Royal Rumble Match
#1 is D’Lo Brown. #2 is Grandmaster Sexay. This is a real downer coming off the WWF Title match. No offence to these guys but they’re midcard at best and the fans don’t want to sit through 90-seconds of them. As I said earlier, I think the WWF Title should have gone on last. #3 is Headbanger Mosh, complete with enormous furry tits, like an acid flashback from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Kaientai run in to attack Mosh, possibly sent by The Rock, intimidated by Mosh’s potential threat. D’Lo bumps on Mosh’s ankle, thus injuring him. Look on the bright side Mosh; you haven’t got a bit of wood stuck in your calf. #4 is Christian and someone finally gets a pop. Christian was hugely underrated as a wrestler in his early days and in my opinion he was way ahead of Edge, pretty much until he left the WWE and stagnated somewhat in TNA. #5 is Rikishi and despite his total lack of reaction at Armageddon, he gets a huge pop here. He starts cleaning house. Mosh goes. Christian goes too, clearly seen as disposable at this point in his career. D’Lo finds himself no sold and gets dumped with the Rikishi Driver. That leaves Rikishi and his buddy Grandmasta Sexay. #6 is Scotty 2 Hotty. In order to break up the Rumbleness of the Rumble we break it down and everybody dances. And thus Fatu finally gets over. Rikishi makes the curious decision to eliminate both of Too Cool, instead of waiting in the ring and having a 3-on-1 advantage over everyone else! What a fat idiot. The fans cheer him anyway. I love Scotty’s hair by the way. It’s like twelve Something About Mary’s. #7 is Steve Blackman. The crowd hate him because he’s not fun and he doesn’t dance. Blackman eats the Rikishi Driver and gets thrown out in short order. Rikishi already has six eliminations. #8 is Viscera, following on from their brief team and feud. Big Vis halts Rikishi’s momentum, but Rikishi barges him out anyway and gets his 7th elimination. #9 is the Big Bossman. He brings some seriously old school stalling by not entering until #10, which is Test.
#11 is the British Bulldog, who is still wearing jeans instead of tights. #12 is Gangrel as the match slows down and the ring fills up. Kaientai run in again and this time Taka takes a massive unprotected bump over the top, landing badly on his shoulder. #13 is Edge and he gets the biggest pop so far. One of the major issues with the Rumble is a lack of star power and therefore a lack of believability when it comes to potential winners, so you have to make it entertaining instead. The WWF gets that, sometimes, and #14 is Bob Backlund. I get the feeling this was a late decision as he’s wearing red shorts instead of gear. Everyone gangs up to throw Rikishi out thus ending the entertaining opening segment of the match. #15 is Chris Jericho, who gets a massive pop, even bigger than when he won the IC Title earlier. He throws Backlund out to get going. #16 is Crash Holly. “Stranger things have happened” says JR and Lawler points out that Rock singled Crash out as a threat. Oh, Uncle Jerry, you are a muppet. #17 is Chyna who goes right after Jericho with weak forearms before suplexing him out from the apron, which is not a popular decision. Bossman knocks Chyna out to add to the misery of the situation. The Rumble needs big names and with those two gone there’s not much happening. #18 is Faarooq. The Mean Street Posse run in to attack him and Bossman throws him out. I’m not sure why the Posse decided to go after the Acolytes. #19 is Road Dogg. I love that the fans sing his entrance for him. The crowd, drifting, chant “we want puppies”. It’s a sign of the times. An entrant every 90 seconds isn’t keeping the crowd’s attention and the middle section of this Rumble isn’t up to much. #20 is Al Snow.
Road Dogg eliminates Bulldog in the battle of the dogs. Still seven guys in the ring and it remains crowded and slow. #21 is Val Venis. Funaki runs in again, this time solo because of Taka getting his shoulder bust up last time out. Road Dogg develops a new tactic of hugging the bottom rope, thus making sure he can’t be picked up and can’t be thrown out. #22 is Prince Albert whose arrival coincides with Edge’s elimination. No star power at all there now and no potential winners; just a bunch of scrubs. The crowd’s silence reflects that as the hugging continues. #23 is Hardcore Holly. You’d think he’d team up with Crash but they end up in opposite corners. Just as the match is losing the crowd out comes #24… The Rock. The match desperately needed him. He throws Bossman out immediately with his patented spit punch. “He’s just a jabroni” comments King of the departed Cobb Country prison guard. #25 is Billy Gunn. He goes after Rock, following up their 1999 feud. Everyone moves to one side to allow Rock to DDT Crash and eliminate one of his “biggest concerns”. Road Dogg is still hugging the bottom rope. Every now and again someone kicks him. #26 is The Big Show. “Business is going to pick up” states JR. Show would be better off if he didn’t keep flip-flopping between face and heel. Less than a month ago he was a face, now he’s heel again. Show lobs Test and Gangrel out for starters before going after the Rock. Hardcore saves Rock and Show presses him… into the ring. Why not over the top? That’s just nonsensical. #27 is Bradshaw. This brings out the Mean Street Posse again. They get less joy against Bradshaw, who beats the crap out of all of them before the Outlaws put him out. Wonderful clothesline on Rodney in the midst of all that. #28 is Kane. Val goes after him and gets thrown out. Kane and Rock try to have a brawl but Albert interjects and beats both men down in the corner. Albertamania is running wild! He is the man! #29 is the Godfather, complete with Ho Train. Kane puts Albert out so the Prince can get a closer look at the Hos. Not that he needs to pay. He is all that is man. Funaki runs in again, to get a look at the Hos, and gets thrown out as Lawler gets his chuckles watching Taka’s elimination for the fourth time on split-screen replay. #30 is X-Pac. Nine guys in there and one of them is going to WrestleMania, but only Rock, Show and maybe Kane are realistic contenders. Holly goes out first to no reaction. Godfather follows, courtesy of Show. Rock pops off a Samoan drop on Al Snow and throws him out. Billy throws Road Dogg out, which makes no sense and Kane eliminates him right afterwards with no one watching his back.
Final Four: The Rock, The Big Show, Kane and X-Pac. Rock does a great dodge on Pac’s spinning heel kick and tosses him out as Kane brawls with the Outlaws on the floor. Considering the DX faction had three of the last six guys, they fared remarkably poorly. Seeing as the refs were watching Kane, Pac’s elimination is missed and he sneaks back in. Need more refs. Pac took a massive back bump too. He gets that spin kick on Rock at the second attempt. Kane and Show go at it in one of their patented slugfests. Kane manages a slam on Show but Pac spin kicks him out. Broncobuster for Show! That’s a bad idea. Show presses X-Pac clean out of the ring for it. The fans erupt, realising Rock is on for the win if he can dump Big Show. Spinebuster! People’s Elbow! Show survives though and hits the chokeslam, deflating the crowd. Show goes to javelin Rock over the top but somehow falls out himself, and Rock uses the ropes to stay in. As far as Rumbles go, it’s middling. The stuff with Rikishi started the match off right and everything after the Rock came in was good. The middle of the match was quite dull, but the right guy went over. Rock’s celebration is cut off by the returning Big Show, thus setting up the February PPV.
Final Rating: ***¼
Addendum: It would be revealed that Rock botched the finish and his feet touched before Show went out. Rock response to the campaigning Show? Nobody cares! Video Control gives us Rock’s reaction to winning the Rumble before we see what’s left of Hunter. “Go in the crowd and tell my parents that I’m okay”. Seeing the after effects and the doctors working on Hunter’s leg and stitching it up gives us an extra slap in the face of realism as we finish the tape.