The 2004 Royal Rumble became "the forbidden show" in the wake of the Benoit family murder-suicide in 2007. When WWE made the decision to erase all overt uses of Benoit's name and likeness from their media properties, they took a chunk out of the Royal Rumble's lineage (not that kayfabe machinations should ever take precedent over horrifying tragedy, anyhow). The 2004 Royal Rumble may as well have never happened, for all that it means today.
For fans of Benoit's who hadn't a clue how his story would end, that '04 Rumble was pro wrestling Shangri-La, as the hardest working underdog that they'd ever known was greenlighted for a monumental victory. That Shangri-La would become a working class factory town compared to the Nirvana of WrestleMania 20, when Benoit joined brother-in-arms Eddie Guerrero in standing tall as the industry's top champions.
For many, the image of Benoit's joy on either night is tainted, forever marred by the sickening circumstances of how he exited this world. Others are still able to go back and enjoy the moment in a vacuum, remembering how the yet-to-be-tarnished image of Chris Benoit's professional triumph made them feel on that night, fourteen years ago.
Here are ten facts about the 2004 Royal Rumble you may not have known.
Justin has been a wrestling fan since 1989, and has been writing about it since 2009. Since 2014, Justin has been a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine. Justin also writes for History of Wrestling, and is a contributing author to James Dixon's Titan series.