WWE: Mani's 2000 Year in Review
Welcome to the next installment of Mani's "Years in Review." This time around, we are sticking with the height of the Attitude Era and one of the most profitable years in WWE history: 2000.
At this point in time, WCW was fading away as the WWE product became more violent and brutal than ever before. Ironically, Stone Cold Steve Austin was injured throughout the majority of the year, and it gave rise to new stars like Triple H and Chris Jericho.
The year started off with the Royal Rumble in Madison Square Garden, and it ended with an Armageddon Hell in a Cell match (featured in the photo). The quality of wrestling and promos was as high as it had ever been, and it'll make for a very enjoyable (and definitely debatable) awards list.
If you'd like to check out my first review of the year 2001, here's the link.
Time to get started.
Most Popular Superstar of the Year
With Stone Cold Steve Austin out of the picture, The Rock became the most popular superstar of the company in decisive fashion.
It was in 1999 that the fans decided The Rock was just too damn awesome to be a heel. His tactics and verbal lashings of anyone in his way garnered him more and more cheers, which led to an obvious face turn. In the year 2000 he cemented his legacy as the People's Champion.
The Rock kicked off the new millennium in a feud with the 7-foot tall, 500 pound bag of monkey crap known as the Big Show, and ended it inside the most star-studded Hell in a Cell match ever.
He won the Royal Rumble and the WWF Championship twice, defending it against the likes of Kurt Angle, Triple H, and the Undertaker.
Although Stone Cold always brought out the best in The Rock, his absence from the ring for the majority of the year boosted the Great One's legacy.
Now, we look forward to seeing more of him on WWE TV before his WrestleMania match against John Cena.
Worst Match of the Year
Pat Patterson. Gerald Brisco. Evening Gowns. That's all I have to say.
Brawl of the Year
It would be impossible to review the year 2000 and not mention the Armageddon Hell in a Cell match in some detail. With six top superstars fighting in and around the cell for almost 40 minutes, it takes the cake as the brawl of the year.
The Rock. Stone Cold. Rikishi. Triple H. The Undertaker. Kurt Angle. The majority of these men should find their way into the WWE Hall of Fame one day, if they're not already there.
Imagine the top six superstars in the business today colliding inside this structure.
What, it doesn't sound as cool? Well thank TV-PG for that fact.
I give this match plenty of credit because it could have easily been a disaster. Throwing six guys together in a free-for-all match usually is not a great recipe for success.
This contest, however, was an exception. It was an all out fight, and it is something that can never be duplicated in this business.
Still, it's the brawl of the year, not the best match of 2000.
Promo of the Year
A common theme so far in this slideshow, both The Rock and the Hell in a Cell match are involved in the promo of the year.
On the Raw before the last PPV of the year, The Rock took the time to talk a little about the brutal contest and his opponents. A hilarious bashing of all five other participants ensued, my personal favorite being his spot-on impersonation of Triple H.
It is one of the classic Rock promos that we have come to know and love. No one brings as much energy and charisma to the microphone in the way the People's Champ does. He knows how to engage the fans, and this promo highlights that extraordinary ability.
"Shut your mouth you thong-wearing fatty!"
Moment of the Year
The innovation of Tables, Ladders, and Chairs all started at SummerSlam 2000. It was the first of its kind, and arguably the best.
A long, long time ago, when the tag team division was relevant, these three teams needed a match that could encapsulate all of the violence towards each other. They had been using all three of these weapons separately to punish and brutalize.
So why not put them all together?
This SummerSlam encounter was filled with huge spots that we now related to the TLC match. Edge & Christian won the inaugural match, along with prevailing at WrestleMania the following year.
The moment in August 2000 of Edge and Christian finally winning takes the cake for this award.
Best PPV of the Year
This was a tough choice. So many PPV's in the year 2000 could have won this award, with the exception of King of the Ring (see worst match of the year). But I feel that Fully Loaded had a solid undercard and two great main events that were able to deliver for a great show.
The feature of the night coming into the PPV was the highlight of a "triple main-event."
The three big matches on the card were as follows: The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle, Triple H vs. Chris Jericho in a Last Man Standing match, and The Rock vs. Chris Benoit for the WWF Championship.
As for the undercard, the show started off with a good intergender match involving the Hardys and Lita. After a couple of decent matches, Val Venis and Rikishi entered into a very underrated steel cage match. If you did not see the match, take a look at this clip.
That's right. Rikishi hit a splash from the top of the cage, and that didn't end things. Val won the match.
The first of three main events followed in Taker vs. Angle, probably the biggest disappointment of the night. Unlike their 2006 match, things never got going and there just wasn't enough time.
The following match, however, made up for it and then some. Jericho lost to Triple H in one of the better Last Man Standing matches we've ever seen. Y2J looked awesome in defeat, with The Game making a star out of Jericho on this night.
Finally, the main event of Benoit vs. Rock delivered, with a restart by Commissioner Mick Foley.
It's my pick for the best PPV of 2000, and I strongly recommend checking out at least the final two matches if you have not seen them yet.
Feud of the Year
Triple H was the most hated man on the roster, having almost all of the McMahons in his corner. The Rock was the most popular superstar, gaining momentum every day with his solid in-ring work and awesome promos.
All of the elements were in place for a great feud, which is what ensued when Triple H and the Rock went at it, starting at WrestleMania.
Vince screwed the Rock at the end of WM, leading to a match at Backlash with Shane McMahon as the special guest referee. The Rock won the title on that night, but lost it in an Iron Man Match at Judgment Day after the Undertaker debuted as the American Bad Ass.
The feud ended at King of the Ring, when the Rock pinned Vince in a tag team match to gain the title back from The Game.
Watching the Rock trying to overcome the odds of the McMahon family was a sight to see. He brought a different feel to it than Stone Cold, and combined with their great chemistry in the ring, it is a memorable feud.
Wrestler of the Year
This is the year when Triple H elevated himself to the main event star we know today.
He engaged in a number of great feuds throughout the year with guys like Kurt Angle, The Rock, Mick Foley, and Chris Jericho.
Show after show, Triple H was putting on the best matches of his entire career. From his gruesome battles with Cactus Jack to his Iron Man Match with the Rock to his excellent Last Man Standing match against Chris Jericho, The Game gave us the best he had night-in and night-out.
Not only that, but by the end of the year, he had future feuds set up with both Stone Cold and the Undertaker. Both of these led to great matches at No Way Out and WrestleMania X7, respectively.
Eventually, HHH went down with a quadriceps injury, but his main event status had already been cemented.
On top of everything, he was accompanied by the always annoying Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, making him one of the most hated men in the company.
That's one hell of a year.
The Robert V. Manisero "That's Gonna Leave a Mark" Award
The most prestigious award in all of wrestling is back. Yes, it's the Robert V. Manisero "That's Gonna Leave a Mark" Award.
Proving he is one sick, crazy man, Shane McMahon once again takes the award home for his fall at SummerSlam.
There really is something wrong with you if you think falling 50 feet without having any idea where you'll land is a good idea. I'm sure he had a target down there somewhere, but falling that far backwards is just ridiculous.
It doesn't matter what you fall on from that height. It's gonna leave a mark. And Shane McMahon is now a two-time recipient of this award.
Match of the Year
There were a ton of great matches to choose from, but this title match from the first PPV of the new millennium is my choice for match of the year.
Triple H and Mick Foley had a great build-up to this contest. In a nutshell, HHH beat down Mankind so bad that he couldn't take it anymore. So Foley called upon another persona, Cactus Jack, who could handle the brutality that this feud would entail.
The match itself was more vicious than anything we will see in the near future. The finish was an absolutely ridiculous spot that only Mick Foley would sign off on. He took a pedigree into the thumbtacks, which could have gone horribly wrong and may have punctured his eyes.
This was the beginning of the transformation that made Triple H my pick for wrestler of the year. He took an ungodly amount of punishment, and even though he won the match, he did not walk out of Madison Square Garden.
Matches like the first TLC contest, the Armageddon Hell in a Cell bout, and their rematch at No Way Out could all easily take this spot. Nonetheless, this is the match that really made Triple H, and it was one of Mick Foley's best performances of his entire career.
As usual, if you have any picks for a year you would like to be reviewed, comment below. Hope you enjoyed this flashback!