Triple H vs Cactus Jack: Royal Rumble 2000

Talk about a perfect retirement match for Mrs. Foley’s baby boy, or so it should have been. Cactus Jack, Mick Foley’s first real persona, losing in a violent match he was well known for to the biggest bad guy in the world at the time in Triple H. You can’t write a much better sendoff than that. Wrestling is wrestling, though, and retirements are almost never permanent in this beautiful fake sport. That little discrepancy doesn’t take away anything from this brilliant highlight of the Attitude Era, though.

From the opening stare down between the two competitors, you can feel an almost real animosity. Even if you don’t know the background story to this match, you can tell it just from the story they tell with their faces. Foley’s body was very beaten up at this point, but these two were at the top of their game here both in-ring and just sheer storytelling with their bodies. Triple H looks a little bit unnerved, Cactus Jack looks absolutely demented.

In-ring wise this match is definitely a product of its time; unprotected chair shots to the head, barbed wire bats, thumbtacks, blood. It’s exactly what the Attitude Era was known for and one of the prime reasons it was the WWE’s most prosperous period. You’ll never see anything quite this violent in modern WWE, which is probably for the best from a safety stand point. Foley probably had at least 5 years taken off of his life from those chair shots, and Triple H didn’t exactly come out unscathed either taking a back body drop to concrete.

There’s nothing pretty or technical about this match. It’s a violent, bloody brawl all across the arena. Everything besides the kitchen sink was used to inflict pain in this match. Triple H takes a suplex onto a wooden pallet, for God’s sake. That’s just creative use of your surroundings. But there’s a flow to it; it’s not just throwing whatever you find at your opponent. There’s a smart flow to the match, which seems natural because these two were veterans and absolute ring generals at the time.

This match isn’t perfect by any means; if you don’t like sloppy, violent brawls it’s probably not for you. And it kind of irks me a bit that Foley didn’t really retire after such a perfect sendoff despite my earlier words. But this match definitely deserves the praise it’s received in the 17 years since its initial airing. I would definitely recommend this to just about any wrestling fan, even if they don’t usually go for the violent style of wrestling.

I give it a 4/5.

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