WWE PPV Flashbacks – IYH: St. Valentine's Day Massacre – February 14, 1999

St Valentine’s Day Massacre: In Your House
February 14, 1999
The Pyramid, Memphis, TN

Valentine’s Day is normally a day of affection, romance and celebration for those in relationships. On Valentine’s Day 1999 in the WWF however, things were far from romantic. This night marked the last PPV stop on the way to Wrestlemania, and would serve as the stage upon which two pairs of vicious rivals would face off. Firstly, by order of Commissioner Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin would finally go one on one with Mr McMahon inside a steel cage for the right to go to Wrestlemania. Also, newly crowned (yep once again!) Mankind continues his brutal rivalry with the Rock over the title in a Last Man Standing Match. Lets get into it shall we? As always, please leave all feedback and thoughts on Twitter at @Mpmcc91.

The show opens with a cool video package looking back at the long history of issues between Austin and McMahon that have come down to their cage match tonight. We then head into the arena where our announce team of Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler. Huge pop for Lawler despite being the heel announcer since we are in Memphis.

Goldust vs Bluedust
A bit of an unusual choice for an opener here. Bluedust is the Blue Meanie, and this all started with Goldust stealing Al Snow’s Head a few weeks back. The Meanie would end up being the man to retrieve Head from Goldust upon his debut, returning the mannikin to Snow and quickly becoming a member of the J.O.B Squad faction. Over the weeks that followed, the Meanie would take to parodying Goldust’s bizarre character, hence the name Bluedust, even costing Goldust a match against Gillberg on Raw is War prior to this match. Following the humiliating defeat, the Meanie would further embarrass Goldust by pouring blue paint all over him. Anyway, as you might expect, this match was pretty basic. Goldust starts out on offence which eventually causes Meanie to attempt to leave. Goldust stops his opponent in his tracks and the action returns to the ring where the Bizarre One spanks his opponent and attempts to connect with the Shattered Dreams. Meanie gets out of the way before his nuts can pay the price however and goes to follow up with a Meanie-sault. Goldust moves out of the way however, and connects with the Curtain Call on the J.O.B Squad member which is enough to get the pin at 3:04. Well it was kept short at least. Very basic match filled with stalling. Fine as filler, but not exactly what you want to kick off the show with. After that match, Goldust adds insult to injury with a successful Shattered Dreams on the Meanie. They would be aligned together in a month which tells you just how fast paced storylines were in this time period.
Grade: *

We get a recap of a confrontation between Austin and McMahon earlier in the evening on Sunday Night Heat. Mr McMahon spat on his hated rival, adding even more animosity between the two.

WWF Hardcore Championship:
Al Snow vs Bob Holly
At our last show the Road Dogg was the reigning Hardcore Champion, however tonight the title is vacant. Road Dogg and Snow had actually been having a series of hardcore matches in the weeks heading into this show, and were set to face off on an episode of Raw is War. Before Road Dogg made it to that match however, he was taken out by the Acolytes backstage, and was stripped of the title due to injury. In reality I believe he was suspended as the story goes. Meanwhile, still wanting to have his match, Snow literally began to fight himself, being the crazy person that he is. Fellow J.O.B Squad member Bob Holly would end up coming down to the ring seemingly to calm Snow down, however the two men ended up brawling instead, which essentially turned Holly heel. With Road Dogg out of action, the match was signed for these men here to face off to crown the new Hardcore Champion. Anyway, this starts out as a brawl from the outset as you would expect. Meanwhile on commentary Cole explains that Holly’s recent actions have been part of a quest to erase his old Sparky Plugg persona being associated with him. The action quickly spills over the barricade and into the crowd with both men really just hitting each other with whatever they could get their hands on. The action ends up moving backstage and out through the parking lot to the outside of the arena. They brawl onto the banks of a river, which Snow throws Holly into before being pulled in himself. They fight back up onto the bank, but Holly ends up tripping Snow up and wrapping him in some chain link mesh. With Snow being unable to kick out due to the wrapping, Holly covers him on the bank to win the Hardcore Championship at 9:58. This would lead to Bob adopting his Hardcore Holly persona shortly after this show. The Hardcore concept was still fairly new at this point of time, so this match was a lot of fun and didn’t go on for too long. The river bit was fun as well.
Grade: **1/4

We now go to footage earlier in the day with the Undertaker and his Ministry of Darkness. They are around a fire and discuss a pending rapture upon the WWF. Shit will hit the fan soon enough.

Big Bossman vs Mideon
Yeah get ready for some heel vs heel action over the next few shows. Bossman is of course still part of the Corporation, whilst Mideon is the former Dennis Knight of Southern Justice now repackaged as part of the Ministry. This is part of the war between the two factions that started upon the Undertaker’s return after being buried alive at Rock Bottom. Taker returned on Raw is War shortly before the Rumble and formed this cult like faction with the Acolytes and Mideon in the weeks that followed, then going on to recruit Mabel and renaming him Viscera at the Rumble itself. Among all the bizarre rituals performed by the group, Taker began making claims that he was going to take over the WWF, which Mr McMahon of course took exception to. The storyline is in its early stages at the moment, but for now, he sends Bossman to handle the Ministry whilst he remains focused on Austin. Now then, I’ll just come out and say it. This match is bad. Bossman takes control in the early going with a low blow. Mideon gets some cheap shots in as well, but this is really all Bossman. The crowd get a boring chant going and thats exactly what this is as there is really nothing of note going on. Bossman ends up picking up the win with his patented sidewalk slam at 6:19. After the match however, the Corporate Enforcer has no time to celebrate as the Acolytes and Viscera come out and surround the ring. The lights go out and Taker makes his entrance. He raises the lights and we see the Ministry members have Bossman held down, which leads to Viscera destroying him with a series of splashes. They pick up the battered Bossman and take him with them to the back. I suppose the post-match stuff worked, but good god was this match awful. It would also set up the worst Hell in a Cell match of all time, but more on that next month.
Grade: 1/4*

In the back we send it to D’Lo Brown and Mark Henry. They are now officially faces and have cut their ties with P.M.S. They bring in their new valet, Ivory, who says she will rip off all of Debra’s clothes if she gets in the way of her team winning the tag titles tonight. That match is next.

WWF Tag Team Championship:
Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart (c) w/Debra vs D’Lo Brown & Mark Henry w/Ivory
So we have another title change to talk about here. Back at the Rumble, Bossman & Shamrock were the reigning WWF Tag Team Champions, however their reign came to an end against the fellow heel team of Jarrett & Owen the very next night on Raw is War following the challengers earning a title shot by knocking off the Outlaws on a previous episode. Now since winning the titles, the new champions have moved into a rivalry with D’Lo & Henry, which really got started with Henry flirting with Debra. Debra pretended to welcome the advances of Sexual Chocolate, however it was merely to allow Jarrett to attack the big man. Henry’s pursuit of women would often cost his team matches, so D’Lo addressed the situation by introducing him to Ivory, a woman who would serve as their new valet and help Henry control his sexual urges. Speaking of Ivory, she would compete in a losing effort to Ivory prior to the PPV on Heat, which pretty much brings us to where we are now. The match is decent as I was a fan of both these teams. The faces get a good pop so that’s good to see. They dominate the match in the early going, however the champions take over and work on D’Lo before Henry comes back in and cleans house with his power offence. With the tide turned, D’Lo comes in and hits the Sky High on Jarrett, but Owen breaks up the pinfall. D’Lo goes up to the top again after building more momentum, however he gets distracted when Debra shows off her assets. Ivory gets into a scuffle with Debra on the outside, but in the chaos that follows, Owen smashes Henry’s leg with Jarrett’s guitar without the official seeing. With the damage done to Henry’s leg, Jarrett locks in the figure four which causes the big guy to tap out at 9:33. Owen & Jarrett retain the titles, but Ivory gets a little revenge afterwards by ripping off Debra’s top, much to the delight of Lawler and the fans. Not a bad match. I have said it before, bur I really liked the D’Lo/Henry team as it did a great job of hiding Henry’s limitations at this point in time. The guy has really come a long way. Jarrett and Owen were a fun heel team as well.
Grade: **1/4

We now get some footage from Sunday Night Heat which saw the Rock attack Mankind and injure his knee. We then hear from Mankind who says its going to take a lot more than a bad knee for Rock to win the Last Man Standing match later tonight. Following the brief interview we send it to a video package highlighting the events leading to our next match.

WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Ken Shamrock (c) vs Val Venis w/Ryan Shamrock
Special Guest Referee: Billy Gunn
Our night now continues with another championship match. I.C champion Ken Shamrock is still embroiled in his rivalry with Billy Gunn coming off a successful title defence at the Rumble against the DX member, however tonight Gunn acts as the referee as another challenger steps up to battle the submission specialist of the Corporation. Much like his issues with Gunn however, Shamrock’s issues with Val Venis also got started due to his sister Ryan. On a recent episode of Raw is War, Val Venis was back to his old tricks once again, revealing his latest adult film, ‘Saving Ryan’s Privates’ co-starring Ryan Shamrock. Ken was enraged and assaulted Val with a chair until being pulled off by referees. Once again, Shamrock snapped on the officials which led to Earl Hebner stating that he, nor any other WWF referee would step between these two men. As a result, Shamrock’s old foe Billy Gunn was appointed to officiate the bout instead. Ryan Shamrock would also offer to hook up with Billy to give Val to advantage in this match. Anyway, she comes out with Val here who is still pretty over. Shamrock rushes to the ring pissed, but Val gets the better of the exchange as we kick off the match. Shamrock regains his composure however and takes the fight to Val, choking him on the ropes which leads to Billy stepping in and the two getting into an argument. Val goes on offence for a bit with some rest holds, but Shamrock nails the porn star with a DDT, however Billy refuses to count the fall. Shamrock gets in his face again and we get some more back and forth between the competitors. Shamrock eventually locks in the ankle lock on Venis, but Ryan helps her new boy toy get to the ropes which leads to Ryan slapping her brother on the outside. Billy tells Shamrock to get back in the ring, but the champion is surprised by a roll up from Val which scores the quick pin from Gunn at 15:53. A bit of a shock at the time as it seemed as though things were building to another showdown between Shamrock and Gunn for the title, but this was the Russo era after all. Anyway, Val Venis is the new I.C Champion, but this match really was not that great for the time it was given. A lot of the match was spent with repetitive rest holds and it wasn’t really until the end that the action really picked up. After the match, Billy takes out Val, I guess to prove the point that he is still going after the title. Or he was at this point.
Grade: *1/2

We now get a package highlighting the issues between DX and the Corporation leading to our next match.

Triple H & X-Pac vs Kane & Chyna w/Shane McMahon
Get ready for a number of allegiance changes in this storyline over the next few months. Okay firstly, Kane is a reluctant heel here. We saw him attacked by asylum staff during the Rumble last month. The idea here is that Vince was blackmailing him to do the Corporation’s bidding or else he would have him committed to a mental institution. Now this really stems from an I Quit match on Raw is War the night after the Rumble between the Rock and Triple H. During that match, Triple H looked to be closing in on victory over the WWF Champion, setting him up to go through the announce table. Before he could do so however, the Corporation made their way to ringside and Kane grabbed Chyna, threatening to chokeslam her if Triple H did not quit. Triple H did just that, and Chyna was let go, however she responded by hitting her long time partner with a lowblow, turning heel as the newest member of the Corporation all along. The next week on Raw is War, Triple H defeated Kane in a steel cage match with the assistance of fellow DX member X-Pac, which brings us to a tag match here. Cole says this is the first time that a woman has competed in a match against men in WWF history. Even ignoring the mixed tag matches over the years, he’s clearly forgotten Chyna was in the Rumble last month. Big pop for the DX members. X-Pac is still European Champion by the way. Shane McMahon comes out and joins the announcers on commentary for this one. Triple H and Kane start this one out trading blows, with Kane eventually taking control of the match and pounding on the two DX members. Chyna comes in and gets a few shots on X-Pac, but Kane tags himself back in, much to his partner’s chagrin. Triple H and X-Pac double team the big red machine and build some momentum but Chyna comes back in and does a decent enough job putting a beating on Triple H. The action eventually breaks lose between all four participants on the outside and X-Pac accidentally nails Shane McMahon with a kick to the face whilst going at it with Kane near the announce table. The action returns to the ring with the heels taking control once more, working over X-Pac until Triple H tags back in. Order breaks down again as the ref gets nailed and X-Pac hits Chyna with the Bronco Buster. At this point, Shane leaves the announce table and tries to get some payback from earlier, but X-Pac chases him away from ringside. Meanwhile Triple H attempts to pedigree Chyna, but Kane intervenes with a chokeslam to the DX leader. He pulls Chyna on top of her former partner and she scores the three for the Corporation at 14:46. This was a decent enough match to further the Triple H/Chyna and start the X-Pac/Shane rivalries that would continue going forward. The crowd were into it, and Chyna didn’t look out of place in there. Fun stuff.
Grade: **1/2

Our WWF Championship match is up next, so we get a video package highlighting the build.

WWF Championship – Last Man Standing Match:
Mankind (c) vs The Rock
So last month at the Rumble, the Rock won the WWF Championship by defeating Mankind in a brutal I Quit match, thanks to Corporate shenanigans playing a voice recording over the speaker system proclaiming that Mankind quit. Later that night, the Rock would assist Mr McMahon in eliminating Austin from the Rumble match, thus earning the $100,000 bounty placed on the Rattlesnake’s head. He would not receive that prize however, as the next night on Raw is War, Mankind intercepted the cash and used it to gourd the Rock into granting him a rematch. That rematch took place in the first ever empty arena match on the Halftime Heat special of the Superbowl. In a very unique and fun match, Mankind defeated Rock to win his second WWF Championship. Rock would then be granted a rematch tonight in a last man standing match, a fitting stipulation for what had been a very intense rivalry thus far. Mankind gets a solid reaction from the crowd here, whilst Rock gets a decent pop, but thats then followed by a huge Rocky sucks chant. Rock is still wearing his clothed attire here due to his pectoral surgery. We get a nice allusion to their previous I Quit match to start as Mankind holds his own hands behind his back to start and Rock begins pounding on him, only for Mankind to fight back, and the action quickly heads up towards the arena entrance. The two men exchange blows in the technical area and into the back, with Rock throwing Mankind through a table, but its not enough to keep the Hardcore Legend down. They fight their way back to the ring, and Mankind ends up going for his own version of the Corporate Elbow, however Rock gets up and takes over on offence, doing his trademark few seconds on commentary as he beats on the champion in the process. This allows Mankind to recover from the beating though, and he dives at Rock and follow up with a elbow from the apron to the announce table. After a brief spot of momentum, Rock takes over once again, whacking him with chair shots to the skull back in the ring, but as he goes for a fourth, Mankind ducks and the chair bounces off the ropes into Rock’s own skull. The fights goes back to the outside and Rock throws the ring steps from the ring onto Mankind on the floor below. Ouch! Rock brings the champion back into the ring and hits the Corporate Elbow and during the count grabs a mic and sings his Smackdown hotel song. Hilarious! Mankind gets up though and locks in the Mandible Claw, but Rock also manages to beat the ten count. Mankind follows up with a DDT but Rock gets up again. The challenger hits a Rock Bottom after countering a Mr Socko covered Mandible Claw, but Mankind won’t stay down either. Both men grab a chair each and end up whacking each other simultaneously in the skull. The referee begins to count and neither man can get to his feet by the count of ten at 22:00 and the match is ruled a draw. As a result Mankind retains the WWF Championship! This was a huge shock at the time as everyone assumed Rock was winning to face Austin at Mania. That was still on the cards, but we’ll see how they get their soon enough. As far as the match goes, I think this is the best PPV encounter between these two over this four month stretch. Its not as brutal as the Rumble, but quite frankly thats a good thing. They put on an incredibly hard hitting match without going overboard, and whilst the ending was anti-climatic, it set up one final clash between the two down the line. Very good stuff here between two of the best.
Grade: ****

The main event is up next, so we get a video package highlighting the ongoing rivalry between Austin and McMahon.

Steel Cage Match:
Steve Austin vs Mr McMahon
And so its finally come down to this. Of course, Mr McMahon eliminated Austin with the assistance of the Rock at the Royal Rumble and in doing so thought he had crushed his rival’s chances of challenging for the WWF title at Wrestlemania. The next night on Raw is War, McMahon announced that he had no intention of facing Rock at Wrestlemania and would select an appropriate challenger at a later time, however at this point he was interrupted via satellite by Commissioner Michaels who had been drinking a few beers with Austin. Michaels told Vince that if the Rumble winner were to forfeit their shot at the Wrestlemania, that right would go to the runner up, in this case, Austin. Vince did not like this idea so instead agreed to face Austin in a cage match tonight, with Austin’s shot at going to Wrestlemania on the line. Never one to go into a fight without something up his sleeve however, McMahon made Austin run a gauntlet against the Corporation the night before the PPV on a special edition of Raw is War, a match that ended with the Bossman defeating a battered Austin. Now then, to say Austin gets a massive pop and Vince gets huge heat here really goes without saying. Vince hesitates as he makes his way out, not stepping into the cage, so Austin comes out and chases him around ringside. Vince locks himself in the cage whilst Austin tries to get in over the top only for Vince to knock him down to the floor. Now confident, McMahon comes out of the cage again only for Austin to recover and finally get his hands on the evil boss. Vince tries to escape through the crowd, but Austin stops him and opens up another can of whoop ass. The match is still yet to begin as Vince tries to escape by climbing the exterior of the cage, and then we get the big bump of the night. Austin chases the boss up to the top and throws his head into the cage wall. The momentum sends Vince crashing down from the cage and through the announce table, legitimately breaking his tailbone in the process as the crowd goes nuts. The medical staff come out with a stretcher for Vince and Howard Finkel declares Austin the winner by forfeit, but the rattlesnake isn’t going to have any of it. He says since Vince is breathing, the match should take place, and he pulls Vince off the stretcher and throws him into the ring, officially starting the match. Austin beats the hell out of Vince some more and eventually goes to leave, only for Vince to give him the middle finger. This stops Austin in his tracks as he turns his attention back to Vince, unloading on him some more. Vince briefly turns the tables with a lowblow and attempts to escape, but Austin stops him in his tracks, pulling him down from the top of the cage and ramming him into the walls, busting the boss open in the process. The rattlesnake goes to leave again, but Vince brings him back with another middle finger, so Austin comes back and hits him with the stunner. At this point a giant man whom Michael Cole identifies as the debuting Paul Wight (you know him as the Big Show) comes up through the ring. He grabs Austin and throws him into the cage, but the wall gives way and Austin escapes to the floor in the process to win the match and earn his spot in the main event of Wrestlemania. The actual match was only 8:08, but factoring in all the stuff beforehand, it was more around the 20-25 minute mark. Of course, this wasn’t a scientific wrestling match, but it wasn’t meant to be. What it was was a very enjoyable and heated brawl, with Austin finally getting some retribution on the man who had made his life hell for the better part of a year at this point. McMahon took a hell of a beating and we got a memorable debut of a man still active today in the process. The show comes to a close with Austin celebrating his victory, whilst an angry Vince looks on.
Grade: ***

Overall this was an enjoyable show carried by the two big matches in Austin/McMahon and Rock/Mankind. The rest of the card was okay, albeit nothing spectacular, although there were a few low points (that Bossman/Mideon match comes to mind). As far as the two big matches go however, they certainly delivered as Mankind and Rock beat the hell out of each other in a very good showdown, whilst Austin did exactly what everyone wanted to see him do in dish out a beating to the evil owner of the company. The show was really all about setting up Wrestlemania, and we saw a number of the rivalries that would continue over the next month develop tonight, so it worked in that respect. The big question at the moment however is the main event at that show. We know Austin is in, but its clear the Rock and Mankind have unresolved issues after the ending of their match tonight. That would be cleared up the next night on Raw is War, but for now we are still left questioning who will hold the WWF Championship heading in to the biggest show of the year.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Steve Austin – after being screwed with for the better part of the past year by Mr McMahon, this was his moment of redemption, and he delivered in the manner you would expect, handing out a quality can of whoop ass on his hated adversary.
2. Mr McMahon – you have to give Vince credit – he was willing to put himself through the same spots as the rest of the roster, and on this night he had a broken tailbone to show for it. The Mr McMahon character played a huge role in getting Austin as over as he was, and he played his role perfectly getting his ass handed to him here.
3. Mankind/The Rock (tie) – these two had amazing chemistry together. We’d see that in another way later in the year, but for now they put on a very good title match which I’d put as the best of this series of encounters despite not really resolving anything. It would probably be more fondly remembered if Rock won back the belt here, but as I said, they weren’t quite finished yet.

FINAL GRADE: 6.5 out of 10

What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1. The list is put together from all the shows I have reviewed thus far. The Texas Rattlesnake is closing in on that number two spot, whilst Mick Foley overtakes the Macho Man for number four!

Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
Steve Austin = 65
Mick Foley = 29
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 25
The Rock = 22
Hulk Hogan = 18
Owen Hart = 18
Triple H = 16
Diesel = 15
X-Pac = 14
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 11
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Vince McMahon = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
Tanaka = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Sato = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Hakushi = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Savio Vega = 3
Ken Shamrock = 3
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Billy Gunn = 1
Bart Gunn = 1
Marc Mero = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Animal = 1
Hawk = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Christian = 1

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