Brett Mix’s- WWE Royal Rumble 2004 Review:
“And YES Chris Benoit’s dream to headline Wrestlemania, has come true! Nobody has worked harder then The Rabid Wolverine, Chris Benoit…. from Edmonton, Alberta CANADA…he has finally WON…THE BIG ONE!” –Jim Ross
-WWE Royal Rumble 2004 took place on Sunday, January 25th, 2004 from the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in front of 17,289 fans.
-This was the 17th Annual Royal Rumble event.
-Chris Benoit became the second person to win the Royal Rumble with the #1 draw. The first was Shawn Michaels in 1995.
Benoit also broke Bob Backlund’s previous longevity record from the 1993 Rumble lasting 1:01:30 (the entire duration of the Rumble match)
Benoit was the first person to make use of a “contract loophole”, enabling the Royal Rumble winner to change brands and challenge their champion of choice. Benoit defected to RAW the following night and challenged Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship and later won in the main event at Wrestlemania 20.
-Test was set to enter at #21 but was found beaten up. Found by Steve Austin, he ordered another wrestler to enter the Rumble in Test’s place. That wrestler turned out to be Mick Foley who immediately came out and eliminated Orton. The two then brawled to the back.
-Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff had a brawl before the Royal Rumble match, Steve Austin interrupted and gave them both Stunners.
-During the Royal Rumble, the famous gong from The Undertaker’s theme song played at #13. Kane, thinking Undertaker was buried and gone since Survivor Series 2003, became worried and ended up being eliminated by Booker T. Angry over his elimination, Kane attacked the real 13th participant; as a result, Spike Dudley couldn’t make it to the ring.
-On Sunday Night Heat, Victoria (with Steven Richards) defeated Molly Holly at 4:56.
-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler do commentary for the Raw action, Micheal Cole and Tazz for Smackdown! Tazz does Commentary with Jim Ross for the Rumble match for the first time ever.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- Evolution (Ric Flair and Dave Batista) vs The Dudley Boyz (c) (Bubba Ray and D-Von) in a Tag Team Tables Match for the World Tag Team Championship
Batista came out and cut a quick promo on the ramp, the Evolution music was truely bad ass. (Especially looked good and suited Orton well)
The Dudleyz opened there fourth Rumble PPV in the last 5 in a tag match and were in the first two matches in the last 5 as they were second on the card in 03 just the year before.
Jonathan Coachman was 3D`d on Raw before this show and was doing commentary in this match for the time being.
D-Von Dudley and Bubba both jumped off the apron and attacked Flair and Batista at ringside.
This was the second table`s match in Rumble history and this was the only one for the belts.
D-Von Dudley backdropped Flair on the floor. Bubba pushed a table clear across the ring right into Batista on the outside.
Batista saved the day for Flair by throwing the table out of the way so the Dudley Boyz wouldn`t put Flair threw it.
D-Von Dudley clotheslined Batista over the top rope. Bubba set up a table in the corner and Flair gave him some chops. Bubba kicked Flair in the mid-section and slammed his head into the table. Bubba then dropped a forearm to the head of Flair until Batista ran in the ring and took down both Bubba and D-Von Dudley with a hard clothesline. Dave Batista choked out D-Von Dudley in the corner with his big boot. Batista kicked at Bubba and then Flair chopped D-Von a couple of times. The Table was still set up in the corner. Batista irishwhipped Bubba to the corner turnbuckle.
D-Von Dudley caught Flair with a big clothesline, action all over the ring since it was two on two, no tags in this environment. Batista ran his shoulder into the ring post because Bubba moved out of the way. Flair kicked at Bubba but D-Von Dudley protected Flair as he irishwhipped him to the corner and Flair hit a reverse elbow to D-Von. King said Flair had been wrestling since Baskin Robins had two flavors. Bubba slammed Flair down and had set him up for the 3-D. Bubba brought Coach in the ring who had rund own and Coach had damaged ribs taped up. Dudleyz slammed Coach down to the mat and signalled for the 3-D. Flair threw Bubba out of the way and D-Von Dudley hit a clothesline to Flair off the top. Batista back in spine bustered D-Von through the table and the match was over.
So in the end Batista used a spinebuster to put D-Von through a table at 4:23 to win the match. An out of breath Coach announced the winning decision.
A fun match for an opener but way too short.
Can`t rate a fast match with prety good quality very high.
Not a lot here but it was nothing bad.
2) Rey Mysterio (c) vs Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Nidia was doing the whole “blind” thing here, take note of the quotations, was a dumb storyline where she was blinded by Tajiri’s mist. How this storyline benefits anything I’ll never know. It didn’t accomplish anything but embarassing television for a wrestling fan.
Thankfully Cole can stop ripping on Noble and we eventually got to the action in the ring.
Noble the challenger went for a go-behind waistlock, Rey Mysterio quickly countered with a switch and then Noble hung onto the ropes so Rey Mysterio fell back, Mysterio backdropped over landed on the apron and Noble countered a quick offensive move by Mysterio. Noble roughed up Rey a bit and shoved him into the corner and hit him with a chop and another kick to Rey. Noble threw Rey into the ropes and got a two after a slam. Noble pointed at the abdominal region of Rey and got a nearfall.
Mysterio irishwhipped but hit a roll-up to Noble, however he kicked out and hit Rey with a stiff right hand. Noble then hit a sleeper on Rey into an abdominal stretch. Noble irishwhipped Rey he bounced off the side ropes and Rey Mysterio with his explosive offense hit a dropkick, some shots back and forth and then Mysterio bounced up from the side ropes to a head scissors then another unique offensive move, a bulldog. Rey bounced off the side ropes but Noble kneed the mid-section blocking a springboard crossbody, right back to the mid-section went Noble. A tiger driver attempt but Rey landed on his feet.
Nidia accidentally tripped Noble and then Rey hit the 619!
In the end Mysterio pinned Noble after a West Coast Pop aka Droppin’ The Dime at 3:12 to retain the Cruiser title.
Was way to short like the opener but very good for what it was.
One of the better three minute matches I have ever seen. It was exciting, told a story, had psychology and counters, nothing bad here at all.
Watching this live I felt it was a little dull, don’t know what I was smoking because this was actually very good although not fantastic. The two wrestled back and forth as they obvioussly had chemistry together being that there in the same faily of good workers and a historic legacy, not to mention the two had added chemistry in WCW.
Eddie Guerrero and Chavo knew this bout was personal and here we go!
Eddie chants fill the arena.
Eddie hopped around and the two tie up and then Eddie cornered Chavo into the corner and then Chavo got Eddie to the side ropes.
Both men keep the tie up Lesnar-Goldberg like except the crowd did not boo the hell out of them. Chavo with a couple of slaps to Eddie showing complete disrespect and Eddie just stared at him with a cold look. Crowd chanted for Eddie as he drove Chavo into the corner some more.
Both men cautious here as they felt each other out, no doubt the two had each other well scouted with there history. Eddie with a drop toehold and then a headlock to Chavo.
Eddie being the great mat wrestler he was, had his nephew down on the mat.
Chavo Classic on the outside watched on as Eddie hit a chop on Chavo and he answered back with a vicious one back to his vertical base.
Both men tied up again and Eddie got Chavo in the corner and began to choke him out. Eddie Guerrero with a slap to Chavo and he just shook it off. Eddie started to smile.
Both men very conservative is the only way you can explain the unusual pacing to this one. Neither men wanting to make a mistake. Eddie Guerrero sent Chavo to the ropes he came off with a shoulder block, then a side headlock, back to the ropes and then another shoulder block by Chavo.
Eddie with as chop, and then a chopping war broke out until Eddie hit a thumb to the eye of Chavo and then in the corner Chavo held Eddie off of him.
Chavo held his face in pain.
Eddie Guerrero with a single leg takedown on Chavo and he found room to lock in an armbar while down on the mat. This is a technical match after a slow start and then Chavo with a monkey flip to Eddie which results in him hiting a hurricanrauna to Eddie Guerrero outside of the ring. Eddie is a bit hurt, he climbed up the streps and Chavo Senior took the leg out of Eddie.
Chavo realized this as his dad assisted him and he gave Eddie vicious chops outside the ring.
Once back in the ring Chavo gave him all sorts of blows after a single leg takedown, then a double leg takedown. Eddie is the master of counter wrestling and even though Chavo had him down, Eddie countered with an armringer showing his technical expertise. Eddie Guerrero recieved a kick and then a back suplex. Chavo almost got the three and then Chavo hit a big suplex, going for the three amigos. Triple vertical suplex here but on the thid one Eddie Guerrero flipped over his back and countered, he dodged a DDT and then gave Chavo a headbutt. Eddie with a big vertical suplex, now Eddie Guerrero is going to show Chavo how it is done. The home fo the Flyers, Eddie hits a hattrick in Philly.
Eddie Guerrero goes to the top looking for a frog splash and then he hits it. Eddie got it.
In the end Eddie pinned Chavo after his Frog Splash at 8:03. After the match, Eddie assaulted both Chavo and Chavo Senior.
Never got enough time to really develop which was a theme for the night I guess.
4) Brock Lesnar (c) vs Hardcore Holly for the WWE Championship
That`s right, Bob Holly, Mr. Spark Plugg is in a WWE title match at one of the biggest events of the year. I guess you could say they saved the big names for the Rumble match.
This feud started when Brock broke Holly’s neck on Smackdown in 03 so it was personal, and Holly tried getting revenge at the Survivor Series and didn’t so it ultimately lead to this co-main event at the Rumble.
Brock Lesnar did his usual leap onto the ring apron followed by pyro’s but in unique fashion Holly charged towards Lesnar and knocked him off the apron showing he wouldn’t forget Lesnar’s brutality, and he wanted an early advantage on the big man which was logical I guess.
Bob took Brock on the outside and went straight for the Champion before he even had a chance to get in the ring.
Holly with Lesnar on the outside, clearly trying to take advantage of Lesnar before the bout even began to one-up the bigger man, he also wanted revenge obvioussly so that is another logical explanation for the early jump.
Brock Lesnar took a few vicious blows until he struck back with some hard forearm shots to the back of Holly. Brock went to F-5 Holly into the post but Hardcore slammed Brock into the post ramming him shoulder first with an irish whip by the barricade. Holly then went to the top rope and once Brock was in the ring he jumped onto him but Brock Lesnar moved out of the way. Brock stomped on Holly and then hit a nice snap suplex as Bob sold the back pretty well. Lesnar continued his vicious attack disecting a body part like he did so well and stayed on Holly’s back ramming him into the ring apron on the outside, see Holly rolled out of the ring after the punishment so Brock Lesnar improvised and just naturally adapted to his environment and got use out of whatever situation he was placed in. Brock then squeezed Holly with a reverse bearhug wearing him down and putting further focus on the lower back of Holly. A rear choke or an armbar were both possible holds Lesnar could of gone into but he chose to kick at Holly some more before hitting a powerful Fisherman’s Cradle Suplex and got a nearfall. After the nearfall he went right back into the gut wrench. Not the most exciting material but it worked, it made sense. Bob Holly doing everything in his power to break the butterfly grip and maintain a vertical base but Brock’s huge arms were locked around the waist of Holly. Bob turned belly to belly, and now with both men vertical it was a standing bearhug. Somehow Bob Holly managed to fight his way out of it but he was whipped right into an immediate, impactful belly to belly suplex by Lesnar off the side ropes. Lesnar laying down with Holly on the mat and switched from a gutwrench to a rear choke with an armbar in a wing. Lesnar wearing down Holly from top to bottom, good strategic mat instinct against a tough guy like Holly. Bob elbowed out of it with some shots to the abdomen and that lead to some clotheslines and a dropkick! Holly with an Alabama Slam and then a Full Nelson attempting to break the neck of Lesnar. Holly with a grapevine and he kept the Full Nelson locked on to outside of the ring. Brock made Holly’s bad neck snap back as he countered the Full Nelson from outside on the apron and then he came back in the ring and connected with an F-5 that Bob Holly walked right into.
So in the end of the bout Lesnar pinned Holly after an F-5 at 6:30 to retain the gold.
Holly was tough and it was maybe a veterans push but I found it to be a joke that he got this chance.
Decent match but not WWE title calibre on a PPV event such as the Rumble in a day of this age.
Despite it not being the biggest match, or the best for that matter, I really don’t have many big complaints with this one. At the end of the day it was kept short, it had a story, both guys wrestled well so it deserves a decent grade. I really liked Brock’s offense here.
5) “The Game” Triple H (c) vs “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels in a Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
The only way to win is to have your opponent NOT answer the ten count.
Jerry Lawler said these two have had classics before and he had a feeling this is going to be another one. With expecations like that it was hard to live up with.
Just a couple of weeks before this event the two men wrestled a truely amazing battle on Raw that is also on Shawn Michaels’s DVD “Heartbreak and Triumph” and rightfully so. It was an amazing **** 1/4 match. So with fans having seen there Summerslam 2002 CLASSIC which I hold as a top 20 North American match ever at **** 3/4, and that Raw match from just two weeks before this, this one definately had a lot of hype.
Add in the fact it was a Title Match at the Rumble in a Last Man Standing Match then there’s no need to elaborate on how much people were expecting here. At least this was better then the highly dissapointing train wreck at Armageddon 2002 in a 3 Stages of Hell match. Never before has a GIMMICK match been truer to the word since KENNEL from HELL in 1999.
Philly has always had a HOSTILE environment so a bad finish would no doubt be a back breaker for this type of match, and bad finishes are ones we are definately used to seeing, shame on me for legitimately thinking this one would end CLEAN when I saw it live.
Shawn Michaels tied HHH up in the corner and the two reversed each other’s power back and forth until Hunter eventually hit him with right hands. Shawn Michaels fought back and hit Hunter with some chops. HHH threw Michaels in the corner and hit him with right hands. This sequence went back and forth and HBK hit Hunter with more chops but again HHH cornered him with right hands. HHH with the first wrestling move of the match with a side headlock takedown, Shawn Michaels went into a head scissors then bridged out of a pinning predicament by Hunter. The chemistry was no doubt there.
I found this beginning sequence of the match rather strange.
On one hand, you had both men wanting to tear each other apart with brawling to start.
Then HHH tried to go to a WRESTLING GAME and HBK countered again.
In a way it would seem like Hunter was desperate to keep changing up what he was doing to out do Shawn Michaels but it just seemed rather unorganized and sloppy.
Eventually HHH hit a back breaker so now we have a story to work with.
Everyone knew the condition of Michaels back, and just before the back breaker Hunter irishwhipped HBK right into the turnbuckle and you need to credit Michaels with how well he can bump in the corner with that back. It was at this event in 1998 when he hurt his back against Taker in the Casket Match for the title.
Shawn Michaels flipped over HHH and then went for a figure four on Helmsley out of no where and JR plugs Flair’s DVD. JR overdoes everything Michaels does so he says the Figure Four is EXPERTLY applied, I don’t know about that but it was an effective move in a Last Man Standing match because it takes HHH’s legs out and then Shawn dropkicked HHH’s injured knee.
Good psychology by Michaels because Hunter had the whole Quad orderal years previous.
Michaels went for a crossbody but HHH flipped him to the outside, Hunter had him well scouted asnd this bought HHH some time limping to the outside, doing a nice job at selling. HHH removed the monitor’s off the announce table’s. Triple H slammed Michaels right into the steel steps and then hit him with hard right hands that were taped up on the announce table. HHH with a front facelock on the table going for a suplex onto the other table but HBK countered with a chop and some more right hands of his own. HBK connects with another right and then a double axehandle Randy Savage style to HHH by the apron. The fans booed as they wanted a table bump.
Shawn threw HHH back in the ring.
HBK flew off the top rope onto The Game with a axehandle attempt but The Game scored with a kick looking for the pedigree but then Michaels reversed that and hit a backdrop to HHH which elevated the Champion out of the ring to the floor. The fans chanted “HBK” and then Shawn jumped over the top rope to the outside of the apron, he tried a moonsault/crossbody to HHH but he ducked and Michaels crashed and burned bumping through the table. Good spot.
Michaels blades, and I mean BLADES here.
It was a little strange that this match went into spots like this before REAL substance that you’d normally come to expect on a PPV match between the two. That’s probably the biggest difference between this match and some of the other classic’s they’ve had.
Shawn in the ring trying to get back to his feet but Hunter hit him with hard right hands and HBK was a bloody mess, dripping down his chest. HBK wouldn’t give in and Hunter just kept beating him down rather slowly and JR really put over how gutsy Shawn was as if he hadn’t done it a million times before but Shawn begged for more and he recieved it. After the third replay of this sequence Michaels eventually scores with some offense and lands right hands to come back in the match but after going off the side ropes, HHH hits a Double A Spinebuster to HBK, a man who had lost a ton of blood and had already had a BAD back. HHH went to the outside and got a steel chair. Steel on Spine, Michaels was down for the count even more now as HHH just stood there waiting, when realizing Michaels was about to get up he went for a Pedigree onto the chair. Michaels scored with a counter and he dropped him back first onto the chair and catapolted HHH up into the ring post giving an excuse for Hunter to now bleed.
Ross calls Michaels a hideous mess. Shawn got to his feet slowly with a chair in hand and he cracked Hunter’s skull and this was where HHH would then blade, although it wasn’t as DEEP as Shawn’s blade but still pretty brutal. HBK hit a flying forearm and then after a long pause leaped to his feet and then battled back as King and JR couldn’t believe it, although by this point we had seen it so many times it’s rather hard to believe they can’t believe it. HHH with an atomic drop, he climbed to the top on what Ross calls “Spahgetti Legs” and then he was able to land an elbow drop to the heart of the Champ. Shawn Michaels looked for the Sweet Chin music but caught a low blow from The Cerebral Assasin which was of course perfectly legal in this environment and definately expected from a guy like Triple H.
Back to there feet Shawn was able to gain some momentum back swinging Hunter off the side ropes and catching him with a sleeper.
A bloodied Michaels held a headlock on a bloodied Triple H.
Philly chanted along with Hebner as the ten count was almost there but Hunter got to his feet at nine. HHH shoved HBK and both men bloodied shoved one another back and forth.
Hunter kicked HBK in the mid-section to break up his right hands and hit a DDT and both men are down.
Michaels with a CHOP to HHH but he reversed it with an irishwhip to HBK into the corner and if JR has to say HHH does that with tremendous velocity again I will fly to Oklahoma and do it to him. HHH though caught HBK in the corner and hit a superplex off the top and now both men bloodied were down on the canvas yet again and you could tell this was to build the climax some more. Shawn went for a clothesline but HHH ducked it and then scored with the Pedigree! Triple H though couldn’t get to his feet just yet and The Game tried to pull himself up. Shawn got up right at the nine count and landed with a Sweet Chin Music out of no where and the place popped!
In the end both men failed to answer the referee’s ten count after Michaels hit Triple H with Sweet Chin Music and both men collapsed. As a result, Triple H retained the title at 22:46.
Fans shot to their feet and shouted ?Bullsh-t! Bullsh-t!?? over and over again. To mitigate the damage, the telecast cut away to some promos to drown out the unflattering audio. When the broadcast returned to the announce desk, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler defiantly fought off the lingering chants by arguing that Triple H and Shawn Michaels had given their all during the match. Okay…
Pretty much a sick blade job by both guys and it definately lacked, it definately dragged, it definately wasn’t one of the better matches the two have had, but the good news is that it wasn’t the worst either.
Great in parts, there was definately room for improvement, kind of disguised brutality in the true sense of the word due to the “appearance” of chaos and carnage rather then there actually being legit chaos and carnage.
6) Main Event- The 2004 WWE Royal Rumble Match
The Fink: “Ladies and Gentlemen, it is NOW time for the…”
(“I’m BACK!” hits the *PA* system)
We get Bischoff running down Heyman and ECW on the mic and then he talked about how he knew a Raw superstar would win the Rumble match. Heyman looking as goofy as ever strutted to the ring and then came in and with a mic in hand looked as if he was about to say something but tackled him down instead until the glass broke and Sheriff Austin came out.
Not one of my favourite Austin character’s, infact probably the least entertaining he ever WAS but he still managed to get everyone in the crowd to his feet.
Austin said he was waiting to watch the Rumble and both men were violating the LAW. Always get a crack out of that.
Stone Cold Steve Austin showed up to obvioussly Stun both Heyman and Bischoff for the fans. This was Austin’s last appearance to date at an event (The Rumble) he did extremely well at over the years and you could easily call him “Mr. Royal Rumble”.
Onto the Rumble:
1 Chris Benoit
2 Randy Orton
3 Mark Henry
7 Matt Hardy
8 Scott Steiner
9 Matt Morgan
11 Booker T
13 Spike Dudley
15 René Duprée
17 Shelton Benjamin
18 Ernest Miller
19 Kurt Angle
21 Mick Foley
24 Big Show
25 Chris Jericho
26 Charlie Haas
27 Billy Gunn
28 John Cena
29 Rob Van Dam
Tazz picks Big Show to win following the Andre the Giant philosiphy. They also said Benoit could maybe have a shot due to his great conditioning and put over the luck of the draw so Goldberg may be a favourite. He would be one anyhow, even though he is the last man out at number thirty.
The Rumble started off with Benoit who we knew was the #1 entrant. For some reason I pictured in my head that Randy Orton would be a good guy to come in second and sure enough the Evolution theme hit and I was pretty proud of myself. I realized it wasn’t that big of a deal and moved on, the action began and the Rumble was underway with Orton and Benoit, two men who would meet in a couple of big matches that Summer.
One of Smackdown’s best vs Raw’s best is what Ross and Tazz agreed on as both men locked up and the bell rang, the 2004 Rumble Match was underway.
Orton and Benoit, as good as any two who have ever started a Rumble match. #30 was Goldberg, and if Foley was going to show was a question. (Although no one really thought he’d be in the Rumble itself) Benoit kicked at Orton in the corner, irishwhipped him to the ropes and caught him with an elbow and stomped on him some more. Chris Benoit with a beautiful snapshot vertical suplex by the Rabid Wolverine, perfectly applied. Orton elbowed Chris though once back to his feet, cornered him and then kicked him in the abdomen. Randy tried to elevate Chris’s legs but Chris crossed Orton’s face with his forerarm and then irishwhipped him to the side ropes catching him with a kick to the gut.
Mark Henry, the World’s Strongest Man came out next and then teamed up with Orton to take on Benoit at the side of the ropes but then Henry after a headbutt to Benoit kicked at orton in the corner. Henry went for Benoit in the corner and then Orton hit on Henry’s back again. Benoit with a hard shot to Henry’s head. Tazz claimed Big Show was his pick to win the whole thing. I find it funny that a color commentator usually picks the runner up to always win the match, it happened in 2002 on Sunday Night Heat when Lawler picked Angle to win.
Tajiri was out next. The Japanese Buzzsaw kicked at Orton and then landed a handspring elbow to Orton off the ropes, then Chris Benoit with a standing switch and hit a german after Tajiri reversed some of his previous suplex attempts. Orton went for Henry in the corner but he hit Randy down with a forerarm shot to the spine and that is a big forearm. Henry thought he had Orton eliminated but Randy Orton hit him with a dropkick. Orton on Henry in one corner, Benoit on Tajiri on the other.
The fifth entrant was Bradshaw. A tough texan who would be WWE Champion in a different persona just a few months later, who would of ever thought? Clotheslines from hell all around until Benoit irishwhipped Bradshaw to the corner and Bradshaw bounced off the corner with a clothesline from hell attempt to Benoit but he reversed it into a Crossface attempt. Awesome spot. Bradshaw then tried to hang on but Benoit eliminated him and Bradshaw was the first man out. Eliminated first and in less then two minutes and as I said he’d be WWE Champion in just months, who would have ever thought? Back down to four men.
Out next was the MAN BEAST, Rhyno who was over with the ECW faithful in attendance. Rhyno hit a gore to Henry in the corner, Benoit eliminated Tajiri and then Mark Henry and the place popped. Rhyno went to throw out Benoit and then Orton came to help him. Chris Benoit then headbutted Orton. Rhyno threw Benoit to the side ropes and attempted to get him up and over.
Lucky number seven was Matt Hardy. Matt almost thrown out by Benoit but hung on and then was worked over by Rhyno. Familar opponents Randy Orton and Chris Benoit went back at it again. Rhyno with a hard shoulder block to Matt in the corner of the ring, this Rumble Match had more of an old school feel to it then ones from the last few years, it was more conservative and WRESTLING based compared to just SPOTS.
Steiner came out ast number eight to the sound of silence. Steiner’s first Rumble match since ten years before where he started the Rumble match. Jim Ross or Tazz never said this, I just know this because that’s what I do. I know facts like that. Benoit with a nice go-behind on Steiner and then hit two nice German’s. Orton kicked at Matt in the corner, Rhyno stomped on Benoit. Five men in the ring now. No previous Rumble winners were in this match which was interesting.
Number nine was a blue chipper, one of Vince’s golden big man prospects who never made it past a year or two like the Heidenreich’s, Reigns, Tomko’s, etc, this time it was Matt Morgan who I actually thought looked promising. He has an impressive performance here taking out Benoit upon arrival and then giving Orton a big boot in the corner choking him out followed by some shoulder blocks. Today, you can see him in TNA Wrestling!
#10 was The Hurricane. He came into the ring and flew off the top (no kidding) and hit Matt Hardy with a crossbody. Hillariously Hurricane went for offense on Morgan and hit him with a thumb to the eye and Morgan threw him out which the fans didn’t like. Hurricane should of learned from 2002 when he tried to throw out Austin and HHH (still don’t know what he was on) to not go for the bigger dogs, if you want to count Morgan as one. Matt Morgan looked impressive here as that is how he was booked to look but he did a nice job at it cleaning house. Morgan in the corner went after Matt. Rhyno still viciously attacked Benoit in the corner while Orton stomped on Steiner in the other corner.
#11 was Booker T who got a great ovation. Booker and Steiner went at it which I thought was a nice touch to there WCW days which JR actually talked about, kind of surreal as they never really did that unless it was apart of a storyline. Booker with a beautiful scissors kick mid-ring to Orton while Morgan hit Benoit with shots in the corner. Ring starting to fill up some more. Booker chokes out Steiner in the corner. Morgan chops Benoit, Booker with a nice scissors kick on Orton. Morgan takes down Booker and Benoit. Rhyno goes for Morgan and eacg tandem seems to have a corner except Orton who just hands around the corner.
At #12 KANE came out next. Talk about a favourite Ross says. He had the record for the most eliminations with eleven in 2001. Steiner was eliminated during his entrance when Booker flipped him over as the pyro went off. Not sure why he couldn’t of waited until after the Pyro, all he had to do was think about it. Kane hit Morgan with a chokeslam. Matt went for a Side Effect but Kane hit a sidewalk slam. Rhyno had a gore blocked. Kane chokeslammed Orton down. Benoit was already down. Kane was dominant. Kane then picked Matt back up, a guy he’d later feud with in 2004 and beat on him in the corner.
The clock ran down and the light’s went out to none other then a GONG! The place exploded and this was a big mark out moment for every fan of wrestling basically I’d imagine. Kane said “I buried you alive” and Booker T eliminated Kane. Spike Dudley came out and the fans were just a tad dissapointed as they went from a possible Deadman return to Spike coming out. Kane chokeslammed Spike on the ramp and as a result he never got to enter the Rumble match. How unfortunate. Tazz who was a tag champion with Spike two years before at the 02 Rumble yelled out Spike’s name as he took that fall as if he was the one taking it. Meanwhile in the ring the action continued. Booker, Morgan, Benoit, Orton, Rhyno, Matt were the six men in the ring.
#14 was Rikishi who just simply wasn’t over anymore. Compare his reaction or dominance in this Rumble match to the year 2000 and it’s just sad. He had a big history in Rumble matches though and this was his last Rumble appearance. Benoit backdropped Rhyno over the top rope, Rikishi then stinkfaced Morgan. Benoit and Orton had lasted the entire duration thus far.
Rene Dupree came out and at the age of 24 he was energized for the Rumble, halfway through the Rumble now. Matt went for a twist of fate on Dupree but he dropkicked him off the apron and out of the match. Dupree did the tickler dance and then Rikishi hit him with a thrust kick (barely) and Dupree went sailing. Orton tried to elevate Benoit a half an hour after he did earlier in the match at the beginning. Rikishi tried to throw out Booker T.
A-Train, another big powerhouse entered to join others like Morgan and Riksihi. Booker gave A-Train some shots. Morgan went for Benoit with a high kick and one of his legs went over the top which proved to be costly as Chris Benoit contineud his dominant Rumble performance and eliminated yet another big man. All the guys in the ring tired to throw out A-Train but then Orton got out Rikishi. Orton pushed Booker out and the fans booed. They always boo when Booker gets thrown out it seems. A-Train over powered Benoit in the corner of the ring and irishwhipped Chris Benoit to the side ropes and hit a clothesline. Benoit threw out A-Train as he got out yet another big man.
Shelton Benjamin came out and they missed the A-Train elimination from Benoit. Orton made short work of Shelton as he threw him out. Benoit and Orton were the only two guys in the ring, back to the first two men over halfway through the match, shades of the 1995 Rumble match with Shawn and Davey Boy. Both heads collide with Orton and Benoit and both men fall down.
Ernest Miller’s manager introduced him and he came out dancing. I thought he was fairly entertaining in WCW when I saw him live, and this dance was funny inside the ring with Tazz singing along with it. “Somebody call my MAMA” Benoit then threw out his manager and his hair piece. Orton threw out Miller, I guess this is what considered comic relief in the Rumble match. I believe officially the second-best dance ever in a Rumble match as 2 Cool danced in the year 2000 take the crown. Back down to where we started again as Ross says we’ll continue the wrestling portion of the match. Orton had control of Benoit and then posed.
Kurt Angle who dedicated the Rumble to the troops like Hogan did in 1991 came charging out to a good pop. Nice for Tazz to mention how he called the Angle/Benoit Rumble match the year before as they collided in the ring. Angle who was fresh took control of a fatigued Benoit and hit a snap suplex on him. Benoit truely had an amazing performance in this match to this point.
Rico was out now and Benoit with a standing switch and a german to Angle, shades of the 03 Classic. A hattrick by Benoit and then Orton just backdropped Rico out of the ring. Angle then caught Benoit up high on the top but both men fell as Orton knocked them down.
Test was supposed to be out next and the RKO was hit from Orton to Angle. Austin was then shown telling SOMEONE to get his ass to the ring as Test was attacked backstage, no one cared who it was. It’s MICK FOLEY! Orton looked shocked. Orton and Foley went toe to toe and it’s the first time Foley had wrestled since Wrestlemania 2000, and the chants of Foley were up in the air, yet another markout moment in this Rumble Match. Foley said bang bang and then clotheslined Orton out of the ring taking himself out of the ring at the same time showing he cared more about being a man, taking down Orton then winning the Rumble Match. Foley slammed Orton’s face into the steel steps and then choked his eyes out with cable’s on the outside.
Christian came out but the camera’s focused on Orton and Foley’s brawl. Foley levelled a ref with the steps and then orton hit Foley with two sickening thuds with a steel chair to the head. As if Foley needed any more chair shots to the head, especially at another Royal Rumble event. Poor guy probably doesen’t even remember 1999, was Randy even out of highschool then? Orton slammed Foley’s head down on the ramp and then pulled out Socko, Tazz hilariously said he’s still alive?
Foley turned around and instead caught the next entrant by the mouth with Socko. Hilarious Mick at his eccentric best. At least this made Nunzio’s entrance entertaining or else it surely wouldn’t have been. Orton then kicked Foley in the groin as Foley had SOCKO on Nunzio. Fans gave Foley a good ovation on his way back. Christian, Benoit, Angle were the three guys in the ring. As of this writing not one of these guys are currently in the WWE (obvioussly Benoit can’t ever be again) but it’s guys like this who I miss dearly. Nunzio had yet to come inside the ring.
The Big Show who was Tazz’s favourite came out now at entrant #24. Ring not only starting to fill up, but to fill up with bigger names and there was still at least a few BIG ones to enter which made the last 15 minutes or so of this Rumble that much more entertaining. Big Show chucked everyone around ringside.
Jericho came out next and went after Angle. Jericho and Christian kicked at Angle in the corner and then Christian headbutted both guys. Jericho hit chops to Big Show then all of the guys ganged up on Show. Angle and Jericho kept brawling, Benoit down needing to catch his air.
Charlie Haas out now at #26. Jericho almost threw out his friend he battled with in Japan in Chris Benoit but he hung on. Jericho backdropped Christian out, and for the second year in a row Jericho eliminated Christian, his “good friend” the man he’d take on at Wrestlemania 20.
#27 was a lucky number as Yoko, Big John Studd and Steve Austin had all won from this number in 93, 89, 01 respectively for the names I just listed. “I’m an ASS MAN” hit and Billy Gunn returned to no reaction as expected in his 678th push in the company. Gunn was in the 1994 Rumble as a Smoking Gunn for crying out loud. Gunn made the final five in 2001 though if that means anything. He also won the 1999 KOTR which probably did less for the KOTR PPV as a whole then it did for his career which is just sad. Benoit with a suplex to Jericho.
Cena came out now to a good reaction, the guy was on the poster of this PPV afterall. Cena was getting over big time and he spotted Nunzio right in front of a fan with an Austin 3:16 shirt smiling and protecting his girlfriend as Cena went straight for Nunzio. Hilarious how the fans back off and look worried as if Cena would harm them. Big names in the Rumble. Nunzio then tried to throw out Big Show which got a ton of laughs but Big Show just slapped him.
Rob Van Dam was the second last entrant in the Rumble. JR said maybe he’s the greatest ever who never held the World Title. Well he did eventually win it two years later but he wouldn’t crack my top 5 in that category even if he didn’t. Cena hit an F-U to Angle as the ring was extremely full ready for the last entrant.
#30, the last and final entrant was “THE MAN” in his first and only Rumble Match. Goldberg came out as “The odds on favourite” and he jumped over the rope and speared Big Show which gives flashbacks to the WCW days. Tremendous impact. See this is how Goldberg should be booked, dominant because that’s all he has. Goldberg threw out Haas while Nunzio was on his back. RVD then with a kick to the dome on Goldberg and then he speared the hell out of Nunzio. Goldberg threw out Gunn, Goldberg tossed out Nunzio. Goldberg then went to Jackhammer Big Show but out of no where LESNAR RAN OUT!
Brock F5’d Goldberg!
Goldberg yelled out “You’re next you SON OF A BITCH!” and then Angle came from behind and threw out Goldberg as Lesnar smiled.
Jericho, Angle, Benoit, Big Show, Cena, and RVD were the only guys now left in this amazingly entertaining Rumble Match. Chris Benoit hammered RVD in the corner while Cena, Angle and Jericho on the other side tried to lift Big Show over the top rope.
Everyone tried to grab onto Big Show then to get the biggest man out.
Big Show threw everyone off of him with ease.
RVD dropped a leg on Show, Jericho hit a Lionsault, RVD then went up top and hit the five star frogsplash. Cena hit a five knuckle shuffle to Show, Benoit hit a flying headbutt, Angle then signalled to eliminate Show. Everybody grabbed him from the canvas and Show threw everyone off of him. Show threw out Cena and he twisted his knee on the way out. RVD got thrown out of the match by show.
Down to the final four, and Show almost eliminated Jericho but he flipped back in Owen/Michaels style using his strength and Jericho hit a bulldog on Big Show from the top. Angle and Benoit were on the other two. Jericho hit the Walls of Jericho on Show. Jericho went to elininate Angle while Big Show slammed Benoit down and then Show hit a right hand to Jericho and picked him up for a Giant chokeslam and then somebody actually used there smarts to eliminate Jericho with a high impact move. Logic in a Rumbe match, it only took 17 years!
Show threw out Jericho as said so we were down to three men, Angle went for a waistlock on Show and he backed his body weight onto Angle. Angle though got back up and hit an Angle Slam to the huge Big Show! Benoit then kicked Angle and struck him with forearms somehow, Angle then hit an Angle Slam to a fatigued Benoit. Angle moved the straps and then pointed at Show and wanted the crowd`s reaction for who to throw out and they signalled Show. Big Show went to throw out Angle but he reversed it into an Ankle lock as he flipped over. Show screamed in pain and then grabbed the bottom rope. Big Show used the ropes as leverage to flip Angle up and over the top rope and out of the Rumble Match.
Benoit chants then filled the arena as we were down to the final two men and Big Show was outside the ring apron, Benoit flew from the top but he knocked Big Show back into the ring for some reason when a better strategy would of been to throw him out. (Perhaps with a dropkick) By this point though Chris Benoit didn`t have much in the tank, he went off the side ropes but ran right into a chokeslam attempt by Show but he got caught in the Crossface as a counter and Benoit held on. Show though eventually fought out and knocked Benoit over. Big Show to his feet looked like an angry giant just stalking Benoit and as a much smaller Benoit rose up, Big Show scooped up Chris Benoit and went to throw him over as he had him in the air, but on top of Show Benoit put him in a front facelock standing on the outside of the ring apron. Benoit with everything he had tried to lift Show up and over.
In the end Chris Benoit achieved his dream to headline Wrestlemania by lasting over an hour and finally eliminating a Giant in dramatic fashion to do it. Chris Benoit became the 2nd man to win the Rumble from drawing #1 at 1:01:30 by last eliminating the Big Show to earn his spot in the Main Event of Wrestlemania 20 where he ultimately won the BIG ONE for real. This was a nice moment though.
There’s been two decades of Rumble Matches and this is the fourth best one.
A Classic Rumble overall!
Final Rating for WWE Royal Rumble 2004 = 6.5/10
Royal Rumble 2004 will forever be known as the event that had Benoit draw number one and win the whole thing, not to mention the Rumble match being extremely entertaining throughout. Other then that we had a relatively dissapointing but still decent LMS match, another couple of good matches and it just felt average besides that. I rate Rumble events majorly on how well the actual Rumble Match was delivered and since this one was so good it deserves a pretty good rating. Pick it up for the Rumble event alone.
The world heavyweight championship match and the royal rumble match itself were the best matches of the PPV.