“Tape Trading” in wrestling is what internet wrestling fans used to do expand their video collections before the age of the internet and new technology made VHS tapes obsolete. However, for this column’s sake, we will go into the various wrestling streaming networks and review what is available periodically on Tuesdays. Sometimes it will be relevant to what is going on in wrestling today, sometimes its not. In a week and a half, we will have Backlash 2018. So I decided to revisit Backlash 1999, which was the first one.
The Ministry of Darkness vs. The Brood
This is the Acolytes (Faarooq & Bradshaw) teaming up with Mideon facing Edge, Christian, and Gangrel. What is fascinating is that most of these guys were all just starting out in WWE. In the end, Bradshaw, Edge, and Christian would all go on to become regular headliners in the WWE. It kind of gives you some perspective.
Having said that, this match just never really got off the ground. Maybe it was the lack of experience or the limitations of some of the talent involved, but this just didn’t do it for me until the closing moments of the match when Viscera interfered. Did this match really need a screwjob victory? That was kind of the norm at the time.
Rating: *1/2 (out of 5)
Al Snow vs. Hardcore Holly
This is a Hardcore Match for the Hardcore Title. Hardcore Holly is the champion. I will also think that the greatest accomplishment of Vince Russo and the Attitude Era was finding the right spot and niche for Bob Holly. This guy floundered as a jobber with terrible characters for years in the WWE until he was dubbed Hardcore Holly.
Remember the Hardcore Title? We had Falls Count Anywhere anything goes matches every week. Not saying that made that era better or worse, but it was a unique time in WWE.
I do cringe at the weapon shots to the head. Hardcore Holly takes a frying pan to the head and it bends over his head. Ouch. Knowing what we know now what happened to some of these guys, it is difficult to watch.
There was blood in this match too, which is another we usually don’t get anymore, let alone in the 2nd match of the undercard of the show.
This match ends with Al Snow taking “Head” and hitting Bob Holly in the face with it for the pin. It was a decent brawl. Bob Holly was definitely in his element here.
Rating: ** (out of 5)
The Godfather vs. Goldust
This is for the Intercontinental Title with The Godfather as the reigning defending champion. Holy cow, The Godfather gimmick certainly wouldn’t fly today in the WWE. I’m certainly glad wrestling has evolved from this.
To sum up the Attitude Era in one picture, I give you The Godfather and his Train…
Here is an interesting sign I spotted that I present with no comment…
As for the match, it is mostly a comedy match with a lot of interference and overall sloppy wrestling on the behalf of The Godfather. It is strange though, Goldust got a lot better as he got older. The Godfather wins after Goldust and Blue Meanie Three Stooges-style beat each other up.
Rating: *1/2 (out of 5)
The New Age Outlaws vs. Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart
Oh damn, speaking of problematic characters…
At this stage, they literally just had Debra walk out in lingerie including a thong. Crazy. Road Dogg before the match says “Let us see the puppies.” In case you were not aware, puppies is a euphemism for female mammary glands. Debra comes in and Jeff Jarrett tries to cover her (or what’s left to cover). Road Dogg “She’s a grown woman. She can do what she wants.” Oh… so somehow this became about feminism? Ummm… sure, whatever. Haha, this was insane. I can’t show this to my future children though.
Sadly, this was Owen Hart’s last Pay Per View match, and it was overshadowed by utter nonsense. The crowd isn’t even remotely focused on the action between four future legends including one current Hall of Famer. It had been awhile since I watched an Owen Hart match but he is in perfect form here. Definitely one of the all time greats. Those Hart Family dungeon graduates are the best.
The New Age Outlaws win with the cleanest finish of the night so far. It was a solid match. I would have rated it higher if not for the Debra shenanigans distracting from the match. Afterwards, Billy Gunn moons the crowd to a pop, because you see, he’s Mr. Ass and he likes to show his ass for some reason?? That is a hard to explain gimmick.
Rating: *** (out of 5)
Mankind vs. The Big Show
This is the Boiler Room Brawl.
The Big Show had just recently made his debut in WWE but was still developing as a talent before our very eyes. Mick Foley was certainly at the top of his game and this match is a highly underrated classic. A great classic Mick Foley hardcore match. Just brutal. Mick Foley wins barely and then The Big Show turns face after the match because reasons.
Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Triple H vs. X-Pac
This is shortly after Triple H’s shocking heel turn at Wrestlemania 15 which took a bit to get off the ground. Triple H comes out with Chyna (dressed as a fetish porn star for some reason). The match is a bit of grind to watch. It took awhile for Triple H to come into his own as one of the greatest in ring workers ever, and he just wasn’t quite there yet at this point.
If you guessed if this match ended with a screwjob finish, YOU WIN THE GOLD STAR! Chyna looked like she had helped Triple H won but then lights go out and Kane comes out and chokeslams both Triple H and Chyna. X-Pac then bronco busts Chyna and Triple H and Triple H comes from behind with a pedigree for the win. Was all of that even necessary?
Rating: **1/2 (out of 5)
The Undertaker vs. Ken Shamrock
Wow, Ken Shamrock, if I recall correctly, didn’t stick around much longer after this. The Undertaker as the dead man coming out to anything other than his classic theme just feels wrong. This was the time The Undertaker had a stable known as The Ministry of Darkness. It was weird yet compelling at the same time even if it was a tad cheesy. Cult gimmicks generally work well in WWE to a point.
This match was very forgetful. In fact, I had no idea the Undertaker and Ken Shamrock ever even ever had a match so this was a surprise.
In one of the more clean finishes of the night, The Undertaker pinned Ken Shamrock with the Tombstone piledriver.
Rating: ** (out of 5)
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock
It is crazy that Stone Cold and the Rock headlined events other than Wrestlemania, but they did just that at Backlash 19999. This was their rematch from Wrestlemania XV and it was all gimmicked up with Shane McMahon as the special guest referee and the match was No Holds Barred. This is Stone Cold and The Rock at the height of their game.
This was a very fun match. Had some great spots such as the first person view of the Stone Cold Stunner was fantastic. These two had such great chemistry in the ring. Again, the finish was off the wall but it was fun.
Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Then after this match, we get this very infamous moment in Attitude Era history…
This was maximum Attitude Era. There are things that make this era great (unpredictability and things always changing), and things that make it not so great (sexism, wacky match finishes).
Final Backlash 1999 Rating: **1/2 (out of 5)