WWE Royal Rumble '01
January 21st, 2001

The fun part early in this "writing reviews" process is that I can pick and choose my PPVs to review. I know later on, I'll probably be a little bummed at the kind of matches I'll be watching, but for now, I still have the ability to choose my favorites. That leads us to my work tonight on the '01 Royal Rumble, which featured four title matches, a tremendous Royal Rumble bout, and Drew Carey! Let's get to it.

WWF Royal Rumble '01
Posted by the Accelerator, February 21st, '07

- The video box is a 'rip-off' of my favorite Royal Rumble box from '91, but I can appreciate the historical significance. In order from left to right, we have artistic renderings of Triple H, Rikishi, Chyna, the Rock, Faarooq, the Undertaker, D-Von Dudley, Steve Austin, Kane, Chris Benoit (whose legs make him look like a midget with a great upper body; course, it doesn't help that he's next to Kane), Steve Blackman, Kurt Angle, Bubba Ray Dudley, Bradshaw, and Chris Jericho. Nice collection of stars, and nice artistic work.

- We have the dramatic intro, thanks to a great voiceover, dramatic music, and slow-motion clips of most of the participants in the Rumble. Just for the heck of it, here's the transciption.

"For 30 men, no other night in their life is as important as tonight.
While 29 will fall, one will be given a chance of a lifetime:
The chance to become World Wrestling Federation Champion!

Most have never been there, gazing from afar at the gold.
Never closer to it than the Sun, and never as reachable as tonight.
This may be their only chance.

So they will fight until the last drop of sweat hits the canvas,
Until they have seized their opportunity for distinction,
Or until their bodies succumb to the anguish.

There are those who have been to the top,
Experiencing the WWF's most coveted prize.
But to have been to Eden and tasted its fruit,
May be worse than never having been there at all.

Tonight, these men are ravenous wolves on the hunt,
Championship junkies fixated on victory.
Tonight, 30 men are pitted against each other
With one singular purpose, one common goal:

If Wrestlemania is the Showcase of the Immortals,
Then tonight, the Royal Rumble is the first step to Ultimate Glory!

Yep, I'm pumped up for this viewing. That may be my favorite intro Rumble video ever, although I've never really kept track of the others, I must admit.

- Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler are your special announcers for the night.

Edge & Christian(c) vs. the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley), WWF World Tag-Team Titles Match:

We quickly get a clip review of both Dudleyz getting Con-Chair-Tos from Edge & Christian, supposedly giving both men concussions. I have doubts that they'd actually be allowed to wrestle, but then, it's Sports Entertainment, after all. The Dudleyz are in control early, as Edge & Christian tease leaving. Of course, the Dudleyz chase them down. Christian's in trouble early, as the announcers smartly mention that the Dudleyz need to finish things quickly, since they'll wear down quickly because of the concussions. D-Von gets a nice Powerslam on Edge for a 2 count, but soon after, Christian smashes D-Von from the outside in the head, causing him to collapse to the mat. Edge & Christian tag out repeatedly, while dominating the hurting D-Von. Several close 2 counts follow, as the champs focus on the concussed head. Smart psychology in this one.

D-Von finally manages to turn things around after reversing a Spike Piledriver attempt by Catapulting Edge into Christian. A double clothesline follows, putting both D-Von and Edge down. D-Von makes the tag, but since the ref didn't see the tag, he stops Bubba Ray from coming in. Stupid ref, you didn't see the Edge/Christian tags earlier, but didn't have a problem then! Edge & Christian try to take advantage with a Con-Chair-To, but D-Von ducks it, then tags in Bubba Ray, who's a house of fire with a Bubba Bomb to Christian. Edge gets set up for the Wassup Drop, a really stupid decision since D-Von is concussed, but does a Flying Headbutt maneuver anyway. Bubba Ray calls for the tables, but D-Von gets intercepted by Christian on the outside. Edge then tries to clock Bubba Ray with one of the titles, but Bubba Ray ducks and gets a close 2 on a roll-up. Christian comes back for the Unprettier on Bubba Ray, but D-Von blocks it and they go for the 3D on Christian. Edge blocks that with a Spear on Bubba, while Christian DDTs D-Von. A ton of action here. Edge & Christian opt for their own Wassup Drop, but Bubba Ray reverses it, sending Edge into Christian's lower region. Edge then gets the 3D, and the Dudleyz win the Tag-Team Titles.

Ace Thoughts: Great sequence of maneuvers and false finishes there at the end, it really made the match exciting. The fans were fully behind the Dudleyz, and went crazy when they won the titles from the almost-unbeatable team of Edge & Christian. Terrific opener, back when tag-team wrestling meant something in the WWF.

- Drew Carey is shown arriving in his limo. Remember when Drew was everywhere on tv?

- Vince McMahon clears up a situation where Triple H physically provoked Austin (thanks to Kurt Angle shoving him), leading to a brawl. Neither man was supposed to fight, since it would cost them their respective shots. Vince, though, says that both will be wrestling tonight.

- Stephanie McMahon and Triple H are chatting in their locker room, with Triple H saying that he won't let Stephanie or Angle's valet, Trish Stratus, get in the way. Stephanie won't let Trish stick her nose (or anything else) into the match. Drew Carey then shows up, wanting to find Vince McMahon to learn some tips for his upcoming comedy PPV. Stephanie sneakily sends Carey to Trish's dressing room.

- In the Acolyte's, um, doorway, Bradshaw and Faarooq show each other... their Rumble numbers. They then drink some beer, as Crash Holly(RIP) shows up and says he'll throw both men over the top rope. Faarooq gets in his "Damn", which we see on tv all the time now. Ahh, the good ol' days.

Chris Benoit(c) vs. Chris Jericho, WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Title Ladder Match:

Another incredible opening video, first showing Benoit dominating, followed by Jericho's moveset. I just love the promos on this one. Back-and-forth action to start, with Benoit quickly going for the Crippler Crossface, followed by Jericho nearly getting the Walls of Jericho. Benoit takes the advantage with a shoulder block, but Jericho gets some forearms to knock the Rabid Wolverine down. Jericho goes for a Springboard Dropkick (it looked more like a splash attempt to me, but they call it a dropkick; so be it), but misses, flying to the outside. Benoit gets the ladder first after planting Jericho into the post, then throwing him into the stairs. Benoit decides to set up the ladder quickly and climbs, but Jericho catches him, giving him the Electric Chair drop.

The ladder quickly becomes a weapon, with Jericho putting it on his shoulder and smashing it into Benoit's face. The crowd is chanting for Y2J. Jericho sends the ladder into Benoit's ribs, doing some more damage, then puts the ladder onto the turnbuckle. He kicks Benoit, then tries to whip him into it, but Benoit reverses, with Jericho taking a terrible-looking hit into the ladder before flying out of the ring. With Jericho on the outside, Benoit tries to dive through the ropes out onto him, but Jericho catches him in mid-air with a chair shot!! Damn, I don't care what you think of wrestling, that had to hurt. The King's scream of shock is priceless. Both men are down, as replays of the most recent spots are shown.

Back to live action, as Jericho suplexes Benoit onto the railing, then attempts to ride the ladder from the apron down onto him. Benoit moves, as Jericho crashes and burns. Benoit comes back with a laddershot to the face of Jericho, then pulls him into the ring, clotheslining him. Benoit's fired up! He gets the ladder and brings it in, setting it up in the corner. JR mentions that they're debuting on Arab Television tonight. I wonder what they think of this violence. Benoit picks Jericho up and throws him headfirst into the ladder. A second attempt, though, sees Jericho fall off his shoulder and shove Benoit from behind into the ladder. Jericho sets the ladder back up and jams Benoit into the rungs of the ladder. Both are up, with Jericho basically suplexing the ladder backwards to the mat! Great match so far.

Benoit recovers enough to dropkick the ladder into Jericho's face, then gets a Backdrop suplex with high impact. The ladder now is placed back up on the turnbuckle, with the top end sticking into the ring. Benoit then grabs Jericho and whips him that direction, but once again it's reversed, knocking down Benoit. Jericho then goes to the apron and sets the ladder up, see-sawing it into Benoit's face! Just think of the hit that broke Joey Mercury's nose, and you can visualize that maneuver. Luckily, no nose-breakage here. It was a little more safely done. Jericho shoves the ladder towards Benoit off the turnbuckle, and, as a dazed Benoit catches it, Jericho gets a Missile Dropkick that injures Jericho's knee. Nonetheless, Jericho climbs the ladder, trying to get the gold. Benoit recovers, though, picking up Jericho and suplexing him over the ropes! Benoit then makes his own slow climb, but Jericho follows him up, after a few kicks, and actually bends Benoit over the ladder top with the Walls of Jericho! The crowd's going crazy.

Jericho shoves Benoit to the ground (with Benoit hitting the ladder on the way down, ouch), and he's right there to get the gold. But Benoit stops it by kicking the ladder, sending Jericho down as well. Both are crawling painfully on the mat. Jericho gets up first, smacking Benoit with the ladder. But as Jericho makes the attempt to climb, Benoit catches him, applying the Crippler Crossface! Jericho taps out, but it means nothing. Benoit posts Jericho, leaving him hanging, then pulls him back out. Jericho reverses into a toss into the ladder, and Benoit's back down. You can hear Jericho say "Get up, you son of a bitch!" Hey, now, language, people! Kids will hear! Of course, they're already watching two guys destroy themselves with ladders, but still, you get my drift.

Both men climb the ladder, fighting up top. Jericho goes down, and Benoit, since he's too far away from the title, goes for the Flying Headbutt off the ladder. Jericho moves, with Benoit knocking himself silly. Jericho sets the ladder onto Benoit and climbs, but I've only ever seen that work once, as Benoit powers the ladder up, sending Jericho taking a terrible spill onto the top rope. Benoit re-sets the ladder and climbs, but Jericho comes back once more, this time armed with a chair. He hits Benoit twice, with Benoit kicking him away. But Jericho rebounds and shoves the ladder, sending Benoit into the ropes and to the outside. Yeouch! Jericho climbs as Benoit struggles to recover, but too late, as Jericho gets the Intercontinental Title, becoming the new champion as JR shouts Jericho's name.

Ace Thoughts: This was definitely the non-Rumble Match of the Night. Actually, I'm not sure even the Rumble is better. Then again, I'm a sucker for Ladder Matches, especially with the Coyote Cam catching them falling from the ladder. This is one of those where you know neither man was feeling very good after the match. I just can't say enough about this one, you really have to just see it, especially that flying chair shot to Benoit.

- Drew Carey meets Trish Stratus in the back, asking about her boyfriend (who, at the time, was Vince McMahon). Speak of the devil, Vince comes in, apparently jealous of Drew. There aren't too many people who can say that. Vince convinces Drew that a good way to get the fans to get into the PPV is to have Drew in the Royal Rumble. Drew's a little worried about injury, but Vince & Trish manage to convince him to give it a shot. That's right, Drew Carey's in the Rumble. Crazy, huh?

- Billy Gunn, in the locker room, tries to convince Chyna not to wrestle because of her injuries, but Chyna wants a piece of Ivory.

- Michael Cole interviews the new IC Champ, Jericho, who announces that he proved Benoit wrong.

Ivory(c) w/ Steven Richards vs. Chyna, WWF World Women's Title Match:

The promo beforehand covers the history of the two, as Ivory & her allies in Right To Censor gave Chyna a Spike Piledriver to put her out, injuring her and nearly causing her to retire, before she came back to get a piece of Ivory. This is basically a domination by Chyna, as she tosses around Ivory effortlessly. In fact, the champion doesn't even get in any offense, as she flies to the outside. Ivory tries to escape, but Chyna catches her in the crowd, pounding on her. The crowd loves Chyna, as she Press-Lifts Ivory up and tosses her back over the divider. Back in the ring, the beating continues, as Chyna powerbombs Ivory. Richards tries to come in, but gets beaten down himself by Chyna. A smiling Chyna throws Ivory into the corner, then does her Handspring Elbow into the corner. Surprisingly, both women go down, as Chyna holds her neck in agony. Ivory, seeing her down, crawls over and makes the cover to get the 3 count, shockingly retaining the title. Afterwards, a lot of drama goes down, as Billy Gunn runs to the ring (along with the King, who leaves the broadcast position). Chyna apparently can't move, as she's carted out on a stretcher. Of course, this is all kayfabe, but the crowd's still in shock.

Ace Thoughts: Not much to speak of here. It still bugs me, I suppose, that injuries like these were faked like this, which caused real injuries, such as Owen Hart's fall, from being believed by the live crowds. It also was a silly way for Chyna to be 'paralyzed'. I mean, it couldn't have happened from a Spinebuster or something? Something with impact? This is certainly the worst match of the night, no doubt, as all momentum goes out the window.

- Stephanie McMahon goes to the back to get her hair checked, where she runs into Trish Stratus for a pointless encounter.

- In the wrestler's locker room, Drew Carey gets his wardrobe, then greets Kane, who simply walks away. Foreshadowing of things to come!

- A lot of backstage segments tonight. Vince McMahon interrupts the bickering between Tiger Ali Singh, D-Lo Brown, and Chaz, with Vince taking away the single available spot for them.

Tiger Ali Singh: "Mr. McMahon, if I may, what great superstar are you thinking of replacing my guys with?"

Mr. McMahon: (sighs) "Drew Carey."

Tiger Ali Singh: (confused look) "Drew Curry? Who is Drew Curry?"

- Fans talk about whether Triple H or Kurt Angle are going to win their match tonight. Yay. We then see Triple H pumping himself up in front of a mirror, basically, as the King says, putting on a Game face.

Kurt Angle(c) w/ Trish Stratus vs. Triple H w/ Stephanie McMahon, WWF World Heavyweight Title Match:

Wristlock sequence to start, followed by headlocks, shoulder blocks, and a hip toss. Welcome to old school! Triple H goes to the outside for a second to recoup, then comes back in and gets control with punches. But Angle reverses a toss and gets control back, focusing on HHH's arm. He also suplexes Triple H repeatedly, getting the first pin attempt of the match. Triple H takes control outside the ring, then, back inside, gets an Indian Deathlock on Angle. I remember hating that move in wrestling games, because it takes Triple H so long to apply it once he starts. Triple H continues to focus on Angle's leg, but Angle comes back with an Enziguiri, which he used in the '96 Olympics. Ok, maybe not. The match continues to go back and forth, with the Cerebral Assassin continuing his assault on Angle's leg. However, a whip into the corner gets reversed, and Triple H pulls out his flip over the turnbuckle that you'll see in most of his matches at the turn of the century. Triple H tries to drag Angle out into the post, but Angle's legs are too strong, sending Triple H facefirst into the post instead.

The brawl goes on outside, with Angle whipping HHH into the stairs. Luckily, Triple H put on the brakes, so he barely shoved them a little bit. The King talks about how Triple H has to win, while Angle has to not lose. Cute. Triple H gets control back thanks to a missed rush by Angle, with Triple H adding a chairshot to the knee. Stephanie was distracting referee Earl Hebner, allowing the shot to take place. Then again, it was VERY loud, so Hebner should realize what happened. Stupid refs. Triple H adds to the abuse by kneedropping Angle on the stairs, as the ref is refusing to count either man out. Back in the ring, Triple H chopblocks Angle's leg multiple times, then adds elbow drops onto it, using the bottom rope for maximum impact. Another version of the Indian Deathlock is applied, placing Angle in a lot of agony. Angle finally escapes, but gets nailed with a facebuster, followed by double pin attempts by the Game. More leg punishment continues, and he's in a bad way. Triple H takes a page out of Greg "The Hammer" Valentine's playbook and applies the Figure Four (what? Everyone uses Flair; I felt like being different). Triple H uses the ropes for leverage, prompting Trish to try and grab him. Stephanie runs over, and we've got a CATFIGHT!

The fans are loving this, as they explode for the first time in this match. Vince McMahon comes out and gets involved, wanting to split the two up. He carries Trish on his shoulder, attempting to leave, but Stephanie catches up to them, grabbing at Trish and bringing both Trish & Vince to the ground! The catfight continues, but Vince finally gets control, yelling for Trish to go to the back. The three disappear through the curtain, as Triple H is shown in the ring. Oh, yeah, the match. Angle nearly rolls Triple H up, but he's still in a bad way, as Triple H takes control, attacking the knee. Triple H tries to reapply the Figure Four, but gets sent into the post instead. The fight resumes, with Angle getting a DDT for a near fall. Inverted Atomic Drop and German Suplex from Angle gets another 2 count. Angle gets a Side Russian Legsweep, which had to hurt, considering the condition of his leg. It doesn't stop Angle from going to the top turnbuckle, but Triple H catches him with a low blow and a Razor's Edge, possibly a message to Triple H's Clique friend, Scott Hall, for another 2 count.

A Pedigree attempt gets the fans excited, but Angle blocks it and tries for a Slingshot maneuver. Triple H kicks him away, sending Angle into the turnbuckle, but as Angle falls, he headbutts a little below the belt. Angle pulls out his Moonsault and actually hits it, but a hurt knee keeps him from capitalizing until too late, getting a 2 count. After a fight, Angle gets tossed to the outside. Triple H follows, with the ref getting clobbered by a Flying Axehandle attempt. Angle gets sent into the post, with Triple H opting to bring him back into the ring and go to the turnbuckle. That's not HHH's strong suit, as Angle catches him and does his run-up-the-turnbuckle Armdrag. He covers, but the ref is nowhere in sight. Angle angrily goes to grab the ref, with Triple H following. A shove from Triple H sends Angle into the ref, squashing him again. The Cerebral Assassin quickly realizes his advantage, as he gets the WWF World Title. A swing and a miss, as Angle gives Hunter a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Angle then tries to use the belt himself. Another swing, another miss, and we've got a Pedigree on Angle! Pinfall doesn't work, because the ref is still squashed.

It's at this point that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin runs down to the ring, attacking Triple H! For those who don't know, Triple H cost Austin his title shot earlier in the year, so Austin's repaying him. The Rattlesnake busts Triple H open with a WWF Title shot, then, after bringing the semi-conscious ref back in, Austin got the Stone Cold Stunner on Triple H, knocking him out. Angle drapes an arm across Triple H, as the ref finally makes the count, giving Angle the victory and allowing him to retain the title.

Ace Thoughts: Exciting match with a lot of overbooking, but I liked it. The only problem for Angle at this point was that he wasn't the main part of the feuds, as he was almost used as a 'gimmick' for the building feud between Austin and Triple H. Luckily, Angle would recover from it and become a more respected champion in the future. Good match, not the best, not the worst.

- Rikishi (who drew #30) and the Undertaker are both shown stretching in the back. Seconds later, the Rock gives an interview, talking about his frustration about hearing about the apparent partnership of Kane and the Undertaker.

The Rock: "Quite frankly speaking, if Kane and the Undertaker are together, then every man is going to be in trouble. But the Rock is sick and tired of asking that question, answering that question! Is Kane together with the Undertaker? Is the Undertaker together with Kane? Kane wants to buy the Undertaker a box of chocolates. The Undertaker wants to tickle Kane's big red nipple! Who cares what they want to do?? Because the fact of the matter is this, the Undertaker and Kane, they're going to be together tonight all right, together getting both their monkey asses getting kicked over the top rope!"

- Another promo runs for the Royal Rumble Match, barely showing most of the wrestlers, while focusing on Rikishi, Kane, the Undertaker, the Rock, and Steve Austin. They also cover the Brothers of Destruction joining together and destroying Austin & the Rock.

30-Man Royal Rumble Match:

#1 is Jeff Hardy, who comes out with his normal spasms. #2 is Bull Buchanan of Right To Censor, with the annoying RTC alarm music. The two fight for a few minutes, with Buchanan trying to send Jeff out with no success. #3 is Matt Hardy, causing the Hardy Boyz to double-team the unfortunate Buchanan. Not surprisingly, a few seconds later, the Hardyz double-clothesline Buchanan out of the ring. The brothers then decide to stick to the rules of the match and go at it, when it would make a lot more sense for them just to sit and wait. It's the old Demolition theory. As soon as the count starts, they stop fighting and wait, as #4, Faarooq of the APA, runs to the ring and attacks both men. It's not enough, as Jeff helps block a Dominator attempt on Matt, leading to a Twist of Fate/Swanton connection. Seconds later, Faarooq is gone, thrown out by both Hardyz. Right afterwards, Matt tries to toss Jeff, but he hangs onto the ropes, and both toss off their shirts. The girls in the audience go crazy. #5 is Drew Carey, who comes to the ring with his glasses on. Meanwhile, the Hardyz keep fighting, and a suplex attempt on the turnbuckle sends BOTH out! Drew's the only one left in the ring. Of course, everyone knows who's coming, and yep, #6 is "The Big Red Machine" Kane, terrifying Drew, as well as the announcers.

The King: "Drew? Drew? Earth to Drew!"

Carey tries to get the Hardyz to come back, then turns and faces off against the monster Kane. A shaking Drew tries to offer a handshake, then opts to try offering money. It doesn't work, as Kane grabs Carey for a Chokeslam! But #7 Raven runs down and makes the save, attacking Kane with a Singapore Cane. This allows Carey to give a wave and leap over the top rope, eliminating himself! Apparently the rules have changed, as I remember Randy Savage being unable to eliminate himself in an earlier Rumble. Nonetheless, great appearance by Carey in this one. The fight takes a Hardcore element, as Raven brings trash cans and other weapons into the ring. Raven, though, is attacked on the outside by Al Snow, with the refs holding him back, since the clock hadn't gone off yet. The time ticks down, and Snow enters at #8. We've got a Hardcore Rumble! Snow uses a trash can lid on Kane and Raven, poudning on them, then goes and gets more weapons, including a bowling ball, which picks up the split by getting thrown between Raven's legs. Take a deep breath, Ace, it didn't happen to you. Still hurts to see, though. Raven and Snow start double-teaming Kane, realizing who the main threat is, giving Kane a double-toe-drop onto a closed trash can.

#9 is Perry Saturn w/ Tori, who is almost coming out of her blouse. Very nice. The King likes it, at least. Saturn attacks Kane, trying to keep the big man down. All three attack Kane, with Raven giving Kane a sleeperhold while the other two pound away on the big man. Things break down after that, though, with Snow nailing Raven with a trash can shot. #10 "The Lethal Weapon" Steve Blackman runs in with his sticks, pounding away on everyone. JR notes the debris covering the ring, a first in Rumble history, I believe. #11 is Grandmasta Sexay (aka the King's son), who gets into the swing of things by getting himself a trash can lid and pounding on Snow. Kane, meanwhile, rolls out of the ring and gets a trash can, smashing down everybody! One hit sends Sexay out of the ring. Kane throws Blackman over the ropes, and as Blackman tries to skin the cat, Kane pops him in the face with a lid, knocking him out. Next, Kane throws out Snow and Raven, then eventually Saturn, clearing the ring!

#12 is another surprise, as the Honky Tonk Man comes out! Honky asks Kane for some time, as he talks to his fans on the mic. He wants to perform his hit single, "I'm Just A Honky Tonk Man". As he starts to sing, though, Kane takes away the guitar and plasters Honky with it, before picking up the former IC Champion and shoots him out of the ring. Great surprise, adding a bit of humor the Rumble. Kane has already eliminated 6 guys. Things get serious again with the next man, though, as #13 is the Rock. The Rock goes right after Kane, punching away on him. Kane stops an elimination attempt with a huge clothesline, sending the Rock flying backwards. The two fight it out for a few more minutes, until #14 the Goodfather, the 2nd RTC member, runs down. The Goodfather lasts maybe 10 seconds before the Rock punches him right out of the ring, ending his run quickly. It does allow Kane to get control, though, pounding on the Brahma Bull. #15 is Tazz, who immediately gets caught by the throat by Kane and thrown out! That's Kane's 7th elimination, and we're back to 2 guys.

Kane goes back to pounding on the Rock, but the People's Champion comes back, nearly tossing Kane out. Weird sequence here, as the Rock goes into the corner, with Kane charging him. The Rock gets out of the way late, causing Kane to have to slow down, which looks strange. Kane then stumbles out of the corner, apparently expecting a toss, but gets punched by the Rock instead. Seconds later, they do the whip into the corner again, this time with the Rock landing a shoulder-lift slam to put both men down in time for the count. I think it was a timing issue there. #16 is Bradshaw, who joins the Rock on an assault on Kane. But as the Rock turns his back, Bradshaw runs at him, hitting the Clothesline From Hell. That's a mistake, as the Rock comes back with a Spinebuster, slowing Bradshaw down. #17 is Albert, who goes at it with everyone, and, subsequently, gets attacked by everyone. We break down into Kane & the Rock and Albert & Bradshaw, and double elimination attempts ensue.

#18 is Hardcore Holly, bringing us up to 5 men. Bradshaw gets destroyed by an Albert Bomb (I miss it being called the Baldo Bomb, myself. It has a better ring). Bradshaw & Holly double-team the Rock, trying to throw him out. Meanwhile, Albert gives a Scissors Kick to Kane, showing his agility. I hear he's doing very well in NJPW right now as Giant Bernard, better than he ever did in WWE. Anyhow, in the ring, the Rock nearly tosses Kane, but can't manage it. #19 is the rookie, K-Kwik (later known as Ron "The Truth" Killings in TNA). K-Kwik goes after Albert and quickly loses his momentum., getting nailed. K-Kwik gets slammed down by Bradshaw, while Kane throws down Holly at the same time. #20 is Val Venis, another RTC member. He gets Spinebuster'ed by Kane, then picked up by his tie. Seven men in the ring. The Rock gives K-Kwik a powerslam, continuing to make K-Kwik the spot-fest man in the ring.

#21 is William Regal, the European Champion, who, of course, smacks around K-Kwik. Venis nearly tosses the Rock, ellicting some moans from the audience. #22 is Test, who recently split from his T & A partner, Albert. In the ring, Test immediately tosses out Regal, the first elimination in a while, then goes after Albert, stomping him down. The Rock is continually in danger in this one, regularly going over the ropes and slipping back in. #23 is the third surprise of the evening, as the Big Show makes his return to the WWF! People start flying, as the Big Show launches out Test, then picks up K-Kwik and throws him out. Albert and Bradshaw both try their luck, but get Chokeslammed. Venis and Holly soon follow, and everyone's going down. That leaves the big ones, with the Big Show grabbing Kane and Chokeslamming him as well! The Rock stumbles into it, but gets a low blow on the Big Show to stay alive. The Rock then punches the Big Show to the ropes, then clotheslines him out, ending the Big Show's run quickly! A furious Big Show clears the announce table and yanks out the Rock, as #24, Crash Holly(RIP) runs in and immediately gets ignored in favor of the Big Show/Rock. The Big Show grabs the Rock by the throat and Chokeslams him through the announce table, knocking the People's Champion out! The Big Show then stalks away, still in a fury, as the Rock simply lays in the wreckage.

Back in the ring, everyone else has decided to attack Kane, who can't quite fight off the 5-on-1 odds. The odds quickly improve, though, as #25 is the Undertaker! He rides his motorcycle to the ring (he's currently in his Bad Ass gimmick) and helps out his brother, attacking everyone but Kane. The Dead Man throws out Bradshaw and Hardcore Holly, while the Big Red Machine throws out Crash Holly and Albert. Soon after, Venis goes out by the tie, courtesy of the Undertaker, and we're down to the Brothers of Destruction (and the unconscious Rock). Unlike the Hardyz, Kane & the Undertaker opt to wait, as #26 is Scotty Too Hotty. Scotty should have known better than to get into the ring. He gets annihilated, tasting a Double Chokeslam before the brothers toss him out. That's Kane's 10th elimination, by the way, and that's not counting Drew Carey running for his life.

Things pick up with #27, as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin walks out to the ring. Both Brothers of Destruction wait in the ring, side by side, as the Rattlesnake comes down. Austin doesn't make it, though, as a bloody Triple H runs out and attacks Austin from behind, with the two fighting up the aisle! Meanwhile, the Rock comes into the ring and attacks Kane, catching the Undertaker's attention. In the aisle, Austin gets slammed into different railings, busting the Rattlesnake open. #28 is "The One" Billy Gunn, who runs to the ring to help out the Rock against the Brothers of Destruction. Referees, meanwhile, surround Triple H and get him to go to the back, leaving a bloody Austin out in the aisleway. In the ring, the Brothers have gotten control on Gunn & the Rock, but the Rock fights back against the Dead Man, swinging away. But the Undertaker DDTs the Rock deep into the canvas, ending the momentum. #29 is the 4th and final surprise of the Rumble, as Haku (who jumped from WCW, leading to the death of the WCW Hardcore Title) runs to the ring. The big Haku attacks the Undertaker, as Austin still lies in a pool of his own blood.

The Brothers double-team Haku, trying to slow the big man down. Haku's afro is out of control, by the way. #30 is, of course, Rikishi, who stops and sees Austin down. He gleefully goes over to take advantage, but Austin comes to life, punching down Rikishi all the way to the ring, then attacking Gunn. Seven left: Austin, Gunn, Haku, Kane, the Rock, Rikishi, & the Undertaker. Only four of these seven have any chance at all. To prove that, Austin throws out Haku. Thanks for coming to the WWF, Haku, enjoy your paycheck. Kane is over 50 minutes, while the Rock is over 30. Rikishi gets Chokeslammed by the Undertaker. The Undertaker then sends the Rock over the ropes, but the Rock crawls back in on the apron. Showing some stupidity, the Undertaker opts to Headbutt Rikishi. You never headbutt a Samoan. Rikishi wins out, giving the Dead Man a kick that sends the Undertaker over the top and to the floor, eliminating him! Rikishi, with confidence, pulls over the Rock and prepares to squash him from the turnbuckle. But the Rock gets a low blow, then throws Rikishi out of the ring, eliminating the King's odds-on pick. The King, of course, quickly switches to Kane.

We're down to the final four: Austin, Gunn, Kane, & the Rock. One of these guys is not like the other, one of these guys just doesn't belong. Austin doesn't let me finish the song, as he throws out Gunn. With Kane down, Austin and the Rock lock eyes and start going at it, exchanging rights. The Rock wins out, knocking down Austin and preparing for the Rock Bottom. Austin fights out of it and lands the Stone Cold Stunner on the Rock! Kane comes back and attacks Austin, with Austin getting the Thesz Press on the Big Red Machine. This allows the Rock to recover and attack, landing the Rock Bottom on the Rattlesnake! That took most of the Rock's energy, but he has enough to throw Kane through the middle rope to the outside. Kane's still in it, but he's out of the ring. Austin and the Rock continue their war, not suspecting the return of the monster. As the Rock picks up Austin to throw him out, Kane comes back, tossing both men. Austin makes it to the apron, but the Rock is out. It's down to Kane and Austin. Kane sucks it up, Chokeslamming Austin. He's been in there over an hour, and has eliminated 11 guys. Austin comes back with a low blow, but Kane opts to go to the outside and bring in a chair. He prepares a swing, but Austin blocks it with a kick. Kane catches Austin on the run for a Tombstone, but Austin escapes and gets the Stunner! A hurting Kane rises up, while Austin gets the fallen chair and smashes Kane with shot after shot! Finally, Austin charges and clotheslines Kane, sending him out! JR yells out "Stone Cold!" repeatedly, as a bloody Rattlesnake rejoices in his victory.

Ace Thoughts: Tremendous Rumble, both for its intensity and its comedy. While I love the competition in the '92 Rumble, and I enjoyed Benoit's journey in the '04 Rumble, this one still comes close to the top of the pile, due to the involvement of Drew Carey and the Honky Tonk Man, not to mention the hardcore elements and the epic fight of Kane. I really think people would have bought Kane getting the victory, but it just couldn't happen. Other plans were in place. In fact, things would end up in a strange way, as the Rock won the World Title from Angle at No Way Out, leading to Austin vs. the Rock at Wrestlemania. That, of course, was tarnished by Austin turning heel and joining up with Vince McMahon and Triple H. All that aside, it's definitely a great Rumble, and worth checking out.

The Accelerator