Reviewing The Rumbles
2001: Another Year for Austin
Royal Rumble 2001 was held on January 21st, 2001 at the New Orleans Arena, in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was the fourteenth Royal Rumble in the history of the WWE and it was brought to us by 1-800-COLLECT. It’s hard for me to review this entire Royal Rumble event. I want to do it in my typical style, but with the Rumble eating so much of the broadcast, and a Chris Benoit match swallowing more, I feel like there’s no real story for me to tell. Kurt Angle vs. Triple H will be talked about, but other than that, it’s really just the actual Battle Royal that deserves covering. In order to justify that conclusion, I’m going to break this event up, match by match, more so than my usual method.
This was a solid match. These were two of three teams who, around this time, were developing a chemistry that would go on to become legendary. The Hardy Boys, The Dudley Boyz, and Edge and Christian are three of the best tag teams in the history of the business. If they were in a ring around the early-2000s, they tore the house down, every time. This match was no exception, and it saw The Tag Team Championship belts shift owners, over to the Extreme Tag Team.
Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho in a Ladder Match for Chris Benoit’s Intercontinental Title.
Stu Hart trained both these men; which should be more than enough for me to say. The very sentence carries a power with it that only wrestling fans will understand. They’re two of the best ever, and them going against each other in a Ladder Match is something people should all see and talk about. However, due to the “Chris Benoit Effect,” that will not happen. So I’ll move on…
Ivory (with Stephen Richards) vs. Chyna for Ivory’s WWE Woman’s Championship.
[NOTE: I’m going to stop referring to the company as WWF, as it is getting annoying trying to keep track. Unless it’s an article about the actual name change, or something where it’s necessary, Vince’s baby will hereto be known as WWE, and that’s that.]
Ivory worked this match as the heel, and Chyna controlled most of it. Chyna controlled most of her matches. There was no woman in the company who could believably beat her. That’s why she ended up being the first woman to win the Intercontinental Title. It took The 9th Wonder of the World faking a storyline injury to allow Ivory to win this one, and retain her Title in a convincing fashion.
His wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley accompanied Triple H, while Trish Stratus accompanied Kurt. The match itself went almost twenty-five minutes, which is about five minutes longer than the typical Pay-per-view Main Event. The competitors are what made the time worth it. We’re talking about The Cerebral Assassin and The Only Olympic Gold Medal Winner in the History of WWE here, not two amateurs. They could go thirty-minutes. Hell, they could go an hour.
They were neck deep in the middle of a classic slobber-knocker, when both Angle and Triple H managed to accidentally take the referee out. With his opportunity clear, Stone Cold Steve Austin then rushed into the arena and cost Triple H the match and the Title, after hitting him with a Stone Cold Stunner.
This Royal Rumble featured such competitors as Val Venis, Big Show, The Goodfather, Test, Crash Holly, Tazz, The Honkytonk Man, Raven, Drew Carey, Bradshaw, Albert, Billy Gunn, wait-
That’s right. Drew Carey was an entrant in the 2001 Royal Rumble. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but thankfully, Kane entered at the number after Drew. Showing some good ol’ fashioned common sense, Carey jumped over the top rope not long after The Big Red Monster entered the ring and disappeared back into the locker room. I don’t want to be one of those guys, but this was enough to get Drew Carey into the WWE Hall of Fame before The Macho Man Randy Savage. Just awful.
Stone Cold won the Rumble, his third and final time. He won it in ’97, ’98, and here in ’01. It led to the Main Event with him and The Rock at WrestleMania 17. The final four was Austin, obviously, and then Billy Gunn, Kane, and The Rock. The finish of the Rumble was great too, requiring Austin to rid the ring of the company’s biggest threat, Kane, in a thrilling fashion.
See? This was one of many very thin Royal Rumble PPVs, relying far too heavily on the titular match to provide entertainment. Thankfully, if The Texas Rattlesnake is involved, entertainment will be had.