We’re going back to the 2000 Royal Rumble, and the WWE debut of Tazz, a former and future ECW Champion. That Rumble took place in Madison Square Garden, which, for those living under a rock, is in New York City. Vince’s dad used to run his WWWF shows out of the arena. The venue has some serious history with wrestling, so it should come as no surprise to learn that the crowd was filled with spectators who were smart to the goings on behind the scenes.
Welcome back to Huge Crowd Reactions in Wrestling. This series is basically an excuse for us here at Pro Wrestling Stories to revel in some of the moments that made us lose our minds. I mean, we’re all pretty huge wrestling fans. We live for those huge crowd reactions. Even as at-home viewers, those are the moments we crave. We want to be on the edge of our seats, or even out of them entirely.
That’s why they exploded the moment Tazz’s music hit and they saw his famous logo on a WWE Titantron for the very first time! They were hyped to see Tazz make the jump from the land of the extreme. Some of the casual fans, up to this point, may not have been aware of the original ferryman to Suplex City, but the die-hards knew, and they made up most of the crowd that night.
Let’s not ignore Kurt Angle, either. He was undefeated going into the 2000 Royal Rumble and scheduled to face an “unannounced” opponent. He came out first, dumped all over the New York Knicks, and his unknown opponent. Then it happens, and the hype is strong.
Tazz had a short run with the company before moving to the commentary booth with Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross in February 2001 after injuries had taken its toll. Having said that, he’ll always have this fantastic debut to look back on – up there with Kane as one of the best of all time. He came in; wrecked house, and left.
The match ends with Tazz putting Kurt in his submission, and holding him in it until he passes out. This gave the most celebrated real athlete an excuse to latch onto, claiming that his undefeated streak was still intact because The Human Suplex Machine actually used an illegal choke.
Anyway, enough from us. Without further ado, here is the WWE debut of Tazz!