No Mercy (UK)

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Lee Maughan: Hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. Shane McMahon brings out the Corporate Ministry to kick things off with a bang, with a series of tiresome lines about showing “no mercy” to any of their opponents, bringing the damaged-beyond-repair European title “out of retirement for one night only” for his match with X-Pac, and revealing that tonight’s main event will now be “governed under no holl barls… rules.” Well that cleared that up.

SummerSlam ’99

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James Dixon: We are in Minnesota, home of one Jesse Ventura, and the Governor is the special guest referee for the triple-threat main event tonight. Ventura gets into a debate with Triple H about following the rules, to which Hunter reacts like a petulant, whiny child. That is the way he came across to me for the entirety of his heel run prior to winning the WWF Title for the first time, with him acting like he had some sort of God-given right to the gold. Frankly after some of his performances from 1995 through 1997, he is lucky he even kept his job.

Fully Loaded ’99

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Arnold Furious: Over the course of Volume 4 there has been a definite trend; the realisation that Attitude shows seemed great “in the moment”, but have little to no replay value. Most of the 1999 shows were littered with poor matches, wacky storylines and talking. This clearly got the better of my fellow reviewers as evidenced here. King of the Ring ’99 was supposed to be my last review for this book chronologically, and yet here we are. 1999; the year everyone doesn’t want to re-watch. This show is much like any other 1999 PPV. The main event is Austin-McMahon, or rather McMahon surrogate the Undertaker. HHH-Rock is on the undercard. What’s left of DX continue to have matches despite Triple H’s departure at WrestleMania three months earlier. The rest of the card is made up of title matches that hardly inspire. The one relatively surprising move came in Toronto the night before this PPV, where Edge beat Jeff Jarrett for the IC belt, his first major title in wrestling. It being a house show, no-one saw it coming. Edge wasn’t scheduled to have a title match until the night of the show. Ah, that wacky Vince Russo; throwing curveballs all the time. Given the proper build-up, Edge’s big title win could have been a defining moment in his career. We’re in Buffalo, New York. Hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. They bill the “end of an era” match where either Austin will get no more title shots or Vince McMahon will never appear on TV again. It’s a First Blood match and they make it interesting by having Austin bleed backstage on Heat. Roving reporter Michael Cole tries to accuse Vince of being behind the attack, which causes Shane McMahon to question who he is. Vince guarantees victory this evening.

King Of The Ring ’99

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Arnold Furious: When all the tapes had been claimed for this book I sat down to plan out my reviewing schedule and discovered, to my horror, that King of the Ring ’99 was on my list. Attempts to trade the tape, for literally anything else, proved futile. So here we are with King of the Ring ‘99. The WWF’s worst PPV of the year and indeed the whole Attitude era  (unless In Your House: DeGeneration X counts). It was bested in year end awards by the sensationally awful Heroes of Wrestling PPV (the one where Jake the Snake was hammered during the main event and every match sucked), so history only remembers this as the worst WWF show of 1999 rather than the worst PPV of the year. Although to be fair to the WWF, WCW probably rattled off two or three PPVs as bad or worse than this show in 1999.

 

We’re in Greensboro, North Carolina. This is the 7th annual King of the Ring PPV. The show was booked around Steve Austin battling the McMahons for control of the WWF. The event even has bad music. Hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. JR updates us on Heat and how Shane McMahon was “injured”. Ken Shamrock is the focus though; Steve Blackman’s attack on him has resulted in internal bleeding. Shammy liked his internal bleeding.

Royal Rumble ’99

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Arnold Furious: I’m going to level with you right now; 1999 is a terrible year for wrestling. Dreadful matches, silly angles and not a decent in-ring performer in sight until the arrival of ‘The Saviour’ Kurt Angle toward the end of the year. My dislike of the year is intensified by this damn video tape, which has degraded worse than any other tape I own. I have tapes 15-years older that are almost immaculate. This one is all scratchy and has horrible audio.

 

Backstage: Video Control gives us footage of Rumble participants. They discuss the $100,000 bounty on Steve Austin and Chyna coming in at #30, but nobody cuts a shouty promo. They’re almost shoots, like Jeff Jarrett casually talking about the Rumble being a special match in a neutral manner. They’re more like the kind of interviews you see on superstar DVD releases nowadays.

 

We’re in Anaheim, California. Hosts are Michael Cole (urgh) and Jerry Lawler. Jim Ross recently had a relapse of his Bell’s Palsy, giving us my least favourite commentator pairing outside of Mark Madden and Stevie Ray.

In Your House 10: Mind Games

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James Dixon: Everyone that collects VHS tapes knows about this video. The US release is one of the rarest and most sought after wrestling tapes out there. It was one of the few that were only available from WWF Magazine mail order and thus had a very limited release. If you have an official copy (again, the Coliseum Video release rather than the Silver Vision UK title, which is fairly common and can be snapped up for around £10), hang onto it, because it can sell for over $200! An absurd amount for a video tape, but this does have a main event that almost makes it worth it…

 

Arnold Furious: Desperation is an intriguing thing. It makes you try new things, anything, to make a difference. With WCW absolutely killing the WWF creatively in 1996, Vince McMahon was suddenly open to doing different things, which gave us the Boiler Room Brawl at SummerSlam, Paul Bearer’s shocking heel turn and Mick Foley scoring a massive victory over the Undertaker. The original plan was to give Taker time off to build to another match, but desperation kicked in once again. So Foley found himself as top contender and challenger for the WWF title on this show, which would prove to be a great decision, while Taker would finish up with Goldust. Mark Henry is thrust into the PPV limelight here, following his run-in with Jerry Lawler the previous month, and makes his in-ring debut. Finally Owen Hart and the British Bulldog were set to team up and save the tag division. This was the first major show after Vince McMahon’s assertion that the WWF should change. Attitude really began in 1996. The changes had been happening (Goldust’s stuff especially), but the angles would start getting a little stranger from here on in. Case in point is the sheer number of quasi-shoot comments and occurrences on this PPV.

 

We’re in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect.

In Your House 11: Buried Alive

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Arnold Furious: This was released after the Survivor Series show that it preceded, so this is before Bret Hart returned and still during Shawn Michaels’ WWF title run. And yet he’s not on the show either, demoted to a live title defence against Goldust for the paying local rubes (with Goldust doing bizarre double duty where he challenges for both WWF and IC title in the same night). The PPV audience have to make do with a bizarre gimmick match between Mick Foley’s Mankind and the Undertaker. The winner being the man to bury his opponent alive. We’re in Indianapolis, Indiana. Hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. JR is having microphone problems as part of his “Evil JR” heel turn angle. Incidentally, the WWF had started doing preview pieces before the shows and this one is terrific. Mainly because Mick Foley was a great promo guy and Undertaker knew his character inside out.

In Your House 8: Beware Of Dog

 

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Arnold Furious: Originally this In Your House pay-per-view (given the terrible subtitle “Beware of Dog”) was a bit of a disaster. Whilst airing live in Florence, South Carolina, a massive storm wiped out the arena’s power and subsequently, the broadcast, leaving viewers at home with just the opening match and the main event. Looking to repay Beware of Dog buyers for their patience, the WWF kindly ran all the missing matches the following Tuesday at a television taping in Charleston, broadcasting them live during the replay. This tape has the two matches from the original broadcast (along with a UK exclusive dark match) and the rest of the card from the replay. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.

In Your House 6: Rage In The Cage

 

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Arnold Furious: Seeing as the WWF had gained a busier PPV schedule, this In Your House PPV event would be the first “Road to WrestleMania” style show (though it is rather uncunningly released post-‘Mania by Coliseum). Shawn, having won the Rumble, now faces a challenge from the man who put him on the shelf: Owen Hart. He still doesn’t know his WrestleMania opponent as Bret Hart defends tonight against Diesel. An added twist is that it’s a cage match to stop potential Undertaker interference. This would becomes important later in the evening. The rest of the card? Razor and 1-2-3 Kid finally get it on in a “crybaby” match. Also, Yokozuna has turned face and now opposes Camp Cornette. The WWF has so little else going on that the other live match is HHH vs. Droese in a re-match of the dreadful Free for All bout at the Rumble. And the WWF’s hottest property Vader? He’s suspended for crushing WWF President Gorilla Monsoon. Roddy Piper has taken over the position until Monsoon is fit again. So no Vader match tonight. Boo! Jim Cornette does show up with Vader on the Free for All to promise Vader’s involvement this evening though. We’re in Louisville, Kentucky. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.

 

WrestleMania XII

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Arnold Furious:

 

WWF Tag Team Championship
The Bodydonnas vs. The Godwinns
This is from the pre-show Free For All. Sunny reminds us she was a 2-time winner at the Slammy’s last night. Her voice grates a touch. The Smoking Gunns had established themselves as the company’s top tag team, only for Billy Gunn to suffer an unfortunate neck injury and the belts were vacated a month ago. Now Sunny is out to prove her managerial skills by winning her first tag titles. The Godwinns have “critters” with them. Goats, specifically. The storyline in this one is classic speed vs. power. Henry can tell that story in his sleep. Likewise both Skip and Zip. As long as Phineas doesn’t get much ring time it’ll be ok. Of course, he has a good character where he gets his dander up if suitably provoked. Only Henry can calm him down when he goes off on one of these rampages. The ‘Donnas bail and then play the numbers game thanks to Sunny’s ability to distract. And how! The crazy thing is that both teams are good but just aren’t over, so this era is remembered as a nadir for tag wrestling, but it had simply become out of date. I think the ridiculous nature of both gimmicks didn’t help at a time when fans were turning off the more cartoonish characters. They goof a few times on counters, but Sunny remains the secret weapon as she reveals her undies, in the New Generation heel version of Elizabeth at SummerSlam ’88. Phineas’ mind is suitably blown, as the ladies from his part of the world don’t have butts like that, and he’s rolled up. The Bodydonnas win the tag titles and Sunny gets her first taste of gold. Oddly enough, winning the tag titles was the beginning of the end for Candido. The storylines presented Sunny as more and more whore-like and drove a wedge into their own relationship. He’d end up leaving in the middle of the year while Sunny remained a WWF Superstar. An early diva template and the most prominent female in the company, until Sable arrived. Which, incidentally, is tonight.
Final Rating: **