| Date: January 25, 2004
| Venue: Wachovia Center | City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
| Attendance: 17, 289 | Buys: 500, 000
| tweet me: @BastionBlogger
Man do I love a Royal Rumble pay per view. John Cena is on the poster for this one and he will be involved in the Royal Rumble match. I’m going to talk about the 30 man Rumble first because let’s be honest, it’s the highlight of the show. The winner gets a shot at their brands champion and there are plenty of good contenders this year. The four men you’ve got to consider favourites are Raw’s Goldberg and Randy Orton and Smackdown’s Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. Goldberg is the former champion whilst Orton vs. Triple H has bene hinted at on Raw over the past weeks. Kurt Angle is the man looking to get back into the title picture whilst Chris Benoit has been given a lot of air time, mostly feuding with Paul Heyman. Besides those four men, you could look at John Cena who has been given a lot of air time and a face turn, Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, Big Show or even Kane. A Brock vs. Benoit match has certainly been hinted at on Smackdown.
The WWE Championship will be on the lime tonight as Brock Lesnar defends against Hardcore Holly. Holly returned to Smackdown in November after Brock put him on the injured list for 15 months. Holly has attacked Lesnar on a number of occasions which led to Smackdown General Manager Paul Heyman suspending Holly. Hardcore would go on to earn a title shot by defeating A-Train and Matt Morgan in a handicap match. Triple H will be defending his World Heavyweight Championship against his old friend Shawn Michaels after the two battled to a draw on Raw a few weeks ago. Michaels thought he had won but his shoulders were on the mat as he pinned the champion. Sheriff Stone Cold Steve Austin made a re-match between the two at Royal Rumble but this time it’ll be a Last Man Standing match.
The World Tag Team Championships will also be on the line tonight as Ric Flair and Batista defend against The Dudley Boyz. Flair and Batista beat The Dudley Boyz for the gold at Armageddon last month and since then the two teams haven’t kept away from each other. The Dudley Boyz nearly put Flair through a table on Raw a couple of weeks ago but Jonathan Coachman would save Flair before being put through a table himself. The other title set to be defended tonight will be the Cruiserweight Championship. Jamie Noble beat Tajiri to become number one contender and since then Noble has taken advantage of his (now) blind girlfriend Nidia, blaming Rey Mysterio for the abuse.
Also tonight Eddie and Chavo Guerrero go one on one. Chavo has been blaming Eddie for all of their mis-fortune as of late, including their loss of the WWE Tag Team titles to the Basham Brothers. Chavo turned on Eddie, attacking him and even bringing his father (and Eddie’s brother) Chavo Guerrero Sr out to attack Eddie. Tonight, Eddie and Chavo go one on one.
On Heat prior to the pay per view, Victoria beat Molly Holly in a non title match.
A video package kicks us off, first focusing on Triple H and Shawn Michaels and then Brock Lesnar and Hardcore Holly and then Eddie and Chavo Guerrero before moving on to the Royal Rumble match itself. JIm Ross is the man to welcome us to the 17th annual Royal Rumble event. Ross is joined by Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jonathan Coachman. Three man commentary booth eh? Coach predicts Randy Orton to win the Rumble. Jim Ross throws down to Michael Cole and Tazz at ringside.
Ric Flair & Batista (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) – Tables Match for the World Tag Team Championships
It’s a first two on two match between these two teams on pay per view although last month at Armageddon, Flair and Batista beat The Dudleyz at the end of tag team turmoil to win the tag team championships. Batista comes out with a microphone and calls the Dudley Boyz losers which causes the challengers to attack Evolution in the aisle. This is the 5th time consecutively that The Dudley Boyz have fought in tag team action before a Royal Rumble match itself on this PPV. They have a 2-2 record so far. The four men slug it out around the ring until the Dudley Boyz set up a table in the ring. Batista saves Ric Flair from going through a table before D-Von hits Batista with a neckbreaker and clotheslines him out of the ring.
This is Ric Flairs 4th match at a Royal Rumble PPV, he currently has a 2-1 record having won the 1992 Royal Rumble match previously. Batista was in the 2003 Royal Rumble and got to the final 4. Batista and Flair take the advantage with Flair hitting D-Von with big right hands and Batista hitting Bubba Ray with a hard Irish whip. Bubba Ray avoids a spear in the corner and then he and D-Von hit a double neckbreaker on Batista. The only time the tag team championships have changed hands at Royal Rumble PPVs is when the Dudley Boyz won them. Bubba throws Flair off the top and then he and D-Von set up a table and call for a 3D! Coach leaves commentary and gets up on the apron. Bubba drags him into the ring and rips his shirt off.
Bubba Ray slams The Coach and sets him up for the wassup drop but Flair attacks Bubba Ray from behind. D-Von then dives off with a clothesline on Flair but Batista scoops up D-Von and spinebusters him through the table! And just like that it’s over. Apparently it’s not elimination. That finish came out from nowhere. Flair and Batista retain the titles though!
Josh Mathews is backstage with John Cena who is cutting a rap about winning the Royal Rumble. 29 dudes, you can’t see me? Who’s going to win the Rumble? Cue RVD. Good stuff from Cena and Van Dam here.
Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Jamie Noble – Cruiserweight Championship Match
This is a first singles match between these two men on pay per view. Unless you count the pre-show match before No Way Out last year but I don’t. This is Noble’s first Royal Rumble appearance and Mysterio’s second. Rey Mysterio is still looking for his first PPV victory, 18 months into his WWE career. Mysterio goes for the 619 early but Noble sees him coming and drops him with a flapjack. Noble suplexes Mysterio onto the top rope for the first near fall of the night. Jamie hits a big kick to the back of Rey. Nidia is at ringside for Noble. Jamie Noble applies a chinlock and then changes it into an abdominal stretch. Mysterio gets out of it and hits Noble with a dropkick and then some big right hands.
Mysterio hits a big hurricanrana and a bulldog for a near fall. Mysterio then attempts a springboard cross body but Noble sees it coming and counters it into a gutbuster. Nidia accidentally grabs the leg of Noble which distracts him for Mysterio to hit a dropkick, 619 and then a west coast pop! Mysterio wins the match! This was only a short match but it is Rey Mysterio with the win, his first ever win on pay per view! Noble is furious with Nidia and this makes you wonder whether Nidia is actually blind. Did she cost her boyfriend the match on purpose after the way he’s been treating her as of late?
There’s a VT next showing the end of Eddie and Chavo Guerrero and what bought them to this match.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero
This is a first time meeting between these two men on pay per view. Both men have made one Royal Rumble appearance before, both men participating in the 2003 Royal Rumble match. Chavo is joined by his father (and Eddie’s brother) Chavo Guerrero Sr. Eddie looks pretty intense as he makes his entrance. He also looks bigger than he has been before. Eddie is extremely popular. Chavo slaps Eddie early in the match which fires Eddie up even more. Eddie takes Chavo down with a drop toe hold and floats over in a chinlock. Chavo gets out of it and cops Eddie. Eddie hits Chavo back with a chop and then the pace quickens. Chavo takes Eddie down a couple of times with shoulder blocks before the two men exchange chops.
Eddie hits a thumb to the eye to take the advantage. Lots of stopping and starting in this match. Eddie applies an arm bar but Chavo pops out and hurricanranas Eddie out of the ring. Chavo gets back in the ring and distracts the referee long enough for Chavo Guerrero Sr to smash Eddie into the ring steps. Chavo rolls Eddie back into the ring and hits him with lefts and rights. Eddie is reluctant to hit Chavo with punches. Eddie instead applies a cross arm breaker on Chavo. This is definitely the biggest PPV singles match Chavo has wrestled. He hits a side suplex on Eddie for a near fall. Chavo then hits two consecutive suplexes but Eddie counters the third and then counters a spinning DDT. Eddie hits three suplexes of his own.
Eddie Guerrero heads to the top and then dives off with a frog splash which is enough for the three! Eddie wins the match and takes his brother out with a right hand after the bell. There’s a big “Eddie” chant after the bell. Eddie hits Chavo Sr with a low blow and another right hand and then lays into Chavo with big right hands. Eddie ties Chavo Sr to the bottom rope by his tie and then goes back to laying into Chavo who is now bleeding. Eddie leaves Chavo Jr and Sr lying in the ring and walks out to his music.
Josh Mathews is backstage with Chris Benoit who is the number 1 entrant in the Royal Rumble match. Ric Flair, Batista and Randy Orton interrupt the interview celebrating their win over the Dudley Boyz. Flair tells Benoit that he bottles it every time and always ends up second best. Flair sprays champagne over Mathews and leaves.
There’s a VT next showing the history between Brock Lesnar and Hardcore Holly.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Hardcore Holly – WWE Championship Match
This is a first singles match between these two men on PPV. Hardcore Holly has a 1-4 record at Royal Rumble PPVs whilst Lesnar has only wrestled at one Royal Rumble event before and it was last years Royal Rumble match that he won. Holly attacks Lesnar as he tries to get into the ring and he rams Lesnar into the ring post twice. Brock finally gets into the ring and Holly goes up top but misses with a flying nothing. This is Hardcore Holly’s first ever PPV main event. Lesnar lays into Holly and then kicks him out of the ring before smashing him into the ring apron. Back in the ring and Lesnar gets a near fall. Smackdown is the land of the giants at the moment especially with guys like Lesnar, Holly, Big Show, Matt Morgan, A-Train and Rhyno. Lesnar applies a bear hug to Holly and then lays into him with kicks and a high fishermans suplex. I’ve never seen that before.
Lesnar goes back to the bear hug. This is definitely the biggest PPV match in the career of Hardcore Holly. Holly punches his way out of the bear hug but from nowhere Lesnar hits a belly to belly suplex before going back to the reverse bear hug type move. Holly fights out of it and hits a big clothesline and dropkick on Lesnar. Hardcore then hits the Alabama Slam but doesn’t pin Lesnar, instead applies a full nelson. The two men roll around in the full nelson, all the way to the outside where Hardcore breaks the hold. Lesnar then drops Holly on the top rope and back in the ring he gets Hardcore up for the F5, hitting the finisher and getting the win! Brock Lesnar wins the match and retains his WWE Championship. Pretty short match, fairly straight forward for Lesnar. Didn’t feel like a PPV match.
We see Triple H and Shawn Michaels getting ready for their match before a video package showing the history between them.
Triple H (c) vs. Shawn Michaels – Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship
This is the third PPV match between these two men. Michaels beat Triple H at Summerslam 2002 and Triple H beat Shawn at Armageddon 2002. Triple H has a 3-5 record at Royal Rumble events whilst Michaels has a 6-5 record. These two haven’t met in a singles match on PPV since Armageddon 2002. Since then Triple H has been dealing with the likes of Scott Steiner, Booker T, Kevin Nash and Goldberg. Shawn Michaels has had his issues with Chris Jericho, Randy Orton and Batista. Triple H is back to wearing trunks as opposed to those horrendous shorts. The two men hit right hands and chops in the early going. Shawn Michaels first Royal Rumble appearance was in 1989, 15 years ago. Triple H hits a facebuster and a hard Irish whip before taking Michaels down with a backbreaker.
Helmsley hits a number of right hands but Michaels takes him down a applies a figure four. Triple H has spent the last 5 Royal Rumble events either in a World title match or winning a Royal Rumble. Michaels hits a dropkick to the knees of Triple H and then runs at the Game but Triple H ducks and pulls down the ropes sending Michaels to the outside. Triple H then takes apart the Spanish and Smackdown announce tables before throwing Michaels into the steps. Triple H attempts to suplex Michaels from the Smackdown announce table to the Spanish table but Shawn avoids it and hammers Triple H to the floor which gets a chorus of boos. Back in the ring and HBK heads to the top but Triple H sees him coming and kicks him. Triple H then attempts a Pedigree but Michaels back body drops him over the top. Michaels then attempts a springboard cross body but Helmsley ducks and Michaels goes crashing through the Spanish announce table.
Michaels gets up to his feet to break up the referees count. He’s bleeding heavily but the blood doesn’t look too convincing. Triple H hits him with right hands taking Michaels back down to the canvas. Michaels just keeps getting back up to his feet and Triple H keeps on smashing him back down to the mat. Triple H hits a big spinebuster but Shawn gets up again so the champion grabs a steel chair and smashes it across Shawn Michaels back. Michaels is up on a 9 count so Triple H sets him up for a Pedigree on the chair but Michaels counters it and slingshots Triple H into the ringpost. Shawn then grabs the steel chair and smashes it into the face of Triple H. Triple H is now bleeding as Michaels lays into him with right hands. Shawn hits his trademark flying forearm and then nips back up.
Michaels hits more big right hands, an inverted atomic drop and another right hand. Michaels goes up top and flies up with a big elbow drop. Shawn then motions for sweet chin music but Triple H ducks it and hits a low blow. The two men get to their feet and slug it out until Michaels applies a sleeper. Triple H beats the 10 count and knocks Michaels down with a DDT. Triple H sets Michaels up for a suplex off the top but Michaels reverses it into a cross body. Both men get to their feet and Triple H hits Michaels with a Pedigree. Both men just about get to their feet where Michaels hits sweet chin music from nowhere! The referee counts and both men stay down for the 10 count! Earl Hebner calls for the bell, this match is a draw! Shawn Michaels has had more PPV draws than anybody else in history. Triple H retains his World Heavyweight Championship. The fans aren’t happy with a draw though, a “bullshit” chant breaks out. Good match between these two.
There’s a VT next for the 2004 Royal Rumble match. Who’s taking it? Golberg? Chris Benoit? Randy Orton? John Cena? Chris Jericho? Kane? Mark Henry? Big Show? Rob Van Dam? Rene Dupree? We’ll find out next.
The 2004 Royal Rumble Match
Jim Ross and Tazz are on commentary for this one. The Fink is about to announce the rules but out comes Eric Bischoff who is there to support Raw in this Royal Rumble match. Bischoff gives some stick to Heyman who then makes his way to the ring! Heyman attacks Bischoff and then out comes Stone Cold Steve Austin! Austin Stunners Bischoff, shares a beer with Heyman and then Stunners him too! Terri is backstage asking Goldberg about him getting the number 30 spot. Brock Lesnar then interrupts and says that she should be interviewing him. Lesnar and Goldberg go back and forth and then Goldberg leaves. Lots of talk about Mick Foley tonight, there’s a seat for him in the front row but I think he’ll be making an appearance.
Chris Benoit is out first, as we know. The only other entrant we know is Goldberg who will come in at #30. Benoit has wrestled at 2 Royal Rumble events before and he’s yet to win a match. Could he go the whole way and win the match tonight? #2 is Randy Orton. Raws Intercontinental Champion and Benoit is a big way to kick off this match. Orton making his Royal Rumble debut tonight. I love that we’re kicking off with two of the favourites. It’s all Benoit in the early going, lots of kicks and a suplex. Orton is on a great run at the moment. He gets some offense in. It’s time for the cursed #3 entrant which is Mark Henry. The #3 spot always does awful. This is Mark Henry’s third Royal Rumble appearance and he’s yet to pick up a win at this show. He lays into both Orton and Benoit. #4 is Tajiri. This is his second Royal Rumble match. Benoit hits Tajiri with two big German suplexes.
Orton goes to work on Mark Henry but doesn’t have much success. Henry throws Orton over the top but Orton gets back into the ring. #5 is Bradshaw who has lost in 5 Royal Rumble event matches previously. He takes Orton, Tajiri and Henry down with big clotheslines before trying the same with Benoit who counters it into a crossface. Benoit manages to flip Bradshaw over the top and out of the match. That makes Bradshaw the first eliminated from the match. #6 is Rhyno who is making his Royal Rumble PPV debut tonight. He takes Benoit down and then gores Mark Henry who knocks Tajiri out. Chris Benoit then eliminates Mark Henry. Told you the #3 spot never last long. We’re shown a replay of Tajiri spitting green mist in the face of Mark Henry. There’s only Chris Benoit, Randy Orton and Rhyno in the ring but they’re joined by Matt Hardy. Matt has a 1-3 record at Royal Rumble events. Hardy takes it to Orton and Rhyno, hitting the side effect on Rhyno. Benoit then nearly eliminates Hardy.
Rhyno and Matt Hardy go at it, their history goes back to 2001. Orton and Benoit go at it in the other corner, they have no history. #8 is Scott Steiner. Steiner has a 2-1 record at Royal Rumble events. He takes everyone down with clotheslines and then Orton down with a t-bone suplex. Benoit takes Steiner down with a couple of German suplexes. Jim Ross gives us an interesting fact that this is the first Royal Rumble since the inception of the Royal Rumble match that there are no previous winners involved. That’s rubbish, it’s the first since 2000 that there have been no previous winners. #9 is Matt Morgan making his Royal Rumble debut. Morgan looking for his first PPV win, good luck with that. Morgan hits Benoit with a sit out powerbomb and then takes Matt Hardy down with a big boot. Steiner hits a suplex on Rhyno and then Matt Morgan goes after Orton. Morgan then actually saves Scott Steiner from being eliminated. #10 is The Hurricane who makes his second Royal Rumble appearance. He hits a flying cross body on Matt Hardy and then attempts a cross body on Morgan but Matt Morgan catches The Hurricane and throws him out to eliminate The Hurricane from the match.
Matt Morgan nearly eliminates Matt Hardy and Benoit and Rhyno go at it in the opposite corner. Randy Orton stomps away at Scott Steiner. #11 is Booker T who looks to win a Royal Rumble on his third time of asking. Booker goes right for Scott Steiner, nailing him with big chops and stomps. Booker then hits the scissors kick on Orton. Rhyno goes after Matt Morgan whilst Steiner tries to eliminate Matt Hardy. #12 is Kane who is looking to win for the first time at a Royal Rumble event on the 6th time of asking. Booker T eliminates Scott Steiner. Kane hits a chokeslam on Matt Morgan and then a sidewalk slam on Matt Hardy. Kane books Rhyno and then chokeslams Randy Orton. Unlucky #13 is The Undertaker? Undertakers gongs are heard which freaks out Kane and then Booker T eliminates Kane! Spike Dudley’s music then hits and out comes Spike. Kane hits Spike with a big chokeslam on the entrance way and then leaves. Spike actually has a 1-0 record at Royal Rumble events.
#14 is Rikishi who actually has a 0-9 record at Royal Rumble events as Rikishi, The Sultan and Fatu. Chris Benoit eliminates Rhyno and Rikishi takes everyone down. Matt Morgan gets a stink face. Booker T and Matt Hardy go at it in one corner, Randy Orton and Chris Benoit in another and Rikishi and Matt Morgan in a third corner. #15 is Rene Dupree making his Royal Rumble debut. Dupree goes after Matt Hardy and suplexes him onto the apron before hitting Hardy with a dropkick and eliminating him from the match. Rikishi then kicks Dupree out of the match! Two quick eliminations there. #16 is A-Train who has lost in his 3 previous Royal Rumble outings. A-Train goes right after Rikishi. Chris Benoit eliminates Matt Morgan. Randy Orton eliminates Rikishi and Booker T. Big elimination there with Booker T going out. #17 is Shelton Benjamin as Chris Benoit eliminates A-Train. Benjamin is making his second Royal Rumble appearance. Randy Orton eliminates Shelton Benjamin.
And we are down to the first two men that started the match! Just Chris Benoit and Randy Orton. The two men knock heads and #18 Ernest “The Cat” Miller is out! Ernest Miller could eliminate both Benoit and Randy Orton but still opts to dance in his PPV debut. Randy Orton comes from behind and eliminates The Cat. Just the fantastic entertainment you want in a Royal Rumble match. #19 is Kurt Angle who has a 2-2 record at Royal Rumble events. Angle, Orton and Benoit, what a threesome we have here. Angle takes down Benoit and tries to eliminate him from the match. #20 is Rico who is not going to win this match. Orton takes down Rico who is making his Royal Rumble debut tonight. There’s some boos as Jackie Gayda heads to the back. Rico hits a big kick on Orton and then tries to eliminate him but Orton puts a stop to that and hits Rico with an RKO. Orton then disposes of Rico. Benoit hits three German suplexes on Kurt.
#21 is Test who has lost at 4 previous Royal Rumble events. No sign of Test yet so his music stops. Orton hits an RKO on Angle. We then go backstage to see that Test has been taken out backstage. Austin is shouting to someone off camera and tells them that they are replacing Test in the Rumble. The new #21 is Mick Foley! Foley and Orton go nuts on one another as the crowd chant for Foley. Foley hits Orton with a big clothesline and both men go flying over the top and out of the match! Back in the ring are Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle. Outside the ring Foley continues to lay into Orton. #22 is Christian who has a 0-4 record at Royal Rumble events. Foley and Orton battle up the entrance ramp where Foley pulls out Mr Socko! #23 is Nunzio who makes his Royal Rumble debut. Foley decides to ram socko down Nunzio’s throat! Orton then hits Foley with a low blow and leaves.
Christian and Chris Benoit attempt to double team Kurt Angle out of the ring. Nunzio is just sat at ringside, not entering the ring. Angle hits a German suplex on Christian and then on Benoit. #24 is The Big Show who has lost at the previous 4 Royal Rumble events. Big Show lays into Christian, throwing him across the ring. #25 is Chris Jericho. Jericho has a 3-2 record at Royal Rumble events. He and Christian team up on Kurt Angle until Big Show headbutts the pair of them. Christian, Jericho, Angle and Benoit all team up on Big Show but can’t eliminate him from the match. Show is the current United States Champion. #26 is Charlie Haas who will not be winning the Royal Tumble. Haas goes after Christian but Jericho saves his partner. They hit a double suplex on Haas and we get a shot of Nunzio who is still sat at ringside! Jericho and Christian attempt to eliminate Benoit but fail. Christian then nearly eliminates Jericho but Jericho lands on the apron and back body drops Christian eliminating him from the match.
#27 is the returning Billy Gunn! Gunn hits fame-assers on everyone that moves. Gunn and Haas then go at it whilst Benoit hits a German suplex on Jericho. #28 is John Cena who gets a big pop. Cena spots Nunzio and throws him into the ring. Big Show and Nunzio then double team Cena. Nunzio turns on Show and receives a slap. Cena hits some big right hands on Big Show but can’t eliminate him. #29 is Rob Van Dam who is making his third Royal Rumble appearance. Van Dam takes Jericho down and then goes after Nunzio, his old mate from ECW. There are 8 men in the ring and 1 left to arrive so we know it’ll be one of these 9 men going to Wrestlemania. John Cena hits an FU on Kurt Angle whilst Big Show chokes Billy Gunn. What happened to the Show-Gunns? #30 as we know is Goldberg. Goldberg hits a big spear on Big Show and then Billy Gunn. Goldberg takes down Jericho, Haas, Van Dam and then eliminates Charlie Haas.
There are 8 men remaining. Goldberg ploughs through Nunzio with a spear and then eliminates Billy Gunn and Nunzio. 7 men left. Brock Lesnar then appears and hits a big F5 on Goldberg! Goldberg gets up to his feet and from behind Kurt Angle eliminates Goldberg! That’s a massive elimination. We’re down to Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, The Big Show, John Cena, Rob Van Dam and Chris Benoit. All 5 men try to eliminate Big Show and fail. I love the team of Van Dam, Jericho, Cena, Benoit and Angle. They take Big Show down and take it in turns to hit big moves. Van Dam hits his 5 star frog splash on Big Show, Cena hits the 5 knuckle shuffle, Benoit hits a flying headbutt, Jericho hits the lionsault! All 5 men then try to lift Big Show up but fail. Big Show then eliminates John Cena! Lots of boos. Big Show eliminates Rob Van Dam.
There’s four men left now. Jericho, Angle, Benoit, Big Show. Jericho tries to eliminate Big Show and hits him with a bulldog from the top. 3 Smackdown and 1 Raw guy left. Jericho applies the walls of Jericho to Big Show! Angle then goes after Jericho but it’s Jericho with Kurt teetering on the top rope. Big Show then chokeslams Jericho, eliminating him from the match! Three Smackdown men left. Big Show hits a sidewalk slam on Angle and a chokeslam on Benoit. Kurt attempts a German suplex on Big Show but fails. Kurt was runner up in 2002 and Big Show was runner up in 2000. Angle hits an Angle slam on Big Show and then an Angle slam on Benoit! Kurt applies the ankle lock to The Big Show! Big Show gets up to his feet and rolls over the top rope, bringing Angle with him and eliminating Kurt Angle from the match!
We’re down to Chris Benoit and The Big Show. It was Benoit that started the match. Benoit hits a diving headbutt bringing Big Show back into the ring. Big Show has eliminated Jericho, Van Dam, Cena and Angle. He goes for a chokeslam on Benoit but Benoit counters it into a crippler crossface. Big Show gets out of it with a sidewalk slam. Big Show lifts Benoit high above his head but Benoit applies a front face lock. Big Show pops him over the top but Benoit lands on the apron and pulls Big Show over, all the way to the outside! Chris Benoit wins the 2004 Royal Rumble match! What a performance from Benoit. He goes on to the Wrestlemania main event, presumably v Brock Lesnar. Although what about Goldberg? So many questions!
And that was the 2004 Royal Rumble pay per view. Although the 6 matches all felt like they had big implications, there was definitely a lack of quality before the last 2 matches. The tables match that kicked things off was 4 and a half minutes and felt like it finished before it really got started. The Dudley Boyz tends to be a standard feud for whoever wins the championships and I think it’s safe to say that this puts an end to the feud. The Dudleyz can now go on to feud with Coach and Al Snow. I’m not sure where it leaves Evolution, maybe they’ll feud with Rob Van Dam and somebody into Wrestlemania? There’s a lack of decent teams on Smackdown at the moment. Maybe it’ll end up being a 6 man with Evolution against Mick Foley and a team? Probably the Dudleyz.
Rey Mysterio beat Jamie Noble in a fairly straight forward match that lasted 3 minutes. I can only assume Mysterio will go on to feud with Tajiri or maybe Chavo into Wrestlemania. I think there’s more to the Nidia blindness angle than meets the eye (no pun intended). More importantly, after 18 months in the WWE, Rey Mysterio has finally won a PPV match! Big news there, congratulation Rey. Eddie beat his nephew Chavo in a match that could only go one way. I think Chavo having his father in his corner will bring him more heat. I’m not sure where Eddie goes from here but I have a feeling it will involve Kurt Angle. This match was a little stop/start, it could have been better. The psychology was there anyway.
The matches for this show were predictable and the WWE title match was no exception. Brock Lesnar beat Hardcore Holly, a career midcarder, in 6 and a half minutes. This will see the end to Bob Holly’s push. I can see him feuding with the likes of Matt Morgan and A-Train going forward. Brock will be going one of two ways for Wrestlemania. Chris Benoit (who Brock has been kept away from so far in his career) or Goldberg, who he cost the Rumble match later in the show. Both would be epic matches, maybe one at No Way Out and one at Wrestlemania? Triple H and Shawn Michaels then wrestled to a draw in a good match up. The draw could suggest that they will feud into Wrestlemania to end their feud once and for all. This match was a lot better than any of the matches before it tonight and was quite spot-heavy. I liked it though, the two put on a good match, it’ll be interesting to see where it leads into Wrestlemania.
Then where do you begin with the Royal Rumble match? How about the beginning. I love that Benoit and Orton started the match off, two of the big favourites for me. The two men would last a long time too, especially Benoit. Pretty much everyone that followed them up until the #19 entrant (Kurt Angle) was filler. Booker T is really in a career lull at the moment which is a shame. There’s rumours that he was going to feud with Goldust but Goldust has now left the company. I liked Kane being freaked out by The Undertakers gongs. I liked everyone being eliminated (besides Benoit & Orton) and The Cat coming out to dance, that was great fun. Then came the business end of the Rumble, with the likes of Kurt Angle, Big Show, Chris Jericho, John Cena, Rob Van Dam, Goldberg and Mick Foley. Foley was a great spot, eliminating Randy Orton and setting up the future match between those two. I like the babyface alliance between Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, John Cena and Chris Benoit. Benoit goes on to win which is also nice to see him finally grab the brass ring. Overall a really good Royal Rumble match, bring the quality of the PPV up.
Overall Rating: 55.8/100 (ranked joint 98th out of 160)
Match Of The Night: The 2004 Royal Rumble match
Worst Match Of The Night: Ric Flair & Batista vs. The Dudley Boyz
Surprise Of The Night: Mick Foley returning & Brock Lesnar F5ing Goldberg
Worst Booking Of The Night: N/A
Superstar Of The Night: Chris Benoit
Royal Rumble 2004 Will Be Remembered For: Chris Benoit winning the Royal Rumble match