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With the 2015 Royal Rumble just around the corner, my time-warp through the network brought me to the 2000 Royal Rumble at Madison Square Garden, which is memorable for many things and is a year WWE undoubtedly continued to flourish. This pay-per-view featured the debut of Tazz, a stellar tag-team tables match between the Dudley?s and the Hardy?s, a Royal Rumble match in which The Rock guaranteed a victory and won, and one of the best undercard matches in history: Cactus Jack versus Triple H in a street fight for the WWF Championship.
Mick Foley had fallen victim to the power stroke of the less-than-a-year-old McMahon-Helmsley faction. He had been fired prior to the scheduling of this match, then subsequently rehired after the entire roster threatened to walk out in a movement led by Foley?s ally, The Rock.
Upon his return, he revealed himself as Cactus Jack in the days leading up to his requested street fight, which surely was horrible news for one of the biggest heels in the company, Triple H.
Here are 6 observations from a match featuring two of the most dedicated superstars of our time?
6. Familiar Faces
Today, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon come out side-by-side, equal in power as ?The Authority?, but nothing screams McMahon-Helmsley Faction like Stephanie trailing her man with a snarl as he comes out to do battle. Tonight, she accompanies him to the ring before heading back to the locker room for cover in what was sure to be a violent match.
Lending his pipes for announcing duties is Howard Finkel, who had debuted at the Garden in 1977 under Vince McMahon, Sr. He is the longest tenured employee in WWE, and his voice has become iconic in the world of wrestling.
At commentary is an iconic duo of their own, Jim Ross and Jerry ?The King? Lawler, carrying us through the match.
And in the ring officiating the showdown is the infamous Earl Hebner. A man who once could have been a lock for the WWE Hall of Fame, but went on to taint his reputation by getting busted selling unauthorized merchandise. Luckily for Hebner, TNA has treated him well and inducted him into their own hall of fame this past September after nine years of service to the company.
Still however, nothing screams classic WWE main event like seeing Hebner standing in the ring. Despite the controversy, he?s still a master at his craft.