Look, I’m a man of my word and sometimes you make a bet and it doesn’t pay off. So sure was I that Adam Cole would stay with the WWE and not sign with AEW that I now rather foolishly decided to hedge my bets that had he not resigned with WWE, I would write about why Heroes Of Wrestling 1999 was good. And – well, here we are.
So. Heroes Of Wrestling 1999. A critically-panned wrestling show featuring stars in their mid-50s crawling around the ring sorely missing their bedtime. Not really WrestleMania X7, more the ‘Mania X7 Gimmick Battle Royal but longer, worse and with matches. Then again, I’m looking at the good stuff here so sweet Jesus – give me strength…
They’re Known Names
I mean, at least there is some nostalgia. The whole reason the event is likely so notorious was the huge names on the card – which is kind of better than unknown wrestlers having a terrible match. Their legacies were hindered but at least there was some talent.
Former major promotion world champions like Iron Sheik, Yokozuna and Jimmy Snuka took part whilst notable good workers such as Jim Neidhart, Greg Valentine, Bob Orton, Tully Blanchard, Stan Lane and 2 Cold Scorpio were also at the event.
In fact, the only name not to wrestle on PPV beforehand was Julio Fantastico – which surely makes him not a “Hero Of Wrestling”.
Tully Blanchard vs Stan Lane
Generally, watching the matches from Heroes Of Wrestling 1999 is like watching a barn full of treasured memories being engulfed in flames of misery, yet there is a solitary competent match.
This saw two former workhorses collide as The Four Horsemen took on The Midnight Express as Tully Blanchard fought Stan Lane.
Prior to the bout, Blanchard cut a brilliant, scathing promo in the parking lot for the match (a rare occasion in which he would work face). The match itself was solid and whilst likely not as fast as their heyday was not noticeably slow. All moves looked good and clean-cut without much fault from the 45-year-old Tully and 46-year-old Stan.
Its finish was even a call-back to a common finish of the territory days. In this, a wrestler (often the heel – in this case, Stan Lane) hits a German Suplex and bridges for the cover with their shoulders down.
The opponent (Tully Blanchard) will then sneakily raise one of their shoulders up so that the wrestler on the offence is actually the one pinned.
Variety Is The Spice of Life!
One thing you can definitely say about the show was that it had vast variety. Whether you wanted to see high-fliers, grapplers, hardcore matches, tag bouts or a man rubbing a snake as if it were his penis – it is all here.
In terms of the athletic offence, you have 2 Cold Scorpio hitting his always impressive looking Tumbleweed; a Tumbleweed that had to be sold by opponent Julio Fantastico despite there being a Caspian Sea’s-worth of length between the two.
On the other side of the spectrum, the hardcore side was fulfilled by Abdullah The Butcher and One Man Gang who fought in a bloody and barbaric extreme rules bout. This too was quite reminiscent of traditional matches of this genre as it featured a chaotic non-finish – similar to those involving the likes of Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen and Terry Funk.
The Jake Roberts/Jim Neidhart Match Didn’t Conclude
Jim Neidhart was himself likely thankful that King Kong Bundy and Yokozuna saved him from having to solo wrestle an inebriated Jake Roberts.
“The Snake” forced a fan to touch his chest, walked back and forth in his entrance and insinuated that his pet Damien was his own personal “snake”. Clearly drunk – as shown earlier in the PPV by the infamous “Wanna Play 21” promo – Roberts attempted to wrestle “The Hitman”’s former tag partner.
Realising the failure of one of their biggest matches, the semi-main was quickly converted as both Bundy and Yokozuna ran out to merge the two headlining bouts into one. Bundy teamed with Neidhart whilst Yokozuna would tag alongside Roberts. It didn’t exactly turn Hart/Backlund into Hart/Austin but it did help aid us from a painful stint of a few more minutes as Neidhart would have tried to have worked something out of his drunk dance partner. That said, the damage was already done but they still saved us from a prolonged encounter between the duo.
So Bad It’s Good Commentary
You likely know of the Sharknado franchise – a series of films so bad in nature that they have become the benchmark for terrible works now revered for how shoddy they are.
One of those on commentary for a stretch was “Captain” Lou Albano. So that really tells you all you need to know about that part. The crazy, jabbering, fast-talking Italian-American plied his trade as a ranting commentator before being announced commissioner only to ramble a large spiel afterwards.
Also, legendary NWA announcer Gordon Solie was announced for the show. Due to severe issues with throat cancer (which would eventually kill him less than a year later), the iconic Solie had to pull out. Unannounced and undressed to the audience, he was replaced by Randy Rosenbloom. Rosenbloom seemingly knew little about professional wrestling and has since been ridiculed for it.
Mistaking the nationalities of wrestlers and miscalling many moves, he would specifically get scorn for his inability to even call a basic dropkick. Instead, he would refer to it as a “flying kick”, “flying leg kick” and even a “leg drop” which is a completely different class of move.
Whilst terrible, the commentary is hilarious. One of the most memorable parts of the show, it still has people laughing at how bad it is for its sheer inaccuracy and stupidity.