1999 – Kurrgan
You remember Kurrgan, don't you? Big, bad dude. Started out in The Truth Commission, ended up being in The Oddities. He didn't really accomplish much while in the WWF, but that could be said about his time before the 1999 Rumble, as well. The one and only odd (no pun intended) thing about him getting the #14 spot is that he was gone from the company within a month of it happening. That happens to a lot of people on this list.
Outside of the ring, he has gone on to have a successful acting career, making appearances in movies such as 300, Hercules, Sherlock Holmes, Pacific Rim, and Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, to go with television spots in shows like Once Upon A Time, Haven, and The Strain.
There isn't a whole lot to say here, but I think you can say that he avoided being hit by the curse. Good for him.
2000 – Bob Backlund
In his prime, Bob Backlund was one of the biggest babyfaces in all of wrestling. A generation of slightly younger fans know him for his return to the WWF in 1992, where he seemed to step out of a time machine, looking and wrestling almost exactly the same as he had two decades prior. It all built up to one of the most surprising title changes ever, when he won the WWF Championship at the 1994 Survivor Series at the age of 45. Perhaps even more amazing than him winning the title in the first place was the fact that he lost it three days later... at a house show... in an eight-second squash against Diesel.
After returning to the company here for the 2000 Rumble, Backlund would go on to have a managerial role before leaving the company yet again. He has gone on to make numerous appearances on WWE programming in the last 17 years, mostly on anniversary shows and themed “Old School” nights, but is now managing Darren Young, even though they aren't exactly on television every week.
Later in 2000, Backlund unsuccessfully ran for Congress in Connecticut. Seriously. Between that and Linda McMahon's two failed bids for a Senate seat there, it's pretty clear that Connecticut doesn't want anyone from the world of wrestling involved in their political picture. Either way, not enough happened to warrant saying Backlund was cursed, so we're at two in a row without any issues. Hooray!
2001 – The Goodfather
Think back to the Attitude Era, and to all of the colorful gimmicks and characters we got to see on a weekly basis. There's only a small handful of people who can say that they were more over at the time than The Godfather. He wasn't giving you five-star classics, but the people loved him, and perhaps more specifically, the particular “train” that was always with him.
Charles Wright had wrestled as Sir Charles, Papa Shango, and Kama (both in “Supreme Fighting Machine” and “Mustafa” forms) for the WWF, going back to 1991, but it was The Godfather that brought him his biggest success.
None of that matters here, because he wasn't The Godfather for this Rumble. No, he was a part of the short-lived Right To Censor group, and was going by The Goodfather, renouncing his ways of the past. Fans hated it. He probably hated it, considering the fact that he wasn't portraying the character as The Godfather... that's really who he is.
He was on the losing end of almost every match he participated in after being in the 2001 Rumble. Five months later, RTC disbanded, and that was the last we saw of The Goodfather. Wright would be gone for seven months before returning at the 2002 Rumble... as The Godfather once again.
His biggest in-ring success took place before the 2001 Rumble. He basically became a jobber that nobody liked after the 2001 Rumble. He would retire from the business within a year or so after the 2001 Rumble. Even though it didn't deliver anything too serious, it's still safe to say that this one should count as a curse, as well.
2002 – Diamond Dallas Page
When you think of Diamond Dallas Page, you think of one of the most positive men that the business has ever seen. Someone who, against all odds, became a huge star in a time and era where someone like him was needed. He was a legend in WCW, but his WWF career didn't exactly get off to the best of starts. He was immediately placed in a high-profile feud with The Undertaker, and that's great and all, but he did so while being some sort of deranged “stalker”, and nobody was buying it. Throw in the fact that he was destroyed by Taker and Kane at almost every turn, and you have a fail right from the start.
A little over a week after the 2002 Rumble, Page would become the European Champion by defeating Christian, who he would defeat in a rematch at WrestleMania 18, before dropping the title to William Regal a few days later. A few weeks after dropping the title, he suffered a neck injury in a match with Hardcore Holly. At the time, the injury was thought to be career-ending, and it was the end of his time in the spotlight as a wrestler, even though he did return to the ring for a brief stint with TNA a couple years later.
Since retiring, he has gone on to transform people's lives with his DDP Yoga program, as well as with that positive attitude that he was notorious for. He's making a bigger impact on society than he ever could have as a wrestler, and he should be commended for that. You still have to say that he was touched by the curse, though. His career looked like it was back on the upswing after the Rumble, but he was forced to “retire” within a few months.
2003 – Eddie Guerrero
This is never an easy entry to write. Even after all this time, I still get sad when I think about Eddie Guerrero. I don't think that will ever change. If you need this entire entry to be explained to you, I'm not even sure how or why you're on this particular site reading this particular column, so let's just skim through it.
Things started off well for Eddie, as he would be the WWE Champion a year later, finally reaching the top of the wrestling world after a long 17-year journey. It was an emotional time for fans, and for good reason. However, 21 months after he won the title, he was dead. Heart failure struck him down at the age of 38. This is, perhaps, one of the cruelest versions of the curse. His in-ring career took off over the next year after he was #14, but his life was taken shortly thereafter. Very, very sad.
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