While I did like the 2004 Royal Rumble, it was the Rumble match itself that saves this card along with one other match:
The Dudleyz Vs. Ric Flair/Batista (RAW World Tag Team Title Match under Table Match Rules) - Very slow and boring match. Flair looked totally out of his element here! Thankfully it was short when Batista put D-Von Dudley through the table!
Rey Mysterio Vs. Jamie Noble w/Nidia (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match) - Good match but WAAAAAY TOO SHORT!
Eddie Gurrerro Vs. Chavo Gurrerro, Jr. w/Chavo Classic - Match was just about the right length. Was definitely more serious than their WCW encounters a few years ago.
Brock Lesner Vs. Hardcore Holly (Smackdown WWE World Title Match) - Was more than I expected but ended as I figured with Brock taking down Hardcore!
"The Game" Triple H Vs. Shawn "HBK" Michaels (RAW World Heavyweight Title Match under Last Man Standing Rules) - The second best match on the card! What keeps this from being THE match on the card is the suck-booty ending they gave us! It wasn't the greatest match in history but definitely a classic and better than what we had seen thus far until......
The Royal Rumble Match - Winner gets a world championship shot at WrestleMania XX! This match was great! Not the best Rumble but it pretty much saves the card along with the Michaels/HHH match! Benoit's performance has to be considered the top five performances ever in that particular match! Here is my ranking as far as performances in that match:
1. "Nature Boy " Ric Flair - Not only did he last over an hour in the 1992 version of The Royal Rumble but he won the WWF World Title as a bonus! True, he was number 3 but come on! What's two numbers! Coming in that low and winning was unheard of until 1992!
2. Chris Benoit - He's got to be considered next because he was the first man in years to start it and finish it! Not only that, he was the first man in years to last over an hour and win!
3. Bob Backlund - Though he didn't win the 1993 Royal Rumble (the winner of that one was the late Yokozuna), he was number 2 and lasted over an hour before being eliminated by Yokozuna and he was 43 years old at the time! That is a hell of a feat!
4. Kane - He didn't win the Royal Rumble either in 2001 but he did enter at number 5 and lasted nearly an hour before being the last man eliminated by the winner of that Rumble (which was "Stone Cold" Steve Austin). Now, considering that Kane is around 6'11" tall and weighs over 300lbs. of mostly muscle, the ods are really against him surviving that long! I am in pretty good shape (I am 6'2", 250lbs.) and I would have a tough time doing that. He shouldn't have been able too but he did!
5. Shawn Michaels - I only give him credit because he did start at number one and won it! Beyond that, his win at the 1995 Royal Rumble was totally overhyped! I totally agree with shinedownfan's opinion on HBK's win! I mean, that year the wrestlers entered every 60 seconds! Which means that he only had to wrestle 35-40 minutes tops! Impressive to be sure but his win was way overhyped!
Back to the Rumble 2004, in addition to the inspirational performance of Benoit, Randy Orton as well as The Big Show gave a good accounting of themselves. The surprise appearance of Mick Foley was an added treat as well! I give Randy credit because he showed as much endurance as Benoit and probably would've been there at the end if not for Foley (not that I was heartbroken that Orton got eliminated but got to give the man credit). TBS only gets credit because he was so dominant for the short time that he was in there though he ended up on the wrong end of signature moves of Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, RVD, John Cena and others!
Well, overall not bad. The last two matches saves it though!