The 13th Royal Rumble happened at a PPV event that a lot of people (myself included) consider to be one of the best PPVs in the history of WWE. The match that preceded it, Triple H defeating Cactus Jack in a wild brawl, is one of the ten best matches in the history of the company in my humble opinion.
The 2000 Royal Rumble match featured a lot of top names in the WWF except for Steve Austin. He missed most of 2000 with neck surgery. He was the focus of the three previous Rumbles and he'd be back for the next one, but for this year it was time for somebody else to shine.
WWF Royal Rumble
January 23, 2000
New York, New York
The announcers are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. It's in New York City, so this might be the best crowd possible at a time when the WWF was a really hot product. The intervals here are officially 90 seconds after a couple of years where they really didn't establish set intervals.
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. D-Lo'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 heavily developed 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 fairly 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 Pupppies" 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 six 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. Not sure why Lawler kept doing that. 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 a 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 on Rock and a press slam on Hardcore Holly. There's Bradshaw (JBL) 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 pretty 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 chokeslam 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. Rock hits a Samoan Drop on Snow and throws him out. Mr. Ass eliminates his partner The Road Dogg and Kane eliminates Mr. Ass.
The final four are Big Show, Kane, X-Pac and Rock. The Outlaws yank 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 & 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 as the two big guys go at it with Kane hitting an impressive enziguri. He bodyslams Big Show. X-Pac hits a spinning heel kick to eliminate Kane and then 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. 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.
Winner: The Rock
The match ended at 51:49.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
- 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 actually mattered although like usual you knew there were only a few threats to win. There was no case of overbooking or needless happenings to hurt the match. It was a regular Royal Rumble that was well booked. Thankfully the years to come would be similar to this. They found the formula that worked.
- I was reading in a recent edition of the Wrestling Observer that said Rock was supposed to dangle with one foot on the ground like Shawn Michaels in 1995 to win the match. It didn't happen. Both of his feet hit, so they changed the WM16 main event to a four way with HHH, Big Show, Foley & Rock, which was a big letdown. Thankfully they had back to back Rock-HHH title matches in the months that followed (Backlash & Judgment Day) that were both awesome, but it did ruin WrestleMania's main event a bit.
- I love the New York City crowd. So much energy. So much passion. It's at the very top with Chicago and Toronto as my favorite. Others are good too, but those three are the best to me.
- The four run-ins from Kaientai were funny. It's a shame Taka got hurt, so he couldn't join Funaki the last two times. I thought the ones by the Posse were a little much, but it did further that storyline too.
- I thought Road Dogg hugging the bottom rope for several minutes straight was one of the funniest things I've ever seen in Rumble history. Great strategy!
FACTS & OPINIONS
Person that lasted the longest: Test at 26:17. Really? Yes.
Most Eliminations: Rikishi with 7.
Best Performers (3): The Rock - His energy was fantastic like usual.
Rikishi - The gimmick really worked for him. The fans loved him.
Big Show - He was booked perfectly as the dominant big guy. I wish it was like that his whole career.
Best Elimination: Taka's face bump is by far the best. Maybe the best ever. We can say that because he wasn't seriously injured!
Match Rating: ***3/4 It was well done from start to finish. There was a bit of a lull in there, but otherwise an enjoyable match.
Ranking the Rumble matches in terms of star ratings:
Here's a link to previous Rumble recaps:
1988 Royal Rumble won by Hacksaw Jim Duggan
1989 Royal Rumble won by Big John Studd
1990 Royal Rumble won by Hulk Hogan
1991 Royal Rumble won by Hulk Hogan
1992 Royal Rumble won by Ric Flair
1993 Royal Rumble won by Yokozuna
1994 Royal Rumble won by Bret Hart & Lex Luger
1995 Royal Rumble won by Shawn Michaels
1996 Royal Rumble won by Shawn Michaels
1997 Royal Rumble won by Steve Austin
1998 Royal Rumble won by Steve Austin
1999 Royal Rumble won by Vince McMahon
Next up is the 2001 as the company was on the road to WrestleMania X-7, which was arguably (in my opinion it's no argument) the best time in WWE history.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org