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WWE ROYAL RUMBLE FLASHBACK - 11 yrs. ago (01-23-00): Rock wins Rumble, Triple H vs. Cactus Jack, Tazz's WWE debut, Torch Roundtable Reviews

Jan 23, 2011 - 1:20:04 PM
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WWE Royal Rumble Flashback
January 23, 2000 - 11 years ago
Top Ten Things To Know

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(1) Rumble Winner: The Rock eliminated Big Show to win the annual Rumble PPV.

(2) WrestleMania follow-through: Rock eventually shared the WWF Title spotlight at WrestleMania 2000 (WM16) with Triple H, Big Show, and Mick Foley.

(3) Memorable WWF Title Match: Triple H pinned Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) to retain the WWF Title in a violent 25-minute brawl.

(4) Memorable Debut: Tazz made his WWF debut choking out Kurt Angle in the PPV opener.

(5) Memorable Jericho-Chyna Feud: Chris Jericho pinned Chyna at in a three-way match with Hardcore Holly to capture the IC Title.

(6) Rumble Final Four: Rock (winner), Big Show (final elimination), Kane, and X-Pac (Sean Waltman).

(7) WWF Tag Title Match: New Age Outlaws beat The Acolytes to retain the WWF Tag Titles.

(8) When You Think Attitude Era Tag Team Scene, You Think: Hardy Boys beat The Dudleys in a match featuring numerous big spots.

(9) Noticeably Absent: Steve Austin, who was out rehabbing from neck surgery and would return in April 2000.

(10) Swimsuit Contest: Mae Young won. Then, she exposed herself.

***

WWF ROYAL RUMBLE PPV
When: January 23, 2000
Where: New York, N.Y. at MSG
Report by Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the event.

(1) Tazz beat Kurt Angle via submission at 3:14. They brawled at ringside early, then Tazz took over in the ring with a series of suplexes. He then applied the Tazzmission for the clean win. Angle had to be helped from the ring on a stretcher. Ross tried to play it up as if a serious injury may have occurred. Good debut. (*1/2)

(2) The Hardy Boys beat The Dudleys at 10:17. A total stuntfest with numerous innovative table spots and a lot of table spots we've seen before. Some of the set-ups for the stunts were laborious, but the payoff was usually pretty good. Buh Buh plunged backwards off the balcony through a table In the end, Matt flipped off the entryway balcony onto D-Von smashing him through a table on the floor. (***)

Backstage a paramedic informed a groggy Angle what happened. Angle said chokes are illegal, therefore technically he's still undefeated.

(3) Mae Young won the swimsuit competition over Ivory, Barbara Bush, Luna, Terri, Jackie, and The Kat. The ringside judges were Freddie Blassie, Johnny V., Sgt. Slaughter, Fabulous Moolah, Tony Garea, and Andy Richter (from NBC's Late Night). During Heat the promise was pretty much made that a woman was going to expose her breasts. After all of the women showed off their bodies in skimpy swimsuits, Young came out. She said the crowd wanted to see her puppies. She then took off her top. Mark Henry ran into the ring to cover her up, but she slipped out of his way and a couple of times for a second exposed her "Picasso painting" breasts. The most disturbing moment in PPV history. In a way, pretty funny, but definitely sick and wrong. The judges picked Young as the winner.

(4) Chris Jericho pinned Chyna at 7:27 in a three-way match with Hardcore Holly to become the single holder of the Intercontinental Title. Decent action some of the time, pretty sloppy at other times (for which Chyna is one-third to blame, not 100 percent). Chyna and Jericho kept sabotaging each other's chances to win. In the end, Jericho hit Chyna from behind when she had the camel clutch on Holly. Jericho then hit his athletic but completely harmless-looking Lion Tamer for the three count. (*3/4)

Michael Cole interviewed The Rock who gave a very good promo. New phrase: "You need a big glass of shut up juice." Kids across America will be saying that tomorrow at school. He vowed to win the Rumble and become WWF Champ at WrestleMania.

(5) The New Age Outlaws beat The Acolytes when Gunn pinned Bradshaw at 2:30 to retain the WWF Tag Titles. In a cool move, Bradshaw caught Road Dogg in mid-air, then lifted a leg to give a charging Gunn a boot to the face. Faarooq showed some personality in mocking Road Dogg. X-Pac interfered leading to the finish. Good while it lasted. (*3/4)
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(6) Triple H pinned Cactus Jack at 26:51 to retain the WWF Title. On TV it didn't seem Cactus got the reaction he was expecting from the fans. Very good match, but not flawless, deserving of four stars. At 2:30 Triple H nailed Cactus with a grossly stiff chairshot. Twenty seconds later Cactus was back on offense not showing any lingering signs from the blow. That is a match-killing 30 seconds because why take violence seriously if the first really violent blow has zero consequences? From there it was always entertaining, but somewhat of a farce because of the brutality and lack of long-term selling. At 5:00 they brawled toward the entryway and did some spots on some crates. In the process Triple H suffered a gash on his calf that bled. Cactus pig squealed like in his WCW days, but it didn't have quite the resonance of old. Foley nailed Triple H with a trash can. At 8:40 they introduced a barbed wire two-by-four into the mix. Triple H bled heavily from the forehead from blading. There were some nearfalls, but Ross hurt them by always saying "This is it! It's over! No it's not!" The only pin attempt that he didn't declare "must" be the end of the match was the one that ended the match. I knew it was the pin because Ross didn't say "It's over." Why be so predictable? Joey Styles does the same thing all the time. Cactus took some crazy bumps into the ringside stairs. They used handcuffs late in the match. At 23:00 Rock nailed Triple H with a chair for no apparent reason when Triple H was brawling with Cactus near the entryway. Rock quickly returned to the back. Foley then poured a bag of thousands of thumbtacks onto the mat. You knew Triple H wasn't going to take a bump onto them. He backdropped Foley onto them. Foley stood up with tacks sticking all over his body. Triple H gave Foley a Pedigree for a two count. A moment later he gave him another Pedigree, this time sickly on top of the tacks. He scored a three count. Foley had tacks stuck to his forehead. He could have poked his eyes. Triple H was stretchered out because of his loss of blood. Foley chased him down and rolled him back into the ring and dumped him at ringside. He hit Triple H with the barbed wire again. The crowd seemed into the match, but not especially into the "Cactus Jack" character. (****)

(7) The Rock eliminated Big Show at 50:29 to win the Royal Rumble and earn a WWF Title match at WrestleMania. D-Lo Brown (1) came out and wrestled Grand Master Sexay (2) to start. A new wrestler entered every 90 seconds. Mosh (3) came out next followed immediately by Kaientai who were dropped from the Rumble - and they weren't happy about it. Christian (4) came out followed by Rikishi (5). Rikishi cleared the ring of everyone but Sexay. Sexay wanted Rikishi to dance with him. Rikishi thought about throwing him over the top. Then Scotty Too Hotty (6) came out and convinced Rikishi to dance. The crowd popped bigger for the dancing than anything else on the card, including Cactus Jack. Rikishi danced, but then clotheslined and eliminated Too Cool. Steve Blackman (7) came out and hit Rikishi with a series of thrust kicks. Rikishi, though, turned the tables and eliminated him. Viscera (8) came out next, but missed a corner splash. Rikishi then kicked him three times and leveraged him over the top rope. Big Bossman (9) played it smart by stalling at ringside for 90 seconds waiting for the next wrestler to come out. Test (10) came out and attacked Bossman. British Bulldog (11) then entered the ring and attacked Rikishi while Bossman and Test fought. Gangrel (12), Edge (13), and Bob Backlund (14) were next. Backlund was an unscheduled surprise, wearing workout shorts and looking to be older and heavier, but in decent shape. At 21:30 Rikishi eliminated the six wrestlers. Chris Jericho (15) came out and quickly eliminated Backlund. Backlund left through the crowd.

Crash Holly (16) came out next. When Crash was a kid he played the part of Elroy Jetson in the '60s Jetsons cartoon series. Chyna (17) followed. She eliminated Jericho with a suplex over the top rope. Bossman kicked Chyna over the top rope right afterward. Faarooq (18) came out; the Mean Street Posse illegally entered the match and attacked him. Road Dogg (19) and Al Snow (20) were next. It was down to Test, Crash, Bossman, Gangrel, Edge, Road Dogg, and Snow at this point. Val Venis (21) came out. Masa Funaki of Kaientai then ran out to interfere indiscriminately. Prince Albert (22) entered and eliminated Edge (unfair trade). Hardcore Holly (23) then entered followed by Rock (24), who quickly eliminated Bossman and Crash. Billy Gunn (25) came out followed by Big Show (26), who eliminated Gangrel and Test. Bradshaw (27) came out, so the Posse attacked him. The Outlaws eliminated Bradshaw. Kane (28) came out and eliminated Val. Godfather (29) and X-Pac (30) rounded out the entrants. Kane eliminated Albert. Funaki ran back into the ring. Gunn eliminated partner Road Dogg. Kane eliminated Gunn.

The final four were X-Pac, Kane, Show, and Rock. Rock tossed X-Pac over the top rope; X-Pac took a huge flat back bump onto the floor. X-Pac returned to the ring, apparently because the ref didn't see him get eliminated. Kane gave Show an enziguiri. Kane bodyslammed Big Show. X-Pac kicked Kane over the top rope, then gave the Bronco Buster to Show. Show eliminated X-Pac. Rock then gave Big Show a People's Elbow, but Show came back with a big chokeslam. Show then flipped Rock over the top rope, but Rock took Big Show with him. Big Show hit the floor; Rock didn't. Rock skinned the cat back into the ring. As Rock did his post-match spiel, Big Show attacked him. (***1/4)

***

PWTorch Staff Roundtable Reviews of 2000 Rumble

Bruce Mitchell, columnist (8.0)

The WWF continues to do something very refreshing. Instead of trying to show how clever they are, or trying to fool people, the WWF puts over the right people to both keep their fans happy and build buys for the next series of shows. Foley goes out a legend, Triple H's Heel of the Year character is even stronger, The Rock is The Rock, and the Big Show is in the way. Logical, and with strong, unselfish performances along the way.

The Tazz segment was too short, but Kurt Angle may very well be wrestling's next rising star, and I look forward to seeing these two throw suplexes in the future. A couple of the spots in the table match were way too dangerous, particularly the powerbomb through the table perched on the steel ringsteps, but it was good for what it was. The Dudleys fit in the WWF a lot better than first seemed possible. It's time for Chyna to get out of the ring and become the Ninth Wonder of the World again. Jericho needs to move onto someone else, like X-Pac, maybe.

The Rumble once again exposed the true lack of depth in the line-up, but it too was very logically laid out. The title match was a very good brawl. I can't believe I'm saying this, but with the strength of Triple H carrying her, Stephanie McMahon has a chance to be this generation's Miss Elizabeth.

Having said that, there is no more stupid bullsh-- in all of wrestling than Mick Foley's Bag O' Thumbtacks. Here's this intense fight that grinds to a halt because one guy decides to spread thumbtacks on the floor for no real reason. That happens all the time in fights. Why didn't Hunter just roll out of the ring? It's bad enough you know that Foley is taking that backdrop, because no one else will, but since when does a tough guy quit fighting because he has thumbtacks sticking in him? Sure it hurts, but it's that "Owww!" kind of hurt. Putting Foley's eyesight at risk for a wrestling finish is, again, stupid.

I was a little in shock, so it took me a while to realize that I really liked the Miss Royal Rumble contest. After five years of listening to backed up misogynists yell some version or other of "Show your tits," the WWF gave them all exactly what they asked for. They even warned them in advance there would be nudity. Never has the old Chinese curse "May you get what you want" been more apt.

And speaking of "Chinese," could someone remind Jerk King that Asians aren't retarded children? Lawler didn't even wait for the hospital report as he gloated over Taka Michinoku's dangerous fall.

Jason Powell, assistant editor (7.0)

For all of those guys who spent more money on the Royal Rumble than they have on a real woman this year... For all of the guys who jockeyed for position at their PPV party so they could be the lucky bachelor to press his lips on, and waggle his tongue at, the TV screen... For all of those guys who spend the majority of their time voting in on-line polls to crown wrestling's hottest babe... For all of the 30 year-old guys who prefer to watch the PPV alone in their bedroom/parents basement waiting for a glimpse of B.B.'s breasts to spark their self-inflicted sex life for the week, I hope you are scarred for life. Mae Young gave you exactly what you deserved. Frankly, your parents are sick and tired of you and those strange pieces of tissue paper you have stuck to your Wrestling Eye pin-ups of Terri Runnels and Jackie. Take this as the WWF's way of telling you to get a real girlfriend and move on with your life.

The Rumble match was a big disappointment. Vince McMahon should put as much thought into the Rumble as he does WrestleMania. There should be six or seven wrestlers set up as potential winners who would be believable contenders at WrestleMania. Better yet, forget having the Rumble winner go onto WrestleMania. The final four wrestlers should wrestle in a four-way match at the Feb. PPV to determine who gets the shot at WrestleMania. Give the winner of the Rumble a shot at the WWF Title the next night on Raw. This year's Rumble was slow, predictable, and downright boring.

M.S.G. has a reputation for having tough crowds. From what I saw, they were a spirited bunch but the lack of hyped-up ring entrances (because of the way that the arena was set up) took away from the show. Give those fans a TitanTron and the usual dose of pyros and fireworks and they would be popping as loud as any other group of fans... Triple H and Mankind worked their asses off and it was refreshing to see a heel win clean... Did anyone else notice that they turned down the crowd mic when the huge "ECW" chant broke out during Tazz's match?... Neither Chris Jericho nor Chyna are capable of pulling off a solid three-way match. I don't know which of the two was worse... Don't tell me that the WWF is going to take another marketable heel and turn him into a babyface: Tazz or Kurt Angle... The most unrealistic part of the show came when Rock punched Big Show a couple of times, took him off his feet with a simple take down, and then hit him with the People's Elbow. The Elbow is the most unrealistic move in wrestling (which doesn't really matter as long as the people pop) and should be set up by moves that would logically have his opponents knocked out... Jim Ross seemed as uninspired during the Rumble as he ever has been...

Wade Keller, Torch editor (7.5)

One four star match does not make for a great show, but one four-star match surrounded by good booking, good pacing, good characters, good intensity, and good crowd heat leads to a very good overall show. The battle royal was booked very well given who was involved. The hype for the battle royal lacked intrigue, but the actual nearly one-hour match dragged only a few times. Taka Michinoku's bump was scary. The booking at the end of the match - considering everyone figured Rock was going to win - was pretty exciting.

This year Rikishi got to be the centerpiece of the annual "Royal Rumble" moment that is reserved for one rising star whom the WWF wants to get across as a killer. Having Viscera come out to slow his momentum was smart booking. Having Too Cool dance with Rikishi made for a great spot in the match for the crowd to go nuts. If the WWF makes sure Rikishi becomes as multi-dimensional as Kane, they will have a new main eventer on their hands to rotate in feuds with Rock, Undertaker, Kane, X-Pac, Steve Austin, Triple H, and Big Show. If they never expand his character beyond a one-note comedy act, he will be yesterday's news in two months. It's their choice.

Mick Foley is selfish. His sacrificing of himself in the ring is done to get himself over because in the shape he's in, he needs thumbtacks and stiff chairshots to remain a god in the eyes of the fans. He needs the fans' adulation, so he takes unreasonable risks and fails to sell devastating moves in order to get himself over. His match with Triple H was captivating, no doubt. Both Foley and Triple H did a great job. Their timing was on, their moves were sharp, and most importantly they had great intensity from start to finish. I cannot give the match more than four stars, though. Early in the match Foley took a mega-stiff chairshot and literally 20 seconds later he was on offense, showing no effects of the chairshot. What that means is any wrestler who sells a chairshot in the near future will be seen as a wimp compared to Foley. The beauty of pro wrestling is it gets to decide which moves hurt and which don't. Foley makes sure the only way fans will pop for chairshots is if there are a half dozen stiff ones. He raises the bar so high, other wrestlers will have to destroy as many brain cells and endure as many concussions as he has in order to be seen as tough by the fans. Why not save the chairshots for when they really matter instead of using them as nonchalantly as a bodyslam or armdrag takedown? The thumbtacks is just a desperate stunt done for attention that takes no skill or grace. Since fans know Foley is the only one desperate enough to land on them, there is no drama over who will land on them. That said, Foley's interview at the end of Heat should be studied by every wrestler trying to improve their talking skills. The psychology, facial expressions, cadence, and intensity were awesome.

Tazz's debut was great. His entrance is right up there with Chris Jericho's. It's WWF moments like Tazz's debut that shine a spotlight on the separation between the WWF and WCW... Kurt Angle is completely entertaining in everything he does... Compare how "superworker" Chris Jericho hits the ropes and sells compared to "their entrance is the only reason they are over" Billy Gunn and Road Dogg. He still wrestles "soft" and "tentatively" and it's not all Chyna's fault, despite conventional wisdom... The tables match was fun to watch, but the Dudleys weren't exactly speed demons at setting up the tables for the next convoluted spots and it killed off a lot of the momentum of the match...

[Torch art credit Grant Gould (c) PWTorch.com]


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