Date: 24th January, 1999
Venue: Arrowhead Pond
City: Anaheim, CA
Commentators: Michael Cole &
Jerry “The King” Lawler
The overriding theme of the pay-per-view was centered around The Corporation and Mr. McMahon’s attempts to enforce his notions of how a company should be run on the promotion. Since its inception the night after Survivor Series, the group had mainly come to blows with the irreverent D-Generation X, the Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness and McMahon’s arch nemesis Steve Austin.
When Commissioner Shawn Michaels allied himself with The Corporation, one of the first things he did was to book the Tag Team Champions, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, in a title defense against Corporate members Ken Shamrockand The Big Boss Man. Despite his interference at Rock Bottom: In Your House they managed to retain their titles but they were not so lucky on Raw is War on December 14. As the feud between DX and The Corporation intensified, the New Age Outlaws turned to singles wrestling as Road Dogg found himself caught up in the hardcore division and became Hardcore Champion on December 21. Meanwhile, as well as tensions from the tag team feuding, Billy Gunn gained the ire of Ken Shamrock when his sister Ryan appeared at ringside, only to have her sibling affection distracted when Gunn lived up to his nickname by flirtatiously mooning Ryan after Val Venis had already danced for her. Filled with his typical rage Shamrock put his Intercontinental Championship on the line for a chance to honor his notions of sibling protection.
After a minor absence, Women’s Champion Sable returned to Raw with an open invitation on December 28, but before the match a fan came into the ring, later identified as Tori to give her a rose. A masked wrestler identified as “Spider Lady” came to the ring for the match (a nod to The Fabulous Moolah’s screwjob over Wendi Richter in the mid ’80s) but it ended in a no-contest when she started whipping Sable with her belt. The masked woman was revealed to be Luna Vachon, who would go on to face Sable in a “Strap Match” at the Rumble.
The Rock and Mankind had been feuding ever since Survivor Series in November 1998, when the two met in the finals of the “Deadly Game” tournament for the vacant WWF Championship. The Rock won the title that night with the help of the McMahons, who had previously been assisting Mankind, and became the chosen Corporate Champion while Mankind began a feud with the Corporation. Mankind faced The Rock again at Rock Bottom: IYH and won the match, but Mr. McMahon stepped in and announced that while Rock lost the match by falling unconscious to the mandible claw, he did not technically submit and thus the WWF Championship would not change hands. Angered at being screwed out of the championship twice, Mankind attacked Shane McMahon on Raw is War and demanded a match. On the first Raw is War of 1999, January 4, after interference from The Corporation, D-Generation X and Steve Austin, Mankind won his first WWF Championship. Initially he refused The Rock’s demands for a rematch, despite Rock offering stipulation after stipulation to appease Mankind until eventually he quit begging, at which point Mankind revealed that he would face The Rock at the Rumble as long as it was an “I Quit” match.
The Royal Rumble match featured a number of notable build ups. On Raw is War on January 11, a Corporation vs. DX mini-Rumble was set up with the winner taking the coveted number 30 spot; after all the apparent competitors had entered it seemed as if Triple H had won until Mr. McMahon made his way to the ring, entering himself on behalf of the Corporation and throwing a distracted Triple H out of the ring. Again it seemed as if the winner was established until DX’s Chyna made her way to the ring and won the match. The event would mark the first time a female wrestler took part in the match. Chyna also appeared at the Royal Rumble the following year as well. Chyna became the only woman to enter the match until Beth Phoenix entered the Royal Rumble in 2010.
The most notable aspect of the Royal Rumble, though, was the feud between Mr. McMahon and Steve Austin. Austin had won the Royal Rumble the previous two years and McMahon attempted to prevent him from repeating by putting him in a “Buried Alive” match at Rock Bottom: IYH against The Undertaker with one Royal Rumble place on the line. Austin won, with a little help from Kaneand was guaranteed a place in the match, but McMahon continued in his attempts to prevent Austin from winning the match by “randomly” drawing Austin’s spot at #1 and entering himself in the match at #30. Commissioner Michaels over-rode his decision and put McMahon at #2, and set up a Corporate/DX mini-Rumble for the now vacant #30 position. With Austin and McMahon being the first two to enter, McMahon wanted to guarantee there would be “no chance in hell” that Austin would win by not only training as a competitor, but also offering a $100,000 bounty for the man who eliminated him.
Big Boss Man defeated Road Dogg (11:52)
Ken Shamrock (c) defeated Billy Gunn (14:24)
X-Pac (c) defeated Gangrel (5:53)
Sable (c) defeated Luna Vachon (with Shane McMahon) (4:43)
“I Quit” Match:
The Rock defeated Mankind (c) (21:46)
Royal Rumble Match:
Vince McMahon won by last eliminating “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (56:38)
When Mr. McMahon won the Royal Rumble he earned a match against the WWF Champion at WrestleMania, but at the time it seemed as if that champion was fellow Corporate member The Rock. Not a full-time wrestler, McMahon announced on January 25 that he was vacating his place at WrestleMania (the first time the Royal Rumble winner would voluntarily vacate their place) only to be informed by Commissioner Michaels that if the winner was incapable of wrestling in the WrestleMania main event then the runner-up would take their place. As the runner-up was Steve Austin, this enraged McMahon and Austin used this to goad him into a match. Austin explained that even more than a WWF Championship match, he wanted another chance to fight McMahon without any legal ramifications so much that he would risk his WrestleMania title shot for the chance. To ensure that there would be no Corporate interference, the match would take place inside a steel cage at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: In Your House. Austin went on to win the match after the debut of Paul Wight, who came through the ring’s mat and threw Austin into the cage wall, breaking it open and causing Austin to exit the cage before McMahon. Austin proceeded to face The Rock at WrestleMania XV, winning the WWF Championship for the second year in a row.
The mystery of Mankind’s quitting was solved when it was revealed that Shane McMahon had played a voice clip from a prerecorded interview on Sunday Night Heat of Foley vowing to make Rock be the one “screaming I quit, I quit, I quit!” when he was actually unconscious. Having been screwed again, Foley hijacked the $100,000 bounty money The Rock earned for helping eliminate Austin, and began to throw it in the crowd, holding it ransom for a rematch. The rematch would be a twenty-minute time limit hardcore match, held in an empty arena during halftime of Super Bowl XXXIII on Halftime Heat, where Mankind would win the title back by trapping Rock underneath a heavy payload on a forklift truck. With the Rock claiming it was an unfair win, the two faced each other again, and in hopes of finding a definitive champion the match was booked as a “Last Man Standing” match at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. It ended in a draw when both men were counted out, meaning they had to settle it again the next night on Raw is War in a ladder match which Rock won with help from Paul Wight. With WrestleMania so close, Mankind sought to settle the score with Rock by countlessly trying to become a second special guest referee in the WrestleMania main event, alongside Wight. Early in the WrestleMania card, Wight and Mankind fought for the referee position in a match which saw Wight disqualified for choke-slamming Foley through a pair of steel folding chairs. Foley was sent to the hospital for his injuries, but returned to officiate in the closing minutes of the match.
After making herself properly known, Sable’s stalker Tori would be humiliated with her, pretending to align herself with Luna Vachon only to help Sable give her a beat down. Tori soon realized how selfish Sable was, though and the two had a match for the Women’s Championship at WrestleMania XV where Sable retained her title thanks to interference from Nicole Bass.
Mabel, meanwhile, was renamed Viscera and became the newest member of the Ministry of Darkness as it assembled its war against The Corporation and Mr. McMahon, making The Brood part of the stable too on February 1. The Undertaker would have a “Hell in a Cell” match against Big Boss Man at WrestleMania XV which ended with The Brood passing rope from the roof to hang Boss Man with. The feud between the two stables continued until they joined forces when it became apparent that the “higher power” The Undertaker was answering to was actually Mr. McMahon.
Royal Rumble Stats
|1||Stone Cold Steve Austin||29||McMahon||56:38|
|7||Steve Blackman||4||Mabel and Singh||07:22|
|9||Tiger Ali Singh||5||Mabel||04:02|
|10||The Blue Meanie||6||Mabel||02:59|
|11||Mabel||9||Mideon, Faarooq and Bradshaw||01:26|
|12||The Road Dogg||12||Kane||10:41|
|15||Al Snow||11||Road Dogg||00:47|
|22||The Big Boss Man||28||Austin||18:53|
|24||Val Venis||24||Triple H||12:41|
|27||Jeff Jarrett||21||Triple H||03:39|
|28||D’Lo Brown||27||Boss Man||09:11|