The Live Wire - By Tony Cottam

TLW: WWE Royal Rumble 2004 Thoughts

Well, hello. And yeah – it’s Live Wire time! Whooo! What a weekend I had…drinking vast amounts of alcohol, getting stranded in Edinburgh having missed the last train, ending up inside a few taxis and crashing out on a friend’s floor, before getting back home the next day. Oh, and a totally AMAZING White Stripes gig in Glasgow, and one of the best Rumble cards in recent years.

Well, hello. And yeah – it’s Live Wire time! Whooo! What a weekend I had…drinking vast amounts of alcohol, getting stranded in Edinburgh having missed the last train, ending up inside a few taxis and crashing out on a friend’s floor, before getting back home the next day. Oh, and a totally AMAZING White Stripes gig in Glasgow, and one of the best Rumble cards in recent years.

But I’m sure you don’t want to hear about all that… well, most of it, anyway. So I’ll just talk about the Rumble card itself. For all you stat-a-holics out there, on the end of this column will be all the facts and figures from this year’s rumble, back by popular demand! Whooo! So let’s get into it, and get the moans out of the way first.

First, every match bar the Rumble was WAY too short. One of the matches could have been held over, or bumped onto Heat – I mean, come ON! The Tag Team match was under four and a half minutes, the Cruiserweight match JUST broke through the three minute barrier, Brock & Hardcore went six and a half minutes, and even the heated Guerrero vs. Guerrero clash was only a meagre eight minutes and change…

As entertaining as I’m sure it was for the people backstage, I’m sure that Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff’s little face off and subsequent beer bath with Austin could have waited until another day.

Only Trips and HBK got a decent length of time, and you have to think if maybe the cruiserweight match was bumped to Heat, it could have had a whole extra minute (whooo!) and the time allocated to one of the other matches.

Speaking of Trips and HBK… I thought the finish to that match, while it may well have made sense for neither man to lose face and lose, to have a draw in a last man standing match is just such a cop out. Granted it was a good match – not as good as the classic they had on Raw a few weeks ago, mind – but with another 5 minutes or so and a clear winner, it could have been up with the best of them.

Those gripes out of the way, and all that’s left is goodness. Sure, the undercard matches may have been short, but one thing they were was excellently worked. The crowd were right into them, they all had clean-ish finishes and either continued or ended feuds – just what you need at the Rumble.

I’d look for Brock, Rey and Eddie to move on to new feuds, but the Raw matches don’t have that air of finality to them – I’d expect both the HHH-HBK story to roll on, as well as the Dudleys and Evolution’s battle… Flair looks to be teaching Big DAVE~! well, and that can’t be a bad thing…

Hopefully, Eddie is now done with the whole Chavo affair for the time being, and will be moved up the card. At the moment, with Benoit being blackballed by Heyman, Eddie is easily Smackdown’s most likely contender for Brock’s title – Cena is still tied up with the Big Show and the US title.

Which leads us onto the Royal Rumble itself. This is undoubtedly one of my highlights of the year, and this year’s match was as good as any I can recall for sometime. It was nice to see Benoit finally get a big win under his belt – Tazz and Flair declaring that Benoit never wins the big one earlier in the show more or less guaranteed that Benny would win it though.

Benoit has been impeccable since his return from injury and done everything asked of him, and more – he deserves this moment in the spotlight. Could the much rumoured Benoit vs. HHH match finally go ahead at WrestleMania’ Nobody ever stated which title Benoit could get a shot at, after all…

Aside from the winner, the Rumble had it’s fair share of enjoyable moments and storyline advancement… the implied return of The Deadman was predicted right here in this column – and it worked beautifully… Kane vs. Taker, Hell In A Cell at WrestleMania’ Works for me…

Randy Orton had easily his best night in the WWE, finally providing a performance to live up to the hype bestowed upon him. Orton looked like a seasoned veteran at times as he worked his way through a near 35 minute stint – second only to Benoit’s marathon 60 plus minutes.

Of course, the return of Mick Foley was a great moment too… as soon as Test was found to be laid out, it looked obvious that the mystery man would be Mick, and he didn’t disappoint. He may not be as quick or as agile as he once was, but it does look like there could be a decent Orton vs. Foley match out of this feud somewhere down the line – another WrestleMania match planned out in advance’ Shocker!

The other storyline that looked to be moved up a gear was the simmering Brock Lesnar and Goldberg rivalry – since they confronted each other at Survivor Series, there was always a feeling they would cross paths again – and with Lesnar effectively eliminating Goldberg from the Rumble, there looks to be the big money WrestleMania match between the too set up perfectly as well.

You have to applaud the WWE for their long-term planning if all these pointers come to fruition – it’s been a long time since there’s been a sense of continuity this strong in any of the plans… and it can only be a good thing.

So, the Rumble delivered in spades… not even The Cat and his pointless antics could drag it down, although Tazz’s singing nearly did! I was looking forward to this card a hell of a lot – and boy, did it deliver… The Royal Rumble was easily the best PPV of the year so far! Yay! That joke never gets tired at all…

Anyway, never mind that poor excuse for humour – here, as promised is the 2004 Royal Rumble : By The Numbers

A few notes :

All times are as noted by me, the clock on my trusty video recorder.
The match starts when the bell rings (surprise, huh’) and a wrestler is judged to have entered the rumble when he enters the ring.
In Spike Dudley’s case, he never entered, so has no time.
Chris Benoit’s elimination of Lamont (and his wig) does not officially count. Sadly.

Timeline of events :

0.00 : Chris Benoit and Randy Orton enter as #1 and #2 respectively; Orton & Benoit only 2 men in the ring.
1:30 : Mark Henry enters as #3
3:02 : Tajiri enters as #4
4:48 : Bradshaw enters as #5
5:25 : Bradshaw eliminated by Chris Benoit
6:24 : Rhyno enters as #6
6:55 : Tajiri eliminated by a combination of Mark Henry and Rhyno
7:03 : Mark Henry eliminated by Chris Benoit
8:07 : Matt Hardy enters as #7
8:26 : Matt Hardy tells the world he’s “Veee One-ah”
9:50 : Scott Steiner enters as #8
10:30 : Tazz says “Rocketbuster” for the first and only time
11:31 : Matt Morgan enters as #9
12:17 : JR calls Matt Morgan a “hoss”
13:11 : Hurricane enters as #10
13:32 : Hurricane eliminated by Matt Morgan
15:08 : Booker T enters as #11
16:46 : Scott Steiner eliminated by Booker T
16:57 : Kane enters as #12
18:10 : Undertaker’s Gong hits
18:27 : Kane eliminated by Booker T
18:30 : Spike Dudley is announced as #13, but never enters the match because…
18:53 : Kane chokslams Spike Dudley on the ramp
20:25 : Riksihi enters as #14
20:26 : Rhyno eliminated by Chris Benoit
20:46 : Rikishi gives a Stinkface to Matt Morgan
22:02 : Rene Dupree enters as #15
22:25 : Matt Hardy eliminated by Rene Dupree; second year running Matt Hardy has not eliminated anyone, but lasted over 10minutes.
22:27 : Rene Dupree dances
22:35 : Rene Dupree eliminated by Rikishi
23:22 : A-Train enters as #16
23:45 : Matt Morgan eliminated by Chris Benoit
24:13 : Rikishi eliminated by Randy Orton
24:18 : Booker T eliminated by Randy Orton
25:03 : Shelton Benjamin enters as #17
25:05 : A-Train eliminated by Chris Benoit
35:40 : Shelton Benjamin eliminated by Randy Orton; Orton & Benoit only 2 men in the ring
26:48 : The Cat (with Lamont) wnters as #18
27:38 : Lamont’s wig eliminated
27:43 : Lamont eliminated
27:45 : The Cat eliminated by Randy Orton; Orton & Benoit only 2 men in the ring
28:31 : Kurt Angle enters as #19
30:05 : Rico enters as #20
31:10 : Rico eliminated by Randy Orton
31:38 : Test announced as #21
32:25 : Steve Austin replaces Test at #21 with…
33:05 : Mick Foley enters as #21
33:47 : Randy Orton eliminated by Mick Foley; Foley eliminates himself in the process; Benoit & Angle only 2 men in the ring.
34:59 : Christian enters as #22
36:31 : Nunzio announced as #23
36:40 : Nunziio eats Mr. Socko
38:57 : Big Show enters as #34
40:10 : Chris Jericho enters as #25
41:42 : Charlie Haas enters as #26
42:37 : Christian eliminated by Chris Jericho; second year running Jericho has eliminated his tag team partner.
43:15 : Billy Gunn enters as #27
45:23 : Nunzio enters as #23 – finall, with help from John Cena.
45:35 : John Cena enters as #28
46:36 : Rob Van Dam enters as #29
48:09 : Goldberg enters as #30; all entrants complete; 10 men in ring – most of entire match.
48:11 : Goldberg spears Big Show
48:13 : Goldberg spears Billy Gunn
48:37 : Charlie Haas eliminated by Goldberg
48:54 : Goldberg spears Nunzio
48:59 : Billy Gunn eliminated by Goldberg
49:12 : Nunzio eliminated by Goldberg
49:30 : Brock Lesnar enters ring
49:36 : Brock Lesnar F5’s Goldberg
49:38 : Brock Lesnar leaves ring
50:16 : Goldberg eliminated by Kurt Angle
53:03 : John Cena eliminated by Big Show
53:19 : Rob Van Dam eliminated by Big Show; Final Four now in ring.
55:10 : Chris Jericho eliminated by Big Show
57:39 : Kurt Angle eliminated by Big Show; Benoit and Big Show only 2 men in the ring and final two competitors.
61:37 : Big Show eliminated by Chris Benoit; Benoit wins Royal Rumble

Length of time in Rumble

n/a (13) : Spike Dudley
n/a (21) : Test
0:21 (10) : Hurricane
0:33 (15) : Rene Dupree
0:37 (5) : Bradshaw
0:38 (17) : Shelton Benjamin
0:42 (21) : Mick Foley
0:57 (18) : The Cat
1:05 (20) : Rico
1:30 (12) : Kane
1:43 (16) : A-Train
2:08 (30) : Goldberg
3:48 (14) : Rikishi
3:49 (23) : Nunzio
3:53 (4) : Tajiri
5:33 (3) : Mark Henry
5:44 (27) : Billy Gunn
6:56 (8) : Scott Steiner
7:38 (22) : Christian
7:38 (28) : John Cena
7:43 (29) : Rob Van Dam
7:55 (26) : Charlie Haas
9:10 (11) : Booker T
12:14 (9) : Matt Morgan
14:02 (6) : Rhyno
14:18 (7) : Matt Hardy
15:00 (25) : Chris Jericho
22:40 (24) : Big Show
29:08 (19) : Kurt Angle
33:47 (2) : Randy Orton
61:37 (1) : Chris Benoit

Order Of Entry

1) Chris Benoit (Winner)
2)  Randy Orton
3) Mark Henry
4) Tajiri
5) Bradshaw
6) Rhyno
7) Matt Hardy
8) Scott Steiner
9) Matt Morgan
10) The Hurricane
11) Booker T
12) Kane
13) Spike Dudley *
14) Rikishi
15) Rene Dupree
16) A-Train
17) Shelton Benjamin
18) The Cat
19) Kurt Angle
20) Rico
21) Test / Mick Foley
22) Christian
23) Nunziio
24) Big Show
25) Chris Jericho
26) Charlie Haas
27) Billy Gunn
28) John Cena
29) Rob Van Dam
30) Goldberg
* Spike was unable participate in the Rumble, after an attack by Kane.

Order Of Elimination

  • Bradshaw

  • Tajiri

  • Mark Henry

  • The Hurricane

  • Scott Steiner

  • Kane

  • Spike Dudley *

  • Rhyno

  • Matt Hardy

  • Rene Dupree

  • Matt Morgan

  • Rikishi

  • Booker T

  • A-Train

  • Shelton Benjamin

  • The Cat

  • Rico

  • Mick Foley

  • Randy Orton

  • Christian

  • Charlie Haas

  • Billy Gunn

  • Nunzio

  • Goldberg

  • John Cena

  • Rob Van Dam

  • Chris Jericho

  • Kurt Angle

  • Big Show
    * Spike was unable participate in the Rumble, after an attack by Kane.

(Spike did not enter the Rumble, Mick Foley replaced Test, and eliminated himself)

  • ½
    Mark Henry

  • 1
    Rene Dupree
    Mick Foley
    Chris Jericho
    Matt Morgan
    Kurt Angle

  • 2
    Booker T

  • 3

  • 4
    Big Show

  • 5
    Randy Orton

  • 6
    Chris Benoit

Rumble Facts

Match Length : 61:37
Length of match after entry #30 : 13:28
Length of time Winner was in match : 61:37

Longest time in match : 61:37 – Chris Benoit
Shortest time in match : 0:21 – The Hurricane

Longest time in match without eliminating anyone : Matt Hardy – 14:18
Shortest time in match with an elimnation : Rene Dupree – 0.33 (1)

Double eliminations : 1 – Mick Foley (Mick Foley and Randy Orton)
Double-Team eliminations : 1 – Mark Henry & Rhyno (Tajiri)
Self-eliminations : 1 – Mick Foley

Final Four : Big Show, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle
TIme from Final Four to end of match : 8:18

Longest between eliminations : 8:50 (from Orton/Foley to Christian)
Shortest between eliminations : 0:05 (from Rikishi to Booker T)

Most in ring at one time : 10 – John Cena, Rob Van Dam, Billy Gunn, Goldberg,
Chris Benoit, Nunzio, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Charlie Haas and Big Show

Least in ring (except eventual winner) : 2 – Randy Orton & Chris Benoit (3
times); Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle; Chris Benoit & Big Show

Eliminations by Brand
(Spike did not enter the Rumble, Mick Foley replaced Test, and eliminated

Raw – 13½
Smackdown – 13½

Number of wigs eliminated – 1
Spears by Goldberg – 3

0:46 – Time from entry of Matt Morgan to JR calling him a Hoss
0:02 – Time from Goldberg’s entry to his first spear
0:45 – Time from Goldberg’s entry to his final spear
8:42 – Time from Nunzio’s appearance until his actual entry to the match

Until then, have fun, go mad.

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Tony Cottam

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