Best: Steve Blackman Is About Chicks And America
Old Rumbles are easy to enjoy ironically. It’s also fun to watch with someone who has either never watched wrestling before or hasn’t watched in a while and try to explain to them who a person is and why they existed in two minutes or less. Steve Blackman is a fun one. “He was a karate guy with the outward personality of a desk drawer and he could legitimately kill you, probably, but he couldn’t fake fighting kill you to save his life and eventually they made him wear cheese on his head and fired him. Last time we saw him he was going HEY I AM ALSO A WRESTLER to get on Benoit-obsessed judgmental Republican shows.”
The thing I like about Blackman is that he never stopped wrestling like Dennis Rodman. He knew one move (Rodman knew the clothesline, Blackman knew the bicycle kick) and always seemed like he was waiting for you to give him the okay to do it. Like, you’d punch him in the back or whatever and he’s just kinda look at you with his eyes bugged out like “NOW?” and you’re all NO and kick him in the stomach, and he looks right back up at you like OKAY SHOULD I BICYCLE KICK YOU NOW and eventually you either go NO STOP ASKING and pin him or UGH YES and let him bicycle kick and pin you.
Rikishi chooses the first option and throws out him like 40 seconds into his apperance. Blackman hit the arena floor and disappeared, joining Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock in Sovngarde.
Worst: Battle Royal Fat Guy Showdowns
I go back and forth on whether or not I like when WWE sets aside a clear moment in every battle royal or Royal Rumble for two of the fat guys to stare each other down and have a standoff. As far as I can tell, it formally started with Big John Studd and William “The Refrigerator” Perry at Wrestlemania 2. They do it almost every single time, and 2000’s fat guy standoff (at least the first one… they do it later with Big Show and Kane) is pretty low rent.
It doesn’t help that one guy’s in a diaper and the other guy is wearing a studded trashbag and is more or less named “bowels, the wrestler”. Viscera gets dumped (get it) and we move on with our lives. Either that, or they merged into one dude and have hid out as Brodus Clay for the last ten years.
Best: Big Swat Main Ain’t Care
Sometime in the 90s, Big Bossman stopped being a Georgia police officer/prison guard and became a sociopathic swat team guy, commandeering the Blues Brothers car to kidnap a corpse and using sh*t like tear gas to fight The Big Show backstage. It was weird.
Anyway, he gets the awesome “heh, too smart to rush in” spot heels do sometimes in Rumbles. The year before this, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon entered numbers one and two and just fought outside the ring for an hour before stepping back in and finishing up. Theoretically almost EVERY wrestler should use that precedent to stand outside until absolutely necessary. If everybody did it it’d be like one of those TNA battle royals where you eliminate guys by throwing them IN, because they’ve then accepted the reality that they may be thrown out.
Loosely related note: I love Big Bossman for innovating the Cody Rhodes/Christian/Goldust “do a whole lot of unnecessary stuff that could probably hurt me before punching a guy” move.
Worst: Test, In All Forms
No wrestler on old shows makes me go OH GOD TEST quite like Test, who enters shortly after Bossman and tries to beat him up and get him in the ring. The girls scream when Test takes off his shirt, for some reason. A guy in the crowd has one of the best signs ever: “Nice Teeth, Test”. Right behind “RDV” and “Bells Palsy Retard” as my favorite WWF signs ever.
Test doesn’t do much, and gets eliminated when Big Show kicks him in the ass. Seriously. He didn’t even make it to Albert.
Worst: There Sure Are A Lot Of Dead Guys Out Here
There are only four dead guys in the 2000 Royal Rumble (five if you count Chyna, because she’s got two months left, max), but three of them enter in a row: Big Bossman, Test, British Bulldog. Crash Holly shows up a few entrants later, and is quickly eliminated with a suicide dive.