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Royal Rumble 2001

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Guest TSMAdmin

Along with my <a href="http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/publish/article_640.shtml">Tough Enough III</a> recaps, I'm going to do the occasional tape review (mostly WWF/E). First up, this show. For my ratings, I steal Dr. Tom's 10 point system (10 = Fucking awesome, DUD = Fucking awful)


<b><u>WWF Royal Rumble 2001</b></u>


We are live in N’Awlins, Louisiana. I wonder why Vince never tapped the Superdome for a Wrestlemania; it would be a fitting place for WM XXI (since XX HAS to be at MSG). <b>JR</b> and the <b>King</b> are at the mike for this one, as usual.


<b>- Opening match: The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian (Tag Team title match)</b>


<i>Background</i>: E&C Conchairtoed the Dudleys on RAW and beat them up some more on Smackdown the past week. These two teams had been going at it throughout most of 2000, also (Wrestlemania, TLC I).


The Dudley’s jump E&C before the bell, so they take a walk. The Dudleys follow and bring them back in. D-Von and Edge kick things off as D-Von gets a neckbreaker for 2, but Edge takes control and tags out. D’Von gets another quick 2 on Christian off a flying elbow and tags Bubba, who drives an elbow for 2. He unloads the punches in the corner as a “We Want Tables!” chant starts. Bubba gets a flapjack, but Christian gets a headscissors, which Bubba no-sells (even though he’s been holding his head all match due to the attack on RAW), knocks Edge off the apron and hits a sidewalk slam for 2. D-Von tags in and gets 2 off a powerslam, but gets clubbed in the head by Edge to become Face in Peril. E&C work him over as Lawler says JR is jealous of their nice hair. JR: “Yeah, it’s the hair and because they have all 35 - 40 teeth.” Bubba breaks up a pin and Edge HITS THE CHINLOCK. D-Von fights out of it, but gets neckbroken (neckbreakered?) for 2. Edge talk’s trash, which Lawler loves (JR: “Are you getting aroused?”). E&C try a spike piledriver, but D-Von reverses and slingshots Edge into Christian and gets a rollup for 2. Hot tag Bubba, but the ref is distracted and doesn’t see it. Conchairto is attempted, but D-Von ducks and hot tags Bubba, who’s a HOSS AFIRE!!! BAAAAAAAAAAAAACK body drop on Christian and a hotshot for Edge. Bubba Bomb on Christian and Wassup Drop on Edge. Bubba politely asks D-Von if he would be so kind as to retrieve the wooden tables that are under the apron, but Christian rudely interrupts the errand and the referee goes out to break up the squabble. Edge tries a beltshot on Bubba, but gets rolled up for 2. Christian tries a Un-Prettier, but D-Von breaks it up. 3D tried on Christian, but he DDTs D-Von while Edge spears Bubba. E&C try a Wassup of their own on Bubba, but Bubba rolls Christian over and D-Von pushes Edge off into his crotch. Edge turns around into the 3D for the pin and the titles for the Dudleys.


Pretty good opener that got the crowd fired up. <b>7/10</b>


<b>- BACKSTAGE PROMO MADNESS!!!</b>: <b>Drew Carey</b> arrives at the arena as JR and Lawler plug his <i>Improv All-Stars</i> PPV that aired the Saturday after RR. Vince says that neither HHH nor Austin will be punished for violating the “zero tolerance” edict (that they should have used for Lesnar-Show this year) since Angle instigated the contact. HHH and Stephanie meet Drew, who is looking for Vince to get ideas on how to promote his PPV, which gets plugged again. Steph sends him to Trish’s dressing room (Vince’s “girlfriend” at the time and Steph’s enemy) instead. Finally, APA play “I’ll show you if you show me” with their numbers and Crash comes in to remind them that, even though they’re friends, he’s going to throw them out of the Rumble anyway. Whew!


<b>- Chris Jericho (Jesus) vs. Chris Benoit (God) © (Ladder match for the IC title)</b>


<i>Background</i>: These guys fought a few times over the course of 2000 and we get a nice video package of the highlights. Straightforward angle here in that God is the champion and Jesus *gasp* wants to beat him for it. What, God isn’t banging his sister or something? What kind of angle is this? Anyway, God agrees to any match of Jesus’ choosing, so he picks a ladder match.


Slugfest to start and Jesus takes control with a clothesline. He lays in the chops but God grabs his arm and goes for a Crossface. Jesus rolls out of it and tries the Walls, but God escapes and rams Jesus’ shoulder into the post. Man, Jesus must have the slowest healing shoulder in history. Regal worked on it at WM too. God lays in some chops of his own and hits a shoulderbreaker. He tries another, but Jesus escapes and forearms him down. God retreats to the apron and ducks the springboard dropkick. God goes for the ladder and tosses Jesus into the post. He puts the ladder onto the apron and slides it out of the way of a Jesus baseball slide and throws him into the steps. God climbs for the belt and Jesus takes him down with an Electric Chair Drop (God on his shoulders and Jesus falls back). Jesus works him over in the corner and drives the ladder into God’s face and gut. Jesus sets it up in the corner, but fate intervenes and he winds up being whipped into it and tumbles to the outside. God tries a tope, but Jesus PASTES him with a chair in midair. That wasn’t good for the ol’ neck, methinks. He drops him onto the barrier, but God avoids Jesus riding the ladder onto him. God rams the ladder into his kisser and delivers a chairshot to the back. Jesus eats ladder again (and, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t taste like either chicken OR chocolate), but he recovers and crotches God on it, then pushes it over (ouch). God dropkicks it into his face and hits a backdrop suplex. He sets the ladder on the corner, but one good turn deserves another and HE winds up kissing it. Jesus goes to the apron and seesaws the ladder into God’s face then, as we see the replay of that, dropkicks it. Jesus climbs (slowly) for the belt, but God suplexes him clear out of the ring. God climbs (again, slowly), and Jesus follows him up and locks a version of the Walls on top of the ladder (a really cool visual). God kicks the ladder over, sending Jesus into the ropes. Jesus hits a ladder clothesline, sets it up, and jumps right into a Crossface. Jesus meets the post again, but he hotshots God into the ladder to retaliate. Jesus sandwiches God in the corner and then sets up a Superduperplex off the ladder, but God knocks him off. God tries a Swandive, but misses, bouncing on the mat a good few inches (and you wonder why he had to have neck surgery later in the year). Jesus pins God under the ladder as he climbs, but that doesn’t turn out to be too swift as God lifts it off, knocking Jesus into the ropes and to the outside. God climbs, but Jesus comes back in with the chair, delivers a few shots, and pushes God off bouncing on the ropes and out of the ring. Jesus climbs very slowly up, as God has to keep flopping around on the outside to sell that he can’t get back in, and Jesus grabs the belt to win.


Very nice ladder match that showed the fans there can still be good matches with ladders that don’t involve 150 highspots. The slow climbing was kind of dumb, but they both took some sick bumps and beat the shit out of each other, so it’s all good. I just hope I’m not going to Hell now. <b>8.5/10</b>


<b>- Skit-O-Mania II: Electric Boogaloo!</b>: Drew hits on Trish, who says she is “involved” with someone. Vince comes in and invites Drew to enter the Rumble match in order to impress everyone (including Trish) and create interest in his PPV (which is plugged AGAIN, but hey, I like <i>Whose Line</i>, anyway). Billy Gunn is concerned for Chyna’s health in her match with Ivory (Quoth Crow T. Robot, “He must be gay, he’s showing concern”). Jericho delivers his victory speech.


<B>- Chyna vs. Ivory © (w/Steven Richards) (Women’s title match)</b>


<i>Background</i>: The Right to Censor “broke” Chyna’s neck with a spike piledriver a few weeks previous and she wants revenge. Val Venis and Ivory parodying an interview between JR and Chyna is pretty funny, though. Chyna recovers in record time, but she isn’t at 100% yet.


Chyna squashes Ivory for a few minutes, seemingly having no problems at all. She knocks out Steven and goes for the springboard elbow, but the force of grazing a 100 pound woman apparently shatters her spinal column and she goes down. Everyone is concerned as JR goes into “serious mode” and Jerry jumps into the ring. Of course, everyone knows what this reminds of, so let’s move on. In actuality, I believe, Chyna took time off to pose for Playboy (if you bought an issue, and still can see I commend you) and generally went down the same path as Sable. Last we saw of her, she married X-Pac and settled down to raise many Amazonic-greasy haired children. <b>DUD</b>


<b>- More backstage crap</b>: Drew gets his gear from Harvey Whippleman and makes a crack at Kane. Vince takes Drew’s spot from Lo Down (remember them? I thought not.). Tiger: “Drew Curry? Who’s Drew Curry?” Steph and Trish exchange pleasantries at the makeup table. Steph was much hotter without the implants, in my opinion.


<b>- HHH (w/ Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) vs. Kurt Angle © (w/ Trish Stratus) (WWF title match)</b>


<i>Background</i>: Kurt’s first title reign didn’t go too well, and this angle didn’t help. Near the end of 2000, Kurt, Steph and HHH were involved in a (pretty well written) love triangle that got a heavy female viewership. Of course, they completely fucked up the blowoff (read: there really wasn’t one) and nothing was really settled. Kurt won the WWF title and the bookers had him defend it in a six-pack HIAC match at Armageddon to try to give him some cred, but he was left floating in space as HHH-Austin heated up. Trish was “dating” Vince, which Steph didn’t like, since SHE wanted to be “the most dominant female in the WWF”. This pretty much overshadowed any Kurt-HHH feud as Trish became Kurt’s valet to piss Steph off. HHH became a de-facto face by result, even though he was the heel against Austin, since he masterminded Austin being run over by a car. It was all just too confusing so the crowd didn’t really know who to cheer in this match.


It’s so weird not to hear the crowd chant “You Suck!” to Angle’s music here. HHH works the arm to start, but Angle flips out of it and takes him down with a fireman’s carry. HHH gets a shoulderblock, but Kurt clotheslines him out. “Angle Sucks” chant. HHH slugs away, but gets BAAAAAAAAACK body dropped. Angle works the arm and hits a troika of suplexes for a 2 count. HHH bails with Angle right behind. HHH throws him into the barrier and steps. Back in, Angle punches, but HHH takes him down with a drop toehold and works the knee with a deathlock. While this is happening, Lawler is talking about his feud with Andy Kaufman and JR gets the Burn of the Night by saying “They even made a movie about it that 8 people saw!” It’s sad how far they have fallen and now Michael Cole and Tazz are regarded as the better announce team. HHH works the knee some more and Angle gets an enziguri for 2 and whips HHH out of the ring. HHH tries to wrap Angle’s knee around the post, but Angle pulls him into it. Back in, HHH ducks a clothesline, knocks him down, and rams his knee into the post. Steph distracts the ref and HHH grabs a chair, smacking it against Angle’s knee. Crowd is dead right now. HHH drops his knee on the steps and brings him back in, where he clips the knee a few times and continues to work the knee, locking in an Indian deathlock. Man, does HHH have a fetish for knees or something? Angle reverses a whip, but HHH with a knee smash (guess so) and a pin for 2. HHH locks in a figure-four and cheats like a good heel by holding the ropes, which draws Trish in and, in turn, brings Steph around and CATFIGHT! IT’S A CATFIGHT JR!!! That finally wakes up the crowd. They tumble onto the Spanish table and into the announcers’ laps. Vince comes down to break it up, hoisting Trish on his shoulder, but Steph follows them down the aisle and Vince tries to break them up as they head backstage.


HHH, after watching them go, tries to lock the figure-four back on, but Angle small packages for 2. HHH clotheslines him down and gets shoved into the corner. They slug away as they are losing the crowd. Angle gets a DDT for 2. He hits an inverted atomic drop and german suplex for 2. A Russian legsweep and Angle goes upstairs for a moonsault. HHH low blows and hits a Razor’s Edge for a trio of 2 counts. Pedigree attempt is reversed, but HHH kicks Angle off into the corner, but he falls onto HHH’s crotch (if RAW was any indication, there wasn’t much to hurt there). Angle goes up and hits the moonsault for 2. He gets tossed to the outside and Hebner goes out to check on him. HHH leaps from the apron, but hits Hebner by accident. Slugfest on the outside and Angle eats the post. ZZZZZZZZZZ. HHH goes upstairs, but Angle does the pop-up armdrag and covers, but no ref. Angle goes out to check on Hebner and HHH pushes him into the post, knocking the ref’s head into the steps, putting him out again. HHH grabs the belt and Angle hits a belly to belly. HHH ducks a beltshot and hits the Pedigree, but again, no ref. He goes out to check and Austin runs in (waking up the crowd again), hits him with the belt and delivers a Stunner. Angle crawls over for the 3 count to retain.


Ugh, boring match that was 80% HHH working the knee. This also make Angle look even WEAKER as champ. Fortunately, they finally killed the reign with Rock’s win at No Way Out. <b>5/10</b>


<b>- One More Time, We Go Backstage</b>: Various Superstars prepare for the Rumble match and Rock cuts a promo, promising victory, even if it comes down to him and Stone Cold.


<b>- 2001 Royal Rumble Match (Winner gets a WWF title shot at WM X-7)</b>


The intervals are back to 2 minutes this year. <b>Jeff Hardy</b> is #1, <b>Bull Buchanan</b> is #2. Bull tries to press Jeff out, but Jeff pokes him in the eye to escape. <b>Matt Hardy</b> is #3. They double team Buchanan out and spar for a little while. <b>Faarooq</b> is in at #4. He tosses around the Hardys, catching Jeff on a botched Poetry in Motion try and tries to dump him. He tries a Dominator on Matt, but Jeff pulls him off and they hit a Twist of Fate/Swanton combo and eliminate him. The Hardys take their shirts off, making the little girls scream (seriously, WHY IS JEFF HARDY CONSIDERED HOT!? Matt I can understand, but Jeff?). They fight and <b>Drew Carey</b> makes his entrance at #5, but decides to wait outside the ring and let the Hardys fight. They fight on the top rope as Drew finally gets in the ring and Jeff dumps Matt, but falls out himself. Drew celebrates and plays to the crowd…..until <b>Kane</b> arrives at #6, which prompts Drew to beg the refs to let him out and the Hardys to come back. Kane stalks Drew outside the ring and lights the pyro inside. Drew tries a friendly handshake, then a bribe. Kane wants nothing of it and slaps on the goozle, but <b>Raven</b> enters at #7 and saves Drew, hitting Kane with a kendo stick. Drew waves goodbye and climbs over the ropes, eliminating himself. See, that’s the PERFECT way to inject a celebrity into a wrestling match: the fans get to cheer for him, he doesn’t get hurt, and fun is had. Anyway, Raven gets nowhere with the wrasslin’, so he slides out and loads up the plunder, turning this into the Hardcore Rumble. <b>Al Snow</b> runs in early at #8, so the refs have to restrain him until the buzzer, where he jumps in and beats on Kane, then goes out for MORE goodies, including his trusty bowling ball, which he uses to pick up the ol’ “7-10 testes split” on Raven (move over Dick Webber). Snow and Raven double team Kane with trashcans and <b>Perry Saturn</b> (pre-Moppy, with a pretty good looking <b>Terri</b>) enters at #9 to join the festivities. Kane fights them off, but Raven puts him down with a sleeper. <b>Steve Blackman</b> is in at #10 and gets hardcore, hitting everyone in sight with his little sticks and suplexing Saturn. Snow and Raven face off while everyone else gangs up on Kane. <b>Grandmaster Sexay</b> is #11 and goes after Snow. Kane rolls out for a trshcan and wallops Sexay out then goes to work clearing the ring. Blackman, Snow, Raven, and Saturn all go bye-bye. <b>The Honky Tonk Man</b> (with his gee-tar) makes a surprise entrance at #12. Honky tries to favor us with a song, but apparently Kane isn’t an Elvis fan so he kabongs Honky with the guitar and tosses him. <b>The Rock</b> is lucky #13. He and Kane go at it for a while and the <b>Goodfather</b> comes in at #14. He leaves about as fast thanks to Rock and <b>Tazz</b> (#15) follows via Kane. Crowd seems solidly behind Rocky. My how times have changed. <b>Bradshaw</b> is in at #16 and he joins Rock beating on Kane then lariats Rock down. Spinebuster on Bradshaw. <b>Albert</b> (a “big, young stud” according to JR) is in at #17 as we are definitely in a lull period. Kane knocks everyone down as Bradshaw almost goes out and Kane nearly pitches Rock out. <b>Hardcore Holly</b> is #18. Albert hits a Baldo Bomb on Bradshaw and Kane and Holly almost get Rock out. IT’S TIME TO GET ROWDY as <b>K-Kwick</b> comes in at #19 (he’s better known now as TNA’s <b>Ron "The Truth" Killings</b>). Albert works him over and everyone fights in the corners. There’s too much deadwood here. Kane slams Holly as Bradshaw powerbombs K-Kwick. <b>Val Venis</b> is #20 and he goes after Kane (who has been in for 30 minutes now). Bradshaw spears K-Kwick and things are REALLY slowing down. <b>William Regal</b> is in at #21. He beats on Bradshaw. Still dragging. Val tries to get Rock out but Bradshaw saves. <b>Test</b> is in at #22 and finally someone goes as he tosses Regal. T&A EXPLODES as Test and Albert brawl. <b>The Big Show</b> is out at #23, looking even fatter than when he left, even though they sent him to OVW to LOSE weight. He makes Test go bye-bye and presses K-Kwick out. CHOKESLAMS ALL AROUND!!! Albert, Bradshaw, Venis, Holly and Kane all go for the ride, but Rock low blows Show and clotheslines him out. THAT woke up the crowd. Show cleans off JR and the King's announce table as <b>Crash</b> enters at #24. Show drags Rock out and chokeslams him through the table. In the ring, everyone gangs up on Kane as he valiantly tries to fight them off. They all are ready to toss him when <b>Undertaker</b> enters at #25 (the angle here is that no one knows if they are in cahoots). Taker pulls everyone off Kane and they both clear the ring. Bradshaw, Crash, Hardcore, and Venis are all gone, but Kane and Taker don’t go at it, choosing instead to wait for <b>Scotty 2 Hotty</b> to (reluctantly) enter at #26. Rock is starting to come to on the floor. Kane and Taker beat the hell out of him and toss him. I haven’t seen a beating like that since I took pre-Calculus (the Devil’s math) in my senior year. Rock starts to get up and #27 is <b>STONE COLD, BAH GAWD!! BUSINESS IS ABOUT TO PICK UP, KING!!!</b> <b>HHH</b> jumps Austin and beats him to the back, payback for the WWF title match. Rock is back in the ring and Taker and Kane beat him up. Austin blades and bleeds all over the place. <b>Billy Gunn</b> is #28 and he goes after Kane and Taker. The refs try to pull HHH off Austin as Taker and Kane beat up Rock and Gunn. Rock comes back but Taker DDTs him down. <b>Haku</b> makes a surprise entrance at #29 (formerly WCW’s <b>Meng</b>) and he goes for Taker and Kane. Austin is down and bleeding near the entrance. Taker and Kane work over Haku and Gunn goes for Kane. Lawler and JR argue about Austin. Austin tries to walk down the aisle as <b>Rikishi</b> enters at #30, and he goes for Austin, but Steve fights him off and enters the ring, pounding anything that moves. Austin tosses Haku and everyone remaining pairs off. Taker chokeslams Rikishi and tries to toss Rock, but he holds on. Taker tries a headbutt on Rikishi, but YOU CAN’T HEADBUTT SAMOANS and Rikishi delivers one of his own, then kicks Taker out. Rock pounds on him, but Rikishi reverses a whip and thumps him in the corner. Rikishi goes for the Banzai, but Rock gets up and pushes him out.


<b>Final Four: Rock, Kane, Billy Gunn, Stone Cold</b>


Gunn pounds away on Austin, blocks a Stunner and hits the Dumbasser. He tries to toss Austin, but he reverses the momentum and eliminates Gunn. Rock DDT’s Kane and locks eyes with Austin, with the crowd going NUTS. They get up and go at it, trading punches in the corner. Rock tries a Rock Bottom, but Austin escapes and hits a Stunner. Austin stomps the mudhole, but Kane keeps him from walking it dry. Austin puts him down with a Lou Thesz press and pounds away. Rock hits a Rock Bottom on Austin and throws Kane through the middle rope (not an elimination). Rock and Austin pound away and Austin tries to toss Rock, but he escapes. Rock tries to dump Austin, but Kane tries to dump them both, eliminating Rock, but Austin hangs on. Austin pounds on Kane, but he catches him by the throat and chokeslams him. Austin low blows and Kane slides out for a chair. Austin blocks it, avoids a Tombstone, and hits a Stunner. Austin clobbers him with the chair a bunch of times and clotheslines Kane out (who gets the endurance prize this year at 55 minutes) to win the Rumble and go to WM X-7. Austin celebrates with some Steveweisers.


Pretty good Rumble, but the portion from the end of the hardcore segment to Show’s entrance was REALLY slow. <b>7/10</b>.


<B><u>The Verdict</b></u>: Hey, not a bad card in the least. A solid opener, a brutal ladder match, and a Rumble that usually kept a good pace. Take out the crap with Chyna and HHH working the knee too long, you have a good show.


<b>Final score: 7.5/10</b> (not an average).


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