Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label Acolytes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Acolytes. Show all posts

Thursday, 9 April 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Fully Loaded 2000

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 - Event poster
July 23, 2000,
Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas

Today's review is one of the few occasions when I actually own a copy of the event on officially-released VHS video.

Unlike In Your House: Beware of Dog, however, I won't actually be reviewing the VHS version because, well, it's 2020 and who even owns a VHS player any more.

The more I think about it, the weirder it is that, out of the hundreds and thousands of pro wrestling events released on video, Fully Loaded 2000 is the one I chose to spend money on.

After all, the last two Fully Loaded events had pretty much served as throw-away filler events, usually sandwiched in between more important PPVs.

Still, we're here now, so let's do this. Here's what went down to the final ever Fully Loaded PPV came to us live from Dallas, Texas.

Tonight, These Men Risk it All

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 - Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross called the event
In the promotional material, tonight's show had been subtitled 'The Crap Shoot,' which, when you think about it, is a pretty brave move. Run a bad show tonight, and the jokes would write themselves.

Taking the whole gambling thing to the logical next step, tonight's opening video likened the world of pro wrestling to the adrenaline rush of gambling. It was a fairly decent video, but it did have a whiff of WCW's cheesy openers about it.

With the video over, we panned live across a rabid crowd both here at the Reunion Arena in Dallas and back at WWF New York in Times Square as the ever-present voices of Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to the show.

Six-person Intergender Tag Team Match
Trish Stratus & T&A (Test & Albert) vs. Lita & The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

According to a pre-match recap, the real feud here was between Lita and Trish Stratus.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 - Trish Stratus teamed with T&A to face Lita and The Hardy Boyz
The two had been attacking each other on WWF programming ever since their first encounter at last month's King of the Ring 2000. Still, since Trish wasn't yet 'Trish Stratus - Awesome Women's Wrestler' - it was deemed more fitting for the girls to settle their rivalry in a bout which also involved T&A and The Hardy Boyz.

Of course, it was the men who did the bulk of the work in putting on a red hot opening match which had the crowd fully invested from first to last, but the girls didn't exactly take it easy.

At one point, Lita worked the crowd into a frenzy by repeatedly climbing to the top rope and flying all over the place, smashing Albert with a dive to the outside and destroying Test with a flying hurricanrana from the top.

Trish certainly didn't have the same in-ring prowess at this stage of her career, and it certainly showed as she looked a little lost on more than one occasion, but even she did the best she could with the limited experience she had.

The only downside was that the WWF had trained the audience that women = sex objects, so when Lita and Trish were trying to have their big moment together, the fans opted to chant "WE WANT PUPPIES" instead.

Undeterred, the women battled on. Lita nailed Trish with an excellent top rope superplex and moonsault to pick up the victory for her team.
Your Winners: Lita and The Hardy Boyz

The celebration was short-lived, however, as T&A beat up the Hardyz in the post-match and Trish gave Lita a good whipping with her belt.

Backstage Shennanigans

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Edge and Mick Foley talk backstage
Out in the back, new WWF Commissioner Mick Foley was seen humble-bragging to some dude in a suit about his hardcore glory days, only to be interrupted by Edge. The future Rated-R Superstar insisted that his partner, Christian, was violently ill and thus the duo wouldn't be able to defend their tag team titles tonight.

Unconvinced, Foley believed Christian to have a case of "Fraidy-Cat-Itis" but promised to send a doctor to check anyway.

Elsewhere in the arena, American Bad Ass Undertaker arrived at the arena and drove around the backstage area on his motorbike, giving chase to a clearly petrified Kurt Angle.

Tazz vs. Al Snow

Last seen on PPV at Backlash 2000 Tazz had been away for a while but has recently returned and started attacking random superstars like Too Cool and fellow ECW alum Al Snow.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Tazz faced Al Snow
Seeking revenge, Snow made his first PPV appearance since Wrestlemania 2000 and went one-on-one with the human suplex machine.

Though it may not have been either man’s finest hour, this was a perfectly serviceable filler match that managed to succeed without any kind of hardcore plunder.

After a decent effort, Tazz locked Snow in the Tazzmission and this one was over.
Your Winner: Tazz

Out in the back, Christian emerged from a bathroom stall looking worse for wear but still adamant that he could go tonight.

Mick Foley and an EMT arrived, the latter declaring that Christian was in no fit state to compete.

Looking concerned, Foley apologized for doubting Edge earlier.

The plot thickened...

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, it’s True, it’s True

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Triple H and Stephanie McMahon talk in their dressing room
Across the way, Triple H & Stephanie McMahon were watching the show on a monitor and reacting to what we’d just seen.

As they did this, Harvey Wippleman brought Stephanie another bouquet of flowers to add to the many that were already in the room.

‘Alright, who are these from?’ Demanded Hunter.
‘What do you mean? They’re not from you?’

As Steph pleaded her innocence and ignorance as to the sender of the flowers, Hunter rummaged around to find a card attached to them.

It read ‘Stephanie, best of luck to you and your man tonight, it’s true, it’s true.’

Uh oh...

Hunter wasn’t the only one having relationship troubles, either. His ex, Chyna, had only been going out with Eddie Guerrero for a few short months but already she looked P-O’d with Latino Heat as they made their way out for our next matchup.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Terri helped Perry Saturn win his first European Championship World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chyna) vs. Perry Saturn (w/ Terri Runnels)

After getting involved in a bust-up with Chyna and Eddie, Perry Saturn’s new manager, Terri Runnels, hid from the duo and ran backstage before the match officially got underway.

That just left the two former Radicalz members to duke it is out in a really good match.

Combining aerial moves with hard-hitting offence and more than a good bit of outside interference from Mamacita, this one went back and forth several times before the Horny Little She-Devil Terri got involved and helped her man win his first title in the WWF.
Your Winner and NEW European Champion: Perry Saturn 

Out in the back, Mick Foley caught Edge & Christian faking Christian’s illness.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Terri helped Perry Saturn win his first European Championship
Foley ordered the two men to compete tonight and gave his humble, medical opinion that the duo were doing to get their asses kicked.

Across the arena, Michael Cole wanted The Undertaker’s medical opinion about his match with Kurt Angle.

The American Bad Ass thought Cole’s little segue was cute, but before he could give an answer, he saw Angle on a monitor, trying to get his motorbike started.

Naturally, the former WWF Champion gave chase, calling Angle a ‘little bitch’ in the process.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian vs. The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw)

Not letting Foley get to them, the tag team champions strutted to ringside with all the confidence in the world and set about infuriating the Texas crowd by insulting their local sports teams and making distasteful remarks about the JFK assassination.

Bradshaw is a boob monster with a small willy hahahah
Before they could do their five-second pose, however, The Acolytes stormed to the ring.

Visibly irate, native Texan Bradshaw took to the microphone and lambasted the champions for getting ‘cheap heat’ at the expense of his home state.

Bradshaw, who looked chubby and out of shape, then got the crowd on his side by praising the same sports teams E&C had just derided, as well as giving a shout out to World Class Championship Wrestling legends The Von Erichs and The Fabulous Freebirds.

The match got underway and was, predictably, short, swift and brutal.

The Acolytes dominated for the most part, with Farooq using a Dominator to destroy Christian. Before he could seal the deal, however, Christian trashed the former Nation of Domination leader’s head with a title belt, earning the DQ.

Honestly, I think the two teams spent more time on the microphone than they did actually fighting one another, but this was a fun segment nonetheless.
Your Winners via Disqualification: The Acolytes

Afterward, Farooq and Bradshaw took their consolation prize by murdering the remaining champions.

Kurt Angle is in Trouble

Out in the dressing room, Triple H confessed to being more worried about Kurt Angle sending his wife flowers than he was about his Last Man Standing Match with Chris Jericho.

Way to make that match seem unimportant.

Having had enough of her husband, Stephanie told him to go speak to the Olympic Gold Medalist himself.

He’d have a tough job catching him, however, as even The Undertaker hadn’t been able to do that and he’d been chasing him for the entire show.

As ‘Taker stalked him, Angle managed to run away and sneak up behind his opponent, hitting him in the back of the legs with a tire iron.

Meanwhile, over at WWF New York, The Big Boss Man checked some dude's ID.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Cage Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Val Venis (w/ Trish Stratus) vs. Rikishi

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Rikishi gets ready to jump off the top of the cage onto Val Venis
Remember at the start of this review when I said I owned this show on VHS? This match is the only one I remember from it.

I remember it partly because it was so good, but mostly because of how good it was came as a complete surprise.

I mean seriously if you’d never seen this show and I told you that  Val Venis and Rikishi tore it up in awesome steel cage match, would you believe me?

Probably not, but they did.

Holding absolutely nothing back, both men gave a career-defining performance in a violent and utterly compelling outing.

Toward the finish, Lita came down with a belt and whipped Val’s manager Trish Stratus all the way to the locker room. The outside referee chased after them and seconds later, the referee in the ring, Teddy Long, got knocked down (this was fought under pin/submission or escape rules).

Then it happened, the highlight of the match and the one moment that this bout will be best remembered for:

Rikishi climbed to the top of the cage, walked across it and then plummeted down to the mat, squashing Val but also hurting himself in the process.

It was so awesome that I lept out of my seat when it happened, and I already knew it was coming.

The match could have ended there, either with a win for Kishi or with the big guy being so hurt that he ended up being pinned by Val.

Instead, we got an unnecessary run-in from Tazz, who blasted the challenger with a television camera.

Venis made the cover, Long recovered enough to count the fall, and this one was all over.
Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Val Venis

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Triple H confronts Harvey Wippleman after Wippleman kept bringing Steph flowers from Chris Jericho
Afterward, both men had to be helped to the back after basically killing each other.

Out in the back, both Undertaker and HHH were on the hunt for Kurt Angle.

Hunter round Harvey Wippleman in the back carrying more flowers for Stephanie.

‘Where is he?’ asked The Game.
‘I’ll show you.’ replied Wippleman, and led Hunter to a dressing room. Once inside, HHH was attacked, however, it turned out not to be Angle but Chris Jericho.

Shane’s a P**sy

Unscheduled and unadvertised, Shane McMahon swaggered to the ring dressed for combat.

The crowd welcomed him with a rousing chant of ‘SHANE’S A P**SY,’ but he, of course, disagreed.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  From backstage, Krispin Wah confronts The Rock
In fact, Shane O’ Mac was so eager to prove that he wasn’t a feline that he challenged The Great One to a non-title match right there and then.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Rock made his way out to the ring but was certainly no fool.

Convinced it was a setup, The Rock seemed certain that his upcoming opponent, Chris Benoit, would emerge at any moment and attack him.

Instead, The Crippler appeared on the Titantron and revealed himself to be back in The Rock’s dressing room where he tore up the champion’s $500 shirts and poured gasoline on his other belongings.

Annoyed, Rocky charged backstage.

A look back at the Taker/Angle rivalry followed. That match was next.

Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  The Undertaker defeated Kurt Angle
The first of three main events pitting established headliners against men looking to cement their own status in the top tier, this one saw Undertaker coming right after his rival during The Olympic Gold Medalist’s entrance.

The action was relentless from there on in. ‘Taker decimated his opponent every which way, but Angle managed to mount some offense and work over his opponent’s enormous legs for a while.

Eventually, ‘Taker fought back and killed his foe with a chokeslam and Last Ride powerbomb.

It wasn’t the longest match on the card, and it certainly wasn’t the best bout either man would have, but it was perfectly fine for what it was.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Up next, we were shown a recap of the HHH/Y2J feud.

This got started properly when Jericho kissed Stephanie back at King of the Ring. He had then continued to embarrass The Game by causing him to get a stinkface from Rikishi and to lose a match to The Brooklyn Brawler.

In between these events, Triple H went around to anyone who would listen to saying ‘I want Jericho’s ass.’

This didn’t sound at all like I imagine Hunter wanted it to.

Last Man Standing Match
Triple H (w/ WWF Women’s Champion Stephanie McMahon) vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Triple H puts Chris Jericho in abdominal stretch
Say what you will about Triple H’s reputation for burying people throughout his career, this was an awesome match and it absolutely made sense for a multi-time world champion to go over a man who had yet to prove himself in a main event.

Besides, it’s not as if Jericho looked like a chump or anything.

The former Intercontinental Champion more than held his own here, absorbing an insane amount of punishment from The Game yet always coming back to dish out plenty of violence of his own.

Late in the match, Y2J smashed HHH over the head with a chair so hard that -in kayfabe- it busted Hunter wide open.

After an epic and bloody brawl, the two battled to the outside where they went crashing through the announce table.

With the crowd going nuts, the referee’s count got up to nine. Hunter stood up at the last possible second to win the match, but then promptly collapsed face-first back into a pool of his own blood.
Your Winner: Triple H

The aftermath looked like a car wreck. Neither man moved. Stephanie McMahon wept over her fallen husband like he’d just been killed. Jericho lay comatose on the floor.

He may not have won the match, but he more than done enough to prove himself worthy of a spot in WWF’s exclusive main event club.

Before our main event, we got one last look at the Rock/Benoit rivalry. This included the stipulation to tonight's main event added by Commissioner Foley that the belt could change hands via disqualification.

There was a good, logical storyline reason for this:

Foley was concerned that the war between the two men had become so intense that The Rock would care more about beating the crap out of Benoit than retaining his title. So, to keep his buddy in check, the new rule was added.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Rock vs. Chris Benoit (w/ Shane McMahon)

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Krispin Wah puts The Rock in a sharpshooter
Benoit came ready for battle wearing one of The Rock’s shirts that he’d torn up earlier in the show and then proceeded to attack The Great One after Shane McMahon provided a distraction.

It says a lot about the talent of both men that they were able to get the crowd so heavily invested in this match after the previous content had left them noticeably worn out.

In the early going, it was obvious that nothing Benoit and The Rock were registering with the crowd in the same way that every moment of the earlier HHH/Y2J encounter had.

Undeterred, champ and challenger persisted and eventually delivered what has to be one of The Rock's best ever PPV bouts.

Say what you want about pro wrestling being fake, every single move these two men delivered looked as though it hurt like hell, and that only made for a better match.

After an excellent see-saw battle, Shane McMahon ran in and blasted Earl Hebner from behind with a chair. When the referee recovered, however, he turned around and saw the WWF Champion holding the chair.

Predictably this led to a disqualification, and to a new champion...
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Chris Benoit

...or did it?

If you thought that was kind of a BS finish, you're not alone. So did the Dallas crowd who flooded the ring with garbage, and so too did Commissioner Foley, who stormed out to the ring.

Taking to the microphone, the Hardcore Legend declared that since there was no legitimate reason for a disqualification, the match had to continue.

Benoit returned to the ring and drilled the battered and bloody Rock with a succession of hard-hitting German suplexes. However, it was not to be The Crippler's night after all.

A few moments later, The People's Champion recovered, landed a Rock Bottom and retained his title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: The Rock

Basking in the adulation of the Dallas audience, The Rock celebrated his hard-fought victory as his former partner, Foley, looked on, beaming with pride.

If Fully Loaded 2000 proved anything, it's that specific wins and losses don't matter as much in the world of professional wrestling as the stories being told.

On this show, three would-be headliners went up against three established main eventers and lost. There's an argument that having Angle, Jericho, and Benoit go over Undertaker, HHH, and The Rock respectively would have catapulted each man straight to the top of the card, but look:

They got there anyway.

Angle would have the WWF title by the end of the year. Jericho would have it the following year, and though it would take Benoit a few more years to get there, he never looked anything less than a credible threat for the duration of his career.

What's more, with the benefit of hindsight, it's to say that neither man's career was damaged by that loss. Angle is a WWE and TNA Hall of Famer. Jericho is a sure-fire Hall of Famer when he finally hangs up his boots, and there are still people who praise Benoit's legacy despite what happened at the end.

So yeah, as wrestling fans in 2020, I'd urge all of us to worry less about what a single loss might mean for a performer's individual career.

For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Other WWF Fully Loaded reviews:
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Backlash 2000

WWF Backlash 2000 - Event poster
April 30, 2000,
MCI Center in Washington, D.C

For a decade between 1999 and 2009, WWF/WWE Backlash was the one night of the year when all the fall out from that year's Wrestlemania would finally be settled.

Which is just as well given just how much fall out there had been in the wake of Wrestlemania 2000.

Having betrayed The Rock at the aforementioned 'Mania, Vince McMahon had now joined forces with his daughter Stephanie and her husband, WWF Champion Triple H, despite waging an all-out war with Hunter back at WWF Armageddon 1999.

With D-Generation-X now playing the role of HHH's lackeys, the unified McMahon-Helmsley Faction ( boring name if ever there was one) were now fully at war with The Great One, who had earned a rematch for the title on tonight's show.

Just to make things more interesting, Stone Cold Steve Austin -last seen getting mowed down at Survivor Series 1999- had recently made his return and was now inexplicably in The Rock's corner for tonight's show.

Could The Brahma Bull trust The Texas Rattlesnake?

Would the McMahon-Helmsley Faction be able to keep the belt around Hunter's waist?

Let's find out as we head to the MCI Center in Washington D.C for WWF Backlash 2000.

All Hell Breaks Loose

WWF Backlash 2000 - Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler hosted the event
We began tonight's show with the obligatory opening video package recapping everything we've just discussed.

The video also featured an Austin in which he claimed that while he may physically be in The Rock's corner, the only side he was really on was his own.

Cue intense pyro, a crowd with a thousand times more energy and enthusiasm than you'd find at today's WWE shows, and a greeting from none other than Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

Debra is Your Special Guest Ring Announcer

Much like her real-life partner, Steve Austin, Debra hadn't been seen since the previous year's Survivor Series.

Tonight, she and her puppies made their long-awaited return to the World Wrestling Federation, much to the delight of the perpetually horny Jerry Lawler.

At this point in her career, she was in the same position that Sunny was in before her ill-advised partnership with the LOD. That is, creative wanted her on camera, but since she couldn't actually wrestle, they had to scramble around to find her stuff to do.

Much as they did with Sunny, they put Debra in a Special Guest Ring Announcer role for our upcoming contest.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian vs. D-Generation-X (Road Dogg & X-Pac w/ Torri)

WWF Backlash 2000 - X-Pac w/ Tori
I could be wrong, but I swear that Debra introduced the Road Dogg as "Go-Go Jesse James."

Sadly, a helicopter did not appear out of Roadie's helmet, nor did rollerskates pop up from his shoes.

Talk about disappointing.

Speaking of disappointing, I kind of felt bad for X-Pac and Road Dogg - their titantron featured lots of shots of Triple H and lots of shots of Run DMC (who sang the updated DX theme), but not one shot of them.

Fortunately, the one thing that didn't disappoint was this match.

After Roadie got the crowd worked up, he and X-Pac locked up with a tag team championship team who were INSANELY over.

Despite slowly transitioning into a heel role, Edge and Christian got a huge ovation as they battled their more experienced rivals in a very enjoyable opener.

Usually, when you got Road Dogg in a tag team match, he played face-in-peril for half a century and sucked the life out of everything, but as a heel, he was in a much better position to contribute towards a very good bout.

After a lot of back-and-forth action and a red hot finishing sequence, Christian took one step closer to being a true heel by blasting X-Pac with the ring bell behind the referee's back.

A three-count later and this one was over.
Your Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian

Post-match, a dazed-looking X-Pac sported a nasty gusher on his forehead.

Meanwhile, out in the back, The Rock arrived at the venue.

World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Scotty 2 Hotty

WWF Backlash 2000 - Scotty 2 Hotty challenged Dean Malenko for the Light Heavyweight Championship
If I was Scotty 2 Hotty, I would definitely rank this Light Heavyweight Championship match up there as a career highlight.

Given how popular the whole Too Cool schtick was with the dancing and the ridiculous but stupidly over Worm, it's easy to forget that Scott Taylor was a good wrestler in his own right.

Here, he proved that in a long and dramatic war with Dean Malenko that had the crowds on the edge of their seat from start to finish.

The two had recently traded the title back and forth, with Scotty beating The Ice Man for it on Raw before Malenko stole it back on the following week's Smackdown thanks to a ropes-assisted pin.

Here, Dean was once again a step ahead of his opponent, spending a large portion of the match working over Taylor's knee and generally getting the better of him at every turn.

Despite this, the Too Cool member more than held his own and came close to winning with several gripping near falls.

In the end, however, Malenko reversed a superplex into a beautiful top rope DDT to put an end to what was a surprisingly awesome match.
Your Winner and Still WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko

Out in the back, Vince McMahon was hanging out with Hunter, Stephanie, and The Stooges.

Shane McMahon, the referee for tonight's main event, stopped by to show off his new referee's shirt while Vince double-checked that Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe were really on board with his evil plan.

All the while, Stephanie flashed her legs, which was just about the only thing this writer could focus on.

Big Boss Man & Bull Buchanan vs. The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw)

WWF Backlash 2000 - The Acolytes faced Bull Buchanan and Big Boss Man
After two thrilling matches that really got the crowd worked up, Backlash 2000 needed something that could slow the pace down and allow the D.C faithful to catch their breath.

This was the perfect match for it.

On the face of it, Big Boss Man & Bull Buchanan vs. Farooq & Bradshaw was a perfectly serviceable tag team match.

All four men played their roles well and Buchanan in particular with some impressive athleticism for a man of his size.

Yet as solid as this might have been, it never felt like anything more than filler, or a way to deliberately cool down the crowd.

After a decent all-round effort, Buchanan jumped off the top rope and hit Bradshaw with the match-winning scissor kick.
Your Winners: Bull Buchanan & Big Boss Man

Out in the back, The Hardyz agreed that even though they were brothers, they would have no problem fighting each other in the upcoming hardcore title match should the need arise.

Across the way, Hardcore Holly told Crash Holly that even though they were cousins, he would have no problem beating his ass all over the arena.

The younger Holly tried to convince Cousin Bob to work together, but got a wicked slap across the face for making such a suggestion.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship Six-Man Match
WWF Hardcore Champion Crash Holly vs. Tazz vs. Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Bob Holly vs. Perry Saturn

WWF Backlash 2000 - Crash Holly defended the WWF Hardcore title
This was a lot of fun with a brilliant story.

Poor Crash Holly got his ass handed to him from start to finish. All five of his opponents took turns to beat him, body slam him, suplex and generally kick his head in, yet whenever anybody tried to pin the defending champion, another competitor broke it up.

Though the match started to drag a little towards the end, it was a good effort with a finish that made this writer laugh out loud.

After spending most of the match being dead, Crash got put in the Tazzmission, but Perry Saturn came in and blasted Tazz with the largest stop sign in the world.

Before the former Eliminator could capitalize, however, he was dragged to the outside.

Tazz and Crash both lay dead in the middle of the ring, then Crash got in what was literally his only offensive move of the entire match - draping an arm over a fallen Tazz to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Hardcore Champion: Crash Holly

Out in the back, Shane McMahon promised interviewer Johnathan Coachman that he would be an impartial referee in the upcoming Rock/Triple H match.

R.I.P Paul Wight's Career

In the 14 months since he had made his WWF debut at St. Valentine's Day Massacre, In Your House, The Big Show Paul Wight had never truly been presented as the kind of credible main event threat that a man of his stature and status should have been.

Putting the final nail in the coffin of his credibility, Show had gone from headlining Wrestlemania 2000 into a terrible angle where he dressed up as midcarders like Val Venis and Godfather and pretended to be them.

At one point, Show was so wrapped up in pretending to be a Scotsman that he cost himself and Kurt Angle a random shot at the WWF tag team titles.

Naturally, this angered the Olympic Gold Medalist, who vowed to beat some sense into the former Giant when the two met on tonight's show.

Kurt Angle vs. The Showster (Big Show)

WWF Backlash 2000 - Big Show dressed up as Hulk Hogan to become The Showster
As was his tradition, Kurt Angle came out talking smack about how he was the greatest thing since sliced bread and how he was going to wipe the floor with his opponent.

Offering a response, The Big Show came down doing his best Hulk Hogan impression, complete with wig and Real American blaring through the PA.

Credit where it's due,  Show's impression was spot on as he took to the microphone to go through the whole "Whatcha gonna do, brother?" routine.

Once the bell rang, Show stayed in character, no-selling Angle's offense, Hulking up and planting him with the Leg Drop of Doom for a near fall.

The crowds ate it up and a loud Hogan! Hogan! chant broke out through the arena.

"There's more people chanting for Hogan than there has been in years," said Jim Ross, a man who could never resist getting in a cheap pop at the competition.

Angle mounted a comeback, but eventually, Big Show snapped out of his silliness, dismantled the Olympic athlete in the corner then put him away with a chokeslam, ending the match in less than three minutes.

OK, so this was tremendous fun and Big Show was hilarious, but I'd still rather see him be utilized as the monster that he was.
Your Winner: The Big Show

Prior to the next contest, we got a look back at the rivalry between The Dudley Boyz and T & A.

Honestly, it was the kind of rivalry that could have only existed in the Attitude Era.

WWF Backlash 2000 - Michael Cole interviews Trish Stratus
As the story went, Bubba Ray Dudley had some kind of fetish for putting women through tables. Over the previous weeks, he had slammed Terri Runnels, Mae Young, and Lita through the wood, but every time he tried to do the same to Trish Stratus, she would either flirt with him or kiss him, sending Bubba into some kind of trance.

Trish had flaunted this by writing around on a table in her undies talking about how much tables made her horny.

I bet she was great fun at Ikea.

She was fun here too, as she gave a backstage interview to Michael Cole while Test and Albert stood by.

Trish teased Cole while talking about how she had the ability to make men lose their minds.

As a perfect example of her hypnotic powers, Bubba Ray was seen staring at the Trish/Cole interview on a TV screen, completely in a trance.

Of course, he was snapped out of it by Devon Dudley, who gave his half-brother a good talking to before tonight's match.

WWF Backlash 2000 - future NWA owner Billy Corgan was in the crowd Despite All His Rage, He Is Still Just a Fan of T & A

Before the competitors made their way out, we were shown Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins sitting at ringside.

This all makes a lot of sense now.

Corgan was such a big fan of Test and Albert that, fifteen years later, he would try to buy the wrestling company named after them.

The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D'Von Dudley) vs. T & A (Test & Albert w/ Trish Stratus)

Like the earlier Acolytes/Boss Man & Buchanan bout, this was a straight-up big man brawl, but it worked brilliantly.

WWF Backlash 2000 - Bubba Ray Dudley glares at Trish Stratus
Though it was far from the best tag team match of all time, both teams played to their strengths to keep this at an acceptable level from start to finish.

After a decent ten minute outing, Trish shook her sexy self against the ring ropes to distract Bubba Ray, allowing her men to attack and pick up the three count.
Your Winners: T &A

Post-match, The Dudleyz battered Test and Albert. Trish tried to kiss her way out of getting put through the wood, but this time it didn't work, allowing Bubba to finally get what he wanted, drilling Trish through a table.

I have to say that all of the other times he did this with women, it looked like he fully protected them, but not this time. Man, he slammed Trish hard through that table.

That said, even though they had to stretcher her out of there, I'm sure Trish didn't actually mind. After all, she loved her some table.

Latino Heat is Back from Prom

With Trish firmly on the stretcher, a bunch of referees and Sgt. Slaughter escorted her backstage into a waiting ambulance. This was a perfect excuse to take a camera backstage in time to catch Eddie Guerrero and Chyna arriving back from Eddie's prom.

Apparently, Latino Heat had just completed his GED and had been to prom to celebrate with The Ninth Wonder of the World.

Jack Doan ran up to tell Eddie that his match was next, and if he didn't get to the ring immediately, he'd have to forfeit his European title.

Not wanting that to happen, Eddie shrugged his shoulders and drove his car to the ring, the first instance of a gimmick that would become his trademark for the rest of his career.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chyna) vs. Essa Rios (w/ Lita)

WWF Backlash 2000 - Eddie Guerrero & Chyna
As Eddie was stripping out of his tuxedo (he wrestled in suit pants and a bow tie, which looked awesome), a video played which informed us how this match came about.

It started when Chyna admitted that, following months of trying to woo her, Eddie's Latino heat had proven too much for her to handle.

Then, the pair had somehow gotten tangled up with former Light Heavyweight Champion Essa Rios and his manager, Lita, leading to a tag team match pitting Eddie and Essa against The Dudleyz.

Lita ended up costing the team the match, causing Chyna to toss her to The Dudleyz for the table spot mentioned earlier and, ultimately, causing tonight's match.

I won't lie, I was excited about this one. Although he mainly competed on Sunday Night Heat, I had a soft spot for Essa Rios back in 1999 - 2000, and I was wondering if he'd ever show up on one of these PPV events.

Thankfully, this one didn't disappoint.

Clocking in at just shy of nine minutes, this was a fast-paced, high-flying affair with plenty of captivating spots that did more than enough to keep this fan entertained.

An exceptional effort on both men's part, this very enjoyable bout ended with Eddie lifting Essa up for a Gory Special but then spinning him around and planting him with a neckbreaker instead.
Your Winner and Still WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero

WWF Backlash 2000 - Eddie Guerrero & Chyna
Afterward, Essa dropkicked Eddie into Chyna, allowing Lita to strip Chyna out of her prom dress and down to her underwear.

Jerry Lawler nearly had a braineurysm, yelling "BRA AND PANTIES! BRA AND PANTIES!" so excitedly that you'd be forgiven for thinking it was the first time the then-50 year-old had ever seen such things.

Chyna was mortified at first.

Then she lightened up and posed for the crowd, much to the delight of Latino Heat.

Stone Cold May Not Show Up

Out in the back, Jonathan Coachman interviewed Triple H, who said nothing interesting but did remind us that he was The Game.

Turning his attention to Vince McMahon, Coach asked the Chairman what his 'big surprise' was going to be for tonight.

Vince couldn't say, but did allude to the fact that Stone Cold Steve Austin hadn't arrived yet, and insinuated that he may have had something to do with Austin suffering from 'transportation issues' that would prevent him from appearing.

Chris Benoit Has Emotions

Elsewhere in the arena, Michael Cole interviewed WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Benoit about his upcoming match with Chris Jericho.

"Chris Jericho likes to compare me to a robot," said Benoit. "But the difference between me and a robot is that I have emotions, and tonight I'm going to express my emotions all over Chris Jericho."

Right you are then.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

WWF Backlash 2000 - Chris Jericho puts the Walls of Jericho on Krispin Wah
Before the two locked up, Jericho cut a promo on "Chris Ben-oyt," likening him to a politician and promising to beat him up. Though it may not have been Jericho's finest moment on the mic, he was, naturally, very entertaining.

Then the bell sounded, and the two had their first PPV singles since WCW Fall Brawl 1996.

Four years after that encounter, the two held nothing back to deliver an incredible match which, up to this point in the show, stood out as Match of the Night.

That's really saying something when you consider just how high the bar had been set by some of the earlier matches on this show, but trust me, this was excellent.

Working pretty stiff, the two traded strikes, submissions, and the occasional aerial move. They chopped one another, they chain wrestled one another, and they even gave us a wicked brawl on the outside.

Almost everything about this match was perfect, apart from the finish.

Referee Tim White got knocked down, so The Crippler picked up his IC belt and smashed Jericho in the face with it. He dragged White over and got the nearest of near falls, then scaled the ropes for his patented head butt.

However, as Benoit came into landing, Jericho smashed him in the face with the belt, prompting White to call for the bell.
Your Winner via Disqualification and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit

Man, that was awesome. Even the DQ finish wasn't so bad when you consider it gave the two Canadians a perfectly valid excuse to do battle again further down the line.

The Wrath of Jericho

One person who wasn't happy with the finish was Y2J himself. After the bell, Jericho snapped and slapped Tim White in the Walls of Jericho, prompting a gaggle of officials to rush to his rescue.

Jericho looked like a maniacal man possessed here. White looked like he'd never even seen the Walls of Jericho, selling the move awkwardly and unconvincingly. Still, I suppose we should cut him some slack since he wasn't actually a trained performer.

Austin 3:16 Said I Just Wrecked Your Bus

WWF Backlash 2000 - Michael Cole interviews The Rock
Before the main event, we got another look back at the rivalry between The Rock and WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin.

The video package recalled everything we discussed at the start of this review, though there were two details I forgot to mention:

1: The reason why Stone Cold was in The Rock's corner is that Linda McMahon -the only babyface member of the McMahon clan- had decreed it so.
2: After being teased for weeks, Austin finally made his return on the pre-Backlash Smackdown and used a crane to drop something heavy on DX's tour bus, prompting Michael Cole to yell "Austin 3:16 says I just wrecked your bus!"

Speaking of Cole, he was standing by with The Rock for a pre-match promo.

The Great One guaran-damn-teed to make history with Triple H tonight and walk out of Washington D.C as our new WWF Champion if our noses were capable of detecting what The Rock had in the oven.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Triple H (w/ WWF Women's Champion Stephanie McMahon & Vince McMahon) vs. The Rock (w/ Stone Cold Steve Austin)

Special guest referee: Shane McMahon

WWF Backlash 2000 - The Rock beat HHH for the WWF Championship
The WWF Champion was the first to arrive on the scene, his 'My Time' theme music blaring through the PA with its anti-McMahon lyrics while Vince himself stood next to The Game.

Brandishing a copy of the night's event program, Vince brought our attention to the old 'Card Subject to Change' caveat, earning a rousing chorus of boos for announcing that Stone Cold Steve Austin wouldn't be there after all.

The boos may have been loud, but it's not as though anybody took the news seriously.

Every time The Rock was in trouble -and he was in trouble *a lot* in this match- the fans chanted not for him but for Austin.

Was it any good?

Yes, absolutely.

Triple H and The Rock always worked well together, and while the first half of this match wasn't quite on par with their excellent Summerslam 1998 encounter, it was still a very good effort, with Hunter gaining the advantage thanks to biased officiating and McMahon interference.

Then the whole thing spilled to the outside, and things took a dramatic turn from "very good" to "all-out awesome."

Referee Shane McMahon tried to prevent The Rock from blasting Hunter with a Rock Bottom on the ever ill-fated Spanish announce table, so Rocky just grabbed Shane and killed both men with a  wicked double rock bottom.

With Shane totally out of it, Vince gave up any pretense of this being a fair fight by joining Hunter in the ring and blasting Rock with the title.

WWF Backlash 2000 - The Rock and Stone Cold celebrate with a beer
At one point, Patterson and Briscoe came out in referees shirts to make the cover following a Triple H pedigree. When The Great One kicked out, The Stooges put the boot to him and held him in place ready for a Triple H chair shot.

Inevitably, the glass shattered and Stone Cold Steve Austin stormed to ringside, taking out both Stooges, Shane, Vince, and Triple H with vicious chair shots before storming off as Linda McMahon walked stoically to the ring with Earl Hebner in tow.

HHH had recently fired Hebner, but it seemed as though Linda had reinstated him.

The place went crazy as Rock hit the People's Elbow, then Hebner took about five years to get in the ring and put himself in the right position to count the match-winning pinfall.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: The Rock

Finishing what had been an almost perfect main event, Steve Austin came back to the ring in his Stone Cold pickup truck, towing the damaged remains of the DX bus with him.

He shared a beer with the new champion, and that was all she wrote for what had been one of the best WWF PPVs in years, if not of all time.

I don't make such a statement lightly, either.

I've seen a lot of disappointing, underwhelming, and just plain terrible wrestling shows lately, so WWF Backlash 2000 was truly a breath of fresh air.

Though some matches were better than others, practically everything on this show delivered in one way or another.

The opening tag team match was explosive, the hardcore match was crazy good fun, Benoit and Jericho put on a classic and Malenko/Taylor and Guerrero/Rios all proved mighty enjoyable. The main event was, naturally, on another level, not necessarily in terms of technical wrestling action, but certainly in terms of drama, suspense and compelling action.

Overall, this was an awesome show that I highly recommend you check out.

For other 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
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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.

For more Royal Rumble reviews see:

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.