Doc’s Note – Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to a presentation that I have absolutely loved participating in but did not conceptualize. This is the brainchild of Skulduggery of the LOP Columns Forum and it is awesome, so I’d like to share it with you. Enjoy!
(1) Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (’15) vs. (16) Royal Rumble Match (’88)
The Doc: In the moment, this match was exhilarating. If you view wrestling like sporting events and never have any intention of rewatching a match beyond initial viewing (like Rich Latta), then I can see how you would think of this triple threat as one of the all-time greats. I can appreciate that some might also feel it has a strong rewatchability about it too, but I personally do not agree. Brock Lesnar matches from his “Conqueror” storyline do maintain a stronger rewatch quality than anything he has done since 2015, but they are still like new cars – they lose about 25% of their value the moment they are driven off the lot. My formula is to place a lot of value on rewatchability, so this is probably more of a 3-seed or 4-seed to me. The original Rumble, borrowing from basketball, gives the triple threat a game through the first half, but the top seed here easily advances. What intrigues me is how far can it realistically advance.
mizfan: The ’88 Rumble is fun but it lacks the depth of later versions, plus it’s won by Jim Duggan so that’s not really in it’s favor. I think the 2015 triple threat is MASSIVELY overrated, to be quite honest, but I’ll still vote for it here. Very possibly the last time I will do so though!
Prime Time: I don’t like triple threat matches and this is not really any different, but this is probably good enough to squeak by the prototype Rumble, which was a something and nothing affair.
Oliver: Holy SHIT that triple threat match! Give it the win, move on, and pretend Jim Duggan didn’t win a Rumble on show where The Islanders defeated The Young Stallions in the main event.
Sidebar: I’ve not looked ahead through the rest of these brackets all the way yet, but I hope Jumping Bomb Angels vs Glamour Girls makes the longlist.
Skulduggery: Easy pick here. While Lesnar and Rollins are often (and correctly, by my count) pointed to as the stars of the triple threat, it doesn’t happen without the straight man of the match in John Cena. He’s the perfect buffer between Lesnar the juggernaut and Rollins the high-flier. What an incredible show these three delivered.
Mazza: Ah man that triple threat was really something. At this point it’s hard to imagine me loving something featuring both Lesnar and Cena but what a fantastic bout it was. This will definitely need revisiting as it goes along. Easy win here against a match that kicked things off but isn’t a great watch now.
Samuel ‘Plan: This should be another no-contest, if there’s any justice in the world. The importance of the first ever Rumble cannot be ignored of course, and comes with its own highlights. Hell, that the Hitman offers up the first ever Iron Man performance on the back of being the first ever entrant is enough for me to love it! But the 2015 Triple Threat is deserving of being considered ‘next level’ special. It saved its pay-per-view from being completely unwatchable. It platformed a brand new star (my boy, Rollins!). It featured one of Cena’s most naturalistic performances in his career. It featured a Lesnar at the height of his most compelling arc. It tossed out its genre’s rule book and wrote a new one that has since been as frequently employed as the one written at WrestleMania XX. It is a remarkable piece of work.
(1) Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (’15) wins 7-0
(8) Royal Rumble Match (’16) vs. (9) Royal Rumble Match (’90)
Mazza: This really is a tough one. The nostalgia kick of 1990 is really strong. DiBiase’s ironman performance and the Hogan vs Warrior face off are two of my favourite things in the history of the match. 2016 is definitely a strange one. At the time I couldn’t get past a couple of really bad booking decisions in the match, namely sending Reigns to the back after a pretty timid beating and Brock shrugging off his unfair elimination without any kind of attempt at retribution. Having revisited the match later however, it is comfortably one of the stronger ones in recent years. The end is particularly strong with the crowd popping huge for Reigns’ elimination and then really getting behind Ambrose before my boy took home the victory. It’s a toss up, but I am going to give the edge to 90.
Oliver: Eh, the 2016 match had my favourite swerve of recent years in it by not having Reigns win or be in the final two of a Rumble that was all about him. I like it.
Samuel ‘Plan: This was a more difficult call than I anticipated to begin with – I have a great deal of time for both. Prompted to go back and revisit them, then, it surprised me that I came away with a very clear victor in mind: Royal Rumble 1990. I still hold 2016’s take on the Rumble Match highly, but revisiting it at this stage is as strange as it is bittersweet, and it is extremely bittersweet. 2016 makes great effort to knock it out of the park, littering its line-up with strong character-driven agendas and crafting a palpable sense of shared universe in compelling fashion. But its flaws are many, and perhaps too many to list here. Chief among them is that it clearly should have been Dean Ambrose’s night. I said then Triple H winning the Rumble would be a terrible idea, and given that the many issues that have besieged the company since then really began to gather steam with that victory I feel quite cynically smug to know history has proven me right.
The Doc: If this match advances, and I think that it absolutely should, then I posit that it will have a great chance of pulling the upset in Round 2. The 1990 Royal Rumble Match, as described in The Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the WrestleMania Era, is the blueprint for how the reverse battle royal functions. In that book, I also describe it as “a Hulkamania Era All-Star showcase.” To this day, I think that it remains one of the top 10 Rumbles of all-time and, as a result, I quite easily put it ahead of the ’16 Rumble, which was a strong effort in its own right despite some pretty significant flaws that were only amplified by how the ensuing history played out beyond that night. In hopes that I’ll get another chance to talk about Rumble ’90 next round, I’ll hold off on a detailed case in its favor so as to maybe persuade everyone to champion it ahead of the triple threat.
Skulduggery: I like the way that this worked out, because there’s a point in the 1990 match where the commentary booth exclaims, “The Brain said every family for himself”, subverting the typical “every man for himself” buzz phrase – and 26 years after that, a similar dynamic exists for the Wyatt Family. There’s a lot of the small things about 1990 that are better – the crowd is incredible, for instance, and the commentary team is involved in the match at hand rather than drilling us with statistics upon every single entrance – but overall, the 2016 match is better. I love the series of showdowns at the end – Lesnar and the Wyatts, Triple H and Ambrose, Triple H and Bray. ’16 was a nice bounce back Rumble from the questionable ’14 and ’15 ones preceding it.
Prime Time: Neither of these is the finest Rumble match. I’ll still take 1990 by some distance though. By 2016 Rumbles were largely parodies of themselves.
mizfan: The 2016 Rumble is noticeably better than the ones flanking it chronologically, but it still comes in a stretch of Rumbles that did not impress me much. Roman Reigns going back to take a nice nap in the middle of the match was truly horrendous booking, and grandpa Triple H inserting himself resulted in one of the poorest Wrestlemania main events in memory. The 1990 version is incredibly superior and I hope and pray it gets the win here, it’s packed to the gills with stars of the era and actually booked and structured extremely well.
(9) Royal Rumble Match (’90) wins 5-2
(5) Royal Rumble Match (’03) vs. (12) The Quebecers vs. Bret Hart & Owen Hart (’94)
The Doc: If Maverick, Mazza, and ‘Plan are all on this committee (and I don’t know who else is on the committee at the moment), then it is a virtual lock that the tag match from 1994 will advance. That trio voted this onto our LOP Radio list of the 10 greatest tag team matches of all-time and scoffed when I countered that it didn’t even belong in the Top 50 or maybe even Top 100. As a piece of an over-arching story, the Harts against the Quebecers is vitally important, but as a match it’s merely “good.” The ’03 Rumble, meanwhile, is a blast and one of the most underrated editions in the gimmick’s long and storied history. The climax, featuring Batista, Taker, Kane, and Lesnar, is pretty good for what it was and benefits from the booking of the Rumble match’s finest decade; considering that its climax is arguably its weakest attribute, I think that speaks quite well for the overall presentation. Christian, Jericho, HBK, Edge, Mysterio, Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore, Team Angle, and John Cena all help carry a thoroughly enjoyable first forty minutes. The 5-12 in March Madness is always a popular upset pick and this is no exception, but I’m rooting for the higher seed here.
Mazza: Not a big fan of 03 outside of a couple of moments. I am a huge fan of the that tag match from 94. I don’t hold out too much hope of an upset here but just an absolute masterpiece of storytelling within the confines of a really good tag match. Give me leg out of your leg every single time.
Prime Time: 2003 isn’t a favourite of mine at all, so this will be one of the rare occasions where I’m going to pick another match over it. People sleep on the quality of the Quebecers and while it’s a storyline match for the Harts, it’s a really decent little storyline match.
Oliver: My instinct here was that the ’03 match would get my vote, but nope – that shit stinks to high heaven. Plus, Harts vs Quebecers is fucking baller and lets me get happy/sad about Owen Hart existing but no longer existing. I fucking miss you, Owen, I hope you’re enjoying kicking legs out of legs, wherever you are.
I think Owen has probably come back as a meerkat. Or perhaps a ferret.
Samuel ‘Plan: Voting for the ’03 Rumble has come as a bit of a surprise for me because, while I know some of my fellow participants in this series feel otherwise, I think the story of Owen’s betrayal of Bret is magnificently told in their tag title challenge of ’94. That being said, it really boils down to a one-note issue here, and that is Chris Jericho. While the genre-subverting story told in the Hart fratricide is a strong favourite of mine, Jericho’s 2003 Rumble performance is enough alone to catapult the match into the second round as far as I’m concerned. It’s a master-class and one of few examples, if any, of one man carrying 29 others to a match that proves far more enjoyable than perhaps it should; Y2J proves to be a one man army, making up for the transitional roster of the time.
mizfan: I’ll always have a place in my heart for the Owen heel turn, not to mention I’m a big fan of the Quebecers, but it’s not good enough to take down quite a good Rumble in ’03.
Skulduggery: What I really like about 2003 is its series of unique interactions that are rare because they a) don’t generally rely on old fellows coming back and b) ’03 was the first Rumble of the original brand split. Matt and Jeff, Edge and Christian, Rikishi and 3 Minute Warning, Lesnar and Batista…the list extends. I love the callback to Maven/Undertaker from the year before, and Brock’s elimination of Matt V1 is one of the better ones in Rumble history. Quebecers and the Harts is a very solid tag team match that leads to one of the best matches in WrestleMania history (…and then later, one of the most overrated matches in SummerSlam history, but let’s not wage that battle again!). But bell-to-bell, the ’03 January classic is a great one, so green light for Lesnar’s win.
(5) Royal Rumble Match (’03) wins 4-3
(4) The Rockers vs. The Orient Express (’91) vs. (13) Edge vs. Rey Mysterio (’08)
Oliver: I’ll be interested to see where my fellow judges and I end up on this one. I think, over the course of doing them, we’ve always tended to lean a little bit more to the modern side than the historical side, particularly when we’re not talking about big, major historical matches. But here, for me, the clear winner (and one of my favourite tags of all time, non-Steiner brothers division) is The Rockers vs The Orient Express.
mizfan: I actually quite like the Edge/Mysterio match, they always had great chemistry, but the Rockers are definitely going to take this one with a very fine performance here.
Samuel ‘Plan: I fully expect to be firmly outvoted on this one. I have always been under the impression that the tag match in this equation is a cult hit with a massive following. I have no time for it. Described to me once by my friend, Chad ‘The Doc’ Matthews, as a ‘ladder match without ladders,’ I find it to be a laborious string of loosely connected set pieces too busy trying to wow me than it is trying to get me to emote. The problem with any ‘ladder match without ladders’ is that all you’re left with is the mess. Edge / Mysterio isn’t up to much, but it’s a reliable effort from them both in front of a hot crowd, that alone making it infinitely more preferable to me.
The Doc: Edge and Mysterio always had better matches within matches than actual one-on-one bouts and here they get demolished by one of the greatest tag team matches ever and one of the best curtain jerkers of all-time. Much time and effort went into my description of it in my new book, so I’ll just copy and paste that here: “In a match that thrived on the intricacy of the sequences performed, these four wrestlers re-set the bar for creativity in the tag team genre. The bar has arguably not been raised since, at least not in a traditional, non-gimmick environment. The spots may not have always been executed perfectly, but they were so exciting that it almost did not matter.” It elevated the perception of what could be done in a wrestling ring at that pace.
Skulduggery: The ’91 tag match was years ahead of its time. Fantastic show from all four, utilizing wonderful high-flying action, double teams, ring psychology, and a super fun finish that saw the Rockers outsmart Fuji’s guys more than outwrestle them. Edge and Mysterio are two guys that have pretty much never put on a dud, and their chemistry in a plethora of situations has been displayed throughout history. They had another really excellent match at the ’08 Rumble, but in this case, a short run time and La Familia goings-on clipped the pair from reaching the rarefied air that they absolutely could have. Tally one for the Rockers and the Orient Express, which (though I’ll have to triple check that) might be my favorite Royal Rumble PPV match from the 90s. Seriously golden stuff.
Mazza: Talking about classic tag bouts, give me those every single time against those throwaway brand split world title bouts. Rockers vs Orient Express to advance here please.
Prime Time: There might be a pattern emerging in some of this, but without the time to go back and look at some of these again… the modern match had so many different iterations of it that I don’t specifically remember which one this was or where in it’s cycle it was, so almost by default you have to go with the former. Orient Express – or Bad Company, as this iteration should more properly be known – are another team that people sometimes sleep on, too.
(4) The Rockers vs. The Orient Express (’91) wins 6-1
(3) John Cena vs. Umaga (’07) vs. (14) Undertaker vs. Bret Hart (’96)
The Doc: I have studied John Cena’s career for a long time and have had numerous conversations with fans of all sorts about his legacy. He maintains a huge number of critics, who mainly tend to focus their criticism on the early part of his main-event career, which included this match with Umaga. Interestingly, though so many of those critiques share common threads about his rise to and lengthy run at the top of WWE, the Last Man Standing Match is often cited as an exception. As a proponent of Cena-Umaga being one of the two greatest Last Man Standing bouts in WWE lore, I think it’s pretty cool to see that kind of reception for it even among Cena’s biggest critics. Really, what’s not to like? They beat each other to a bloody pulp, they creatively executed some eye-popping spots, they pulled off the hardest thing to do in such a gimmick in offering several believable false finishes, and they capped it off with an iconically climactic sequence. This is one of the greatest matches of the century and it would not surprise me at all if it represented Bracket B in the Final Four.
Skulduggery: Easy decision here. Cena/Umaga is one of the greatest Man vs. Monster matches in WWE history. With spectacular storytelling, loads of innovative and devastating offense, and a genuine fear of Umaga’s capabilities, this match concludes with both competitors looking better than they did going in – a damn near impossible task given how much each guy benefited from the build leading up to it. The conclusion to the match is guttural, sears powerfully into your memory, and, in my opinion, is one of the best utilizations of blood since Austin/Bret.
Prime Time: Undertaker against his favourite opponent, or Cena wrestling a gimmick that belongs in the 1970s in 2007? Absolute no-brainer. Taker and Bret all the way. Those bits where he is strangling him with the electrical cord to get an advantage, and the fear when he loses the mask, all mean this match should beat a lot of more famous affairs.
Samuel ‘Plan: Could I ever watch a Bret Hart match I didn’t enjoy? Well, you know all those common complaints that get thrown at the Hitman, primary among them being that he’s a bit boring? And you know all those common complaints that get thrown at the formative version of The Undertaker, primary among them also being that he’s a bit boring? Well add them together and the cumulative result is my opinion of their clash at the ’96 Rumble. A sedentary version of the far more masterful, accomplished and evocative Hart / Diesel matches, when I find myself coming across it again I find myself excited for it to end. Alternatively, Cena and Umaga remains one of the best efforts in the careers of both men, and was my first WWE title match after a two year lay-off from the world of wrestling. It’s one of the greats and it deserves a win here.
Oliver: Man, Cena vs Umaga is so good. Easy win.
mizfan: I was quite interested in checking out Taker/Bret, as I’m not sure I’ve actually seen this version before. While there was certainly some good stuff in there, it was an awfully long way to go for a very poor finish, and ultimately I can’t see any possible argument for including it over the near masterpiece of Cena/Umaga, which remains one of Cena’s best performances ever.
Mazza: I’ve given far too much love to New Gen stuff already in this column. Not going to happen here. Cena and Umaga was a fantastic Last Man Standing match. One of those that really helped solidify John as someone who could really get it done in the ring.
(3) John Cena vs. Umaga (’07) wins 6-1
(6) Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns (’17) vs. (11) Hardy Boyz vs. MNM (’07)
Prime Time: This one is a bit of a snooze for me. Hardy Boys by 2007 doesn’t excite anything and I was really getting mentally checked out with the WWE, even though I’d limp on for another year. I guess Owens and Reigns just because of that.
mizfan: I’m honestly not a fan of either of these matches, but while Hardys/MNM underperformed a bit it was still a perfectly fine match, while I thought Owens/Reigns was contrived and rather stupid, not much chemistry between them and too much time building awkward chair sculptures and concentrating on the shark cage. Give me the tag match here.
Mazza: I remember being pretty impressed by the idea and execution of the Hardy’s and MNM. I thought that was a fun little run for Matt and Jeff as a final reunion tour (a decade ago – sense a theme?). Owens and Reigns is a match that is definitely a grower though. I think as the years go by it will be remembered more and more fondly and it gets the nod from me here.
Skulduggery: God damn, do I love tag team wrestling. And god damn, do I love the 2007 Rumble. I’ll take Team Xtreme’s reunion in late ’06/early ’07 over their ’17 one 100 times out of 100. MNM was a great opponent for them chemistry-wise. Very fun match. On the other hand, we do have Owens/Reigns, which should be the obvious favorite for a reason. Despite everything, I can’t shake the vibe of this match being a paint-by-numbers affair…although a very good execution of one. I know that sounds weird, what with the creativity in the chair pyramid and Jericho’s cerebral manipulation of the shark cage, but for whatever reason, I still see a kid painting blue in the 9’s. Narrow victory for MNM and the Hardys here.
The Doc: MNM vs. The Hardys was a lot of fun in 2007 and, combined with the Umaga-Cena match and the ’07 Rumble, formed the foundation for a really good edition of the January Classic. That said, Owens vs. Reigns was a full star better. Considering that both matches were lacking in the story department, we basically have to judge this based on which was the most aesthetically engaging, and that nod goes easily to Roman vs. KO. You want to talk about lower seeded matches that could make a surprisingly deep run, look no further; Reigns and Owens had one of 2017’s most underappreciated great performances, with KO in particular exhibiting a penchant for excelling when the rules are gone and creativity can be taken in a more hardcore direction.
Oliver: I mistakenly thought this was the match where Joey Mercury got his face broken. It’s not, and I’m kind of sad about it. Not because I’m bloodthirsty, just that I remember that being a good one. Watching this is a bit like watching Usain Bolt sprint whilst holding coffee – it’s good, but sloppy. Owens vs Reigns wins out, despite being a nonsensical pair of stipulations, because it’s really, really good.
Samuel ‘Plan: I’m not really sure why the tag match made it into this tournament after having now gone back and re-watched it. In spite of a heated back story, it plays out in as about a generic and ordinary a fashion as you might expect a main roster WWE tag match of any Era to play out. There’s nothing special about it whatsoever. And frankly, I’ve not much love for the Universal Championship bout of 2017 either, which like the aforementioned Rockers / Express match watches to me like a series of loosely strung together ideas, juddering awkwardly along until it’s over. Plus, it has a Shark Cage – an idiotic gimmick that should have remained relegated to the hokey 1980s. Owens and Reigns win it, even if just by default for me.
(6) Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns (’17) wins 5-2
(7) Royal Rumble Match (’05) vs. (10) The New Foundation vs. The Orient Express (’92)
Mazza: New Foundation vs Orient Express is like the light version of the tag match from the previous year. Fun and good in its own right but not much more when you compare. 2005 might be one of my biggest guilty pleasure rumble. There is a lot about it I absolutely love. It would be my pick as the hipster match that knocks out a lot of “bigger names”. Double quad tear FTMFW.
The Doc: “When in doubt, go with the Rumble” this is not. Though the ’05 edition is not as good today as I remembered it a decade ago, it still exhibits many of the qualities that I demand from the gimmick. I need to see a few workhorses like Eddie, Benoit, Edge, and Mysterio making long runs and carrying us through the minutiae, I need to see big moments with WrestleMania implications like the segment of the match involving Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle, and I need to see the obvious favorites in there at the end so that the climax maintains a certain level of intrigue. Watched only every so often (rather than yearly), Batista and Cena’s perfect blunder that turns into the memorable quad-tearing moment for Vince McMahon and the very exciting restart maintains a real charm that separates it from the rest of its genre library.
mizfan: I actually rather love the ’92 tag match, but the ’05 Rumble is for me in the upper echelon of Rumble matches, and that’s going to give it the nod here.
Samuel ‘Plan: Another tricky one for me, this, even though for many it will be a pretty easy pick I imagine. The truth is I’ve never felt a great deal of love for the 2005 version of the Rumble. The ‘hazing’ of Daniel Puder early on feels uncomfortably real and the assault on Muhammad Hassan is just downright ugly in its tone. The stand-off between brands feels horribly forced and the ending is awkward. 2005 is riddled with issues, and not least among them is its weak line-up of talent. It’s decent enough, but I remember now why it was the event that turned me away from WWE for two years. I’ll go with the surprisingly good over-achievement that is New Foundation vs. Orient Express.
Oliver: I had to try and remember the 2005 Rumble, and it took me until the end to realise it was the one where Vince gets his legs kicked out of his legs by the invisible ghost of Owen Hart and the collective will of the Hart family. The 92 tag match might be my second favourite tag of all time, non-Steiner brothers division, so I’ll give it a win. I miss Owen.
Skulduggery: Earlier, I mentioned 2007 is the heads on my seemingly continuous coin flip of which Royal Rumble I consider my all-time favorite. Meet the tails. 2005 packs so many different aspects in so seamlessly. Not only does it begin with Eddie and Benoit, a dream pair, but at-the-time history, both recent and hyper-recent, supplements the wrestling chemistry of this duo. I’ll elaborate. The Wolverine is tasked again, one year after his miracle run, with going bell-to-bell if he wants the win the January Classic. Eddie, earlier in the show, nearly gets away with the greatest Rumble heist by using his endearing sleight of hand to trade his #1 in for Ric Flair’s #30. However, Teacher Teddy Long forces class clown Eddie to undo the unethical swap, and therefore Latino Heat is stripped of his bag of tricks and forced to rely on pure wrestling skill to win the Rumble the hard way. The brilliance of having him go toe-to-toe with Benoit lies not only in Benoit’s 2004 history, but also the fact that the Wolverine is one of the few that can match Guerrero is that pure wrestling skill. From there, things simply get better. The 2005 Rumble had better topple Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart’s painfully 90s ring gear, so I can talk about it some more!
Prime Time: The 2005 Rumble match had that great thing that they don’t always manage where there were a couple of guys who could have won it. I did think Batista would, but there were plenty of people around backing Cena, and that gave it an unpredictability. I am pulled towards the tag match, but I’m not sure that I’m pulled quite enough. Maybe if the New Foundation or the Orient Express had been seen as more major players than they were, there’d be a bit more at stake in it and I could fully lean that way. As it is, the Rumble, even with that shit, quad-tearing finish.
(7) Royal Rumble Match (’05) wins 5-2
(2) Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (’01) vs. (15) Royal Rumble Match (’93)
Samuel ‘Plan: I once again have little doubt about the inevitable victor here, and truth be told the Ladder Match between Jericho and Benoit is deserving of any props it receives from my fellow participants. It’s a tremendous effort, sadly forgotten. Knowing all this, however, means that I feel comfortable voting for the ’93 Rumble. I can’t stand the idea of it dropping out without a single vote, because I have a lot of love for it. Perennially under-valued like most New Gen Era work, it’s a wonderfully infectious, intelligently structured and deeply character-driven take: from Flair and Perfect’s showdown to ‘Taker’s domination, from Backlund’s compelling and unexpected underdog story to the building-shaking response to Yokozuna and Earthquake’s leviathan confrontation, there’s lots to love about it, and it genuinely deserves at least one vote!
Oliver: Bob Backlund should have won in 1993. Jericho vs Benoit possibly has some of the best use of ladders in a ladder match – limited slow climbing, limited spot set ups, and so on. It’s great, it wins.
Prime Time: Ah, it’s a shame these two end up against each other because I’d put them both through over half the stuff that’s been here so far. That’s the way brackets work, I suppose. Anyway, as good as the singles match is, this comes in the middle of the peak Rumble run, and there’s just so much good stuff in that ’93 Rumble for me to look anywhere else.
mizfan: The ’93 version of the match was actually more fun than I remembered, but not enough to take down that fantastic ’01 ladder match.
Skulduggery: Macho Man’s confusion regarding Royal Rumble rules bows down to the innovation of the Canadian hardware store brawl. Quick dusting of the hands, and on to the next set!
The Doc: “Experts predict a sweep” the headline would read on a sports website and a clean 7-0 is what I absolutely expect here. In Jericho-Benoit, we have one of the foremost story-driven Ladder Matches in history which also managed to bring a great deal of the creativity typically on display in the stunt brawl sub-genre of the gimmick. It was this match that spearheaded the Jericho-Benoit rivalry to earn a place in the Top 100 Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the WrestleMania Era I might add. Bracket B is full of fascinating next and later round match-ups, is it not?
Mazza: Man, Randy almost did it but Yoko was just too strong. I actually think 93 is somewhat underseeded here. I am sure Plan has already bemoaned that fact though. It is a good rumble however falls short against an excellent IC ladder match for my money. Those Canadian Chris lads are pretty damn good.
(2) Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (’01) wins 5-2