23. Royal Rumble – 2000
Something extremely important happened in Madison Square Garden in January of 2000. At the Royal Rumble PPV, Triple H officially arrived as the superstar that he would eventually go on to become. Sure, “The Game” had plenty of success before this night in New York. After all, going into the match he was already in the midst of his 3rd world title run, but for many different reasons, he never seemed to be in the conversation with that generation’s superstars, The Rock and Steve Austin. That all changed at the Rumble as he and Cactus Jack put on what could be the greatest street fight match of all time and a no doubt top 20 match in WWE history.
The whole thing was almost surreal. The pain the two inflicted on each other was just stunning and Triple H lost what looked like a bucket of blood. Between the genius use of barbwire, the infinite chair shots, and the savagery with the thumbtacks, these two legends dazzled the near 20,000 fans in attendance as they incorporated their own brands of violence. What made this match work outside of just the moves was the fact their feud throughout the beginning of 200 was just so personal that it made this fight seem so real. And Foley, the guy who can get anybody over, did just that with Hunter and it launched “The Game’s” career even further.
The rest of the card was also quite good. Between Taz’s debut against Kurt Angle, a violent tag team tables match between The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley’s, and The Rock punching his ticket to Wrestlemania by winning the Royal Rumble match, this 2000 gem is an example of just how brilliant the Attitude Era could be at times and why in the current WWE climate, is sorely missed.