The first ever Retro Podcast on FightfulSelect.com was Backlash 1999. With Backlash quickly approaching, I thought it would be cool to take a look back at an era that we don't often get to cover on Fightful outside of the occasional Alternate commentary (which just concluded its first season). Take a look at some of my notes and consider subscribing to Fightful Select!
APA & Mideon defeated The Brood
- I'm reminded of how cool that Brood entrance is.
- APA & Mideon were all around in 1996, but as way, way different characters
- Christian works circles around Mideon, and Edge looked bright eyed, hitting the rppes over and over.
- Today this match would be an afterthought, but back then, the crowd was surprisingly into it.
- Christian almost won with a tornado DDT that I bought as a finish.
- The crowd was all about those ten punches in the corner, until Bradshaw powerbombed the piss out of Christian. A perfectly placed missile dropkick into a schoolboy almost pins Bradshaw.
- Viscera interferes and Bradshaw pins Christian. This was pretty good stuff.
Al Snow defeated Hardcore Holly (c)
- The steroids appeared aplenty in Hardcore Holly Back in the day. Those traps were insane
- Al Snow channeling his Shinobi days with the hockey stick.
- This was a tough watch, knowing what we know now about concussions.
- Hardcore Holly grabs a sink, which JR and King call "the Kitchen sink," but it's clearly a bathroom sink.
- Snow gets pushed into a dumpster, then Holly jumps in for a two count!
- I loved Jim Ross ribbing Howard Finkel by saying Snow and Holly could be fighting on top of his car, since HBK and Mr. Perfect did in 1993.
- I'd kind of remembered Attitude era for rushed, short matches, but early on they're getting some time.
- Superplex through the table from Holly doesn't win it, but head does.
- This was an odd, slow ending to an action-packed match.
Backstage crappnings and additional notes
- The opening and JR/Lawler talking was so much more natural back then
- There's a horrible backstage segment where Taker and The Ministry are teasing the Higher Power.
- Another horrible segment where Shane McMahon says Vince is just "Vince" to him, not his dad. Vince McMahon is much better on his end of things, and Stephanie is in the early stages of character development and very green.
- Chyna's promo isn't great, but is better than a lot of them on this show. Triple H's is what you would think a Triple H 1999 promo would be. He has a chip on his shoulder, but he knows his time is coming.
The Godfather (c) defeated Goldust (w/ Blue Meanie)
- It's so weird to see Godfather these days, because that totally wouldn't fly.
- This is gaga and bullshit. There's a powder spot and Goldust accidentally attacks The Blue Meanie, and hits Shattered Dreams.
- The Godfather wins with the Ho Train and Death Valley Driver.
Top Contender's Match
New Age Outlaws defeated Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra)
- Well as crazy as it was to see Godfather's gimmick, Debra's attire was.....woah. Road Dogg wants to see the puppies.
- It's hilarious to hear JR constantly refer to Billy Gunn as Mr. Ass.
- Jeff Jarrett is really underrated for his ability to transition from southern guy who didn't fit in much of anywhere to Attitude era guy who fit in great
- There's a double dropdown spot that Jarrett, Road Dogg and Owen hit to perfection that looked almost impossible to not mess up.
- You never see hand-holding double clotheslines these days, but you did in this show.
- Gunn hits a Fameasser on Hart while he has Road Dogg in a Sharpshooter for the win. What a neat finish.
- Road Dogg has Billy Gunn show the crowd his ass for some reason.
Boiler Room Brawl
Mankind defeated The Big Show
- I forgot this match existed.
- I'm heavily desensitized to this after seeing the Hardcore Title match earlier, but there are good spots.
- Mankind is put in a shopping cart and sent into some boards, then thrown on them. Another set accidentally fall on him and it looks ugly. Why would Big Show pick up the boards instead of leaving and winning?
- We have three glass spots back to back. More than the last 15 years total. Mankind is chokeslammed through two tables with glass on it. Foley's hand is split open.
- Mankind sprays Freon onto Big Show and wins. But is attacked by Bossman and Test. Then Big Show attacks them.
- This dumbass doctor is stitching up Big Show with scissors on his pinky finger. Dangerous.
- Foley is shown sympathetically walking back the match that just happened. Humbling.
Triple H (w/ Chyna) defeated X-Pac
- X-Pac's theme was underrated.
- These two are working their asses off
- JR, Lawler, X-Pac and Triple H did a great job making this feel like a main event.
- X- Pac screaming "AHHH SHIT" as he's selling.
- Chyna's ass is completely out in her attire. I don't know if I'll ever get used to changes like that.
- They made X-Pac look strong in this match following the DX split. It took a Chyna distraction, low blow and reverse DDT, and a ref bump. X-Pac still hit the X-Factor and looked like he had Triple H beat.
- Kane comes out and grabs Chyna by the throat, and chokeslams Triple H and Chyna as Jim Ross shouts with joy as he advocates it. The term "big red Retard is used too." I know this was a different time, but man, I'd forgotten how much so.
- X-Pac got caught up Bronco Bustering Chyna and gets hit with a Pedigree
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) defeated Ken Shamrock
- Ken Shamrock would be a high priority in WWE today.
- This is a match I hadn't really considered, and commentary spent a great amount of time putting over that Shamrock was working over Taker's leg hard. Unfortunately the crowd didn't get the story and didn't like it.
- I'm sure this was as much Taker's idea as anyone's, as he is and was an MMA fan, and loves the grappling style.
- I was surprised Taker caught a flying Shamrock off the apron.
- This is just poorly paced and move after move, no transitions or anything like that.
- Another predictable run in -- Bradshaw on Shamrock. Then a Paul Bearer distraction.
- Shamrock countered a chokeslam with a flying armbar and hit a belly to belly, but gets Tombstoned. Bradshaw beats the hell out of Shamrock after the match.
- This had good intentions, but yuck.
Guest Referee Shane McMahon
Stone Cold Steve Austin (c) defeated The Rock
- The Rock exuded "once in a lifetime" even back then. Same for Austin. You could tell this was something special -- the pairing at least.
- The match early on isn't special. It's a brawl, and not a great one, but at the time it didn't really need to be.
- The Rock takes a giant bump over the top rope that gets a huge reaction, but Rock Bottoms Austin through a table. That was their sweet spot.
- The Rock harasses Hugo on commentary, which is funny if you've ever talked to Hugo on social media these days.
- I know the effect a lot of these bumps had on guys like Austin, so it sucks seeing him bump on concrete today.
- The Rock even steals a camera, which provides the iconic shot of him eating a stunner from a first person view.
- Austin accidentally hits Shane McMahon, but Rock hits a GREAT Rock Bottom. Shane makes Rock cover, but Stone Cold kicks out.
- Shane accidentally hits Rock with a title belt, but won't count the three. Vince McMahon comes out and cracks Shane with the title belt. Austin hits Rock with a title and gets the win. The crowd came unglued.
- After the match we get the hilarious "WHERE TO, STEPHANIE?" spot. Jerry Lawler sold this perfectly. He abandoned his heel character and just screamed "VINCE! SOMEBODY TELL VINCE!"
10- Perfect, 9- Excellent, 8- Great, 7- Good, 6- Above Average, 5- Average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor
Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system.