Twenty years ago on February 14, 1999, World Wrestling Entertainment held the 27th In Your House pay-per-view, dubbed St. Valentine’s Day Massacre at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee.
Yours truly was 11 years old and had no idea what was going on and what was to come with the then-WWF. All I knew was that I was a Stone Cold Steve Austin fan and I wanted him to find a way to get his title shot at WrestleMania XV.
Fast forward to February 14, 2019 and I realized leading up to this day that I hadn’t watched this event a single time since its original airing, so it felt fitting to go back and take a look at it with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
Context is always key, so in order to understand this event, we need to look at what elements were in play to set the stage.
The big angle for the pay-per-view was determining which two men would be competing for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania XV. Steve Austin’s title reign ended with The Undertaker and Kane simultaneously pinning him, followed by a series of shenanigans that would result in the championship being vacated. A new champion was crowned at Survivor Series in The Rock, who joined The Corporation in an homage to the Montreal Screwjob and in a double turn that sealed Mick Foley’s babyface switch.
As Austin set his eyes on the Royal Rumble victory to grant him another shot at the title, Vince McMahon was able to win that, instead, with some help from The Rock, who had “defeated” Foley in an I Quit Match with a dubious finish.
This left the WWF landscape in an odd state with The Rock clearly not set to do battle with McMahon at WrestleMania, as that would be ludicrous, so a new challenger had to be established. Commissioner Shawn Michaels (remember, HBK was unable to wrestle at this time due to injury) stated that McMahon’s forfeit of his title shot would mean Austin, as the runner-up, would get that opportunity instead.
At St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, these issues would be settled (at least temporarily) with Austin and McMahon doing battle in a steel cage with the title shot hanging in the balance against the winner of The Rock vs. Mick Foley in a Last Man Standing Match.
Of course, that wasn’t it, as there were other matches on the card, but those were in no way as important or memorable as the main event, and to be perfectly honest, that is something I purposely wanted to keep myself in the dark about as I rewatched this event.
I didn’t want to be all caught up on the other feuds or to remember who won every match, as I wanted to go on the ride as much as I could as if I wasn’t going back in time to an event I knew the main outcome to.
So I fired up the WWE Network and let it rip, and here are my revised thoughts on everything that is St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
The Show Opens
- The opening intro is definitely one of my favorite ones. That electronica/techno/whatever you’d call it “attitude” signature was always cool.
- What in the world was up with old timey video package at the start? I don’t remember this at all and definitely wasn’t expecting something with this style. I don’t equate Steve Austin chugging beers to something that sounds like Vera Lynn from Dr. Strangelove.
- But I do love the actual theme itself, which was repurposed for Luke Gallows when he was with the Straight Edge Society. I happen to have found a great mashup of that song and Drew McIntyre’s “Broken Dreams” a bunch of years ago. Great fundamental background for a theme, that should definitely be revisited.
- Is Western Union still a thing? They were all over the place in this era of WWE, but I don’t remember the last time I heard that business’s name. Hell, maybe it was this event.
- That backwards S in Massacre, with a bunch of unnecessary text on the screen as if this was somehow a Y2K inspired thing. Very dated, but hey, that’s fun and I’m sure I thought it was totally bitchin’ back then.
- Boy do I miss pyro…this is an In Your House and it gets more pyro than we get nowadays.
- SO. MANY. SIGNS. I bet they weren’t getting confiscated like they currently do.
Match: Goldust defeated Bluedust by pinfall
- “It all started a few weeks ago when Goldust stole Head from Al Snow and Bluedust stole it back. Then Goldust returned the favor when he delivered Shattered Dreams to The Blue Meanie who was trying out on Raw one night as The Raw Boy.” – Good lord, that’s how this event starts.
- Lots of people crap on Michael Cole, but I don’t think he’s bad. However, here, you can tell he’s still pretty new to trying to find his voice as he’s screaming everything and it’s quite annoying.
- Goldust’s theme is so good that he’s never had to change it, and hearing it twice here wasn’t in the slightest bit bothersome. Love it.
- Who is the heel here?
- I don’t remember Blue Meanie being able to do a moonsault!
- Well that was fast.
- Ooooh, Goldust was the babyface. And hey, Teddy Long was the referee. This should have been a tag team match, then.
Hardcore Championship Match: Bob Holly defeated Al Snow
- I mentioned I was 11 when this happened and I was an Al Snow fan who had no idea what this whole Head gimmick meant. I just thought it was funny.
- This theme totally does not fit Bob Holly, who isn’t quite Hardcore Holly yet. But hey, at least he’s well beyond Thurman “Sparky” Plugg, right?
- The Hardcore Championship is one of the hardest titles to try to keep track of reigns. I know the WWF Championship goes from Hart to Yoko to Hogan to Hart to HBK to Sid to HBK to Hart to Sid to Undertaker to Hart to (etc) but God help me if I wanted to try to remember the transitional structure of the Hardcore Championship.
- Second match of the night and we’re already fighting backstage, but I dig it.
- Busting floor tiles over Snow’s head, breaking mops, this is fun.
- I love my puns, but “meet my girlfriend, her name is Barbie Wire”…groan.
- Lucky cameraman not getting hit by that stick!
- Funny hearing “fuck it” and whatnot muttered to each other and themselves since the audio’s not the same as it would be in the ring.
- That was a lame way for this to end, with Holly just wrapping Snow up in chain link fence.
Match: Big Boss Man defeated Mideon
- In the promo beforehand, The Undertaker says “Valentime”. I hate it when people do that.
- Mideon was such garbage, and not even in a fun way like Flash Funk or Gillberg. He just sucked outside of being Phineas and even then, he was just “the other Godwinn”.
- Funny they refer to him as formerly Dennis Knight instead of Phineas, though.
- For the record, I liked the idea of Undertaker abducting people and brainwashing them to be reborn into his cult as a new entity, and I think it worked with Viscera to an extent, but Mideon, nope.
- Once more, who is the heel, here? Both? I don’t think the fans even know who to cheer for, as they’re chanting “Boss Man sucks” but there aren’t any pro-Mideon chants. Babyface by default, I guess.
- “Boring” chants.
- Another bad ending. This match sucked and the post-match beatdown didn’t make up for it.
- Laser pointers were so damn popular around this time.
Tag Team Championship Match: Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett (c) defeated Mark Henry and D-Lo Brown
- D-Lo Brown saying Ivory would rip every stitch of clothes off Debra’s “two cent sleazy ass” made me laugh.
- This whole smitten thing is so ridiculous, but it gave Mark Henry a chance to show some personality. Sexual Chocolate is a funny, silly gimmick.
- Owen Hart was so damn good. He really should have held the WWF Championship at least for a transitional reign. I always loved his enziguri.
- There are still specks of Goldust’s stuff out there as Jarrett has a piece stuck to him.
- No tag was made for D-Lo to try to get another pin.
- Mike Chioda pays no attention at all to the broken pieces of guitar in the ring hahahaha.
- 11-year-old me was surely so pissed that Hart and Jarrett had those belts to cover Debra.
After this, there’s a commercial that you can win a free photo magnet. LMAO.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Val Venis defeated Ken Shamrock (c)
- I was always a big Billy Gunn fan. Ken Shamrock, too. Even Val Venis, to a certain extent (but not as much as the other two). Ryan Shamrock, not so much, but the story of Venis being with Shamrock’s sister was a decent one.
- There’s literally a sign in the crowd that says “Val Venis suck my penis” and nowadays, you can’t even bring one that says “AEW”
- This match had a lot more potential than it really is capitalizing on. It’s pretty bland.
- “Ask him!” / “ASK HIM WHAT?!” hahaha
- Billy Gunn is such a terrible referee and it’s the most fun part about this, for sure.
- This went on longer than it felt like it should have.
I’m pretty sure I owned the Mr. Socko t-shirt.
Match: Chyna and Kane defeated Triple H and X-Pac
- I always liked the story of Kane not wanting to be taken away to the insane asylum.
- They really did treat Chyna like she was “one of the guys” in many ways. It’s so weird in today’s context to have Triple H deck her and nobody think anything of it, cheering and such.
- Here’s the overbooked shenanigans that have become such commonplace that they don’t mean as much as they did back then.
- I don’t remember if in 1999, I thought Kane vs. Triple H at WrestleMania wasn’t a step down from Taker/Kane the previous year, but in 2019, it sure feels that way to me. HHH was super popular, sure, but this feud doesn’t feel anywhere near as epic or second-tier main event to me as what took place at WrestleMania XIV. Then again, Foley/Show, the Intercontinental Championship situation and so forth balance it all out, I guess, as a big show that just isn’t gigantic in the grand scheme of history. In 1999, it probably felt like the biggest lineup of matches we could get.
WWF Championship Last Man Standing Match: The Rock (c) defeated Mick Foley
- As a kid, I remember rooting for Foley to win this match so bad. Even though it wouldn’t make sense for me to want two of my favorite babyfaces to fight each other at WrestleMania, I still wanted The Rock to get his comeuppance and all.
- While I don’t like knowing how dangerous they really are, I do have to admit that I miss these types of chair shots. Nowadays, I don’t even get excited when someone grabs a chair, as it’s just going to be a shot to the gut or to the back.
- GODDAMN, The Rock throwing the steps directly onto Foley. OUCH.
- That ref bump wasn’t all that bad, compared to the norm.
- Admittedly, if this were an event now and it had a draw finish, I would be pissed, because it’s a non-ending. However, without the immediacy of wanting to know what happens next, it doesn’t bug me as much right now.
Steel Cage No. 1 Contender’s Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Vince McMahon
- As much as I loved the blue cage for nostalgic purposes, I was SO pumped for the black bars instead. That really felt like it was indicative of the era, changing from New Generation blue and yellow to Attitude black.
- Vince’s go-to curses really are “son of a bitch” and “damn it”.
- “King, it was supposed to be simple. He was supposed to get in the cage and try to get out. Not this.” – Well there’s an understatement. The entire match is taking place outside of the cage.
- When I was just a fan, I could enjoy things for the pure spectacle and not have to analyze it from a technical viewpoint like I do now. It made it so much easier to enjoy things. In 2019, I’d be talking about how this was a bit slow and there wasn’t much to it but punches (like all of Austin’s matches post-injury) and for a squash match, it didn’t make much sense for it to go on that long. In 1999, I was just going nuts over every strike.
- It makes sense when Undertaker and Kane come up from under the ring, but when Big Show does, it’s just strange.
- I do like the ending, with Show tossing Austin into the cage and it swinging open for him to drop down and win. That was cool. It’s a weird way for someone to debut and immediately fail at their task, but that just made it even more interesting, as it’s the opposite of what would be expected in that scenario.
- Big Show doesn’t even look a ton like himself from around this era and beforehand, to me. He looks more like a lion, and smaller than he looked in WCW and even in The Waterboy.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, nor unexpected, as the purpose of this was to build to WrestleMania XV. It makes sense why this is more filler than anything else.
At the time this originally came out, I was eating everything up like it was the most delicious meal on the planet and I hadn’t eaten in days. Now that I have 20 years separating me, things aren’t quite the same, but that doesn’t excuse all positives.
I can appreciate the importance of the McMahon/Austin angle. I’m extremely glad Big Show made his way to WWE (I think he’s overlooked and underrated in some ways). I thought certain elements were fun to look back on with different eyes as an adult in this current era. So on and so forth.
By and large, I feel like this is an event people need to be aware of for the history of WWE because of how important the main event was, but I don’t think it’s something people “need to see” in order to feel complete. As long as they know the results and watch some YouTube highlight package, that’s all they need, and maybe that’s good enough.
What are your thoughts on St. Valentine’s Day Massacre? What other events should be revisited in the future? Tell us your thoughts and keep the discussion going in the comments section below!