10 Things We Learned From WWE Royal Rumble 2000

Cactus Jack vs. Triple H, and The Rock's feet definitely DIDN'T hit the floor...

After a string of lacklustre Rumbles, average Rumbles, moderately-dumb Rumbles, and disappointing Rumbles, we reach what is the best Royal Rumble event in close to a decade. The 2000 Royal Rumble could arguably be the best Royal Rumble of all time to this point, topping the excellent 1992 event and the energetic 1990 card. With a hot crowd inside Madison Square Garden, and a gallery of excellent matches and moments, it's easy to see why the show earns its raves.

The Attitude Era was still in full swing at the 2000 Rumble, as the audience was presented with a blend of extreme violence, slapstick, gross-out comedy, and some pretty cool debuts and surprises. The first ever table match in WWE history took place, to go along with perhaps the most violent WWE Championship match to that point by anyone's recall. Follow all of that with The Rock's big victory in the titular match, and you're capping off a tremendous show in style.

The year 2000 boasts a collection of some of WWE's greatest pay-per-views ever - SummerSlam, Backlash, Judgment Day, and others all rate very highly. The Royal Rumble absolutely belongs in that group, serving forever as a reminder of what WWE was like at dual zeniths, both in creativity and in popularity.

10. Last To The Garden Party


Lending a special flair to the event was the fact that the pay-per-view took place inside the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden in New York City. The head-on look at the specially-designed entrance way (with suspended car and alley-way door) gives the Rumble a unique feel, and the uninhibited crowd responded loudly to so much, from Tazz's debut, to Bob Backlund's shocking guest spot.

This was the first of two occasions (the second being 2008) in which the Rumble emanated from the Garden, making it the last PPV from the Big Four to take place there. The first WrestleMania came from there in 1985, SummerSlam followed in 1988 (also the first of the anthology), and Survivor Series notched its place there in 1996. Better late than never, right?

9. The Rumble Will Be Televised


In 2014, WWE fans found it hard to believe that they could watch monthly PPVs, WrestleMania included, as part of the same low monthly fee that included every prior PPV and episode of Raw in with the bundle. It was incomprehensible that we could get so much relevant content for such a low price. But that wasn't the only time WWE PPVs were offered for practically nothing.

Like, how about for free? At the turn of the millennium, Channel 4 in the UK began a deal with WWE that would see them air PPVs on terrestrial television, as though it were a regular TV special. Royal Rumble 2000 was the first show to air as part of this deal. One of the quirks of the arrangement was that commercial breaks would be inserted into the events, sometimes at inconvenient points.

8. 13 Is Bad Luck


Kurt Angle's undefeated run came to a resounding end in the opening match of the Rumble, when Tazz, fresh from a dominant run in ECW, made his debut, Suplexing Angle into oblivion and choking him out in barely three elapsed minutes. Tazz's recognition in the New York area (heavy on ECW love) meant that he received an ungodly reaction when his music hit, and the Garden went nuts for the Tazzmission finish.

Tazz would admit years later that that initial pop troubled him on the way to the ring. He knew that the reaction wasn't "WWE-made", and would only hurt his chances at a solid push, if "the machine" didn't see him as their own creation. He added that Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler's commentary, in which they believed the Tazzmission was an illegal choke, caught him off guard, as he claimed that angle had not been discussed with him prior to the match. These elements led Tazz to believe that he was doomed from the start.

7. Earning Your Sag Card


The Miss Royal Rumble 2000 swimsuit contest had potential to be a moderately-entertaining cheesecake segment that was in line with WWE's presentation of the time, though it ended with a thud. More specifically, it ended with an alleged nyuk-nyuk, with legitimate yuck. Mae Young entered herself into the contest, excessively "disrobed" to the point where, uh, too much was shown. The CENSOR mark didn't do its job thoroughly.

As many people assumed, Mae didn't actually expose herself, and was instead wearing some sort of prosthesis on her upper body (Jerry Lawler described it on his Dinner with The King podcast as a "Tom Savini job"). It was rumoured at the time that Vince got the idea for the gag after seeing Lin Shaye's horrific bare-all scene in There's Something About Mary.

6. A Helping Hand


The Intercontinental title match pitting co-champions (yes, really) Chris Jericho and Chyna, along with Hardcore Holly, in a triple threat match brought to an end a convoluted and forgettable angle, as Jericho made off as the sole champ. The match itself wasn't anything special, somewhat plagued by a handful of miscues, due to what Jericho would term to be difficulties working with a performer with Chyna's limitations.

Jericho would note one spot in the match where he himself erred. He was supposed to Bulldog Chyna, and drew a complete blank. He stood there, time passing slowly, enduring the worst-timed mental block ever, before Holly, from the floor, yelled, "Bulldog her, dumbass!" May seem harsh, but Jericho appreciated Holly taking initiative in the heat of the moment.

5. By Any Other Name


While it didn't feature as many brain cell-killing chair shots as his WWE title match one year earlier, Mick Foley's street fight with Triple H for the gold was a revelation for gratuitous violence on the WWE stage. A barbed wire 2X4 and a bag of thumbtacks were just some of the blood-spilling weaponry on hand for what would be a true breakthrough match for "The Game".

Foley performed under his Cactus Jack persona, earning him a very rare distinction - it marked the third different stage name that Foley would use in a WWE title match on PPV. Mankind's first high-profile crack at the belt came at Mind Games 1996, while Dude Love earned his first at Unforgiven 1998. He would add a fourth name to the list, as simple ol' Mick Foley competed in the four-way finale at WrestleMania 2000.

4. Once More, With Feeling


Improvisation can sometimes be frowned upon when you're taking part in a tightly-scripted production, where timing is of the essence. Foley went off script just a tad in the final moments of the match, as he kicked out of a Triple H Pedigree. The look of confusion and terror on Triple H's face was at least partially legitimate because that solitary Pedigree was supposed to be the finish.

But this wasn't Foley being uncooperative - he was changing the ending to something more dire. He reportedly told Helmsley to Pedigree him on the nearby river of thumbtacks, creating a much more psychotic and unforgettable visual. Now *that's* a team player right there, Foley taking one for the club in order to make his opponent look suitably evil and ruthless. Thankfully, he didn't lose an eye.

3. Various Upgrades


Little more than a week later, WWE would be graced by the four Radicalz that jumped ship from a decaying WCW, and their presence boosted the overall quality of wrestling on WWE programming. While the roster from the year 2000 was mightily impressive, the Rumble match itself looked to be light on names. Aside from Rock, Kane, Big Show, X-Pac, and Rikishi, where were the major players?

Sometime, days before the Rumble, WWE decided to swap out eight Rumble match entrants: Kaientai, The Mean Street Posse, Thrasher, Mark Henry, and Mideon. Their replacements came from the Intercontinental and Tag Team title matches (Jericho, Chyna, Holly, New Age Outlaws, and the APA), as well as a cameo appearance from Bob Backlund. The overall quality of names in the match was boosted quite a bit with the changes.

2. Taka's Tumble


WWE worked in the bumping of Kaientai and the Posse into the match, as all five spurned wrestlers tried to gatecrash the Rumble at different points, only to be violently turned away by the actual participants. This led to one moment in which Taka Michinoku went flying ass over tea kettle on one mock elimination at the hands of Big Boss Man and Gangrel.

Taka suffered a legitimate injury from his hard landing, with some sources claiming a concussion, and others saying a shoulder/collarbone injury. Whatever the case, Michinoku did not appear later on when Funaki made another bull-headed attempt at invading the match. The fact that Michinoku was injured does somewhat dampen the running gag of a giddy Jerry Lawler wanting to see the replay of Michinoku's exit again and again.

1. Diminished Workload


In most Rumbles, there are those one or two guys who act as the pace cars, going over 30 or 40 minutes (some approaching an hour) to create an "iron man" narrative to follow, and to have somebody reliable to help keep the match flow running smoothly. The 2000 Rumble was one of the few that didn't exactly have any wrestlers in that role.

For the first time since the 1989 Rumble, nobody in the match officially surpassed a half hour (we'll ignore Austin and Vince's "performances" in 1999, since the records say they lasted 56 minutes). The duration king for this match was Test, who lasted 26:17 from the number 10 draw, while Gangrel and Big Boss Man were the only other men to break 20 minutes. Fourteen different wrestlers made it past 10 minutes, but the match lacked the definitive threading talent that each Rumble tends to have.

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10 Things We Learned From WWE Royal Rumble 2001

Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.