Madison Square Garden. Established figures in wrestling hierarchy used to say that if you could get over in this building then you could get over anywhere. That saying still rings true in the modern day, but back in 2000 the WWF product reached a quite remarkable peak, and coming back to the arena where it all started for Vince and co would only serve to elevate this even further. As MSG crowds go, this one is red-hot even by their own high standards.
Aside from the guaranteed goodness of the Rumble match, we’ve also got arguably one of the most personal title feuds that the WWF had ever seen, a tables match between two of the WWF’s hottest up and coming tag teams and the WWF hand a debut to one of New York’s favourite sons.
There are other issues to resolve tonight like the Intercontinental title storyline between Chris Jericho and Chyna. Currently co-holders, tonight they’ll compete with Hardcore Holly in a triple threat match where the winner will be the sole owner of the belt. The New Age Outlaws also face a tough battle against the Acolytes for their tag team titles.
The Rock was blazing a trail back to the WWF title, but before he can get to that he’s got to get past Big Show, who’s got Rocky in his crosshairs following a string of exchanges between them in the run up to the Rumble match. Kane also staked his own claim for a Rumble upset on Smackdown by winning an over the top rope challenge. X-Pac wouldn’t have been a bad bet either, winning the #30 spot in the match by defeating Test.
With that being said, lets dance.
WWF Royal Rumble 2000
Tazz debuted by choking out Kurt Angle, ending the Olympian’s undefeated streak.
The Hardy Boyz defeated the Dudley Boyz in a terrific tag team Tables match.
Mae Young wins the Miss Royal Rumble contest. Whatever.Chris Jericho is the undisputed Intercontinental Champion after he defeated Chyna and Hardcore Holly.
The New Age Outlaws dispatched the Acolytes to keep the Tag Team titles.
Triple H defeated Cactus Jack, just, by giving him the Pedigree onto the thumb tacks. Cactus still gets in a beatdown afterwards. Classic match.
The Rock wins the 30 man Royal Rumble match, last eliminating Big Show.
The match, the myth, the legend- Triple H vs Cactus Jack
Where the hell do you start with something like this?! I’ll try starting with JR’s commentary. I’ve said it time and time again, but his commentary just elevates everything going on around him and this is another prime example. Even without commentary this match is a treasure, so Ross’ descriptions and reactions during it just added so much drama to it.
HHH was, quite simply, immense. Foley was, quite simply, immense. Everything about this was just, well, frankly it was barbaric. But in terms of context, content, crowd, performers, commentary, everything, this is one of WWF’s finest matches of the year if not the entire decade. I don’t do star ratings, but I’ll give you no prizes for guessing how many stars this would’ve attained.
If you’ve been reading the recaps leading up to this or you remember the shows building up to it, the sheer hatred between these two seemed to be brewing quite nicely. As good as the build up was, and we knew it’d be a decent match whatever should happen, I don’t anyone expected them to produce something like this.
This was pure art. Pure, wrestling, art. Not one for the scientific purists obviously, but it tells a wonderful story and delivers an absolutely classic contest. One of Foley’s last epics and arguably the match he can hang his career hat on. It was that damn good as Triple H would say.
Talking of Triple H, it was the first of several fantastic PPV bouts from him in 2000, firmly cementing his place as the top heel of his generation and the top guy in the industry at that moment in time regardless of his face/heel alignment. He was on fire. Actually, setting himself on fire is probably the only sick thing his didn’t endure in this match.
Quite simply, epic.
A Rocking Rumble- Rock goes to Wrestlemania
I absolutely love the Rumble match. It brings back some fond memories of when I first started to get into wrestling on a regular basis and I’ve been a sucker for these over the top rope style matches ever since. This one wasn’t one of the best ever in my book but it’s certainly a great Rumble full of fun moments and some good character progression.
Rikishi gets some great crowd reactions as he tears through some of the superstars in the early going, even having to eliminate his own stablemates in Too Cool. The big man seemed to be getting more over by the day, but not at the cost of not being taking seriously due to his dancing antics with Scotty and Grandmaster. The mini-match with Viscera was brilliant too.
We had the comedy aspect too, with Kai En Tai kept trying to enter the match but constantly getting eliminated. Poor Taka hit the floor so hard that he was taken to hospital! Bob Backlund’s surprise entry got a nice pop from the crowd too.
But the main story of course is The Rock’s victory, which means it’ll be him going on to Wrestlemania to challenge for the gold. It was to be expected, but it was done in an effective manner and it also leaves some storyline intrigue, as we’ll discover in terms of the follow up from the PPV. It was the right result and a fun conclusion to the PPV. In terms of where the spectacle ranks amongst other Rumble’s, it’s not the best ever but it’s sniffing around the top half of the table, so to speak.
The mood Changes- Tazz arrives!
I’ve heard rumblings before about Tazz not initially looking dominant enough, but I put that down to blatant favouritism or stupidity, he choked out an undefeated superstar for goodness sakes! It would’ve been harsh on Angle to totally job him out, for he was on a good roll at this point. As openers go, red-hot partisan crowd or otherwise, it didn’t last long but it made Tazz look like a total beast. He threw some cracking suplexes as only he can and Angle sold perfectly for him. It’s a pity we never saw these two again as Kurt entered his prime. This was a cracking opener.
Tables and titles- Other bouts
Chris Jericho deservedly has the Intercontinental title all to himself again. The tripe threat match wasn’t bad but you could tell the match was never going to be as important as some of the others. Still, solid effort from all three, if unspectacular, and Jericho can push on from here and hopefully become involved in some more entertaining stuff.
The tag tables match was pure balls to the wall brilliance from these two teams. The match went a long way to establishing both of them and served as a great precursor to the upcoming TLC type of matches they’d go on to have with Edge & Christian. The spots themselves looked absolutely brutal and the crowd just ate it all up. The Dudleyz continue to look like a couple of sick bullies while the Hardyz reached new highs (literally) of daredevil-ness. Thumbs up for sheer fun factor alone, but as spot matches go this is up there with my all-time favourites. And incredibly it wasn’t even the most violent bout of the night!
The same can’t be said for the tag title bout however. This match must’ve seemed like a real drag to anyone who witnessed the tables match earlier in the night. If anything it reinforced the point that the previous table match had made: A changing of the guard for the tag division was coming. The Outlaws, as popular and as talented as they were, were on the way out and newer, faster, rougher, more exciting teams were coming in to start a new golden age in that division. Thumbs down for this, one of the very few black spots on the PPV.
How you doin’? Miss Royal Rum—WHAT THE HELL IS MAE DOING.
It’s funny now, but I can’t understand why anyone in their right mind thought that this segment was a good idea!! Still, I guess it was more memorable than say, a normal women’s title match would’ve been. Rightly or wrongly, this is a memorable moment and Mae stole the bloody show here. She’s game, and she deserves respect I suppose! Or sympathy? I’m not sure. Next!!
Royal Rumble 2000 is by far and away one of WWF/E’s most memorable PPV efforts of the decade, or indeed any other decade. The WWF title bout obviously sticks out in the memory, but there’s also the excellent tag tables match and the arrival of Tazz.
The Rumble match itself, despite having a predictable end result, is a blinder in itself with some great stuff packed into the whole duration of it. It’ll be interesting to see where they go with the aftermath of it in the run-up to Wrestlemania 2000.
To sum up, if you haven’t seen this PPV yet, then what on earth is wrong with you? Unless it makes you feel a bit queasy then you really have no excuse. Thumbs WAY up for this event. As big time WWF PPV’s go, this is one you absolutely must add to your collection if you can find it. Track it down, search high and low for it, and enjoy.
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