Home > Retro Columns, wwe > Retro: Greatest Matches – HHH vs. Cactus Jack (Royal Rumble 2000)

Retro: Greatest Matches – HHH vs. Cactus Jack (Royal Rumble 2000)

I had this ready last night and forgot about posting it. It’s a look back at one of my favorite matches ever. A brutal street fight that really tested HHH to see if he was ready to be a main eventer while Mick Foley tried to prove that he still had something left in him after an injury plagued 1999 year. This was originally written in 2003. Enjoy.

I wrote a series of columns that I like to call the Greatest Matches in Wrestling History. This time around, I’ll be taking a look back at a match that’s now ten years old. A match that will forever be known as one of the best world title matches in the history of this business. To me, it’s also the best match in the history of the Royal Rumble PPV although I’d say Angle/Benoit at the 2003 Rumble is right there too.

THE FACTS
Who: Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Cactus Jack for the WWF Heavyweight Title
What: Royal Rumble
When: January 23, 2000
Where: Madison Square Garden in New York, New York

THE FEUD
During the summer of 1999, Triple H was on the receiving end of a big main event push. He won his first world title on Raw in August, the night after Summerslam. The man he defeated in that match was Mick Foley. He went on to lose the world title in a fluke match against Vince McMahon. After McMahon forfeited the title, Triple H won a Six Pack Challenge match for the title at Unforgiven in September. Two months later he lost it to the Big Show in a triple threat match that also featured The Rock. At Armageddon, the December PPV, he defeated McMahon in a street fight thanks to his “wife” Stephanie turning against her father to help Triple H win the match.

After starting off 1999 in the main event picture, Mick “Mankind” Foley dealt with a lot of injuries to close out the year. He returned from minor knee surgery as a surprise entrant in the Summerslam main event where he won the world title. Following that brief run that lasted a whole two days, the number of matches he ha started to dwindle. Instead of working a lot of crazy matches like he used to, he spent most of his time on the mike. He formed The Rock ‘n Sock Connection with The Rock while having a mini-angle with Al Snow. That storyline carried over for several months although there was never a big payoff match, much to the dismay of many fans and Foley himself. By the end of ’99, Foley was considering retirement. It would happen soon, but before he went away there was a masterful angle that needed to be done.

December 27th, 1999 on RAW: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were the on air owners on WWF TV at this point. To prove how much power they yielded, Triple H & Stephanie made The Rock and Mankind have a “pink slip on a pole” match where the person that lost the match would be forced to leave the company. Mankind had the match won when Al Snow interfered on his behalf. He refused to do climb the pole to end the match because he wanted to win on his own. The Rock eventually won the match and Mankind was fired.

For the next couple of shows, Triple H and fake Mankind (played by Dennis Knight aka Mideon) did skits that humiliated Mick Foley. Looking back, some of them were pretty funny because Knight did an awesome job of imitating Foley. Even though he was gone, he was not forgotten.

January 3rd on RAW: Triple H defeated The Big Show to become the world champion. It was the unofficial dawning of the McMahon/Helmsley era.

January 10th on Raw: The Rock stands in the middle of the ring with the other wrestlers standing on the outside. He tells Triple H that everybody will walk out unless he reinstates Mick Foley. Triple H, without another option, does that. When Foley comes back he challenges Triple H to a streetfight at the Royal Rumble for the world title. Later in that same show, in an eight man tag match, Triple H destroys Mankind with a ring bell shot to the face and a Pedigree through the announce table. He ended up pinning Foley in that match. Foley was a bloody mess after the beating.

January 13th on Smackdown: Triple H is in the ring along with fake Mankind bragging about what happened on Raw. Mick Foley comes out to say that Mankind wasn’t ready to fight Triple H at the Royal Rumble. However, he knew somebody that was ready. His name is Cactus Jack. It was a very memorable promo. Triple H fled the scene while Cactus Jack beat up fake Mankind.

January 20th on Smackdown: Cactus Jack finally gets his hands on Triple H. He finishes the beating off with a piledriver on the announce table that doesn’t break it. The last image before the Royal Rumble was Triple H taking the piledriver on the table.

The stage was set.

Cactus Jack vs. Triple H for the WWF Heavyweight Title in a Street Fight at the Royal Rumble.

THE MATCH
Cactus Jack is introduced first to a pretty big face pop. He’s wearing the usual ‘Wanted’ shirt along with black pants and snakeskin boots. Triple H comes out next in his black shorts along with kneepads and black boots. He’s also got a big white bandage on his left leg. Interesting that he gave Howard Finkel a black bag telling him to hold it for him. Triple H didn’t have the water spit as a regular part of his act at the time. He sort of walks on the apron and spits it out without a huge pose. Triple H sends Steph away before it begins.

After a staredown won by Cactus, he starts with punches to the head. Hunter bails to the outside, Cactus catches him with a neckbreaker on the floor. Hunter tries to climb back in, but is met with a leg drop to the back of the head. Cactus nails him with the ring steps followed by the ring bell. Hunter recovers with the bell to the head. Back in the ring, Hunter’s got the chair and Cactus charges him only to get drilled in the head with a SICK chair shot. After Hunter stalls a bit, Cactus takes him down and drops a leg on his face that is covered by the chair for the first two count of the match. As they head to the outside, JR calls Triple H “maybe the greatest technical WWF champion of all time.” Bret Hart who? On the floor, Cactus backdrops HHH over the railing sending him into the crowd. They brawl through the crowd making their way over to the entryway. Cactus stacks two wooden palettes (about eight pieces of wood on each) and suplexes HHH on them. This is where HHH gets a huge gash in his left calf. It was pretty disgusting. Watching it in slow motion you can see his leg hitting hard against the wood although no piece of wood was stuck in his leg. Trashcan to the head by Cactus followed by some head slamming into the door. Hunter reverses a move into a back suplex that makes Cactus land with the back of his head on the trashcan. Hunter’s leg is bleeding like crazy now and he’s touching it trying to see if there’s anything sticking out. Don’t watch this after you’ve eaten. Clothesline by Triple H but Cactus recovers to whip him headfirst into the steps. That’s followed up with the patented running knee by Cactus, this time on the steps. Bang! Bang! No, I don’t mean Stephanie. I mean that’s what Cactus just said.

Cactus rolls HHH back in and finds the barbed wire 2×4 under the ring to a huge pop from the crowd. Low blow by HHH. HHH nails Cactus to the stomach and the back. One more time. He waits too long so Cactus gets a gutshot followed by the 2×4 into HHH’s nuts. Referee gives the 2×4 to the Spanish announce team while Cactus nails HHH with the double arm DDT for a very long two. Cactus wants the 2×4, Hebner says no and then says, “the Spanish guys eating the tacos stole it.” What a racist! Okay, maybe he didn’t say exactly that but Cactus punches the announcer and gets his sacred piece of barbed wire. Back in the ring, Hunter runs into Hebner and Jack nails him in the face with the 2×4 to a thunderous pop. Cactus nails the elbow drop with 2×4 in hand while the camera closes in on HHH’s busted up face. The blood is flowing now. What an awesome blade job. Cactus covers, Hebner comes to for the 1, 2, no. Just two. Crowd thought that was it. Cactus grinds the wire in HHH’s face in a cool spot that the crowd loves. Outside, Cactus works over the wound with more fists as we get more shots of HHH’s face. His hair is covered in red now, most of it anyway. Cactus clears off the English announce table. He is going for a piledriver, but Triple H reverses it into a backdrop through the table. Another sick bump. Foley is God.

In the ring, Hunter goes for the Pedigree that Cactus reverses into a slingshot to the turnbuckle. Hunter bounces off leading to a facebuster into the barbwire for two. That was a cool spot. I think I just heard Cactus say “clothesline” to HHH. Yep, there it is sending them to the outside. Cactus charges at him like an idiot, which leads to a DISGUSTING hiptoss that Cactus takes legs first into the ring steps. Foley! Foley! Foley! You damn right. Since that wasn’t sick enough, Hunter throws him into the ring steps knee first and Cactus takes the bump over the steps landing on his back right in front of the announce table. What a freak. Hunter chop blocks (shoulder block to the back of the knee) the left knee. Meanwhile, Jim Ross calls HHH a stud. Who told him to say that? Pat Patterson? Triple H tells Finkel to give him the bag and we soon discover that there are handcuffs in there. We are reminded of the previous year’s Rumble where Mick Foley took twelve chair shots to the head after being handcuffed by the Rock. He tries to cuff him but is knocked down. Hunter goes back to the knee with a kick, and then he cuffs him. That’s the last time he focused on the knee. My only gripe in the match is that they forgot about the injured knee. Ah, who the hell cares about the knee? This match rules! Crowd is going nuts now.

Hunter brings in the ring steps. In another really good spot, Cactus reverses the charge with a drop toehold that leads to HHH eating the steps. Cactus gets a boot to the face and headbutt low blow. After some biting by Cactus (in the head, not in the low blow region), HHH gets in control with a clothesline. Chair to the gut bends Cactus over and those are followed up by two shots to the back that sends him rolling to the outside. Near the entryway Triple H gets a good shot to the head. As HHH is winding up for another swing with the chair, The Rock emerges from the entrance and hits HHH in the head with a chair to a thunderous pop. That was such a cool moment and a nice way of remembering the year before. A cop comes out to unlock the cuffs, freeing Cactus. Good work Sipowitz.

Cactus gets his second wind now by throwing Triple H onto the Spanish announce table. He nails him with a stump piledriver (that’s when he pulls the trunks for more impact), but the table does not break. Viva Espanol! Somewhere a Spanish guy is probably saying that the English are not as strong as the Spanish. Cactus rolls him in the ring and grabs a bag from under the ring. We don’t know what they are until he dumps it revealing hundreds of thumbtacks that he litters in the corner of the ring. Steph comes out to overact. I mean she comes out to show concern for her husband. After some punches, Triple H is standing right in front of the tacks. Like an idiot (again), Cactus charges at him and gets backdropped straight onto the tacks in another SICK moment. What was cool is that the crowd started to gasp as soon as he charged HHH because they knew it was coming. He rolls around in the tacks for a disgusting visual. Triple H hits him with a kick and Pedigree for 1…2…2.999999. Ooh, crowd thought that was it. Good false finish. This time Triple H does the Pedigree FACE FIRST ON THE TACKS! Man, Foley is fucking nuts. He rules. 1…2…3. Two Pedigrees, the second one on the tacks, and that’s it. Foley has tacks all around his face, actually cutting him open a bit. This was one of the best finishes to a big match that I’ve ever seen. Match time was 26:48. On the five star scale I’ll give it the max: *****. Five stars, easy. No doubt about it.

Post match, Triple H is on a stretcher. Cactus gets up in time to chase him down, take him off the stretcher, roll him back into the ring and beat him up some more with a barbwire shot to the face. Crowd was still going nuts. They had them in the palm of their hands the entire time.

THE AFTERMATH
DVD Extra: Triple H is lying on a table getting the big gash in his left leg checked out by the doctors. He tells some guy to go in the crowd to tell his parents that he’s okay. What a good son. Doctor asks where he says it and he says on the wooden palettes. Good memory. A doctor stitches up his leg. Ugh. It’s not a pleasant sight. Then again, he did see Chyna naked, so maybe it wasn’t so bad for Triple H. That’s all for the extra.

Following the Royal Rumble, the feud between Triple H & Cactus Jack continued. Cactus asked Triple H for another shot at the world title. Triple H agreed, on one condition. If Cactus lost then he’d have to retire. Cactus agreed to that, adding that the match take place within the confines of the Hell in a Cell. Triple H won that match, retiring Cactus Jack in the process. It was also an excellent match, worthy of its own column some day. Foley would come back for one last match at WrestleMania although he wrestled under the Mick Foley name (and earned a lot of dollars for that one match).

Triple H went on to have one of the best years ever in 2000 with great matches against a variety of different opponents and main eventing more PPVs than anybody. After retiring at WrestleMania, Foley came back as the commissioner of the WWF and did a damn good job at it.

THE EVENT
Royal Rumble 2000 was an entertaining show from top to bottom. It was one of better PPVs they’ve ever had. To start off the show, the undefeated Kurt Angle was supposed to face an unnamed opponent. That person turned out to be Tazz making his debut. He got a great reaction and put on a good show that the crowd loved. It was a pretty short match with Tazz looking great while forcing Angle to pass out to the Tazmission.

There was also a very solid, somewhat forgotten, table match involving the Dudley’s & Hardy’s. This was the first real feud they had and was a precursor to the TLC matches that were to come in the future. The highlight of the match was Jeff Hardy doing a Swanton bomb through a table when he was about fifteen feet high. Sure, we’ve seen it a lot by now, but it was impressive when it happened.

Also on the card was a “swimsuit” competition that was done to get Mae Young over as a horny old lady that is one of those things that should never be written about in the future. The IC title match saw Chris Jericho, who was a full-fledged face by this point, go over Chyna and Hardcore Holly. Good match, but forgettable. The tag title match saw the New Age Outlaws against the Acolytes that only got about three minutes and that’s probably a good thing.

The Royal Rumble match had 90-second intervals with The Rock coming out the winner over the Big Show in controversial fashion. The Rumble match was pretty good, though, with Rikishi getting the big push, Kaientai (TAKA Michinoku & Funaki) coming in a few times despite never actually being in the match for comic relief and TAKA landing face first on the floor in a sick bump.

Of course, there was also the Cactus/HHH match that carried the show. All in all, a good show that I recommend checking out if you haven’t seen it before or forget what happened.

Here’s a small picture in case you want to know what the DVD or video looks like:

THE QUOTES
Here are some comments from each wrestler about this match:

Triple H: “This might be my favorite match. Both Mick and I had a great night. We were able to do a gimmick match, a hardcore match, and tell a story with it. That’s something that many people don’t do. Most guys just go out there with pots and pans and hit each other in the head, but that’s not what we did.

Mick knew he was winding down, and he wanted to go out on a high note. He wanted to go out in a big way. We made a completely new character out of Cactus Jack. Mick had been Cactus Jack before, but in just a few weeks of buildup for the Rumble, we created this mythical, god-like being out of Cactus Jack. And we were able to do a lot of incredible things.

The setup for this match was so good that I was a little bit nervous going into it, thinking, ‘How are we going to follow this hype? How the hell are we gonna do this?’ But as soon as I got out to the arena, I knew that we were gonna have a great one.

We accomplished a lot of things. It silenced a lot of my critics. I think it was a match where people stood up and took notice of Triple H as someone above the norm. And I think it gave Cactus Jack the platform that he wanted to go out on. It’s one of my favorite moments in the business.” (Credit: The Game magazine.)

Mick Foley: “For the first time in years I felt like I was in shape when I stepped into the ring in Madison Square Garden for the Royal Rumble. I had been training hard and I knew I was prepared.

I walked back into the dressing area twenty-seven minutes later with a half-dozen thumbtacks stuck in the temple area of my head, barbed-wire holes in my back and stomach, sweat pouring out of my body, and a feeling of total professional redemption. I wish it had been my last match. It was that good. Triple H was at his absolute best here, and I was only a small step behind. The Rumble match was a brutal, beautiful, emotional affair, and in many ways was like a dream come true.

The Royal Rumble match was a success on the rarest of levels. The challenger (me) had come away being more over than when he went in, and the champion was a better champion. We were able to help ‘make’ each other.” (Credit: Mick Foley in Foley is Good. Page 340 and 343)

THE ANALYSIS
The best kinds of matches are the ones where both competitors have something to prove. For Triple H, he had to prove that he was worthy of the big main event push that he was receiving. For Cactus Jack, he had to prove that he still had enough in the tank to put on a great match.

Was Triple H capable enough to carry his end of a streetfight against the man that many considered to be the greatest brawler ever? Did Mick Foley have another classic match in him after wrestling very little in the months leading up to this match? The answer to both of those questions was yes. A resounding yes.

There were so many things that made this match great. To start, it’s important to realize that this was more than just an awesome brawl. This match was the perfect example of intelligent storytelling meshing together perfectly with two performers that did their job as well as humanly possible. There were four elements that made this match memorable that they are all worth talking about in detail.

Triple H’s left leg: If you’ve seen the match you know about the gash that he received in his left calf muscle. It was a deep cut that occurred when he was suplexed on a stack of wooden palettes. He went on to wrestle the entire match even though he had a noticeable limp the entire time. This was obviously not planned, yet he managed to endure the pain and finish the match strongly. He deserves props for finishing this match despite the massive wound that he had in his leg.

Barb Wire: I may be incorrect here, but I believe that Mick Foley bringing barb wire into the match was the first in the WWF. I don’t recall any match in WWF history where barbwire was used before. I know that he used them in Japan, but never in the WWF. The barbwire bat played a big role in the match as the most dangerous weapon that was out there. In Mick Foley’s book, Foley is Good, he writes about how they actually used two bats in the match. One was real while the other was gimmicked. That one was used when he got it from the Spanish announcers. The use of the bat helped the legend of this match because every time it was used, or almost used, the crowd popped like crazy. When Cactus finally connected with the barbwire to the face of Triple H it sounded as if the Garden was ready to explode. It was a key ingredient in the success of this match.

Handcuffs: Another big factor was the use of the handcuffs. I don’t think anybody that has seen Mankind vs. The Rock from Royal Rumble ’99 will forget the scene with the handcuffs. A year later, they tried to recreate the image. As I said in the write-up of the match, the crowd reacted to the cuffs went as well as both guys probably hoped. It was a wise move to do this because it was still fresh in the minds of the fans. Plus, it proved that Triple H had to go to desperate measures in order to beat the “crazy man” Cactus Jack. The first couple of chair shots were nasty, but they were nothing compared to when The Rock came out of nowhere to drill Triple H with a chair shot of his own. Another great spot that was perfectly timed leading to a big ovation from the crowd.

Thumbtacks: Another choice of weapon straight from Mick Foley’s WWF past. Fans that remember the King of the Ring ’98 Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker will recall that an unconscious Foley, playing Mankind, used them in that match. Using them in this match proved that Cactus Jack would do anything to win the match. He tried everything from a barbwire bat to a piledriver through the table, but it didn’t work. When he littered the ring with the thumbtacks the crowd expected that to be the end for Triple H. As it turned out, it was the end of Cactus. After a sick backdrop in the tacks, he took a Pedigree. He found a way to kick out of that before finally losing the match thanks to the awesome Pedigree on the tacks. A super finish to an awesome match.

A lot of times when there are great matches we can point to one person being in control most of time. We call it a “carry job” most of the time. This match did not have that. This was about as even a match that you can possibly have. If somebody was timing how long each person was on offense during the match I’d venture to guess that it was pretty even, or Triple H was slightly ahead. What that means is that both guys worked their asses off. Both guys bumped hard. Both guys got the crowd to react to them in the way they were going for. Both guys sacrificed their bodies in order to put on a special match. Both guys deserve praise for this performance.

When I think of what Triple H did in this match it amazes me. Before this match took place a lot of people, myself included, wondered how good he was. Was he just a guy on the receiving end of a huge main event push that wrestled like a midcarder or could he become the best in the business? This match was the first one that really opened the eyes of a lot of critics, myself included. He showed a lot in this match. From his impeccable timing to his manly blade job to his ability to get people to hate him, he really proved his worth. I think he knew how important this match was to him. It was a test. A test against one of the greatest wrestlers ever in a setting that was familiar to his opponent more than it was to him. If this were a test I’d give him an A+ for a job well done. While it’s true that Foley did help Triple H become a better brawler because of this match, Triple H deserves credit for having what is arguably the greatest match of his career at a time when he needed it the most. Famed NFL announcer John Madden likes to say “big players make big plays in big games.” Well, in the case of Triple H, this player played big in the biggest match of his career.

Before the Rumble, Mick Foley’s Mankind character was a funny guy that didn’t wrestle a whole lot. Injuries had finally caught up to him to the point where he was an average worker. He definitely slowed down a step. When I heard he was thinking about retiring I thought it was a good idea because he was not the same guy. Thankfully, he stuck around to provide us with this long lasting memory. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Foley better than he was during this match. Yes, he kept up with Shawn Michaels at a hectic pace during Mind Games ’96, but I like this match more. The reason is because more elements came into play here. As I mentioned before, the items (barb wire, thumbtacks) that Cactus used fit the match, and his character, perfectly. It showed how desperate he was to not only win the world title, but to gain revenge on Triple H for all the pain he caused him leading up to the match. The bumps that he took were the kind that he took back when he was healthy. In other words, the kind that he took that made us all love him so much. For one night (and a month later at No Way Out) the Mick Foley we had come to respect was back and we loved every second of it.

By the end of the match, both guys looked a lot better than when they entered the ring. Sure, Triple H had blood all over his face and Cactus Jack had tacks in his face, but I don’t think either of them complained too much. Triple H gained a lot of credibility as world champion because he defeated a man cleanly in his specialty match. Cactus Jack proved that he could hang with a hungry, young champion. Even though he lost he came out of the match looking like a champion.

This match had everything that makes wrestling great: A lot of heat, tremendous psychology, a high level of workrate, a rabid crowd and two men that did a wonderful job of making the other guy look good.

One of the greatest matches in wresting history.

No doubt about it.

It really was that damn good. Bang! Bang! (Lame, I know. Couldn’t help it.)

Thanks to both Triple H and Mick “Cactus Jack” Foley for giving us a match that we will never forget.

If you have never seen it I hope that this column inspires you to do so. If you have seen it I hope that this column helps you realize what made it so special in the first place. Watch it today, watch it tomorrow or watch it ten years from now. This was professional wrestling at its absolute best. Enjoy it.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton

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  1. Andrew Jarman
    January 15, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Need to watch it again now, haven’t seen it for ages!

  2. Andy McKellar
    January 15, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    I dont remember this as much as the HIAC they did. Mick is one of my all time faves. Nice to read about old matches I enjoyed, will have to look this match up somewhere

    • Aaron
      January 15, 2010 at 3:27 PM

      This match dwarfed the HIAC match these two had. If there was a “list” of best rumble matches, this would be at the top of my list.. without a doubt. GREAT MATCH, and great story telling.

  3. Dave Sturm
    January 15, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    When I started watching the WWF in the fall of 1998, it only took me a couple of months to connect with Foley and love his characters and has workrate. He became my favorite almost immediately. I remember being 14 years old watching RAW when he won his first World Championship title, I was completely into the match and even slapped my hand on my bed in unison with the referee when he won. I started to cry when he lost the Pink-Slip-on-a-Pole match, especially because I hated The Rock with all my heart (I had just started watching prior to Survivor Series 1998 which saw The Rock defeat Mankind in the same was Bret was screwed the year before). I was into The Rock before that moment, but once he betrayed my favorite and became the Corporate Champion, I never forgave him. I even still hate him to this day because of that one event.

    I saw this Royal Rumble live at WF New York, the restaurant/store had just opened and this was the first Pay-Per-View event being screened there. I was completely into Foley at this point, and even showed up dressed in black sweat pants, Cactus Jack T-Shirt, flanel shirt with the sleeves cut off, and a socko in my pants, that I had just gotten signed by Foley a couple of weeks before. The display screen was huge, and the dining area was so engrossed in the match, it was incredible to be a part of. I think everyone there felt like we were almost in the arena watching it; I know I certainly did.

    When Triple H defeated Cactus clean, I couldn’t believe it, but even as I slumped back into my chair defeated, I had a new found respect for him and a kayfabe fear of how could this despicable champion ever be defeated if he could do that to Cactus Jack. It was a moment I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Excellent recap and analysis, thank you John!

  4. Yaz
    January 15, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    I remember seeing this and losing my mind. Amazing match. Just amazing.

  5. JB McMurtry
    January 15, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    Awesome, brother. Just awesome. You said exactly what I feel about this match. This is in my top ten favorites for sure. It might even be in my top five. This is one of those matches that you could show someone who likes to ask, “why do you watch this crap?” It’s just a shame that we probably won’t ever get to see another example of this magnitude again. Great work, John!

  6. Jay
    January 15, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    I miss the good old days where you could find something under the ring besides Hornswoggle and the Little People’s Court. It is great when the ring crew accidently forgets to tidy up and they leave their 2 by 4 wrapped in barbwire under the ring.

    CactusKindDude is and will always be the man.

  7. E
    January 16, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    Id really like for you to do more of these reviews John… This was great to read..

    • January 17, 2010 at 12:05 AM

      Thanks. I might do it for the Angle/Michaels match at WM21 because I really loved that.

  8. Ken Drabek
    January 16, 2010 at 3:00 AM

    I fully agree, and this was a great read. I really like the format, with all the backstory and post match comments. Good stuff man. Anyways, The Cactus Jack/HHH rivalry was maybe the best thing Trips ever did. I would have to put this match behind the Angle/Benoit match from 03, but not by much.

  9. kiefer
    January 16, 2010 at 4:51 AM

    I have this rumble on VHS. The reason was for the amazing match. I’l never forget this match till the day I die. Absolute classic.

  10. Luke Ryan
    January 16, 2010 at 9:45 PM

    This is my absolute favourite match…I’ve umm’ed and ahh’ed about whether it was my 1st, 2nd or 3rd, but it really is my first…I love it. Great column man, summed it up perfectly. This is what wrestling is all about.
    P.s I believe Mick used barbed wire in an 8-man tag match at No Way Out 1998

  11. Jacob
    January 17, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Great review, John.

    Back in the day, my buddy had a cable descrambler so he’d tape the WWF PPVs for me and I’d watch them the next day after school. The guy, dude named Eric, was also an avid wrestling fan and he handed me the tape at school and said “Dude, you’re never going to believe how good the main event match is. I wish we could talk about it right now, but I don’t want to ruin it for you.”

    I was already pumped for he match because, as you said, the build up was incredible. And Eric was right on the money. I rewound the tape immediately after I watched it the first time to experience it again. To this day, I consider it one of the top three matches ever (probably number three depending on my mood). Definitely a five star match flawlessly executed. Triple H earned his striped that day.

  12. January 18, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    This was the first ever wrestling PPV I’d watched.
    I had only ever watched the old WWF Heat on Channel 4 here in the UK on a Sunday afternoon and I loved the build-up to it.

    Angle/Taz(z), Hardyz vs Dudleys, the Rumble itself (complete with Too Cool dancing half-way through!), and of course this match made it one of my favourite PPVs of all time. There again, inevitably, your first is more than likely going to be your favourite. I was only 10 at the time and I couldn’t fathom how they could “fake” Cactus Jack getting Pedigreed onto the thumb tacks. I was sold on wrestling pretty much from that very moment. 2000 was a great year for me watching the WWF after that. I still haven’t managed to get the event on VHS or DVD though. I’d ideally want to have every PPV from 2000 on DVD/VHS because it was a great year.

    Fully Loaded 2000 was another of my favourite events. HHH/Jericho in the street fight, Angle/Taker and Benoit/Rock were all great as well.

  13. Jamie C
    January 19, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    I’d like to see you do a review of Austin/HHH 3 Stages of Hell from No Way Out 01, merely because that’s my favourite match and one of the best from the last decade. Hunter and Austin were both amazing at the start of the 00’s.

  14. March 16, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    in my opion catus jack vs tripelh from the rumbel is a *****

  15. March 16, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    royal rumbel 2000 review
    taz vs kurt angel **
    the hardys vs the dudleys ***
    jericho vs chyina vs holly **
    the out laws vs the apa *
    hhh vs catus jack *****
    the royal rumbel ***
    overall 8/10

  16. July 2, 2013 at 9:48 PM

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