Royal Rumble 2000

Kurt Angle vs. Tazz
Normally mystery opponents are a total downer (usually Savio Vega) and some people suspected Angle would just get someone to squash here. However the WWF signed Taz away from ECW, added a Z, and made themselves a new star. Or they would have if they hadn’t then gone and signed Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn, thus crowding their midcard with taller superstars than Tazz, and his career floundered. But here we get to see the Tazz that was imagined. A machine. Angle stops off to run down the crowd, New York sports teams and points out he’s undefeated. The crowd chants “we want Taz”. It actually got to the point where the WWF went on WWF.com and stated the mystery opponent would not be Taz. But of course it is.

Tazz’s arrival still gives me chills. Even though the WWF let ECW run around in their rings in 1997, they flat out signed Tazz, the human suplex machine, to a long term contract. This provokes a lengthy and loud “ECW” chant. The signing of Tazz showed a marked change in recruitment policy for the WWF. For years their hires were specifically big guys who looked the part. Tazz was a fat orange midget… but he was great to watch. Angle decides to show Tazz a few suplexes including one on the floor. Head and arm super Tazzplex! Angle barely survives that thanks to a foot on the ropes. This becomes an absolute suplex-fest with Tazz escaping the Olympic Slam with a release German before hitting a few suplexes that confuse JR with their complexity, before the Tazzmission finishes. The match shows the initial intentions of the WWF regarding Tazz and he must have been totally bummed out when this initial mega-push faltered. For one night at least, Tazz had arrived in the WWF and in sensational fashion. A new year meant new stars and a crowded roster left Tazz directionless before a hopeless feud with Jerry Lawler killed what little heat he had. I like to watch this every now and again to see what might have been. A Tazz that beat Kurt Angle in 3 minutes could have been a contender.
Final Rating: **½

 

Backstage: Terri gets left backstage by the Hardys because of the violent nature of the forthcoming table match. “Tonight we’re gonna put the Dudleys through tables or we’re gonna die trying” says Matt.

 

Video Control gives us an exclusive comment from newcomer Tazz who runs his usual ECW spiel claiming he’ll “run right through this company”. Not quite, but at the time it must have felt like it.

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