Friday, January 26, 2018

Royal Ramble: 2000

We end the string of Royal Rambles by taking a trip back to 2000, where we go from Rocky winning the WWE championship to build to a needless Mania rematch to Rocky winning the Royal Rumble in controversial fashion and never getting that one-on-one title match at Wrestlemania 2000... sorry if I spoiled the movie for you.

In any event, this was a return to form after the rather abysmal 1999 iteration that saw Vince McMahon win the Rumble and a whole lot of bullshit follow. Not only is this a better show, it is perhaps one of the best Royal Rumbles in a long time - either in terms of the Rumble itself  as well as the overall show.

Kurt Angle comes out to talk to the New York crowd. At this point, Kurt Angle was the annoying Olympian who was undefeated... and then you have former ECW World Heavyweight Champion Tazzzzzzzzzzz make his debut and give Angle his first loss in a quick match. WWE Creative take note: THIS is how you book a hometown debut for a new signee with a established background. Have him come in, make quick work of the arrogant heel, and the crowd erupts. New signee starts to look like a big deal.

Of course, Tazzzzzz's WWE run would never reach the hotness of this initial debut, but man, what a start it was and it did provide (misplaced) hope that the guy would have a strong showing in WWE. If only, folks.... if only.

The Hardy Boyz defeated The Dudley Boyz in an Elimination Tables match. This was back long before Matt was Woken, Broken, Fatt, or Lardy. This was long before Bubba was a Bully... wait, that doesn't quite work. Hold on... wait, never mind.

Anyway, this was a fun match with four guys showing reckless abandon by mauling their bodies for our entertainment. This was what younger wrestlers had to do to get noticed because they sure as hell weren't going to be main eventing shows that had guys much bigger than them. And noticed they were and I'm happy to see that all four guys would go on to have long, storied careers, bumps and all.

Hey, two great matches so far. This is actually pretty good and better than I remember. I wonder what happens ne---

Oh fuck me.

Mae Young won the first (and thankfully ONLY) ever Miss Royal Rumble Swimsuit Competition by showing off her fake boobs (and they were confirmed to be so, so it's not just snark talking here). Considering the panel of judges comprising old timers like Classy Freddie Blassie, Tony Garea, Johnny Valiant, and Sgt. Slaughter, are you even remotely surprised that the old timers would go for the old hag? Frankly, I'm surprised that this prestigious victory was never mentioned in any of the Mae Young tributes WWE likes to spew out.

Then again, the world should be thankful that when Kairi Sane won that Mae Young Classic a few months ago, she got a trophy that looked like a trophy and not a pair of saggy boobs. And no, I don't apologize in the slightest for that mental image. I hate you all that much. But more than anything, this is punishment for the paying audience who had witnessed Miss Kittie or whatever she's called at this point flashing her boobs at a prior WWF PPV event. For some reason, said boobs are not shown on the Network version of the broadcast. Gee, I wonder why.

Intercontinental Co-Champion Chris Jericho defeated Intercontinental Co-Champion Chyna and Intercontinental Not-Champion Hardcore Holly to become the sole Intercontinental Champion who eventually gets to drop the title to Kurt Angle at some later point prior to Wrestlemania 2000. The whole Co-Champion thing was so stupid and convoluted that it's not worth bringing up here, but suffice it to say, this was short and sweet and gave Jericho a nice little moment at MSG. No complaints.

We then cut to an interview with Rock where he and "twenty nine other guys" according to Michael Cole will be in the Rumble. The Rock informs us that he's worried about two guys; Crash Holly and Headbanger Mosh. And yes, those guys are truly fearful individuals. I wouldn't want to mess with those guys, nosiree.

Tag-Team Champions The New Age Outlaws defeated the future APA to retain the titles. Short, garbage match with a run-in or two, but otherwise fairly harmless. This was probably the weakest match on the card and that's actually not a bad thing considering the good stuff we've had so far and the great stuff yet to come. I say "weakest match" and not "worst part of the show" because we just had Mae Young puppies early on.

WWF Champion Triple H defeated Cactus Jack in a no holds barred street fight to retain the title. If there was any match you needed to watch where a mid-level heel was molded into a bad-ass main event villain, then this is it. This was Triple H at his very best and it helped that he got a guy in Cactus Jack who gave everything and then some.

The Rock wins the Royal Rumble in a finish that I'm sure most people would've seen coming back in the day, but man, the journey to get there was just awesome sauce from top to bottom. Again, anyone who wants to watch a Royal Rumble with an obvious ending done right needs to watch this. There are a LOT of little moments that are not worth mentioning because I'd want you to actually go watch this thing, but it's a fun little thing that keeps going and keeps interesting.

Also, Rikishi knocking out his Too Cool homies after a quick dance was funny... and I like that they're all cool with it because it's the Royal Rumble.

The 2000 Royal Rumble not only holds up and stands the test of time; it does so in spectacular fashion, going so far as to outshine recent entries of the past ten years. You not only have an awesome street fight for the WWF title between two top-tier wrestlers, but you also had a solid undercard of good to great matches (and one black mark in Mae Young puppies... okay, I'll stop now) as well as a well-paced, entertaining Rumble with a satisfying ending (even if it is a bit sullied). By no means a perfect show, but a fairly satisfying and outright strong showing from the WWF during its hottest period.

Well worth a watch if you haven't already done so.

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