Hello and welcome to the first WWE pay per view review of 2004 on Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews! The Royal Rumble: an event that holds great weight on The Road to Wrestlemania and in the minds of wrestling fans. Surprise entrants, the chance to create a new star, a match that never fails to have at least one memorable match. A lot of hard-hitting storylines coming into this show, Michaels vs Triple H, Hardcore Holly against the man who broke his neck, Eddie Guerrero vs his nephew who assaulted him Chavo Guerrero. And of course, the thirty-man Royal Rumble to decide who will be going to face their respective brand’s champion at Wrestlemania.
Simple package going over the betrayal and revenge themes of the night. Footage of Chavo turning on Eddie, footage of Lesnar breaking Hardcore Holly’s neck and Triple H rising to the top in Michaels’ absence. Good stuff from WWE but you know that is nothing new.
(WWE World Tag Team Championship Match) The Dudley Boyz vs Batista & Ric Flair © (Tornado Tag Table Match)
Batista & Flair had won the championships at Armageddon due to Bischoff changing the rules of the tag team turmoil match and screwing over a fatigued Bubba & D-Von. Match starts in the rampway, The Dudleys rough up Flair & Batista. A table is in the ring, The Dudleys look for the double suplex but Batista moves the table. Swinging neckbreaker by D-Von on Batista, Bubba & Flair remain in the ring. Flair chops Bubba, Bubba is on a table in the corner. Bubba jabs Flair, elbow to the head. Batista clotheslines Bubba and D-Von, Batista stomps D-Von. D-Von clotheslines Flair while Batista misses a corner spear.
Reverse 3D by The Dudleys on Batista, Flair elbows D-Von hard before climbing to the top rope. Bubba yanks Flair off the top rope, Flair is set up for a 3D through the table. However, Coach makes his way to the ring. Coach distracts Bubba, Flair clubs Bubba from behind while Batista sneaks up on D-Von for a huge spinebuster and the match is over….
Disappointing, I thought both members had to go through the table. Never had a chance to get into the match, there was one table elimination tease and then, it was over seconds later. I had no time to get invested in this match and tables matches are always fun, how did they manage to make this type of match boring?
Winners: Batista & Ric Flair over The Dudley Boyz via Elimination!
(WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match) Rey Mysterio © vs Jamie Noble W/ Nidia
What happened to Tajiri? Anyways, Mysterio is your champion and Noble is using Nidia as a human shield, Nidia was blinded from a black mist from Tajiri. Mysterio sets up a 619 early but Noble counters for a flapjack, two for Noble. Snapmare into a kick for two, roll-up by Mysterio for two. Clothesline by Noble, two for Noble. Reverse chinlock by Noble, dropkick by Mysterio. Hurricanrana by Mysterio, modified bulldog by Mysterio for two. Noble stops a springboard crossbody with a knee to the ribs, Mysterio blocks the Tigerbomb. Nidia trips Noble by mistake, 619 and springboard leg drop by Mysterio for the win.
Another short match with little meaning behind. That Cruiserweight championship has been tossed around more than your sister (Ha comedy). Honestly, nothing in this division can help rebuild it. Also, Nidia randomly reached out and grabbed Noble’s leg? Noble had been abusing Nidia so if Nidia revealed she could see the whole time that would have been a positive for the match but no, no reveal.
Winner: Rey Mysterio over Jamie Noble via Springboard Leg Drop!
Chavo Guerrero vs Eddie Guerrero
Chavo did not recover from losing the tag team championships to The Basham Brothers. Enraged, Chavo would blame his uncle Eddie, Chavo would slap Eddie before faking a reunion between Los Guerreros. Chavo would bloody Eddie in quite violent fashion. This could be quite the match unlike their matches in WCW with Chavo in the role of a babyface. Lock-up with Eddie shoving back Chavo, Chavo slaps Eddie. Eddie spears Chavo and wishes to pummel Chavo but the referee saves Chavo. Hammerlock into a reverse chinlock by Eddie, Chavo escapes. Another lock-up with Eddie shoving back Chavo, chops by Eddie.
Eddie is laughing, lock-up with side headlock by Chavo. Shoulder blocks by Chavo, Eddie flips off Chavo. Chop war, eye poke by Eddie. Eddie is refusing to go all-out on Chavo, Chavo is tripped up by Eddie. Chavo bridges up from the arm hold for a hurricanrana to the floor (Impressive move). Chavo is with the referee while Chavo Sr. trips up Eddie on the steel steps, Chavo bounces Eddie’s head off the announce table, Chavo waffles Eddie with forearms and elbows to the head. Eddie mounts Chavo but does not resort to all-out warfare. Chavo trips Eddie but walks into a triangle hold which leads to a cross armbreaker. Chavo escapes for a back suplex, Three Amigos by Chavo.
Eddie avoids the third, Chavo looks for a tornado DDT, Eddie counters for headbutts and the Three Amigos. Eddie looks for The Frog Splash, it connects and the match is over. Chavo Sr. takes a huge right hand from Eddie, Eddie looks down in disgust at Chavo. Latino Heat goes back to pummelling Chavo Sr. Eddie pummels Chavo with right hands after the match, Eddie also chokes the life out of Chavo Sr.
Where did that finish come out of? It just happened out of nowhere. Is this the theme of the night? Am I going to be getting into a match and it is simply going to end abruptly? I was not expecting the match to end that fast, I liked Eddie not snapping. However, Eddie snapped after the match and beat the piss out of Chavo and his father. While we may understand the reasoning behind Eddie’s assault, it comes off as awkward and heelish. Eddie pummels Chavo in front of his father, it is not exactly the most babyface move. So, I liked the match and where it was going but far too short and the angle at the end did not help Eddie in the long run.
Winner: Eddie Guerrero over Chavo Guerrero via Frog Splash!
John Cena/RVD/Benoit & Evolution Promo
John Cena raps about winning the rumble, RVD interrupts before Cena finishes his rap. Benoit cuts a promo about being number one in the rumble. Flair and Evolution interrupt Benoit saying Benoit is great but never ever will be number one. Tazz and Michael Cole agree with Flair, Benoit might be the best in the ring but he can never win the big one (The mother of all foreshadowing right there).
(WWE Championship Match) Hardcore Holly vs Brock Lesnar ©
Hardcore Holly has his neck broken by Lesnar, accounts vary on the actual incident. Some claim Lesnar broke Holly’s neck due to Holly sandbagging (Meaning dead weighting) Lesnar, Holly claims that it just could not get up for the powerbomb. Regardless, they made the injury into an angle, Holly returned and wanted to break Lesnar’s neck.
Holly starts off hot, taking the fight to Lesnar. The tide turns with Holly missing a crossbody from the top rope. Shoulder thrusts, suplexes and a bearhug from Lesnar wear down Holly. Delayed fisherman buster by Lesnar for two, another butterfly hold from Lesnar. Holly fights out but eats a belly to belly suplex. Rear-naked choke by Lesnar, Holly battles back with clotheslines and a dropkick. Alabama Slam by Holly, Holly looks for a full-nelson to break the neck of Lesnar. Lesnar is taken down but Lesnar reaches the ropes, Holly holds on as they spill to the floor. Holly grabs the hold while Lesnar is on the apron, Lesnar hotshots Holly. Holly walks into The F5 and wouldn’t you believe, the match is over.
Well, it was very physical and hard-hitting, not much of a match though. How come all these matches have to end quickly so I have to see Michaels vs Triple H for an eternity? Match cuts away right away, shows what they thought of Holly. I mean Holly was a company man through and through, Holly did deserve the moment but this brief match said all you need to know about this match. A pure afterthought in the grand scheme of things and I am starting to get sick of all these quick matches on this pay per view.
Winner: Brock Lesnar over Hardcore Holly via F5!
(WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match) Triple H © vs Shawn Michaels (Last Man Standing Match)
After months of battling his Evolution stablemates, Michaels has his match with Triple H. You know the backstory by now: The two men who started D-Generation X, Michaels was on top of the world and Triple H was his sidekick. Michaels retired after a back injury in 1998, Triple H grew into a top superstar and when Michaels returned to The WWE, Triple H had no intention of letting his best friend steal the spotlight.
Lock-up, Triple H has Michaels in the corner. Michaels chops and throws right hands before Triple H turns the tide with his own punches. Michaels chops Triple H, more punching and chops. Side headlock by Triple H, Michaels recovers for a backslide, no pins though. More chopping by Michaels, knee facebuster by Triple H, shoulder thrusts by Triple H. Hard Irish whip by Triple H, backbreaker by Triple H. Right hand floors Michaels, Triple H tries a boot but Michaels dragon screws Triple H and applies the figure four. Michaels breaks the hold, allowing the referee to begin counting. Michaels dropkicks the leg, Michaels looks for a crossbody but Triple H lowbridges Michaels and Michaels crashes to the floor.
Triple H clears both announce tables, Michaels is bounced off the steel steps. Triple H looks to suplex Michaels through the table, Michaels blocks and punches The Game. Double axe handle by Michaels off the table, Michaels climbs to the top rope. Triple H blocks the double axe handle and looks for a Pedigree but Michaels dumps Triple H to the floor. Michaels looks for a springboard crossbody but Michaels crashes through the announce table. Michaels is bleeding and in selling mode, right hand by Triple H. Michaels stood up at the count of seven, Triple H mounts Michaels and hammers away at a bloody Michaels.
Michaels stands at seven, Triple H goes for the kill with right hands. Michaels begs for more from The Game, more right hands. Triple H asks for a count, Michaels is up at eight. Michaels fires up, spinebuster by The Game. Another right hand by The Game, Triple H has a chair. Chair to the back of Michaels, Triple H asks for a count. Michaels is up at nine, Triple H calls for a Pedigree. Michaels reverses for a catapult into the ringpost, Michaels waffles Triple H with the chair. Flying forearm by Michaels, both men are down and the referee is counting. Michaels kips-up, right hands to the face of Triple H.
Inverted atomic drop and a huge right, elbow drop by Michaels. Michaels motions for Sweet Chin Music, Triple H low blows Michaels. Both men up at seven, slugfest between the two. Sleeper by Michaels, Triple H fades and collapses. Triple H staggers but makes it up at eight, Triple H shoves Michaels twice. DDT by Triple H, Triple H whips Michaels into the corner, Michaels flips before Triple H looks for a back superplex. Michaels reverses in mid-air for a crossbody, Michaels and Triple H are up at nine. Pedigree by the champion, Michaels is up at nine after a Pedigree. Sweet Chin Music by Michaels, both men collapse after a thunderous shot. Neither man can answer the count with Triple H retaining the championship.
Well, it would be the best match of the night as it lasts longer than nine minutes. Just teasing, this was good with a lot of psychology, bigger moves that lead to longer down times. A lot of blood, Michaels is tremendous selling the effects of flying through the table. The crossbody-back superplex was a great spot, The Pedigree and Michaels hitting that Sweet Chin Music. It makes me wish that Michaels made the ten count and won the championship. At the same time, Michaels was not beat so if they wanted to put the championship on Michaels, they could still do it. I did like the simplicity of this match, I liked the imagery and the psychology.
Thirty-Man Royal Rumble Match
Thirty-men, one winner. The rules are simple: two men begin the match with other superstars entering at timed intervals. Elimination occurs by throwing your opponent over the top rope and both feet touching the floor. Fifteen superstars from Raw & Smackdown are battling for the right to face their brand’s champion at Wrestlemania. Before we begin, Bischoff and Heyman get into a war of words, arguing that one of their superstars will win the match. Heyman jumps Bischoff before Sheriff Austin comes into the ring. So, since the last pay per view, Heyman has become Smackdown GM performing as a heel while Austin was reinstated thanks to Foley’s petition to bring back The Rattlesnake. Austin Stunners Heyman and Bischoff to kick us off.
Entrants 1 to 5
Chris Benoit is number one, being screwed over by Paul Heyman. Number two is Randy Orton, looks like these two could be going the distance. Lock-up, Benoit stomps Orton. Back elbow by Benoit, more stomps. Snap suplex by Benoit, Orton stomps Benoit before Benoit knees Orton in the ribs. Number three is Mark Henry, Henry clubs Benoit in the back. Henry chokes Orton, Benoit goes back to Henry. Number four is Tajiri, Tajiri kicks Orton all over. Handspring elbow to Orton, Benoit German suplexes Tajiri. Orton tries eliminating Henry, Henry clubs down Orton. Henry eats a huge dropkick from Orton, number five is Bradshaw.
Clothesline From Hell to Henry, Orton, Tajiri and Benoit blocks it for The Crippler Crossface. Bradshaw tries dumping out Benoit but Bradshaw ends up out on the floor.
Bradshaw has been eliminated!
Entrants 6 to 10
Number six is Rhyno, Rhyno wants Benoit, his former tag partner. Tajiri locks Henry in The Tarantula. Rhyno Gores Henry which leads to Tajiri’s elimination. Benoit bumps into Henry and The World’s Strongest Man has been dumped to the floor.
Tajiri/Mark Henry have been eliminated!
Matt Hardy is number seven, Hardy Side Effects Rhyno. Benoit almost eliminates Hardy, Benoit chops Orton in the corner. Rhyno has Hardy in a dangerous position, number eight is Scott Steiner. Steiner clotheslines everything, t-bone suplexes for everyone. Benoit throws Steiner with two huge German suplexes, number nine is Matt Morgan. Morgan boots Hardy and powerbombs Benoit, Steiner suplexes Rhyno. Shoulder thrusts by Morgan on Orton, Rhyno & Hardy try eliminating Steiner. Number ten is The Hurricane, Crossbody on Hardy. Hurricane eye pokes Morgan but runs into a slam and is dumped to the floor.
Hurricane has been eliminated!
Entrants 11 to 15
Number eleven is Booker T, Scissors Kick to Orton. Morgan knees Booker hard, number twelve is Kane. Kane walks in and Steiner’s elimination occurs off-screen (Sums up in his run perfectly).
Scott Steiner has been eliminated!
Kane goes through everyone with Chokeslams, boots and sidewalk slams. Uppercut to Hardy, elbows in the corner. Number thirteen and a gong goes off, Kane screams in panic realizing that his brother could be next but there is no Undertaker. In the chaos, Kane is thrown over by Booker T. Spike Dudley is the real thirteen, Spike is Chokeslammed on the ramp.
Kane has been eliminated!
Number fourteen is Rikishi, Benoit throws out Rhyno while Rikishi makes his way to the ring (Second time that has happened now, they need to up their game).
Rhyno has been eliminated!
Rikishi Stinkfaces Morgan, everyone pairs off in the corner to stall for time. Elbow by Booker to Hardy, number fifteen is Rene Dupree. Dupree blocks a Twist of Fate and suplexs Hardy onto the apron before dropkicking Hardy to the floor. Dupree dances and turns around for a massive kick to the face and the elimination. Morgan misses a big boot in the corner and Benoit dumps over Morgan. Orton dumps over Rikishi and Booker T in quick succession.
Matt Morgan/Booker T/ Rikishi/ Rene Dupree/Matt Hardy have been eliminated!
Entrants 16 to 20
A-Train is number sixteen, A-Train is not here for long as Benoit dumps over A-Train as number seventeen enters which is Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin keeps the tradition by being thrown out almost instantly as Orton ducks a huge kick and dumps out Benjamin. Number eighteen is Ernest Miller, Miller dances while Orton & Benoit are down. Orton throws out Miller after Miller’s dance is over.
Ernest Miller/ A-Train/ Shelton Benjamin have been eliminated!
Number nineteen is Angle, things have picked up big time. Angle and Benoit waste no time battling one another, chops and stomps by Benoit. Suplex by Angle on Benoit, Angle looks for the elimination. Benoit survives, Orton clubs Angle. Number twenty is Rico, Rico facebusters Orton and tries eliminating The Legend Killer. RKO on Rico, Benoit German suplexes Angle while Orton dumps out Rico.
Rico has been eliminated!
Entrants 21 to 25
Test’s music plays but there is no test at twenty-one, Austin finds Test knocked out backstage. Austin talks off-screen to the man who assaulted Test. Mick Foley is in at twenty-one, Foley mauls Orton with right hands. Foley eliminates himself and Orton with a Cactus Jack clothesline.
Randy Orton/ Mick Foley have been eliminated!
Number twenty-two is Christian, Foley continues beating Orton at ringside. Officials distracts Foley which leads to a chairshot by Orton, right hands by Orton. Foley gains control and pulls out Socko, number twenty-three is Nunzio. Nunzio tastes the mandible claw before Orton sneaks away after a low blow to Foley. Christian chops Benoit, German suplexes by Angle to Benoit & Christian. Nunzio is watching from the floor, smartest man in the match. Number twenty-four is Big Show, Show chops and headbutts his way to control. Christian is tossed to the canvas as Chris Jericho enters at number twenty-five. Jericho & Christian team-up before Show headbutts both.
Entrants 26 to 30
Everyone teams up on Show, Show shakes off everyone. Number twenty-six is Charlie Haas. Jericho & Christian double suplex Haas, Nunzio is still watching from ringside. Benoit is almost thrown out, Christian tries throwing Jericho but Jericho back drops Christian to the floor.
Christian has been eliminated!
Number twenty-seven is Billy Gunn, Fameasser for Jericho & Angle. Right hands to Benoit and Haas. Fameasser to Show, number twenty-eight is John Cena. Show stares down Cena, Cena spots Nunzio. Cena throws Nunzio in the ring, Show & Nunzio stomp Cena. Chop by Show, Nunzio is slapped by Show. Cena tries throwing out Show, Show hangs on despite Jericho’s help. Number twenty-nine is RVD. RVD kicks Show, Jericho attacks RVD and pays for it with a spinning heel kick. Cena FUs Angle, number thirty is Goldberg.
Spear to Show & Gunn, right hands and powerslams for the others. Haas is dumped out by Goldberg, Goldberg Spears Nunzio in half before throwing out Billy Gunn. Nunzio is tossed out too. Goldberg calls for a Jackhammer on Show, Lesnar F-5s Goldberg and Angle tosses a distracted Goldberg.
Goldberg/ Nunzio/ Billy Gunn / Charlie Haas have been eliminated!
Focus is on show, everyone is attacking the big man. Lionsault, Five Star Frog Splash, a Five Knuckle Shuffle and a Diving Headbutt. Angle directs traffic with all men trying to eliminate Show, Show hulks up and throws out Cena, RVD is thrown to the floor too. Jericho skins the cat and applies The Walls of Jericho to Show.
RVD/John Cena have been eliminated!
Jericho is dumped to the floor after Show Chokeslams Y2J. Angle eats a massive sidewalk slam, Chokeslam to Benoit. Angle’s German suplex is blocked, Angle fires up and delivers an Angle Slam to Show. Benoit eats an Angle Slam too, the straps are down. Angle counters a Chokeslam for an Ankle Lock, Show uses the ropes to pull himself up and uses his leg strength to dump out Angle.
Kurt Angle/Chris Jericho have been eliminated!
Benoit has Show on the apron, Diving Headbutt by Benoit which knocks Show into the ring. Benoit walks into Show’s hold, Chokeslam is countered for a Crossface. Show taps out to the hold, Benoit uses the hold to wear down Show. Show escapes and pulls down the strap, Show has Benoit in a military press, Benoit grabs a guillotine chokehold. Show attempts to dump Benoit but Benoit holds onto Show pulling so hard with Show teetering on the top rope. Benoit pulls and pulls with Show falling to the floor, Benoit wins The Royal Rumble.
That was a good Rumble, it had its dull moments like all Rumbles but there were some nice interactions and spots in this match. Obviously, Benoit going the distance was great, so many times had Benoit stole the show throughout his run on Smackdown. Tapping out Lesnar was the big clue and when this happened, many a smark jumped up and down in joy. Good run for Orton, stayed in there a long time with a few eliminations, continues his angle with Foley setting up Wrestlemania. Speaking of Wrestlemania, you also had Undertaker vs Kane and Goldberg vs Lesnar. This Rumble does so much right, it is hard to knock it. Sad that it is forgotten due to the circumstances of Benoit’s death but on this night, his star shone brightly.
Winner: Chris Benoit via Survival!
That was WWE’s Royal Rumble of 2004, a strange show in my books. I have no idea what they were thinking in the mid-card for this pay per view, three of the matches I had no time to invest in or enjoy as they ended within minutes. Triple H vs Michaels delivers with heavy psychology, bloody visuals and a finishing sequence that poured on the drama and excitement. Only let down is the finish, even before that finish became old and cliché, I cannot see it going down too well with crowds around the country. Good way to extend the feud but the crowd will not be happy. Rumble was very good, great story-telling, interesting spots, old feuds rekindled and setting up matches for Mania. Little dull in the middle waiting for eliminations but that happens every year. My advice is pick this up for The Rumble and The Last Man Standing Match, everything else is too short to invest into and remember: There’s always another night!