The Most Underrated Royal Rumble PPV Ever
The 30th Anniversary of WWE's Royal Rumble is coming to San Antonio in just a couple of weeks. With this being one of the biggest Royal Rumble's ever, the WWE is pulling in all kinds of star-power. Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, John Cena, and now The Undertaker will all be taking part in this year's pay-per-view.
It's set up to be one of the greatest Royal Rumble events in history.
You can find lists of what people currently list as the best ever (1992 Royal Rumble is the only true answer), but most of those lists are based solely on the Royal Rumble matches held within those pay-per-views. While I was thinking about the upcoming Rumble, I wanted to look at the pay-per-view as a whole instead of just one match. While I was researching, I came across one year of the Royal Rumble that people seem to act disappointed in. But while I watched this particular year's Rumble, I started to realize this is an underrated gem.
I'm talking about the 2000 Royal Rumble.
Looking at this event JUST for the Royal Rumble will disappoint you. The Rumble this year wasn't particularly exciting, with the surprise entrants going to guys like Bob Backlund, and a bunch of tag team guys getting bounced in just a couple seconds. The match was carried by guys like Kane, Big Show, and Rikishi. With The Rock nearly screwing up the end.
Yeah, this Rumble match wasn't the greatest. But it still had some highlights and pops. When Rikishi and 2 Cool hit their dance number, the crowd lost it.
Another mark-out moment came when The Rock's music hit. It was probably a 5/10 at best...but the PPV has so much greatness BEFORE this match even started, everyone already got their monies worth.
The night started with Kurt Angle's first loss in the WWF, to a surprise debut wrestler, Tazz. This was Tazz's first WWF match, coming over from ECW, and getting a hero's welcome in Madison Square Garden.
After that match, you witness greatness with the first ever Tag Team Tables Match with the Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz. Some of the spots in this match would forever change the course of the WWF/E.
What would an Attitude Era pay-per-view be without some kind of "puppies" segment? After the tag match, they worked in the Miss Rumble 2000 Swimsuit Competition...which also features a Russuo-esque swerve.
One of the most interesting aspects of the pay-per-view was the sudden balance afforded to the women on the roster. Of course most of the female roster was made up of small, un-athletic participants. But there was one woman who transcended the business, and she was in her prime. So right after you have a swimsuit contest in the ring, you have a WOMAN who owns a piece of the Intercontinental Championship fighting in a Triple Threat match with two other main roster male superstars.
The build to the Tag Team Championship match wasn't great, but honestly at the height of Degeneration-X's popularity, you didn't need anything to get the crowd rolling. The pop for this match was huge, even if the action didn't justify it. The Acolytes were always incredible workers who put on good looking matches, but this was more to simply showcase DX in a high profile slot. Which is also why X-Pac got his moment in the match too.
All of this led up to the WWF Championship Match, which also featured a debut of sorts. Triple H was settling into a role as an A-lister, and the man that was helping to get him over was Mick Foley. But as the pair got closer to the Rumble, the limits continue to get pushed. First, it went from a title match, to a street fight. From there it escalated from HHH versus Mankind/Mick Foley to Trips facing Cactus Jack. Which was played up perfectly.
Cactus Jack had made a name across the world for his "Death Matches" with Terry Funk in Japan, as well as a name stateside for the insanity he brought to WCW and ECW arenas. But Cactus had never appeared in a WWF ring. So when you take a guy with a super-hardcore pedigree, tell him he gets to plan a street fight with the current Champion in his debut match, sparks will fly. And they did. The two put on a 5-star hardcore title match.