- Been in the mood for more WWF from around this particular time frame, and figured this would be a decent choice to pick. We were originally broadcasted LIVE on Pay-Per-View, January 23rd, 2000, from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are handling the commentary duties for the entire broadcast. I'd like to point out how awesome the set is, with a taxi cab bursting out through the wall above the entrance way, and the aisle littered with trash and graffiti tagged along the walls. We'll become more involved with the entrance set during one particular match later in the night. (Side Note: I never noticed, but the Undertaker was featured in the promotional poster, despite being inactive from September '99 through May of 2000.)
- Jerry Lawler hosts the 2000 Royal Rumble Swimsuit Contest. I'm not going into super-detail about this, but the participants are The Kat (reigning Women's Champion), Terri Runnels, Jacqueline, Ivory, Luna Vachon, and "B.B.", the big boobed, blonde EMT that the WWF was parading around at the time. Your typical contest until Mae Young shows up. For those who forgot or don't care, the PPV opened with a TV:MA, with Nudity listed as one of the reasons, so, you know... we expected the Kat to show her boobs again. Instead, Mae Young flashes us, several times, and let's just say, my penis is just for show now. And the sick judges vote her the winner, too.
Cactus with some trash talking, before unloading with rights. Hunter responds with rights of his own, before being knocked down with a forearm. Cactus pounds Hunter down to the canvas with a flurry of rights. Outside the ring we go, and Cactus connects with a swinging neck breaker. Back inside, and Cactus with a leg drop across the back of the head. We head back outside, and Cactus rams Hunter into the steps and timekeepers bell. Hunter grabs the bell, and bashes Cacrus with it, then tosses a chair into the ring. Triple H dares Cactus to come back in the ring, and Cactus obliges, taking a baseball swing to the face for it. Hunter undoes a turnbuckle, but Cactus is back up and takes him down with a clothesline. Cactus lays the chair across the face of Triple H, and comes out of the corner with a leg drop for a two count. We venture to the outside, and Triple H greets him with rights. Triple H with a charge, and Cactus back drops him over the security wall. They brawl through the crowd, with Cactus in control. They return to the entrance aisle, and Cactus tosses Hunter into a pile of bricks. Cactus sets up some wooden boards and takes Triple H over with a suplex onto the stack. Cactus with a garbage can, and he bashes Trips over the head with it. The stage continues being used as a weapon, with Cactus whipping Hunter into the entrance "doors" over and over again. Triple H musters everything he has in him and surprises Cactus with a back suplex on top of a garbage can. Cactus regains control and pounds Triple H down against the steps, then charges in with a knee to the face. Back in the ring, and this time Cactus has a very special weapon... a 2x4 wrapped in barbed wire! Hunter goes low, grabs the 2x4, and whacks Cactus in the midsection with it, then across the back. Triple H with a few more shots with it, with the wire sticking to the shirt, and looking to be falling apart from the wrap job. Cactus goes low on Hunter, using the 2x4, then connects with a double-arm DDT. Referee Earl Hebner gives the 2x4 to the Spanish Announce Team, but Cactus is determined and threatens harm to anyone in his way. He gets the 2x4, and it has pulled a switch-a-roo. Cactus with the freshly wrapped "barbed wire", and he smacks Triple H in the face with it, then comes out of the corner, using the 2x4 in place of his arm for an elbow drop, but that only gets a two count!
The camera gets a nice shot of Triple H bleeding all over the place, and he's also got a puncture on his calf, I have no idea where that came from. Cactus with another shot with the 2x4, then he digs the barbed wire into the face of Triple H, who has done a manly blade job, to say the least. Cactus follows Hunter out of the ring, and continues to pound the wound. Cactus brings it to the announcers table, and he forgets to remove the television screens, forcing Hebner to do it. Triple H counters the piledriver, and back drops Cactus through the table instead, leaving streaks of blood all over the remains. Hunter tosses Cactus back into the ring, and pounds away. He goes for a pedigree, but Cactus counters, sweeps the legs, and launches Hunter into the buckle, then takes him down with a bulldog onto the 2x4 for a two count. Cactus with a charging clothesline, taking Hunter and himself out of the ring again. Cactus charges again, and gets hip tosses into the ring steps for it. Hunter picks him up, and whips him into the steps, with the knees making contact against the steel. We get replays, and return to live action, with Hunter clipping the knee from under Cactus. Back in the ring, and Hunter does it again. Triple H with the 2x4, and he bashes it across the leg of Cactus. Hunter heads outside and grabs a mysterious bag from the Fink... and it's handcuffs. Remember the 1999 Royal Rumble, when the Rock cuffed Foley, and laid into him with a million chair shots? Cactus tries fighting Hunter off, but eventually is taken down and cuffed with his hands behind his back.
Hunter, heel of the year, finds this as an appropriate time to taunt Cactus, then lay into him with clubbing blows. Hunter heads out of the ring, and brings back with him the steel steps. Hunter charges, but Cactus counters with a drop toe hold! Cactus with a boot to the face, followed by a headbutt to the crotch and some biting. WHY is Hebner interfering with this? Hunter is back up and takes Cactus down with a clothesline. Hunter with a chair to the midsection, followed by a series of shots across the back, breaking a piece of the chair, in the process! The action heads up the aisle, with Hunter continuing to assault Cactus with the chair. Cactus wants some more, daring Hunter to hit him, and suddenly the Rock comes out of nowhere and lays out Hunter with a chair! The camera was wisely positioned behind Helmsley, so not to see the Rock coming out of the entrance way. Here comes a rent-a-cop, and he releases Cactus from his handicap. Cactus pounds away with rights, and now the spanish table gets to take some abuse, and this time Cactus with a piledriver, but it doesn't break the table. Cactus drags Helmsley's bloody, beaten body back into the ring, and produces a giant bag, and we all know what's in that. THUMBTACKS MOTHERFUCKER! Suddenly, Stephanie McMahon returns to the ring to create a distraction. Cactus with rights, but a charge backfires, and Triple H back drops Cactus into the pile of thumbtacks! For added effect, Cactus rolls around in them! Suddenly, Triple H with the pedigree, but Cactus kicks out at two!!?!? EVERYONE is surprised, and Hunter is pissed. Then the pedigree is done onto the thumbtacks, and finally it's over a 26:44. Popular Foley tale is he kicked out of the first pedigree without warning anyone, just so they could finish with the spot on the tacks. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but this is still one of my favorite matches of all time, and was the match that made Triple H the man. Up until this point, he was just another heel who cheated to win, but here he not only absorbed everything his opponent had to offer, but dug down to fight like he's never had before, and won it using the methods everyone expected from Foley, doing anything and everything possible to come out victorious. Truely one of the most perfectly done, perfectly executed matches the WWF has ever done.
#11 is The British Bulldog, and my GOD, how sad is it that three of the four men in the ring are all passed on. Test takes Boss Man's head off with a boot as Rikishi pounds away on Bulldog. Jim Ross refering to Rikishi as a "load" is pretty funny. #12 is Gangrel, and who knew he was still hanging around at this point? Kaientai return for another run in, and in the most hilariously replayed spot of the century, TAKA does a complete flip over the top rope, and lands on his face. I'm pretty sure he was actually injured, but they replayed this at least five times throughout the rest of the match. #13 is Edge, and the crowd aproves. It's just hugging and punching right now. Boss Man gets pounded on, and Rikishi squashes him with the Banzai Drop. Lawler requests a replay of TAKA's face plant. #14 is a surprise appearance of Mr. Bob Backlund, to a pretty sizeable pop. He's quickly ambushed by Boss Man and Bulldog, but Rikishi misses a charge, and everyone gangs up to toss Rikishi at 22:04. #15 is Chris Jericho (one of the late additions to the match) and he slugs it out with Edge, then dropkicks Backlund out at 23:44. Jim Ross gets a chance to reference Jericho's father played at MSG for the New York Rangers (NHL, for non-sports fans). #16 is Crash Holly, and he's going to turn the tide. Add another man to the list of guys who are gone way too soon. It's only ten years ago, for christ's sake. For whatever reason, Edge SPANKS Crash, while attempting to eliminate him. #17 is Chyna and she's going after Jericho, no doubt. Yup, I won that bet. Poor Jericho, having to sell for a woman. Oh, and Chyna eliminates him with a suplex from the apron at 27:06, and Boss Man elbows Chyna off the apron at 27:10. Thank you, Boss Man. #18 is Faarooq, and here comes the Mean Street Posse to attack Faarooq, playing the role of Kaientai (see earlier for explanation), and Boss Man tosses Faarooq at 28:41. That was a quick night for Faarooq. #19 is Road Dogg, who I've heard had the flu or something, and thus explains why the entire match he spends basically hugging the ropes or laying in a corner. Someone needs to clean house of all the midcard fodder, fast. #20 is Al Snow, and that's not going to turn the tide. Road Dogg tosses the Bulldog at 31:30 in a Battle of the Dogs. This middle portion is really dull.
#21 is Val Venis, and here comes Funaki, and Boss Man quickly tosses him AGAIN. This triggers the request for another replay of the Michinoku face plant. That's been the highlight of the last 15 minutes, or so. #22 is Prince Albert (har har...) and Edge is dumped at 34:31 courtesy of Venis and Snow. Venis and Edge are future Brother-in-Law's, you know. Road Dogg looks sick as a dog (no pun intended) as the camera catches a glimps of him. #23 is HARDCORE Holly, and he goes after Test. You know a match is dragging ass when Gangrel has been in it for twenty minutes. #24 is the Rock (FINALLY!), and he gets a thunderous pop. He knocks Boss Man out with a roundhouse right at 37:47, then gets "hammered on" by Hardcore. Whatever. #25 is Mr. Ass, Billy Gunn, and he goes for the Rock. Road Dogg comes to life to sucker punch Hardcore, making him my favorite of the night. Rock with a DDT on Crash, then tosses him at 39:56. WEEEEEEELL it's the Big Show at #26, and J.R. claims business is about to pick up. Show boots Test out at 41:29, then tosses Gangrel just a few seconds later. #27 is Bradshaw, and it's comedic injury moment #2, as one of the Posse members clotheslines himself on the bottom rope coming into the ring (Pete Gas, I think). Then to add insult to injury (literally), he gets hung up across the top rope being thrown out! Talk about a horrible night... oh, and Bradshaw is tossed by the Outlaws at 42:54. Who did the Acolytes piss off to be pinned in a two minute title match, then eliminated within 20-seconds each in the Rumble? #28 is the Big Red Machine KANE, and he quickly sends Venis packing at 44:28, then sets his sites on Albert. Lots of nothing happens, and #29 is the Godfather (with the HO Train) to a nice pop. Kane clotheslines Albert out at 45:40, in the mean time. Funaki is back for a fourth time, and he breaks Mick Foley's record for most times eliminated in once match, but his record is unofficial. Then Lawler with ANOTHER request for TAKA's elimination. Was there some sort of storyline at the time going on with Kaientai that has Lawler constantly refer to them as Chinese, despite Jim Ross correcting him every time? This time the replay is in slow-mo, and Lawler adds a "boink" on impact. #30 is X-Pac, having "won" the spot thanks to Triple H. Lots of hugging, then Snow clotheslines Holly out at 47:45. Big Show works over the Godfather then clotheslines him out at 48:10. The Rock quickly sends Snow packing with a clothesline at 48:21. Road Dogg finds this an appropriate time to trash talk Snow, for whatever reason, and gets thrown out by his own partner at 48:33. Kane sends Gunn flying shortly after at 48:44, leaving us with a Final Four consisting of The Rock, Big Show, Kane, and X-Pac. Considering the build up, who didn't see this foursome remaining? Gunn pulls Kane out of the ring and along with Road Dogg double teams him. Rock avoids a spinning heel kick from X-Pac and tosses him, but the referee's are distracted, so X-Pac Austin's it (see 1997) and returns to the ring. Kane comes back and goes after X-Pac. There's a feud that should've stayed ended after Armageddon '99. Kane goes for a chokeslam on Show, but Show blocks and goes for it himself. Kane blocks that and nails an enziguri, then scoops up and Slams the Big Show! Seconds later, X-Pac eliminates Kane with a spinning heel kick at 50:09. Show no-sells the Bronco Buster and launches him over the top rope at 50:52. Rock pounds away on Show with rights and takes him down with a spinebuster. It's time for the most electrifying move in sports entertainment. Rock tries tossing Show, but Show blocks and makes him part of the canvas with a chokeslam. Show tosses Rock over, but Rock hangs onto the top rope, and Big Show goes over with him, making the Rock the winner at 52:17. Of course, replays in the following weeks proved the Rock's feet touched, and thus we got a #1 Contender's Match at No Way Out, the second year in a row, and fourth time in five years, where the title match at WrestleMania was determined at the February PPV. Entertaining Rumble, but far from a classic, and not one of the more memorable ones. Still light years better than the previous few (especially the sucktitude from 1999).
Final Thoughts: There's a reason why 2000 gets a lot of love, and a lot of it stems from the fact that a lot of the PPV's that year felt like something you would want to spend $30 on, rather than an extra long episode of Raw or Smackdown. This being the Rumble, it naturally had it's gimmick match that always drew attention, but the real main event was the Street Fight, and that more than delivered on it's expectactions, and is worth getting a copy of this show just for that one match. The undercard also featured an incredibly fun tables match, the impressive debut of Tazz, and... well, we'll just ignore the Swimsuit Contest, that being the only negative I can think of. This one is definitely a keeper, and worth grabbing a copy of. Just skip the stuff with Mae Young.