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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 2000

January 21, 2011 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 2000  

I originally had this lead-in posted on my RR 98 review back in November but am pulling it out of mothballs for this review. In honor of the Royal Rumble approaching in just over a week, I’m doing a rundown of every annual show randomly starting in 2000 and culminating in the 2010 to lead into this year’s. I should say at the outset that the RR is my favorite pay per view every year. Normally, midcarders and curtain-jerkers will never sniff a main event or a shot at the strap, but one time and only one time every year, you get the chance to see your guy shine. Speaking metaphorically (and slightly mockingly), it is the most democratic of all of the wrestling events. I’ve always loved the notion that if your favorite wrestler is Crash Holly or Steve Blackman or Simon Dean you finally get to see him in the main event and try to win a chance at the world title in the Wrestlemania main event. It doesn’t get much better than that.

DVD Packaging: This is the Royal Rumble Anthology edition so it comes in different packages with 5 discs in each one. The third volume box is black with gold trim.

DVD Presentation: The menu is simple but it’s the same for every disc in the set. It has this triumphant fanfare playing over a brief montage from that year’s RR on the right half of the screen. The left half is the same as the box design except it’s white with gold trim.

Relevant Storylines: Kaentai won’t take no shit off nobody and won’t take no for an answer. JR can’t tell The Hardyz apart. Chris Jericho finishes what Jeff Jarrett started. Triple H has seen a ghost and his name is Cactus Jack. Road Dogg tries the best strategy ever to win the rumble. And Rock tries to get past Crash Holly and Headbanger Mosh.

Scheduled Card:
1. Kurt Angle vs. Mystery Opponent.
2. Tag Team Tables Match: The Dudleyz vs. The Hardyz.
3. Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Jericho (c) vs. Chyna (c).
4. World Tag Team Championship: The Acolytes vs. The New Age Outlaws (c).
5. Street Fight for the WWE Championship: Cactus Jack vs. Triple H (c).
6. Royal Rumble Match

• Video package focuses entirely on Foley-Trips. It has overlapping promos with each basically giving the other credit but ended on putting themselves over.

• This is in MSG so we get the awesome set up with the tunnel center camera-side.

Kurt Angle vs. Mystery Opponent. Kurt has no belts and a head mostly full of hair. Angle was still a couple of months away from blowing up the midcard and another 8 months away from becoming world champ. He had only debuted back in November 99. Kurt tries the All-American babyface promo but the crowd isn’t having it, so he makes fun of the Knicks. Angle is undefeated at this point. A “We Want Taz” chant breaks out and gets louder and louder. Back in September, Taz had dropped the ECW strap in a 3-way dance at Anarchy Rulez in just a few minutes after getting hit with Masato Tanaka’s and Mike Awesome’s finishers and everyone knew he was headed to WWE. Taz’s music plays and the crowd goes batshit.

Kurt Angle vs. Taz. Angle wonders what the hell is going on and Taz stiffs him to start. After a whip, Taz hangs on to the rope and back drops Angle sky high to the floor. Taz pulls Angle to the entranceway and tries a vertical suplex but Angle slides out and hits one on Taz instead. Back in Angle hits some rights and a shoulder block for a 1 count. Angle chokes away in the corner. He hits an overhead belly to belly and taunts but the crowd hates him. Angle goes up top but Taz crotches him and then a super belly to belly suplex for 2 as Angle gets his foot on the ropes. Taz tries to celebrate but the ref corrects him. From behind, Angle small packages Taz but it only gets 2. Angle with another clothesline and a bridged German suplex gets 2. Angle goes for the Angle Slam (then not called anything, later called Right Angle, Olympic Slam and then finally Angle Slam) but Taz slides out and hits a brutal overhead release German suplex and Angle lands on his face. Fuckin’ A. Taz with another overhead belly to belly and Taz taunts. He hits an exploder Tazplex and then hooks in the Katahajime. JR calls it a sleeper three different times. Angle’s arm drops a few times and ref calls it at 3:19 and the crowd erupts. This would be kayfabe overturned on RAW due to Angle petitioning it as an illegal choke. ** Almost all angle but the crowd was nuclear hot and it’s still one of my favorite opening match moments.

• Post-match, JR admits it “might have been a choke” and Angle does a full-on stretcher job.

• Meanwhile, The Hardyz and Terri Tunnels are backstage with Michael Cole. They won her managerial services by winning the tag ladder match back at No Mercy 1999. The Hardyz tell Terri to stay backstage because the match will be violent and based on the table spots in the lead-in they are right.

• We also get an insert from WWE Home Video of Taz refusing to give an interview but claiming he’ll go through the entire company.

Tables Match: The Dudleyz vs. The Hardyz. The Fink says this is the first ever tag team tables match which is probably horseshit. Since the rules in these are so fucking inconsistent, let’s cover them. In order to win, you have to drive both team members consecutively through tables. The Dudleyz were over due to Bubba’s stuttering gimmick and residual heat from smarts due to their ECW run and The Hardyz were over match wise due to some good performances but their characters were nothing. It’s amazing to think how far they have both come in a decade. Bubba cuts a promo saying his favorite player is John Rocker drawing some cheap heat and then tells the crowd to kiss their own stinking asses goodbye.

• The Dudleyz jump The Hardyz in the aisle to start. They pair off and Bubba hits a quick Bubbabomb (full nelson sitout bomb) early. Always loved that move. Bubba immediately gets a table and sets it up. Bubba sends Jeff off and gets a beautiful backdrop and Matt nicely times it to lift the table out of the way just as Jeff reaches the apex. Nice. Matt hits an implant DDT on Bubba and sends him to the floor. Jeff follows with a perfect running senton flip splash to the floor. Matt sets up a table as JR actually gets them confused despite one having dyed hair, but considering their lack of personality at this point it’s forgiveable. Matt sends D-Von off and tries a backdrop but it’s counter to a powerbomb attempt but he slides out. He tries a suplex but D-Von counters and nails his own suplex away from the table. Good reversals to tease the spot. Meanwhile, Jeff fucking levels Bubba with a brutal chair shot right to the head. He sets Bubba on a table there and immediately tries his running tightrope walk down the barricade but Bubba recovers and throws the table right into Jeff’s fucking head. Fucking awesome and the pace is unbelievable as it’s only 2 minutes in. Bubba now with Matt in the ring. He sets up a table in the corner and prepares for a splash but Matt gets up and hits him with a right. Jeff is in and they try a double superplex and hit it but D-Von moves the table. Matt gets out a fucking ladder and it’s STILL only 3 minutes. They hit some shots on both and send Bubba to the floor with a ladder clothesline. Matt follows him and hits a couple chairshots including another brutal unprotected one to his head. He puts Bubba on a table out there and sets up the ladder but here comes D-Von to cut him off. He gives D-Von a face smash on the ladder and then nails a leg drop off it on Bubba through the table. Jeff, off screen, flies in as well with something at the same time. “Holy shit” chant as D-Von eats a chairshot. Matt gets the stairs and sets them up long-ways and Jeff sets up a couple of tables. One of them is wedged between the ring and the stairs and another is leaned low against the barricade. They set D-Von up on the one on the stairs with another chair shot. Matt’s tries a guillotine leg drop off the top rope but whiffs and eats table. D-Von escapes to land on another table and a missile Jeff Hardy flies by and whiffs on a suicide flip splash to crash into the table. Insane. Apparently, it’s only offensive maneuvers which is a much better rule anyway. Bubba recovers to kill Matt with a chairshot. Bubba throws some stairs in the ring and so does D-Von and they set up the table on top of the stairs in front of the corner. Bubba powerbombs Matt off the top through the table as JR calls it “erection destruction.” Bubba then disposes of Matt over the top rope. They all manage to crawl into some aisleway as Bubba kills Matt with a chairshot. Bubba sets a table up in the aisle and then set up another on top of it. D-Von nails Matt with a low blow. Now the fucking security are helping Bubba set up the tables and he’s got 3 altogether. They place Matt on top of it which doesn’t even make sense unless you can see the finish coming. Jeff hits D-Von with a chairshot from behind but Bubba takes him out and then pulls him by the hair up into the crowd. They get directly above the aisleway. Bubba taunts and just abandons Jeff who conveniently low blows him and then hits a chairshot and another on Bubba to send him through the 3 tables below. I guess that counts as an offensive move. Matt picks up a table and places it beneath the aisleway and Jeff nails a Swanton on D-Von through the table to win at 10:22. Fucking amazing spotfest. The pace they cut for a hardcore match is unbelievable. This match is criminally underrated and forgotten behind the triple ladder match and all the TLCs. ****

• Backstage, Angle has been revived and is now getting checked out by a paramedic. He’s asking if he won, because if he was choked out that doesn’t count thus planting the seed for the reversal on RAW.

• Next is the infamous Miss Royal Rumble 2000 contest and if you don’t know why it’s infamous it’s because Mae Young gets topless and good lord, it’s just as bad a fucking idea today as it was 10 fucking years ago when they did it. Who in their right mind EVER thought this would be funny or cool or anything other than a waste of time? I’ll make this as short as possible. The judges are Sgt. Slaughter, Tony Garea, Fabolous Moolah, Johnny Valient and Freddy Blassie who gets a huge pop. The participants are Ivory, Jackie, Terri Runnels, Luna, Kat and B. B. (Barbara Bush). I have no idea who BB is other than a kayfabe EMT that they turned into a character but it seemed like she disappeared as quick as she got there. She was very hot though. Kat is over because she was topless at Armageddon back in December. Ivory and Luna are doing the reluctant participant which makes them heels of course. Andy Richter is added as another judge. They each disrobe and parade around. Kat has a bubblewrap one which sounds cooler than it is. Mae Young invades the proceedings and that’s enough of that.

• Next we cut to WWE The World in NY (not yet called that) with Coach who has no facial hair and a full head of hair.

• Meanwhile, Jericho and Chyna the IC Co-champs argue about who gets to wear the belt to the ring. Hebner just takes it himself for safe keeping.

• Now, we get another WWEHV insert of Angle cutting a short promo saying the choke wasn’t legal and that invalidates the victory.

Triple Threat Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Bob Holly vs. Chyna (c) vs. Chris Jericho (c). Holly and Chyna come out to crickets. The crowd loves Jericho despite being a heel. Holly is instantly my hero by piefacing Chyna to square off with Jericho. Jericho takes him down with a hiptoss and Holly smacks him in response. Jericho smacks him back then Chyna smacks both. Holly sends her across and she does the Triple H bump to the floor. Jericho chops Holly and sends him off but eats a shoulderblock. Holly sends him off and Jericho leapfrogs him but Holly hits the Bluechipper dropkick and hits the Orton pose. After a whip reversal, Jericho hits a flying burrito for 2. They exchange chops and Holly wins and King and JR won’t shut the fuck up about Mae Young. Holly tries a standing huracanrana but Jericho hangs on and applies the Liontamer. But Chyna breaks it up with a clothesline to massive boos. Chyna with a back elbow and a clothesline to dump Holly. Chyna sends Jericho off and Holly tries to trip him up but Chyna goes for a baseball slide and takes out Holly. Chyna follows with some rights. Jericho meanwhile goes for the springboard plancha and lands a little high on Holly and he takes it right in the face. Chyna throws Jericho back in and goes for the handspring elbow and a DDT but Holly breaks it up and dumps her. He sends Jericho off and Chyna lowbridges him to send him to the floor but the announcers play it as accident. Holly clotheslines her for good measure. Holly gets a chair and threatens Chyna with it but Jericho distracts and she dropkicks the chair back into Holly. Every spot has been well conceived but the execution hasn’t been that thorough. Back in, Jericho and Chyna both go up top and both hit splashes but Holly still kicks out at 2. Jericho and Chyna argue. Jericho tries a back suplex but Chyna flips out and hits a low blow. Chyna hits a pedigree on Holly but he kicks out at 2. She goes up top but Holly comes underneath and sets her up for an Electric Chair. Jericho goes up top and hits Doomsday Device/crossbody for 2. Holly hits Jericho with a big boot and now he goes up top. Jericho quickly cuts him off and sets up a top rope suplex but she crotches both. Chyna now hits the top rope suplex but Holly is the one that goes for the cover and only gets 2. Chyna rolls to the floor as apparently it was too much for her; she gets a chair and waffles Holly with it behind the ref’s back. She sets up a Boston Crab but Jericho aint having that shit and hits the bulldog on Chyna much to the crowd’s delight. He follows with the Lionsault and that’s enough to unify the belts and gets the 3 at 7:18. It was just missing a little something. Most of the moves were not as crisp as could be and the timing was a little off, mainly due to Chyna. **

• Next, Rock is backstage with Cole. Cole wants to know who Rock is worried about in the RR. Rock says that if he can get past Crash Holly and Headbanger Moss then he might have a shot. Cole is suspicious and brings up The Big Show. Rock tells him to drink some shut up juice and takes the mic for himself. He tells TBS that he wipes a monkey’s ass with what he thinks and then guarantees victory. Good stuff.

• Another WWEHV insert, Jericho cuts a promo saying he’s going to lead the Jerichoholics to the promise land with the “Inter-Chris-inental Championship.”

World Tag Team Championship: The Acolytes vs. The New Age Outlaws (c). Not a lot behind this other than The Acolytes winning a battle royale. The Acolytes run all the way from the locker room and chase them down to start. Gunn pairs off with Bradshaw in the ring. Gunn tries a dropkick but Bradshaw no sells it. He tries a crossbody and Bradshaw just catches him. Road Dogg gets a head of steam but is taken down with a big boot while Bradshaw is still holding Gunn. Bradshaw then hits a snap ab suplex. Bradshaw tags in Farooq who throws Road Dogg around and nails a powerslam out of the corner. He steals Road Dogg’s taunt and then sets up the Dominator but Gunn pulls Road Dogg down. Farooq calmly clotheslines both down. Road Dogg comes back with some rights and tries shake, rattle, and roll but Bradshaw pulls him down by the hair. Gunn in and sends Bradshaw across and tries a Stinger splash but whiffs and Bradshaw nails him with a Clothesline from Hell. Farooq hits a spinebuster on Road Dogg but Billy Gunn pulls the ref out. Bradshaw then plows into Gunn and the ref taking out both. Bradshaw and Farooq hit the double powerbomb on Road Dogg and go for the cover but no ref and out comes X-Pac. He hits a kick but runs right into a spinebuster from Farooq. Farooq takes him out of the ring. In the confusion, Billy Gunn hits the Fameasser on Bradshaw and that gets the 3 to retain at 2:35. Too short to be worth much. *

• Another WWEHV insert of Road Dogg cutting an alphabet soup promo.

Street Fight for the WWE Championship: Cactus Jack vs. Triple H (c). Terrific build for this. McMahon-Helmsley firing Mankind. Rock staging a locker room walkout to demand that Foley get rehired, then an epic 6 man tag on RAW where Foley takes a monumental beating including a pedigree through the table. At the following Smackdown, Foley comes out still wearing the Mankind outfit from the previous Monday blood included and says that he can’t wrestle but he has a suitable replacement: Cactus Jack. That promo gave me chills. Foley’s entire entrance sounds dubbed with the music changed and cheers added. It’s weird. Triple H comes out with Stephanie but sends her to the back.

• Staredown to start. Cactus is talking some junk and Trips looks bewildered. Finally, they just slug it out and Cactus gets the advantage. They trade turnbuckle smashes. Trips tries to cut him off but Cactus comes back with more rights and hits the bang, bang taunt. He wants the testicular charge in the corner but Trips rolls to the floor. Cactus follows with a baseball slide to the floor and hits a swinging neckbreaker. Triple H tries to crawl back in but Cactus nails a leg drop across his back and H goes back to the floor. On the floor, Cactus introduces Triple H to the stairs and the ringside table. Triple H finds the ring bell and nails Cactus with it. Back in, Triple H has got a chair and he’s challenging Cactus to come in. Cactus tells him to go to hell and charges in and eats a brutal fucking chairshot right to the head. Trips celebrates and starts to untie the turnbuckle but Cactus gets back to his feet and takes Triple H down with a clothesline. Cactus places the chair on Triple H’s face and then hits a leg drop on it for 2. H staggers to get to his feet but Cactus boots him to the floor. Triple H comes back with a hard forearm and some right hands of his own. He charges at Cactus who counters and backdrops him into the crowd. They aimlessly brawl through the crowd and down into the entranceway. Cactus gets a couple of wooden pallets and snap suplexes Triple H on to them. Cactus squeals like a pig for intimidation and then waffles Triple H with a trash can. Cactus whips Triple H into the a mock garage door about 10 times. I could swear I hear a “boring” chant and King tries to cover by saying it’s a “Foley” chant. Eh, I doubt it. The problem is that they are brawling in a narrow tunnel and the majority of the crowd can’t see it, although I’m sure they had to have some video screen. Cactus drags Triple H forward but he slips behind and nails a back suplex on a trash can. Cactus gets the advantage with some hands and hits the testicular charge right into the fucking stairs. That had to have murdered his knees. Cactus goes under the ring and goes the barb wire wrapped 2×4. The ref tries to reason and in the distraction Triple H goes low. He steals the 2×4 and hits Cactus with it four times: two to the gut and two to the back and it’s not rubber tipped. He tries another but Cactus counters with a right to the gut and then low blows Triple H with the 2×4. Hebner takes the 2×4 away to large boos. Meanwhile. Cactus hits the double arm DDT to almost no reaction and both sell exhaustion. Hebner tells the SAT to put it under their table and provides the awesome visual of Hugo not knowing what to do with it. Cactus drapes the arm and that gets only 2. Cactus wants the 2×4 and threatens to take out Hebner. Hebner tells him where it is to save himself. Cactus goes after Hugo who pleads ignorance and he lays him out. Finally, someone gives him the 2×4 and he’s back in the ring with it. Hebner tries to reason with Cactus and Triple H charges in but Cactus moves and Triple H takes out Hebner. Cactus then levels him to the head with the barb wire and the camera focuses on Cactus, so Trips probably blades (but it’s tough to tell). Cactus hits the elbow drop with the 2×4 on Trip’s face and the crowd ooos and ahhs. Cactus covers but only gets 2. As H staggers to his feet, we can see the blood already on his left leg that they focus on the next night on RAW but I have no idea where the gash came from. Cactus hits Triple H again in the head with the 2×4. Trips tries to escape and Cactus grinds the barbwire into his open wound and Trips wails in agony. Awesome. On the floor, Cactus continues working over the wound and tosses Triple H onto the announce table. Cactus preps a piledriver but Triple H counters with a backdrop through the EAT. Back in, Triple H hits some right hands. He preps the pedigree but Cactus counters with a slingshot into the turnbuckle and then a bulldog onto the barbwire. Perfect placement. Cover but only 2. Cactus clothesline and both on the floor. Cactus gets a head of steam but Trips hiptosses him into the stairs and holy fuck that had to hurt. Triple H then whips him into the stairs and Cactus eats it knees first and flips over. That bump always kills me. Back in, Trips clips the knee and now goes after the bad knee with the 2×4 a few times in a row. Psychology in a street fight. Triple H rolls to the floor and gets something from Fink and they are handcuffs in a nice callback to the match last year. Cactus struggles to fight back but Trips goes back to the knee and handcuffs Cactus. Triple H hammers Cactus with some rights. Trips gets the stairs and puts them in the ring. He tries to ram Cactus but he counters with a drop toe hold and Trips eats it facefirst. He tries to charge Cactus but he gets the boot up. Cactus then lands a headdrop as a low blow. Perfect placement again and then bites Triple H. That’s close to the exact same sequence as the previous year but it worked both times. Cactus targets Trip’s ear with another bite. Hebner pulls him off and Triple H clotheslines him down. Trips gets the chair and rams Cactus with a gutshot. He levels him on the back too and the back piece breaks but no one notices. When Triple H swings again, the piece comes loose and flies into the entranceway and the crowd gasps because they think it was shrapnel from Cactus’s punishment, which I guess it is but not how they thought. Cactus rolls to the floor. Cactus is trying to escape to the locker room. Trips levels him with the seat of the chair right to his head. Cactus eggs him on for more and Trips preps another but Rock comes out and nails Triple H in the ring with a chairshot and leaves back to the locker room. That didn’t make a lot of sense in terms of field of vision but in terms of the match’s emotion it’s gratifying. A cop comes and gets Cactus out of the handcuffs. Cactus is on a rampage and sends Trips into the announce table. This time, Cactus nails the brutal piledriver on the announce table but the fucker doesn’t give. Triple H is a corpse and Cactus carries him into the ring. Cactus goes under the ring and pulls out a bag of something. Lawler starts calling it a sandbag which is funny. Cactus empties the bag and it’s thumbtacks. Stephanie comes out to try to stop the match. Cactus isn’t having it. He hits Trips with some rights hands but gets a head of steam and is backdropped on them. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh shit. Cactus then rolls INTO them to get to his feet. Ahhhhhhhhh. Triple H hits the Pedigree and immediately covers but the bastard kicks out at 2 and no one can believe it. Big “Foley” chant. Triple H then boots him to the gut and hits the Pedigree into the tacks and the crowd gasps again. Hebner has the clear away the tacks before he can make a count but that’s enough to get the 3 and retain at 27:44. Post-match, Triple H is stretchered out. Cactus recovers and is having none of that shit. He wheels the gurney back into the arena and tosses Triple H into the apron and back into the ring. He gets the barbwire 2×4 and hits Triple H one more time for good measure. Finish somewhat deflated the crowd, but the match is the stuff of legend. I don’t think this match quite made Triple H (his ladder match with Rock in 98 was a starter and his antics with a sledgehammer and a rattlesnake through the entire upper card in the latter part of 99 made him the top heel) but it damn sure proved he was capable of more than 10 minute RAW matches with overbooked finishes. Minor gripes aside, what else could there be? *****

• Back to the Coach at WWE NY. He interviews Linda, and despite the Triple H-Stephanie regime, she puts over the “McMahon Way.”

Royal Rumble: JR says it’s 90 seconds intervals. We get a flashback to the 95 RR where Michaels skins the cats and tosses Bulldog to win. D-Lo drew 1 and Grand Master Sexay drew 2. Lawler says that GMS got a bad break and JR says there’s a rumor that he got a bad break at birth. It’s hilarious because Lawler wants to take offense but doesn’t want to break kayfabe at the same time. They trade right hands and then dropkicks. D-Lo goes for a powerbomb and GMS counters with a huracanrana and then hits a missile dropkick and taunts. Headbanger Mosh out next and 2 years previous the gimmick was over but by 2000 it’s dead as a doornail. Kaentai (Funaki and TAKA) invades the rumble but are quickly disposed of. They hit some clotheslines. D-Lo hits the Sky High on Mosh and GMS hits a bulldog on D-Lo. D-Lo happens to land on Mosh and it might have legit fucked up his ankle. Meanwhile, D-Lo hits a hanging vertical suplex on GMS. Christian is out next. Christian hits a falling inverted DDT on Mosh. Christian charges in the corner but GMS gets the boot up. Rikishi is out next to a big pop. He nails Mosh with a superkick and dumps him. Huge belly to belly suplex on Christian and he’s gone. D-Lo hits a swinging neckbreaker and a leg drop but Rikishi no sells, hits the Rikishi Driver (Greetings from Asbury Park for you Bam Bam fans) and tosses him. Rikishi contemplates dumping GMS. GMS is trying to bargain with him. Scotty 2 Hotty is out next and he’s got sunglasses with him. The crowd wants them to dance and Rikishi is in a trance. The crowd claps along. This is great. The lights go out except for a spotlight and they dance. Rikishi did it for the people. Scotty does the Worm. “Rikishi” chant but he takes down both with a clothesline and then tosses them. Steve Blackman is next and hits a dropkick and a bicycle kick. He lands some rights as a “Blackman sucks” chant crops up inside of 20 seconds. Rikishi cuts him off and hits another Rikishi Driver and tosses him. Viscera is next. Vis hits a belly to belly on Rikishi and a leg drop that broke some boards under the ring. Viscera hits a painfully slow Ho Train. Viscera goes for another but Rikishi dodges and hits four straight superkicks and a shoulderblock to finally dump Viscera and the crowd pops for that. Bossman is next and Viscera tells him to take care of business. Bossman decides to take a lap. He teases getting in a few times. Rikishi tells him to come on and Bossman gives him the middle finger instead.

Test is out at 10. He jumps Bossman. Bossman tries a piledriver and Test backdrops out. Test chokes him with his shirt and rolls Bossman into the ring. Test tries to choke Rikishi in the corner with a big boot but Bossman goes low on him. Rikishi immediately low blows Bossman. Funny sequence. Bulldog is out next. Test takes Bossman down with a big boot. Rikishi preps a Bonzai Drop and Bulldog low blows him. Bulldog tries to squat Rikishi out of the ring but no go. Gangrel out next. He has to expedite the bloodbath because Test yanks him into the ring. Kaentai is out again and are thrown out again. This is the legendary bump that TAKA eats facefirst from Bossman and Gangrel’s forceful elimination. Rikishi hits a charge on Test and Gangrel in the corner. Edge is out next to a loud female pop. Bulldog tries to eliminate him and Edge pokes him in the eye to retaliate. Rikishi destroys Bossman with the Bonzai Drop. Bob Backlund is out next. JR quips, “What the hell is Bob Backlund doing here? I thought he was running for Congress?!?” The entire group gets together to toss Rikishi out. Jericho is out next and he’s pulling double duty. Backland takes down Gangrel with an atomic drop but Jericho eliminates him from behind with a dropkick. Backlund exits through the stands for some reason. Bossman destroys Jericho with a karate chop. Crash Holly is out next. Edge tires to dump Crash and spanks him but no go. Chyna out next. She zeros in on Jericho. He tries to toss her but she counters with a suplex from the apron and Jericho is gone. She gloats and Bossman eliminates her from behind. Farooq is out next but the Mean Street Posse are behind him and jump him. Bossman then casually dumps Farooq. Edge and Test hit a double backdrop on Crash. Road Dogg is next and he makes a beeline for Test but Test just low blows him. “We Want Puppies” chant breaks out for no discernible reason, not that you need a discernible reason for that chant but there’s no busty valet in sight.

Al Snow is out at 20. JR mentions Al Snow’s funny gimmick where he tried to join various tag teams only to be ousted immediately. Road Dogg meanwhile tosses Bulldog. Crash Holly works over Road Dogg’s knee. Val Venis hits the ring next and goes right after Test. This time just Funaki invades but he’s dumped too. We get the TAKA bump replayed for the third time as Lawler calls them Chinese and JR corrects him for the fourth time. Albert is out next as Edge is backdropped by Al Snow and Val Venus together. Thus far, the match is seriously lacking in star power. Lest it escape notice, Road Dogg enacts my favorite strategy ever. He lays on the apron and hooks his arms and legs around the bottom rope in the fetal position. Hardcore Holly is out next as Bossman and Gangrel pry Road Dogg off the rope but he strangles the second rope instead. Bossman gives him a break and Road Dogg goes back to the death grip on the bottom rope. Albert takes his turn booting Road Dogg. Rock is next and all hell breaks loose for about 10 seconds. He disposes of Bossman with the spit punch. JR and King play up the entire lockerroom not liking being revered to as jabronis by The Rock. Test powerbombs Crash Holly. Next is Billy Gunn and he goes straight for Rock. Road Dogg blind sides Hardcore Holly and levels him. Rock plants Crash with a DDT and tosses him. The Showster is out next and he’s still got long hair and this is his first ever rumble. He threatens a fight with someone in the crowd. He almost gets eliminated coming in by the Rock but avoids it. Show quickly boots Test over the top rope and tosses Gangrel. Show easily press slams Crash and headbutts Albert down. Bradshaw is next and The Mean Street Posse follows him out too. Bradshaw tosses all 3 easily but The NAO eliminate him immediately after. Farooq is back and The Acolytes and The MSP brawl to the back. Albert chokes Val Venis with some tape. Kane is out next and he’s accompanied by Tori. Venis jumps Kane and that goes nowhere as Kane chokeslams him over the top. Rock jumps Kane from behind but that does no good. Big Show headbutts Hardcore Holly down. Rock takes down Hardcore with a clothesline. Godfather is out with the hoes and everyone loves the Godfather. Kane meanwhile dumps Albert. Funaki sneaks in the ring again and Al Snow tosses him almost onto the hoes. Al Snow tries a dropkick on no one in particular. This time we get a slow-mo replay of TAKA’s elimination.

X-Pac is out last at 30. Al Snow eliminates Hardcore with a clothesline. Showster takes out Godfather with a clothesline. Rock with a Samoan Drop on Al Snow and then dumps him. Road Dogg forgets his brilliant strategy to gloat at Al Snow and gets dumped by Billy Gunn. Kane punches Billy Gunn to the floor to eliminate him.

Final Four: Kane, X-Pac, Big Show, and The Rock. The NAO pull Kane under the bottom rope and he’s still in. X-Pac whiffs on a kick and Rock tosses him. Show and Rock square off as Kane brawls with The NAO. X-Pac crawls back in as the refs didn’t see his elimination trying to pull apart Kane and DX. Kane hits a turnbuckle smash on X-Pac. Show whips Rock straight into a big boot from Kane. Kane goozles Show but Show cuts him off and does the same. Kane cuts him off. Kane hits a fucking enzuguri on Show and then bodyslams him. X-Pac though hits a spinwheel kick on Kane and he’s gone. X-Pac hits the Bronco Buster on Show and celebrates but Show no sells and press slams him to the floor. Rock pounds away with rights on Show and hits the spinebuster. Rock preps The People’s Elbow and hits it. He tries to toss Show but Show puts on the brakes and choke slams Rock. Show poses and the crowd lets him hear it. Show drapes him over his shoulder and runs toward the ropes but Rock hangs on and Show falls to the floor and Rock wins at 52:04. Subsequent replays (not during the show itself) would show Rock’s feet hitting the ground first on his skin the cat. They would work it into the storyline as Show used the photographic/video evidence to get a number 1 contender’s match at No Way Out. Post-match, Rock cuts a promo and says he’s finally going to Wrestlemania if you smell what he’s–The Big Show unceremoniously interrupts Rock and tosses him over the top. Play the Rock’s music!

• I remembered this one being much better than this. Outside of Rikishi, Road Dogg, Bossman, Kaentai, and the late Kane/X-Pac stuff, this was pretty flat. The first 10 minutes were boring until Rikishi came in and then went back to being boring. The middle 30 is also uneventful until finally Rock, Show, and Kane get in and things pick up for the home stretch. It wasn’t bad booking exactly: NAO/Acolytes/MSP, Jericho/Chyna, everyone ganging up on Rikishi, etc. These things made sense but just lacked a certain something. For my taste, the best rumbles are about wrestlers making themselves stand out, not just punching and pretending to try to toss someone over the top and trading places every few minutes. Outside of Bossman’s heel personality and Road Dogg’s cheap but effective strategy, almost no one did this. ***

• We get some final WWEHV inserts of a Rock promo backstage (fairly standard) and Triple H being attended to by medics backstage complete with a parental advisory warning due to graphic content. Trips says the gash in his calf came from the wooden pallet. This insert appears to be shoot with real paramedics and stitches, etc.

DVD Extras: None. It is the Anthology version, although it does incorporate the WWE Home Video exclusives into the program.

The 411: Easy easy thumbs up. Triple H-Cactus Jack is a hardcore match with some psychology and tells an awesome story. One of the best brawls you'll ever see. The tables match is a frenzied melee and one of my favorite 10 minute matches ever. Taz's debut and the raucous ovation from the crowd and the rest is good enough to keep up. But please for the love of God, don't watch the Miss Rumble pageant.
Final Score:  8.0   [ Very Good ]  legend

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