McMahon in a ladder match for control of the WWF. I'll get more into that later, but the key thing to note is that Vince McMahon is the evil genius once again, having been working with the Undertaker as the Higher Power to screw with Austin all along. That reveal was made a few weeks before the show, and led to Austin being appointed CEO of the company by Linda and Stephanie McMahon. Also tonight, the Undertaker defends his WWF Championship against the Rock. Please follow me on Twitter and leave all your thoughts and feedback at @Mpmcc91.

Our opening video package is all about the aforementioned ladder match, with quotes of famous world leaders mixed in. Its all about control of the company after all. We then head into the arena where we are welcomed by our usual broadcast team of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. Before our first match we see footage from Sunday Night Heat before the show where Ken Shamrock attacked Shane McMahon before being jumped by Steve Blackman. In the back Michael Cole tells us that Shane McMahon's status for the main event is questionable.

KOTR Quarterfinal Match:
X-Pac vs Hardcore Holly

Our first match of the night pits the always popular X-Pac, no longer holding the tag titles (more on that later) taking on a former Hardcore Champion in Hardcore Holly. Over the weeks heading into this show, Holly had taken on a new persona, referring to himself as the "Big Shot" and claiming to be a Super Heavyweight, which more often than not got him into trouble with the real big men in the company. By the way, he defeated his old rival Al Snow to qualify for this match, whilst X-Pac beat the Big Bossman. Anyway, X-Pac starts this one out building momentum but Holly takes him down with a powerbomb to the mat. The advantage doesn't last long for the former Hardcore Champion though, as X-Pac comes back and connects with the Bronco Buster on his opponent. This gets Holly pissed, and he whacks X-Pac with a chair, which gets him disqualified at a quick 2:58. X-Pac advances to the semi-finals, but Holly goes after him, which brings Road Dogg out for the save. The idea is now X-Pac is at the disadvantage going forward in the tournament due to the assault. Almost too short to grade, but it served its purpose I suppose.
Grade: 3/4*

Backstage, Terry Taylor gets a word with Hardcore Holly, asking him why he got himself disqualified and thus eliminated from the tournament. Holly doesn't care about the tournament and says they are playing by his rules now. He also mentions he has unresolved issues with the Big Show, who is in action next.

KOTR Quarterfinal Match:
Kane vs Big Show

Both men are faces here in our next tournament match, a battle of the big men. Kane is now a former tag team champion as I mentioned earlier, whilst Show is floating around as a face here following the disbanding of the Union with Mankind now off camera. He was recently involved in a memorable match with the Undertaker on Raw is War though which saw Show chokeslam Taker through the ring. Anyway, Kane defeated Test to qualify for this one, whilst Show beat Droz. Of course, this is a standard power match, with neither man really getting the advantage in the early going. After trading blows for a bit, the referee gets taken out and Hardcore Holly comes out once again. As I mentioned earlier, he's had issues with Big Show since he is claiming to be the biggest guy in the company. Holly grabs a chair and goes to hit Show, but Kane takes him out with a chokeslam before he can intervene. Kane then chokes Show out a bit before Show breaks the hold. Kane responds by grabbing the chair and whacking Show with it, with the referee recovering in time to count the pin at 6:29. Pretty poor match here, but it was basically a means of furthering the Show/Holly feud which would ultimately go nowhere. Kane advances to the next round.
Grade: 1/2*

In the back, Mr McMahon gives us an update on Shane's condition following the incident on Heat. Shane will not be able to participate in the main event.

KOTR Quarterfinal Match:
Ken Shamrock vs Billy Gunn

A rivalry from earlier in the year is renewed in our next tournament match, although both men are now in differing roles with Shamrock a face and Mr Ass a heel. Billy Gunn is actually holding one of the tag title belts here, but he's not one of the champions. See on a recent episode of Raw is War, he teamed with new champions the Acolytes against X-Pac, Kane & Road Dogg in a match that was made a title match following X-Pac challenging the champs to put the titles on the line. Gunn would actually score the winning fall in that match and stole one of the title belts afterwards, hence why its in his possession here. Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, Shamrock was taken out on Heat, so Gunn tells the official to announce him as the winner via forfeit. Shamrock eventually makes his way out, still selling the effects of the beating, and taking out the EMTs that try to stop him. The announcers tell us Shamrock has internal injuries so Billy goes on offence, targeting his opponent's ribs. Out of nowhere though, Shamrock gets him in the ankle lock, but Mr Ass breaks the hold with a shot to the midsection. Shamrock bleeds from the mouth as he tries to regain control, but Gunn drops him with a powerbomb which leads to the ref stopping the match due to Shamrock's injuries at 3:53. Mr Ass advances to the next round where he will meet Kane. Again, too short to really be anything of substance.
Grade: *

We now here from Chyna who is in action next. She is joined by Triple H and says she has always dreamed of being a princess, but tonight she becomes the first ever Queen of the Ring.

KOTR Quarterfinal Match:
Road Dogg vs Chyna w/Triple H

Our quarterfinal match pits former DX members against one another. Triple H was actually set to be in this tournament instead of Chyna, but claimed that he was focused on getting a shot at the WWF Championship instead, and so he gave his spot to Chyna. She beat Val Venis to get here, whilst Road Dogg defeated the Godfather. Of course, Road Dogg does his usual stuff on the mic before the match. Chyna gets the better of her former DX partner in the early going and she looks decent enough in there. I still think she would be much more fondly remembered were there a legitimate women's division at the time for her to dominate, but she was solid enough at this point. Anyway, both participants go to the outside following a Road Dogg irish whip counter, but Triple H attacks the Dogg at ringside. Back in the ring Chyna regains control with a DDT before locking in a sleeper hold on her opponent. Dogg reverses into a sleeper of his own, but Triple H pulls Chyna to the ropes as she starts to fade, forcing the hold to be broken. Triple H then whacks the Dogg with a chain around his fist, but he manages to kick out of the following cover, with the referee getting taken out in the process. Triple H attempts to interfere once again, but Commissioner Shawn Michaels eventually comes out to a big pop and forces his former sidekick to the back. Meanwhile, Road Dogg no-sells a Chyna low blow and reveals that he his wearing a cup. He follows up with a Pumphandle slam which gets the three at 13:14. The match actually got time compared to the other quarterfinal matches and thus was decent enough, although still nothing special. Anyway, Road Dogg advances and has to face his buddy X-Pac in the next round.
Grade: **

We now go to the Rock backstage. He promises to win the WWF Championship and take down the Undertaker later on.

No. 1 Contender Match:
Edge & Christian w/Gangrel vs Hardy Boyz w/Michael Hayes

We now take a break from the tournament to see the beginning of one of the greatest tag team rivalries of all time. This is just a chance for these two young teams to show their stuff, with the winners getting a future shot at the WWF Tag Team Championship. Those titles are now held by the Acolytes, who defeated X-Pac & Kane on a recent episode of Raw is War. Matt & Jeff Hardy are pretty new as a proper team at this point after being used as enhancement talent over the past number of years, now starting their actual WWF careers out under the tutelage of the former Dok Hendrix. A year from now, this is a match that everyone gets excited about, but at this point its really just seen as filler. The match actually took place earlier in the night on Heat, but the Acolytes got involved and attacked both teams, resulting in the match being thrown out and rescheduled for the PPV. Edge & Christian start out with momentum on their side, but the Hardys take control with the Poetry in Motion whilst Hayes interferes from the outside to assist his team, including delivering a cane shot to Christian. The Brood members get back into it following a spear from Edge to Jeff in mid-air coming off a second Poetry in Motion attempt. Christian takes out Matt whilst Edge goes to roll up Jeff, but Gangrel 'accidentally' spits his blood mist into Edge's face. The miscommunication leads to Jeff hitting the Twist of Fate on Edge and picking up the victory for his team at 4:54. This could have been better with more time, but it was solid for the short amount of time it was given. The Hardy Boyz get a shot at the Acolytes on a future episode of Raw is War, whilst the Gangrel stuff would eventually lead to him ditching Edge & Christian in the long run.
Grade: **1/2

We now hear from the Undertaker backstage, who promises Rock a beating later on.

Back in the arena Mr McMahon makes his way out to the ring. He says that due to Shane being unable to compete, the main event is off, but he is interrupted by Commissioner Michaels. HBK says that not going to happen on his watch, so Vince says he will find a replacement for Shane in the ladder match.

KOTR Semifinal Match:
Kane vs Billy Gunn

Alright, back to the tournament now with our first semi-final match. Kane starts this one out dominant of course. He ends up grabbing the ring steps, but before he can hit the Ass Man, Billy dropkicks the steps on top of the Big Red Machine. That proves to be the turning point, as Gunn now takes control and starts to choke Kane out. There's really not much to talk about here, and JR and King have stopped caring about the match as well. Kane ends up coming back with a dropkick after being worked over, which sends Mr Ass off the apron to the outside. Just as it looks like Kane might be getting ready to put his opponent away however, the Big Show makes his way back out to ringside and nails Kane with a chair shot. Its not a heel turn, just payback from earlier in the night. Anyway, Gunn takes advantage and rolls Kane up for the pin at 5:16. The Ass Man is in the finals after another short, basic match.
Grade: *

We now go to X-Pac backstage. He's holding his neck in pain from the assault by Hardcore Holly earlier. He says he's ready to take on his best friend in the next match, and says the best man will win.

KOTR Semifinal Match:
X-Pac vs Road Dogg

Good pop for both guys here as they are obviously both popular here, being the only two members of DX left. X-Pac is selling the injury as he makes his way out to the ring. I believe he was actually injured for real here. Anyway, Road Dogg cuts a promo with Cole in the back and then heads to the ring mic in hand for his usual schtick. Very short match here, with Dogg starting out on offence, but X-Pac ends up countering a pump handle slam attempt into an X-Factor to score the win at 3:07. Normally I'd be fine with X-Pac winning here, but considering the injury and the history between Gunn and Road Dogg as the Outlaws, I think it would have made more sense to have Dogg advance here. Anyway, X-Pac meets Gunn later on.
Grade: *

Our WWF Championship match is next, so we get a video package highlighting the build.

WWF Championship:
Undertaker (c) w/Paul Bearer vs The Rock

Following Taker defeating Austin to win the WWF Championship last month at Over the Edge, he was challenged by the Rock, now a wildly popular face, to put the title up against him. Instead, Rock was made to earn the title shot by being placed in a triple threat match against Taker and Triple H. During the match, Triple H and Taker would end up exchanging blows, leading to the beginning of the end for the Corporate Ministry, whilst Rock would capitalise on the dissension by pinning Trips to earn the title shot. Thats about all there is in terms of build here, as its really just a title defence for Taker whilst Austin is off fighting the McMahons. Anyway, Taker knocks out the ref as soon as this match gets going because he's evil like that, but Rock follows up with a Rock Bottom on the champion. Of course there is no referee to count the fall, and by the time one runs out, Bearer pulls him out of the ring. Taker recovers and hits Rock with a chokeslam, which the original ref counts, only for the Great One to kick out. The action spills from the ring and up to the entrance area because its the Attitude era, with Taker getting the advantage, pounding on the challenger before returning back to ringside. Taker targets Rock's neck and goes to work some more, but Rock ends up launching a comeback and he brawls through the crowd with the Phenom. Back at ringside, a Paul Bearer shoe shot puts the ball back in Taker's court, and Taker follows up with a chin lock inside the ring. Rock eventually comes back with a Samoan Drop and exchanges blows with the Phenom, with the referee getting bumped again in the thick of things. Meanwhile Rock hits the People's Elbow, but with nobody to count, Taker low blows him and Bearer attempts to get a rag of chloroform to use on the challenger. Rock intercepts it however and smothers Taker, but at this point Triple H, still upset that he isn't the number one contender, comes down and hits the Pedigree on the Rock. Taker falls on top for a pin, which Rock manages to kick out of, but a Tombstone Piledriver afterwards keeps the People's Champion down for the three at 19:14. A relatively basic match here, but at least there was furtherance of the Rock/Triple H rivalry. There was nothing here we hadn't seen before, and Taker's body was battered and bruised at this point. Nonetheless he retains the championship, continuing his reign of darkness.
Grade: **

In the back, Commissioner Michaels throws Triple H out of the building due to his interference in the title match. Vince is pissed as he says Triple H was going to be Shane's substitute in the main event.

KOTR Finals:
X-Pac vs Billy Gunn

Alright, lets get this tournament over with. Gunn is in the middle of a heel push so who do you think is winning this? X-Pac starts out on fire with the fans behind him, but Gunn takes control with a bulldog putting the breaks on that. X-Pac is clearly in pain in there but he manages to kick out of a Fameasser, and comes back with an X-Factor. Its not enough to keep Mr Ass down though. After a little more offence, Gunn hits a neckbreaker and follows up with a Fameasser from the top rope which is enough to defeat his old DX buddy at 5:35. Not the best match in the world at all, although I imagine it would have been better if X-Pac was healthy here. The Billy Gunn experiment is in full force here as he is the 1999 King of the Ring. We'll have to see if time goes on if he can capitalise on this and become a legitimate main eventer or whether his victory here will go the way of Ken Shamrock a year prior. Only time will tell. Tonight was not a great start though.
Grade: *

The main event is up next so we get a video package highlighting the long standing issues between Austin and McMahon. The rivalry is reaching a near boiling point here, as we are very close to the end of the most memorable storyline of all time.

Vince makes his way out to the ring for the main event and gets on the mic. He introduces Steve Blackman as Shane's replacement. Just as it looks like its going to be allowed, we see Shane McMahon caught on GTV on the tron, celebrating with the Mean Street Posse. He was never hurt at all! This gets the attention of Commissioner Michaels however, and he drags Shane out to ringside and tells Blackman to hit the bricks. Shane is competing after all!

Ladder Match:
Steve Austin vs Mr McMahon & Shane McMahon

Its main event time, but first lets take a look at how we got here. For months, the Undertaker had been making reference to a Higher Power leading his Ministry. Eventually it was promised that the power would be revealed on an episode of Raw is War heading in to this show. In what was a classic Raw moment, the hooded figure removed his cloak to reveal himself as Mr McMahon himself, evil smile and all. "It was me Austin! It was me all along!". JR's reaction was priceless at the time "oh son of a bitch". So yeah, Vince McMahon had been working with the Undertaker all along, including having his own daughter abducted in the quest of getting the title off Austin. Vince and Shane reconciled, but the McMahon women, Linda and Stephanie were absolutely disgusted by Vince's sick actions. As a result, they announced they had sold their ownership shares in the company to a new CEO - Stone Cold Steve Austin himself! This led to more memorable Raw moments the following week as Austin ran WWF Headquarters and ended up dumping manure over Vince's office. Obviously, Vince was none too happy with having Austin in control of his company, so he challenged his long time rival to this handicap ladder match. The contract for total control of the WWF would be placed above the ring, and that brings us to where we are now. With the McMahons in the ring, Austin makes his way out to a huge pop as always, and gets into a brawl with his adversaries in the aisle to start. The early moments of the match are Austin opening a can of whoop ass on the McMahon men and Shane takes a bump from the entrance when he climbs trying to escape from Austin only to be caught. Austin's dominance continues at the top of the aisle, with the set being destroyed and being pulled down on top of the McMahons. Austin finally heads back to the ring and grabs a ladder, going to set it up in the ring only for Shane to come back. Austin sends him across the announce table onto JR and then sends the Boy Wonder through the Spanish announce table as well. Meanwhile, Vince returns and sends Austin into the other announce table, but it doesn't break. The boss attempts to climb for the briefcase, but Austin gets back up and goes on offence once again. After a brief bit of McMahon attempts to get the briefcase, Austin stuns both his opponents and goes to climb the ladder again. Just as he is about to grab the contract however, the briefcase gets raised up higher out of his reach. Hmm. Nobody knows whats going on as Vince climbs up to fight with Austin, but Shane recovers and throws the ladder over sending both men down! Shane now climbs the ladder with nobody else in sight, and grabs the now lowered again briefcase to win the match for he and his father at 17:09. The brief reign of Austin as CEO is over, and the McMahon men are back in charge. It would be revealed the next night on Raw is War that the Big Bossman was behind the raising of the briefcase by the way. He had been fired from the Corporate Ministry earlier in the night on Heat simply so that the outcome of the match was not affected by a Ministry member as Commissioner Michaels prohibited. Oh those crafty McMahons. As far as the actual match goes, it was decent enough for what it was, but this is one of those instances where the storyline is what its all about, and the crowd loved every minute of Austin dishing our punishment to the McMahons until coming up short thanks to the shenanigans with the briefcase.
Grade: **1/2

Overall this was a pretty bad show. The main event is fun from a storyline point of view, but its not a great match by any stretch of the imagination. Aside from the tag title match, no other matches on the card even reached the **1/2 star range. That was one of the negatives of the Attitude era, as while you had hot crowds and storylines, a lot of the matches just simply were not that good. This show is a prime example of that as you have an afterthought of a WWF Championship match, thrown together to really just further the Rock/Triple H feud, and a very rushed tournament with a terrible choice for a winner. To this day it still blows my mind that the company thought Billy Gunn had what it took to be a major singles star, but we'll see how that plays out. Anyway, Taker is still the champion, the McMahons are totally in charge, and the Ass Man is the King. It was a heel heavy night, but that would be balanced out by a major happening on the next episode of Raw is War.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Steve Austin - once again this show was all about the Texas Rattlesnake. He had the crowd behind him as he battled his hated rivals in an fun, albeit basic match.
2. Vince McMahon & Shane McMahon (tie) - played their roles perfectly in the main event as you would expect. Shane took some pretty big bumps (although nothing compared to what we now know him for) but Vince took a beating as well.
3. X-Pac - worked the tournament injured to my knowledge and did his best to get Gunn over as a legit heel. There's only so much someone can do there though.

FINAL GRADE: 2 out of 10

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 = 77
Shawn Michaels = 67
Mick Foley = 29
Randy Savage = 28
The Rock = 26
Undertaker = 25
Owen Hart = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Triple H = 17
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

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