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WWF Royal Rumble 2000

by Scrooge McSuck

- Been in the mood for more WWF from around this particular time frame, and figured this would be a decent choice to pick. We were originally broadcasted LIVE on Pay-Per-View, January 23rd, 2000, from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are handling the commentary duties for the entire broadcast. I'd like to point out how awesome the set is, with a taxi cab bursting out through the wall above the entrance way, and the aisle littered with trash and graffiti tagged along the walls. We'll become more involved with the entrance set during one particular match later in the night. (Side Note: I never noticed, but the Undertaker was featured in the promotional poster, despite being inactive from September '99 through May of 2000.)

Kurt Angle vs. Mystery Opponent... Tazz:

Angle was pretty new at this point, having only debuted at Survivor Series '99 (before you ask, yes, he did make a handful of Heat appearances, but those aren't canon). One particular person who wasn't fond of him was Triple H, acting as boss in place of the absent Vince McMahon. For whatever reason, Triple H put Angle in a match at the PPV, but said his opponent was going to be a surprise. After Angle runs down the crowd with sports references (taking a shot at Patrick Ewing), the opponent reveals to be Taz(z), fresh from ECW and I guess everyone there knew it was going to be him, I guess. The crowd is JAKKED for Tazz. He attacks Angle before the bell and back drops him out of the ring. Tazz goes for a suplex, but Angle blocks and takes Tazz over with his own in the entrance aisle. Back in the ring, and Angle with a diving forearm for a two count. Angle with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, then heads to the top rope. Tazz crotches him across the turnbuckle, and takes him over with a top rope belly-to-belly for a two count. Angle surprises Tazz with a cradle for a two count, then takes him down with a clothesline. Angle with a german suplex for another two count. Tazz counters the Olympic Slam and takes Angle over with a release German suplex, a belly-to-belly suplex, then again with a T-Bone suplex. Tazzmission time (the choke out), and Angle's undefeated streak comes to an end at 3:14. Well, that was an electrifying, energetic three minute match. Tazz's push was almost pulled immediately after, for whatever reasons, and Angle's loss meant nothing, as he went on to win every title possible throughout 2000.

Tables Match: The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz:

(Matt & Jeff Hardy vs. Buh-Buh Ray & D'Von Dudley)
It was only a few weeks earlier when the WWF finally allowed the Dudleys to bust out the tables, and thus, we've got this match. Also, this is one of, if not the, first matches with their camoflauge ring attire, or as I used to call it, Bushwhackers 2000. The Hardys left "manager" Terri basckstage for this, because it's too dangerous of an environment. Both members of a team have to go through a table... offensively! Slugfest to start. Bubba with a full nelson powerbomb on Jeff, and he quickly grabs a table. Bubba Ray with a back drop, but Matt moves the table, and DDT's Bubba, sending him out of the ring, where Jeff greets him with a suicide senton. D'Von goes for a powerbomb on Matt, but that's countered, and D'Von counters a suplex with his own. Jeff with a chair shot on Bubba, but he jumps off the security wall and has a table tossed into his face. Bubba Ray gets trapped on the second rope, but a super-plex misses the table, thanks to D'Von's intervening. Matt pulls out a ladder, and nails both Dudleys with it. Matt with a chair, and he bashes Bubba with it. TLC, anyone? Matt sets Bubba Ray up across a table and climbs a ladder, then crashes through Bubba with a leg drop, at the same time as Jeff Hardy, who came out of nowhere from the top rope. The Hardys rearrange furniture and attempt to put D'Von through a table. Matt to the top rope, but he misses a leg drop, and Jeff misses a suicide dive, both resulting in broken tables, but not from offensive manuevers on the Dudleys part, so the match continues. The Dudleys bring the ring steps into the ring for extra height on the table set up, and Bubba with a second rope powerbomb on Matt through the table. The action spills into the crowd, with the Dudleys in full control. Bubba Ray sets up a pile of tables (Four of them) near one of the exits, and you know this is going to get ugly. Jeff comes back to life with a chair shot to D'Von, but Bubba Ray takes it from Jeff and gives him a whack, too. Bubba drags Jeff up into the crowd, above the exit, and it's time for some pain. Bubba gets a shot to the balls from Jeff, and a chair shot knocks him off, through the entire stack of tables, and it's safe to say he's not going to factor into the rest of the match. Matt with another table, and Jeff with a senton bomb through D'Von to finally end the match at 10:15. That was one of the most entertaining garbage matches I've ever seen. This set the standard for "tables matches" in the WWF, and I don't think I can recall another one coming lose to being as entertaining.

- Jerry Lawler hosts the 2000 Royal Rumble Swimsuit Contest. I'm not going into super-detail about this, but the participants are The Kat (reigning Women's Champion), Terri Runnels, Jacqueline, Ivory, Luna Vachon, and "B.B.", the big boobed, blonde EMT that the WWF was parading around at the time. Your typical contest until Mae Young shows up. For those who forgot or don't care, the PPV opened with a TV:MA, with Nudity listed as one of the reasons, so, you know... we expected the Kat to show her boobs again. Instead, Mae Young flashes us, several times, and let's just say, my penis is just for show now. And the sick judges vote her the winner, too.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Chris Jericho (co-c) vs. Chyna (co-c) vs. Hardcore Holly:

The conclussion of the awful program where Jericho and Chyna were declared Co-Champions by Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, over a disputed finish that had a double pin or something. Thankfully, I don't recall this sort of angle ever being done again, at least not in the WWE (as of 2007, when I stopped watching). Holly pie-faces Chyna to start (thank you, Hardcore), then bitch slaps Jericho. Jericho returns the favor, as does Chyna. Is this a IC Title Match or a Sissy-Slap Fight? Holly sends Chyna to the corner, and she bumps her way to the floor. Holly with a shoulder tackle on Jericho, followed by his signature dropkick. Hardcore Holly vs. Jumpin' Jim Brunzell in the next Fantasy Warfare! Jericho comes off the ropes with a forearm, but it only gets a one count. Holly goes for a hurricanrana, but Jericho counters with the Walls of Jericho, and Chyna quickly breaks with a clothesline, to a chorus of boos. Chyna with a clothesline to send Holly out of the ring, then nails him with a baseball slide. Jericho to the top, and he comes off with a springboard plancha onto Holly. Back in the ring, and Chyna does the stupid handspring elbow, and plants Jericho with a DDT for a two count. Holly is back in the ring, and he knocks Chyna down from the apron. Holly with a chair, but Jericho makes the save, allowing Chyna to dropkick the chair back into Holly's face. Jericho and Chyna head to the top, and a pair of splashes land on Holly for a double two count. Jericho goes for an atomic drop, but Chyna slips out and low blows him, then connects with the pedigree on Holly for a two count. HA! Chyna tries climbing to the top, but Holly puts her on his shoulders, and Jericho off the top rope with a cross body on her for a two count. Chyna interrupts a super-plex spot by crotching both men, then climbs up to super-plex Holly herself, but Holly uses the momentum to pin Chyna, but it only gets two. Chyna with a chair, and she bops Holly with it. Jericho with a running bulldog on Chyna, followed by the Lionsault for the three count at 7:30 to become the UNDISPUTED Intercontinental Champion. I hate three-way matches, but this one wasn't too bad, and it was kept reasonably short, so it didn't have time to drag and need to find creative ways of eliminating one of the wrestlers from the action for lengthy amounts of time.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
The New Age Outlaws vs. The Acolytes:

(Road Dogg & Billy Gunn vs. Faarooq & Bradshaw)
I don't remember the reasoning behind this. It seems like everyone had issues with D-Generation X, and yes, they were still around as a stable, brought back after a couple of failed pushes and turns. The acolytes bum rush the ring and attack before the bell. Gunn comes off the ropes with a dropkick on Bradshaw, but jumps into the arms and gets tossed for his troubles. Road Dogg gets rammed to the buckle, and Faarooq tags in to hammer away. Whip across the ring, and Faarooq eats boot, but has enough in him to take Dogg over with a powerslam. Faarooq goes for the Dominator, but Gunn saves, so he opts to clothesline both men, instead. Road Dogg with his signature jabs, but Bradshaw interrupts the knee drop. Gunn sends Bradshaw to the corner, but misses a charge, and Bradshaw kills him with the Clothesline From Hell (complete with oversell). Faarooq with a spinebuster on Road Dogg, but Gunn pulls the referee out of the ring. Double team Powerbomb on Road Dogg, but X-Pac runs in and gets planted with a spinebuster. Mr. Ass with the FameASSer on Bradshaw, and he covers for the three count at 2:36, despite both men being illegally in the ring. Match was incredibly short, so pointless to give a real rating. Just a bit surprised by how rushed it was.

WWF Championship Match; Street Fight:
Triple H vs. Cactus Jack:

Now we're getting down to business. Some backstory here... Mick Foley was parading around as Mankind, but constantly being mistreated and abused by DX, until he was forced into a Pink Slip on a Pole match with the Rock, and of course, the Rock won. However, the Rock, along with the entire WWF Roster, staged a stand-in protest, demanding Foley be reinstated, and be granted a title match, among other things. Mankind's return was welcomed by a major beatdown, so Mankind claimed he wasn't ready for a title shot, but he knew someone who was, then ripped off the mask and shirt, revealing a Cactus Jack shirt, and Triple H's facial expression said it all. Somewhere in all this, Triple H produced insulting sketches, where "Mankind" (I think Mideon in Mankind attire) was shown to be a useless tool, and Triple H insulting him at every possibility. Before the match, Triple H sends Stephanie backstage, since this one is going to get ugly (in a good way). For whatever reason, Hunter pauses in front of Finkel and has some words for him.

Cactus with some trash talking, before unloading with rights. Hunter responds with rights of his own, before being knocked down with a forearm. Cactus pounds Hunter down to the canvas with a flurry of rights. Outside the ring we go, and Cactus connects with a swinging neck breaker. Back inside, and Cactus with a leg drop across the back of the head. We head back outside, and Cactus rams Hunter into the steps and timekeepers bell. Hunter grabs the bell, and bashes Cacrus with it, then tosses a chair into the ring. Triple H dares Cactus to come back in the ring, and Cactus obliges, taking a baseball swing to the face for it. Hunter undoes a turnbuckle, but Cactus is back up and takes him down with a clothesline. Cactus lays the chair across the face of Triple H, and comes out of the corner with a leg drop for a two count. We venture to the outside, and Triple H greets him with rights. Triple H with a charge, and Cactus back drops him over the security wall. They brawl through the crowd, with Cactus in control. They return to the entrance aisle, and Cactus tosses Hunter into a pile of bricks. Cactus sets up some wooden boards and takes Triple H over with a suplex onto the stack. Cactus with a garbage can, and he bashes Trips over the head with it. The stage continues being used as a weapon, with Cactus whipping Hunter into the entrance "doors" over and over again. Triple H musters everything he has in him and surprises Cactus with a back suplex on top of a garbage can. Cactus regains control and pounds Triple H down against the steps, then charges in with a knee to the face. Back in the ring, and this time Cactus has a very special weapon... a 2x4 wrapped in barbed wire! Hunter goes low, grabs the 2x4, and whacks Cactus in the midsection with it, then across the back. Triple H with a few more shots with it, with the wire sticking to the shirt, and looking to be falling apart from the wrap job. Cactus goes low on Hunter, using the 2x4, then connects with a double-arm DDT. Referee Earl Hebner gives the 2x4 to the Spanish Announce Team, but Cactus is determined and threatens harm to anyone in his way. He gets the 2x4, and it has pulled a switch-a-roo. Cactus with the freshly wrapped "barbed wire", and he smacks Triple H in the face with it, then comes out of the corner, using the 2x4 in place of his arm for an elbow drop, but that only gets a two count!

The camera gets a nice shot of Triple H bleeding all over the place, and he's also got a puncture on his calf, I have no idea where that came from. Cactus with another shot with the 2x4, then he digs the barbed wire into the face of Triple H, who has done a manly blade job, to say the least. Cactus follows Hunter out of the ring, and continues to pound the wound. Cactus brings it to the announcers table, and he forgets to remove the television screens, forcing Hebner to do it. Triple H counters the piledriver, and back drops Cactus through the table instead, leaving streaks of blood all over the remains. Hunter tosses Cactus back into the ring, and pounds away. He goes for a pedigree, but Cactus counters, sweeps the legs, and launches Hunter into the buckle, then takes him down with a bulldog onto the 2x4 for a two count. Cactus with a charging clothesline, taking Hunter and himself out of the ring again. Cactus charges again, and gets hip tosses into the ring steps for it. Hunter picks him up, and whips him into the steps, with the knees making contact against the steel. We get replays, and return to live action, with Hunter clipping the knee from under Cactus. Back in the ring, and Hunter does it again. Triple H with the 2x4, and he bashes it across the leg of Cactus. Hunter heads outside and grabs a mysterious bag from the Fink... and it's handcuffs. Remember the 1999 Royal Rumble, when the Rock cuffed Foley, and laid into him with a million chair shots? Cactus tries fighting Hunter off, but eventually is taken down and cuffed with his hands behind his back.

Hunter, heel of the year, finds this as an appropriate time to taunt Cactus, then lay into him with clubbing blows. Hunter heads out of the ring, and brings back with him the steel steps. Hunter charges, but Cactus counters with a drop toe hold! Cactus with a boot to the face, followed by a headbutt to the crotch and some biting. WHY is Hebner interfering with this? Hunter is back up and takes Cactus down with a clothesline. Hunter with a chair to the midsection, followed by a series of shots across the back, breaking a piece of the chair, in the process! The action heads up the aisle, with Hunter continuing to assault Cactus with the chair. Cactus wants some more, daring Hunter to hit him, and suddenly the Rock comes out of nowhere and lays out Hunter with a chair! The camera was wisely positioned behind Helmsley, so not to see the Rock coming out of the entrance way. Here comes a rent-a-cop, and he releases Cactus from his handicap. Cactus pounds away with rights, and now the spanish table gets to take some abuse, and this time Cactus with a piledriver, but it doesn't break the table. Cactus drags Helmsley's bloody, beaten body back into the ring, and produces a giant bag, and we all know what's in that. THUMBTACKS MOTHERFUCKER! Suddenly, Stephanie McMahon returns to the ring to create a distraction. Cactus with rights, but a charge backfires, and Triple H back drops Cactus into the pile of thumbtacks! For added effect, Cactus rolls around in them! Suddenly, Triple H with the pedigree, but Cactus kicks out at two!!?!? EVERYONE is surprised, and Hunter is pissed. Then the pedigree is done onto the thumbtacks, and finally it's over a 26:44. Popular Foley tale is he kicked out of the first pedigree without warning anyone, just so they could finish with the spot on the tacks. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but this is still one of my favorite matches of all time, and was the match that made Triple H the man. Up until this point, he was just another heel who cheated to win, but here he not only absorbed everything his opponent had to offer, but dug down to fight like he's never had before, and won it using the methods everyone expected from Foley, doing anything and everything possible to come out victorious. Truely one of the most perfectly done, perfectly executed matches the WWF has ever done.

30 Man Royal Rumble Match:

I know I say this all the time, but I will try not to go into super-detailed PBP for this match. After the Street Fight we just witnessed, it'll be a miracle to follow up with anything spectacular here. For absolutely NO reason, we see a clip from 1995 where Shawn Michaels hung on to fight off elimination and win the match. FORSHADOWING!? #1 is D'Lo Brown and #2 is Grandmaster Sexay. Talk about random. Usually, the first two participants had some sort of history or chemistry, but here, it really is the most unusual combination to open the match. Brown interrupts GMS dancing to start us off, and we've apparently got 90-second intervals tonight. Brown with a side heel kick, but a running Ligerbomb is countered with a hurricanrana. Pretty dangerous, considering that move paralyzed Droz only a few months earlier. #3 is Headbanger Mosh, wearing some sort of weird cones on his chest. Suddenly, Kaientai (Taka and Funaki) run in and are quickly thrown out. Kaientai were two participants taken out of the match in favor of more high profile participants. Brown plants Mosh with a Sky High, then GMS bulldogs Brown onto the ankle of Mosh, who's selling it as a legitimate injury. #4 is Christian (with some odd, non E&C music), and he quickly drops Mosh with a reverse DDT. #5 is Rikishi, and it's time to clean house. Mosh is tossed at 5:30, and Christian follows at 5:46. Brown surprises Rikishi with a swinging neck breaker and a leg drop, but Rikishi no-sells it, plants him with a modified tombstone, and tosses D'Lo at 6:25, leaving Rikishi with Grandmaster Sexay. #6 is Scotty Too Hotty, and it's DANCE OFF TIME! Rikishi interrupts things, though, to simultaniously toss Too Cool at 8:00. It's nothing personal, just business. Who knew Too Much could get over so much pretending to be Public Enemy? #7 is Steve Blackman, and Rikishi makes short work of him, sending him packing at 9:44. #8 is Viscera, and it's a battle of the bulge, and again, Rikishi ends up being the King of the Mountain, using Viscera's momentum against him to toss him out at 12:12. #9 is the Big Boss Man, and he waits outside the ring until #10 shows up, and it's Test, who he happens to have issues with at the time. Test, surprisingly, is pretty over too. The action finally returns to the ring, and Boss Man quickly goes low on Test. Everyone brawls with each other, basically.

#11 is The British Bulldog, and my GOD, how sad is it that three of the four men in the ring are all passed on. Test takes Boss Man's head off with a boot as Rikishi pounds away on Bulldog. Jim Ross refering to Rikishi as a "load" is pretty funny. #12 is Gangrel, and who knew he was still hanging around at this point? Kaientai return for another run in, and in the most hilariously replayed spot of the century, TAKA does a complete flip over the top rope, and lands on his face. I'm pretty sure he was actually injured, but they replayed this at least five times throughout the rest of the match. #13 is Edge, and the crowd aproves. It's just hugging and punching right now. Boss Man gets pounded on, and Rikishi squashes him with the Banzai Drop. Lawler requests a replay of TAKA's face plant. #14 is a surprise appearance of Mr. Bob Backlund, to a pretty sizeable pop. He's quickly ambushed by Boss Man and Bulldog, but Rikishi misses a charge, and everyone gangs up to toss Rikishi at 22:04. #15 is Chris Jericho (one of the late additions to the match) and he slugs it out with Edge, then dropkicks Backlund out at 23:44. Jim Ross gets a chance to reference Jericho's father played at MSG for the New York Rangers (NHL, for non-sports fans). #16 is Crash Holly, and he's going to turn the tide. Add another man to the list of guys who are gone way too soon. It's only ten years ago, for christ's sake. For whatever reason, Edge SPANKS Crash, while attempting to eliminate him. #17 is Chyna and she's going after Jericho, no doubt. Yup, I won that bet. Poor Jericho, having to sell for a woman. Oh, and Chyna eliminates him with a suplex from the apron at 27:06, and Boss Man elbows Chyna off the apron at 27:10. Thank you, Boss Man. #18 is Faarooq, and here comes the Mean Street Posse to attack Faarooq, playing the role of Kaientai (see earlier for explanation), and Boss Man tosses Faarooq at 28:41. That was a quick night for Faarooq. #19 is Road Dogg, who I've heard had the flu or something, and thus explains why the entire match he spends basically hugging the ropes or laying in a corner. Someone needs to clean house of all the midcard fodder, fast. #20 is Al Snow, and that's not going to turn the tide. Road Dogg tosses the Bulldog at 31:30 in a Battle of the Dogs. This middle portion is really dull.

#21 is Val Venis, and here comes Funaki, and Boss Man quickly tosses him AGAIN. This triggers the request for another replay of the Michinoku face plant. That's been the highlight of the last 15 minutes, or so. #22 is Prince Albert (har har...) and Edge is dumped at 34:31 courtesy of Venis and Snow. Venis and Edge are future Brother-in-Law's, you know. Road Dogg looks sick as a dog (no pun intended) as the camera catches a glimps of him. #23 is HARDCORE Holly, and he goes after Test. You know a match is dragging ass when Gangrel has been in it for twenty minutes. #24 is the Rock (FINALLY!), and he gets a thunderous pop. He knocks Boss Man out with a roundhouse right at 37:47, then gets "hammered on" by Hardcore. Whatever. #25 is Mr. Ass, Billy Gunn, and he goes for the Rock. Road Dogg comes to life to sucker punch Hardcore, making him my favorite of the night. Rock with a DDT on Crash, then tosses him at 39:56. WEEEEEEELL it's the Big Show at #26, and J.R. claims business is about to pick up. Show boots Test out at 41:29, then tosses Gangrel just a few seconds later. #27 is Bradshaw, and it's comedic injury moment #2, as one of the Posse members clotheslines himself on the bottom rope coming into the ring (Pete Gas, I think). Then to add insult to injury (literally), he gets hung up across the top rope being thrown out! Talk about a horrible night... oh, and Bradshaw is tossed by the Outlaws at 42:54. Who did the Acolytes piss off to be pinned in a two minute title match, then eliminated within 20-seconds each in the Rumble? #28 is the Big Red Machine KANE, and he quickly sends Venis packing at 44:28, then sets his sites on Albert. Lots of nothing happens, and #29 is the Godfather (with the HO Train) to a nice pop. Kane clotheslines Albert out at 45:40, in the mean time. Funaki is back for a fourth time, and he breaks Mick Foley's record for most times eliminated in once match, but his record is unofficial. Then Lawler with ANOTHER request for TAKA's elimination. Was there some sort of storyline at the time going on with Kaientai that has Lawler constantly refer to them as Chinese, despite Jim Ross correcting him every time? This time the replay is in slow-mo, and Lawler adds a "boink" on impact. #30 is X-Pac, having "won" the spot thanks to Triple H. Lots of hugging, then Snow clotheslines Holly out at 47:45. Big Show works over the Godfather then clotheslines him out at 48:10. The Rock quickly sends Snow packing with a clothesline at 48:21. Road Dogg finds this an appropriate time to trash talk Snow, for whatever reason, and gets thrown out by his own partner at 48:33. Kane sends Gunn flying shortly after at 48:44, leaving us with a Final Four consisting of The Rock, Big Show, Kane, and X-Pac. Considering the build up, who didn't see this foursome remaining? Gunn pulls Kane out of the ring and along with Road Dogg double teams him. Rock avoids a spinning heel kick from X-Pac and tosses him, but the referee's are distracted, so X-Pac Austin's it (see 1997) and returns to the ring. Kane comes back and goes after X-Pac. There's a feud that should've stayed ended after Armageddon '99. Kane goes for a chokeslam on Show, but Show blocks and goes for it himself. Kane blocks that and nails an enziguri, then scoops up and Slams the Big Show! Seconds later, X-Pac eliminates Kane with a spinning heel kick at 50:09. Show no-sells the Bronco Buster and launches him over the top rope at 50:52. Rock pounds away on Show with rights and takes him down with a spinebuster. It's time for the most electrifying move in sports entertainment. Rock tries tossing Show, but Show blocks and makes him part of the canvas with a chokeslam. Show tosses Rock over, but Rock hangs onto the top rope, and Big Show goes over with him, making the Rock the winner at 52:17. Of course, replays in the following weeks proved the Rock's feet touched, and thus we got a #1 Contender's Match at No Way Out, the second year in a row, and fourth time in five years, where the title match at WrestleMania was determined at the February PPV. Entertaining Rumble, but far from a classic, and not one of the more memorable ones. Still light years better than the previous few (especially the sucktitude from 1999).

Final Thoughts: There's a reason why 2000 gets a lot of love, and a lot of it stems from the fact that a lot of the PPV's that year felt like something you would want to spend $30 on, rather than an extra long episode of Raw or Smackdown. This being the Rumble, it naturally had it's gimmick match that always drew attention, but the real main event was the Street Fight, and that more than delivered on it's expectactions, and is worth getting a copy of this show just for that one match. The undercard also featured an incredibly fun tables match, the impressive debut of Tazz, and... well, we'll just ignore the Swimsuit Contest, that being the only negative I can think of. This one is definitely a keeper, and worth grabbing a copy of. Just skip the stuff with Mae Young.

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