It’s time for the 2000 Royal Rumble, which was the 13th Royal Rumble event. This was the first wrestling DVD that I ever bought. I’m not sure when WWE first released DVDs for their shows, but this had to be one of the first ones. I’m pretty sure I got a DVD player as a Christmas gift at the end of 1999 too. Those are things I tend to remember! I have re-watched this show a bunch of times because of how awesome it was.
It was an interesting time for WWE because Steve Austin was out of action after major neck surgery and he missed about 11 months before his return in October 2000. That meant others had to step up with The Rock as the next top babyface, Triple H was a top heel and others made their moves as well.
This show was used to set up WrestleMania 16/2000 (read my review here).
This review was originally in around October 2018 when I began a journey to review the WWF in 2000. That journey stopped, but this review is still done. I don’t need to re-write anything, but I will add some thoughts in (blue font) as well.
WWF Royal Rumble
January 23, 2000
Madison Square Garden in New York, New York
The show earned a TV with “V” for Violence. How is there no “S” for Sexual Content considering there’s a bikini contest? Weird.
The video package aired about Triple H vs. Cactus Jack for the WWF Championship. It was weird that they didn’t mention the Rumble match in the opening video. I don’t know if it was edited out. I doubt it.
The pyro went off in the arena and the NYC crowd was very loud for one of the biggest WWE PPVs of the year. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show from their commentary table at ringside.
Kurt Angle made his entrance to boos. Angle did a promo saying he was proud to be there in MSG, which drew boos. Ange said a building this famous deserves to have a true champion performing in it. Angle ripped on the New York Knicks saying if we waited on them to win a champion, we’d be waiting forever, so Angle decided to be their champion. Angle said concerning the unnamed opponent, he knows that this person has to be nervous to face an undefeated American hero. Angle encouraged this person to take a deep breath, let it out and this is something you can tell your grandkids one day. Angle encouraged this person to give it their all.
The orange and black graphic appeared on the screen with the number 13 as former ECW World Champion Tazz made his entrance to a huge ovation. The crowd was ready for it.
Analysis: There was a strong rumor and indication that it was going to be Tazz making his debut against Angle. He spelled it Taz in ECW, but in WWE they changed the spelling to Tazz.
Kurt Angle vs. Tazz
Pre-match notes: Angle was the undefeated heel. Tazz was the face that was making his WWF debut.
Tazz worked over with punches followed by a back body drop over the top to the floor. Angle came back with a suplex to the floor. Angle put his foot to the throat of Tazz followed by a belly to belly suplex by Angle. When Angle went up top, Tazz grabbed the top rope to trip him up and Tazz hit a belly to belly suplex off the top rope for a two count. Angle got an inside cradle on Tazz for two. Angle with a clothesline. Angle hit a bridging German Suplex for a two count. Angle went for an Angle Slam, Taz got out of it with a German Suplex with Angle bumping to his chest. Tazz with an overhead belly to belly suplex and an exploder suplex. Tazz slapped on the Tazmission sleeper for the submission win at 3:15.
Winner by submission: Tazz
Analysis: **1/4 It was a fast match with a lot of action. They got a lot of suplexes in there in a short amount of time. If this was six months later there was no way they would have booked the match like this, but Angle was only two months into his career and it was smart to have Tazz end Angle’s undefeated streak. Tazz was more known in WWE as an announcer for most of the decade rather than as a wrestler. He was considered too short by WWE’s standards.
Post match, there were agents, referees and EMTs at ringside to help Angle. Tazz left without celebrating at all. Angle was put on a stretcher and taken away quickly.
Analysis: It was just an angle for Angle (see what I did there?) to put over the Tazmission as a deadly finisher.
(This was probably the peak of Tazz’s in-ring career. That’s sad to say since it’s just one short match, but they really didn’t do much with him. They tried pushing Tazz as a face, then he turned heel by the summer and it didn’t really going anywhere. A few years later, Tazz settled in as an announcer. As for Angle, even after the loss, his career took off and he had one of the best “rookie” years ever in 2000 when he won the WWE Title in October 2000.)
The Hardy Boyz and Terri were interviewed by Michael Cole. There were highlights of the Dudleys putting the Hardys through a table on Raw and then Hardys got revenge on Smackdown. Terri said they will tear the roof off MSG. Jeff said they are not going to let Terri go out there tonight. Matt said that the Dudleys are masters of putting people through tables, but the Hardys will put the Dudleys through tables or die trying.
The Dudley Boyz duo of Bubba and D-Von entered first to boos. Bubba did one of his stuttering promos ripping on the fans for cheering the Hardy Boyz, but they have the nerve to boo his new hero, the pitcher John Rocker. D-Von said that if the people were smart, they would elect Rocker as the mayor to clean up the city. Bubba told the Hardys to kiss their stinking asses goodbye. Bubba only stuttered once.
Analysis: I might as well explain the John Rocker thing because I assume some of you don’t know. He was a baseball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves that did an interview with Sports Illustrated where he ripped on the people of New York City by criticizing foreigners and stuff like that. It was pretty bad stuff that earned him some fame as well as a lot of hate for what he said.
The Hardys made their entrance to a big pop and the Dudleys met them in the aisle to start the match.
Tables Match: The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von)
Pre-match notes: The Hardys were the faces while the Dudleys were the heels.
The way to win the match was to put both guys on the other team through tables. No pinfalls, submission, countouts or disqualifications.
The brawl went into the ring with Bubba hitting a Full Nelson Slam on Jeff. The Dudleys set up a table, they tossed Jeff into the air near the table, but Matt moved the table to save Jeff. Bubba was sent out of the ring, so Jeff hit a somersault dive onto Bubba on the floor. D-Von hit a suplex on Matt in the ring. Bubba set up a table on the floor. Jeff smashed Bubba in the head with a chair. Jeff ran the barricade and Bubba shoved the table into Jeff’s face. Ouch. Bubba was set up on the table, the Hardy went for a superplex, but D-Von moved the table to save Bubba from going through the table. Matt brought a ladder into the ring and the Hardys knocked down both Dudleys with Bubba bumping over the top to the floor. Matt with a chair to Bubba’s back. Matt with a stiff chair shot to Bubba’s head while they were outside the ring. Matt put Bubba on a table, Matt climbed the ladder and D-Von went over for the save. Matt sent D-Von off the ladder. Matt hit a leg drop on Bubba to put him through a table while Jeff hit a splash on Bubba at the same time, so both Hardys put Bubba through the table.
Matt crushed D-Von with a stiff chair shot to the head while they were outside the ring. The Hardys put D-Von on a table that was bridged from the steel steps to the ring apron. Matt jumped off the top, D-Von moved and Matt went through the table. Jeff with a suicide dive, D-Von moved and Jeff went through the table. The Hardys were not eliminated since they were not put through a table since they did it on their own. The Dudleys set up a table on the ring steps. Bubba picked up Matt and gave him a Powerbomb off the top rope to put Matt through a table.
They went brawling into the aisle way with Bubba crushing Matt with a chair shot to the head. The Dudleys stacked up two tables in one of the aisles as D-Von kicked Matt in the groin to keep him down. Bubba stacked four tables and he put Matt on top of one of the tables. Bubba hit Jeff in the head and they went up through the crowd into an area near the balcony. Bubba posed on the balcony, Jeff hit Bubba with a low blow and Jeff hit two chair shots to the head of Bubba to put him through the two tables. That was a huge bump. Meanwhile, Matt hit D-Von with a chair to the head. The fans were chanting “holy shit” for that. Matt set up D-Von on a table, Jeff was on the balcony and Jeff hit a Swanton Bomb (it was still called a Senton Bomb) that put D-Von through the table for the win. The Hardys music played as the winners of the match at 10:18.
Winners: The Hardy Boyz
Analysis: ***3/4 It was a violent match with a lot of broken tables, chairs to the head and a crowd that was really into it from the moment it began. It makes me cringe watching the chair shots to the head because it was about ten years after this when WWE smartened up and stopped doing chair shots to the head due to concussion issues. Even with all of those chair shots to the head, it was still a very entertaining match and I remember it well because of the way it was booked. The result put over the Hardys in a big way for one of the biggest matches of their careers at that point.
(This was a lot of fun. The spot where Jeff hit the Swanton Bomb off the balcony was an iconic visual that WWE replayed all the time. This one may be forgotten among their great matches due to the TLC matches, but this Tables match was a lot of fun and full of action for the 10 minutes they were given.)
The Hardy Boyz celebrated the win while the Dudleys were down by the broken tables.
Kurt Angle was shown in the locker room getting checked out by a trainer with Angle selling it like he didn’t know what happened in his match.
The panel of judges were introduced for the Miss Royal Rumble bikini contest: Sgt. Slaughter, Tony Garea, Fabulous Moolah, Johnny V, Freddie Blassie got a great ovation and Jerry Lawler was the master of ceremonies, so Lawler told Finkel to leave the ring because the women aren’t his type, which is inflatable. Good line.
Miss Rumble 2000 Swimsuit Contest
The women were introduced for the Miss Rumble 2000 Swimsuit Contest. I’ll list the names as they reveal the swimsuits. They also introduced Andy Richter from the Conan O’Brien show as one of the judges. Edge was supposed to be a judge in the build up to this, but I guess they changed that plan.
Ivory was up first. She looked good in a turquoise bikini and showed off her ass in a thong. Terri Runnels was up next in a very tight and revealing one piece that showed off the goods in the front, the sides and the back. Jacqueline was up next and she was the one that closest to losing some gear. She had no problem showing off the goods. Barbara Bush aka BB had the name because of her well…ya know…and she showed off a bit in a blue bikini. Luna yelled at Lawler and said she is not revealing anything. The Kat was the Women’s Champion as well as Mrs. Lawler around this time. The Kat wore a bikini that was bubble wrap on the top and the bottom. That’s…creative. My pick would be Terri Runnels, but wait, there is more!
Mae Young was up last as the final competitor. Young said she’s in the contest as well. Young said all her fans want to see her puppies and they’re going to get it. Young revealed a bikini and her wrinkled up body. Oh God. I don’t want to watch this again. When Young took the top off, the graphic said “Censored” meaning they blocked us from seeing the prosthetic (fake) boobs of Young. Thank you censors. Mark Henry covered up Young to save us from the carnage! Thank you Mark! The crowd was laughing and screaming about it. Me too.
The judges tabulated their votes on the scorecards. There was a unanimous decision with the judges ruling that the winner of the swimsuit contest is Mae Young.
Analysis: It was a lame way to get the women out there for ten minutes to kill some time. It was also another way of WWE doing their Mae Young gross out comedy. If I had to rank them I’d go with Terri, BB, Jackie, The Kat and Ivory in that order. I think BB was naturally gorgeous, but she didn’t have much of a personality and that’s part of the reason why she was gone a few months later. Plus, she was dating Bob Holly, who was married, which got her heat with the company.
(I would have voted for Terri, for the record. Maybe BB. The Mae comedy stuff was terrifying.)
There was a shot of Jonathon Coachman at WWF New York. Coach was a new hire around this time and WWF New York was also a new venture for the company.
Chris Jericho and Chyna were shown backstage arguing about the Intercontinental Title that both held. Dave Hebner showed up to take the title and said he’ll take it to ringside for the match.
There was a video saying that WWF superstars are trained athletes and this should only be in the ring, not on a playground. What moves? Mae Young showing her boobs? What an odd point in the show to put that message.
Hardcore Holly entered first, Chyna was up next without The Kat by her side and Chris Jericho was up last. Jericho did a promo saying they were in Madison Square Jericho and there would be a celebration when he becomes the undisputed Intercontinental Champion.
Intercontinental Championships: Chris Jericho vs. Chyna vs. Hardcore Holly
Pre-match notes: Jericho was a heel that would get cheered, Chyna was a face and Holly was a heel that got pins on both champions to get into this title match.
Holly went after Jericho, so Jericho hit a hip toss and it became a slap fest with all three of them. Holly whipped Chyna into the corner leading to Chyna bumping over the top to the floor. Holly hit a dropkick on Jericho, which drew boos. Lawler was still freaked out about the Mae Young incident. Jericho battled with Holly for a bit with Jericho slapping on the Walls of Jericho. Chyna with a clothesline to the back of Jericho, which drew boos. Chyna with a clothesline that sent Holly over the top to the floor. Chyna with a baseball slide dropkick on Holly that sent Holly to the floor. Jericho hit a springboard dive off the middle ropes onto Holly on the floor. Back in the ring, Chyna with a handspring elbow and a DDT for two with Holly making the save. Holly dumped Chyna out of the ring. Holly whipped Jericho into the ropes, Jericho bumped over the top to the floor due to Chyna pulling down the ropes and Holly punched Chyna off the apron. Holly had a steel chair, Jericho took the chair from him and Chyna dropkicked the chair into Holly’s face. Back in the ring, Chyna and Jericho went up at the same time and Chyna hit a splash at the same time as Jericho. That looked sloppy. Jericho with a back body drop attempt, Chyna landed on her feet and hit a low blow punch that the ref didn’t see because he was looking at Holly. Chyna hit a sloppy Pedigree on Holly for two. Holly put Chyna on his shoulders and Jericho hit a cross body block on Chyna off the top for two. Holly with a boot to the face of Jericho. Holly and Jericho were on the top, Chyna tripped both guys up to crotch them and that led to Chyna hitting a superplex on Chyna, but Holly turned it into a cover for two. Holly punched Jericho, Chyna grabbed a steel chair and hit Holly in the head with the chair. Chyna slapped on a Boston Crab on Holly. Jericho got back into it with a bulldog on Chyna. Jericho hit a Lionsault on Chyna and covered Chyna for the pinfall win at 7:31.
Winner and Undisputed Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho
Analysis: ** It was a decent triple threat match with the right person getting the win. Jericho was a heel, but he was really gaining a lot of popularity with the fans, so I thought it was the right call to make him the undisputed IC Champion. I was tired of Chyna’s matches by this point. I don’t think a lot of the guys liked working with her. Holly was just there to add a third person to the match and I doubt many people watching this thought that Holly was going to win. Jericho pinning Chyna was the right call since she was the co-champion with him, so by ending it like that it puts Jericho over in a big way.
Post match, Jericho celebrated with the title while Chyna looked disappointed about the loss.
(This wasn’t very interesting as a feud or a storyline, but they really tried to make Chyna look credible against the guys. The positive thing is Jericho was gaining some momentum after a rough few months at the start of his run in the WWF in late 1999.)
The Rock was backstage for an interview conducted by Michael Cole. Rock did his bit about being back in New York City, which drew cheers. Cole asked if there’s a superstar that Rock is concerned with, so Rock said Crash Holly and Headbanger Mosh. He said if he can get by those two, he might have a shot at winning the Royal Rumble. Cole asked about Big Show. Rock told Cole to fix himself a glass of Shut Up Juice. Rock said that he wipes a monkey’s ass with what Big Show thinks. Rock said that he prays that he and Big Show are the last two in the ring because The Rock guarantees to win the Royal Rumble. Rock said that he’s going to win the Royal Rumble and go on to WrestleMania to become the best damn WWF Champion there ever was. Rock ended it with “if you smell what The Rock is cooking?” catchphrase line.
Analysis: It was a typical outstanding promo from Rock. The “Shut Up Juice” line really didn’t stick around like many of his other catchphrases.
A video package aired showing how The Acolytes won a battle royal to earn a Tag Team Title shot against the New Age Outlaws at the Royal Rumble. The Acolytes had two words for the Outlaws: “Ass kicking.”
The New Age Outlaws made their entrance as the WWF Tag Team Champions doing the pre-match promo that made them famous. The Acolytes were up next as the challengers.
WWF Tag Team Championships: New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) vs. The Acolytes (Bradshaw and Faarooq)
Pre-match notes: The New Age Outlaws were the heel champions while the Acolytes were the faces.
Bradshaw with a fallaway slam on Gunn while he also kicked Road Dogg in the head to knock him down. Faarooq tagged in with a powerslam on Road Dogg. Gunn saved Dogg from a slam, so Faarooq hit a double clothesline on both guys. Dogg with a punch combo on Faarooq, so Bradshaw pulled Dogg down by the hair. Gunn missed a corner splash on Bradshaw, so Bradshaw hit a Clothesline From Hell on Gunn. Faarooq with a spinebuster on Dogg. Gunn pulled the ref Tim White out of the ring while he was counting and Bradshaw punched Gunn into ref Tim White. Bradshaw and Faarooq hit a double team Powerbomb on Dogg, but there was no ref to count. X-Pac did a run in and hit a spinning heel kick on Bradshaw. Faarooq hit a spinebuster on X-Pac. Gunn hit a Fameasser on Bradshaw and pinned him while Dogg held the leg of Faarooq to prevent a save. The match went 2:39.
Winners by pinfall: New Age Outlaws
Analysis: * This felt very rushed and sloppy. Why wouldn’t the referee just disqualify Gunn for pulling him out of the ring while he was counting a pinfall? I thought it was silly to book a spot like that if it’s not going to be the finish. Anyway, this was a cheap win for the heels to find a way to survive as champions.
(These teams did not work well together. The smart thing was they kept it short.)
The video package aired for the Triple H vs. Cactus Jack feud leading to the WWF Championship match.
Cactus Jack is introduced first to a pretty big face pop. He’s wearing the usual ‘Wanted’ shirt along with black pants and snakeskin boots. Triple H comes out next with Stephanie McMahon, and he is in his black shorts along with kneepads and black boots. He’s also got a big white bandage on his left leg. Interesting that he gave Howard Finkel a black bag telling him to hold it for him. Triple H didn’t have the water spit as a regular part of his act at the time. He sort of walks on the apron and spits it out without a huge pose. Triple H sends Steph away before it begins.
Street Fight for the WWF Championship: Triple H vs. Cactus Jack
Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel WWF Champion while Cactus Jack was the babyface challenger.
After a staredown won by Cactus, he starts with punches to the head. Hunter bails to the outside, and Cactus catches him with a neckbreaker on the floor. Hunter tries to climb back in, but he is hit with a leg drop to the back of the head. Cactus nails him with the ring steps followed by the ring bell. Hunter recovers with the bell to the head. Back in the ring, Hunter’s got the chair and Cactus charges him only to get drilled in the head with a SICK chair shot. After Hunter stalls a bit, Cactus takes him down and drops a leg on his face that is covered by the chair for the first two count of the match. As they head to the outside, JR calls Triple H “maybe the greatest technical WWF champion of all time.” Bret Hart who? On the floor, Cactus backdrops HHH over the railing sending him into the crowd. They brawl through the crowd making their way over to the entryway. Cactus stacks two wooden palettes (about eight pieces of wood on each) and suplexes HHH on them. This is where HHH gets a huge gash in his left calf. It was pretty disgusting. When I watched it in slow motion, you can see his leg hitting hard against the wood. Trashcan to the head by Cactus followed by some head slamming into the door. Hunter reverses a move into a back suplex that makes Cactus land with the back of his head on the trashcan. Hunter’s leg is bleeding like crazy now, and he’s touching it trying to see if anything is sticking out. Don’t watch this after you’ve eaten. Clothesline by Triple H but Cactus recovers to whip him headfirst into the steps. That’s followed up with the patented running knee by Cactus, this time on the steel steps. Bang! Bang! That’s what Cactus just said.
Cactus rolls HHH back in and finds the barbed wire 2×4 under the ring to a huge pop from the crowd. Low blow by HHH. HHH nails Cactus to the stomach and the back. One more time. He waits too long so Cactus gets a gutshot followed by the 2×4 into HHH’s nuts. The referee gives the 2×4 to the Spanish announce team while Cactus nails HHH with the double arm DDT for a very long two. Cactus wants the 2×4, Hebner says no and then says, “the Spanish guys stole it.” What a racist! Okay, maybe he didn’t say exactly that, but Cactus punches the announcer and gets his sacred piece of barbed wire. Back in the ring, Hunter runs into Hebner, and Jack nails him in the face with the 2×4 to a thunderous pop. Cactus nails the elbow drop with 2×4 in hand while the camera closes in on HHH’s damaged face. The blood is flowing now. What an excellent blade job. Cactus covers, Hebner comes to for the 1, 2, no. Just two. The crowd thought that was it. Cactus grinds the wire in HHH’s face in a cool spot that the crowd loves. Outside, Cactus works over the wound with more fists as we get more shots of HHH’s face. His hair is covered in red now, most of it anyway. Cactus clears off the English announce table. He is going for a piledriver, but Triple H reverses it into a backdrop through the table. Another sick bump. Foley is God.
In the ring, Hunter goes for the Pedigree that Cactus reverses into a slingshot to the turnbuckle. Hunter bounces off leading to a facebuster into the barbwire for two. That was a cool spot. I think I just heard Cactus say “clothesline” to HHH. Yep, there it is sending them to the outside. Cactus charges at him like an idiot, which leads to a DISGUSTING hiptoss that Cactus takes legs first into the ring steps. Foley! Foley! Foley! You damn right. Since that wasn’t sick enough, Hunter throws him into the ring steps knee first and Cactus takes the bump over the steps landing on his back right in front of the announce table. What a freak. Hunter chop blocks (shoulder block to the back of the knee) the left knee. Meanwhile, Jim Ross calls HHH a stud. Who told him to say that? Pat Patterson? Triple H tells Finkel to give him the bag, and we soon discover that there are handcuffs in there. We are reminded of the previous year’s Rumble where Mick Foley took twelve chair shots to the head after being handcuffed by the Rock. He tries to cuff him but is knocked down. Hunter goes back to the knee with a kick, and then he handcuffs him. That’s the last time he focused on the knee. My only gripe in the match is that they forgot about the injured knee. Ah, who the hell cares about the knee? This match rules! The crowd is going nuts now.
Hunter brings in the ring steps. In another perfect spot, Cactus reverses the charge with a drop toehold that leads to HHH eating the steps. Cactus gets a boot to the face and headbutt low blow. After some biting by Cactus (in the head, not in the low blow region), HHH gets in control with a clothesline. Chair to the gut bends Cactus over, and those are followed up by two shots to the back that sends him rolling to the outside. Near the entryway, Triple H gets a good shot to the head. As HHH is winding up for another swing with the chair, The Rock emerges from the entrance and hits HHH in the head with a chair to a thunderous pop. That was such a cool moment and a cool way of remembering the year before. A cop comes out to unlock the cuffs, freeing Cactus. Good work, Chief Wiggum.
Cactus gets his second wind now by throwing Triple H onto the Spanish announce table. He nails him with a stump piledriver (that’s when he pulls the trunks for more impact), but the table does not break. Viva Espanol! Somewhere a Spanish guy is probably saying that the English are not as strong as the Spanish. Cactus rolls him in the ring and grabs a bag from under the ring. We don’t know what they are until he dumps it revealing hundreds of thumbtacks that he litters in the corner of the ring. Steph comes out to overact. I mean she comes out to show concern for her husband. After some punches, Triple H is standing right in front of the tacks. Like an idiot (again), Cactus charges at him and gets backdropped straight onto the thumbtacks in another SICK moment. What was cool is that the crowd started to gasp as soon as he charged at Hunter because they knew it was coming. Cactus rolls around in the tacks for a disgusting visual. Triple H hits him with a kick and Pedigree for 1…2…2.999999. Ooh, the crowd thought that was it. Good false finish. This time Triple H does the Pedigree with Jack landing FACE FIRST ON THE TACKS! Man, Foley is nuts. He rules. 1…2…3. Two Pedigrees, the second one on the tacks, and that’s it. Foley has tacks all around his face that were actually cutting him open a bit. This was one of the best finishes of a big match that I’ve ever seen. Match time was 26:48.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
Analysis: ***** What an incredible match this was. A five-star performance from both men. A great story mixed in with all the violence and a match where Triple H raised his game (pun intended) to compete at the highest level with Mick Foley, who was a master at brawls like this. A lot of times when there are great matches we can point to one person being in control most of the time. We call it a “carry job” most of the time. This match did not have that. This was about as even a match that you can have. If somebody were timing how long each person was on offense during the match, I’d venture to guess that it was pretty even, or Triple H was slightly ahead. Both guys worked their asses off. Both guys bumped hard. Both guys got the crowd to react to them in the way they intended. Both guys sacrificed their bodies to put on a special match. Both guys deserve praise for this performance. By the end of the match, both guys looked a lot better than when they entered the ring. Sure, Triple H had blood all over his face, and Cactus Jack had tacks in his face, but I don’t think either of them complained too much. Triple H gained a lot of credibility as World Champion because he defeated a man cleanly in his specialty match. Cactus Jack proved that he could hang with a hungry, young champion. Even though he lost, Cactus came out of the match looking like a champion. This match had everything that makes wrestling great: A lot of heat, tremendous psychology, a high level of workrate, a rabid crowd and two men that did a wonderful job of making the other guy look good.
Post match, Triple H is on a stretcher. Cactus gets up in time to chase him down, take him off the stretcher, roll him back into the ring and beat him up some more with a barbwire shot to the face. The crowd was still going nuts. They had them in the palm of their hands the entire time. Jack posed towards the crowd, which drew cheers. After Jack left, Triple H was helped to the back.
Analysis: That post match attack by Jack let us know that the rivalry was not over even after Triple H’s win. There would be one more singles match between them, which was perfectly fine with me.
(For even more of my thoughts on this match, please check out my in-depth column dedicated to Triple H vs. Cactus Jack at Royal Rumble 2000 RIGHT HERE because it’s one of my favorite articles I have ever written. It also features comments from both guys talking about the match, which lets you know that they loved the match as much as most of us did.)
(I don’t have that much to add to the match considering what I wrote above and the column I did about the match itself. I think it made Triple H as a main event guy and was a nice reminder of how great Mick Foley could be. It truly is one of my favorite matches ever.)
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) January 22, 2020
There was a shot of Jonathon Coachman at WWF New York and he interviewed WWF CEO Linda McMahon. Linda said she didn’t have a comment about Stephanie, but she said that things will be handled the McMahon way.
The ring crew was shown cleaning up the ring by sweeping the thumbtacks into a garbage bin.
Howard Finkel welcomed us to the Royal Rumble match. Finkel announced that two men will start, then there will be regular intervals of two minutes or less and to be eliminated, a man has to be sent over the top rope to the floor with both feet touching the floor. They showed a clip of the 1995 Royal Rumble when Shawn Michaels held on, he only had one foot touch the floor and then he went back in the ring to eliminate the British Bulldog.
Analysis: By showing that 1995 Royal Rumble clip, it was as if the WWF was telling us that something similar will (or could) happen at this year’s Rumble.
This Royal Rumble match review was originally written in 2011 when I wrote reviews of every Rumble match.
Royal Rumble Match featuring 30 Superstars
The #1 entry is D-Lo Brown and #2 is Grandmaster Sexay aka Brian Christopher, who was a part of the Too Cool tag team that loved to dance. The crowd was very hot for Too Cool here. Sexay hits a hurricanrana and a dropkick to the back. Brown’s able to avoid elimination. It’s Headbanger Mosh at #3, who comes out sporting green cone bras for some reason. All of a sudden, Taka Michinoku and Funaki of Kaientai run in even though they are not in the match. Funaki and Taka quickly get thrown out. Mosh gets hit by the Low Down from D-Lo and then Grandmaster hits a bulldog on Mosh, which knocks his cone bras off. That’s a shame. Christian comes out at #4. The E&C tag team were in full swing at this point, but their characters weren’t heels yet. A huge pop for #5 Rikishi. He’s got the same song as Too Cool. He was getting very popular at this point. He’s a lot different than when he was Headshrinker Fatu, “making a difference” Fatu and The Sultan. He throws out Mosh and Christian. D-Lo hits a neckbreaker on him and a legdrop, but Rikishi pops up. He hits D-Lo with the Rikishi Driver and throws him out of the ring too. That’s three for Rikishi. He stares at his buddy Grandmaster Sexay, who tries to tell him they are buddies.
The #6 man is the other member of Too Cool, Scotty Too Hotty. The crowd pops huge as they start dancing. They put the shades on Rikishi and the dancing begins just as the lights go off. There’s The Worm from Scotty. Rikishi clotheslines both guys and throws them out simultaneously. That was pretty awesome. They had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Why did the camera zoom in on Rikishi’s ass? Steve Blackman comes in at #7. I would have marked out if he started dancing too. He did not. Rikishi drills him with a Rikishi Driver. I loved that move. It’s an over the shoulder reverse piledriver. He throws Blackman out and he awaits the next person. It’s another big man, Viscera at #8. He used to be Mabel, of course. They both had some different gimmicks over the years. There was a huge reaction to Viscera hitting a belly to belly suplex on Rikishi. Huge splash by Viscera as Lawler spouts the usual dialect about these two being big favorites to win. Viscera misses a splash, so Rikishi superkicks him a few times, hits a shoulder block and throws him out to eliminate him too. Rikishi has eliminated the first 7 guys. It’s The Big Boss Man at #9. He’s a heel. He’s reluctant to get in the ring. He stays on the floor during the entire 90 second time period. There’s a big pop for #10, who is Test. He fights with Boss Man on the floor and rolls him into the ring for Rikishi. Boss Man punches Test in the balls, so Rikishi does it to Boss Man just for fun.
The #11 entrant is a Rumble veteran, The British Bulldog. He’s in heel mode here. Bulldog hits Rikishi with a punch to the balls to getting squashed. That’s a popular move in this match. In at #12 is Gangrel with his blood juice. He does his spit and then walks in. There’s Kaientai again! Yes! Test throws Funaki out right away and Taka takes a sick bump, flying over the top rope to be thrown out too. Those Kaientai run-ins are fun because they are intended for jokes. They show a replay of Taka’s bump as he lands RIGHT ON HIS FACE! Ouch. He did pop up right away, but on replay that looked very painful. We have Edge at #13 to a big babyface pop. He avoids elimination from Bulldog and goes after his former buddy Gangrel. Rikishi hits a Banzai Drop on Bossman. They show Taka’s face first bump again just for fun. A huge pop for Bob Backlund as a surprise entrant at #14. He’s a former WWF Champion and New York’s very familiar with him over the years, so he got a nice ovation. Rikishi misses a splash in the corner, so all six guys gang up on him and throw him out. This has been a well booked Rumble so far. There’s Chris Jericho at #15, who is the Intercontinental Champion. He’s a babyface and he quickly dropkicks Backlund out of the match. He squares off with Edge, which is a preview of a WrestleMania match ten years later. Who knew, right? They show Backlund walking through the crowd because he’s a crazy old man that thinks he’s campaigning.
The second half of the match begins with #16 Crash Holly. Why did Edge just spank Crash repeatedly? Awkward. Not a lot happens for this period. It’s Chyna at #17. She was against Jericho and Hardcore Holly in an IC title match earlier in the night, so she gets to work twice. She charges in, Jericho nearly eliminates her, but she suplexes Jericho out and Boss Man elbows Chyna out of the ring. That’s the second year in a row where Chyna eliminated somebody. The year before it was my hero Mark Henry. It’s Faarooq of The Acolytes at #18. Suddenly the Mean Street Posse (friends of Shane McMahon) attack Faarooq. The Boss Man takes advantage of that and throws Faarooq out of the ring to eliminate him. The Road Dogg is in at #19 as the crowd sings his intro. Yep, that intro was very popular. The crowd chants “We Want Puppies” as Road Dogg comes out. There’s a chant I miss. No women at ringside, though. Crash avoids elimination from Boss Man. There’s Al Snow at #20. Road Dogg eliminates Bulldog, so he wins the dog battle. We’ve got seven guys in the ring.
The #21 spot belongs to Val Venis, who is a babyface. Here comes Funaki by himself. He gets quickly thrown out. JR notes that Taka was taken to the hospital. Lawler keeps calling them Chinese, so Ross has to correct him and say Japanese. They showed the Taka face bump again! The hairy beast Prince Albert is #22. Meanwhile, Edge gets eliminated by Snow & Venis. We’ve reached a bit of the lull in the match, which is typical because they like to fill the ring before some of the main event level guys come in. It’s Hardcore Holly at #23, who was in the IC title match earlier in the night. There are nine guys in the ring right now with none of them being major threats to win although Lawler picks Boss Man. Here’s a big name at #24…The Rock. A massive pop for the babyface Rock. He guaranteed that he’s going to win. He knocks out Boss Man with a spit punch. He doesn’t eliminate anybody else though. It would have been good to do two or three right away. Mr. Ass Billy Gunn is #25 and he goes right for The Rock. Crash whips in Rock, but Rock DDTs him and throws him out of the ring. Road Dogg spent about two minutes holding onto the bottom rope. That’s a great strategy.
“Well…well it’s the Big Show” at #26, who is Lawler’s official pick again. Show’s a heel here. He turned face and heel so many times in his career, but he’s a heel at this point. Show eliminates Test and Gangrel. Huge hiptoss by Show on Rock and a press slam on Hardcore Holly. There’s Bradshaw of the Acolytes at #27. It’s the Mean Street Posse again. They go after Bradshaw and he throws all three of them out, but the Outlaws throw Bradshaw out of the match. Kane is #28 and he is with Tori, who I always found attractive although she didn’t have a great personality. It’s amazing how big boobs are cure for a lack of a personality? But I digress! Kane throws Venis out via chokeslam. Rock hits a big clothesline on Holly. Show does a press slam to Gunn. Here’s The Godfather at #29 showing that Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy. While the Ho Train comes out, Kane eliminates Prince Albert. There’s Funaki again! Snow throws him out. He’s been eliminated four times now. Lawler requests Taka’s elimination and there he is for the fourth time…landing on his face. The last man at #30 is X-Pac, who is a heel as part of DeGeneration X.
It’s elimination time as Snow clotheslines Holly out. There are eight guys left. Big Show eliminates Godfather with a clothesline over the top. Rock hits a Samoan Drop on Snow and throws him out. Mr. Ass eliminates his partner The Road Dogg and Kane eliminates Mr. Ass with an uppercut punch
The final four are Big Show, Kane, X-Pac and Rock. The Outlaws pull Kane out of the ring so they can beat on him. X-Pac misses the spinning heel kick, so Rock grabs him by the head and he whips him over to the top to the floor. That was an awesome bump right there, but nothing can top Taka’s! The refs never saw X-Pac’s elimination because they were with the Outlaws and Kane, so he slides back into the fray. That’s similar to Austin in 1997 when he won. X-Pac hits the spinning heel kick on Rock as the two big guys go at it with Kane hitting an impressive enziguri on Show. Kane with a bodyslam on Big Show. X-Pac hits a spinning heel kick to eliminate Kane (even though X-Pac should have been eliminated) and then X-Pac with a Bronco Buster on Big Show. Show is pissed, however, and he press slams X-Pac to the floor.
We’re down to two with Rock hitting a spinebuster on Show. People’s Elbow time to a ridiculously huge pop. Rock tries to throw him out, but Big Show comes back with a chokeslam. That was pretty great. Show puts him on his shoulder, walks him towards the ropes, but Rock holds the top rope and hangs on to win as Big Show goes stumbling out of the ring. Rock wins. Strong finish. The match ended at 51:49.
Winner: The Rock
Person that lasted the longest: Test at 26:17. Really? Yes.
Most Eliminations: Rikishi with 7.
Analysis: ***3/4 It was well done from start to finish. There was a bit of a lull in there, but otherwise an enjoyable match. I liked this match a lot because it was very evenly booked without one or two guys overshadowing the others. In comparison to the 1999 Rumble where Austin and McMahon were the only part of the match that mattered it was a breath of fresh air, really. You watched this one and the eliminations mattered although like usual you knew there were only a few threats to win. Rock and Show were pushed the most in the match, so it made sense that it came down to them. There was no case of overbooking or needless happenings to hurt the match. It was a regular Royal Rumble that was well booked. The stuff with Kaientai provided some laughs just like the Too Cool moment early in the match.
(I liked this Rumble match a lot. There were a lot of fun moments, a good final four that worked well together and a finish that made the fans happy.)
The Rock celebrated the win after the match was over. The Rock did a quick promo saying that finally, The Rock is going to WrestleMania.
Big Show ran back in the ring, Show tossed Rock over the top to the floor and Show stood in the ring while Rock talked trash to him. The fans chanted “Asshole” at Big Show.
Analysis: The story between Rock and Big Show was only getting started because there was some controversy with the Rumble match finish.
(They followed this up on TV by having Big Show showing footage of Rock’s two feet hitting the floor and he was right, so Big Show should have been the winner of the match. That led to the story continuing and eventually the 4-way match at WrestleMania 2000.)
Replays aired of Rock eliminating Big Show and then Big Show coming back in the ring to toss Rock over the top to the floor. Ross and Lawler thanked us for watching and said goodnight.
The show had a run time of 2:41:27 on WWE Network.
Show rating (out of 10): 9
I love the 2000 Royal Rumble. It’s an incredible show thanks mainly to Triple H vs. Cactus Jack, but I also really liked the Rumble match with a lot of fun moments and the Hardys/Dudleys Tables match was very good too. The debut of Tazz was booked perfectly. The Tag Team and IC Title matches could have been better for sure while the women’s swimsuit segment was cheesy with Mae Young’s involvement, but I think the highs of the event far outweigh the lows. By that I mean, who cares about a three minute Tag Team Title match when you get a 30 minute classic WWF Title match? Focus on the positives, my friends. This was a fun show.
I also thought the NYC crowd was great. It was a nice reminder that the MSG crowd is always one of the best crowds any time they got a PPV.
(I’ll stick with the 9 out of 10 score. It was a huge upgrade after the previous two years that were disappointing.)
Best Match: Triple H vs. Cactus Jack (***** out of 5)
Worst Match: New Age Outlaws vs. Acolytes (*)
Five Stars Of The Show
1. Triple H
2. Cactus Jack
3. The Rock
4. Big Show
5. (tie) Hardy Boyz
5. (tie) Dudley Boyz
Check out the WWE Royal Rumble review archive right here.
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