Royal Rumble 2000
Date: January 23, 2000
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross
This is the first of the two redos of the year and you picked a good one. What we have here is one of the better one two punches in WWF history, as it’s a double main event. Of course there is the Rumble, but we also have Cactus Jack vs. HHH for the WWF Title in a street fight, which should work out fairly well. Let’s get to it.
The opening video looks at some of Cactus Jack’s most violent moments over the years, with HHH still thinking he knows what he is getting into. Some of the Japanese deathmatch stuff here is rather insane looking and wasn’t something you would see on WWF (or American) TV at the time (or in modern times either really).
The set is really cool, as it has the entrance opposite the hard camera. There is a taxi hanging over the aisle, which is painted like a street for the street fight. Remember when they put in actual effort for those things?
Kurt Angle vs. ???
Angle has only been around for about a month and a half so he still has his ridiculously over the top confidence. He’s also still a bonehead, so this could get ugly in a hurry. Angle mocks the New York Knicks for not being able to win a title and offer to be New York’s Champion tonight. As for his special opponent tonight, Angle knows he must be worried so come out here and give it your all.
Kurt Angle vs. Tazz
This is Tazz’s debut, though the WE WANT TAZZ chants during Angle’s speech might have given something away. Tazz slugs away at the bell and sends Angle over the top to take the fight to the floor. There’s the ECW chant, which must be over Angle’s one night ECW appearance. Angle gets in a suplex in the aisle and takes him back inside for a running shoulder.
There’s an overhead belly to belly from Angle but Tazz crotches him on top. The super Tazzplex gets two as Angle gets a foot on the rope. A bridging German suplex gives Angle two but the Angle Slam is countered into an overhead German suplex. More suplexes set up the Tazmission and Angle is out at 3:15.
Rating: C+. This is one of the more memorable debuts and opening matches in company history, as Tazz made an immediate impact and handed Angle his first defeat. I didn’t know anything about ECW but a buddy of mine who watched it had hyped up Tazz for months. This made the whole thing worth it, as Tazz looked like a killer and massacred Angle without much trouble. Of note: Angle was still new at this kind of wrestling and asked what he should do if Tazz, with his shooter gimmick, tried to test Angle on the mat. Some WWF official replied with a simple: “You’re a gold medalist. I don’t think that will be a problem.”
Post match Angle is out and has to do a stretcher job. Just in case Tazz wasn’t impressive enough.
The Hardys, with manager Terri Runnels (that didn’t last long), are ready to fight these newcomers the Dudleys in something called a tag team tables match. They aren’t letting Terri out there with them though as it’s going to be dangerous.
Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz
Tables match, with both members having to go through a table to win. Before the match, Bubba Ray, still stuttering, can’t believe New Yorkers cheer for those pretty boy Hardys but they boo his new hero, JOHN ROCKER (who gave a SCATHING interview about New York around this time). It’s a brawl in the aisle to start with the Dudleys getting the better of things and grabbing the first table.
That takes a bit too long though, allowing Jeff to break it up and hit a big dive over the top onto Bubba. Matt and D-Von try to put the other through a table inside as Jeff CRACKS Bubba in the head with at able. Jeff gets a running start on the barricade but Bubba throws a table at his head for a great looking crash. Back in and the Hardys load up a double superplex through a table but D-Von moves the table just in time.
With that not working, let’s bring in a ladder, because that couldn’t go badly. A running shot with the ladder sends Bubba outside (though the ladder hits the ground first), followed by another hard chair shot to his head. Bubba is laid on a table so the Hardys can dive (Jeff off the top, Matt off a ladder) for the first….uh, table breaking. There’s a chair to D-Von’s head and the Hardys set up the steps to bridge a table off the apron. Matt’s top rope legdrop only hits table though and Jeff’s dive goes through another table, leaving the Hardys laying.
Neither count as those weren’t offensive moves so let’s throw some steps inside. A table is bridged over said steps and a superbomb sends Matt through it, evening us up at one table each. Everyone heads outside again and the Dudleys set up four tables underneath a balcony opposite the entrance.
Matt is piled on top but Jeff is back with chair shots to break it up. Bubba is fine enough to take Jeff into the crowd and onto the balcony, where Jeff BLASTS HIM with some chair shots, sending him through the tables in the big crash. Matt puts D-Von on another table and the big Swanton through D-Von gives the Hardys the win at 10:17.
Rating: B. This was the kind of hard hitting fight that you would expect from these two as they beat the living daylights out of each other. They were trying to get noticed and it worked very well, with this being not only violent but memorably violent, with that chair to Jeff’s head and the finish being great.
Kurt Angle gets checked out by medics and despite barely being able to stand, he insists he’s still undefeated because a choke is illegal.
And now, the Miss Royal Rumble Swimsuit contest. Our judges are Sgt. Slaughter, Tony Garea, Fabulous Moolah, Johnny V (he’s lost his Luscious) and Freddie Blassie, with Jerry Lawler as Master of Ceremonies. Here are the contestants: Ivory, Terri, Jacqueline, BB (she wasn’t around long), Luna Vachon and the Kat (Women’s Champion, and the reason this is happening, due to showing quite a bit at Armageddon). Hang on though as Andy Richter, from Late Night With Conan O’Brien, is a bonus guest judge.
Ivory reluctantly disrobes, followed by the rest of them willingly doing so (save for Luna, whose robe doesn’t exactly cover her in the first place). The Kat is about to win (as hers is made of bubble wrap) but here is Mae Young to enter as well, including taking off her top (with various censoring included). Mark Henry comes out for the save. The older judges give it to Young and Lawler loses his mind. This was the advertised nudity on the show, as the WWF gets to mess with its fans a bit, never to do this again.
We go to WWF New York (The “site based entertainment complex, because they made things sound boring back then too.) where the Coach (he’s new) thinks the fans are excited.
Chris Jericho and Chyna, the co-Intercontinental Champions, argue over who gets to wear the belt to the ring. Earl Hebner comes in to take the belt away, saying we can settle this out there. Jericho: “Earl come on. Dave?”
Don’t try this at home.
Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho vs. Chyna vs. Hardcore Holly
Only Holly is challenging in a weird situation. Jericho is of course way over in New York and promises that his Jericholics will throw a victory party that will make the Millennium Bash look like his sister’s seventh birthday party. Holly shoves Chyna down to start and hammers on Jericho, earning him alternating slaps from the champs. Chyna gets whipped over the corner and out to the floor as Lawler talks about the horrors he just saw. Ross: “You’ve seen scary movies, like Man On The Moon?”
With Chyna on the floor, Jericho tries for the Walls on Holly but Chyna comes in for the save (which is not well received). Holly get sent outside for a change, with Chyna hitting a baseball slide. Jericho adds a big dive to the floor but mostly crashes, allowing Chyna to hit her DDT back inside.
Holly throws her outside again but she low bridges Jericho outside as well (maybe not on purpose). With nothing else working, Holly grabs a chair, sending JR into a panic. Chyna dropkicks it into his face anyway, setting up a double cover for two on Holly back inside. A low blow sends Jericho outside, leaving Chyna to Pedigree Holly for two.
Holly loads Chyna up in an electric chair, allowing Jericho to hit a Doomsday crossbody for two, with the kickout feeling a bit like a surprise. Chyna breaks up a superplex attempt on Holly and then does it herself, only to get small packaged for two. Jericho comes back in, allowing Chyna to chair Holly down. Since stealing moves is a thing, Chyna tries the Walls on Holly but gets caught with the bulldog. The Lionsault finishes Chyna to give Jericho the undisputed title at 7:31.
Rating: C-. This wasn’t exactly great and Holly didn’t exactly feel like a threat to win the title. Thankfully they didn’t bother trying to do anything crazy like keeping up the double champions thing. Jericho was a bigger star and there was no reason to leave him there with Chyna when there were other, better stars for him to face. The match itself was a little clunky and felt like it was ready to wrap up about two minutes earlier, which is never a good thing.
The Rock thinks he can win the Royal Rumble, but he’ll have to find a way around Crash Holly and Headbanger Mosh. Of course he isn’t worried about Big Show and Michael Cole can have a tall glass of Shut Up Juice (that never got over). Rock is going to prove he is the great one and go to Wrestlemania, if you catchphrase.
We recap the New Age Outlaws vs. the Acolytes. The Outlaws are the loudmouthed champions and the Acolytes are ready to destroy them (again).
Tag Team Titles: Acolytes vs. New Age Outlaws
The Outlaws are defending and get in their signature entrance. The Acolytes start fast and hammer away until we settle down to Faarooq powerslamming Dogg. Gunn breaks up the Dominator, allowing Dogg to hit the shaky punches. Bradshaw isn’t having the shaky knee drop though (Dogg liked to shake) so Gunn comes in and misses a Stinger Splash.
The Clothesline From Bradshaw gets no cover so Faarooq comes back in for the spinebuster. Gunn pulls the referee out though and here is X-Pac to kick Bradshaw in the face. Faarooq takes care of him but Gunn hits the Fameasser on Bradshaw to retain at 2:30. I’ve always thought that was rushed as these guys could go seven or eight minutes without much trouble.
We recap Cactus Jack vs. HHH for the WWF Title. HHH cheated to get the title back from Big Show earlier this month but now it is time to defend against the person he took it from in the first place. Mankind had been complaining about the McMahon-Helmsley Era so he was beaten down and fired. The Rock hinted at a mass walk out and got the firing overturned, but it was time for Mankind to face HHH in a street fight at the Royal Rumble. Another beatdown showed Mankind that he wasn’t ready for that….but he knew someone who was.
That meant the return of Cactus Jack, which was more or less the same way Jack debuted in the WWF back in 1997. It was even setting up a Falls Count Anywhere match on the September 4 Monday night Raw in Madison Square Garden, where Jack beat HHH in a classic. HHH knows what he is in for here and the odds are entirely in Jack’s favor. It’s his match against a man he has beaten before in his own backyard. HHH is in trouble and he knows it, so it’s time to fight.
WWF Title: HHH vs. Cactus Jack
HHH is defending and this is a street fight. As usual, I can’t believe how good My Time was as a theme song. Even the ever confident Stephanie McMahon kisses HHH goodbye and bails because this is going to be violent. The slugout gets things going with HHH hammering in the corner and then realizing that’s not the best idea. Cactus (or Mankind according to JR) shows him how it’s done and they head outside for a swinging neckbreaker on the floor.
Back up and HHH manages a bell shot to the face, which just seems to wake Jack up. HHH brings a chair inside and tells Jack to bring it…which Jack does, charging straight into a chair to the head. Jack is right back up with a clothesline, because it was just one chair shot. The chair is placed over HHH’s face and a middle rope leg gives Jack two. They go back to the floor with HHH sending him into the barricade, only to get backdropped over said barricade.
Naturally Jack is fine with taking the fight out there (past a guy in a chef’s outfit) until they wind up in the aisle under the taxi. Jack loads up some wooden pallets, with a suplex dropping HHH onto them. There’s a good trashcan shot to HHH’s head and some whips send him into the metal doors. They’re doing a great job of having HHH get beaten up because the stuff in the streets is so far out of his element.
HHH manages a suplex onto a trashcan (because he can get out of trouble with wrestling) but Jack sends him into the steps. The running knee drives HHH’s head into the steps…and let’s get a barbed wire 2×4. HHH manages to take it away and hits Jack in the ribs and back a few times, with the wire starting to come off the top. Jack comes back with a low blow and a belly to back suplex as the referee hands the 2×4 to the Spanish commentator.
Back in and Jack’s suplex gets a VERY delayed two so he heads outside to get the 2×4 again. Ignore that it isn’t where the commentator put it and clearly not the same one as the wire on this one is tightly wrapped again, but it’s the best way to swap out the real one for the fake one. The referee gets bumped and there’s the 2×4 to HHH’s face to bust him open. Another shot to the face gets a delayed two and HHH’s calf is busted as well.
There’s a third head shot, followed by a famous shot of Jack ripping the wire over HHH’s face. They head over to the announcers’ table (HHH’s face is COVERED in blood) where HHH reverses a piledriver into a backdrop to send Jack somewhat through the table. Back in and the Pedigree is countered into a catapult into the post and a faceplant into the barbed wire gives Jack two more. There’s the Cactus Clothesline but HHH is able to hiptoss him legs first into the steps. HHH sends him knees first into the steps again, just in case the first one didn’t take.
Back in and another chop block takes Jack down again and let’s pick up the barbed wire to crack the knee. With nothing else working, HHH pulls out some handcuffs but Jack manages to wrap them around his hand to hit HHH in the head. HHH goes right back to the knee though and Jack’s hands are cuffed behind him, just like last year against the Rock. The steps are brought in but Jack drop toeholds HHH face first into them.
A low blow lets Jack bite his face, but HHH is right back with another shot to the face. Back up and HHH chairs him so hard that the chair breaks and they go up the aisle. There’s a chair shot to the head but Jack tells him to do it again. Cue the Rock with a heck of a chair shot of his own to HHH though and a cop unhooks Jack to even things up (because wrestling is weird about equal levels of punishment).
They head back to ringside, where a piledriver onto (not through) the table, as in how Jack beat HHH in 1997, knocks HHH silly. Jack sends him back inside and let’s have some thumbtacks. Stephanie comes back to try and stop it but HHH is fine enough to hit a backdrop onto the tacks for the nasty looking crash. The Pedigree connects….for two, and the collective gasp at the kickout is still great. Another Pedigree onto the tacks FINALLY puts Jack away to retain the title at 26:50.
Rating: A+. If the scale went higher than this, it would do so here, because this is one of the best matches of all time. These two massacred each other, with HHH surviving instead of winning. This was brutal, violent, and a rollercoaster of emotions, as there were times where you could believe Jack could pull off the impossible.
What made this work was they laid in the violence from the bell and it felt like they hated each other. This was HHH’s official graduation to the next level, as he now had his own instant classic that showed he really could fight at this level instead of just escaping. At the very least, he can now beat Jack in this situation, which he couldn’t do two and a half years earlier. Incredible match that absolutely holds up and it is worth about five viewings. I can’t recommend this one enough as it really is an all time masterpiece.
Post match HHH is taken out on a stretcher so Jack beats him up again, including another barbed wire shot, because we need to do this again (indeed we do).
Commentary raves about the match and for once, it is completely deserved.
Back at WWF New York, Linda McMahon promises to deal with HHH the McMahon Way. She could always let him date and then marry Stephanie for real.
90 second intervals and the Fink makes it very clear that BOTH FEET must touch, which sends us into a clip of Shawn Michaels’ miracle finish in 1995. D’Lo Brown is in at #1 and Grandmaster Sexay is in at #2, which anyone knows if they have played No Mercy. Brown hammers away and hits the leg lariat before nearly dropping Grandmaster on his head in a Liger Bomb attempt. Instead Grandmaster escapes with a hurricanrana as commentary talks about the street fight.
Mosh is in at #3 (complete with green cones sticking off of his chest for his costume of choice) to go after Brown but cue Kaientai to invade over not being entered. The two of them are beaten down in a hurry so Brown suplexes Grandmaster. Christian (with the AWESOME Blood Brother solo theme) is in at #4 with the reverse layout DDT to Mosh. The four pair off, with Christian charging into Grandmaster’s superkick.
It’s Rikishi in at #5 and there is a good chance he’ll get rid of someone. There goes Mosh and Christian follows him rather quickly but Brown hits a running neckbreaker on Rikishi. That keeps Rikishi down for all of two seconds and the always awesome Rikishi Driver knocks Brown silly. Brown is out, leaving Rikishi and Grandmaster, the latter of whom backs out in a wise bit of fear.
Scotty 2 Hotty is in at #6 though….and the sunglasses come out. The big dance sequence is on, with the crowd seeming to eat it up. Scotty busts out the Worm but Rikishi knocks them both out. Everything is cool because it’s all about the title, so Rikishi dances some more on his own. That’s an all time sequence and one of the most memorable Royal Rumble moments.
Steve Blackman is in at #7 and gets in a few shots on Rikishi before being tossed out in less than a minute. Viscera is in at #8 to pound on Rikishi and hit a belly to belly suplex. A running splash in the corner crushed Rikishi but he avoids a second, setting up a bunch of superkicks to get rid of Viscera. Big Boss Man is in at #9 and takes his sweet time getting in, because he actually pays attention. He stays on the floor until Test is in at #10 and jumps Boss Man on the outside. They all get in, where Boss Man low blows Test as he chokes Rikishi in the corner.
British Bulldog is in at #11 and they pair off again, with Test kicking Boss Man in the face. Bulldog low blows Rikishi to break up the Banzai Drop but can’t toss him out. Instead it’s Gangrel in at #12 but here is Kaientai again, earning themselves another fast ejection (including Taka Michinoku being flipped forward, sending his face into the floor). That takes up so much time that it’s Edge in at #13 to go after Gangrel. The Banzai Drop crushes Boss Man as Lawler wants to see Taka (“That Chinese guy.”) get tossed out again.
Bob Backlund is in at #14 to a huge reaction but gets caught in the wrong corner. He’s fine enough to avoid Rikishi’s charge though and everyone gets together to toss Rikishi. Bulldog headbutts Backlund a few times and it’s Chris Jericho in at #15 to toss Backlund. That’s fine with Bob, who goes into the crowd to continue campaigning for Congress (seriously, he was a different kind of guy). Crash Holly is in at #16 and everyone pairs off again as things slow way down.
Chyna is in at #17 and goes after Jericho, who sends her to the apron. That’s fine with Chyna, who manages to toss him out, only to be eliminated by Boss Man. Faarooq is in at #18 but here is the Mean Street Posse right behind him. The distraction/beatdown lets Boss Man toss him as well as they aren’t letting the ring get overly full. Road Dogg is in at #19 and goes after Test, who hits him low to cut that off in a hurry. Somehow Crash stomps Boss Man in the corner as Al Snow is in at #20, giving us Boss Man, Test, Bulldog, Gangrel, Edge, Crash, Dogg and Snow.
Road Dogg tosses Bulldog, allowing Lawler to make doggy style jokes. Val Venis is in at #21 but we need to pause for Funaki to run in again, earning a third toss to the floor. Prince Albert is in at #22 as Edge is tossed out. Lawler talks about Albert and Mae Young having/potentially having various piercings to fill in time as everyone is weakly fighting near the ropes. Hardcore Holly is in at #23 and a grand total of nothing is happening. This match really needs someone to come in and clean house….and the Rock is in at #24.
Boss Man is out but a bunch of people hammer Rock in the corner to slow him right back down. Billy Gunn is in at #25 and he gets to beat Rock down as well. Rock breaks that up and tosses Crash as Road Dogg is still holding onto the bottom rope, as he has done multiple times tonight. Big Show, who has not been happy with Rock as of late, is in at #26 and NOW we should be going somewhere. Rock is on him before he even gets his other leg over the top but Show knocks him away without much trouble. Test and Gangrel are out in a hurry and a gorilla press drops Holly (on the mat, with Lawler not getting the logic).
Bradshaw is in at #27 but the Mean Street Posse comes in again, allowing the Outlaws to dump Bradshaw out. Faarooq comes back out to beat up the Posse in the aisle and things slow down again. Kane is in at #28 and this has to be the real house cleaning right? Venis is tossed but Rock cuts Kane off to slow things right back down. The Godfather, with ladies, is in at #29 as Kane tosses Albert.
Funaki comes in again and Snow tosses him out even faster this time (yeah it was repetitive but this was a hilarious gag). Godfather finally gets in and it’s X-Pac completing the field, giving us a final group of Road Dogg, Al Snow, Holly, Rock, Gunn, Show, Kane, Godfather and X-Pac. Holly is out in a hurry and Show gets rid of Godfather. Rock tosses Snow and Gunn dumps Dogg, only to get tossed by Kane.
We’re down to Rock, Kane, Show and X-Pac, with Rock tossing X-Pac as Kane fight with the Outlaws in the aisle. X-Pac comes back in because no one saw him go out and it’s Kane kicking Rock in the face. Kane and Show fight over a chokeslam until Kane hits an enziguri of all things. A slam puts Show down but X-Pac kicks Kane out.
The Bronco Buster hits Show, who tosses X-Pac out for his efforts. That leaves Rock vs. Show so let’s get right to the spinebuster and People’s Elbow. Rock can’t get him out though and Show is back with a chokeslam. Show takes his sweet time loading Rock up for the elimination though and Rock slips off his shoulder for the elimination and the win at 51:49.
Rating: B+. This is a match that was this close to being an all timer and it just doesn’t quite make it. The opening is good, with the Too Cool sequence being one of the most memorable Rumble moments ever, but then it goes into a pretty deep freeze until Rock comes in. You could tell that there weren’t a lot of big names in the middle to make it work but the great parts are awesome, with Kaientai being in there to make it better. It’s a very good Rumble, though not quite a classic.
Post match Rock says he’s going to Wrestlemania but Show comes back in and tosses him out. Rock yells a lot to end the show.
Overall Rating: A. The two main events eat up over half of the show and they are both classics, with the tables match being a great showcase as well. The only things close to bad on here is a totally watchable seven and a half minute Intercontinental Title match and a less than three minute tag match. Throw in Tazz’s awesome debut against Angle and the atmosphere of the whole thing and this is an incredible show which is well worth your time.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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