The WWF Royal Rumble has always been about surprises. Surprising match-ups. Surprising tactics. Surprising finales. This year’s annual free-fall for a WWF World Heavyweight Title shot at WrestleMania had none of these. About the only three shockers worth mentioning are: 1). “Stone Cold” Steve Austin didn’t square off with Triple H in the end. 2). Rookie Maven booted out The Undertaker. 3). The returning Mr. Perfect made it to the “final four”. Other than those three happenings, the Royal Rumble was an outright snoozefest lacking any humour or twists that have made it a fan favourite pay-per-view over the years.
For some foolish reason the WWF bookers decided to halt any momentum the match was gaining by allowing more than one man to dominate for terminally long periods of time. First off, it was The Undertaker hurling out about four or five participants. If that wasn’t bad enough, he took offence at being eliminated by ‘Tough Enough’ winner Maven and proceeded to beat his sorry butt all the way through the crowd and to the concession stands. Maven was never officially eliminated from The Rumble but couldn’t make it back to continue after having his head slammed through a popcorn machine by The Undertaker. Next it was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin who exploded into the ring to toss out a handful of wrestlers just so he could sit on the top turnbuckle and count the seconds down until the next challenger came through the curtain. Once Triple H showed up, he and Austin brawled. When Faarooq and The Hurricane were individually ushered out Austin and Triple H took a pause in their personal melee to dump them out. All in all, the fits and starts in the action caused the match to plod along at a snail’s pace testing the attention spans of the viewers at home.
As it does almost every year, the Rumble came down to four men. This time out it was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Triple H, Kurt Angle and Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig). With Triple H down, Perfect and Angle double-teamed Austin in would could be the makings of a great tag-team if the WWF were to hire Perfect on again. Once expelled by them, Austin returned with a steel chair in hand crowning everyone left in the Rumble to the cheers of the crowd in attendance.
With Perfect shown the door, Angle and Triple squared off. Angle managed to heave Triple H over the top rope but The Game landed on the apron. Punching his way back in, Triple H was backdropped out by Angle. A hair from being eliminated, Triple H held onto the top rope and pulled himself back in. Angle rushed him. Triple H gave him a face-buster driving Angle’s head into his knee. He then clotheslined him out to win the match. Rumour has it that the WWF will cap off Triple H’s return to the WWF after suffering a serious injury earlier this year by having him win the WWF World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania. It is likely that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin will defeat the current champion — Chris Jericho — at the No Way Out pay-per-view setting-up a WrestleMania main event between The WWF Rattlesnake and The Game.
Overshadowed by the Rumble (and Triple H), WWF World Heavyweight Champion — Chris Jericho — held onto the strap through nefarious means. After the interference of fellow Canadians Lance Storm and Christian didn’t work out, Jericho smashed The Rock’s head into an exposed turnbuckle and pinned him while illegally using the ropes for leverage.
- The next WWF pay-per-view is No Way Out on February 17th.
WWF Royal Rumble 2001 Results
Dudley Boys (challengers) versus Tazz, Spike Dudley (champions) (WWF World Tag Team Title Match)
- Pretty decent opener with the Dudleys trying to take out Tazz so they could run rampant over Spike…which they do until Spike eventually “hot tags” Tazz. Stacey climbs on the apron in attempt to distract Tazz. He slaps the Tazz-Mission on her. A few minutes later, he does the same to D’Von. D’Von taps out.
- Winners: …and still WWF World Tag Team Champions, Spike Dudley and Tazz at 5 minutes and 3 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7 / 10.
- Promo time. Edge tells us that he is ticked off at Regal and hefts a steel chair to show us he means business.
William Regal (challenger) versus Edge(champion) (WWF Intercontinental Title)
- Let’s hope the feud between these two isn’t over just yet as they are giving us some fantastic bouts. Nick Patrick confiscates the brass knuckles Regal has hidden in his trunks before the match even starts. Regal feels violated. For the first time in a long time, William applies the Regal Stretch to Edge. Edge reverses it on Regal. Edge goes for his Spear. Regal pushes Patrick in front of him so he takes the damage instead. With Patrick down, Regal pulls out his spare pair of brass knuckles and labels Edge before Patrick comes back to the land of the living. Patrick revives just in time to count the pinfall on Edge.
- Winner: …and new WWF Intercontinental Champion…William Regal at 9 minutes and 45 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7.5 / 10.
Jazz (challenger) versus Trish Stratus (champion) (WWF World Women’s Heavyweight Championship Match)
- Jackie is the special guest referee for this one. Not too shabby for a WWF women’s match. Jazz hits hard and Trish at least is showing some enthusiasm. Jazz focuses her attack on Trish’s injured hand throughout the bout. At one point, Jazz and Jackie get into a shoving match. Trish eventually catches Jazz in her bulldog (Stratusfaction) and puts her lights out.
- Winner: …and still WWF Women’s World Heavyweight Champion…Trish Stratus at 3 minutes and 45 seconds.
- Match Rating: 5 / 10.
- Ric Flair is shown entering the arena with his daughter and son. It is time for McMahon to go to school, says The Nature Boy. Woooo!
Ric Flair versus Vince McMahon (Street Fight Match)
- In another ludicrous booking decision (probably the bookers trying to kiss-up to McMahon), the “buff” Mr. McMahon is portrayed as some sort of unstoppable powerhouse or mini Lex Luger tossing Ric Flair, a wrestling legend who has forgotten more about wrestling than McMahon will ever know, around like a rag doll into guard rails, ring stairs and posts. Astonishingly, the match is 75 percent McMahon beating the tar out of Flair and busting him open. To rub it in, McMahon takes a camera held by Flair’s daughter at ringside and snaps a picture of him and a bloody Nature Boy. McMahon even puts Flair in a weak figure four. Flair easily reverses it. Ten minutes into the match, Flair finally mounts some offence when McMahon retrieves the lead pipe he has hidden near the announcing desk. Flair low-blows McMahon and smashes him in the head with a television monitor. This move busts McMahon open. Flair makes McMahon pose for picture with his daughter’s camera to humiliate him. Back in the ring, Flair brains McMahon with the pipe and slaps him in the figure four. McMahon submits. Viewers are left wondering if McMahon is such a formidable force in the ring, why the heck isn’t he in line for a shot at the WWF World Heavyweight Title? McMahon’s unending need to be in the spotlight and more times than not the top heel in his own company at the expense of others is another reason why he should retire to the offices of Titan Sports …for good.
- Winner: Ric Flair at 14 minutes and 55 seconds.
- Match Rating: 4 / 10.
- Another McMahon chews up screen time. Stephanie says her “husband” Triple H will dominate the Rumble and runs down Debra. Austin interrupts and says “What?” a lot for some reason. In another fit of really bad acting, Stephanie runs away when Stone Cold arrives. Stone Cold screams “What?” some more and says he will win the Rumble. Stephanie in Triple H’s corner and Debra in Austin’s at WrestleMania? You can bet on it.
- Shawn Michaels was shown at WWF New York and commented on the Rumble.
The Rock (challenger) versus Chris Jericho (champion) (WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match)
- Solid outing by two really spirited performers. At 9:53, Lance Storm and Christian tried to take out The Rock. He took out them instead. Jericho hit The Rock with the People’s Elbow but Rocky kicked out. The Rock blocked Jericho and gave him a Rock Bottom from one announce table to another. Angry at Nick Patrick for not laying down a count, The People’s Champ Rock Bottomed Patrick. The Rock score The People’s Elbow and had Jericho beat….except Patrick was still in Dreamland. Rock’s head to an exposed turnbuckle and a roll-up using the ropes has Jericho retaining the WWF World Heavyweight Title. Good thing for The Rock too. Now he can finish filming The Scorpion King.
- Winner: …and still WWF World Heavyweight Champion…Chris Jericho at 18 minutes and 47 seconds.
- Match Rating: 8 / 10.
The Royal Rumble
- When Undertaker cleared the ring, Matt Hardy came out next with Lita. Lita helped Matt attack Taker. The next out was Jeff Hardy. The Hardy Boys double-teamed Taker and hugged to show they have reunited. Taker kicked both Hardys out. They returned to distract him so Maven could sneak in a drop-kick which put Taker over the top rope.
- In a funny moment, DDP got rid of Scotty Too Hotty right after he did his Worm.
- The Godfather came out with no less than 12 Hos. The cameramen were so concentrated on capturing The Godfather dancing with them that they missed DDP being catapulted out of the Rumble. It was later replayed for us.
- When he got rid of Christian and Chuck, Austin had time to kill so he brought them both back in individually, Stunned them and gave them the heave-ho again.
- In a remarkable feat of strength, Kane actually picked up The Big Show and threw him out.
- The Hurricane came in as Austin and Triple H laid each other out. He posed above them and then lifted both of them up by the throat. Austin and Triple H dispensed with him easily.
- RVD hit the ring like a house of fire but was chokeslammed. Booker T. then entered and just dumped him out much to the disappointment of the vocal crowd. The crowd also booed quite loudly when The Godfather was chucked.
Participant Time In Time Out Rikishi Start Thirteen minutes and thirty-seven seconds. Goldust Start Tweleve minutes and fifty-nine seconds. Boss Man Two minutes. Five minutes and 26 seconds. Bradhsaw Four minutes. Eleven minutes and 28 seconds. Lance Storm Six minutes. Eleven minutes. Al Snow Eight minutes. Thirteen minutes and 23 seconds. Billy Ten minutes. Thirteen minutes and 31 seconds. Undertaker Twelve minutes. Twenty minutes and 18 seconds. Matt Hardy Fourteen minutes. Eighteen minutes and 52 seconds. Jeff Hardy Sixteen minutes. Eighteen minutes. Maven Eighteen minutes. Not officially eliminated. Scotty Too Hotty Twenty minutes. Twenty-eight minutes and eighty-eighty seconds. Christian Twenty-two minutes. Thirty-two minutes and forty-six seconds. DDP Twenty-four minutes. Thirty-two minutes and twenty seconds. Chuck Twenty-six minutes. Thirty-seven minutes and twenty-nine seconds. Godfather Twenty eight minutes. Thirty-six minutes and forty-five seconds. Albert Thirty minutes. Thirty-four minutes and two seconds. Saturn Thirty-two minutes. Thirty-eight minutes and seven seconds. Steve Austin Thirty-four minutes. 1 hour, 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Val Venis Thirty-six minutes. Forty-three minutes and eight seconds. Test Thirty-eight minutes. Forty-three minutes and twenty-four seconds. Triple H Forty minutes. Winner at 1 hour, nine minutes and 21 seconds. The Hurricane Forty-two minutes. Forty-eight minutes and five seconds. Farrooq Forty-four minutes. Forty-nine minutes and forty-two seconds. Mr. Perfect Forty-six minutes. 1 hour, seven minutes and five seconds. Kurt Angle Forty-eight minutes 1 hour, nine minutes and twenty-onne seconds. Big Show Fifty minutes. Fifty-eight minutes and twenty-eight seconds. Kane Fifty-two minutes Fifty-eight minutes and forty-two seconds. Rob Van Dam Fifty-four minutes 1 hour and 44 seconds. Booker T. Fifty-six minutes 1 hour, 2 minutes and 44 seconds.
- Winner: …Triple H at 1 hour, nine minutes and 21 seconds..
- Match Rating: 4 / 10.
- Total Event Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes.
- Overall Event Rating: 7 / 10.