Each and every Thursday I will look back at a different pay-per-view event from the past via the WWE Network. Want to see a certain event covered? Send your suggestions to @VaughnMJohnson on Twitter.
Last time, I covered the WCW Starrcade 1996
WWE Fully Loaded 1999
Date: July 25, 1999
Venue: Marine Midland Arena (Now the KeyBank Center), Buffalo, N.Y.
Some random notes
This was the second of only three Fully Loaded pay-per-view events. In 2001, WWE had replaced Fully Loaded with Invasion as its July pay-per-view.
Although there was only one Invasion event, WWE has yet unearth Fully Loaded despite having already unearthed the event’s contemporaries such as Backlash and No Mercy.
The pay-per-view opened with a video package that was mostly dedicated to the rivalry between Steve Austin and Vince McMahon, as the main event’s stipulations heavily involved the two.
If Austin lost his WWE championship to The Undertaker, he would never receive another WWE title opportunity. However, if Austin retained, Vince McMahon would have to leave the WWE. Because of this, the match was dubbed “the end of an era.”
If you know anything about wrestling, you know that nothing ever really truly ends. Thirteen years later, WWE used the same phrase for The Undertaker’s Hell in a Cell match against Triple H.
Yeah, nothing truly ended on that night either.
Before the event even began, The Undertaker attacked Austin and busted him open.
This made for a running story throughout the show of Austin seething about the attack and seeking revenge.
Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler were on hand to call the festivities and with that said let’s get to the matches:
WWE Intercontinental championship – Jeff Jarrett def. Edge
Edge walked into the match as the Intercontinental champion, which was his first title of any kind in WWE. Edge did not win the tag titles with Christian until WrestleMania nine months later.
Edge had not had enjoyed a long reign as Intercontinental champion up until this point, as he had only won the title 24 hours earlier by defeating Jarrett in an impromptu match during a live event in his hometown of Toronto.
The match was fairly standard with Jarrett playing his part of the heel by working over Edge’s knee and then his shoulder.
At one point the lights went out in the arena, making everyone believe that Gangrel was attempting to attack Edge, who was his former running mate in The Brood.
Everyone turned out to be right, as when the lights came back on Gangrel was at ringside. Instead of standing of Edge’s prone body, Gangrel was lying in a heap with Edge standing over him.
I guess Gangrel’s attack did not quite go as planned.
Edge eventually hit the spear, but was then distracted by Debra, which was completely understandable. Jarrett and Edge then punched each other, which sent Edge back into Debra and knocked her off the ring apron.
The referee then went to check on Jarrett, but while his back was turned, Gangrel jumped up onto the ring apron and attacked Edge, which allowed Jarrett to finish off Edge to secure the victory and regain the Intercontinental title.
While Jarrett celebrated his title victory in the ring, the cameras cut to Austin receiving the final bandages on his head from WWE’s doctors. As soon as the doctors were finished, Austin stormed off and made a beeline for the ring.
For some reason, Jarrett was still in the ring when Austin ran into it and quickly felt the WWE champion’s wrath by receiving a stunner.
Austin then took the microphone and said that he was going to find The Undertaker and return the favor for the attack he suffered earlier.
WWE Tag Team championship (Acolyte Rules match) – The Acolytes def. The Hardy Boyz & Michael Hayes
There was really nothing special about an Acolyte Rules match. It was essentially a no disqualifications match.
The weird thing was that there were still tags and the wrestlers were still adhering to the official’s orders.
If anything, this should have been called the “beat the daylights out of each other” match because that’s what these two teams did. Bradshaw and Farooq specialized in beating the crap out of people, but the Hardy Boyz gave it back at certain points of this match as well.
Speaking of the Hardy Boyz, they were enjoying their first reign as tag team champions coming into this match. They had only won the titles 20 days earlier by beating The Acolytes on an episode of Raw.
The Hardy Boyz had a little bit of help in this match in the form of Michael Hayes, who was wrestling in the penultimate match of his career. The final match of Hayes’ in-ring career was actually the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17.
Hayes said that he was in the match so he could lead the Hardy Boyz by example. All he really did was get his butt kicked. Bradshaw and Farooq did not take it easy on the grizzled vet, as they beat the daylights out of him, too. They even hit Hayes with the steel steps.
Bradshaw and Farooq did not discriminate when it came to handing out beatings. They were equal opportunists.
The only use Hayes was to the Hardy Boyz in this match was when Jeff Hardy used his cane to hit Bradshaw upside the head.
Hayes was essentially in the match to occupy one of the Acolytes while the Hardy Boyz outnumbered the other one.
Knowing WWE’s current climate, Hayes probably would have beaten the Acolytes by himself, but on this night, The Acolytes pinned Hayes with the double power bomb.
The Hardy Boyz got rid of Hayes the next month.
WWE European championship – D’Lo Brown def. Mideon
I love Brown’s theme music for some strange reason, but this was a version I had never heard before. The lyrics were different.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see from this match other Brown’s frog splash, which was fantastic. When most people think about frog splashes, they immediately think of Eddie Guerrero or Rob Van Dam, but I think Brown deserves to be in that conversation, too.
WWE Hardcore championship – Big Boss Man def. Al Snow
Snow’s J.O.B Squad shirt has to be one of the best in wrestling history. The front said “1-2-3-4-Life” and the back said, “Been there. Took that.”
Snow started the match by begging Big Boss Man to hit him with his nightstick. Instead, Big Boss Man hit Snow’s mannequin head with the nightstick. Snow reacted as if it was his head being attacked.
This was pretty strange to say the least. Do not fret though, folks. The Snow-Boss Man rivalry would get even stranger as the year went on. All I have to say is that it was a damn shame what Big Boss Man did to that dog.
Snow and Big Boss Man fought their way backstage and eventually made their way into the streets of Buffalo.
Boss Man beat Snow up against a gate outside of the arena and handcuffed him to it. Boss Man then pummeled Snow with his nightstick and put his foot on him to gain the pin. Boss Man then jogged all the way back through the arena to retrieve his title.
Meanwhile, Snow — still handcuffed to the gate — smiled as if he was in a state of ecstasy.
Big Show def. Kane
Hardcore Holly was the special guest referee, but the thing I immediately noticed was that Big Show was still wearing only trunks at this point. He even had a logo on the back of them.
Thankfully, Big Show began wearing more than just trunks by the end of the year.
Big Show dominated the match early on and even gorilla pressed Kane before tossing him out of the ring.
Kane eventually fought his way back into the match and was about hoist up Big Show for a choke slam, but Holly interfered by chop blocking him.
Big Show capitalized on the interference and pinned Kane thanks to a fast count from Holly.
X-Pac, who was Kane’s buddy at this point, ran down to the ring after the match to help out his friend. That brought out The Undertaker, who was not happy that X-Pac inspired Kane to turn against him.
The Undertaker choke slammed X-Pac, but was met by Austin backstage, who made good on his promise of returning the favor and busted The Undertaker open.
Iron Circle match – Ken Shamrock def. Steve Blackman
What is an Iron Circle match? It is essentially a parking lot brawl but with cars and wrestlers surrounding the combatants.
Among the wrestlers in the parking lot were Viscera, Val Venis, The Godfather, Prince Albert, Droz, Harvey Wippleman, Brooklyn Brawler and Sgt. Slaughter.
However, possibly the biggest name among them was a guy that wasn’t even on television yet. That guy looked like Kurt Angle. Since this was not in high definition, it was hard to tell whether it was really Angle, but it sure looked like him.
It would have made sense given that he was preparing to make his television debut a few months later.
Ross said on commentary that the match was not sanctioned by WWE, but I’m pretty sure I saw a referee on hand. I don’t understand why that would be the case, especially since there were no pin falls or submissions.
The only way to win this match was to leave the circle.
Shamrock and Blackman brawled around the parking while the wrestlers yelled, banged on the cars and honked the horns.
The match came to a conclusion when Shamrock choked Blackman out with the chain and the looked around to see if anyone else wanted some.
No one did and the bell rang, signaling that Shamrock had won the match, but he was still in the circle.
Shamrock eventually walked out anyway, but I found that weird.
Road Dogg & X-Pac def. Billy Gunn & Chyna
The winner of the match would gain the rights to D-Generation X and all of its trademarks. Because of that, both teams walked out to the D-Generation X theme song.
Gunn and Chyna aligned themselves with Triple H, which made them the de-facto heels in the match. Gunn was the biggest heel in the match to me because he donned see through wrestling trunks, which looked like they came straight out of a BDSM store.
X-Pac was fully clothed compared to Gunn, but walked into the match at less than 100 percent after being choke slammed by The Undertaker earlier.
The match was fairly standard, but did have the happy ending of Road Dogg and X-Pac winning and retaining the rights to D-Generation X.
Fully Loaded Strap match – Triple H def. The Rock
This was a pivotal time in Triple H’s career, as he was ascending to the main event sphere of WWE.
Triple H had recently ditched the shenanigans of D-X and had taken a more serious turn, putting his focus solely on becoming the WWE champion.
He made his intentions quite clear during an interview that aired on Sunday Night Heat earlier in the night when he told Ross that he was not just a student of the game, he was in fact the game.
Triple H said a lot during his profanity-laced interview with Ross, but his game comment has stuck with him until this day, as it eventually became synonymous with his character.
Triple H had a chance to take a big step toward his goal of becoming WWE champion on this night, as the winner of this match would earn a WWE title match at SummerSlam.
However, this was not your typical strap match. Falls counted anywhere and neither man had to drag the other to all four corners to win the match. I guess that is what made it a Fully Loaded strap match as oppose to just an ordinary strap match.
Triple H and The Rock fought all around the arena, but the match ended in the ring when Chyna and Gunn interfered to help Triple H win despite him saying during the interview with Ross that he did not need help to defeat The Rock.
It turned out that Triple H did need the help and he used it to become the No. 1 contender for the WWE championship.
WWE championship (First blood match) – Steve Austin def. The Undertaker
After multiple skirmishes earlier in the night, both Austin and The Undertaker walked in a bit vulnerable due to having already bled.
But this wasn’t just about Austin and The Undertaker. This was also about Vince McMahon, who could have seen his last day WWE if Austin retained his title.
Vince McMahon was the first to enter the arena and was quickly startled by a poster that featured his bloody face on it. I thought that was pretty funny. Vince McMahon made his way to ringside, where he sat in on commentary to openly root against Austin.
He even said at one point of the match that he didn’t care one bit about The Undertaker. All he cared about was seeing Austin lose.
Austin barely took 10 steps toward the ring before he and The Undertaker began fighting. There was no technical wrestling here. This was punches, kicks and weapons.
At one point, The Undertaker got tied up in the ropes at one point after tripping over the referee. Austin grabbed a steel chair, but had to use it on Shane McMahon after he attempted to interfere in the match
The Undertaker eventually freed himself from the ropes and regained control.
Austin shook off The Undertaker’s attack and hit the stunner before knocking down Vince McMahon outside of the ring as he tried to interfere.
The Undertaker grabbed a steel chair, but before he could use it, X-Pac ran down and spin kicked the chair into The Undertaker’s face. Austin followed that up by hitting The Undertaker with a television camera, which busted him open.
The Undertaker eventually got Austin up for a tombstone, but the referee saw that he was bleeding and awarded the match to Austin, which meant Vince McMahon was gone from WWE.
Before Austin could celebrate his victory, Triple H ran down to the ring to beat on Austin, which brought out The Rock, causing all hell to break loose.
Officials came out to break up Austin and The Undertaker, but in the midst of the brawl, Shane McMahon got in between The Undertaker and Austin.
In one fell swoop, The Undertaker knocked down a bottle that was being thrown at him from the crowd and then punched out Shane McMahon. It was just another example of how much a legend The Undertaker truly is.
The Undertaker eventually left, which left Austin and Vince McMahon in the ring. Austin stuck his hand out to Vince McMahon, who reluctantly shook it.
That was obviously a bad idea, as Austin had suckered him in once again to deliver the stunner.