wrestling / Video Reviews

Random Network Reviews: WWF Royal Rumble 2001

April 26, 2017 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Random Network Reviews: WWF Royal Rumble 2001  

WWF Royal Rumble 2001
January 21st, 2001 | New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana | Attendance: 17,100

I usually really enjoy Royal Rumble Pay-Per-Views and 2001 is quite possibly the greatest one of all-time. It was included in a Royal Rumble anthology DVD set I had and I’ve seen it a ton of times. Most recently, I watched it shortly after the network itself launched. The WWE was coming off of a pretty great 2000 and starting the road to arguably the best WrestleMania of all time. The amount of talent and star power in the company was at insane levels. This was the fourteenth annual Royal Rumble event.

Our opening video package is the standard stuff you’d expect from a Royal Rumble. They plug the “30 men, one goal” line. As usual in this era, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are on commentary.

WWF Tag Team Championship: The Dudley Boyz def. Edge and Christian (c) in 10:04
Along with the Hardy Boyz, these two teams revolutionized tag team wrestling and made it important. They brawl to kick things off. It makes sense since the champions took out the challengers with con-chair-tos in the build to this match. The crowd is way into this. The Dudleys hold serve until D-Von takes a cheap shot to the back of the head. I like Lawler saying that E&C don’t actually tag because it’s like the neighborhood double play rule in baseball. Good way for a heel to look at it. D-Von gets in a hope spot and they do the false hot tag spot where the referee misses it. D-Von ducks to avoid a con-chair-to and makes the real hot tag. Bubba does his thing and avoids a shot with the title from Edge. He rolls him up for two and they try 3D but Edge spears Bubba to cut it off, leading to an awesome false finish. They try to steal WAZZZUP but the Dudleys turn it around on them and win the titles with a 3D. Great choice for an opener. The crowd was way into it, they did some great false finish spots and the stuff with the previous head injuries coming to play worked well. The title change got a great reaction too. They didn’t overdo anything either, so it was the perfect opener. ***½

Backstage, Triple H talks to Stephanie to make sure she and Trish don’t become a distraction at ringside. She assures him that she is there to prevent Trish from doing anything like that. Drew Carey comes in and flat out admits that he hasn’t watched the WWF in over a year. He makes a joke about meeting Kamala before Stephanie takes him to see Trish Stratus.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Chris Jericho def. Chris Benoit (c) in 18:44
These two killed it in 2000 for the IC Title. Then they threw the gold on Val Venis, Rikishi and Billy Gunn. Luckily, these two were back to save it. Like the last match, this starts with a brawl. Jericho enters with a bad shoulder and Benoit goes after it early. Neither man gains a full advantage until the infamous suicide dive spot comes. As Benoit attempts the move, Jericho hits him with a sick mid-air steel chair shot. Jericho misses crashing down on Benoit with the ladder and hits the guardrail before Benoit rams the ladder into his face. Back inside, they both fall from the ladder in the corner and Benoit’s leg is between rungs. It could have ended badly. Benoit continues to take absurd bumps, including getting whipped face first into the ladder. Knowing what would happen to him six and a half years later makes it hard to watch. Finally, someone climbs up as Benoit gets near the title. Jericho stops him and applies a damn Walls of Jericho atop the ladder. The visual of Benoit being bent in half on top of the ladder is tremendous. I thought that was it but Benoit kicks over the ladder to keep the match going. Benoit goes back to the shoulder with the Crossface and by throwing Jericho into the ring post. More insanity from Benoit when he misses a diving headbutt off of the ladder. Another false finish comes when Jericho climbs the ladder over Benoit but he manages to get up and send him outside. Jericho brings a chair inside and knocks Benoit outside with it. That gives him enough time to retrieve the title. Incredible stuff. In my opinion, the best singles ladder match ever. They perfectly blended the storytelling with the spotty stuff. Jericho sold the shoulder well, Benoit was willing to take some big time bumps and they wrestled with some serious animosity. It felt like two guys who hated each other. This remains in the conversation for best IC Title match ever. ****¾

Drew Carey is talking to Trish Stratus backstage. Vince comes in and decides to convince Drew Carey to participate in the Royal Rumble tonight.

WWF Women’s Championship: Ivory (c) w/ Steven Richards def. Chyna in 3:33
So the Right to Censor nearly ended Chyna’s career with a spike piledriver. They did a big emotional interview with Chyna where she cried a ton. Ivory hilariously mocked it and I couldn’t stop laughing. Anyway, this is Chyna’s first ever attempt at the Women’s Title. She beats Ivory from pillar to post. Even Steven gets his ass kicked. Then Chyna does her stupid handspring corner back elbow spot and just drops. JR tries his hardest to sell this as a legitimate injury. Ivory places her arm over Chyna and steals it. Boring and it didn’t make sense. Chyna was able to do all sorts of stuff throughout the match but she barely touches Ivory and she’s down? Lame. DUD

Chyna does the stretcher job and they hilariously replay the spot. It looks so bad because she did the move horribly and basically walked into Ivory with some really soft steps.

We get a bunch of backstage segments including Trish and Stephanie being catty and Drew Carey trying to befriend Kane. The highlight though is Vince McMahon coming into the locker room of Tiger Ali Singh, D-Lo Brown and Chaz. He tells them that their one spot in the Rumble has been taken by Drew Carey.

WWF Championship: Kurt Angle (c) w/ Trish Stratus def. Triple H w/ Stephanie McMahon in 24:12
These two met in a disappointing match at Unforgiven a few months earlier during the great Angle/HHH/Stephanie love triangle storyline. They start with some back and forth work and neither guy gaining a clear advantage. Angle busts out an enziguri, though it didn’t look very good. That’s unusual from someone as good as Angle. Triple H starts to work the leg, wrapping it around the ring post a few times. Since HHH is a heel too, he whacks Angle’s knee with a chair while Stephanie distracts the referee. He works a modified Indian death lock before moving over into a figure four. He’s such a Flair mark. Trish attempts to help so Stephanie pulls her away and they cat fight on the announce table. The crowd loses their minds for this. Vince McMahon power walks out and fails to break it up. He carries Trish out until Stephanie knocks them both over to continue the fight. They go to the back, leaving the match to the two competitors. They go back and forth before Angle avoids a Pedigree. He nails his gorgeous moonsault, but can’t cover in time due to hurting his knee. Time for the trademark Attitude Era ref bumps. HHH tries to use the title but Angle meets him with a belly to belly. Angle goes for the title but HH hits the Pedigree. Before he can wake up Hebner, Steve Austin shows up and kicks his ass. He lays him out with the WWF Title and leaves. Angle drapes an arm over HHH and wins with the slowest count. Lots of interference and shenanigans but it worked and this was much better than their Unforgiven match. ***½

The Rock gets interviewed before the Royal Rumble. He says that it could come down to him and Perry Saturn, Bull Buchanan or even Steve Austin. Look at him hinting at the upcoming WrestleMania.

Steve Austin wins the Royal Rumble in 61:38
Jeff Hardy and Bull Buchanan draw numbers one and two. After their interval, Matt Hardy shows up third and they double team Bull. Instead of playing it smart and working together, the Hardys wrestle each other after eliminating Bull. Faarooq enters at four. The Hardys botch Poetry in Motion and Jeff helps Matt avoid the Dominator. They do the Twist of Fate/Swanton combo and out goes Faarooq. Alone again, the Hardys remove their shirts to shrieks from the ladies. They both go down and out comes Drew Carey at #5. The Hardys again both some sloppy work before they both fall from the top and get eliminated. Carey celebrates as if he won. The fun stops when Kane’s pyro fires off and he enters at #6. Drew tries to buy off Kane but Kane goes for a chokeslam. Raven runs out at #7 and hits Kane with a kendo stick. Carey hops over the top and eliminates himself. They brawl until Al Snow joins the fray before the buzzer even goes off. All sorts of weapons, including a bowling ball, come into play. Saturn is #9. The hardcore stuff continues when Steve Blackman enters at 10. He beats up everyone with his trademark sticks.

It’s basically a glorified hardcore scramble now. Grandmaster Sexay comes in at #11. Kane gets tired of these jobbers and proceeds to eliminate each and every single one of them. The Honky Tonk Man surprises by showing at #12. He tells Kane to hold on so he can sing. Kane doesn’t like the song so he takes the guitar and whacks it over Honky’s head before tossing him over. Shit gets real because The Rock draws #13 and goes toe to toe with Kane. For anyone who doesn’t remember, Rock won this thing last year. The Goodfather enters at #14 and as expected, does nothing to note against these two top stars. Rock ducks a clothesline and punches him over in under a minute. Tazz at number 15 does even worse, lasting about ten seconds. Bradshaw is #16 and fares better than the last two guys. Albert is in at #17 and I always get a chuckle out of this since the old T&A Trish theme plays. All four men go at it until Hardcore Holly draws #18. Rock nearly goes out but holds on because it was a bunch of midcarders trying to eliminate him. The future R-Truth, K-Kwik, is next. He’s a rookie here and in present day, is like 45 years old. Time flies. The 20th entrant is Val Venis, during his Right to Censor phase.

At #21, it’s the European Champion William Regal. The ring is filling up, which means another big guy is probably coming soon. A big guy does come next but not one that would clean house. It’s Test, using his singles theme. He dumps out Regal. WELLLL. The Big Show returns at #23 and is wearing a shirt that’s a bit too small so when he raises his arms, it comes up like a belly shirt. He eliminates Test and K-Kwik before chokeslamming everyone in sight. The Rock kicks him low to stop the barrage and clotheslines over the top, eliminating him for the second straight year. Show dominated and was gone in less than two minutes. Crash Holly is #24 just as Big Show pulls Rock outside and beats him up. He chokeslams him through the announce table to give Rock a breather. KEEP ROLLING! The Undertaker is #25. The story coming in has been whether or not he and his brother were working together. Kane was on the verge of elimination by everyone but Undertaker saves him and they clean house, combining to eliminate everyone. Alone, Kane and Undertaker don’t fight and Scotty 2 Hotty enters at #26. The scared look on his face is absolutely perfect. They double chokeslam him and unceremoniously dump him. Steve Austin is #27 and he walks out talking trash like he’s about to destroy the two big dudes in the ring. The perfect opposite of Scotty. Before he can do anything, Triple H attacks from behind and ends up busting him open. Rock gets back in and takes a beat down from Kane and the Undertaker. At #28, we get Billy Gunn, sprinting to the ring. God, I never got the appeal of Billy. In a surprise, Haku returns to the WWF as #29. Haku is one badass dude even if his sons formed a shitty tag team in Japan.

The final participant is “bad man” Rikishi. On his way to the ring, he notices a stumbling Austin. Austin fires up and wails on him, covered in blood. Haku goes out, making the final six Kane, Undertaker, Rikishi, Austin, Rock and Gunn. Rikishi gets revenge for the Armageddon HIAC chokeslam spot by eliminating the Undertaker. He goes to Banzai Drop Rock, but takes a low blow and gets eliminated. Hilariously, you can hear Undertaker rev up the motorcycle and exit. Gunn goes out too because he’s lame. Rock hits Kane with a DDT and locks eyes with Austin across the ring. They get to their feet and the crowd erupts when they go at it. Kane gets back involved and Austin takes him down. Rock nearly eliminates Austin but Kane comes from behind and tosses the Rock over. The fans are pretty surprised at that. Kane is in control but brings a steel chair into play. Austin fights him off and nails the Stunner. Kane slowly gets up and eats three vicious chair shots. Austin finishes it with a clothesline to win his third Rumble. One of the best Rumbles ever. It had a little bit of everything. The comedy in Carey and Honky, the hardcore section gave this a different feel, the big moment between Austin and Rock, a stellar performance from Kane and a few surprises throughout. ****½

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
The best Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View in history and one of the best PPVs in history period. The only thing on the show that keeps it from the perfect score was the garbage Women’s Title stuff. Everything else more than delivered. The WWF Title and WWF Tag Team Title matches were both really good and worked very well. The Royal Rumble match itself is one of the best Rumbles of all-time. Jericho vs. Benoit steals the show though. It is the best singles ladder match I’ve ever seen. This is just a tremendous event.