You all heard of the theory of the Butterfly effect right? How one event taking or not taking place can alter history forever? Well in Pro Wrestling that theory is none more evident, and for me there is none more perfect an example of a possibility that we can think about like that than at what took place at the WWF’s Fully Loaded PPV in 1999. The night where arguably the most important on-screen character in the history of the business, and certainly the biggest heel of all time, Mr McMahon was WRITTEN OUT and OFF WWF television for what was then supposed to be the final time. Now of course we know now that would not be the case and he would return some months later to television in his larger than life role, but in July 1999 during the peak of the Attitude Era, Vince McMahon the man in real life in charge of the World Wrestling Federation, it was felt by the boss that the Mr McMahon character had reached a point where it was time for him to depart. With Steve Austin as WWF Champion his top foe was now the evil Undertaker with both Shane and Vince McMahon by his side. Going in to Fully Loaded 1999 it was reaching near breaking point between the two entities and something had to give. So the ultimate do or die match stipulation was set; Stone Cold Steve Austin would defend his WWF Championship against The Undertaker in a First Blood Match… BUT… added to the match was the promise that if The Undertaker won the title then Stone Cold would never be able to challenge for the WWF title ever again… BUT… if Austin retained then Mr McMahon, by his own promise, would never be seen in the World Wrestling Federation ever again. And we all know that when the Mr McMahon character promised something, he ALWAYS meant it! And legit, as hard as this is to believe looking back, and apologies for the spoilers, but Fully Loaded 1999 was indeed supposed to be the final night we would see the Mr McMahon character EVER… So… why don’t we go back and take a look at the show as a whole then. Here is my review of Fully Loaded 1999!
The most amazing video package opened the show. It was a perfect mix of an ‘oldey-worldie’ song and black and white footage alongside similar black and white shots (as well as the line from Vince ‘somebody’s gotta go, and go for good’) that told the history between Mr McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin. It then transitioned to colour shots of the pair and a more dramatic music and the infamous commentary line of Jim Ross ‘Somebody’s gonna bleed, somebody’s gonna leave’. If you have the wwe network please go out of your way to see this, it’s just after the OG WWF opening video on the PPV.
After the usual crowd shots in the arena (filled with an unreal amount of crowd signs) we opened the show with Jim Ross and The King on commentary. JR led us to some footage from earlier in the night on Sunday Night Heat where we see an Austin interview with JR backstage be interrupted by The Undertaker. Taker battered Austin and bust him open. We could see Vince (who was on crutches) and Shane looking on in the background, both smiling.
Live on the PPV we saw medics attending to a frustrated Austin.
Michael Cole interviewed Vince McMahon and accuses him and Shane of orchestrating The Undertaker attacking Austin. They batted Cole off, and Vince guaranteed Austin will lose the WWF Championship tonight. He emphasised after saying he (Austin) will ‘never ever again be the WWF Champion’
Jeff Jarrett with Debra defeated Edge (C) to win the Intercontinental Championship
So we were told and shown pictures from a house show in Toronto the night before, where Edge won the IC title from Jarrett. When Jarrett came out he got a pop but it was clear that the people were more cheering for the sight of Debra and her… assets… JR explained how on Raw Jeff Jarrett had received a bloodbath (the signature of Edge’s former Brood buddy Gangrel), but Edge was in the ring at the time so it couldn’t have been down to him. Double J cut a brief promo after he got in the ring saying the people weren’t going to see Debra’s puppies because they belonged to him, and he said he was the best Intercontinental Champion of all time. They had a solid opening match. Edge was fairly over, but by far the crowd were most into Debra (take that for what you will, but bare in mind it’s 1999), and we even got a ‘we want puppies’ chant in the opening moments of the match. Everything they did was solid, and the sequences they did towards the end were particularly good. The finish came about when the lights went out and we got a brief glimpse of Gangrel coming out… when the lights came back on Gangrel was on the floor and Edge was wagging his finger. We could also see a wet puddle on the mat floor nearby, so it was clear Gangrel had tried a bloodbath to Edge but it had failed. Edge then went back into the ring to go at Jarrett, and after some good chain wrestling Edge hit a Spear… but before he could go for the pin Debra got on the apron and tried her ‘let me show my tits to the guy to distract him’ gimmick, but as Jarrett tried to attack Edge from behind he moved and hit Debra by mistake, sending her to the floor. With the ref looking elsewhere Gangrel then pulled down the ropes and used them to spring Edge, and this allowed Jarrett to hit his finisher and get the 1, 2, 3. So Jarrett wins the IC title right back.
Steve Austin was shown backstage being told by the medics that he was fine, Austin said that was all he needed. Well, that was the gist of what happened anyway. It wasn’t exactly an overwhelming yes from the doctors but it was enough of what Austin wanted to hear to know he could compete later in the night.
Austin then came out into the ring area to a huge pop. He got in the ring and hit the Stunner to Jarrett (ok then…). Naturally the crowd went wild for this, and Austin then got a mic and told The Undertaker that he was going to bust him wide open and called him a big dead SOB.
The Acolytes (Faarooq & Bradshaw) defeated The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy) (C) & Michael Hayes in a 3 on 2 Handicap Match to win the WWF Tag Team Championship
So the challengers came out (as this point the team that would evolve into the APA were well into their allegiance with The Undertaker and his pack of… weirdos…), and we then cut to Michael Cole backstage who was talking with The Hardys and Hayes, where Hayes spoke about how he had taken the Hardys from curtain raisers to the tag team champions. Apparently this match will be under ‘Acolyte Rules’ (basically no count out or dq)… One spot that did stand out from the match was when Bradshaw was in the corner, Jeff runs to the opposite side and Matt kneels down to give Jeff the boost for the Whisper in the Wind spot… but as Jeff came up off Matt’s back Bradshaw caught him and nearly took his head off with an awesome looking Clothesline (what an unbelievable clothesline big John Layfield had by the way). So as you can imagine The Acolytes got the win by pinning Hayes, after a double Powerbomb. And also as you can imagine it was a classic battle between the high flying babyfaces (Hayes did significantly less of that stuff of course) and the bigger, more-brawler style heel team), and it was pretty decent stuff as far as the match went. Hayes to his credit had good-looking offence and his selling was fun. Overall a good watch, despite the very obvious finish from a booking standpoint.
Austin was again seen backstage. This time walking frantically in search of The Undertaker as he slammed a door behind him.
D’Lo Brown cut a backstage promo as he was interviewed by Kevin Kelly.
D’Lo Brown defeated Mideon (C) to win the European Championship
As D’Lo and Mideon of the Corporate Ministry were about to begin their match we were told that there was apparently a camera following Austin backstage and JR said that they’ll cut away if he finds The Undertaker or anything develops, which immediately took my interest away from this match that I wasn’t exactly hyped for to begin with. D’Lo dominated the start and did look good doing it to his credit, Mideon eventually cutting him off by launching him into the steps. The crowd kinda died midway through this once Brown was no longer dominating, and that’s not to say Mideon was bad… he was fine, but nothing better in my opinion. D’Lo won the title after a ‘Low Down’ Frog Splash, so we did get the right result here, but as a match it wasn’t much of anything and I was kinda bored at times and I wasn’t the only one. 3/3 title matches had resulted in new champions so far…
Austin again was walking backstage and taking a camera man with him…
Michael Cole was backstage with the Hardcore champ Al Snow, who had apparently not been the same since his… Head… had a spike put through it. We were shown a clip from Raw where the Bossman battered him, and Snow had been handcuffed and asked to be put out his misery. Snow then cut a promo where I can only describe him as deranged…
Big Bossman defeated Al Snow (C) in a Hardcore Match to win the Hardcore Championship
In this chapter of a feud which showed us some of the least fondly remembered moments of the whole Attitude Era, they had a wild arena-wide (and outside) brawl. Loads of random weapons and all sorts were used and it was fine for what it was; from plants to coffee cups to signs to golf carts, all sorts! Bossman whipped and choked Snow with his leather trouser belt, and at one point after hit Snow with a bulldog on concrete for a nearfall. They brawled out to outside the arena, at which point Al Snow kicked out at two after being hit in the head WITH A FUCKING BRICK (I CBA)… For the finish Bossman chained Snow to a fence (despite Snow smiling as this happened) and after being hit over the head with a bottle, with Snow cuffed to this fence Big Bossman took out his Police stick and smashed Al Snow over and over with it. He then pressed his foot against Snow who was against the fence and this acted as the pinfall. Big Bossman your new Hardcore Champion (4/4 title changes now), and he then jogged back to the ring where he celebrated with his newly won belt.
Big Show defeated Kane with Hardcore Holly as Special Guest Referee
We were shown a video explaining how Kane had recently turned good after turning his back on his evil brother of destruction. Holly was backstage with Kelly, where he explained that he was not in fact partial in favour of Big Show and he doesn’t have to be partial to anyone. He went on to say how Show had tried to suck up to him for weeks but it wont work and he IS law and order. Kane had as I’ve mentioned turned his back on Undertaker recently and aligned himself with his friend X-Pac (Taker and X-Pac have beef, remember that as we go through this show…)… In an amazing spot Big Show press slammed Kane over the ring ropes, and he dominated as Kane’s selling was really good. Show got a nearfall after with a powerslam and he did a less than enthusiastic cover as well. Kane did comeback though with a ddt, and followed later with a huge flying clothesline off the top rope. Kane then signalled for the Chokeslam, right as Hardcore Holly (the same guy who said he would not be partial to anyone in the match) chop blocked Kane’s leg out from behind. This allowed Big Show to hit the Chokeslam himself and even then Holly still did a fast three count. Big Show wins the battle of the behemoths with a finish I would describe as… well, shit.
X-Pac came out right after and knocked down Holly. Undertaker then came out and choke slammed X-Pac as Big Show took down Kane, before the two double teamed Kane. The crowd really wanted to see Austin make the save here but he didn’t. Taker then exited the ring and leaves as Show then helped Holly out. It’s odd now to see these sort of angles so frequently on a PPV when they’d be much more common on your regular weekly show, but I kind of like it and so do the crowd for the most part.
Austin and Taker then finally had a brawl backstage. The key part being that by the end, Undertaker was busted open too. So going into their FIRST BLOOD match later in the night both now had significant wounds to their head.
Ken Shamrock defeated Steve Blackman in an Iron Circle match
We had a video showing Blackman attacking Ken Shamrock time and time again in the weeks before with his kendo stick, Shamrock even had internal bleeding at King Of The Ring after a beatdown. Ken did get his revenge the next night in a weapons match. So… in case you’re wondering what an Iron Circle match is we basically had a load of extras (Albert, Test, Sgt Slaughter, Mabel, Val Venis etc) and they were all alongside a circle of cars that Shamrock and Blackman were fighting in the middle of, and the first man to be able to leave the circle would be the winner. So they battled and brawled all around these cars, it was less of a match and more a parking lot brawl really (oh the match was in what looked to be an underground parking lot by the way). Blackman went to strike Shamrock with a crowbar at one point but he moved and hit a car instead. They both smashed eachother into the various cars and nearby walls as well, at later Shamrock wrapped a chain around his fist and hit Blackman over and over before choking him out with it. Shamrock then gave a crazed look before his signature roar before throwing a nearby bin away and walking off as his music played… so I guess he’s your winner then… I don’t really know what this was…
Taker was backstage with an interviewer, he wasn’t in a good mood at all as he launched in the poor guy into a nearby wall.
Michael Cole was (blimey they love a backstage spot or interview on this show don’t they) with Chyna and Billy Gunn. They cut a promo on Road Dogg and X-Pac.
Road Dogg & X-Pac defeated Chyna & Mr Ass (Billy Gunn) for the rights to DX
So the deal here was the former members of the DX supergroup were now fighting eachother for the right to continue the group themselves. Mr Ass and Chyna were in it for the money and the profits whereas Dogg and Pac were more about the way of life and feeling of what DX meant. Road Dogg of course cut a promo before the match to hype up the crowd which they loved. The crowd kept up their level of interest for the large portion of the match in fact. In terms of in-ring work all three guys helped Chyna along to make her look strong. And in a fun spot at the start Gunn was fuming with the crowd calling him an asshole. Gunn’s attire was notable too, as it looked as if he had a thong-like middle part of his wrestling pants which was funny (I guess to show off his ass). Everyone sold to Chyna really well as Road Dogg took a beating from her and Gunn early on (his selling was really good). Mr Ass looked good in the ring too, the match though changed pace once Dogg got his foot up to Mr Ass as he came down off the top, which eventually allowed for him to get the big hot tag to X-Pac. Pac then was later sent flying into the ropes by Gunn which got a 2 count, Chyna later go a nearfall after slamming Pac down, then we had a spot where Pac tagged out but the ref didn’t see it and so as he was dealing with an angry Road Dogg this allowed for Chyna and Mr Ass to then put the boot in on X-Pac. But the babyfaces did eventually get the win after Road Dogg hit a pumphandle slam on Mr Ass. The crowd popped big for the end sequence and the match itself was fine. The level of noise the crowd made during really helped it a lot.
Triple H defeated The Rock in a Strap Match to become the number one contender for the WWF Championship
We had a really good video before the match that told the story of this historic feud down the years and how both men wanted to become WWF Champion. After Triple H made his entrance to his classic ‘My Time’ theme song we had ANOTHER BACKSTAGE FUCKING INTERVIEW… thankfully this time it was with The Rock, who just took the piss out of Triple H and it was great stuff. They brawled all around the ringside area as both were of course joined by the wrist with the strap. The crowd went wild whenever Rock was on offence, but died a little when it was Triple H’s turn. They brawled into the crowd as they (particularly the women) went wild whenever the brawl went near them. As it went on all I could think was this strap gimmick is killing this match a little for me… it was a wild brawl all round the crowd and ringside area but the straps slowed it in parts … at one point Chyna comes down to the ring area, just as Rock hit the rock bottom but as the ref dealing with Chyna he missed The Rock having HHH beat! HHH then hit a low blow, and took most of the match after that. He went on to use the strap to choke Rock in the corner, but The Rock was able to fight back and throw Triple H down from the top. HHH then took off the strap on his wrist and attacked Rock, before getting a chair only to walk into The Rock whipping him with the strap, over and over again down the entrance way. Rock then dragged Triple H back to the ring and got a 2 count after a ddt which got the crowd very excited. Then after as Chyna distracted the ref, ‘Mr Ass’ came down and hit Rock with a club. Triple H then went for the cover but Rock kicked out at two, which the crowd loved. Triple H then went for a Pedigree but Rock hit a low blow and followed with the powerslam set up for the People’s Elbow. Naturally the crowd went wild for the big move, but as the ref counted the two Billy Gunn pulled Rock off of the pinfall. Rock responded hitting the Rock Bottom to Gunn, but this allowed Triple H to get up and hit the Pedigree to The Rock for the 1,2,3. Crowd weren’t happy at all. It was a fun match but the strap didn’t help it at times. The Rock was super over and only behind Austin as most popular on this show, so he was a superstar. At this time the crowd didn’t respond to Triple H like was a top guy… not yet anyway… but it is HHH who goes on to SummerSlam to face the WWF Champion… whoever that may be after the main event…
The camera then focused on one of the three large pendants at the top of the ramp. The two on each side had images of Austin and Undertaker bleeding, but this focus was on the centre one with Vince covered in blood. Foreshadowing…
Stone Cold Steve Austin (C) defeated The Undertaker in a First Blood Match to retain the WWF Championship. As Per the pre-match stipulations: Vince McMahon must leave the WWF!
We had a really great video; Austin won the title, Taker busted him open after, we had references to the previous year when Taker busted Austin open to cost him the WWF title, and then how Mr McMahon got involved to side against Austin again, Taker also helped Vince sign the contract for the match in Austin’s own blood, and we also had Austin attacking Vince whilst he was in a wheelchair and making Vince bleed too.
So to clarify, the stipulations are if Taker wins here then Austin can never ever again challenge for the WWF Championship. But if Stone Cold wins then Vince McMahon has promised he will leave the WWF, and we will never see him on WWF TV again. Somebody’s gonna bleed, somebody’s gonna leave.
Vince limped out before the match down, and he looked back to the giant pendant with him bleeding on it. Vince made his way with his crutches to join commentary, and despite the stakes he seems in a very jovial mood. Taker was seen walking backstage and he seemed really pissed off as he patted his head where he had earlier been cut open. Vince claimed to Jerry Lawler that Taker had his wound clamped shut. Taker came out to his evil SOB Corporate Ministry theme song which I loved. Vince gave a passionate speech during Taker’s entrance stating his case. We then saw Stone Cold backstage, and they did the boxing-style full walks to the ring, to really give this a big fight feel. Austin has the Smokin Skull belt. Austin ran right in and taker met him on the entrance walk and they fought… Vince on commentary going mad is SO great. Whenever Austin was on offence the people went proper nuts for him. They brawled round the ringside area too, as Austin had a big plaster on his head. They brawled into the crowd as the match went 50/50 for most of it. Taker later went for a chair shot but hit the ring post instead, and he tried again just after but Austin hit a drop toe hold to send Taker face first into steel steps, but he WAS NOT busted open. Later back in the ring Taker tripped over the ref and fell into the ring ropes so that he was trapped, and Austin went right away to get a chair, only for Shane McMahon to run down to try and save Taker… but he got a chair shot for his troubles. Taker came back in after and told Austin “you’re gonna bleed boy” but then got hit with a low blow and then a Stunner by the Rattlesnake. Vince then hobbled over from commentary and tried to use his crutch to attack Austin, but Steve Austin punched him down. He then grabbed a chair but Undertaker hit Austin with a chair of his own. Taker then threw the ref out the way, and then came a run in this time from X-Pac. Pac kicked the chair right into Taker’s face, and then Austin followed up with a shot with a nearby TV Camera to Taker right on his head… the crowd were going absolutely ape shit by this point, and their excitement only got louder when Taker got up and he was bleeding. Austin punched away at Taker as he got up, but Taker hit back as a terrified Vince McMahon looked on. Undertaker picked Austin up and was about to Tombstone him, but by this time the ref was back up and saw him bleeding and called for the bell. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were exceptional on commentary in this and the next part by the way I must mention. The ref called for the bell and Taker punched him as the announcement was made that Austin was still champion… and we know what that means…
Austin then hit Taker with a Stunner as the crowd went nuts. Jerry Lawler desperately exclaimed it was indeed the end of an era. And Jim Ross excitedly told us that Austin was still the champion and Vince McMahon is GONE! Austin then stunned Vince he had come into the ring, before his future SummerSlam opponent Triple H came down and he fought with Stone Cold. The Rock then ran out too and he and HHH brawled up the ramp and to the back. Meanwhile a bloody Undertaker furiously wrecked the commentary and nearby ringside area, and he even busted Austin open too in the process. In Taker’s fury as both top guys fought he even hit Shane McMahon, as a load of officials tried to lead Undertaker away. The crowd loudly chanted for Austin as he went after him, but as Taker went up the ramp Austin stayed in the ring with the soon-to-be-departing Vince. Vince looked utterly devastated as he was offered a handshake and a beer by Austin… who of course gave him another Stunner to send him packing. Austin of course then posed and drank some beer to close the show in signature fashion.
This had all the hallmarks of a classic Attitude Era PPV, so take that for what you will be overall I enjoyed it. And they did a fantastic job all show of making the main event seem like a huge huge deal. And everything around that was the finest of GOOD SHIT!!!