11. WWE Royal Rumble 2004
Match card & results
- Tables Match for the WWE World Tag Team Championship: Batista and Ric Flair (c) def. The Dudley Boyz
- WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio (c) def. Jamie Noble
- Eddie Guerrero def. Chavo Guerrero
- WWE Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) def. Hardcore Holly
- Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H (c) vs. Shawn Michaels ended in a draw
- Chris Benoit wins 30-Man Royal Rumble Match
You know when you hear that two men have won the Royal Rumble from the number one position, including WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. Well, this is the other one and WWE doesn’t like to talk about the Chris Benoit Royal Rumble win for obvious reasons. But this really was a great performance that kicked off the biggest year of Benoit’s career. This is a top-five Royal Rumble Match and if some of the undercard had been better, this would have a much higher spot on this list.
The first two matches of the night were just not good. It’s crazy to think that Ric Flair, Batista and The Dudley Boyz could put on a bad match but that’s we got. Coach was involved here and it was really sloppy and just not entertaining. Big disappointment. Rey Mysterio and Jamie Noble disappointed next with a match that featured a “blind” valet in Nidia and went a little more than three minutes. No thanks.
The night picked up a bit as Eddie and Chavo worked out some family drama with a decent match and Brock Lesnar and Bob Holly, in the only world title match that I remember seeing him in, got a little physical in their battle for the WWE Championship. This could and should have been better, especially give the real-life drama surrounding it as Holly was looking for revenge after Lesnar legit broke his neck. But it was still okay.
The night really picked up with the final two matches. Triple H and Shawn Michaels had been feuding off and on for a year and a half and this Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship was supposed to end things. This match was insanely brutal as their chemistry shined here as both got REALLY bloody with some nice blade jobs. This wasn’t their best match but it was still fantastic, even if the crowd didn’t like the finish that saw both unable to answer the 10-count. They would continue their feud into WrestleMania and beyond.
Waiting for them at WrestleMania XX in a Triple Threat Match would be Benoit, who lasted more than an hour from the number one spot to win the Royal Rumble. This match was so great. Randy Orton, who was the Intercontinental Champion at the time, was out at number two and they got a nice pace going from the outset and told a great story, sometimes working together and sometimes not. After more than half the field had entered, Benoit and Orton were the only two in the ring, which was done beautifully.
The second half of the match had some huge names come down as Kurt Angle, Mick Foley (who wasn’t originally entered in the match but took out Test for his spot), Chris Jericho, The Big Show, a young John Cena and Goldberg got in the mix. The drama with Goldberg and Brock Lesnar came into play near the end and Foley and Orton had some great interaction as well. However, this was Benoit’s night and with the show revolving around his inability to win the big one, he began his march towards the biggest win of his career.