I have learned so much from writing each of these articles. I remember a lot of these matches, a lot of these feuds, a lot of what was going on with the WWF and WCW, but looking into it the way I have been, watching some of the matches to make sure the info I have is correct, I’m looking back to the glory days of the youth of my wrestling fandom, and I’m having a blast! I will admit that I wasn’t a Rocky fan early on. He just didn’t do anything for me. I climbed on the Rocky bandwagon quite late and have since learned to love his quirky eyebrow and speaking about himself in the 3rd person. He’s meant to talk and entertain, something so many true wrestlers can’t grasp. When I really started to notice Rocky, if someone had told me where he is today in his careers, I wouldn’t believe them.
The 13th annual Royal Rumble took place on January 23, 2000 at Madison Square Garden. This was the first WWF PPV to air on Terrestrial TV in the UK as they had just acquired the rights to air WWF programs that year. As the year before, Sunday Night Heat started the evening’s event with a couple of matches. Christian defeats Steve Blackman, then Headbangers and Big Boss Man defeated Prince Albert, Godfather and D-Lo in a Six Man Tag Match, and Edge defeated Al Snow via DQ. When the PPV started Taz defeated Kurt Angle. Then Hardy Boyz defeated Dudley Boyz in a Tables Match in what was very early in the feud (Edge and Christian were the third team to round out this amazing time) that led to some of the best tag work in the WWF(E) of the last decade. Mae Young, with Mark Henry, her Sexual Chocolate, defeated Ivory, Terri, Jacqueline, Kat, Luna Vachon and Barbara Bush in a Miss Royal Rumble 2000 Bikini Contest! Jericho defeated Chyna and Hardcore Holly in a Triple Threat Match to decide the undisputed WWF IC Championship. New Age Outlaws defeat the Acolytes to retain their WWF Tag Team Championship. Triple H with Steph defeat Cactus Jack in a street fight to retain the WWF Championship in what is one of my top ten favorite matches.
The actual Royal Rumble Match started with D-Lo and Grand Master Sexay as entrant one and two. D-Lo was eliminated third, Grand Master Sexay fourth, both by Rikishi. Rikishi entered at #8 and eliminated seven people before Big Boss Man, Test, British Bulldog, Gangrel, Edge and Bob Backlund eliminated him. Chyna was entrant #17 and she eliminated Jericho before being eliminated by Big Boss Man. Guess it was her way to get back at Jericho for their earlier match. Rocky entered at #24, Big Show at #26, and Kane at #28. Kane was dragged from the ring by New Age Outlaws and X-Pac used that to slide back in the ring after Rocky eliminated him. Kane made it back into the match and got into it with Big Show. He wiggled free of a chokeslam and hit Big Show with an enziguri! It was a sick move from one big guy to one huge guy! Kane then picked Big Show up and slammed him to the mat, but then a kick from X-Pac eliminated Kane. Big Show eliminated a number of people while in the match, the last being X-Pac (again), but then Rocky eliminated Big Show for the win. While Rocky was only in the match for 14:47, he sure made a statement while he was in there.
The following RAW Big Show claimed that he had won the Royal Rumble Match as Rocky’s feet hit the floor before Big Show’s did. Over the next couple weeks Big Show produced footage that showed Rocky’s feet hit the floor before Big Show’s did. This led to Rocky and Big Show facing off at No Way Out. Shane got involved and knocked Rocky out with a chair shot to the head and Big Show got the win. During the same PPV Trip beat Foley in a Hell In A Cell. The pre-match stip was that Foley would retire from wrestling if he lost. Rocky would do about anything to regain the Title shot at WM2000, so he agreed to face Big Show at RAW on March 13th. If Rocky won then the Championship Match would be Triple Threat Match, but if Rocky lost he would retire. Shane wanted Big Show to go to WM2000 and appointed himself Special Guest Ref. VKM appeared and ripped the ref shirt off Shane and put it on himself to count the three for Rocky to make the main event at WM2000 a Triple Threat. The following RAW Trip defended his Title against Big Show and Rocky on the stip that he wouldn’t have to defend against them at WM2000. After Trip retained his Title, Linda came out and announced that the main event at WM2000 would be a Fatal 4 Way Elimination Match as Foley was added to the match.
At the Fatal 4 Way Elimination Match at WM2000, Triple H with Steph defended his WWF Championship against Big Show with Shane-O-Mac, Foley with Linda and Rocky with VKM. Big Show was the first eliminated as the other three banded together and after a Rock Bottom Rocky got the three. After two pedigrees and a chair shot Trip was able to eliminate Foley. That left it down to Trip and Rocky who fought back and forth until VKM turned heel and hit Rocky with a chair a couple times. These chair shots gave Trip the advantage and the win. After the match was over Rocky hit Rock Bottoms on VKM, Shane-O-Mac and Steph before hitting the People’s Elbow on Steph.
The following RAW Rocky pinned Trip in a non-Title match. The following week Rocky defeated Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan in a Handicap Steel Cage Match. After that match Trip, Shane and VKM beat Rocky down. Rocky was busted open and lost a good amount of blood. On the following Smackdown it was announced that Rocky would face Trip at Backlash for the WWF Championship. On April 30th Rocky went into Backlash to face Trip for the WWF Championship, and with the help of SCSA and Linda, he won.
Rocky and Trip went to Judgment Day, continuing their feud for the WWF Championship. They were scheduled for an Iron Man Match with HBK as the Special Guest Ref. There were eleven decisions in the match: 7 pinfalls, 2 DQs, 1 submission, and 1 countout. They were tied at 5-5 when Taker got involved and attacked Trip. Trip won the match and the WWF Championship. The next night on RAW Rocky took out the entire McMahon-Helmsley Faction with help from Taker. Rocky won his 5th WWF Championship at King of The Ring in a Six Man Tag Match with Taker and Kane against Shane-O-Mac, VKM and Trip.
In October Rocky lost his WWF Championship to Kurt Angle at No Mercy. Rocky went on to feud with Rikishi, defeating him at Survivor Series. Both were involved in the Six Man Hell In A Cell at Armageddon. I clearly remember this match as Rikishi was ‘chokeslammed’ off the top of the cage by Taker into a truck full of wood chips and shavings. Rikishi took that bump beautifully. Angle won that HIAC to retain the WWF Championship.
On December 18th Rocky and Taker defeated Edge and Christian for the WWF Tag Team Championship on RAW, but lost them back to E&C the next night at the Smackdown taping.
Rocky continued to feud with Angle into the new year. We all know Rocky is a huge star, arguably one of the biggest mainstream stars to come out of the WWF. Between being a third generation wrestler, a huge name in the wrestling world in his own right, and the numerous movies he’s starred in, good and bad, he’s recognizable on sight for many in the USA and probably around the world. Of course winning the Royal Rumble was a good push for his career, but I think he would have done just as well without it.
Stay tuned for Royal Rumble 2001! Thanks for reading.