The Big Red Rumbler

The Big Red Rumbler

At the 2001 Royal Rumble, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin won the opportunity to go to WrestleMania X-Seven and challenge for the WWE Championship. But if one looks past the bottom line—even when Stone Cold says so—the real story in Louisiana's New Orleans Arena was The Big Red Monster called Kane, who astonished the sold-out crowd by hurling an unprecedented 11 WWE Superstars over the top rope.

One could argue that the Rumble's No. 6 entrant actually dispensed with 12 of the 30 participants slotted to compete; after all, the man who preceded Kane was funnyman Drew Carey, who sure wasn't laughing as the then-masked monster entered the ring. Carey tried offering his hand in friendship, then money, but after narrowly avoiding a devastating Chokeslam, he decided to get the hell out of Dodge and eliminate himself. (Clearly, the smartest career choice he has made over the past half-decade.)

From there, Kane went on to eliminate six consecutive Superstars despite being subjected to their orchestrated Hardcore Match-type attack for several minutes. With garbage can in hand, he showed his opponents the true meaning of "hardcore," bashing in their skulls before launching them over the top. Then there was perhaps the briefest comeback in WWE history—that of the guitar-strummin', tone deaf-hummin' Honky Tonk Man, whom Kane thankfully silenced by using the guitar as an instrument of destruction.

The Big Red Monster would toss out four more Superstars (including a woefully unfortunate Scotty 2 Hotty, the product of a joint elimination by Kane and his Brother of Destruction, Undertaker) before the Rumble came down to just him, The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Having lasted in the ring for nearly an hour, a clearly battle-weary Kane surprised The Great One from behind to muscle him over the ropes, then attempted to flatten the Texas Rattlesnake with a chair. Grabbing hold of the cold steel, however, Austin used the chair on the masked monster repeatedly, softening up Kane long enough to send him over with a stiff clothesline.

No one should dare question Stone Cold's victory; he certainly overcame several obstacles (including an outside sneak attack from Triple H that busted him wide open) to earn his ticket to WrestleMania X-Seven. Yet WWE fans who witnessed this brutal contest must also agree that Kane's incredible showing was a tour de force that has yet to be reckoned with, and certainly worthy of ranking as's No. 6 Over-the-Top Rumble Performance.

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