Retro Review

Retro Review – St Valentine’s Day Massacre 1999

Matthew Roberts goes back twenty years for the penultimate event before WrestleMania XV, St. Valentines Day Massacre 1999.

With the TWM Time Machine set to Fastlane it realised that there weren’t too many of those events.  So instead it took Matthew Roberts back 20 years to the first, and only, St Valentine’s Day Massacre In Your House event.

Given that in 1999 the Vince McMahon / Stone Cold Steve Austin rivalry was blazing, the WWE was on an upwards curve and “EVERYONE” loves the Attitude Era and wants it back in this PG era this should have been a card that was a reminder of how great the WWE was and how great it could be again.  In practise it’s less so. 

I can imagine, for instance, the vitriol on social media if WWE opened a PPV these days with a three minute match between Goldust and Bluedust (the Blue Meanie doing another in his long line of imitations).  People would be “cancelling their subscriptions” by the time The Big Bossman and Mideon have a terrible match made even worse by interference from Viscera (and that’s without knowing in advance just what a terrible Mania match this was all setting up). People would be probably calling for a boycott of all things WWE when a Tag Team Title match between Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett and Mark Henry & D-Lo Brown seems as much interested in Debra and Ivory at ringside as it does in any action in the ring.  Then when Val Venis defeats Ken Shamrock for the Intercontinental Title (in a match refereed by Billy Gunn) for no other reason than pointless and unnecessary title changes were the norm in 1999 because that will sure shock the fans people would be demanding the entire booking team was sent packing on the spot!

So it is clear that St Valentine’s Day Massacre does feature some of the worst bits of the Attitude Era.  But much like throughout the time period at large, what is good generally saves the day. 

The Hardcore Division is represented reasonably well in a spirited match between Al Snow and Hardcore Holly which spends all of a minute in the ring before wandering off backstage, then outside and into a river.  Triple H and X-Pac team up to take on Kane & Chyna (accompanied by Shane McMahon) in a DX Vs Corporation battle that was extremely heated and really rather good.  Whilst Chyna was never a great wrestler (I know, I know, complaints to the usual address please) she looked the part and could be carried by opponents would wanted to do her a “favour”, which Triple H clearly did here.  He even ate the pinfall in this match which isn’t something you see every day!

The card really comes to life though, in the final two encounters. A Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship between Mankind and The Rock is another fine entry into their series in 98/99 (this being the fourth consecutive PPV match between the pair, as well as some televised encounters you might just remember…) and whilst a LMS match ending in a double count-out draw somewhat goes against the whole point of such a match you cannot help but be entertained by the sheer hell both men put their own bodies through.  The chemistry they had was off-the-scale and I’d recommend, if you haven’t already, going through their entire feud at this time. 

Steve Austin and Vince McMahon can’t quite follow that in terms of “action” but their Steel Cage match (which at the time many thought might be the end of this particular feud…hindsight, hey?) is a riot.  It’s basically twenty minutes of Austin battering Vince for the sheer hell of it but any long time fans will know how fun that is.  The big surprise is the WWE debut of Paul Wight, aka WCW’s Giant and the soon to be WWE’s Big Show.  Although he’s supposed to help Vince, when he tosses Austin in to the cage, it breaks and Austin wins the match as his feet touch the floor.  It seems quite appropriate when you consider how Show’s WWE career went that it started in this (storyline) cock-up fashion. 

Out of context of the time it’s hard to recommend this show fully.  Some of it is a chore to sit through. But as nostalgic look backs at the Attitude Era go, this has a lot to commend it.  Austin/McMahon was THE Attitude feud and Rock/Mankind wasn’t far behind.  Throw in the DX/Corporation stuff and the Hardcore division frivolity and if it’s fair to say that the show highlights some of the worst excesses of the Attitude Era, it also highlights some of the best.

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