Royal Rumble 2000
Date: January 23, 2000
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross
At this point, the wars are over. WCW is practically dead and the WWF just keeps pouring it on. The main thing that’s different than last year though is simple: Austin is gone. With the company so far ahead that they would have to be WCW to manage to lose the lead they had built up, Austin was finally allowed to take the nearly yearlong break that he so badly needed to get his neck fixed once and for all.
With him out of the way, the Rock and HHH have stepped up. To all Rock fans, get this through your heads: without Austin taking this time off, Rock would be a fairly big star at best. He’s not bigger than Austin, he never was bigger than Austin, and he never will be bigger than Austin. He got as big as he got because of Austin not being there and that’s all there is to it.
Anyway, a lot of the roster is filled out now as we have guys like Jericho, Angle, the Dudleys, Show and I believe the Radicalz would debut the next night or eight days later so they were just over the horizon at this point. Your other main event tonight is HHH vs. Cactus Jack in a street fight, which was one of the best matches I’ve ever seen and since I want to get to it, we’re starting now.
The opening video is about how insane Cactus is and how sane HHH is. That was the real point of the street fight tonight: getting HHH over as a crazy man. In other words, Foley is doing what he might be the best ever at, and that’s even better than Flair: getting people over and making them look better than anyone else ever could. There’s no mention of the match at all here, which is odd. After a brief intro from Jerry and Jim, we’re ready to go.
Kurt Angle vs. ???
Angle was the undefeated rookie wonder here and he had issued an open challenge here or something like that. He’s the clean cut kid here that no one could touch at this point. It had leaked out who the opponent would be, but not to the general public. Angle of course gives a speech talking about how great he is. The crowd is very hot already as is customary of a New York crowd. He gets some cheap heat by ripping on the Knicks, which is just fine. Cheap heat is still heat.
This is less than a week after the MSG Raw before Survivor Series so I’m fired up about the Garden in general. Actually the fans are chanting for the guy he’s about to fight so I guess they know who’s coming. Angle was just ridiculously great in this role. The music hits, and the symbol that we’ve been seeing for a few months comes up for Taz, who is the mystery guy. The crowd pops like a cherry for him too. I mean they are LOUD.
Angle beats on him for a few minutes until Taz gets his hands on him and let the suplexing begin. After a German, a head and arms, and a T-Bone, the Tazmission debuts in the WWF and Angle is out cold in about 20 seconds, ending his undefeated streak and making Taz look like an insane killing machine. Now that is how you debut a guy. Once Taz got going, he DESTROYED Angle. Angle is taken out on a stretcher as apparently it was a choke and not a sleeper.
Rating: A-. Yeah it’s just over three minutes long, but DANG. That was a nearly perfect debut as Taz looked awesome there and Angle put him over like a master despite having only been around a few months at this point. Taz dominated here and was supposed to get the push that Benoit wound up getting, but because of Hardcore freaking Holly messing up a spot with a candy jar at Mania, Taz had an eye injury and had to take a lot of time off, so Benoit got the big IC title push instead.
Matt, Jeff and Terri are in the back to talk about the first ever tag team table match. Terri actually looks good here. They “won” her in the Terri Invitational Tournament (initials) so she’s their manager for awhile. This doesn’t last long as they realized Terri had no talent so that ended that. She was split from them by Mania I think. Anyway, the Dudleys have been putting people through tables so Matt and Jeff put them through some on Smackdown, leading to this match.
Taz says that he’s going to go right through this company.
Hardy Boys vs. Dudley Boys
Like I said, this is a table match. The Dudleys have been around for a few months here and were the best team that people had seen in forever as no one had seen two guys this violent in a mainstream promotion for more than a few weeks before. And no, Public Enemy doesn’t count due to a lack of talent. Bubba is still a southern stutterer here.
We get a John Rocker reference as Bubba says that’s his new favorite player. For those of you that have either forgotten him or haven’t ever heard of him, he was a decent relief pitcher for the Braves who went on this insane tirade one day, bashing just about every religious or ethnic group in existence and complaining that New York had all of them. It was a big deal and he got in a lot of trouble for it.
He was HATED in New York because of it so just saying his name was instant mega heat. There’s a taxi hanging above the entrance. The entry way is really cool as it looks like an alley or a street to play up the street fight later on. In this you have to put both people through tables so we’re guaranteed an extra table or so. Thankfully we don’t have the pointless tagging thing here.
Don’t you love how ECW had just gotten on television nationwide in late August and within five months three of their biggest stars ever are opening a WWF PPV to HUGE pops from the New York crowd? Yet Vince said he never stole stuff from them. Keep telling yourself that Vince. You just happened to have these three guys get their biggest exposure yet back to back in a gimmick match made famous in ECW in front of their second most important city?
I’m not saying it’s bad because it’s a great idea, but Vince stole these guys. Again, smart, but not original at all like he would like you to believe. Naturally Jeff is flying all over the place. Bubba takes a SWEET chair shot from Jeff. He follows that up by running along the barricade at Bubba, but the member of Team 3D picks up the table and just chucks it at Jeff, slamming into his head for a great sound effect. See, this is a great example of not overbooking a match.
With these four guys, there’s zero need to try to do something big and complex. Just tell these guys to go out there and beat the heck out of each other using weapons and high spots. Honestly, what more do you need these guys to do? You just let the guys go out there and rock the place. This was the real answer to the Cruiserweights in WCW: bigger guys just going out there and having over the top gimmick matches. It seems to be working fine here, and it got people’s attention.
The Hardys get the advantage again and they set for a double suplex on Bubba from the middle rope, but D-Von moves the table. I’ve always loved spots like that, as the guy is more or less saying he doesn’t care if his partner is hurt or anything, as long as he doesn’t go through a table. That’s brilliant. Here’s your token ladder, which foreshadows and references past and future matches which is hard to do.
There are some SICK chair shots in this. Matt has Bubba on a table on the floor but D-Von almost makes a save. Matt shoves him straight into a fan which was a not so good looking spot. Matt gets the leg drop to put Bubba through, but from out of absolutely nowhere, Jeff jumps at the same time in a half splash half elbow half manbearpig onto Bubba. I mean he came from nowhere. Think Shelton jumping onto the ladder to stop I think Van Dam at Mania.
We have a huge HOLY CRAP chant as D-Von takes another great chair shot. Bubba can barely stand. I think he can still be in the match and it’s not an elimination. I’m not sure if I like that or not. In ANOTHER nice sequence, D-Von is on a table on the floor and Matt dives at him. He moves and stands in front of another table and dives out of the way so Jeff crashes through that one.
That looked like something out of a Die Hard movie. Bubba is back now and I’m completely into this match. They point out that since the Dudleys didn’t put them through tables, it’s not over. At least they follow the rules of the match. They set up an elevated table and power bomb Matt through it, which Ross says will cause some erection dysfunction. Don’t ask. I’ve always liked the euphoric thing Bubba did when he went through the tables. It was just cool.
The finish here is somehow the coolest part. They head to the entry way where the Dudleys set up double tables. They go up to the top of the set and get on the taxi, where Bubba tries to get a powerbomb. Jeff fights out of it and hits Bubba with a chair to knock him straight back off of it, which looks cool enough as is. After that, D-Von gets put on the table and the Swanton Bomb ends this freaking awesome match.
Rating: A. THIS WAS AWESOME! The spots were completely insane and the chemistry was undeniable here. The crowd ate it up too so it sounded great. There was no story here and there wasn’t supposed to be. There’s nothing wrong with just a wild brawl when it’s done right and this was a great example of that. Just all kinds of fun and the fans bought every bit of it.
Angle is groggy and acts like he has a concussion where he’s only concerned about being undefeated. It’s funnier than it sounds.
We’re now going to have the Miss Rumble pageant. This is coming off the heels of the Kat taking her top off at the last PPV and actually showing on screen for about 2-3 seconds which was a HUGE thing as nudity was actually shown on WWF TV with no issue about it. Of course then the PTC freaked the heck out about it as the company was apparently corrupting children’s minds by showing an adult image on a show that an adult had to order for their children on a show called Armageddon.
Dang, Vince really is trying so hard to corrupt the minds of the youth. It would be so simple to allow a 12 year old to see such a thing. All they would have to do is order a PPV while making sure to sound like an adult on the phone, find some way to keep their parents from noticing them watching it when a show they didn’t order is on, hide the cable bill from their parents and then manage to pay for the show themselves despite likely not having a checking account or a credit card.
I mean really Vince, at least have SOME kind of way to prevent kids from seeing the show. Anyway, this is a beauty pageant and according to the rating, there would be more nudity here. The judges are Slaughter, Tony Garea who no one under 35 knows, Fabulous Moolah, Johnny V and Freddie Blassie who gets a great pop. Lawler is the host for this. First up is Ivory who is wearing a big sweatshirt. Terri is second to a solid pop.
Jackie, who no one likes at all, is third. Fourth is a woman named Barbara Bush who was nicknamed BB and was an EMT or something. She lasted all of a month or two. Luna is 5th as this is going to take awhile. Kat is the final one and she gets a solid pop. She’s women’s champion at the moment. Of all people, the celebrity judge is ANDY RICHTER from “The Conan O’Brien Show.” Seriously that’s what they call it.
This is your standard thing so I’ll skip most of the details. Lawler’s jumping up and down is kind of funny. No one has ever cared about Jackie at all and no one does here either. This really is moronic. Luna, despite wearing a gown that is just buttoned in the front and a thong under it, won’t disrobe. Kat’s is made of bubble wrap. Yep, that’s your Women’s Champion.
Naturally Mae Young comes out and wants to compete also. She disrobes and takes her top off. The look on Lawler’s face when he sees them is priceless. That’s your nudity for the night, and yes, we see them. Mark Henry who was for no apparent reason dating Mae at the time comes out to cover her up. Mae wins unanimously. WZ actually had a link on the main page to a still shot of Mae’s boobs. I wish I was making that up.
We go to WWF New York which is new to meet the debuting Coach. Good night that place would have been awesome to attend.
Don’t try this at home. Good advice.
Jericho and Chyna are in the back arguing about who should wear the belt. This was a very interesting angle they did where they were co champions. In other words, they could both defend the title individually but if say Jericho lost, Chyna lost too which made it something different. Unnecessary, but different.
Angle says that since he was choked out, he’s still undefeated.
Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho vs. Chyna vs. Hardcore Holly
This is for the undisputed title. Holly is there because he’s beaten both of them one on one and it’s an even numbered year so we have to give him his next failure of a push. Seriously, he got more pushes than a grandmother that stands in front of a flight of stairs. Chyna was a big deal at the time as a woman legitimately competing with men was unheard of yet she was pulling it off.
Jericho is over to say the least. Jericho was awesome on the mic at this point as you could tell he was just so happy to be out of WCW. This is a standard match for the most part, which means one person goes down and the other two have a short singles match until the third comes back. Jericho is by far and away the favorite here. Chyna hits the handspring elbow which for the life of me I still don’t get the point of.
Chyna and Jericho keep vying to outdo each other and it’s not that interesting. Why in the world did Holly need to be in this? I just don’t get that. Holly takes a slow but decent Pedigree but kicks out anyway. They’re doing a lot of near falls near the end here, which at least is building a bit of drama. It’s not a bad match, but it’s just not that interesting. Jericho hits a Lionsault on Chyna to become undisputed champion, and that’s that.
Rating: C. Like I said, this wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t interesting at all. Holly flat out didn’t need to be in there since he wasn’t even involved in the decision. This wasn’t much, but it was ok and certainly watchable.
Rock, rocking the SWEET Brahma Bull jersey, is in the back with Cole and says that there are two people he’s worried about in the Rumble: Crash Holly and Mosh. Cole questions this so Rock says go have a glass of shut up juice. He calls out Big Show and says that he wants it to wind up as those two in the final pairing. The charisma here is completely ridiculous it’s so high. He really was a god on the mic.
Jericho cuts a traditionally great promo talking about how he’s going to lead the Jerichoholics to the promised land like a pied piper while holding up the Interchrisinental Title.
We recap the APA vs. the Outlaws, which is here because the APA won a battle royal thing.
Tag Titles: Acolytes vs. New Age Outlaws
After about a two minute entrance we’re ready to go. This match lasts two and a half minutes. The Acolytes beat the champions up. Or do they beat them down? I’m not sure actually. After a short mini match, X-Pac runs down and beats up Bradshaw, allowing Billy to his the Fameasser for the win.
I know that sounds like nothing but there’s just nothing at all to talk about. They brawled for 45 seconds, the Acolytes beat up the champions for a minute or so, then Pac was there for the finish. They much be setting up HHH/Foley for more time or something, which I’m fine with.
Rating: N/A. I can’t rate something this short at all.
Road Dogg says that even though they got beaten up they’re still the champions. You can’t argue that one.
We recap HHH vs. Foley, which started with HHH beating Show clean for the belt and having the McMahon-Helmsley Era run things. Foley calls them out and he’s fired due to losing a pink slip on a pole match. A fake Mankind (Mideon) showed up to make fun of him. Rock and the rest of the roster threatened to leave and form the Rock Wrestling Federation unless Foley was reinstated. Mankind comes back and HHH beats the heck out of him after agreeing to the street fight.
Then, in one of the coolest moments of this era as far as I’m concerned, Mankind comes out and says he’s not ready to fight HHH in a street fight, but he has a replacement ready to go. He pulls open his shirt and takes off the mask and turns into Cactus Jack. HHH is FREAKING and then gets his head handed to him by Jack, setting this up. The level of awesome that Foley was in this multiple personalities thing was just insane on so many levels.
WWF Title: Cactus Jack vs. HHH
Jack gets a crazy pop and HHH might as well be a Red Sock. Stephanie looks great as usual. I love HHH being so nervous about getting in the ring as it really plays up his being out of his element. The intros take just shy of eternity, but you hear in HHH’s My Time song the words The Marks, The Suits, McMahon. I guess those are people he doesn’t like, which is kind of cool. Finally we’re on.
Foley is called Mankind time after time by Ross. Ross is stuttering like no other. HUGE Cactus Jack chant gets going. It’s all Jack so far. And just as I say that HHH hits a bell shot to the head. Naturally it doesn’t do much. In shades of Rumble 98, Jack runs straight into a chair shot like he’s running home after a day of simple torture as a child. The crowd is hot here as Jack puts the chair on HHH’s head and drops a leg on it.
And that can shatter a skull right Cole? Ross says HHH might be the best technical champion in company history. I’m not even touching that one as it’s so freaking stupid. We hit the crowd and the crowd is making this match better. It’s been hard hitting so far but we’ve been at this five minutes so far. We’re in the entry way now and HHH is getting killed. Remember that the entry way is set up like an alley, so the trash cans being there at least make sense.
This is ALL Cactus here. I love how Foley can become such a better threat with the gimmick change. It really is brilliant. The crowd is rapidly approaching ECW levels here. Basically HHH keeps using his regular stuff and Jack keeps going insane on him with violent stuff. It’s a great bit of storytelling mixed in which almost never happens in these matches. Jack goes under the ring with HHH down and pulls out a 2×4 wrapped in barb wire. Oh yes.
Ross is of course freaking. Due to the idiot of a referee, HHH gets the board and puts Foley down with four stiff shots with it, all to the back and front. That’s brilliant actually as Foley is wearing a shirt which likely has padding underneath it. While I can’t imagine that’s real barb wire, the image is great and for people that aren’t sharp enough to see what’s going on here, it’s a great way to make this match seem about 10 times more violent.
It’s the little things like that which can make a match and it’s doing so here. A board shot to the lower back which is considered a low blow stops the momentum HHH has built up. I love how with low blows half the time they’re not even close to the groin. The crowd booing when the barb wire board is thrown out is just classic stuff. Twelve minutes in we have our first cover. That’s another nice touch as it makes it seem like it’s about the violence rather than the pin here, which is what it’s supposed to be. In case you can’t tell, I really like this match. Granted Foley is my all time favorite wrestler and this was by far his best period, so there we are.
The referee goes down and a barb wire shot to the face puts HHH down. Ross is selling this as insanity on a great level. HHH is bleeding and it’s a very good one. One is right next to his eye which looks even sicker. In a sick looking spot, HHH is trying to get out to the floor but Foley takes the board and the wire and puts it over the very cut forehead of HHH and just pulls back. The screaming is perfect as this match is awesome so far.
Ross here is great on the mic as he’s not getting insane through the whole match. He gets way into it in bursts which makes those moments seem more impressive. That’s the big issue with guys like Cole. He gets into the match WAY too early and it takes away from the later big spots. Ross gets into the big spots but other than that he’s rather calm which helps to build up later stuff, thereby adding credibility to the good stuff.
That’s the mark of a great commentator: they don’t take anything away from the match but they add so much to it, like Ross is doing here. I usually can’t stand him but this is great stuff from him. Jack goes through a table when he goes for a piledriver to get us back to even. HHH’s leg is bleeding, which is a very nice touch. Oddly the table that was destroyed wasn’t Spanish. That’s very odd indeed. MAN that’s a thick cut in his leg.
Cactus hits a bulldog onto the barb wire. One of the major keys here is that it’s completely unclear who is going to win. At the time, no one knew. That can completely make a match as in my eyes it’s the most important thing there is in wrestling. On the floor again, HHH gets a hip block onto the steps and Foley rams his knee into it. Using his generally good psychology, HHH goes for the knee with the barb wire.
The good thing is it’s still a sick thing to do despite how much it’s been used so far in this match alone. From nowhere HHH finds handcuffs and tries to put them on Foley, which after a brief comeback works. This is already a bit uneasy to watch but this is bringing flashbacks to last year. If nothing else there’s a bit of slack in these unlike last year so it looks a bit less awful if nothing else. Jack puts up a heck of a fight despite being in essence armless here. That’s just impressive.
I’ll go with this for how brutal this is: HHH actually breaks the chair from hitting Jack with it so hard. Has that ever happened before? With them back in the entry way, Jack begs HHH to hit him again, but Rock pops in from nowhere to half kill HHH with the chair. A cop pops in and unlocks Jack’s arms and we’re at it again, as the fans are right back into this thing. The piledriver works this time, but the table DOESN’T BREAK.
Think about that. How sick would that look? I mean HHH just stopped cold all of a sudden. We’re back in the ring now, as Jack pulls out a bag of thumbtacks. You have to remember, this is before Abyss made those look like watercolor paints. They were hardly ever used but they’re busting them out here. Jack goes into them via a backdrop just after Stephanie comes out. She’s wearing a leopard print choker, which is the same as Cactus’ boots in a nice little touch.
After that, the Pedigree gets two in what might have been the second cover of the match. Then to finish us off, in one of the sickest spots I’ve ever seen, Cactus gets Pedigreed onto the tacks for the pin. Jack is DEAD. HHH gets the belt and goes to the floor and just collapses. Stretchers come out and of course Jack is up to attack HHH one more time.
They would have a Cell match at No Way Out which was awesome as well where Foley would officially retire, and other than one match which was a surprise he kept true to that for the most part. I’m fine with short comebacks and occasional matches to put people over as he does so often. This made HHH look legit which is exactly what it was designed to do. This was awesome.
Rating: A+. Yes I’m being generous on the grades for this show, but DANG. These two half killed each other out there in easily the best brawl for the title I’ve ever seen. This was insanely violent and HHH came off looking great. There was a legit threat for Foley to take the title here which helped the drama a lot as well.
The blood was great and it added a completely new aspect to HHH’s character that’s still around today. These two beat the heck out of each other and it’s saying a lot when it’s Foley who has the job of making HHH look this great put into his hands, and luckily it worked and it worked very well. Go watch this match as it’s worth it. I’ve heard this match called the match of the decade and off the top of my head I can’t think of a better one.
After some generic interviews, it’s time.
D’lo Brown is number one and Grandmaster Sexay is 2nd. He gets a huge pop and we get more bad jokes about him not being Lawler’s kid. We’re doing 90 seconds here. X-Pac is 30th for reasons that would entail him winning some match no one remembered. Let the generic stuff begin. Granted they’re following a classic so there we go. I hate that laugh that Grandmaster does.
Mosh is third, dressed with two foot long cones sticking out of his chest. Kai En Tai runs out, despite not being in the match. They’re easily dispersed so that was completely pointless. They weren’t allowed in due to lack of room in case you were really bored. Mosh is hurt so we’re back to the original pairing while he hangs on the ropes. Christian, who has some of the most awesome music I’ve ever heard at this point, is 4th.
This is always the awkward part of the match as there aren’t enough people to have anything going yet and these guys have a combined chance of zero to do anything so few people really care but it’s better than nothing. Rikishi is 5th, 8 months before it turned out he tried to kill the biggest star in the world. He dumps everyone other than Grandmaster before anyone else comes out. That Rikishi Driver was a freaking awesome move.
Shockingly enough Scotty is 6th and we have the trio in the ring. You know what’s coming, and oddly enough I like this. It makes sense here. They’re all friends and even though it’s every man for themselves, this makes a lot of sense. The fans are very into it so that’s fine, and it doesn’t last long as Rikishi puts both guys out at the same time. I’m ok with that actually as it didn’t last long and it made sense.
Also, there’s still one guy there so it’s not like the next guy has to stand around waiting for a minute and a half. Things like this can work when done right, and this was done right. Also, the fans loved it so that automatically makes it far more ok. Rikishi’s nipples are really close together and it’s very odd looking. After they’re gone, Rikishi dances on his own a bit more. Steve Blackman is in at 7 and is gone in about 45 seconds.
See this right here is something the Rumble can be great at. Rikishi is a somewhat big star here, but he’s getting to show off here and he looks far more impressive now than he did when he came in. That’s a very simple way to get someone over and it worked here. Viscera is 8th and he actually hits a belly to belly on Rikishi. Three super kicks and a shoulder block and Big Daddy V is gone. Again, by just putting out a guy at a time he looks great and dominant.
They’re pushing him without him actually winning a match. Boss Man is 9th but he very slowly gets in. He stands on the floor and lets someone else come in to help him, which is smart. Granted this was considered a violation of the rules back in I think 94 but we can ignore that I think. Test comes in at 10 to a big old pop. I know it sounds absurd now, but he really could have gotten a brief title run sometime around here.
He should have gotten it at Survivor Series, but granted I can’t complain about going with Show when they did as he was completely dominant around that time. British Bulldog is 11th. One good thing here is there’s no dead weight in there to slow things down. Having people like Mosh and Grandmaster to fill out the roster is fine, but there’s no point to having them stay in there a long time, and here you can see why.
They were in the Rumble and there was no chance of them doing anything, so they got out early. It’s clear that the people in there now are higher up on the ladder and they’re in later, which makes them even possible dark horses to steal the thing. That’s very smart booking and some of the best I can ever remember for the Rumble.
Gangrel is 12th to get some jobbers in there which is fine to an extent. Kai En Tai runs out again and get thrown out with Gangrel just KILLING Taka. The bump he takes over the ropes is great as he over rotates and his face slams into the floor and bounces off. Edge is 13th to a solid pop. We get the Taka bump again to the delight of the king. BOB BACKLUND is 14th to a great pop.
Does this guy age? He’s 51 here and looks like he did 20 years ago. A ton of guys get together and throw out Rikishi. I’m impressed by Backlund. He looks great all things considered. Jericho is 15th as I’m loving the booking here. A few things are happening. They’re having little mini stories thrown in here and there to keep the match fresh and it’s working like a charm. It’s keeping the crowd entertained and they’re responding very well.
It’s a smart way to build up to the final guys which is the best way to go. This has been a very good Rumble. Jericho puts out Backlund. Crash Holly is 16th as I’ve never seen the resemblance to Elroy Jetson that everyone says exists. Chyna is 17th as Lawler starts picking everyone as being Rock. She puts Jericho out by suplexing him over the ropes but Boss Man puts her out seconds later.
To recap we have Gangrel, Edge, Test, Boss Man, Bulldog and Crash and they’re joined by Farrooq. The Mean Street Posse comes out as apparently they’re mad about not being in either. Boss Man puts out Farrooq due to their interference. Road Dogg is 19th. We’re kind of hitting a dead spot here as Al Snow is in at number 20. Road Dogg puts out Bulldog as JR makes dog jokes. Venis is 21st. Funaki is thrown out for the third time as Taka is apparently hurt.
That clip never gets old as they show it again. Prince Albert (A-Train) is 22nd as Edge is thrown out by Snow and Venis. Hardcore Holly is next. Amazingly enough, he gets no reaction. Rock is 24th to a HUGE reaction. There goes Boss Man. Billy Gunn is next as we’re getting close to the ending now. There goes Crash by the Rock. Road Dogg has hidden in the corner and has his arms and legs wrapped around the ropes. That’s rather smart.
Big Show is 26th. Rock hits him before he gets in and the pop is there. Test is gone in about 4 seconds. Gangrel lasts a bit longer than Test did against Big Show, making it about 8 seconds. Show still has long hair here so he looks more intimidating. Bradshaw is 27th and the Posse helps the Outlaws put him out with ease. Kane is 28th and we’re getting to the good part now. Tori looks AMAZING in this little black dress.
Kane puts out Snow in a few seconds and then Albert shortly thereafter. Godfather is 29th. I remember my father thinking he could have won this. Thankfully we don’t have a 20 second shot of the women to waste time. Funaki is back again and the joke is stupid now. X-Pac is in at 30 so our final group is X-Pac, Rock, Show, Kane, Snow, Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, Godfather and Holly.
Again note how this is a good thing: there are potential winners in there instead of just one guy that you know is going to get it. Holly is out and we’re down to 8. There goes Godfather as I type that. Snow is gone. Gunn puts out Road Dogg and Kane puts him out within a span of 5 seconds to bring us down to Rock, Show, Pac and Kane. At least the biggest four of the final 9 are left. Kane goes under the ropes to fight the Outlaws for no apparent reason.
X-Pac is thrown out but no one sees it. Kane and Big Show fight over a chokeslam as Kane slams him in a cool spot. Pac puts out Kane despite not being in there officially I guess. The Bronco Buster sucks the life out of this thing for me. Show throws him out with ease and we’re down to the best pairing possible with Big Show and Rock. The elbow gets a great pop. Show gets a chokeslam though to get crazy heat.
Show sets him for kind of a powerslam move which at least makes sense to throw him over but Rock grabs the top rope and Show goes over instead while Rock slides in under the bottom rope. Later on there would be a story where Show says that Rock’s feet actually touched and he had video to prove it. That led to Rock vs. Show at No Way Out for the Mania spot which Show won.
Vince came out and said that yes, Big Show was going to Mania, but the deal never said Rock wasn’t, so we got a triple threat. For no apparent reason, that match happened on Raw the Monday before. Linda then came out and said that it would be a four way at Mania, including the unretired for one night only Mick Foley.
There was a McMahon in every corner as they made sure that the main event of Wrestlemania was again about them instead of the wrestlers. But enough about that as this Rumble was great.
Rating: A-. This is how the Rumble is supposed to be done. Take a look at how they did this. You had the guys that were there to fill in the 30 spots in there first to make sure they were in and had an actual chance. Then we got the smartest move of the match: having Rikishi dominate.
This does a few things: it allows the jobbers to be cleared out as well as making Rikishi look good AND it offers a bridge to the next segment of the match where guys like Test and Boss Man could come in and hang around until we got to the final batch of guys. That’s very smart booking and it made this match work very well.
The Kai En Tai jokes were funny for the most part but it got to being overkill at the end. I was very happy with this whole match though as even though I knew the ending like the back of my hand, it worked and had me entertained. Excellent Rumble.
Overall Rating: A. This is a GREAT show. There’s one stupid part with the tag titles but if that was done to give the two main events more time then I’m completely fine with it. There was still a match there and they didn’t try to put an emphasis on a match that few would have been the most interested in rather than taking away from two great main events.
This was validation that the company could thrive without Austin and while I think he brings a lot to the table, he needed to go away for awhile to let some others get to his level. That was the issue: Rock or HHH or other people couldn’t get up to where Austin was because he was so high up there that it was impossible for anyone to touch him. His time taking time off gave everyone else a year to catch up, which was exactly what they needed. Definitely worth checking out.
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