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Retro WWF Smackdown Review: Series Debut

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WWF Smackdown (Series Debut)
Kansas City, MO
Kemper Arena
August 26, 1999

The show kicks off with the new WWF champion Triple H accompanied by the late Chyna. He’s bragging about his title win. He’s soon interrupted by The Rock. They have a nice back and forth exchange leading to Rock challenging him to a WWF title match. Shawn Michaels (The Commissioner) comes out to make the match official and appoints himself as the special guest referee. Shane McMahon comes out not happy about this and wants to be the second guest referee for the match. To keep him busy Shawn puts him in a match with Mankind.

This was a great opening segment. You have a young Triple H starting his rise to main event status. The Rock in his prime being his witty self. HBK in a authority role and Shane O’ Mac brings that McMahon influence into the picture. Loved every second of it.

We get a nice Triple Threat Tag Team match for the WWF Tag Team Titles featuring The Acolytes, Undertaker and Big Show (The Champions), Kane and X-Pac. Taker starts the match on commentary. I liked how he came off being a mentor to Big Show. Then when Taker smacked him on the outside to fire him up, this gave him some extra motivation which allowed him to pick up the win with a vicious one hand choke slam to X-Pac to retain the titles

Another key moment for me was the in ring WWF debut of Y2J Chris Jericho against Road Dogg. He loses the match by DQ when he powerbombed Road Dogg thru a table and put him in the Walls of Jericho til the refs had to pull him away. He has Howard Finkel working with him telling him he’s a warrior. He even came out to Ultimate Warrior’s theme when Jericho told him to go out and take his job back from Tony Chimel. This led to a tussling back and forth between the two. Finkel even tries to confront Ken Shamrock who was coming down for a match, distracting him long enough for Jericho to hit Shamrock with a chair and take off running out of the building.

Stephanie McMahon comes to the ring to give Test an answer to his proposal question from Monday Night. Stephanie said she needed some time to think and wanted it to be perfect. Test gets on one knee, asking her to marry him and she says yes. To see the transformation of Stephanie is amazing. To see her so young and innocent to the evil dominant character we see now is truly something. So as Test and Stephanie celebrate, out comes the Mean Street Posse with Shane to attack Test. Then, out comes Mankind with a chair to help Test. He takes out all three members. Then Mankind tells Shane to start the match now and even gives him a free shot to take on him with the chair. Shane takes it. They brawl for a bit til the ref comes out. Mankind gets the upper hand. Hits Shane with a Double Arm DDT then sets up for the Mandible Claw. Out comes Triple H and Chyna. Chyna distracts the ref while Triple H hits Mankind with a chair. Shane gets the pin for the win.

Then we get our Main Event for the WWF Title. Rock vs Triple H with HBK as the special guest referee. This was a solid match. Rock seems to have the win locked up. He hits the Rock Bottom and goes for the People’s Elbow. When he comes off the ropes the second time, he is hit with Sweet Chin Music. Triple H hits the Pedigree and retains his title. The first time I saw this I was shocked. Didn’t see that coming at all. Looking back now it all makes sense. I wasn’t considering the Triple H/HBK connection. Should of saw it coming a mile away. I so wish this would of led to an HBK vs Rock match. HBK was retired at the time and didn’t come back until 3 years later. Rock was starting to transition into his movie career. Those two would of put on a classic. The promos alone would be worth it.

You also had Billy Gunn beating Jeff Jarrett and Big Bossman winning the Hardcore Title from Al Snow after taking his dog Pepper and Tori beat Ivory in a evening gown match. Why Tori wasn’t in a gown is beyond me. So glad the women’s division has moved past this kind of match. Plus a one on one interview between Austin and Michael Cole talking about his knee injury at Summerslam. All in all this was a good way to kick off the Smackdown brand. Especially with the main event which could of been on a PPV. Can’t believe Smackdown is 18 years old. I remember this first show like it was yesterday. It was the start of something special. 919 episodes later and it is still going strong.

this article comes to you via @MoneyMakerChris

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