Not only is today International Love Day, aka Valentine’s Day, but it is also a very important anniversary. Yes, today is the 30th anniversary of Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean’s gold medal triumph at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. However, not to take anything away from ice skating, but we hardly care about that kind of nonsense on this blog. Therefore I am celebrating another important date in history: The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. No, not the gang land shooting involving Al Capone, I am of course referring to the professional wrestling PPV featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Blue Meanie and many more of the Attitude Era’s top players.
To set the scene it is fifteen years ago, that’s 1999 if you’re struggling, and we have approached the last stop on the road to Wrestlemania. However, back then the ‘Road to Wrestlemania’ was barely referred to; in fact it takes a good hour or so before Wrestlemania is even mentioned on this broadcast.
The theme of this show is “closure”, with Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and Michael Cole using that word to describe both the main event matches. The first would pit WWE Champion Mankind against The Rock, in a last man standing match. These two had been trading WWE Title victories for the last three months, in a series of fantastically entertaining gimmick matches. The second main event would pit Stone Cold Steve Austin against Mr McMahon in a steel cage match. Having faced each other in the previous month’s Royal Rumble match this would be the first (and last) one-on-one encounter between the two.
Anyway, here are the highlights from a typically outrageous Attitude Era WWE event –
The event is being held in the Pyramid in Memphis, thus The King is massively over. Surprisingly he sticks to his commentary duties and does not get involved in any angles. We’re also hot on the heels of Raw Saturday Night, because it was pre-empted on Monday due to a dog show. I’m not joking, Raw was bumped for a fucking dog show!
Goldust def. Bluedust
Who was Bluedust I hear you ask? That would be The Blue Meanie dressed as Smurfette. On the back of Goldust losing to Gillberg on Raw, due to a distraction from The Blue Meanie, this match was only memorable for Da Blue Guy’s ill-fitting, adult sized baby-grow.
Hardcore Holly def. Al Snow to win the vacant WWE Hardcore Title
Why was the Hardcore Title vacant I hear you ask? Because someone attacked The Road Dogg and put him in the hospital the previous night, of course. This was your standard 1999 hardcore match, although can be considered more memorable than most. This was the match that ended up in the Mississippi river, with Holly picking up the win on its banks.
The Big Bossman def. Mideon
“This’ll be a good one” claimed Michael Cole. In keeping with most of his comments at the time, he was wrong. This was one of those weird matches, of which there were plenty around this time, pitting the heels of The Ministry of Darkness against the heels of The Corporation. Due to how weird they were, and The Undertaker’s influence, The Ministry were the more popular group. Yet, it was Mr McMahon’s Corporation who were portrayed as the lesser of two evils in this odd feud. Anyway, this was a crap a match after which The Bossman was abducted by The Ministry. I loved that not one of his stable mates from The Corporate Team bothered to come out and help.
Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett (c) def. Mark Henry & D’Lo Brown to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles
Another confusing match. Henry and Brown come across as heels, and so did Jarrett and Hart. The only popular elements in this match appeared to be Debra’s boobs, which were stationed at ringside. Ivory, who had debuted the previous night, was also at ringside in Henry and Brown’s corner. Not much to say about this match really. The ref got distracted, someone got hit with a fake guitar and Debra ended up showing everybody her bra.
Val Venis def. Ken Shamrock
As Shamrock was rather upset with Mr Venis for engaging in familiar relations with his storyline sister, no referee wanted to get involved and thus Bad Ass Billy Gunn, who had nothing better to do, stepped in. That’s pretty much your build up, Val was banging Ryan Shamrock and Ken didn’t like it. Again, the grey area that is the Attitude Era played havoc with who was the babyface here. Ultimately a riled up Shamrock shoved Billy (who was definitely a babyface) thus sealing his fate. Shamrock got fast counted at the first opportunity and Val picked up the win. Interestingly there was no mention of the DX v Corporation feud, despite the presence of two key players.
Kane & Chyna def. Triple H & X-Pac
“The first time in history that a woman has competed in a man’s match” – Michael Cole completely ignoring Chyna’s participation in the Royal Rumble just a few weeks earlier. There was plenty heat for this one, after Chyna had defected to the Corporation. Still though, the action was pretty basic.
Mankind (c) v The Rock in a Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Title ended in a no contest
Quite comfortably the best match of the night. This wasn’t a patch on their ‘I Quit’ match at the Royal Rumble, but that was a hard act to follow. This was supposed to bring closure to this outstanding feud, but that would come 24 hours later. On this occasion both men simultaneously hit each other with steel chairs to knock the other out for a ten count. Sounds like such a simple way of saving face in this kind of match, yet I can’t recall this finish being used since. Anyway, the pair would have a rematch the following night on Raw. Under ladder match rules, and with help from his friends, The Rock won the title and would head to Wrestlemania as WWE Champion.
Stone Cold Steve Austin def. Mr McMahon in a Steel Cage Match (If Austin wins he gets a title shot at Wrestlemania)
This was fantastically entertaining, although did last a little too long. Firstly, it was fought under traditional escape the cage rules. Secondly, it was one of the last instances of the old-school cage with the bars – although, they were black rather than blue. There is a good twenty minutes worth of action in this one, although only around eight of those occur after the bell rings. It takes that long for both men to get in the cage to officially start the match. It almost seemed like they were avoiding taking bumps on the mat, I wonder why? Speaking of bumps, prior to the match actually starting Vinnie Mac took a hell of a bump from the cage through the announce table. He did, and probably still does, like to show the boys how tough he is. As for the actual match, well, Vince gets his ass kicked. The only reason Austin allows it to keep going is because Vince keeps flipping him off every time he tried to leave the cage. He almost paid for this though, as a giant man emerged from the corner of the ring to attack Austin. This was the debut of The Big Show. Unfortunately the big oaf threw Austin into the cage so hard that it broke, allowing the Texas Rattlesnake to escape and claim victory.
So that was St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. By no means was it the best PPV you’ll ever see, but by standards of the time it was pretty decent. In 1998/99 you would normally only get one good match per PPV. However the two top matches on this card or both extremely satisfying, despite the finish of the title match. If you plan on subscribing to the WWE Network then you can do a lot worse than revisiting the penultimate In Your House PPV.