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Ian Challis




Finally....The Brit....Has Come Back To Slash! Boy, that was lame. Mucho apologies for my extended absence-I've been doing some soul-searching (and sneezing) over the past few weeks, but now I'm back and ready to rumble! But First...

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And now...

-Comin' atcha liiiiiiiiive from N'Orleans, Louisiana, your hosts are the King and Good O'l JR. No time-wasting today, no sir, we go straight into the opening match, which just happens to be...

-Opening Match, Tag Team Title: The Canadian Blondes Vs. The Dudley Boyz: Big ol' brawl to start, then it settles into D-Von against Edge. Back elbow gets a nearfall for D-Von, and both men tag out. Double shoulderblock on Christian gets a nearfall for Buh Buh. Sidewalk slam gets two. Tag to D-Von, and a low blow turns the tide for the Blondes, resulting in the requisite heat section on D-Von. Quick tags abound for the champs. Christian whomps D-Von and taunts Buh Buh drawing him into the ring and allows the Canucks to beat on D-Von some more. Edge in, neckbreaker gets two, and Buh Buh makes the save. More tags for the champs, and Edge goes for a piledriver, but D-Von reverses into a catapult, which ends up crotching Christian on the top rope too. Nice. D-Von makes the tag, but the ref didn't see it. Man, they are using every cliche in this match, aren't they? The champs grab a chair each and go for Club Sandwich, but D-Von ducks and makes the hot tag. Buh Buh cleans house and the Duds get the Wazzup Drop on Edge-D-Von Get The Tables. Christian ambushes D-Von and Buh Buh rolls up Edge in the ring for two. Unprettier attempt on Buh Buh, but D-Von breaks it up and they go for 3D. Edge saves his bro with a Spear on Buh Buh for two, and the Blondes go for Wazzup on Buh Buh, but he reverses and Edge headbutts Christian by accident. Edge is left alone in the ring, and a 3D later the Duds are YOUR Tag Team Champions at 10:00 precisely. Man, that ending sequence sure saved this one from mediocrity. ***1/4.

-Backstage, ~DREW CAREY~ arrives. Well, better than Robocop, I suppose.

-Vince MacMahon talks loud and says nothing backstage.

-Triple H and Steph talk over strategy, and Drew Carey enters, and then I kinda lost interest. Hunter's hair looks GAY here, though. Oh, sorry.

-aPa drink some brewskis and discuss the Big Cahoona Burgers-wait, sorry, getting my mixed race tandems confused.

-Any more backstage segments? No? Oh, good.

Ladder Match For Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho Vs. Chris Benoit: Again, a big brawl starts us out, and Jericho gets the upper hand. Some choppin' in the corner, and they trade attempts at their submission holds. Benoit takes over by throwing Jericho, shoulder-first, into the ringpost. Benoit beats him down in the corner and hits a shoulderbreaker. Slam attempt, but Jericho slips free and hits a flying jalapeno. Springboard dropkick attempt, but Benoit simply sidesteps it and Jericho crashes to the floor. Ouch. Brawl by the ladder, and Jericho goes into the ringpost again, then gets thrown back in the ring. Benoit goes to follow with the ladder, but Jericho tries a baseball slide-and again, Benoit sidesteps it, then throws Jericho into the ringsteps. Benoit sets the ladder up and goes for the title but Jericho stops him and yanks him off the ladder. Jericho grabs the ladder-ladder to the head! Ladder to the gut! THEY BE CLUBBERIN'!

Jericho attempts the old Irish Whip into the ladder, but Benoit reverses and Jericho tumbles to the floor. Benoit follows with a tope suicida-but Jericho meets him with a chair as he comes through the ropes! That was BRUTAL. Benoit gets laid across the security wall and Jericho tries to push the ladder onto him, but Benoit moves and Jericho ends up doing more damage to himself. Benoit with some ladder shots, but Jericho eventually gets the upper hand again back in the ring. Both guys end up on the top turnbuckle, with Benoit's leg trapped in the upright ladder-and both guys tumble down, taking the ladder with them, looking like it could've broke Benoit's leg in doing so. Nasty. Both men eventually to their feet and Benoit dropkicks the ladder into Jericho's face. Another Irish whip attempt, but Jericho reverses it and knocks Benoit cold. Jericho makes an attempt at the title, but Benoit comes to-and back suplexes him off the ladder and to the floor! Benoit goes for the belt but Jericho's back in and they slug it out on top of the ladder-and Jericho gets a Tarantula-like move, stretching Benoit across the top of the ladder! Soopoib! He eventually lets go and tries for the strap, but Benoit kicks the ladder out from under him. Jericho nails Benoit with the ladder and climbs again, but leaps at Benoit-straight into the Crippler Crossface. Jericho taps, but it's a ladder match, so no dice.

Benoit finally releases the hold and sends Jericho into the ringpost one more time, but Jericho throws Benoit into the ladder, then sets it up in the corner. Both men meet at the top and Jericho goes for a superplex, but Benoit shoves him down and tries Air Canada-and Jericho moves! Jericho traps Benoit under the bottom rungs of the ladder-well that's pretty stupid-and sure enough, Benoit pushes the ladder over as Jericho climbs, which results in Jericho taking a wicked snake eyes bump and falling to the floor. Benoit goes for his title again, but Jericho manages to get in the ring with a chair and crack Benoit across the back with it. Benoit is thrown to the floor, and Jericho scales the ladder and collects his third IC Title at 18:45.Another atypically swank match from these two-and good to see Jericho going over for once. ****1/4.

-Drew Carey ogles Trish backstage, and Vince gets all pissy and convinces Drew to enter the Royal Rumble. I'm sure glad Russo isn't booking this-I'd be distinctly nervous right now if he were....

-Chyna and The One share a moment backstage. -Michael Cole interviews Y2J, who fails to call him "Mitchell". -Video recap of that deadly oh-so-serious injury that was caused by that downright heinous act that was commited by those dastardly cads of the RTC, leading us into...

-Women's Title Match: Chyna Vs. Ivory w/Steven Richards: Chyna got her bazooka back, for those of you who are into that sorta thing. Righteous ass-kicking by Chyna, which is actually quite watchable as it's just Ivory bumping her ass off. It all goes wrong, however, when Chyna tries her crappy handspring elbow and crumples after the impact. Ivory rolls over for the pin at 3:33. *1/4. And then they just go completely overboard, having the King leave ringside to tend to Chyna, having JR talk in hushed tones as if he doesn't know what to say, all the EMTs out....Man, this shit is not necessary. Just like Jarrett crying last week seemed scary, so does this. This isn't entertainment, it's a mockery of real life. Just drop this angle-and Chyna-once and for all.

-Sorry about that folks.

-Saucer of milk at the make-up area-Trish and Steph collide! Verbally, of course-don't get TOO excited.

-Drew gets some gear for his big match tonight-and happens across Kane, who seems to have lost the power of speech again. -Lo Down are given the news that their spot in the Rumble has been taken away-for Drew Carey. The express racist indignation. Gotta love those ethnic stereotypes.

-Trip gets psyched for his match, possibly by thinking about that catfight between Steph and Trish on SmackDown! -WWF Title Match: Kurt Angle w/Trish Vs. Triple H w/Steph: Am I the only person who likes Trip's new theme? Beats the pants off of "My Time". Lockup to start, and they trade some holds, then Trip rolls out for a breather. Back in and they go back and forth a bit more, and Angle gets three vertical suplexes for a two count. Trip bails again, and takes the upper hand when Angle follows by throwing the champ into the guardrails. Brawl in the aisle. Back in thei ring, and Trip gets a droptoehold(!), and wrenches on Angle's leg with a grapevine. Angle to his feet and he hits an enzuiguri, but he can't capitalise.. Trip goes for an Irish whip, but Angle reverses it and sends Trip to the floor. More brawling, this time with Angle in charge,. Back in the ring Trip takes Angle down, then drags him to the corner and wraps Angle's knee round the ringpost. Chairshot to the knee goes undetected by the ref.

Angle falls to the floor and has difficulty standing, and Trip drops him knee-first across the steps, then throws him in the ring and hits two chopblocks. More knee workage, and Trip applies a modified Indian Deathlock. Angle punches his way free, but eats a facebuster as he comes off the ropes, getting a two count for Trip. Back to the knee, and Trip gets a Figure Four-he gets more Flairish each day, don't he? That gets a couple of twos before Trish attempts a save-and the inevitable bitchfight erupts, drawing attention away from the ring completely. Vince strides out and separates the two, but all three squabble to the back, and we turn back to the match, where Angle gets a cradle on the distracted Trip for a nearfall. Slugfest, and Angle gets a DDT for two. Atomic Drop and belly-to-back gets a two count. Angle tries for his moonsault, but Trip gets to his feet and hits a Razor's Edge (Whoa! Moveset!)for a succession of three nearfalls.

Pedigree attempt, but Angle breaks free. Trip reverses the subsequent catapult attempt, and Angle executes a Sting flop right into Trip's nether region. Hollybuster Moonsault hits, but it only gets two. Angle rolls to the floor and Trip jumps at him from the ring apron-but he wipes out Earl Hebner by accident. Trip throws Angle back in the ring and climbs the turnbuckles, but Angle gets the Essa Rios armdrag (WHOA!! MORE MOVESET!). The ref, however, is still out. Angle goes to revive him-which results in Trip accidentally crushing him again. Trip grabs the title belt and swings at Angle, but he ducks and hits a sweet overhead belly-to-belly. He goes for a belt shot of his own, but Trip ducks and hits the Pedigree-and again, there's no ref.

Trip rolls to the floor to revive Earl-and JR almost explodes all over the announce table as Austin sprints in and clobbers H. Major league beatdown, culminating in the Stunner, and Austin tosses Earl back in the ring. Angle collapses on trip and Hebner counts the three. Angle retains at 24:22. Well that was certainly shocking. Good match, too. ***.

- Rocky makes sexually demeaning comments about many people backstage.

-30 Man Over The Top Royal Rumble Match: Fink, as usual, handles the rules and introductions. Jeff Hardy draws #1, Bull Buchanan gets #2, and Jeff stay one step ahead with his quickness until bro Matt Hardy arrives at #3. They double team Bull, hitting Poetry In Motion, and toss him at will, then go at it themselves. Faarooq draws #4, next verse, same as the first-he goes bye bye after a Twist Of Fate/Swanton combo. Some friction develops between the Boyz as Matt tries to toss Jeff. Drew Carey is in at #5, entering to the Coach's Update music, as the Hardys accidentally eliminate each other, leaving Carey alone-until Kane's pyro hits at #6. Kane stalks around the ring, then slides in. Carey tries to bribe Kane, but he ain't havin' none of it. Chokeslam attempt, but Raven's in at #7 with a kendostick shot to Kane, and Drew wisely eliminates himself. Phew. I thought he'd be put over the ENTIRE roster. Raven makes it HARDCORE, BABEE, tossing some trash cans in the ring-but Al Snow runs in before the buzzer at #8, attacking Raven. The match turns hardcore, as the three men batter each other with anything and everything, including Raven taking Snow's dreaded bowling ball to the crotch. Snow and Raven team up to drop toe hold Kane onto a garbage can, and Perry Saturn is YOUR #9. All three li'l guys go to work on Kane, chopping him down, and Steve Blackman is #10. He goes straight for Raven with the party sticks. Kane teases eliminating Blackman. Grandmasta Sexay is #11 and he joins in the fun with some trash can lid shots.Kane suddenly goes nuts and blitzes everyone, tossing Sexay, then Blackman, then Raven and Saturn-I guess the hardcore stuff's over with, then. And who's at #12? Why, it's the Honky Tonk Man! He comes in clutching one of his "special" guitars and tries to lead the crowd in a chorus of "Honky Tonk Man". You know what's sad? The fact that most of the crowd don't know who this guy is. Kane's not impressed by the impromptu concert, and he smashes the guitar over Honky's head and tosses him. Diesel, Diesel...

The Rock draws #13 (har har) and he and Kane trade some blows in your standard Rock/Kane confrontation. Goodfather's #14, and he's gone before he can say "Censorin' Ain't Easy". Kane screws up a sidewalk slam on Rocky. Tazz is #15, and is gone in less than 15 seconds later, so we can go back to the REAL stars. Bradshaw's #16 and he and Rocky doubleteam Kane, then Bradshaw clobbers Rock with a Clothesline From Hell. Rock and Bradshaw brawl, then Kane jumps Bradshaw. Albert's in at #17 and he goes for Kane. Bradshaw and Kane team up against Albert, then Kane kills both of them. Rock teases elimination at the hands of Albert (yeah, right). Hardcore Holly's in at#18, and he and Bradshaw double team Rocky while Albert brawls with Kane. They do-see-do and Rock almost tosses Kane. K-Kwik's gettin' rowdy at #19, and he's on Albert like he's an extension of his back hair. They need to clear some people out here. Val Venis is #20, and Kane moiders him with a spinebuster. Brawl, brawl, brawl. William Regal (Hello!) is #21 and he pounds on K-Kwik. Bradshaw saves Rock from elimination at the hands of Val Venis. Test's in at #22 and he quickly tosses Regal, then goes for Albert. #23 arrives-and it's the Big Show, looking BEEFY. Man, he's been working out. Chokeslams for all! He tosses K-Kwik and Test, and chokeslams everyone else, but the Rock blocks his and clotheslines him to the floor. Crash is #24 and Show drags Rocky out of the ring-and chokeslams him through the announce table!

Everyone gangs up on Kane, but Taker's in at #25 to save his brother, and it's like ‘98 all over again. The eliminations come thick and fast. Crash! Bradshaw! Albert! Hardcore Holly! Val! Everyone goes, leaving the Brothers Grim-until Scotty Too Hotty enters at #26. He's gone in less than a minute after High Times from the brothers. Steve Austin's drawn #27-oh, God, Breakdown 98 flashbacks. Triple H jumps Austin in the aisle and beats on him as Rocky rolls back in the ring and goes to work on the brothers. Billy Gunn's at #28 and he aid's the Rock's valiant cause. Trip's busted Austin open and left him laying near the entranceway. Taker with his Dead Man DDT on the Rock, and at #29, its-Whoa, what the HELL is he doing here? It's HAKU!! FEAR THE 'FRO!! "HOOAAMAHOOAALALA"!! YEAH!! YOU GET 'EM HAKU!! Sorry, got lost in the moment there. Haku pounds on both brothers. Rikishi's in at #30 and he tries to take advantage of Austin in the aisle (no, not like THAT, you pervs), but Austin fights back and they get in the ring. Austin eliminates Haku (DAMN!!) And goes for Kane. Austin is, may I say, juicing a gusher here. Taker chokeslams Rikishi, then tries to eliminate Rocky, but that pesky People's Champ ain't going nowhere. Rikishi superkicks Taker out. Gunn is GASSED in the corner while the other four brawl. Rikishi buttsquashes Rock in the corner and goes for the Banzai Drop, but Rocky low blows him and shoves him to the floor, eliminating him. So we're down to Austin, Kane, Rock and Gunn.

Gunn gets a fame-asser on Austin, but chews on a Stunner a few minutes later and is gone. Rock and Austin's eyes meet...and they fly at each other like Viscera at a pizza delivery boy. Austin counters a Rock Bottom attempt and hits the Stunner, but he can't toss Rocky out because he's WEAK. Kane back up and he takes the Thesz pressand a low blow. Rocky back up, and he Rock Bottoms Austin. Kane and Rock go at it, then both Austin and Rock toss Kane through the middle ropes to the floor. Austin and Rock fight on the ropes, and Kane comes back, eliminating the Rock from behind. Austin charges Kane but gets chokeslammed. Kane signals for the Tombstone, but Austin counters pointing out piledrivers are banned and hits a low blow. Kane rolls to the floor and grabs a chair, but walks straight into a Stunner. Three chair shots later, and Austin clotheslines the big man to the floor to win his third Rumble at 64:16. Excellent Rumble, with lots of different stories being told. ****. Usual post-match celebration follows.

Final Thought: An awesome show at a time when the WWF needs it. Great wrestling, great booking and a sense of direction put the fed back on track heading into WrestleMania, and it looks like it could be one Hell of a show-Haku Vs. Rikishi! Highly recommended.

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Ian Challis

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