Powered by LiquidWeb Search all of OO for news, columnists, and articles about your favorites!
News  -/-  Recaps  -/-  Columns  -/-  Features  -/-  Reference  -/-  Archives  -/-  Interact  -/-  Site Info

Donate to Online Onslaught!
     Daily Onslaught
     Obtuse Angle
     RAW Satire
     The Broad

     Inside the Ropes
     OOld Tyme
         Rasslin' Revue
     Title Wave
Crashing the

     Smarky Awards
     Big in Japan
     Guest Columnists
     2 Out of 3 Falls
     Devil's Due
     The Ring
     The Little Things
SK Rants
The Mac Files
     Sq'd Circle Jerk
     RAW vs. SD!:
         Brand Battle
     Cheap Heat 
     Year in Review
     Monday Wars
     Road to WM 

     Title Histories
     Real Names
     PPV Results
     Smart Glossary
     Message Boards
     Live Chat 
     OO History

If you attend a live show, or have any other news for us, just send an e-mail to this address!  We'd also love to hear from you if you've got suggestions or complaints about the site...  let us have it!

WWE Royal Rumble
January 25, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, well, well...

Some people have spent the last month saying "The 'E' in WWE stands for Entertainment, and Chris Benoit sucks at that, so obviously, John Cena has a better shot at headlining WrestleMania."  Other people were looking at the  superlative storytelling on SD!, where Benoit came a little too close to beating Brock Lesnar and had the deck stacked against him in the Rumble match as obvious evidence that Benoit WOULD overcome the odds and go on too settle his issue with Brock at WM20.

And there were probably a few other people who had other ideas about the Rumble, and were banking on Rene Dupree vs. The Cat in the final moments, but we'll just disregard them.

So which of the two likely scenarios played out?  Well, neither, actually...  the Fed just might have ended up putting together a deal where they fail to please everyone.  Cena lost, annoying all the Entertainmentheads.  And Benoit did win, although at this point, it looks like a WM match against Brock Lesnar's the last thing he'll end up earning as a result.

How so?  Read on and get the full report from the just-completed WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view (with editorial thoughts/analysis in red italics):

  • On Heat: amidst all the usual hype and video packages, Eddie Guerrero cut a very intense promo, the gist of which was he wanted to do two things tonight.  First, outwrestle Chavo and prove he was the better man by pinning him in a wrestling match.  And two, after that was done, beat the holy living shit out of Chavo for betraying him....  also, Victoria pinned Molly Holly with a sweet-ass Widow's Peak in a NON-TITLE contest to conclude the show.
  • Ric Flair and Batista defeated the Dudley Boyz in a Tables Match to retain the World Tag Team Titles.  The PPV, proper, opened with the Duds' Philly homecoming, but Coach was out with JR and King to try to rain on the parade as best he could after taking a 3-D on RAW six days ago.  Generic brawling to start, with Bubba and Batista pairing off, while D-Von and Flair went another direction.  Philly was seriously behind Flair, so Batista was really the only heel in the match.  All four guys were in the ring for pretty much the whole match, and pretty early on, Evolution go the edge.  When the Duds started their comeback, Coach left the announce table and stormed the ring.  He was quickly picked off and slammed by Bubba.  The Duds set up for the "Whassup" spot on Coach, but Flair broke it up, and then Batista came from out of nowhere to toss D-Von through a conveniently near-by table.  End of match (only one member of a team had to go through to end it this time, in violation of standard PPV Table Match rules), champs retain after a 6 minute match.  [Nothing wrong with this one, but it really felt like a segment that would have been more at home on RAW than something that had a PPV air about it.  Short, no memorable spots, just business as usual.]
  • Backstage: John Cena was being interviewed about the Royal Rumble, and as is his nature, turned it into a little freestyle.  He was about to hit the punchline ("And the winner will be...." and he was obviously going to say "me") when Rob Van Dam popped into frame and said "R - V - D."  Then Rob looked back to Cena and just said, "C'mon dude, you gotta admit that was pretty cool."  Cena just shook his head, and then finished up with a few more rhymes about RVD being on the pot, and then invited somebody to suck on his candy cane or something.  Word mother frickin' Life!  Way to keep it clean for SportsLine, John!
  • Rey Mysterio beat Jamie Noble to retain the Cruiserweight Title.  A few highspots from Rey out of the box, then Jamie settled in with some mat offense.  Nidia positioned herself to trip up Rey as he ran the ropes, but Rey reversed the whip and Nidia being blind and all didn't see that.  So she ended up tripped Noble, who was immediately laid out by Rey for the 6-1-9 and then the Dropping of the Dime for the clean pinfall win at MAYBE the 3 minute mark.  Noble verbally accosted Nidia on their way up the ramp, as Rey celebrated.  [Criminally short and even more forgettable than most SD! CW matches.  Another problem: absolutely no storyline advancement in terms of Nidia and Noble, really.  I thought we were at the point where she'd either turn and join Rey, or reaffirm her heel status by revealing the blindness thing is just a ruse...  still, pretty good while it lasted.  Just not PPV caliber, really.]
  • Eddie Guerrero beat Chavo Guerrero.  Following a very nice 5 minute video package, Chavo hit the ring, and was again accompanied by his dad.  Eddie came out in a low rider to a big-ass pop.  Story here was simple: Eddie was going to great lengths to not let his emotions get the better of him.  In lock-ups, he always broke in the ropes.  He refused to use a closed fist on Chavo, though Chavo certainly wasn't reciprocating.  I think outside of one eye poke, Eddie didn't do anything questionable the entire match.  That allowed Chavo to control the middle portion of the match (including, at one point, trying to steal Eddie's triple verticals), but Eddie made his comeback, even though Chavo Sr. was doing everything he could to prevent it.  Eddie eventually hit the triple verts of his own, and then went up top for the Frog Splash for the win at about the 10 minute mark.  After the match, Eddie gave a brief thought to just leaving.... but instead came back and put a beating on Chavo Sr., and used his tie to lash him to the bottom rope.  Then, in front of his brother's face, Eddie savaged his nephew with a flurry of punches.  Chavo was busted open in the attack, and then Eddie shoved him down next to his dad and left the ring.  [Again, with so much stuff on tap for the PPV, this one got a serious short shrift.  Honest to god, when Eddie went up for the Frog Splash, I announced to the room "Oh, way to early, Eddie!" and thought it was the transition into another offensive run for Chavo.  Chavo really came out a loser here; the match seemed to end too early/easily, and then when the intensity did jack up for the post-match attack, he was just brutalized.  Not to sound like a broken record, but this was good...  just not what you'd expect on the PPV stage.]
  • Backstage: Chris Benoit was being interviewed about being #1 when Evolution (minus HHH) sauntered by.  Flair did the talking, and got up in Benoit's face, saying that he may be the greatest technical wrestler of all times, but he always second place, never wins the big one.  Flair said Evolution's where it's at, with the Tag Champs, and the IC Champ, and all that.  When Flair settled in on the topic of Benoit in the Rumble not mattering because Randy Orton was gonna go in there and win the thing, you could tell they were trying to build a little heat between Benoit and Orton, and did it the wisest way possible: by letting somebody other than Orton talk it up.
  • Brock Lesnar beat Bob Holly to retain the WWE Title. Holly jumpstarted things by attacking Lesnar before Brock's pyro even flamed out.  Seemed like the crowd may have been more pro-Lesnar than pro-Holly, but hey, that's those assholes in Philly for you.  After Holly's hot start, Lesnar settled things down a bit.  Tazz tried to explain the logic of Lesnar going for variations on a body vice/body scissors/bear hug, but the crowd (quite reasonably) grew restless, and tried to start up a boring chant.  That was their cue to pick up the pace, which they did: Holly Hardcored Up, and then made it quite clear that his goal was more to break Lesnar's neck than to win the Title when he obsessively tried to lock in a Full Nelson, even when they were on the outside of the ring and Lesnar wouldn't be able to submit if he'd wanted to.  Holly, however, never quite got the fingers laced (given Brock's physique, I'm not sure that'd even be possible).  Bob tried to get more leverage over Brock by hopping up on his back and shoulders, but all that did was make it possible for Brock to hoist Holly into the F-5 position, and then nail his finisher out of nowhere maybe 8 minutes into the match.  Huge babyface pop for that.  Three seconds later, Brock won the match, and IMMEDIATELY grabbed his belt and high-tailed it to the dressing room to avoid the wrath of a recovered Bob Holly.  [I know all about the "slow it down" campaign, but Holly's just not a strong enough character to be able to carry an 8 minute match where half of it is rest holds.  The slowing it down is predicated on having characters people care about involved in the match. And Philly was not grooving on Bob Holly tonight.  Hell, I'm not even so sure that "slowing it down" with rest holds is a good idea in ANY 8 minute match.  Four minutes of restholds is jim dandy in a 20 minute match, but if you're only going 8?  C'mon...  Another match that would have been a perfect Thursday night match....]
  • Triple H and Shawn Michaels went to a Double Count-Out Draw in a Last Man Standing Match; HHH retains the World Heavyweight Title.  This was another one that had an excellent and lengthy video package setting it up, and the crowd was in it from the start.  I think they maybe played it straight for all of five minutes at the start before they picked it up big time and went for the brawling outside the ring.  HHH atttempted to suplex Michaels from one announce table to the other, but HBK blocked that one and took over the advantage.  In that same sequence, Michaels tried an Asai Moonsault, but HHH dodged it... and HBK crashed through the Spanish Announce Table.  HHH directed the ref to put a 10 count on Michaels, but HBK got up.  And when he did, he was wearing an insane Crimson Mask.  It got so bad that before long, not only was his face and hair a mess of red, but he had blood dropping down on his shoulders and torso and was leaving a puddle anytime his head stayed in one place for more than 2 seconds.  Thus began a severe beat down by HHH.  But every time he'd direct the ref to count Michaels out, Shawn would manage to get back up and ask for more.  This went on for awhile, until HHH decided enough was enough, and he went for a steel chair.  Even using it as a weapon, no dice.  Finally, HHH decided to go for the death blow: a Pedigree on the chair.  But Michaels reversed it, dumped the back of HHH's head down on the chair, and then slingshotted him into the steel post.  Now it was HHH who came up wearing serious Crimson Mask.  Shawn hit a bunch of spots, but was so spent that every time he took HHH down, he went down, too; I think the ref only counted HHH by himself one or two times the entire match.  Shawn was tuning up the band, but when he went in for the superkick, HHH dropped down and punched him square in the sac to regain the edge.  Still only an 8 count with the low blow.  So HHH set up and nailed a Pedigree.  HHH was confident he would win, but Shawn was up at 9.  Frustrated, HHH charged back at Michaels... and walked right into the Sweet Chin Music.  Both guys went down.  The ref got up to six, and finally Shawn started to stir.  I'm thinking Rocky II ending...  at seven, Shawn's grabbing the ropes and trying to get to his knees....  at eight, Shawn collapses again!  Ref counts nine and ten, and that's it.  Both guys get counted down, and it's a draw, with HHH retaining after a huge 25 minute brawl.  After a minute of boos and "Bullshit" chants, neither guy's moving so ref Earl Hebner calls for EMTs.  They come out and start checking on both men; Evolution comes out and helps get HHH loaded onto a stretcher first.  HHH is wheeled out.  The remaining EMTs finally get Shawn onto a stretcher, and start wheeling him out, too... but half-way up the ramp, Shawn comes to and realizes what's going on.  He stops the stretcher, and hops off...  and falls to his knees.  Eventually, with a little help, Shawn manages to leave the arena on his feet, instead of on a stretcher.  [Excellent match, an absolutely super brawl.  With a terrible ending.  I'm actually surprised it's taken WWE this long to use a double count-out ending to a Last Man Standing match, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow. I was all ready for the blow-off to this feud, seeing as how RAW has no PPV until WM20 to worry about, by which time HHH will probably have something different on his plate.  Even if the feud is continuing, I'd have preferred an actual ENDING.  Because of the way the last match ended, you could have easily had HHH go over here, maybe via his trusty sledge or something, and kept things simmering.  Doing the draw only has the effect of sending everybody who loved the RAW match 3 weeks ago and who came to the PPV expecting something even bigger and better home annoyed.  Really excellent stuff, though.  Just frustrating in the ending.]
  • Backstage: Goldberg was being interviewed about entering the Rumble at #30 when Brock Lesnar popped in to say "Who cares about the Rumble, I just beat Bob Holly and retained my WWE Title."  Goldberg listened quietly, and asked if Lesnar was done "putting himself over."  Lesnar decided he wasn't, and decided to mention to Goldberg that it was 2 months ago at Survivor Series that Goldberg interrupted HIS interview time... and oh by the way, when Brock saw him there, didn't he have some gold?  Whatever happened there?  Goldberg said to forget about that, because it was in the past, and then looked over Lesnar's shoulder and said, "What do YOU think, Hardcore Bob Holly?"...  predictably, Lesnar freaked out, did a quick circuit of the room  to make sure Holly wasn't hiding out somewhere, and then stepped back to Goldberg, who grabbed the mic and said something about people calling Mick Foley a coward, but maybe the real coward was right here in front of him.  Ohhh, burn! 
  • The 2004 30 Man Over the Top Rope Roya..... um, no: Eric Bischoff promo time!  Bischoff interrupted Howard Finkel, and wasted no time announcing that he was confident that a RAW brand star would win the Royal Rumble because RAW has the better wrestlers, the better entertainers, and BY FAR, the better GM.  A little bad mouthing of Paul Heyman, who I hear used to be quite the promoter in Philadelphia, and out comes Paul E. himself...  he apparently wanted to say something, but I guess the mic wasn't working.  So he just speared Bischoff and started pummeling him for a few moments.  And then: *KEE-RASH*  Steve Austin motored on out.  Grabbed a mic.  Asked what the hell was going on here.  Listened to both GMs make their cases.  Decided to Stunner Bischoff.  Grabbed some beers.  Shared them with Heyman.  Then turned on Heyman and Stunnered him, too.  A little entertaining fluffery to stretch out the palate cleansing between the sweet brawl and the Rumble Match.
  • Announcer Mis-Match Theatre: when he next check the ringside announce table, it's SD!'s Tazz and RAW's Jim Ross (hey, way to chuck the deadweight!).  Tazz notes that Mick Foley's ringside seat is still empty, and remembers that JR said on Monday that if Foley didn't show at the Rumble, he'd have no choice but to call him a coward.  JR says it's not looking good, but the night's not over, yet.  
  • Chris Benoit won the Royal Rumble Match to earn a WrestleMania XX main event World Title Match.  Benoit entered at #1, and who's out at #2 but Randy Orton.  See, it all fits together.    By the way, they announced 90 second intervals and seemed to stick to them very honestly.  Benoit and Orton hooked it up, with no real teased eliminations, so the ring started to fill up a bit.  Around #5 or #6, Bradshaw came in and within a minute was also the first elimination (by Benoit).  Nothing really notable for a while, just eliminations here and there to keep a good 7-8 guys in the ring at all times.  In the teens, Kane made his entry, and it seemed like he might thin the herd a bit.  He came in and chokeslammed anything that moved, and was standing tall by himself in the ring with 8 carcasses scattered around him... and when the countdown reached zero, Kane was standing ready to face his next victim.  The lights dim, and a familiar symbol flashes on the RumbleTrons as two "BONGs" ring out.  Then just like that, it's over.  Kane's eyes bug out, and he's all "No way, I buried you!", but while he's busy not believing what he just say, Booker T snuck up behind him and tossed him.  As a furious Kane made his way up the ramp, the real next entrant, Spike Dudley came on down... and was immediately chokeslammed on the steel ramp for his troubles.  Spike never made it into the Rumble.  We got a few super-heavyweights in (Rikishi and A-Train, at least, I think Matt Morgan was still in, too).  But then in the late teens, we had a spree of eliminations (mostly by Orton and to a lesser extent, Benoit, who were both still hanging tough).  In fact, they wound up being the only two men in the ring, and locked horns again.  After an awkward Irish Whip, they cracked skulls and were both KO'ed when Ernest "the Cat" Miller (with Lamont) made his entrance.  Instead of going after either of the two downed men, Cat decided to dance up a storm (which was completely retarded and all, but which still struck me as terribly funny, especially once Tazz gave up on trying to explain it and just started singing along with Cat's music).  Benoit and Orton both came to at about the same time. Benoit tossed Lamont and Orton got rid of the Cat.  It's about at this point that the ring started filling up again, and most guys who entered after the Cat wound up still being in it at the end (after #30).  At #21, Test's music played, but he failed to enter...  a cut to backstage, and Test is knocked out, with EMT's looking at him, and Steve Austin is asking "Can he go work in the Rumble?".  When the answer is no, Austin yells at at the retreating attacker (who is off-camera down a hallway) and tells him, "Dammit, that's my #21 entry... you know what, you'd better get your ass to the ring, cuz now YOU'RE #21."  Who is it?  Mick Foley!  Foley comes down, and instantly, is on Randy Orton like stank on Mark Henry.  The two throw flailing fists, and Foley eventually gets the edge.  He sets Orton up by the ropes, gets a running start, and clothelines Orton out over the top (taking himself out in the process).  Though action continues in the ring (with Benoit, Kurt Angle, and others), we stay on the ringside brawl between Orton and Foley.  Orton tries to retreat up the ramp, but Foley gets the edge... and is about to adminster the sock-assisted Mandible Claw.  But as he was getting ready, Nunzio made his entrance.  Foley was distracted and put Mr. Socko on Nunzio, which gave Orton enough time to recover, low blow Foley, and then make his escape before he suffered any more.  Nunzio actually tried to use his noggin by not entering the ring right away.  He chilled, sitting down at ringside for about 6 minutes, until John Cena made his entrance.  Cena, often unable to be seen himself, had no problem sighting Nunzio, grabbed him, and tossed him into the ring.    When Goldberg entered at #30, I think there were probably 10 or 11 guys in the ring.  Goldberg took care of that, though, eliminating Nunzio, Billy Gunn, and I think Charlie Haas in a quick flurry.  But that was it for him.  Brock Lesnar made an unwelcome appearance as Goldberg celebrated his eliminations; sneaking up on Goldberg, Brock hit a big F-5, and then retreated with a smirk on his face.  When Goldberg recovered, he immediately went over to the ropes to taunt the retreating Lesnar and promised him "You're Next."  But as he was distracted, Angle snuck up behind him and tossed Goldberg out.  We eventually got down to the final six -- Big Show, Chris Jericho, Christian, Rob Van Dam, Angle, and Benoit -- and they all stuck together for a pretty good stretch (at least 5 minutes).  Story was the other five guys trying to team up to eliminate Show.  Didn't work the first time, but Angle marshaled the troops, and they all hit their finishers on Show, and tried again.  And again Show foiled them.  In fact, Show rallied, and tossed RVD and Cena (big boos on that one).  If five guys couldn't get rid of Show, how would three do?  Well, for starters, they started trying to incapacitate Show with submission holds.  Jericho locked in the Walls of Jericho, and had Show tapping out.  But tap outs are worthless, and Show eventually got back on his feet, and tossed Jericho.  So Angle tried to sneak in and he got the Ankle Lock.  Again Show tapped.  And again when that didn't break the hold, Show decided he had to power out, which he did, and in the process, he also used his leg strength to toss Angle out over the top.  So it's down to Show vs. Benoit.  A 500 pound giant versus the guy who's been in the ring since the beginning.  Like the previous two guys, Benoit got a pointless tap out with a Crossface, but Show managed to power out and rally.  In fact, after the match passed the one hour mark, Show hoisted Benoit up and Gorilla Pressed him...  Benoit was about to be eliminated, but he managed to shift his weight as he was tossed out.  Benoit locked in a front face lock or something, and landed on the ring apron.  Benoit dropped down, and used his leverage to slowly but surely drag Big Show over the top.  Finally, Show passed the point of no return and toppled to the floor, as Benoit slid back into the ring, the victor at about the 62 minute mark.  Tazz said that finally Benoit had won the Big One, and now, he's going to WrestleMania 20 as the show faded to black.  [Absolutely one of my favorite Rumble match.  Despite the 90 second intervals, the longest-ever post-#30 segment made this seem adequately epic and made Benoit's run from #1 seem very remarkable.  The entire post-#30 thing was excellent, and a great example of Big Show being used very effectively.  The Foley thing was a lot of fun.  The Kane/Taker thing was a nice tease.  In general, the pace and intensity picked up as the match went on, and there honestly was barely a dull moment.  Can't say enough good about how the Rumble came off this year...]

Although Benoit won, I think there's ample evidence to suggest that the horrible rumors are true and that Benoit may be shipped to RAW in exchange for Goldberg.  Certainly, Goldberg intends to feud with Brock Lesnar now, and it's probably gotta happen at WM20.  So as perfect as Benoit/Lesnar would be, it doesn't look imminent to me at this point..

Anyway, this was basically a two-match show.  And crap-out ending of HHH/HBK aside, both those matches were stellar.  Thumbs Up from me, and more thoughts and fall-out tomorrow in OO....

Oh, and apologies for being about an hour later than usual with this recap.  The roads coming back home were ultra-shitty, and get a definite Thumbs Down from this corner....


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




All contents are Copyright 1995-2014 by OOWrestling.com.  All rights reserved.
This website is not affiliated with WWE or any other professional wrestling organization.  Privacy Statement.