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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 2003

January 24, 2011 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 2003  

DVD Packaging: This is the Royal Rumble Anthology edition so it comes in different packages with 5 discs in each one. The fourth volume box is white 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: Scott Steiner blows up but has yet to wrestle a lot of countries personally. Triple H is intimidated by this. Lance Storm and William Regal stopped being Un-Americans so they could be pro-Canadian and pro-Brit but no one can tell the difference. Matt Hardy severely dislikes mustard and Jeff Hardy. Brock was pissed at Show and was on Angle’s side but now he’s pissed at both. And Angle takes it to Benoit with the help of the World’s Greatest Tag Team.

Scheduled Card:
1. The Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar.
2. WWE Tag Team Championship: The Dudleyz vs. Lance Storm and William Regal (c).
3. Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie.
4. World Heavyweight Championship: Scott Steiner vs. Triple H (c).
5. WWE Championship: Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle (c).
6. Royal Rumble Match

• Video package has various wrestlers talking about wanting to headline Wrestlemania. Of course, the best part is Scott Steiner talking about becoming champ tonight.

The Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar. The winner gets the 30th spot in the rumble. Showster has Paul Heyman with him. This was after the convoluted few months where Heyman turns on Brock by siding with Show and then turns on both to reveal he’s secretly on Angle’s side after Brock helped Angle win the title. Say that 5 times fast. Lesnar looks crazy young here and that makes sense because he was only 25. “Lets go Lesnar” chant as lock ups go nowhere. Brock bum rushes Show into the corner and luckily doesn’t run into a decent stand up game and some TD defense. Show tosses him back out and Brock comes back with some shoulder blocks. Brock goes for a belly to belly but Show won’t budge. Brock tries to chop him down with boots. Brock then hits a belly to belly overhead suplex and he’s my hero. Brock hits another fucking one and Show’s already blown up enough for the both of them. Lesnar tries another but Show chokes Brock and tosses him over the top to the floor. Show with a hip check knee and Brock bumps like hell for it. Show hits an elbow in the corner and a boot. Show drives a 7 ft 500 lb size 16EEEEE boot straight into your living room, as Cole won’t let us forget. Show with an open hand chop and another. Show with a hip toss that sends Brock all the way across the ring. Show tries a charge but Brock ducks out of the way and barely gets Show over for a German suplex that gets 2. Heyman grabs Brock to distract and Show hits a big boot. Show with a side slam and there’s nothing pretty about Big Show or so I’m being told by Cole and Taz. Showster calls for the Chokeslam but Brock armsdrags through and gets a roll up for 2. He hits another belly to belly overhead. Heyman on the apron and Brock decides to bring him in. Brock picks him up but Show cuts him off with a Chokeslam to boos but it only gets 2. Show with the perfect facial expression to match Hogan’s from the previous WM when Rock kicked out. Show drops the straps but doesn’t go for the anklelock. He goozles again but Brock slides out and hits a fucking F5 for the 3 at 6:29. These two always had good chemistry and produced oddly watchable matches. For a man his size, Brock was a bumping machine. **1/2

• Terri Runnels interviews “Don’t be an assclown” Chris Jericho. Jericho says he choose to be #2 because HBK chose #1 and he has to rise to the occasion.

WWE Tag Team Championship: The Dudleyz vs. Lance Storm and William Regal (c). The Dudleyz attacked Chief Morley (Val Venis) on RAW for some reason. Referee Nick Patrick no longer evil checks Storm and Regal for weapons but lets the flags pass. Multicultural patriotism above all else is my motto. This country was built on allowing evil foreigners to carry around flags and use them to illegally win wrestling matches and it’s their American right as visitors to be allowed to continue that tradition. It only makes sense. Storm goes to the arm wringer and Bubba reverses so Storm sends him off. Bubba gets a shoulderblock and a hip toss. Storm with an up and over in the corner but Bubba hits more rights and chops. Bubba hits a Sky High bomb on Storm and applies a standing Figure 4. D-Von in. He hits a spinwheel kick but Lance comes back with a jawbreaker. Regal in and gets hits with a flying burrito, body slam and an elbow drop from D-Von for 2. He pounds away in the corner but Storm tries to break it up. After some distraction, Storm and Regal hit a double clothesline on D-Von. Regal hits a T-Bone suplex for 2. Storm in with a back elbow for 2. Regal back in and works over D-Von with knees and a monkey flip. Storm in with a choke and a neck vice as a “USA” chant pops up. Storm goes to the sleeper. D-Von snapmares out and Bubba gets the tag and he’s got a bunch of clotheslines. He hits a backbody drop on Storm and sends both into the corner and hits a Ho Train. He tosses Regal and hits a side slam on Storm as JR says the champs haven’t gotten out of the blocks yet which makes no sense; they have already had some heat and a hope spot. Bubba hits a release German suplex for 2. Regal in but Bubba spears him. Bubba hits the bionic elbow on Regal and a Bubbabomb on Storm but Regal breaks up the pin. Off a blind tag, D-Von in and goes up top and hits the “What’s Up” headbutt. The Dudleyz decide to get the tables. First they hit a double flapjack on Storm for 2. Dudleyz call for a 3D but here comes Morley to distract an Regal has the brass knucks. Goddammit, the flag would have made perfect sense. The Dudleyz hit the 3D anyway and D-Von takes the knucks for himself and lays out Storm for the 3 to become new champs at 7:23. King says he’s confused about what just happened and that sounds about right. The match wasn’t bad and neither were the spots. They were just too fast for what they were. The match needed about another 5 minutes and a more reasonable pace to tell the story they wanted to. **

Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie. OH NO! Cole sells this as the first ever stepmother and stepdaughter encounter. Goddammit. If you consider a ratio of TV time to talent and ability, this was probably the worst feud of the past decade. The video package alone ensures this is going negative. Dawn cheap shots to start and smacks. Dawn’s facial expression is somewhere between frustration and indigestion. Torrie with a “spear” and a hair toss. They botch a catapult. Dawn almost breaks Torrie’s arm on an armdrag because Torrie forget to bump. Cover gets two as Torrie sells the arm. [email protected][email protected] Dawn with some weak forearms and a flapjack. They botch something and collide in the corner to crickets. At least it’s not boos. Correction, now they are booing. Backslide gets 2. Torrie with a couple of armdrags. Dawn hits a clothesline and hits the female variety of the troll yell. Torrie with a swinging neckbreaker for 3? What? That’s it? Kiss my ass; this match sucked at 3:37. -*. You can’t do a match like this half-assed. We know they can’t wrestle so if you want to do it, it has to be overbooked to shit and played up for camp factor like Kane and Lita’s wedding. If not, it’s just bad wrestling which it was.

• Meanwhile Bischoff and Stephanie court Randy “News Network” Orton and then argue with each other about who screwed up WCW/The Alliance worse.

World Heavyweight Championship: Scott Steiner vs. Triple H (c). Bad sign early as JR plays up Scott Steiner’s psychological advantage to immediately distract from what we might witness in terms of actual wrestling. Video package is solid if you can get behind the overt lack of traditional wrestling build-up segments so they could do arm-wrestling matches, a bodybuilding posedown, a push up contest, and pulling a bait n switch on a bench press contest. I would have been more excited if it went like the other classic bench press contests such as the Ted Arcidi-Bill Kazmaier competition in Stampede or the more famous LOD/Warlord and Barbarian confrontation. In fairness, Triple H’s facial expressions are gold during all of the segments which is something I don’t think he gets enough credit for. I could be mistaken but I think this is when Triple H starting touting that he “beat ’em all” and sometimes adjusted it to claim “The Pedigree beats em all” as in the build up to his 2005 rematch with Batista at Backlash.

• Steiner’s music provokes a big pop but seems to quickly dissipate. Naitch is ringside, and if my memory is correct, this match is a great example of how Flair was flawless as the wily veteran manager who knows all the tricks of the trade. He should still be doing this, but more as a JJ Dillon type and less as a leader of a group like he does now with TNA. Staredown and Triple H has a good 2 inches on Steiner. Steiner wins the slugfest despite a severely limited ROM on those shots. Steiner with chops in the corner and forearms and that goes on a good 10 seconds too long. Steiner with another forearm and a press slam. Triple H takes a breather but Steiner follows and hits a clothesline and more right hands. Steiner then rams Triple H into the post and the apron and the barricade. Steiner suplexs back in and that gets 2. I could be crazy but I would swear I already hear boos and a slight “Steiner sucks” chant only 3 minutes in. Steiner hits a few forearms to Triple H’s back and more chops in the corner. This shit is repetitive already. Steiner hits the kiss the bicep elbow. Triple H goes for a kick but Steiner catches and elbows him down. Steiner locks in a Boston Crab and goes to elbows on Triple H. Steiner with a Batista kick. Triple H hits a jawbreaker but Steiner no sells and goes to a fucking bearhug. Triple H rakes the eyes to counter but Steiner comes back with an overhead belly to belly for 2. He tries the Recliner but Flair pulls Triple H out. Steiner with a chop but runs into a boot. Triple H puts the boots to him and then tosses him into the stairs on the outside. Back in, Triple H hits a swinging neckbreaker but since he’s not wrestling Dawn Marie that only gets 2. Triple H chokes in the corner then Flair comes over to choke with his coat to a big pop from the crowd. Steiner whiffs on a clothesline and Triple H hits a hangman’s neckbreaker for 2 as Flair cheers on. Triple H chokes again and Flair chokes again behind the ref’s back. Triple H sets up the Pedigree but Steiner counters and hits a very delayed catapult because he’s blown up. Steiner hits an Exploder suplex and Steiner is so blown up he falls fucking down. Steiner sets up the Screwdriver but they counter and Triple H hits a hybrid Diamondcutter/neckbreaker for 2. Triple H with a vertical suplex and Steiner is still heaving. Triple H and Flair pause to taunt. Triple H goes to the second rope but jumps off into another belly to belly and Steiner is toast. They slug it out and Steiner hits a clothesline and a back bodydrop and another belly to belly suplex and another…. This doesn’t have quite the same effect as multiple Rolling Germans. Steiner hits another and asks the crowd, “Who’s the man?!” as they openly turn on him. He smashes Triple H into the turnbuckle and hits another belly to belly for 2. Steiner botches a butterfly suplex and the crowd lets him hear it as he gets 2. Triple H cuts him off with a back elbow. He goes up top but Steiner hits a superplex for 2. Triple H rolls to the floor for a breather. Flair gets the belt and they are taking a walk. Steiner follows and takes out both with a clothesline. Flair wants a piece of Scott Steiner but Earl is holding him off. Triple H gets the belt and tries to waffle Steiner. Steiner cuts him off and he sorta hits H instead and H blades on that weak shit. He sends Triple H into the post. Steiner with another overhead belly to belly suplex but no one gives a shit. Triple H tries to take another walk as Steiner tosses him back over the barricade. Steiner gets a chair and then says fuck it. Steiner starts doing push ups but the crowd is less than thrilled. Steiner with right hands as Flair gets the belt and tells Earl to check Triple H’s cut. Steiner scares off Flair as Triple H tosses Earl. Earl considers DQing him but decides not to and demands a clean finish. That spot would have worked in a better match. Steiner hits another belly to belly for 2. Flair distracts again as Triple H goes low and rolls him up but only gets 2. Triple H gets the sledge. Earl demands he stop but Trips tosses him and gives Steiner a gut shot for the DQ at 18:14 and the crowd rightly boos that finish out of the building.

• Post-match, Steiner tries to get retribution with the sledge but the crowd gives him the biggest boos of the night. This match stunk out the joint even worse than the last. You know it’s bad when Flair as a manager is the most over guy in the match for various insane reactions. The first half is mildly watchable, but once Steiner blew up and then went into overdrive with the same fucking suplex over and over again, the match died a slow death. The stretched out ending with 3 or so false finishes only made it worse. 1/4* This would get a rematch which was also bad.

WWE Championship: Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle. Feud focuses on Lesnar-Angle, the emergence of Team Angle (World’s Greatest Tag Team), and Benoit beating Show in a number 1 contender match. We also get an awesome clip of Brock F5ing Angle into the ringpost. Benoit tries to attack before the bell but Team Angle pushes him back to his corner. All the Smackdown refs come down to eject the WGTT. Benoit with a side headlock. He gets sent off and hits a shoulderblock. He gets the double leg and immediately goes for the Sharpshooter but Angle begs off and takes a breather. Back in, Benoit goes back to the side headlock and gets sent off again. Angle tries a hip toss but no go. Benoit goes for a kick but Angle catches. Benoit kicks Angle down and gets his leg loose. Benoit with a right hand. Angle sends him off and gets the sleeper but Benoit armdrags out. Angle tries a kick and now Benoit dragonscrew leg whips him and hangs on to hook on the Sharpshooter but Angle gets the ropes. Angle with a boot and sends Angle into the ringpost. Angle now works the forearms. Angle with a snap suplex for 2. Angle starts in with the chops and some crucial forearms in the corner. Benoit comes back with chops and rights of his own and Choida is trying to break them up. Angle sends Benoit into the corner but Benoit gets the boot up and comes storming out with a clothesline. Benoit with a knee to Angle’s gut for 2. In the corner, more chops from Benoit. Benoit sends Angle across as he does the Bret Hart bump and then eats more chops. Angle cuts Benoit off with a knee and then gives him a front suplex onto the ropes. Benoit counters with a Stun Gun on Angle from the apron. They brawl on the apron and Benoit DDTs Angle on the apron. Brutal. Back in, that gets 2. Benoit goes up top but whiffs on the diving headbutt. Angle goes for the AngleSlam but Benoit counters with the double leg and hooks in the Sharpshooter. Angle fights his way to the ropes. Benoit with a high angle back suplex for 2. Angle hits a belly to belly overhead release suplex on Benoit and then dumps him. Angle hotshots Benoit onto the barricade and boots away. Back in, Angle gets a short arm clothesline for 2. Angle now goes to the OrtonLock (RNC with a body triangle). Benoit powers up and armdrags out but runs into another overhead belly to belly suplex and Angle taunts. Angle now hits his own high angle back suplex for 2. Angle goes back to the OrtonLock. Bit of a noticeable lull here. Benoit again fights his way to his feet and elbow out. Angle with more forearms but Benoit ducks a clothesline and gets a head of steam. Double clothesline and a double KO spot. Both up at 9 and Benoit wins the slugfest. Benoit with a couple of stiff shoulderblocks and a back body drop on Angle. Benoit hooks the waist and hits 2 Rolling Germans. Angle breaks the waistlock and counters to his own German suplexes. He hits one and then Benoit counters and hits another of his own. Benoit taunts and blows snot on Angle. He goes up top but Angle cuts him off and hits the beautiful pop up suplex but cover only gets 2. Angle tries the AngleSlam again but Benoit counters. Angle goes for a lefty clothesline but Benoit gets the armbar takedown and hooks in the Crippler Crossface. Angle struggles and finally gets the rope to noticeable boos. Benoit pulls him off the rope and applies his own anklelock. Angle rolls through and applies his own. Benoit rolls around and counters that to the CC. Angle counters with a crucifix rollup for 2. Angle tries another clothesline and that leads to another CC. Angle rolls through and stands up with Benoit on his shoulders with an AngleSlam. that gets 2. Crowd is surprisingly tame for most of this. Angle lowers the straps to a pop and hooks in the anklelock. Benoit rolls through and sends Angle into the post. They trades counters on a German and Benoit gets a roll up for 2. Benoit hits a German. Angle counters and hits one of his own. Benoit comes back and hits the release overhead German where Angle cuts a flip and lands facefirst. Awesome. Crowd is now waking up. Benoit goes up top and hits the diving headbutt across the entire ring. Benoit selling the impact and a delayed cover gets 2. Benoit hooks in the CC. Angle rolls through then alley oops Benoit into the turnbuckle. Angle hits the AngleSlam for 2 and the crowd is openly cheering the 2 counts because they want it to go on. Benoit hooks in the CC again to a pop. The crowd is practically willing Angle into submission but he rolls through and applies the anklelock. Benoit tries to kick him off but Angle no sells. Benoit rolls over and kicks him off but Angle applies it again. Benoit tries again but Angle stays holding on. Benoit almost gets the ropes and Angle pulls him back to the middle of the ring and grapevines the leg for the submission at 19:49. I remembered this match being the ultimate display of wall to wall mat wrestling but that’s not quite the case. The first half is very good but only very good. They kind of go through their movesets trading relatively low impact moves and then tease a finisher with reversals and do that a few times. The match really picks up at Benoit’s comeback and re-energizes a crowd that Scott Steiner had made turn on the show. Outstanding finishing sequence and a great match but not the all time classic I remembered. ****1/4

Royal Rumble: No package this time. HBK out first. JR says its 90 second intervals. They play up HBK’s wire to write victory back in 95. Jericho’s music plays next and he appears to come out but it’s Christian and Jericho attacks from behind. Excellent. Jericho jumps with rights and forearms. He talks smack and tells HBK to live up to being one. Jericho slides out and gets a chair. Jericho waffles him and Jack Doane demands he get rid of the chair. HBK blades. Chris Nowitski out next but had yet to get his awesome march music, although this is similar. Nowitski decides not to get in and instead let Jericho beat the shit out of Michaels’s corpse and then dump him to huge boos. Mysterio next and Nowinski is still playing coy in the aisle. Mysterio hits a couple of springboard dropkicks and headscissors and a reversal to a powerbomb. Jericho tries a press slam but no go. Jericho tries to knock Mysterio off the turnbuckle but he hangs on to the post and hits a missile dropkick on Jericho. Nowinski attacks from behind at this point. Edge next and hits a double clothesline and a pair of spears. Mysterio and Edge team up on Jericho next. The heels roll out to the floor to leave the tag partners to go after each other. Edge whiffs on a spear and Mysterio misses the 619. Mysterio tries to headscissors Edge to the outside but he hangs on. Mysterio jumps into a Sky High powerbomb. Christian out next. Opera music but no goddamn pyro. Christian immediately hugs Edge and tries to reunite the team. Edge instead spears Christian and hits an awkward pose. Edge and Mysterio team up for some Victory Roll combination but Nowitski sneaks in to try to dump both. They hang on but Nowitski celebrates nonetheless. They hit stereo missile dropkicks on Nowitski. Mysterio with a rough rider on Nowitski. Chavo Guerrero next with the badass suicide entrance. He does some lucha sequence with Mysterio but eats a 619 and a West Coast Pop. Another for Christian. He tries another WCP on Nowitski. Nowitski catches him and Mysterio instead ranas him out. Jericho seizes the opportunity to shitcan Mysterio from behind to a nice round of boos. Incredible pace so far and assortment of moves. Tajiri out next. He kicks a bunch but gets suplexed by Chavo. Hugh Morrus out next fresh off his stint as a veteran on Tough Enough. Based on the commentary from JR positioning him as a tough guy who likes to fight much in the vein of JBL and Albert, we can expect him to hang around and hits a bunch of clotheslines and powerbombs and do nothing of note. Hugh chops Edge and chokes to nothing.

Tommy Dreamer is out at 10. Dreamer brings a trashcan and some shit. He hits Morrus with the lid and then kendo stick shots for everyone including his fellow alum Tajiri. Edge gets a cane and he and Dreamer both cane Hugh to the floor and he’s gone. Trashcan lid conchairto on Dreamer and then they toss him too. Tajiri hits a handspring back elbow on Edge and Chavo. Tajiri puts the tarantula on Jericho but Jericho blocks and tosses him. Awesome. I love it. Fucking Bling Bling Buchanan is out next. B2 boots a bunch and then stands around and gets tossed by Edge trying a Stinger Splash. He should have stayed in the Urban Warfare tag team with Bossman. Chavo does the Guerrero dive and skins the cat but Edge spears him off the apron and he’s gone. Edge tries to tosses Jericho but he successfully skins the cat and then dumps Christian and Edge from behind. JERICHO! JERICHO! Somewhere in there, Jericho got busted hardway from Dreamer’s kendo stick. RVD out next. He hits a superkick on Jericho. RVD hits a springboard back kick and Rolling Thunder. Jericho with some chops but gets catapulted over the top but he hangs on again. I got two words for ya: Matt Freaking Hardy. He’s out and he dislikes mustard according to Shannon Moore. Matt with a Side Effect on RVD and then enlists Jericho’s help. RVD flips over an incoming Jericho in the corner and hits a variety of spinkicks but Jericho hits the bulldog on RVD but whiffs on the Lionsault. Jericho eats a kick from RVD and he goes up top and hits the 5 Star Frog Splash. Matt tries to dump RVD but no go. Eddie Guerrero out next and he’s a heel so the crowd is kinda quiet. RVD monkey flips him to the middle and tries to dump Eddie. Matt jumps RVD from behind and inexplicably saves Eddie. Matt tells him to do the Frog Splash. Eddie hits it but misjudged the jump and lands flush on RVD’s face. Matt turns on Eddie to hit the Twist of Fate. Jeff Hardy out next and he looks like Gangrel gave him a bloodbath for ditching the Brood about 4 years ago. Matt begs off but Jeff gets the advantage with kicks. For those counting, this is the second time not the first or third time this brother vs. brother feud failed to set the world on fire. Although in fairness, the third feud was much better. Jeff with a flying burrito and a terrible jawbreaker and he tries the shitcan but Matt hangs on and Shannon Moore decides to sacrifice himself for the good of Mattitude as a stepladder. That’s fucking great. Jeff with a Twist of Fate and goes up top but Shannon slides in and begs for mercy. He lays on Matt and Jeff hits it on both. Rosie of SHIT and 3 Minute Warning fame is next. Matt with a Side Effect on Jeff. Matt skins the cat again on a back body drop. Test and Stacy Kiebler are next. The Testicles go mild. Test hits a tilt a whirl and a Meltdown (Wrath’s old finisher) on Matt. Jericho goes up top and Test tries to dump him but Jericho hangs on. The Dr. of Thuganomics is out next and he freestyles all the way to the ring. He’s still heel and JR is perplexed: “90 seconds of…? What the hell did he say? Word to your mother?” Charlie Haas out next to crickets because he had yet to get heat by breaking Lillian Garcia’s wrist or dressing up as other wrestlers. Jeff tries Whisper in the Wind but RVD tosses him. Eddie hits the badass Greco Roman huracanrana.

Rikishi is out at 20 with superkicks for everyone. He teams up with Rosie for about 10 seconds until he turns on his Samoan heritage by clotheslining Rikishi. Rikishi goes the Perfect flip bump. Jamal (the late Umaga) is next. Rikishi superkicks both members of 3MW down and then gets the stinkface on Jamal. Jamal cuts him off and starts choking as The American Gladiator Rico cheers him on. Kane is next and he’s into his bondage fetish period. He punches down everyone and big boots Test. Kane chokeslams Rick into the ring. Kane backdrops Rosie. He hits a double chokeslam both members of the Mattitude nation and almost tosses Jericho but he skillfully stays in yet again. Ring is getting a little full as Shelton Benjamin is net and they hit their springboard flying burrito but no one cares yet. Eddie rearmounts Rikishi and goes to the RNC. Still 10 people in right now. Booker T out next. He goes low on Kane and hits the scissors kick and flapjacks Matt Hardy. He gets the spinaroonie and dumps Eddie with a backdrop. We miss you Eddie. RVD with a springboard guillotine legdrop on someone. A-Train out next and accompanied by “Shave Your Back” chants. He hits a few powerbombs until getting kicked back into the midcard by Rikishi. HBK comes storming back out and squares off with Jericho. Cena tries to cut him off but the force is not yet strong in the Cenation and he eats some rights. The distraction is enough for Test to dump Jericho and HBK follows with a plancha. Test???? Really? They should have had someone else do that. Maven out next and jumps on Kane with rights. Kane gives him his own set of rights. There is some starpower in the ring but it’s just too fucking many for anyone to do something interesting. Goldust is next. JR: “The longer they come, the more bizzare they get.” I could have done without that. Goldust with a powerslam on Benjamin and a field goal nutshot on Haas. However, Team Angle teams up to dump him with a backdrop. Haas and Benjamin then toss Booker T. Batista is next to crickets as a midcard big motherfucker in Evolution. He demolishes Cena with the Lex Luger Steel Plate Forearm of Doom. He shoulderblocks a few tiems and then awkwardly looks around for who’s next. Test full nelson slams him in response and gets a head of steam but Batista lowers the bridge and he’s gone. Batista with a spinebuster on Rikishi and a spear on Benjamin. Rikishi is gone. Brock Lesnar is out to clean house. Clothesline for everyone. Brock jumps on Cena for a match up the WWE would KILL to have today. Lesnar then dumps Haas and Benjamin by himself and F5s Matt Hardy to the floor. Holy shit. Batista and Albert team up on Brock and then Albert turns on Batista with a bicycle kick and then screams, “Son of a bitch!” for no apparent reason.

Undertaker out at 30 and most of the ring (outside of RVD, Kane, Brock, maybe Batista) doesn’t have a chance here to even make it to the last 4. UT with soupbones for all and dismisses Cena easily. Jamal is gone too and almost takes out Cena’s ACL. Maven dropkicks Taker from behind and thinks he did it again but Taker survives, chokeslams Maven, and dumps him. Great spot. A-Train hits the Sky High bomb on Taker. Kane with a chokeslam on Brock. RVD with a mule kick on A-Train. RVD with a spinwheel kick on A-Train saving Kane and then they team up to clothesline him to the floor. Kane wants to team up and dump Batista and RVD stupidly agrees. Kane turns on him and press slams him to the floor.

Final Four: Brock, Kane, Batista, and Undertaker. Kane glares at RVD and eats a clothesline from Batista. Double clothesline and they take each other down. I wouldn’t expect too many skin the cat spots with this crowd. Taker and Brock staredown but we don’t get the interaction as Kane and Batista join the party. Batista with a spinebuster on Taker. Kane and Batista work over Brock and this is fairly boring now. Brock with a overhead belly to belly on Batista and a F5 on Kane. Now UT and Brock staredown again but the crowd isn’t feeling it like they should. Taker big boots Brock down and charges forward but gets hotshotted into the top rope. Taker hits the Tombstone on Brock. Taker clothesline Batista fairly easily to the floor. UT wants to team up with Kane only to turn on him and toss him. Batista in with a chair but it goes nowhere as UT cuts him off and hits him with the chair instead. Brock sneaks Undertaker to toss him and win at 53:45. Don’t have much use for that last elimination. UT was returning so he wasn’t going down clean so to speak but Brock tossing him without distractions would have been nice. Post-match, UT gets back in and sort of congratulates Brock as long as he gets a title shot down the road. UT is like the only one on the roster this kind of shit happens for but I digress.

• The first half or 2/3 of the match is great with Jericho basically carrying the match through transitions and doing the majority of good spots. Plus, being the skin the cat veteran is always an easy effective gimmick for this match when done right. Jericho/Christian/Mysterio/HBK/Nowinski/Edge/Chavo created an unbelievable pace for the first 15-20 minutes with hardly any “you stand on the ropes and I’ll pretend to pick up your leg” shit. Dreamer comes in and things get enjoyable hardcore for a few minutes and it becomes apparent that Jericho is the story of the match if he wasn’t already. Matt/Shannon/Jeff have a solid interaction even if the crowd doesn’t go wild for it. Unfortunately, things hit a wall here as too many hosses get in the ring and kill the flow and Jericho inexplicably gets tossed by the midcard treadmill Test. The homestretch is pretty good (Team Angle, RVD/Kane, Maven/UT, Brock/UT) but the action is too frontloaded to be but so good. Still a very good RR. ****

The 411: Entertaining PPV from top to bottom for the most part. Brock-Showster is always entertaining, the tag title match is serviceable, Benoit-Angle is fucking awesome, and other than a lull in the latter half, the rumble match has a strong enough pace and intersecting storylines to keep you into it for the full match. Skip the women's match and only watch the Trips-Steiner match if you're the type that gets perverse pleasure out of one guy almost exposing the business.
 
Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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