Thanks to http://www.digits.com for their badass righteous free counters
Royal Rumble 2000 - TAKE 2!
You know what the two sweetest words to a Minor Figure of Online Wrestling Commentary such as myself are? REVISIONIST HISTORY, that magical invention that allows us to go back and view events of the past that have already been poked, prodded, and dissected to death and back through the anti-rose-colored-glasses-of-time. Like how back in '97, the majority of the smark community was SOOOOOOOO all about WCW, and everything on RAW was ass, and how now, '97 was RAW's greatest rebuilding year, while Nitro featured some good matches, but overall was a cancerous boil on the giant figurative ass of the wrestling fans' collective consciousness.
"So what?" you rightly ask. Simple - although I've already done a majestically mark-tastic review of this show, I'm ready to put that unpleasantness behind me and kick it again, see what I wrote, and either dissect or bolster myself. Never you worry - I'm still working on the Electronica 'N Wrestling Connection piece that will hopefully change, at the bare minimum, the way you look at DJing as an art, and it'll probably be in your sweaty little... monitors... by the end of the week. But it's RO'L RUM'L WEEK, and I refuse to be left out in the cold, so YER TIS!
(My original comments will be in regular
typeface, my comments on those comments will be in italics.)
(One year later, let's check the scorecard: Kurt Angle: weakest world champion whose ringname doesn't include the word "Show"; Tazz: racist commentator for HeAT and general target of RC mockery and laughter [AH'M TAZZ! and such]. Politics can cram it with walnuts.)
Like I said before, I was one of the most liberal kidz at my High School, so what with my whole dissident thang - sorry, I mean DIRTY PINKO COMMIE FAGGOT WAYS, it always gives me a vicarious kick to see a whole arenaload of folk booing Kurt "I woulda been a megaface in the 80s" Angle out of town. But that's just me.
Still true. Of course, now they only boo him because they know they're supposed to, and they have to do SOMETHING until Triple H shows up.
Y'know, I remember reading that Kurt Angle's opponent - a "closely guarded WWF secret", which is an oxymoron if I've ever heard one -
along the lines of "Worthwhile Hitman489 Viewpoint"
could be anyone, from the Undertaker to Ken Shamrock. I leave it up to you, gentle reader, to evaluate how excited the prospect of seeing Ken Shamrock, much less the Undertaker (Sucks), return to a WWF ring left me.
No real comment - just pointing out a fact that'll probably remain true forever, no matter how many puro tapes I see/review.
But no, it was Tazz all along (complete with his badass music), proving that sometimes the best surprise is no surprise (retroactive WCW bashing: anyone wanna bet that if the WCW was in this same situation, that they'd bring out David Arquette? Well you'd be WRONG, because he's their CHAMPION! HAH! SMUGNESS~!).
ANIMAL?!? FUCKING ANIMAL!?!? Good LORD, Eric... you better have a fucking show of NOTHING BUT CRUISER MATCHES to make up for that travesty. And no, for those of you who may be wondering - I am NOT Mistress Cleo.
Anywho, since North Carolina really sucks ass, I'd never seen Tazz in action before this. Was I impressed? Yes. He really did give the impression of being a "one man crime spree" (I've seen my share since then), although he did a bit too much selling for my taste.
*shakes head*... and you wonder why I wanted to rewrite this in the first place. Let me rephrase that: "Tazz wasn't in control for a large enough percentage of the match in order to get his offense over fully, although the Tazzmission pretty much stopped Angle dead in his tracks." In later months, this would end up being one of Tazz's major sticking points, as the only thing he ever really got known for (pre-Lawler) was "choking people out". And you can ax Scott Christ ("SCOTT! SCOTT, CAN I AX YOU SUMP'N?!?!") if having such a one-dimensional ring presence worked in his favor or not. Better yet, you can read all about it.
And he had the first credible submission move I've seen in a long time (one that fulfills Rule #1 about finishing moves - it can come at any time, from anywhere). I liked it, and even seeing it on tape (Poor College PGITs like myself don't get to order Pay-Per-Views), it provided a decent markout moment.
Note to self: Don't lie to your audience. This was bordering on AWESOME for me; I'd never seen Tazz in any shape/form before, and I was sure digging the shit out of him. A "decent" markout moment is more like, say, seeing Triple H say "I Quit" to the Rock on RAW in January '99.
Mem-O-Rate Score: ***1/2 (yes, fractions too)
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAnd I'm an idiot.
Remeber - this was one of the first two shows I ever reviewed, and I didn't
quite have my hands around the Cornette/Dooley star system yet. This is
the infamous "Mem-O-Rate" scale, where shite becomes non-shite,
and nothing is as it seems. As a moment - yeah, ***1/2 sounds about right.
As a WRESTLING MATCH? Not a fraction higher than 1/2*. Draw your
so this did the job for me. The best moments,
however, were YET TO COME, BAY-BAY!
Silly me... the WWF had yet to BEGIN to ruin the Dudleyz.
In addition, DJC is a big fan of highspots
Again, not much has changed.
, especially "death-for-my-amusement" ones that involve both flipping and breaking. Guess what happened? They did me right. There was flips 'n shit all OVER the fucking place
This was written BEFORE I wrote for WrestleFans 2000, btw.
for something like ten GODDAMN minutes,
Ah, the days before puro... back when ten minutes was an eternity.
not to mention a ton of table spots, which pleases the "break stuff" mark in me. But I'll always remember the best damn "death-for-my-amusement" highspot I've seen in QUITE sometime when Jeff MOTHERFUCKING Hardy AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT SWANTON~!ed D-Von through a table that must have been, oh, let's be conservative and say fifteen feet. Keep in mind that I had both read what Jeff done did and seen the clip on RAW the next night. And I still had to do my Silent Jumping Around At 3:30 AM Markout Moment, because it was just FREAKING INCREDIBLE.
Even today, this paragraph is a living depiction of DJC Hitting the Proverbial Nail on the Proverbial Head. That spot is easily the best out of ANY of the Hardyz/Dudleyz/E&C series.
It's almost sad (I'll explain the psychology of the match later) how awesome that moment was, because there were a buncha un-possible stuntz that ROCKED ASS in the rest of the match, too. Damn glory-hogging Jeff. Better enjoy him while you can, however; he's not likely to be among the living if he keeps this shit up.
Amen. Cut and paste that one into your text editor about fifty times; Vince is going to be asking him to do something REALLY stupid to draw the viewers back in before the year's out. Mark it down.
Mem-O-Rate Score: *****. Oh, right, like it was going to get anything else?
Sigh... for the days of that Olde Tyme Mark in me again. This match is *NOT* *****; it's probably the absolute lowest that a **** match can go before it hits *** 3/4; it's a spotfest from hell. But it's the best kind of spotfest that there is - a PURE spotfest. None of this "outside storyline" crap, aside from the requisite "Dudz like tablez/Hardyz like jumping off shit/Dudz are jerkasses who need a lesson-teachin'" foundation-type stuff. All the match energy is focused on just knocking the crowd on its ass. In comparison, the Much Vaunted TLC match puts a LOT of emphasis on working in storyline elements that, when all's said and done, end up detracting from the match (i.e. the Lita Incident). Besides, this match is just about absolutely free of backstage politix - it's just the two hottest teams in the Big 3 at the time just going at it, with the intention to put on a show. Is the Wrestlemania/TLC match better as a match? Yes; yes it is - the aforementioned facets take away from the match as a spotfest and conversely add to the other matches as WRESTLING MATCHES. But as far as just a balls-out exhibition, I'll take this one over the much-overrated TLC match any day o' t' week.
Now that I look back on it, it really did have a psychology to it, and not a "I-Hit-Your-Arm" psychology, either. It was like, both teams are some crazy mofos, and it'll just take something UTTERLY instupidlysane to keep 'em both down. It's a cop-out answer, but it's just different from all those alleged "spot-setup-repeat" matches I keep reading aboot with Sabu Et Al, because the personae of both teams has been built up as such.
Oddly, this psychological tidbit was something that I remember expressly intending to correct with this re-review, but now that I sit down and think about it, it's actually true. Think about it - the WWF had been giving the Dudleyz the Monster Push from Hades for the weeks leading up to this show, building their characters as just MONSTROUS heels who'd do anything for the win, and with whom nobody seemed to be able to match wills (think tag team versions of the January-May version of HHH). The Hardyz, on the other hand, had been getting a push as a team that you'd pretty much have to kill in order to get them to stay down for three seconds ever since their jaw-dropping (and, I contend, best match of the Hardyz/E&C/Dudleyz series) ladder match at No Mercy. This match, then, was a perfect stage for the two teams to let their characters shine: the Dudleyz got to throw the Hardyz through tables in creative and despicable ways, while the Hardyz got to shakily get up from it and regroup before delivering the suicidal spots that no other team in the WWF could deliver. Is it Misawa/Kawada? Hell no. But it IS a great moment where all the right elements of professional wrestling come together - the spots, the storytelling, the match flow... and I wanted to change my mind. BOOOOOO!
I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE this match, and I'm pretty sure that I'll be giving it one of the votes for RSPW2K's (it's not dead yet, and I'm ranting on it too!) Match of the Year.
Kudos all around.
3. Royal Rumble Swimsuit Contest Yes, this is THAT thing.
Or, to be more precise, those THINGS.
I'll be honest, I fast forward through it every time it comes up. I mean, it's fairly obvious that I have the internet ('cause I'm not yelling this report from far, far away), so why should I subject my precious rods and cones to the sight of Mae Young's Horrible Breasts? Or Luna's, for that matter? So instead, I thought I'd think up a few NICE things to say about WCW, in light of the rather remarkable bashing that has been (rightfully) levelled upon them lately:
This should be good.
1. Hey, at least they aren't breaking into their matches for commercials any more! (only because it's pretty tricky to find a point in which to break into a match that's eleven seconds long.)
Eh... apparently they gave the cruiserweights some decent minutes on Monday, so I've mellowed significantly on this.
2. Since I didn't start watching wrestling until '98 (November '98, to be precise), I get to see Hulk Hogan give me an approximation of what it was like back in the early days of Stone Cold!
3. I get to see the talent of tomorrow's WWF...today! (job to Hogan GONE!
who jobbed to the Laws of Gravity
4. I get to see that cool nW- oh, sorry, I mean nEw BlOoD angle!
Hell, give Bischoff two or three months, and dollars = donuts says we'll be seeing BOTH of them again!
5. Save money now by watching Nitro and Thudner, and you have to order neither their PPVs nor their soon-to-be-released last-gasp-before-death Best Of show!
WCW, not ECW. I get the two confused myself - I don't watch either one.
It's like the AWA - but with ATTITU- damn, sorry, I mean EDg- no, not him either, um, but with BISCHO- fuck, he was there too! Howsaboot - but with VINCE RUSSO! Yeah, that'll do, pig! Oh, yeah, the match. Um...
This may be the greatest Rant Crew quote of all time. Too bad I didn't post it on there.
Mem-O-Rate Score: DUD. Not quite the FUCKING DUD that was the Inferno "match", but pretty damned close.
Pity my poor rods and cones for being forced to take in both travesties. This sucks as a match, as entertainment, and as... well, I'm out of increasing terms. This just sucks.
4. Intercontinental Title Match: Chris "Markout" Jericho
Not any more, bubbaloo.
vs. Bob "Better Than I Let On" Holly
Early candidate for Understatement of the Year.
vs. Chyna "Heat Sink" "No Last Name"
sigh... remember those wretched five or so months when Chyna was floating around the IC title scene? Too bad we're going to see 'em again when her book gets published.
Er, um, right. Yeah, well, Jericho rules it in his lazy manner,
"Your honor, let the record show that Digable James Cobo called Chris Jericho on being lazy WAAAAAAY back in the day..."
which is still about NINE THOUSAND BENOITS BETTER of Chyna's best.
I totally need to go back to using "Benoits" as a measure of excellence.
Am I the only person who thinks that that quebrada looks totally stupid? Because it does. He needs to just go back to using it as a setup move, which creates an interesting paradox, b-cause his WHOMP-ASS LAZY BUT STILL COOL LINKED POWERBOMBS set up the Walls of Liontamer damn well.
I stand by this. He needs to either shit (i.e. learn how to do a fucking quebrada) or get off the pot. Come to think of it, he just needs to start putting, y'know, effort back into his matches again. Jericho's not the greatest wrestler in the world, but he's no slouch. Unless, of course, he decides to be a lazy arse.
Anywho, Chyna wisely makes herself minimal in this shindig, leaving Chris "~!" Jericho
I blame my markly ways and fluoridated water.
to laze his way around with Bob "Competant" Holly.
GAH! KICK MY ASS, BRIAN/BOON/ADAM!
Match is OK, if boring, because Jericho hadn't yet gotten to a place where he needed heat like he needed air. That'll come after he turns heel, and as far as I'm concerned, THAT CAN'T HAPPEN TOO SOON. (I have no reason for putting these parentheses here, but they're like a trademark of mine [like the quebrada SHOULD be to Jericho], and I hadn't put one in yet. Sooooooo...how 'bout that local sports team?)
Jericho just makes people write nonsensically. His laziness must inspire similar reactions in others.
Mem-O-Rate Score: ***. Like I said, not bad, just...boring.
Actual Rating: Probably more like **. I can't stress the mediocrity of this match enough.
All would soon be forgiven, however; Jericho would soon go onto his program with Kurt Angle Rules,
GOD, as great as that feud was, it could have been better by a billion.
which would lead to his program with Chris Benoit Rules (But Not On The Mic, Although He's Getting Better),
which would go on and on and on... not that I'm complaining (anyone who wants to send me a copy of the Rumble on Sunday is more than welcome to :)
which would lead to his soon-to-be program with the WWF title. All is right in the world.
Am I the idiot, or is the WWF?
Again, still true.
(but I will watch those deLECTable aPa sketches - they RULE), this is what you call a "fast forward" match - boring mixed with FUCKING boring. Fortunately, the WWF did my FF finger a favor (ALLITERATION~!)
and kept it SHORT AS HELL. Thank you, god!
Mem-O-Rate Score: *.
Make that 1/2*, just to be ornery to Billy. Plus to actively reflect the boredom inflicted by this match.
It didn't actively suck, but it was BORING, which is JUST AS BAD. At least it wasn't boring for very long.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Billy Gunn.
6. WWF Title Match: Triple H vs. Cactus Jack We all know I wanted Dude Love (~!~!~!~!~!) to come back, but eh, this'll do. If I had to pick MOTY right now, based on what I've seen (which means no Big Japan Honma death matches,
1/2/00: Tomoaki Honma vs. Ryuji Yamakawa: NOT BETTER
CMLL PPV matches,
3/17/00: Atlantis vs. Villano III: NOT BETTER
or [wait for it... wait for it...] WCW matches *RIMSHOT*)
Thank you, thank you, you're great and I love you. Hey, how 'bout them Mets?
it would be THIS ONE RIGHT HERE. I mean, this was just IN-GODDAMN-TENSE, with great p-sychology from both guys.
Where to begin? The way Jack and Helmsley worked in elements of Foley's match at the previous year (i.e. the handcuffs)? The way that the pair incorporate the reminder of Jack's hardcore image (i.e. Jack-specific savagery and hardcore background is emphasized via the barbed-wire 2x4)? And don't even get me started on the story - it couldn't have been told any better. I mean, HHH had been running roughshod over EVERYONE in the WWF for the previous two months, doing WHAT he wanted, WHEN he wanted it (the fact that he hit Austin with the car actually makes me like this match more, in that respect). And all of a sudden, it all goes out of control. He CANNOT keep Jack down. At ALL. He tries suplexing him on wooden pallets, stiffshotting the everliving crap out of him (even the strikes made the match more impressive - at the beginning, Hunter was just throwing normal strikes, but by the end, where he realized that it was going to take a superhuman effort to beat Cactus Jack, he was just SWINGING FOR THE FENCES), in general, EVERYTHING to get Jack down. He goes back to what's beaten Mankind in the past (i.e. the handcuffs), but Cactus Jack's STILL too much for him (i.e. drop toehold while he's 'cuffed). Hunter's going down... until he can do something so brutal, so out of this world outrageously awesome and amazing, that it doesn't damage Cactus Jack - it damages MICK FOLEY. And that something is the pedigree directly onto the thumbtacks, which is why it's such a brutal and magnificent spot - it kills the MAN, not the character (just like at KotR '98, where by the end, Foley wasn't fighting as Mankind, he was fighting as Mick Foley, and the thumbtacks did him in). This match set the tone for the rest of the feud; in the February portion of the feud (where Foley's career was ended), the thrust of the feud wasn't "HHH vs. Cactus Jack", it was "HHH vs. Foley". I can't say enough about this match. It's probably the best brawl the WWF's ever seen (Bret/Austin INCLUDED), if not the Big 3 entirely (must... watch... more... Vader... matches...). The highest praise I can give a match is that I have to turn off the tape after I see it, because it'll cheapen whatever comes next. Rey vs. Eddy at Halloween Havoc '97 did it. Yamakawa vs. Honma in 6/99 did it. Benoit vs. Regal at Pillman 2000 did it. And this match did it more than any of them put together. Ladies and gentlemen, your REAL match of the year.
I mean, they just hit the EXACT RIGHT MOVE at the EXACT RIGHT TIME. It was impressive. Words really do fail me on this one, folks; it just rocked REALLY HARD. So I guess I'll spend this time detailing exactly why I wanted Dude Love (~!~!~!~!~!) to come back for February. Y'see, there's plenty of hardcore intense people in the WWF, including HHH. But there isn't anybody near the top who's just a funloving imbecile.
Still true, and I'd love to put together a Dude Love comp tape. If only I had RAW footage.
Can you imagine how great the match would have been between HHH and Dude Love (you know what goes here) if they'd had the backstory of Dude just annoying the shit out of HHH for a month? Foley's god, I mean good enough to work in a GREAT brawl (it's happened before - see Edge 1998, Over The) despite the inherent silliness of Dude Love.
I'm an idiot. Don't pay any attention to my old statement above; Cactus Jack's the ONLY one who could have pulled this match off.
And Helmsley's CERTAINLY up to the task
of keeping up with 'im; witness the LEVEL SEVEN BLADE JOB he did in this
match. Besides, the fans were eating Foley up with a spoon in February;
he could have come out as The Gobbledygooker for his last match and they
woulda been cheering him on. Godspeed, Foley; I for one miss you already.
There's only one cat who can sufficiantly bring peace to the war zone,
and he retired.
The one accurate score in the entire review.
It's pretty FUCKING rare for a card to have two ***** matches on it at the same time, even with the personal slants of Mem-O-Ration.
Not that it matters, because if you get this show, well...I just reviewed the reason you're getting it.
But make no mistake - this one was DAMN SURE WORTH IT. Here's how intense this brawl was: I knew that the Pedigree on the thumbtacks was coming. I knew EXACTLY when it was coming. But I'll be damned if my jaw didn't hit the floor.
Let me add a postscript to that - I was making a Best of HHH comp, and my jaw STILL hit the floor when he dropped Jack face-first on the tacks.
7. Oh Yeah, That Royal Rumble Thing. Hoo
baby, like there's anything that's going to be able to successfully come
after that EXHAUSTING whompasser of a match.
Since I'd never seen a RR before (like I said - Poor College PGITs get no PPVs),
Not unless they're on tape, anyway.
I was entertained by the whole thing, but not terribly impressed. By way of comparison, however, I got a comp tape a few weeks after I got this tape with the Rumble match from '92 (shameless plug: I got it from Mickey Alderson, who runs http://www.lmao.com/extreme/
and all of its resplendant goodness), which BLEW ME THE SHIT AWAY.
Which, now that I'm more comfortable rating matches, means it's a ****1/4 match.
Of course, it didn't have to follow that AWESOME brawl, but hey - who keeps score anymore? Suckers, that's who. I did like the Rakishi Long-Ass Push That Ultimately Leads To Elimination
Rewatching this, I especially liked the "elimination" portion.
he stayed in the exact right amount of time, got to get jiggly with it,
Those in charge of evaluating wrestling worth have been sacked.
and gave the crowd exactly what they wanted, while planting the seeds for a heel turn for either him or Too Cool.
I can't stress enough that I am *NOT* Mistress Cleo.
I liked the Test push for similar reasons. What I did NOT like, however, was the way that they kept showing the TAKA-smooshing-the-shit-out-of-his-shoulder spot.
A-F'n-Men. See "Vicious, Sid" for a more recent example.
It wasn't very cool to watch the first time, but at least you didn't have to see where he lands DIRECKALY on his shoulder. I mean, OW. I don't like eye trama most of all, but shoulder trauma's pretty fucking heinous. And it didn't help that no effort was made to rein in Jerry Lawler. I really feel bad for him, because I bet he felt like SHIT when he found out that TAKA really fucked hisself up hardcore as hell. Nossir, I don't like it.
I could write a book on how they've mistreated Taka, Sho, and Essa Rios during their tenures. The word "racism" doesn't begin to cover it. And I'm not talking about "d00dz they DidnT Push theM to ThE toP of THE Card" mistreatment - I'm talking about genuine racism. Maybe we may have another rant in the works.
Still, can't say that I wasn't overall
entertained. Good stuff.
Real Rating: ***. Good as entertainment, not too bad as a wrestling match.
Well well well, seems that I have the last two matches ranked exactly the same as Scott Keith. He's copying me, I tell you.
Anywho, this was a very good way to end a very good show, with everybody giving at least %75 of their total worth. I can't complain, dammit, I just can't complain.
The reality of the matter is that this is the Show of the Year, without a doubt. One excellent match from the Hardyz and Dudleyz, one not-bad match from Jericho/HOLLY~!/Chyna (I really need to make an antithesis for Dean Rasmussen's "~!", if only so I can apply it to Chyna), and an entertaining Royal Rumble match = a good show. Of course, the unequivocal, number one and the best Match of the Year 2K (TLC can also cram it with walnuts... Foley/Helmsley is where it's at) makes this a must-see show. Get it. NOW.
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