10. Royal Rumble – 2001
It’s very apparent that any “best of” list when it comes to WWE pay-per-views will have Wrestlemania 17 at or near the top of the board. And yes, that will happen here. But for how great that show was, it was the two preceding pay-per-views that made it that much more successful. We just spotlighted No Way Out 2001 at number 13 but that year’s Royal Rumble show was even better. If this was countdown of the top 25 intense, high octane PPV’s of all time, this might be number 1.
Outside of a swing and a miss in the form of a Women’s Championship match between Ivory and Chyna, the show really had zero letdowns and a plethora of high spots. Anytime you start a show with The Dudley Boyz versus Edge and Christian, chances are the show is going to be good. And that’s what happened in yet another phenomenal show in New Orleans that night. Add in what would go down as one of the best ladder matches of all time between Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit for the Intercontinental title, and a back and forth brawl between Kurt Angle and Triple H for the WWF Championship and it’s no shock that the 17,000 fans in attendance stood for the majority of the night.
And of course there was the Rumble match itself. In what was arguably the best Rumble match of all-time, Steve Austin punched his Wrestlemania ticket but he went through the ringer to do it. Triple H looked to spoil the night for “The Rattlesnake” attacking him as he walked to the ring, rendering Austin beaten and bloody. However, the blood seemed to ignite Austin and his fans and made the winning moment that much more dramatic. Add on The Rock’s fun 40 minutes and a career-making moment for Kane as he eliminated a record 11 superstars and lasted nearly an hour before falling victim to Austin and you have yourself quite an event. All this was the beginning of what would eventually lead to one of the most iconic Wrestlemania moments of all time. Give the 2001 Royal Rumble a lot of credit. It was the event that got that ball rolling.