Reviewing The Rumbles: 2000
2000: The Overbookening
Not even a full month after the peril of Y2k happened, WWF staged its annual Royal Rumble match. Man, Y2k. I had forgotten all about that. Anyway, our computer systems did not all spontaneously expire, and life went on. And we got one of the weirdest Royal Rumbles ever…
1. D. Lo Brown
2. Grand Master Sexay
3. Mosh (Jesus Christ… STILL with the Headbangers? In 2000?)
6. Scotty 2 Hotty
7. Steve Blackman
9. Big Bossman
11. The British Bulldog (Wait… wasn’t he retired due to serious injury or something at this point? I was surprised to see him still going in 2000)
14. Bob Backlund (surprise participant, during his run for a Congressional seat)
15. Chris Jericho
16. Crash Holly
19. Road Dogg
20. Al Snow
21. Val Venis
23. Hardcore Holly
24. The Rock
25. Bad Ass Billy Gunn
26. The Big Show (A Royal Rumble debut with the first of what would be many late draws because “Oh No! Big Guys Coming In Late To The Rumble” is Official WWE Gimmick #21)
29. The Godfather
The Final Four
4th – Kane (eliminated by X-Pac)
3rd – X-Pac (eliminated by Big Show)
2nd – Big Show (eliminated by The Rock)
WINNER – The Rock
-I’m surprised to see D. Lo has already lost the chest protector. I thought he had that thing forever. But as I am learning watching all these… a lot changes in 365 days.
-The fans are DEAD for D. Lo and Sexay. Like pin-drop quiet. They would remain in a state of “meh” for the first several minutes until Rikishi enters at #5 and they finally react to something.
-A bright spot early on sees Rikishi eliminated everyone except Grand Master Sexay, who attempts to play nice with his buddy. The countdown starts, and Sexay looks to be spared Rikishi’s wrath… only for Scotty 2 Hotty to come out. They hijack the match and have an impromptu dance party with Rikishi, but he pitches them both out thereafter. It’s amusing–and allows Rikishi to go on a dominance run of solo tossing fools–but really makes Rikishi out to be a moron because he could have left them in the ring with him for assistance until later in the match. So fun, yeah, but really just idiotic booking.
– Rikishi does indeed get a Dominance push, pitching guys like Blackman and Viscera to add to his body count. Viscera has some token Fat Guy Standoff resistance (and hits a nice belly-to-belly on ‘Kishi), but Rikishi ends up eliminating him before the next guy would enter.
-More stupidity booking follows, as Bossman comes out and just refuses to get in the ring. It’s played up as clever–he’s stalling so he doesn’t get mauled by Rikishi–but the guy after Bossman is Test, who comes out and beats the hell out of Bossman anyway. It would make sense for Bossman to do that if he knew he had backup at the next spot, but as it is, it just wastes time and comes across as pointless.
-Test rips off his shirt, and there is a distinctively high-pitched pop.
-So this Rumble has a theme in that Kaientai REPEATEDLY run out to jump in the ring. It happens about half a dozen times, and they never make any sort of impact. They run in, get thrown out, and leave… until they come back 8 or 9 minutes later. It’s just… weird, nonsensical overbooking that this Rumble took a master’s course it. After the third time out, Taka Michinoku lands awkwardly on his face while getting pitched, so Sho Funaki does the rest of the run-ins alone, making it even sillier. Also, some adorable racism from Jerry Lawler, who refers to them as “the little Chinese guys”.
-When Backlund is eliminated, he forgoes the entryway and exits through the crowd for no discernible reason. Lawler and Ross speculate that he’s campaigning among the people, but… was he even running in New York?
-Both Farooq AND Bradshaw are jumped by the Mean Street Posse upon their appearance in the match, leading to quick exits for both (though true to the form of pushing Bradshaw for the future, he at least looks strong against them, whereas Farooq just gets beat up). More pointless overbooking and run-ins.
-Road-Dogg has an incredibly amusing gimmick this Rumble where he spends the majority of the match lying in the ground in a corner of the ring, wrapped around the ring ropes. It’s funny, and the IDEA is clear (you can’t get tossed if you’re down there), but the question arises: what exactly stops a guy from coming over and just kicking him into oblivion?
-By the time The Rock appears at #24, the fans may as well have been at a funeral for quite some time. They finally pop big for his debut, but more brilliant booking has him going on the defensive almost as soon as he enters the ring. The fans then go back to their respectful silence.
-And then we have MORE incompetent decision-making: After spending the vast majority of his time in-match curled around ropes, Road-Dogg inexplicably leaves his corner just to make fun of Al Snow getting eliminated. He stands on the ropes, back to the action, to laugh and wave at Al. So, of course, he gets flipped over. Seriously, match… what the actual, living hell with this booking?
-At the time the Final Four rolls around, X-Pac is actually tossed first, by Kane, by the refs don’t see it (a la Austin in 1997), so he re-enters. He manages to get Kane out, but is then just tossed by Big Show, so there is no drama around his re-emergence actually allowing him to possibly win the Rumble. Just more overbooking to accomplish something in a much more difficult way than was required.
-Much like 1995, one of my favorite talents of all time wins the thing, but the match was so piss poor that I barely even care.
1. 1992 (Flair) – 9/10
2. 1998 (Austin II) – 8/10
3. 1997 (Austin I) – 8/10
4. 1989 (Studd) – 5/10
5. 1999 (McMahon) 5/10
6. 1996 (Michaels II) – 5/10
7. 1993 (Yokozuna) – 4/10
8. 1990 (Hogan I) – 4/10
9. 1994 (Hart/Luger) – 4/10
10. 1991 (Hogan II) – 3/10
11. 2000 (The Rock) – 3/10
12. 1995 (Michaels I) – 2/10
13. 1988 (Duggan) – 2/10