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Opinion

Matt’s Retro Reviews: WWF Championship 1999 (Part 1)

Matt Davis presents his look at the WWE Championship in 1999! This year was so loaded that this is only Part One!

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Mankind WWF Championship Mick Foley WWE DX Raw

Matt Davis presents his look at the WWE Championship in 1999! This year was so loaded that this is only Part One!

Welcome to the 13th edition of the Retro Review on The Chairshot! This will be a biweekly article here on The Chairshot because we have a lot to discuss! In starting, my question for you is; have you ever had a discussion with a friend or in a group online about who is the greatest champion of all time? What is your defense of your claim? Wins? Quality of matches? Length of reign? In this weekly article, I will be looking back one year at a time and evaluating one specific championship in each article, with a yearly grade ranking and overall grade ranking and as we progress through the years, I will reveal who I believe is the best champion of all time.

To start us off, I am going to discuss the most recognizable championship in the history of wrestling, the WWE Heavyweight Championship. These articles will not discuss the “Big Gold” World Championship, Universal Championship, or any other recognized heavyweight championship in WWE, those will be discussed in other articles. During these reviews, I will count matches aired on weekly television, PPV, and matches also released on VHS and later on home media.

Mick Foley/Mankind (January 4th, 1999 – January 24th, 1999)

  • Record: 3-2
  • Clean Losses: 0
  • Successful Defenses: 1

Recommended Matches to Watch

  • Mick Foley d. The Rock, January 4th, 1999, Monday Night RAW
  • The Rock d. Mick Foley, January 24th, 1999, Royal Rumble

Thoughts: Not a good reign in the least bit, we are full blown Attitude Era here with short matches, crazy storylines, great characters, but overall bad championship booking. Far from the strong championship reigns we had in years past, Mick Foley gave us fans one of the greatest moments in wrestling history when Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy won the WWF Championship in the Worcester Centrum Center to one of the loudest reactions you’ll ever hear, in the middle of a blizzard, airing the same night as The Fingerpoke of Doom on Nitro, but, as historically important as this night in wrestling is, the reign was badly booked. It was a courtesy reign for Mick Foley. I wouldn’t call the title change a “dirty” change, as I have historically pointed out is how most WWF Championships have changed hands, but it most certainly wasn’t clean, as a recording of Foley’s voice echoed across the arena during an I Quit match. It was hokey. Entertaining, but hokey.

Grade (A+ through F ): D-

The Rock (January 24th, 1999 – January 26th, 1999)

  • Record: 1-1
  • Clean Losses: 1
  • Successful Defenses: 0

Recommended Matches to Watch

  • N/A

Thoughts: An empty arena match on Halftime Heat during the 1998 SuperBowl resulted in a WWF Title change, two days after The Rock won it. Crazy hot shotting of the title here just to do it.

Grade (A+ through F ): F

Mick Foley (January 26th – February 15th, 1999 )

  • Record: 1-1
  • Clean Losses: 0
  • Successful Defenses: 0

Recommended Matches to Watch

  • The Rock d. Mick Foley (Ladder), February 15th, 1999, Monday Night RAW

Thoughts: What in the blue hell is going on? Another title change. What is the storytelling being achieved here? It’s like 1997 all over again. Four title changes in six weeks.

Grade (A+ through F ): F

The Rock (February 15th, 1999 – March 28th, 1999)

  • Record: 2-2
  • Clean Losses: 1
  • Successful Defenses: 1

Recommended Matches to Watch

  • The Rock d. Mick Foley (Ladder), February 15th, 1999, Monday Night RAW
  • Steve Austin d. The Rock, March 28th, 1999, WrestleMania XV

Thoughts: Not the last time that The Rock would win a WWE Championship in February only to drop it at Wrestlemania…. This whole feud resulted in Mick Foley being the special referee for this WrestleMania clash. After a great match and forth main event, Mick Foley called the match down the middle, and Stone Cold was WWF Champion for the third time.

Grade (A+ through F ): D

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin (March 28th, 1999 – May 23rd, 1999)

  • Record: 4-1
  • Clean Losses: 0
  • Successful Defenses: 1

Recommended Matches to Watch

  • Steve Austin d. The Rock, March 28th, 1999, WrestleMania XV
  • Steve Austin d. The Rock, April 15th, 1999, Backlash

Thoughts: Another short reign, we’ve now had five title changes and May isn’t over. Austin loses after stumbling into a school boy and a fast count. The Corporation vs The Ministry vs Steve Austin feud was very interesting, captivating stuff but overall another weak reign. The McMahons screw Austin one more time. What left a bad taste in my mouth is of course that Owen Hart died about an hour before this, and in the infamous words of Bret Hart “Vince would rather scrape a body off a mat than cancel the remainder of a show.” I can not recommend watching that match for that reason.

Grade (A+ through F ): D

Undertaker (May 23rd, 1999 – June 28th, 1999)

  • Record: 3-3
  • Clean Losses: 1
  • Successful Defenses: 2

Recommended Matches to Watch

  • The Rock d. Triple H, & Undertaker, June 14th, 1999, Monday Night RAW
  • Undertaker d. The Rock, June 27th, 1999, King of the Ring
  • Steve Austin d. Undertaker, June 28th, 1999, Monday Night RAW

Thoughts: Three recommended matches here as The Undertaker was on another level during this reign. It’s still only a month long but it feels much longer in context. He had six matches, two successful defenses, and only one clean loss. During this time we found out that Vince McMahon was the Higher Power all along and absorbed The Corporation and The Ministry of Darkness together. Undertaker was the feature focal point of most of this summer, at his darkest period in his characters history. It’s truly remarkable how dark he was here. The nickname Big Evil wouldn’t become a thing for a few more years but it was certainly born here.

Grade (A+ through F ): D+


Overall WWE Champion Ranking

  1. Hulk Hogan (January 23rd, 1984 – February 5th, 1988) – A
  2. Bret Hart (March 20th, 1994 – November 26th, 1994) – A
  3. Yokozuna (June 13th, 1993 – March 20th, 1994) — B+
  4. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (April 5th, 1992 – September 14th, 1992) – B
  5. The Rock (November 15th, 1998 – January 4th, 1999) — B
  6. Undertaker  (March 23rd, 1997 – August 3rd, 1997) — B
  7. Shawn Michaels (November 9th, 1997 – March 29th, 1998) — B
  8. Bret Hart (October 12th, 1992 – April 4th, 1993) — B-
  9. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (March 27th, 1988 – April 2nd, 1989) – C+
  10. Sgt. Slaughter (January 19th, 1991 – March 24th, 1991) – C
  11. Hulk Hogan (April 2nd, 1989 – April 1st, 1990) – C
  12. Bret Hart (August 3rd, 1997 – November 9th, 1997) — C-
  13. Hulk Hogan (March 24th — November 27th, 1991) – D+
  14. Undertaker (May 23rd, 1999 – June 28th, 1999) — D+
  15. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (March 29th, 1998 – June 28th, 1998) — D
  16. Ric Flair (January 19th, 1992 — April 5th, 1992) — D
  17. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (June 29th, 1998 – September 27th, 1998)– D
  18. The Ultimate Warrior (April 1st, 1990- January 19th, 1991) – D
  19. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (March 28th, 1999 – May 23rd, 1999) — D
  20. Ric Flair (September 14th, 1992 – October 12th, 1992) — D
  21. Diesel (November 26th, 1994 – November 19th, 1995) — D
  22. The Rock (February 15th, 1999 – March 28th, 1999) — D
  23. Mick Foley/Mankind (January 4th, 1999 – January 24th, 1999) — D-
  24. Bob Backlund (November 23rd, 1994 – November 26th, 1994) — D-
  25. Psycho Sid (November 17th, 1996 – January 19th, 1997) — F
  26. Psycho Sid (February 17th, 1997 – March 23rd, 1997) — F
  27. Mick Foley (January 26th – February 15th, 1999 ) — F
  28. Shawn Michaels (January 19th, 1997 – February 13th, 1997) — F
  29. Bret Hart (February 16th, 1997 – February 17th, 1997) — F
  30. Undertaker (November 27th, 1991- December 3rd, 1991) – F
  31. Hulk Hogan (December 3rd, 1991 – December 4th, 1991) – F
  32. Kane (June 28th, 1998 – June 29th, 1998) — F
  33. The Rock (January 24th, 1999 – January 26th, 1999) — F
  34. Yokozuna (April 4th, 1992 – April 4th, 1992) — F
  35. Hulk Hogan (April 4th, 1993 – June 13th, 1993) — F

**Speaking of championships, I am currently designing custom made championships and shirts for your wrestling figure collections! Check out the page at Grand Slam Creations – Custom Wrestling Belts & Accessories on Facebook, give us a like and a follow and share with your friends! 


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Opinion

King: Top 5 Championship Matches in WWE Royal Rumble History

Chris King looks at the best championship matches that have taken place at a WWE Royal Rumble event!

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2020 WWE Royal Rumble

Chris King looks at the best championship matches that have taken place at a WWE Royal Rumble event!

I have gone back in time to reflect over Royal Rumble’s over the last decade. From 2012 to 2022 the WWE Universe bared witness to some amazing matches including AJ Styles defending his WWE Championship against Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, The Rock defeating CM Punk and ending his historic championship reign, and even the ‘Beast Incarnate’ Brock Lesnar successfully defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena & Mr. Money in the Bank Seth Rollins in a classic triple-threat match.

Here are the top five championship matches at the Royal Rumble over the last decade.

Honorable mentions:

  • Brock Lesnar VS. Finn Balor (Universal Championship): Royal Rumble 2019
  • Brock Lesnar VS. Kane VS. Braun Strowman (Universal Championship): Royal Rumble 2017
  • Randy Orton VS. John Cena WWE World Heavyweight Championship (Royal Rumble 2014)
  • Daniel Bryan VS. AJ Styles (WWE Championship): Royal Rumble 2019

Top 5 Royal Rumble Championship Matches 

5. Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns (Universal Championship): Royal Rumble 2017

In August of 2016, the WWE Universe was shocked when Triple H turned on his former protege Seth Rollins and essentially handed the Universal Championship to Kevin Owens in a crazy fatal-four-way match. Over the next few months, Owens and Chris Jericho would become best friends and true enemies of Rollins and former Shield-mate Roman Reigns. After Reigns was screwed out of the title at Roadblock they would deliver a Shield bomb through the announce table to Owens.

Reigns and Owens would battle again at the Royal Rumble this time, Jericho would be locked inside of a shark cage to prevent interference. Both superstars delivered an impressive performance and threw out everything to defeat one another. Reigns was minutes away from winning the Universal Championship until Braun Strowman obliterated him, which allowed Owens the conniving champion to keep his title.

4. CM Punk vs. The Rock (WWE Championship): Royal Rumble 2013

The self-proclaimed ‘Best in the World’ CM Punk was on a complete tear going through the roster successfully holding the title for a historic 434 days. At Raw 1000, The Rock came back and challenged whoever was the champion at the time to a WWE Championship match at Royal Rumble. Later in the night, Punk would turn heel attacking ‘The People’s Champion’ and aligning himself with Paul Heyman shortly afterwards.

The Shield would work as mercenaries for Punk to retain his title since the 2012 Survivor Series where they debuted. Vince McMahon informed Punk that if The Shield got involved in the championship match he would be stripped of the title. After twenty minutes of back and forth action between champion and challenger, the lights went out and The Shield interfered yet again. McMahon came out to strip Punk of his championship but, The Rock had other plans and the match was restarted. The People’s Champion would deliver the People’s Elbow to end the historic reign of Punk.

3.  Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (Universal Championship): Royal Rumble 2022

‘The Head of the Table’ Roman Reigns had conquered all of his challengers on Friday Night SmackDown, so a handpicked wild card was chosen from Monday Night Raw to challenge for the Universal Championship. Enter Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins. The two former Shield-mates had faced each other in the past but, this time felt different. Reigns was the arrogant and cocky heel while Rollins portrayed more of a tweener character. Rollins mocked the champion’s historic title reign and infuriated Reigns the go-home episode of SmackDown.

The Universal Championship match was the first match to open the show to a white-hot crowd. Reigns made his long grand entrance waiting for his challenger until a familiar theme erupted throughout the WWE Universe. Rollins not only mocked The Shield’s old entrance through the crowd but, was also decked in full Shield attire which pissed off the champion.

I feel like it’s impossible for these two superstars to have a bad match. They have incredible chemistry whether as partners or rivals. Reigns locked in his challenger with the Guillotine Choke but Rollins made it to the ropes. The Tribal Chief was relentless and would not break the hold so Rollins won by disqualification.

2. AJ Styles vs. John Cena (WWE Championship): Royal Rumble 2017

Let me start of by saying this was a very difficult choice to make because I went back and forth on making this number one. ‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles shocked the world in 2016 not only for turning heel on John Cena but, beating him at Money in the Bank via shenanigans and SummerSlam completely clean in the middle of the ring. Styles went on to have an incredible run as WWE Champion over on SmackDown Live.

Cena went off and did his own thing after a devastating loss to his rival but, came back returned in time to challenge for the title to not only become a sixteen-time champion but to tie the illustrious record held by Ric Flair. Both superstars used every maneuver in their arsenal to win the match, but it came down to the final sequence to understand where Cena’s passion lies. Mr. Never Give Up hit the Attitude Adjustment and deadlifted Styles to deliver another thunderous AA to become the sixteen-time WWE Champion. What a freaking match!

1. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins vs. John Cena (WWE World Heavyweight Championship): Royal Rumble 2015

Even though the match before was tieing the legendary Ric Flair’s championship record, I still can say with full confidence that this triple threat match is one of the best matches in Royal Rumble history. Brock Lesnar had an impressive 2014 starting off with ending The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania, and then obliterating John Cena at SummerSlam to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

At Night of Champions Cena was minutes away from winning the title and defeating ‘The Beast Incarnate’ until the arrogant Mr. Money in the Bank Seth Rollins caused a disqualification. Leading up to the Royal Rumble, Cena and Rollins would face off in a tables match at the TLC pay-per-view, while Lesnar vanished. A huge triple threat match was set for the 2015 Royal Rumble pitting all three superstars against each other. Rollins who was still holding the briefcase bragged about if he didn’t win the title with Plan A, he would just cash-in and become the champion with Plan B.

From the moment the bell rang, the action began between Cena and Lesnar. Rollins played the manipulative cocky heel picking his moments to strike. Rollins and Cena took out The Beast on the outside to make it one-on-one. Lesnar was stretchered out of the match but miraculously came back and displayed his freakish strength taking anyone who moved to Suplex City. Rollins hit the champion twice with his briefcase and set up for the Curb Stomp. Lesnar bounced up and delivered a thunderous F5 to retain in a fantastic match.

I love this match so much because it was the first time that I believed Lesnar can deliver a great match and good story when he wants to. We’ve experienced this in his matches against AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, and even Finn Balor. The Beast is a very smart performer and knows how to sell for his opponents to make them look like a megastar.

There you have it, those are my top five championship matches at Royal Rumble. Let me know what you think!


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Opinion

Greg DeMarco’s Top 5: WWE WrestleMania 39 Opponents For Roman Reigns Not Named The Rock

The Road to The Royal Rumble is here, which means we will soon have an opponent for The Tribal Chief! Greg DeMarco explores potential candidates…

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Roman Reigns Seth Rollins WWE WrestleMania 39

The Road to The Royal Rumble is here, which means we will soon have an opponent for The Tribal Chief! Greg DeMarco explores potential candidates…

Daddy’s back with something for you that is meant to be fun–and a distraction from the news surrounding Vince McMahon’s (likely terrible) return to WWE. Being a fan is meant to be fun, and one of the most fun things we get to do is look ahead to WrestleMania.

The main question, for this article at least, is who will be Roman Reigns’ opponent at The Granddaddy Of ‘Em All? Now everyone wants it to be The Rock, so we will explore the alternatives to that match.

In order to do that, I am making the following assumptions, even if some might not be true in the end:

  • Roman Reigns only wrestles one match, the final match on Night 2.
  • Roman Reigns is defending both the WWE and the Universal Championships in that match.
  • Roman Reigns–and this is just purely me–is not losing.

Honorable Mentions

I did have a few ideas who simply didn’t make the list. Check ’em out:

  • Drew McIntyre – Simply put: Why? Why would we put Drew McIntyre against Roman Reigns in a football stadium when we just saw him against Reigns in a football futbol stadium last fall?
  • Kevin Owens – Similarly, why would we do this right after we do it at the Royal Rumble?
  • Karrion Kross – Ok, now I’m just trolling you. He ain’t the guy, brother–not with this gimmick.
  • Ricochet – Personally, as an underdog babyface against Roman Reigns, I love Ricochet winning the Royal Rumble and challenging The Tribal Chief. But we have a better underdog on the list already.

With that all out of the way, it’s time to have some fun. I give you…

My Top 5 WWE WrestleMania 39 Opponents For Roman Reigns Not Named The Rock

5. Sami Zayn

The bloom is off the rose for Sami Zayn, at least in the eyes of The Tribal Chief. The eventual turn is one of the most telegraphed things in recent memory, and in this instance that is perfectly fine. Sami Zayn is insanely over, and him fighting the uphill battle with The Bloodline would get him Daniel-Bryan-Danielson-at-WrestleMania-30 levels of heat along the way.

People love Sami Zayn. His awkward charm and seemingly unlimited charisma won over the audience so well that his storyline with The Bloodline had to get extended multiple times over. However, it’s obviously coming to an end.

The obvious match is Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn against The Usos, but you could also slot Kevin against Solo Sikoa if Sami were to indeed get the nod.

4. Bron Breakker

You probably think I’m crazy, and I totally get it. Bron Breakker comes from NXT and goes right to the WrestleMania main event?

If you want to create a new star in Bron Breakker, this is how you do it. (At least, it’s one way you can do it.) Look at Roman Reigns himself–part of the story of his WrestleMania 31 challenge of Brock Lesnar was that he was growing into the role. JBL told the story on commentary, and the match was all about Roman ascending to the level of Brock.

Of course it was all the perfect set-up for Seth Rollins to give us the greatest Money In The Bank cash-in in WWE history, but in the process Roman proved that he belongs.

So make this year’s Royal Rumble the ultimate opportunity–the most shocking winner since Rey Mysterio, the NXT Champion Bron Breakker.

3. Seth (Freakin’) Rollins

Seth Rollins seems to be in a never ending program with Austin Theory, and it’s time to move on. Seth is an automatic main eventer in WWE at this point. He’s a made man, probably the next biggest star (on the men’s side) in WWE after Roman Reigns.

And he also has a very specific distinction that no one else has: a singles victory over Roman Reigns since he made his huge return in 2020. Yes, it was by disqualification, but he has proven his abilities to get inside the head of the Tribal Chief.

And Seth Rollins is going to have a match at WrestleMania, and 50,000+ in Sofi Stadium are going to be singing his song. Might as well be in the match that closes WrestleMania Night 2.

2. Sheamus

This is purely a match on my playlist–but this is MY list. And to me, Sheamus makes perfect sense.

In fact, I thought the feud between The Bloodline and The Brawling Brutes would lead to Sheamus challenging Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble. And had Sami Zayn’s involvement in The Bloodline not taken off the way it did, we still may have.

Sheamus is more popular now than ever, and at 44 years of age he is doing some of his best work. Sheamus winning his second Royal Rumble and challenging Roman Reigns would be the Lifetime Achievement Award he deserves.

But it’s more than that! The match? It would deliver in a big way. History? There’s plenty between Sheamus and Roman, going back to when Sheamus cashed in Money In The Bank on Reigns, and when Reigns eventually beat The Celtic Warrior to win one of his world championships. The fans? They would be solidly behind Sheamus, and would go nuts for every near fall. Don’t sleep on Sheamus as your WrestleMania 39 main event opponent for Roman Reigns.

1. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Full credit for this idea belongs to PC Tunney and Dave Ungar, as shared in the Chairshot Radio Twitter DM thread. And it’s steal-worthy indeed.

Three major legendary names are rumored for WrestleMania 39: The Rock, John Cena, and Steve Austin. All three make sense for a multitude of reasons. But The Rock will be launching a football league (which might be a reason to do this–the publicity), and is still in insane demand in Hollywood. Cena seems to be free at the present time, and we’ve seen the videos of Austin working out.

Remember, I am assuming Roman Reigns is going to win. If that’s the case, then this WrestleMania is but another moment in Reigns’ legacy. Why not add Steve Austin to his list of victories?

It would sell. ✅
The fans would buy it. ✅
Austin proved he can go. ✅

This type of match is what WrestleMania is all about. If it’s not The Rock, it should be “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

And there you have it, my list of–

Wait a minute Greg, what about Cody Rhodes?!?!

Man, I thought I could slip this one past the goalie!

Cody Rhodes is a great question. But you have to look at my assumptions above. I am assuming Roman only wrestles one match, defends both championships, and–most importantly–doesn’t lose. Given those assumptions, you want Cody Rhodes as far away from this match as possible.

If we do split the titles, then Cody needs to be the guy to walk away with the WWE Championship. He does that either over Seth Rollins, or in a triple threat on Night 1 against Reigns and Rollins–but Rollins still eats the fall.

But under my conditions, losing at WrestleMania doesn’t do anything for Cody.


What do you think? Let me know on social media!

Hit me up:

Until next time, remember: enjoying wrestling is a choice…make the right choice!


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