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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 2002

January 23, 2011 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 2002  

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: Edge wants to EDGE-U-CUTE the English language and Regal takes offense because he likes the OED. Nick Patrick returns as the evil nWo ref. Flair bites Vince’s bloody face. Undertaker eats bloody popcorn. Undertaker 1 Flair 0. And Triple H returns in arguably his biggest condition ever.

Scheduled Card:
1. WWE Tag Team Championship: The Dudleyz vs. Spike Dudley and Taz (c).
2. WWE Intercontinental Championship: William Regal vs. Edge (c).
3. WWE Women’s Championship: Jazz vs. Trish Stratus (c).
4. Street Fight: Ric Flair vs. Vince McMahon.
5. WWE Undisputed Championship: The Rock vs. Chris Jericho (c).
6. Royal Rumble Match.

• Video package shows various photos of past winners with the commentary from that night playing over the picture then it segues into the contenders for this year. Good intro.

WWE Tag Team Championship: The Dudleyz vs. Spike Dudley and Taz (c). Stacy Keibler is with The Dudleyz. Dudleys toss the champs quickly. They hit the back suplex/neckbreaker combo on Taz on the floor very quickly. Then hit the same move on Spike in the ring. Spike is wearing a neck brace because of a 3D in the parking lot the previous week on Smackdown. Bubba gives Spike a neckbreaker and removes the neck brace. Bubba hits another and then yells at Spike. Bubba with a snap suplex and D-Von is in. D-Von hits the flipping neck wrench but the crowd wants tables. Bubba with a brainbuster and then Bubba taunts that he’s going to break Spike’s neck. Bubba tries another brainbuster but Spike counters out and hits the Acid Drop. Both men down. Spike makes the tag but the ref was holding off D-Von. Dudleyz hit the double flapjack on Spike. D-Von goes up top and goes for a diving headbutt but whiffs. Bubba just gets in the fucking ring and decides to go on the offense which I guess is a convenient way to avoid the transition. The Dudleyz both go for a clothesline on Spike but he ducks and they collide. Taz in with a flurry of clotheslines and suplexes including a pair of belly to belly suplexes and a modified gargoyle suplex. Taz hits a bridged Northern Lights suplex on D-Von for a close 2 but Bubba breaks it up. Bubba whips Taz into the corner but Spike comes flying off the top with a crossbody. Taz with a lethal Batista kick on Bubba and Spike hits the Acid Drop but no one’s buying it as a finish. Stacy gets on the apron to distract. She tries to smack Taz but he ducks and puts her in the Tazzmission to a fucking pop for the heels. D-Von bum rushes him front behind and knocks Stacy to the floor. Spike tries another Acid Drop but D-Von pushes him off the top to the floor. D-Von charges Taz but he moves and Taz locks in the Tazzmission for a quick tap out at 5:26. Short and to the point. Never really felt like it properly got underway. Felt more like half of a Texas Tornado tag match due to the constant double-teaming and little enforcement from the ref but still too short. **

• Next we get footage of William Regal taking out Edge and RVD with brass knuckles. The following Thursday Edge takes a chair to Regal, Test, and a ref. Now Lillian Garcia is interviewing Edge backstage. Edge says he’s got the advantage because he’s got a chair that he “edge-u-cuted” Regal with. Needless to say, Edge had yet to find his rhythm as a serious promo guy.

WWE Intercontinental Championship: William Regal vs. Edge (c). Nick Patrick checks around the ring for weaponry from Regal or Edge. Edge decides not to bring his chair to ringside with him. What the fuck was the point of the promo then? Nick Patrick searches Regal thoroughly and actually finds the knucks. Edge jumps with right hands. King: “What’s fair about another man sticking his hands down your pants? That’s got to throw William Regal WAY off his game.” Edge hits a backdrop and Regal begs off in the corner. Edge chokes away and face smashes Regal into the mat a couple times. JR and King keep talking about Regal’s multiple nose surgeries. Regal cuts him off and hits a running knee. “Regal sucks” chant catches on pretty fast. Regal tries a European uppercut but Edge counters with a backslide for 2. Regal comes back with a right hand and a front facelock. Edge hits a short-arm enzuguri. Not sure I’ve ever seen that variation. Regal comes back with a release half nelson suplex. Fuck yeah. That gets 2 and Regal is using the awesome heel pin of grinding the wrist into the face EVERY FUCKING TIME. Regal hits a double knee strike and works the lateral press about five times. Regal goes to a straitjacket for a little while. Regal goes for a butterfly suplex but Edge backdrops out and gets a two count. But Regal keeps the arms locked and rolls back into the Regal bomb for 2. Fuckin’ A. Regal hits a stiff forearm strike and Edge drops to the apron. Edge tries coming back in and Regal hits another running knee strike and Edge falls to the floor. These are fucking brutal shots. Regal pulls him back to the apron by the hair. Regal tries a double arm DDT but Edge counters and hits a DDT on the apron. Back in, Edge tries a cover but Edge is under the ropes and Regal is on the ropes. What the hell is Nick Patrick doing? Edge sends Regal across to the corner. Regal tries coming out but he collides with Edge trying a spear and both go down. Both up and exchange forearms and Edge wins?!? Bullshit. Blasphemy. Edge hits a spinwheel kick and a vertical suplex for 2. Edge tries another but Regal counters with an elbow and hits a release German suplex. Edge sorta no sells it and hits a clothesline for 2. Edge tries to set up the Edge-o-cutioner but Regal counters with a drop toe hold and goes for the Regal Stretch and hooks it in. Edge struggles and finally reaches the ropes to a big pop. Regal tries reapplying it and Edge reverses and applies his own Regal Stretch but thankfully Regal gets the ropes. Edge dropkicks Regal into the ropes and gets a school boy for 2. Edge heads up top. JR: “Edge would like to work on that nose of Regal. Maybe scattered, covered, smothered and chunked before it’s all over with.” King: “What? Smothered and chunked?” JR: “That’s a Waffle House reference.” That was epic. Regal cuts him off and goes up top and tries a suplex but Edge pushes him off and hits a super spinwheel kick off the top. Regal gets out and puts out a different set of brass knuckles. Edge goes for the spear but takes out Regal and the ref. Edge tries to grab Regal but gets the Power of the Punch instead. Regal covers and Patrick recovers to make the 3 count to crown a new champ at 9:25. Massive heat for that one. Love it. JR: “Would a nose by any other name smell as sweet? And Regal’s nose smells the Intercontinental Championship.” Absurd yet quotable commentary and Regal getting rewarded for beating the fuck out of Edge does my heart good. ***1/4

• Post-match, Cole asks Regal how can he “justify” what he did. Regal thanks the man above for gracing him with the Power of the Punch.

WWE Women’s Championship: Jazz vs. Trish Stratus (c). Miss Jackie is special guest ref. Trish is face and selling a hand injury from an earlier beatdown. Jazz jumps her to start with right hands and hits a backdrop. A splash gets 2. Trish fights back with forearms and gets a sunset flip and trade pinning combinations for a while. Jazz goes back on the offense with a clothesline. Jazz hotshots Trish into the ropes and hits a leg drop for 2. Jazz applies a rope assisted Americana. Jackie tells her to break it up and they get into a shoving match. Trish tries a school girl but Jazz reverses and Jackie slowly counts. Trish comes back with a jawbreaker and some right hands but Jazz snaps her down by the bad arm. Trish selling well here. She flips out of a suplex and hits the Strausfaction but Jazz rolls through the pin and gets a 2 count of her own. Jazz hits a DDT for 2. Jazz hits a running clothesline in the corner. She sends Trish across and goes for another but Trish gets the boot up and hits a bulldog for the 3 at 4:06. *1/4. Decent for a four minute women’s title match.

• Flair looks a good 15 years younger in this video package and segments with Vince. This includes the segment where Vince struts in Flair’s get up and Flair responds with, “Who in the hell do you think you are, my man? Take off my goddamned robe right now!” and Vince hits Flair with a lead pipe approximately 75,000 times over the build up.

Street Fight: Ric Flair vs. Vince McMahon. Flair’s son and daughter are in the front row and they look fucking depressed about being here for some reason. Staredown to start. Lock up and Vince tosses Flair to start and hits a side chest pose. Vince almost tore both quads on that pose but luckily he was already in the ring. Vince with a side headlock. Flair pushes him off but Vince hits a shoulderblock and struts. Fuck this asshole. Flair with a wristlock and a takedown. He boots in the corner and taunts. McMahon comes back with a boot and a shoulder charge in the corner. Vince chops Flair and tries to “Woo” Flair and Flair aint having that fucking shit. He tosses Vince in the corner and chops him thrice and hits the Woo but Vince goes to the eye. Crowd really into this one. Vince with a whip and a clothesline. JR tries to mask the absurdity of Vince getting the best of Flair in ANY exchange ever by saying, “This is not a wrestling match; this is a street fight.” That might be the case if they had do something worse than chops and eye rakes, but right now a wrestling match is exactly what the fuck it is. Vince pokes the eye in the corner again and Flair flops. Vince whips him across tepidly and Flair goes his turnbuckle spot and then gets clotheslined to the floor. This is a sad parody of every Flair match condensed into a 3 minute mockery. On the floor, Vince hits Flair with a security sign a couple times and then whips Flair into the barricade. Flair blades. Vince gets a trashcan from under the ring as JR tries to veer King away from talking about Vince McMahon’s sexual preferences. Vince hits Flair with the trash can and another Flair flop. Vince with some rights and knees and sends Flair into the turnbuckle and Flair might have bladed again. He sends Flair into the steps and hits a body slam. Are they serious with this fucking crap? Who pays money to see a nonwrestler heel dominate a returning face multiple time world champion? This is a pile of shit psychologically. Vince steals the camera from Flair’s kids and takes a picture. Vince with right hands and now goes to work on the leg with a leg grapevine and a stepover toe hold. The fans are mostly quiet now with a few mild boos. More leg work from Vince. Flair nicely aids McMahon by dragging himself over to the ring post so Vince can toss the leg into it. Vince applies the Figure 4 and they work a pinfall. The crowd tries to perk up as Flair tries to turn it over. He does but Vince gets the rope. Vince goes ringside and gets a lead pipe. Vince tries to hit Flair with it but Flair goes low to a pop. On the floor, Flair with some chops and right hands. Flair gets a monitor from the announce table and thrashes McMahon with it. McMahon blades. Flair keeps grabbing the monitors because he wants a replay. We get some nice mise-en-scene as the cameraman juxtaposes the diegetic replay from the monitor in the foreground with live action in the background. Gregg Toland just shed a tear. Flair with more right hands. Back in, Vince begs off but Flair goes to work on the leg. He grabs Vince back to his family to get another picture taken this time with the bloody Vince as Flair bites him on the wound. Back in again, Vince wants no part of it but Flair with right hands and a low blow. Flair gets the pipe and fucking lays into Vince with it. Flair applies the Figure 4 and Vince HAS to wait about 10 seconds before tapping at 15:05. I know that Flair was seriously lacking in confidence during this period, so maybe they compensated for that by having Vince control the match but it just shatters the internal logic of wrestling for me. OK match if you can ignore/get past Vince’s ego. **

• Michael Cole interrogates Nick Patrick but before he answers Stephanie McMahon interrupts and gloats about Triple H being a rumble favorite. Stone Cold comes up from behind to eavesdrop. He “what”s her to death and she runs off. Then Stone Cold does it to Michael Cole too.

WWE Undisputed Championship: The Rock vs. Chris Jericho (c). Jericho still carrying around both belts. It’s hard to state how surprising that Jericho is even the champion here. Going into Vengeance, Jericho was a distant fourth in the online chatter about who would win. Staredown to start that last a good 30 seconds and OH FUCKING SHIT! Jericho steals the Rock’s taunt and he can’t do that until he at least stores up two finishers so it’s fucking go time. Rock with right hands a back elbow and a Samoan drop for a quick 2. Rock with a whip but Jericho takes a breather. Rock gives chase. Coming back in, Rock with a two leg takedown and some right hands. Rock sets up a backdrop but Jericho kicks him and hits a flying burrito. Jericho hits running clothesline and paintbrushes Rock and calls him a sonofabitch. Jericho tries another charge but eats post. Jericho sets up a backdrop and Rock tosses him down by the hair but he runs into a hotshot. Normally, the post shot would indicate some ARM PSYCHOLOGY but I guess not. Jericho with chops in the corner and tells Rock he’s the fucking champ. “Jericho sucks” chant as Jericho tries a charge but Rock counters with a back elbow but runs out into a spinwheel kick. That gets 2. Jericho takes issue with the count by pointing out that he’s the champ and Hebner actually says he’s not. What the fuck? Lawler catches it and puts Earl on blast. Jericho hits a vertical suplex and hits the “C’mon baby!” pin for nothing. Jericho exposes the turnbuckle. Rock tries to come back but Jericho with a two leg takedown and tries to set up the Liontamer. Rock kicks him off but he runs into a back elbow. Jericho mounts and hits some rights. Jericho goes up top and taunts that he’s the champ and hits a missile dropkick for a close 2 count. Jericho goes to a chinlock and Jericho wants the ref to check him. Since this isn’t 1950, Rock isn’t budging. Jericho wears him down and Earl raises the arm twice but Rock comes back to life on the third. I was hoping for the Steamboat sell to the fourth raise but no go. Rock punches his way out but runs into a back elbow. Jericho heads up top but Rock backs into the rope and crotches Jericho. Rock with some open-hand chops. He goes up top with Jericho and hits a superplex and both are down. They get up at the same time and Rock goes on the offense with right hands and hits a belly to belly throw for 2. Never liked Rock’s variation much. Jericho comes back with chops and hits a bulldog and a Lionsault. Jericho taunts and hits another but Rock kicks out at 2 and the crowd wasn’t buying that as a false finish anyway. Jericho and Earl get into a shoving match. Jericho goes up to the second rope and tries a sitout missile dropkick but Rock catches him on the way down and locks in the Crapshooter (aka Scorpion King Lock). But here comes Lance Storm to interfere. That’s probably the only main event he’s ever been in in the Fed. Rock punches him off the apron. Christian slides in too and Rock spit punches him to the floor. But Jericho hits the BookEnd but it only gets 2. Jericho hits a senton on Rock and goes for his own elbow drop to massive boos. But Rock kips up and shitcans Jericho. Rock sends Jericho into the stairs. Rock preps the announce table and JR pleads with him first for his work environment and second for the match’s sake. I enjoy JR’s self-interested plea coming first. Jericho hotshots Rock into the SAT. Hebner wants them to get in the ring. Jericho preps a slam through the SAT but Rock counters and hits a Rock Bottom through the regular announce table to a pop. King: “JR, are you okay? It doesn’t matter if you’re okay!” Rock drags Jericho into the ring but cover only gets 2. I guess Storm and Christian are dead from spit punches. Rock preps a Rock Bottom but Jericho elbows out and gets the two leg takedown and locks in the Liontamer. Rock finally gets the rope. Jericho drags him back to the center and tries to apply again but Rock rolls him up for 2. Jericho with a tame Batista kick and now he’s yelling at Earl again. Rock tries a flying burrito but takes out Earl. Jericho gets the belt from ring side and waffles Rock. Nick Patrick comes hustling in but Rock kicks out at 2. Rock recovers with a boot and a DDT and THATDAMNEDNICKPATRICK pleads ignorance to massive fucking boos. Rock hits the Rock Bottom on Patrick and a spinebuster on Jericho. He hits the People’s Elbow but neither ref is up. Rock tries to revive Earl but Jericho low blows Rock, sends him into the turnbuckle, and school boys him with the feet on the ropes for the 3 to retain at 18:55. With finishes like that and feuds centered on attempted vehicular homicide on a dog, it’s no wonder that Jericho first reign went over like a lead balloon. The match is fine but it’s all flash and little substance and I liked the No Mercy match from the previous year better. I’ve never been a fan of stealing finishers so that adds nothing for me. The Nick Patrick run-in is gold in terms of heat and Rock and Jericho have great chemistry together, but I just wish the match had a more consistent psychology story other than one-upsmanship. It’s almost like the SVR simulation of a better match. ***1/2

• Shawn Michaels is at WWF NY with a Texas shirt and cowboy hat on. He predict Undertaker and SCSA as the rumble favorites.

Royal Rumble: It is now time for the ROYYYAL RUMMMBA MATCH! Rikishi is out first and Goldust is second. Goldust gets the deluxe 2 minute entrance. Goldust circles Rikishi, touches himself, then spits on Rikishi. They trade right hands. Goldust tries a sunset flip but no go. Rikishi tries to toss him but Goldust hangs on and goes low on Rikishi. Rikishi tries to backdrop Goldust but he still hangs on the apron. Bossman out next. Goldust heads up top but Rikishi crotches him and then sends Bossman itno the same post. Rikishi cuts a Perfect flip bump off a clothesline from Bossman. After some partnership, Goldust turns on Bossman. Bradshaw is next. He plows through Goldust with a shoulderblock. Rikishi hits the stinkface on Bossman. Rikishi hits a superkick and a clothesline and Bossman is gone. Samoan drop on Bradshaw. Goldust tries mounting in the corner but Bradshaw powerbombs him to counter. Lance Storm in with some clotheslines on Goldust. Goldust tries to choke but Storm counters with an awesome reverse kick. Rikishi and Storm team up on Goldust but no go. Intervals are OVER 2 minutes so far around 125 seconds. Al Snow is next. Storm tries a Ho Train but whiffs and gets killed with a Clothesline from Hell. Rikishi hits a superkick on Goldust. The crowd chants that they want head. Storm low blows Bradshaw. Rikishi with a fucking throat thrust on Bradshaw and Snow follows with a clothesline and then hits the Snitsky taunt to cheers. Billy Gunn of Billy and Chuck is next. He runs into a big boot from Bradshaw. Lance Storm hits a jawbreaker on Al Snow but he backdrops him to the apron. Storm tries to suplex him out but Snow lands on the apron too. They slug it out and Al Snow superkicks him to the floor. Great exchange. Bradshaw tries to toss him but Goldust skins the cat again. Gunn instead eliminates Bradshaw. The bastard. At least Bradshaw was adding something to the match. Undertaker and some horribly dubbed generic music is out next. UT ChokeSlams Billy right off the bat. He punches and big boots everyone down. He ChokeSlams Goldust to the floor and sends Al Snow back to the Tough Enough kids. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Al Snow was over and Goldust was working the wily vet that skins the cat the entire match. Why get rid of the mildly over guys in the match and let Billy Gunn stay in? Rikishi eats a big boot and gets tossed and Billy is gone too. Well at least they emptied the ring. Matt Hardy is out next. He gets a head of steam but runs into a goozle. Lita is with him and she jumps off the top ALSO into a goozle. Taker tosses Matt into the corner. He admonishes Lita but she goes low and Matt hits a swinging neckbreaker as King and JR trip over themselves calling it a Twist of Fate. They put the boots to him but Taker quickly goes back on the offense. UT charges in the corner but Matt counters with a back elbow but that does nowhere.

Jeff Hardy is out next. UT tries to suplex Matt over the top but he counters with a DDT. The Hardyz and Lita put the boots to him again. UT comes out of the corner with a double clothesline. UT tries to toss Jeff but he hangs on. Matt goes for a Twist of Fate but UT still falls as a fucking neckbreaker but JR and King still call it a ToF. Jeff goes up top and hits the Swanton. They try the assisted Air Hardy but UT catches Jeff and dumps him and hits the Last Ride on Matt and shitcans to the floor. Maven is out next. He runs into a big boot. UT puts over him his shoulder but Lita is on the apron to complain. Taker piefaces her halfway up the entranceway. The Hardyz jump Taker but Taker eliminates both again with a vengeance. He turns to shout at them and Maven hits the Bluechipper dropkick to eliminate Taker to a huge fucking pop. Taker’s facial expression to sell his disbelief is gold, Jerry, gold. UT calmly walks back up the stairs and into the ring. Maven begs off and Taker goes to work. He tosses Maven through the ropes to boos. UT gets a chair and Maven eats a brutal unprotected chairshot. As Maven tries to blade, UT nicely covers by knocking over the fucking camera man. Then UT mounts and decide to cut Maven himself and you can see him put the blade away right on camera. Scotty 2 Hotty is out next. UT rolls Maven back in the ring as he jumps Scotty before he gets in the ring. Taker then eliminates Maven officially, gives him a gutshot with the chair, and tosses him into the crowd. And the mother of all one-sided beatdowns begins. Christian out next to his badass of badass entrances with his old music and his pyro that Orton later stole. But we cut back to the concourse as UT tosses Maven into a popcorn vender and Taker stops for a snack. Meanwhile, Christian is in the ring by himself taunting and taking a breather. Scotty comes in finally ready to fight. Christian hits the falling reverse DDT as King and JR keep incorrectly saying that Maven is still in it when UT clearly eliminated him during Scotty’s entrance. Entrances are seriously up to 2 and a half minutes. DDP is out next. DDP hits the discus punch and taunts to crickets. Christian comes back with the falling reverse DDT again. DDP hits the Diamond Cutter to a mild pop. But Scotty kicks him through the ropes. Scotty facebusts Christian and hits the Worm but DDP dumps him to another mild pop. Chuck fucking Palumbo is out next. DDP hits a back elbow and a swinging neckbreaker but Chuck comes back with a jawbreaker. Chuck whips DDP into a clothesline from Christian and the crowd is fucking dead as hell for this. Godfather is next to a huge pop. Like Flair in 86, he has to go backstage three times to bring out all the hoes. DDP gets the ignominious distinction of getting eliminated during Godfather’s damn near 3 minute entrance thus trumping Goldust and Taker for longest entrance of the night. Albert is out next to the Scotty 2 Hotty music. What the hell? Albert hits a Ho Train on Christian and another on Godfather. Godfather takes offense to the gimmick infringement but runs into a bicycle kick. Albert tries to eliminate Godfather to heel heat and Chucky and Christian dump him instead. Godfather hits a double clothesline. He whips Christian and Chuck into the same corner and yes he’s preparing for the first real Ho Train of the match to a pop. But NOOOOOOO!!! They move and he eats turnbuckle and gets dumped with a double clothesline to a big boos. Saturn is out next. Chuck hits a charge on Saturn as the crowd gives Godfather a lot of love as he leaves off-camera. Chuck chokes Saturn in the corner with the boot. Saturn hits a vertical suplex on Chuck. Stone Cold is out next to of course a loud pop. He jumps everyone as the crowd chants along with Whats. Austin goes low on Saturn and tosses Christian to the floor. A Stunner for Saturn. Austin tosses Chuck and then Saturn and the ring is empty. Austin taunts and checks his proverbial watch. Seeing a lot of time remaining, he pulls Christian back in the ring and hits a stunner and tosses him again. Austin pulls Chuck back in. Another Stunner and he’s gone again. Awesome

Stone Cold Val Venis is out at 20 to challenge Austin for the rights to black tights, a shaved head, and a goatee. Austin boots him about 30 times in the corner accompanied by many “What”s. Venis fights back with fights, a back elbow, and a knee drop. He mounts and hits to rights and taunts. Holy shit. Val Venis is getting the best of Austin in a brawl. That doesn’t last long as Austin hits the Thesz Press and pounds away. Test is next and goes after Austin. JR puts over how Test has been on a roll winning match after match after match and among his victims were Brother Midnight and The Tulip. Test chokes with his boot and then he and Val put the boots to Austin. They hit a double back elbow on Austin. They set up a double backdrop but Austin kicks to counter. Test goes for a big boot but Austin dodges and Test takes out Val instead. Austin clothesline Test to the floor, hits a Stunner on Test, and tosses him too. Austin continues checking his proverbial watch. The returning Triple H is out to a big pop as well. And he’s fucking huge. I still think he was bigger by a decent amount just a few weeks earlier at MSG but he’s still big here. Trips does the slow deliberate entrance but still only clocks in at 2:00 for a disappointing third place. They go face to face and start talking smack and then slug it out. Triple H hits a high knee as Hurricane is out next. Austin and Triple H hits a double clothesline and both go down. Hurricane goozles both and preps a double choke slam and they just toss him. Nice pop for that spot. Triple H hits a clothesline coming out of the corner. Austin hits a raw spinebuster and Farooq is out next. He hits a spinebuster on Austin and tries to toss him. Triple H boots him, Austin hits a Stunner, and Trips clotheslines him over the top. JR mentions that if you had Austin or Triple H in your office pool, you’re doing well. Has anyone EVER did a wrestling office pool? Maybe among friends from school or something but OFFICE pool? Austin tries to dump H but he goes to the eye. Mr. Perfect is out next to another nice pop. Crowd has been into it the whole way. Perfect tries to throw his towel at Austin and goes to work. He puts the boots to both and chops Austin in the corner. Trips and Austin double up on Perfect as he smacks his gum out anyway. Great fucking spot. I love Perfect. Kurt Angle out next with a “You Suck What?” chant. Funny. Angle chops Trips and Austin chops Perfect and then they trade places and repeat. Triple H goes for a vertical suplex but Angle counters to his own. Angle hits a belly to belly overhead suplex on Austin. The Showster is out next. He hits a headbutt on Angle and a chokeslam on Perfect. He tries a double chokeslam on the Two Man Power Trip but they both counter. Show takes them down with a double clothesline and more headbutts. Angle tries a suplex but gets swatted away. Show preps a press slam but Trips clips the knee. Show with a big boot and headbutts for all. Triple H goes low on him until Show comes back with a chokeslam. Kane is next as JR lists his previous year’s accomplishments. Kane and TBS go face to face. They exchange shots. Show no sells a clothesline and big boots Kane. They goozle each other but Kane goes low and bodyslams Show to the floor. Austin hits a Stunner on him and Angle Olympic Slams him to the floor. Rob Van Dam is out next to one of the loudest pops of the night. His act was stale even by then but damn was he over. He hits the 5 Star Frog Splash on Angle and goes through his repertoire on the others including Rolling Thunder on Austin. Trips recovers and hits a Pedigree on RVD to steal his thunder (OH NO!) and kill his heat dead.

Booker T is out at 30 as Perfect hits a snap suplex on Angle. Booker grabs RVD’s corpse and dumps him to big boos. Booker hits the spinaroonie but Austin hits the Stunner on him and Book sells it to the floor.

Final Four: Austin, Perfect, Triple H, Angle. Austin tries Stunner on Angle but gets kicked off and Trips catches him with a Pedigree. Austin counters with a slingshot that sends Trips into the turnbuckle. Coming out, Angle catches him in an Angle Slam. Angle hits Rolling Germans on Austin. Austin blocks the third and goes low on Angle. Perfect and Angle try to dump Austin but he grabs the ropes. Austin fights back on both. He tries to dump Perfect but Angle sneaks him and dumps him instead. Austin drags Perfect to the floor. Angle follows and tosses Austin into the stairs instead. Back in, Angle and Triple H slug it out. Austin gets a chair and takes out everyone in the ring but neglects to check his watch this time. Perfect holds Triple H but Angle misses and clothesline Perfect instead and almost dumps him. Perfect hits the Perfectplex on Angle to a big pop but gets tossed for his trouble by Triple H. Angle and Triple H take in the moment. Angle drops the straps. Triple H spears him. Coming out of the corner, Angle hits a belly to belly overhead suplex and they tease a Trips elimination. From the apron, Triple H fights back with rights. He jumps Angle and chokes away. Big nostalgic, congratulatory ovation for the exiting Perfect. Triple H runs for a clothesline and Angle backdrops him but Triple H hangs on. He gets a facebuster and clothesline Angle to the floor to win it at 71:24. Historically long entrances hurt the pacing a tad but this is still a great rumble. Almost no dead time. So many effective interactions (Triple H/Austin, Show/Kane, Kane/Austin/Angle, Taker/Hardyz, Taker/Maven, etc.), many great entrances where various wrestlers got the opportunity to shine and hit some signature moves to pops (Triple H, Perfect, Godfather, Austin, Angle, RVD, Show), and my personal favorite little thing: minor wrestlers making themselves interesting to spice up the mild downtime (Al Snow, Bradshaw, and Goldust). Also you had plenty of believable contenders and they nice spread out the action across the full rumble and insanely electric crowd. ****1/2

DVD Extras: None. It is the Anthology version.

The 411: Despite the super hot crowd, this is a great rumble but only a good show altogether. The Rock-Jericho match is mildly disappointing knowing what they are capable of and the Flair-Vince match is nowhere near the level of even Vince’s best garbage matches. The Edge-Regal match is a good title match but easily missable. Not an overwhelmingly outstanding, but still a solid recommendation.
Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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