Thursday, 14 November 2019

PPV REVIEW: WWF Royal Rumble 2000

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Event poster
January 23, 2000
Madison Square Garden, New York

It's interesting that while 1999 was among one of the financially successful in the World Wrestling Federation's history, it was also, from a creative standpoint, one of its absolute dirt worst.

We've just covered every WWF and WCW PPV from 1999 here on Retro Pro Wrestling and believe me when I tell you, there were times when shows from both companies were so bad that your reviewer seriously considered abandoning this blog altogether.

Still, here we are.

A new year had dawned in the World Wrestling Federation, and as the company marched headlong into a brand new millennium, there came a new sense of hope that things could get better.

With that in mind, let's head to Madison Square Garden for the Royal Rumble 2000 to see whether they actually did or not.





No remorse

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the action
Our show tonight began with a fantastic promo video for the upcoming Cactus Jack vs. Triple H street fight. Splicing together footage of the two at their most violent and sadistic (including shots of Cactus competing in the IWA King of Death Match 1995 tournament) with a captivating voiceover in which both men talked about how good they were and how much they were going to destroy the other, this was a great way to get you hyped up for the show.

From there, we panned the New York City faithful as Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to the show. The iconic Attitude Era duo talked up not only tonight's main event but also the Rumble match itself before sending us down to our opening contest.

Kurt Angle vs. Tazz

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Tazz debuted against Kurt Angle
Heading to the ring first, Kurt Angle took to the microphone and proved why everybody says he was such a natural at pro wrestling by cutting a very entertaining heel promo that really got the crowd fired up.

Angle then made out like the man he'd be facing tonight was supposed to be a surprise by addressing his "unnamed opponent." However, at that moment, the crowd immediately began chanting "We want Tazz!"

Eventually, the former ECW star himself appeared and went to war with Angle in a short, explosive opening bout.

Trading suplexes galore, the two ensured that the WWF's first PPV of the new millennium got underway in terrific fashion with a hugely enjoyable performance that saw Angle pass out to the Tazzmission, suffering his first WWF loss.
Your Winner: Tazz

His job done, the victor simply marched off backstage as Angle sold the devastating effects of the Tazmission by being stretchered off and given an oxygen mask.

It was a brilliant way to get the newcomer over which makes it all the more of a shame that they never really did much with him.

The Hardys are Ready for Action

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Michael Cole interviewed The Hardy Boyz w/ Terri
Out in the back, Michael Cole interviewed Terri Runnels and The Hardy Boyz about Matt & Jeff's upcoming tables match with The Dudley Boyz.

Terri was just telling Cole how they were going to go out and kick ass when Jeff interrupted, letting her know that it was too dangerous for her to be out there.

For his part, Matt told Cole that even though The Dudleys were 'the masters of putting people through tables' (as if it were a specialist skill), he and Jeff were going to win the match or die trying.

Bless 'em, the Hardys really didn't have much charisma here. This whole promo was seriously cringe-worthy, but at least the two would get better over the next two decades.

Tables Match
The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Jeff Hardy prepares to dive at Madison Square Garden
Having dropped the whole stuttering gimmick, Bubba Ray Dudley joined his brother D-Von Dudley in getting some early heel heat by talking smack about some New York baseball star.

Being British and having no interest in sports outside of pro wrestling, your writer never has any idea what's going on when wrestlers use the local sports team for heat. What I do know, however, is that this the exact same tactic that Kurt Angle used in the first match, making The Dudleyz' tactic a little repetitive.

The match itself, however, was highly original, at least for the time.

Both teams traded some pretty innovative offence, building the match into a captivating stunt-fest in which you had to put both of your opponents through the wood in order to win.

Bubba Ray and Matt Hardy were both planted through tables, after which the match developed to a jaw-dropping finish in which Jeff Hardy hit a Swanton bomb off the balcony crashing through two tables with D-Von sandwiched in between them.

That, my friends, was a really good match.
Your Winners: The Hardy Boyz

Out in the back, a groggy and confused Kurt Angle was seen getting checked over by EMTs. As out of it as he might have been, Angle still had the wherewithal to claim that he was still technically undefeated since Tazz had choked him out.

Miss Rumble 2000 Contest
WWF Women's Champion The Kat vs. Ivory vs. Terri Runnels vs. Jacqueline vs. Barbara Bush vs. Luna Vachon vs. Mae Young

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - The King is stunned at Mae Young wanting to get naked
With Jerry Lawler on compere duties, a group of sexy young women in their twenties and thirties sauntered to ringside to judged by a panel of old men (and one old woman) which included legends Sgt. Slaughter, Tony Garea, The Fabulous Moolah, Johnny V and Classy Freddie Blassie, the latter of whom received a huge ovation from the New York crowd. Joining them on the panel was Conan O'Brien co-host Andy Richter, who was also somehow qualified for the gig.

One by one, the ladies took turns to reveal their bathing suits, with prudish heel Ivory reluctant to do so but still looking remarkably hot anyway.

Terri and Jacqueline also looked particularly stunning, while Barbara Bush was naturally a thing of beauty too. The Kat, however, wore a bathing suit made out of bubble wrap which was supposed to be sexy but which actually made her look like she was wearing a diaper and was all kinds of odd.

Luna Vachon refused to participate at all, which was just as well as they needed the extra time for Mae Young. Young arrived on the scene as a last-minute surprise and claimed that everybody wanted to see her puppies, much to the shock and horror of just about everyone.

She then began to strip to her bathing suit and strut around the place, which was pretty funny until she literally exposed her bare breasts to Madison Square Garden at which point, the joke had clearly been pushed too far. With the producers doing their best to censor the saggy boobs, Mark Henry came in to protect her modesty.

Finally, Young was declared the winner, bringing to an end a segment that started off sexy, got funny, and ended with more cringe than that earlier Hardy Boyz promo.
Your Winner: Mae Young

Cutting across to the company's new 'entertainment complex' WWF New York, newcomer The Coach made his WWF PPV debut getting mobbed by a bunch of rabid fans while saying nothing of note other than letting us know that WWF New York existed.

Chris Jericho is not a Gentleman

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Co-intercontinental Champions Chris Jericho & Chyna
Meanwhile, back in the arena, co-Intercontinental Champions Chris Jericho and Chyna were seen arguing over which one of them got to wear the belt to the ring for their upcoming match.

Chyna, whose theme song literally started with the words "don't treat me like a woman," claimed that Jericho should be chivalrous and let her wear it.

"Chivalrous?" exclaimed Jericho. "What do you think this is, the middle ages?"

Before the argument could get any more heated, Dave Hebner came and snatched the title from them, claiming he'd be the one to take it to ringside.

Amusingly, Jericho first referred Dave as Earl before correcting himself.

Triple Threat match for the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
Co-WWF Intercontinental Champion Chyna vs. Co-WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho vs. Hardcore Holly

Though you might question why Hardcore Holly needed to be involved in this one, it was nonetheless a solid mid-card triple threat match that entertained from bell-to-bell.

Prior to the match, Chris Jericho took to the microphone to promise that the celebration after he won would be the biggest thing ever. He then proceeded to deliver a perfectly acceptable performance against Chyna and Holly before making good on his word and picking up the three thanks to an Asai Moonsault.
Your Winner and New Undisputed Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho

I say 'true to his word,' his post-match celebration was really nothing special.

Finally...The Rock has come back to New York City

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - Michael Cole interviews The Rock
Out in the back, Michael Cole asked The Rock if there were any superstars he was worried about facing in tonight's Royal Rumble match.

Hilariously, The Great One told us that he had his concerns about Crash Holly and Headbanger Mosh, but that if he could get past them, he might have a chance of winning.

Cole, of course, was thinking that The Rock might have a bigger problem with The Big Show, to which Rocky responded by sending Cole away to fix himself a glass of Shut Up Juice then laying the verbal smackdown on Paul Wight.

Finally, The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment wrapped up this awesome promo by guaran-damn-teeing that he would win tonight's Royal Rumble and go on to become our new WWF Champion at Wrestlemania 16.

Though it should go without saying, this was amazing stuff from The People's Champion.

We got two words for ya...

Prior to our final undercard match of the evening, we were reminded that The Acolytes had earned a tag team title shot tonight by winning a battle royal back at Armageddon 1999.

Farooq and Bradshaw had then spent the rest of the past few weeks feuding with Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, with both teams beating the heck out of each other on multiple occasions, and if you weren't down with that, Farooq had two words for ya...

...Ass Kicking.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw)

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 - The New Age Outlaws faced The Acolytes for the Tag Team TitlesThis was the worst match on the card, but that's not to say that it was actually bad.

It was a short and sweet affair in which The Acolytes used their brute power to just absolutely demolish the New Age Outlaws.

A minute or two in, Farooq looked to get the win on Road Dogg, only for Billy Gunn to yank the referee out of the ring, only for Bradshaw to charge at him, knocking both Gunn and the referee flying.

That presented an opportunity for X-Pac to run in, and in the resulting confusion, Billy was able to hit Bradshaw with a Fame Asser for the fall.
Your Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws

Up next, we got another look back at the intense rivalry between Triple H and Cactus Jack.

Street Fight for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. Cactus Jack

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 -  Cactus Jack and Triple H went to war
We'd seen Hunter and Mick Foley have enjoyable matches before, such as their brawl at Canadian Stampede: In Your House 16, their cage match at Summerslam 1997 and, to a lesser extent, their opening bout at One Night Only 1997 in England.

Yet none of those matches could hold a candle to the sheer brutality of this no-holds-barred street fight.

Though it may not be quite as memorable as Foley's show-stealing performance against The Rock at Royal Rumble 1999, this was still nonetheless a fantastic title match that got better and better the longer it went.

Despite a slow start, both champ and challenger worked hard to turn this into a violent, bloody massacre of a match. They used fists, they used steel chairs, they used 2x4s wrapped in barbed wire and they absolutely destroyed not only each other but everything in their path.

Google usually gives me grief for posting shots of wrestlers sporting the crimson mask, so here's a link to the shot of a bloody and broken Triple H.

Yet The Game wasn't the only one to take a beating. In a callback to the aforementioned Mankind/Rock I Quit match, Cactus Jack had his hands handcuffed behind his back and had the crap kicked out of him all the way to the entrance way.

Undeterred, Jack begged for more, but before Hunter could strike, The Rock arrived and smashed his old nemesis with a steel chair, after which a New York City cop unhandcuffed the challenger.

The two then brawled back to the ring where Foley took a vicious back body drop and a pedigree onto some thumbtacks to end the match.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Triple H


All told, including entrances, that whole match lasted over half an hour and you know what? I enjoyed every minute of it.

Afterwards, a battered and bloody champion was stretchered off while the defeated Cactus, being the Hardcore Legend that he was, simply got up and dragged Triple H back for another ass whooping.

To be honest, one of the best parts of the post-match antics was seeing JR & King at their announce table, which had been destroyed and was covered in the spilt blood of Triple H.

Talk about a warzone.

A Word with the CEO

Prior to our main event, we went back to WWF New York where Jonathan Coachman tried to interview a sour-faced Linda McMahon about her daughter Stephanie's nefarious heel turn.

Linda refused to comment on Steph's actions but promised that things would be handled 'The McMahon Way' from there on in.

2000 Royal Rumble Match
Featuring: The Rock, Big Show, D'Lo Brown, Grandmaster Sexay, Scotty 2 Hotty, Edge, Christian, Val Venis, Big Boss Man, Chris Jericho, Chyna, X-Pac, Kane, The Godfather, Rikishi, Bob Backlund and more

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 2000 -  The Rock won the Rumble match
And so the Royal Rumble match got underway with a somewhat uninspired effort between entrants 1 & 2, D'Lo Brown and Grandmaster Sexay. Entrant number three was The Rock's worse nightmare, Headbanger Mosh, who sported some rather interested fur cones on his chest. That was the most interesting thing that happened for a few minutes until Rikishi came in at the number five spot (Christian was number four).

The big man cleaned house, eliminating everyone in the ring and even taking out his Too Cool buddies Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty Too Hotty, though not without the obligatory dance break.

'Kishi stayed on a roll, further eliminating Steve Blackman and Viscera before Big Boss Man and Test arrived, at which point the match settled into a fairly basic yet still pretty entertaining Rumble.

Other highlights included:

  • Bob Backlund appearing as a surprise entrant
  • Mean Street Posse running into attack Farooq and later Bradshaw for seemingly no reason
  • Kai En Tai hilariously making multiple run-ins, only to be immediately thrown over the top. At one point, Taka Michinoku got injured, so Funaki continued to do run-ins on his own for the rest of the match, it was pretty funny.

In the end, it all came down to X-Pac, Kane, Big Show and The Rock. X-Pac got eliminated but the referee didn't see it, so he was able to come back and hang out for a while before taking Kane out of the mix. Naturally, 'Pac was the next man to go, leaving the predictable showdown between Rock and Big Show.

After an enjoyable bit of back-and-forth, both men toppled over the top, but Rock was able to hold on while Big Show crashed to the outside.

Not the best Rumble match in history then, but still decent enough.
Your Winner: The Rock

Afterwards, The Rock took to the microphone to declare that he was on his way to Wrestlemania, only for The Big Show to return and beat him up. The two had an intense staredown and trash-talked each other as Royal Rumble 2000 went off the air.





While the actual Rumble match may not have been the greatest in history, it's fair to say that this was the most fun I've had writing a Retro Pro Wrestling review for a long time.

After the long, hard slog of crash-course TV and sub-par matches that was 1999, Royal Rumble 2000 made for a refreshing change.

There really wasn't a bad match on the card and, overall, this one was a lot of fun from start to finish.

One I do recommend checking out.




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