On this week’s Throwback Thursday, we looked back on Royal Rumble 2001 which saw Stone Cold Steve Austin win the Rumble for a third time – a record he still owns today.
Not only is Royal Rumble 2001, one of the strongest and entertaining Rumble matches to watch, the whole pay-per-view was gripping from start to finish. It will be three hours well spent.
From two new champions being crowned, to a strong WWE Championship match, to an epic Royal Rumble match full of surprises, I would definitely recommend watching this on the WWE Network.
This was back at a time where I was just in my first year watching wrestling and thanks to Channel 4 in the UK, I got to watch this live but even today, I still enjoy watching this particularly the Rumble match, which I just can’t seem to get bored with.
Two of the best tag teams WWE has ever produced opened the show as The Dudleys defeat Edge and Christian to become new WWE Tag Team Champions in an exciting opener to Royal Rumble 2001.
Edge and Christian played the heel perfectly by denying D’von to tag in Bubba Ray which allowed for a hot tag and Edge and Christian’s attempt to cheat a way to victory also failed to pay off.
Edge and Christian’s attempt for the Whasssuppp! failed as Edge went head first into Christian’s backside, which The Dudleys followed up with a 3D on Edge to win the match and win the Tag Team titles.
Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit never disappointed when these two Canadians face off and this Ladder match is definitely up there with one of the best Ladder matches which saw Chris Jericho leave New Orleans as the new Intercontinental Champion
Some of the highlights from this hard-hitting encounter include Benoit diving through the ropes head first into a steel chair and a Walls of Jericho on top of a ladder.
In the end, Y2J sent Benoit crashing off the ladder to floor which was enough to keep him down and allow Jericho to retrieve the title and become Intercontinental Champion for the fourth time.
After two strong matches, Ivory’s encounter with Chyna for the Women’s Championship did not go as planned as the Ninth Wonder of the World suffered a re-occurrence of a neck injury meaning Ivory retained the gold.
As Chyna attempted a handspring back elbow on Ivory, she fell to the mat grabbing her neck as Ivory simply pinned to retain her title. After the match, Chyna was carried to the back on a stretcher but I’m still not sure if that was legit or kayfabe.
Triple H looked to claim the WWE Championship away from Kurt Angle but thanks to Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Game left without the title as the Olympic hero retained the WWE Championship.
With Trish Stratus in Angle’s corner, tensions between her and Stephanie McMahon-Hemsley spilled over as Mr McMahon would have to come out to separate the two women and escort them to the back.
It was down to Triple H and Angle one-on-one until the Texas Rattlesnake attacked Triple H nailed him with the title belt and followed up with the stunner as Angle made the pin and a very slow three count from Earl Hebner to retain the gold.
It was then time for the 30 man Royal Rumble match which was won by Stone Cold Steve Austin as he last eliminated Kane – who spent over 50 minutes in the match – to head to the main event of WrestleMania X-SEVEN.
Jeff Hardy and Bull Buchanan started the match but business picked up when Kane entered at number six and would eliminate 11 men – a record that stood for 12 years until Roman Reigns eliminated 12 men in the 2014 Royal Rumble match.
The Big Red Machine’s first encounter in the match came with Drew Carey who had a narrow escape from the chokeslam thanks to Raven and the comedian then made the smart move of eliminating himself from the match.
The match then got Hardcore with the likes of Raven, Al Snow and Steve Blackman but Kane began to assert his dominance eliminating five men before the Honky Tonk Man made a surprise appearance as the number 12 entrant.
However, Kane was not a fan of his sing-along as the blasted the former Intercontinental Champion by smashing him with his own guitar before The Rock – looking to win back-to-back Rumble matches – brought real competition for Kane.
More superstars came in and got tossed out before Big Show returned at number 23 in his first appearance in seven months but it was deja vu from 2000 for the world’s largest athlete when he was eliminated by the The Rock.
Austin’s entrance was interrupted by Triple H who sought revenge for Austin’s earlier interference in his match and despite being busted open by the Game, Austin got in the ring and won the whole thing.
After Kane eliminated The Rock, it was down to Austin and Kane and a series of shots from the steel chair helped Austin in eliminating the Big Red Machine to clotheslined Kane over the top rope and to the floor to win a third Royal Rumble match.
Royal Rumble 2001
Date: 21 January 2001
Venue: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA
1. Dudley Boyz df Edge and Christian to become new WWE Tag Team Champions
2. Chris Jericho df Chris Benoit in a Ladder match to become new Intercontinental Champion
3. Ivory df Chyna to retain Women’s Championship
4. Kurt Angle df Triple H to retain WWE Championship
5. Stone Cold Steve Austin won the 30 man Royal Rumble match