Hello! This is a Royal Rumble 2004 detailed review. Welcome back to the series! Did you miss any of the earlier volumes? Links below:
Royal Rumble #17 – Philadelphia
With an attendance of 17,228, the event broke an ongoing trend (of smaller crowds every year) by growing its seated audience for the first time in years. No tagline used, and it was the second-ever “WWE” Royal Rumble. The biggest omission from the card was The Undertaker, who had been “Buried Alive” by Kane at Survivor Series.
Disclaimer: Rumble 2004 is a special event for controversial reasons. I want to stress that there is in no way, shape or form, celebrating, or condoning, the career/actions of the winner of the Rumble. WWE avoids it as much as possible, and the winner is often excluded from photo galleries & videos; although the result remains in their records.
Despite the controversy, I would like to say .. as a fan back in the day, it was one of the biggest and most shocking events I’d ever seen. Revisiting it fifteen years later made it a unique experience. I only watched the Last Man Standing and the Rumble match, so here’s the results for the rest of the card:
1) The tag team champions Ric Flair & Batista (Evolution) defeated The Dudley Boyz in a tables match; thanks to interference from Jonathan Coachman.
2) Rey Mysterio retained the Cruiserweight title in a few minutes against Jamie Noble, due to Nidia failing to notice whose legs she had hold of.
3) The family feud between Eddie and Chavo Guerrero (w/ Chavo Sr.) came to a head, with Eddie picking up the win despite Chavo Sr’s repeated interference.
4) Hardcore Holly got an opportunity of a lifetime to challenge the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar in a straight up, one-on-one singles match for the title. The match is infamous for the botch with Lesnar accidentally dropping Holly on his head. Many fans assumed Lesnar was at fault, but Holly has gone on record several times saying he does not blame him and no one else should. Holly lost in six minutes and thirty seconds to the F-5.
5) Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels for the World Championship in Last Man Standing was a thriller. Being an incredibly intense and bloody fight for over twenty minutes, you couldn’t ask for more between best friends turned bitter enemies. While the result made many fans sigh in frustration, it was absolutely the right call (which I’ll explain later). It still holds up well, so if you do decide at any point to watch Rumble 2004, give it a watch as you won’t regret it.
On to the Rumble match itself, the buildup saw Smackdown General Manager Paul Heyman make John Cena and Chris Benoit go through hoops to qualify and stay qualified. Benoit did not like the way Heyman was doing business, so he insulted him. As punishment, Heyman told Benoit he had no chance of winning as he would be the first entrant in the Rumble. Many other superstars won matches to qualify, and in a match deciding the #30 entrant, Goldberg became the odds on favourite when he earned the right to enter the Rumble last. In the video below, if you want to skip to the Rumble match, the buildup starts at 34:30.
Jim Ross & Tazz providing commentary as representatives of their brands. Howard Finkel starts the Rumble introduction .. but is interrupted by Eric Bischoff. He’s confident the Raw brand will win the Rumble, because it has superior athletes, better entertainers, and a superior general manager. Some people might like Paul Heyman because he used to run a few rinky-dink little shows in bingo halls (they’re in ECW territory). He continues discrediting Heyman, til his entrance music plays.
Heyman struts out, and gets in the ring. After being seemingly lost for words, Paul throws the mic for Bischoff to catch, before laying in to him with strikes! *glass shatters* Here come’s Sheriff Stone Cold! The crowd pop loud as Austin looks across the ring at Bischoff & Heyman with a mic. Austin asks, what the hell is going on here? He was sitting in the back getting ready to watch the Rumble, and they’re wasting everybody’s time like a couple of jackasses. Also, they are in complete violation of the law.
He wants to know who started it, so Bischoff & Heyman point fingers at one another. Heyman pleads with Austin not to stunner him. Austin decides it was Bischoff who started it, so he gets a stunner. He celebrates with beers and toasts Heyman .. before giving him a stunner! Austin gets more beer and salutes the audience, as Bischoff and Heyman lay lifeless in the ring. He gets back on his ATV and rides off as the referees see to the GMs.
Goldberg is backstage getting ready for the Rumble. Terri Runnels is on hand to interview him, but the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar enters the room. He says no one cares what number he drew, and puts over his title defense against Hardcore Holly. Brock says she should be doing the interview with him instead. Goldberg asks Brock if he’s trying to put himself over. Brock says, no I’m not, because the last time he interrupted him in an interview he was still wearing a championship; what happened?
Goldberg says it doesn’t matter. What does matter is he goes on tonight to smash every single person in the Rumble, and gets the opportunity to regain his title at Wrestlemania. He looks over Brock’s shoulder and asks “Hardcore” if that’s right, making Lesnar turn quickly to see no one standing there. He searches for a few seconds, looking around til he backs up and almost walks in to Goldberg; who does not look happy. Goldberg says some have the nerve to call Mick Foley a coward .. I don’t think so.
JR tells us there’s a spare seat in the audience for Mick Foley, because Sheriff Austin reserved it for him. Tazz wants to confirm with JR about something he said regarding Mick Foley was true, and JR admits he said that Foley would be a coward if he does not show up tonight. Tazz says he’s not here, so does that make him a coward? JR tells him the night is not over, but he does not sound optimistic. Tazz wants to confirm this, pushing JR to follow through with what he said. In frustration, JR admits Foley is a coward .. there, he said it. And finally, we get talk about the Rumble match. Tazz has his “Keys To Victory” ready for us.
- Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
- Higher Number Is Your Best Friend
Benoit’s music hits as Tazz is finishing up, meaning we do not get a full introduction explaining the rules for the first time in history? I can’t remember Finkel not making his traditional Rumble introduction. Evolution member and Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton joins him as #2. Tazz puts over the concept of the brand extension, as we get guys facing each other who wouldn’t usually.