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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!

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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