The Royal Mirror
We've seen this before.
A first-time WWF Champion has a title defense at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. The champion's a whiny, arrogant, delusional heel who seems to be on the verge of losing the title time and time again, only to hold on to it by devious and unscrupulous means, or by taking advantage of opportunities caused by the interference of others.
His opponent is a multiple-time WWF Champion and is considered one of the biggest stars in the business. He's had an ongoing rivalry with the current champion that involves the title, but isn't necessarily restricted to it.
This wouldn't be their first one-on-one encounter on PPV, but their earlier meeting didn't resolve any of their issues, and, in fact, would only magnify them later. At this match, the popular opinion seemed to be that the title would change hands, since neither champion at the time seemed to fit into the WWF's plans for WrestleMania.
All things considered, I think Kurt Angle did all right for himself.
Ask me next week about Chris Jericho.
PREDICTIONS FOR THE RUMBLE OF ROYALTY
WWF Women's Title Match: Twitch Stratus vs. Jazzz
We first saw Jazz at the six-pack at Survivor Series where Trish won the belt. She reappeared a few weeks ago and basically called every woman on the roster a slut. Since then she's beaten Trish up at every available opportunity.
In case anyone asks (because they might), I'm using Luna in the simulator.
TNM Says: Jazz (3:19 spinebuster --> pin) Trish Stratus
What I'd Do: Just for me, I'd let Trish retain.
What They'll Do: They're pushing Jazz so hard I think she almost has to go over here.
WWF Tag Team Title Match: Tazz & Tiny Spike Dudley vs. The Dudley Boyeeeez (w/StacyLegs Keibler)
It wasn't quite the way I would have drawn it up, but Spike finally beat his brothers. It was hardcore rules, and Spike Dudley Dogged Bubba Ray through a table that Tazz had to prop up. I'm still not sure what the actual finish was supposed to be - the only thing that looked planned at the end of that match was the distraction provided by Stacy's sweet ass. Did I say that out loud?
TNM Says: Tazz & Spike (6:05 Dudley Dog --> pin) Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley
What I'd Do: This has "hot-shot" written all over it. Dudley Boys regain.
What They'll Do: Tazz? A tag team wrestler? What? Dudley Boys will win.
WWF Intercontinental Title Match: The King of Awesomeness vs. Brass Knuckled Ass Kisser
This is a rematch from Vengeance, with Regal in an especially bad mood after getting his nose broken via Edge-ecution. Regal compares himself and his British heritage to the devil, which I'm sure has the folks across the pond thrilled. Edge is just happy he's actually had some successful title defenses.
TNM Says: William Regal (11:58 small package --> pin) Edge
What I'd Do: I'd like to see Edge run with the belt a little longer.
What They'll Do: I'm tempted to think that they'll put Regal over, but my gut says they'll stick with Edge.
Street Fight: Vince McMahon vs. Ric Flair
They're co-owners - fifty percent equal partners in the WWF - and each thinks the other is an incompetent boob. Flair challenged Vince to this match after wondering why Vince questioned his wrestling ability during his last stay in the WWF, while Vince (well, more so Stephanie) doesn't think Flair has any sense of the business side of wrestling.
Ten years ago, Flair won the WWF Title by winning the Rumble itself.
I'd look up Vince's record in street fights, but we'd be here for weeks.
TNM Says: Ric Flair (7:19 Figure Four Leglock --> submission) Vince McMahon
What I'd Do: I don't see this battle ending anytime soon, but I'd have Flair win this round.
What They'll Do: I think Vince is winning, but their feud will be far from settled and will eventually lead to the expected roster split.
Undisputed Unified WWF Title Match: Chump Jericho vs. Our Champion
Jericho beat Rock at No Mercy to win the WCW World Title. Rock won it back two weeks later, then Jericho went full heel on Rock at Survivor Series before beating him at Vengeance on his way to winning the undisputed title. Rock beat Booker T in a formality disguised as a #1 Contenders' Match.
Remember last year's Rumble when nobody thought Angle had a hope in hell of retaining? Yeah, of course you do.
TNM Says: The Rock (7:36 Rock Bottom --> pin) Chris Jericho
What I'd Do: The master plan would be for Rock to win the title at Mania, but I see no way to get there from here, so he loses here.
What They'll Do: Well, if you go by the "he who suffers the last beatdown wins" rule, this should go to Jericho. And if you consider that they're making such a big deal about Jericho being the first undisputed champion, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to do a switch at the next pay-per-view. So I'm gonna call a Jericho win.
Royal Rumble (1 minute intervals?): Includes Hi, My Name Is..., Hell On Wheels, Big Red, The Big F'n Show, Olympic Villain Kurt Angle, HHHammer Time, Forget The Name Goldust, Senor Perfecto, Val Venis, The Godfather, The Whole Show, Happy Dallas Page, Sucka T, and 17 others
Y'all thought last year's Rumble was loaded?
Winner, Wrestlemania, main event, you oughta know by now.
It's Triple H's first Rumble since 1999. It's Angle's first Rumble ever. Austin's going for his fourth Rumble win.
Before SmackDown!, there were 23 names listed on wwf.com as official entrants. For those of you who: 1) live in the backwoods and don't get SmackDown!; and/or 2) haven't read CRZ's recap yet (and if you haven't, go THERE first, please), Page will be the 24th, and Bossman, Crash, and Tajiri will probably find their way in as well. That leaves three unclaimed spots.
I'm just saying.
TNM Says: Your Royal Rumble 2002 winner is... BILLY GUNN? Entered 24th, threw out Mr. Perfect to win after 1:19:32. The first two: Austin... and Hogan, who Austin tossed in 46 seconds. In the field were Goldust (#4), Scott Hall (#6), Rikishi (#7), Angle (#10), Kane (#13), Nash (#14), Venis (#15), HHH (#17), Undertaker (#18), Big Show (#20), Mr. Perfect (#23). Boss Man was No. 30, there were 20 men in the ring at that point, and no one was eliminated for 10 minutes. Austin was the 26th man eliminated.
I don't think it's too early to say: TNM : 0 for 1.
What I'd Do: Triple H wins the Rumble. Stephanie takes credit for it, providing more ammo for their eventual split.
What They'll Do: Despite the star-studded field and the "anything can happen" angle they're pushing, Triple H, Austin, and Angle are the three obvious favorites. Of those, Triple H presents the most interesting scenarios for both Rock and Jericho (plus they can redo the 'overcoming a career-threatening injury to headline WM' scenario that they worked somewhat with Austin last year), but again... my gut says Austin.
The Oracles' War Room