Throwback Thursday: Rebellion (1999)
It’s about that time again, your weekly dose of wrestling’s past: Throwback Thursday. October 2 is a day jam-packed with historical wrestling moments, with Jack Brisco defeating Ted DiBiase for the Missouri title, NWA World Champion Ric Flair fighting AWA World Champion Rick Martel to a double count-out in Tokyo, the debut of Tommy Dreamer at NWA Bloodfest, and Booker T winning his third WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
However, of the potentially great visual moments from this day—maybe not Kelly Kelly’s Miz/Balls Mahoney love fiasco so much—we are jumping into the middle of the age we all miss, the Attitude Era. Also, for the first time in the Throwback Thursday series, we are leaving the United States for the first edition of UK-only pay-per-view, 1999’s Rebellion.
The quick results are as follows: Jeff Jarrett (with Miss Kitty) successfully defended his Intercontinental Championship against European Champion D’Lo Brown; The Godfather (with The Ho Train) defeated Gangrel (with a goblet of blood); Val Venis (with a towel) defeated Mark Henry (with a gimmick that would torment him for decades to come); Ivory defended her Women’s Championship against Luna Vachon, Tori, and Jacqueline in a Femme Fatale Four Way match; Chris Jericho (with Curtis Hughes) defeated Road Dogg (with his Tag Team Championship); Chyna defeated Jeff Jarrett by disqualification; Kane defeated Big Show in a no disqualification match; The British Bulldog defeated X-Pac; Edge and Christian defeated The Acolytes and The Hollys; and Triple H successfully defended his WWF Championship against The Rock in a steel cage match.
This was an event definitive of the Attitude Era. The wrestling was average, the matches were short, the punches were hard, the characters were cheesy, and the combination of these things would have me re-watching this event in a heartbeat. Seriously, I don’t know how they did it, but some of the scenarios put forward just had enough quirk to keep it entertaining.
What did surprise me was the fact that, with an event such as Rebellion, WWE somehow made it past 2002. Let me explain. The first four matches of Rebellion had, in order, the following storylines or gimmicks: a man who believed that a women’s place was “in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant”; a man who had taken his pimping enterprise global; an adult entertainer facing a man nicknamed “Sexual Chocolate”; and a Women’s Championship match featuring four of the supposed best female wrestlers in the world that didn’t even reach the four minute mark.
I’m sure many of you remember the group from the end of the Attitude Era known as Right To Censor. This group was a parody of the Parents Television Council who filed a lawsuit against WWE for its levels of sexuality and violence. Luckily for WWE, the Parents Television Council happened to go one step too far resulting in a lawsuit reversal. But they did have a point; some of the stuff that was done by a womanising Jeff Jarrett, especially before the first match, was just plain wrong. It was obvious that the storyline was intending to commentate on the need for equality, but that was completely undermined when around a half dozen strippers came to the ring for the next match.
I could get way further into this, but I guess I can rest easy knowing WWE has changed much of its questionable ways. As I have said previously, this show was tremendously entertaining. After all, even Kane and Big Show gave it their all with a little bit of high-flying action. The British Bulldog was front and centre throughout the show including three backstage segments, his match, and two match interferences. And this was also the beginning of WWF’s budding tag team division which would go on to help define the age we all miss.
Was this a must see event? Probably not, but if you have the WWE Network and a couple of hours on hand, it’s definitely an enjoyable bit of action to keep you occupied. The rules are loose, the wrestling is often shoddy, the crowd is drunk, there is an acceptable level of English racism, and it’s a bloody good watch. So why not? Give it a go. At the very least, you get to see numerous men get punched in the nether-regions.