Royal Rumble 2001
I was loving the WWF at this time. 2000 was such a great year and now those new stars that helped make it so great had another year of experience under their belts. This was a strong card and I was particularly excited about this one because for the first time I was going to be on the road to WrestleMania. WrestleMania X7 was the first one I attended live and I was looking forward to seeing the build up.
I’m with you on the tag title match KB. It was nice to see two legit teams in a normal match without any gimmicks. I actually think Edge & Christian may have been a little underrated at this time. The rivalry among Edge & Christian, The Dudleys, and The Hardys was great but in my opinion Edge & Christian were the best of the three.
The IC title ladder match was awesome. I don’t know why this is a forgotten match. Everything about it was great. This is one of the best ladder matches there ever was but it doesn’t get much recognition.
Chyna vs. Ivory was ok for what it was. The whole point of this was to set up their mania match. Chyna being seriously injured was the only way anyone would believe that Ivory stood any chance against her. Turns out Chyna squashed Ivory anyway, but this setup was ok.
I’ve always liked the title match between Triple H and Kurt Angle. This seems to be another forgotten match. This was hurt a little because both were hated heels. Face vs. face works fine, but heel vs. heel is much harder to pull off. This is my concern for Sheamus vs. Orton this year. Anyway this was a very good match and much better than their match at Unforgiven a few months earlier. I loved Angle’s first title reign. He played his character to perfection. I liked how he kept ending up with questionable victories against the odds. It was also funny how Trish was throwing herself at Angle, but he was oblivious to it. I know that Austin vs. Rock was the money match for mania, but I thought Austin vs. Angle could have worked too. Angle was hated for backdooring his way into wins against the top stars. It would have been predictable that Austin would have won at mania, but I think it could have had a nice build and been a good match. I can’t blame WWF for going the way they did, and don’t disagree, but Angle vs. Austin could have been good too.
The rumble was pretty good but not great. I didn’t care for the hardcore spot in the middle. To be fair there are sixty minutes to fill with thirty different guys so filling in the gaps isn’t bad. There seemed to e a few dead points in this. I don’t have much to say as it was good but could have been better. One thing I did like was the surprise return of Haku. Let me explain. I didn’t really care so much that he was back, and didn’t expect him to stay after that night. He didn’t do anything so there wasn’t any real significance. I just like having one or two random unannounced guys showing for the rumble. It’s just kind of fun as you never know who might show up. I wouldn’t mind seeing that every year. It would have to be someone completely random though. For example not IRS or Sgt. Slaughter as we all know they work for WWE and are at all the shows anyway.
Overall I’d say this show was very good. The undercard was strong and the Rumble while not great was solid. I’m looking forward to the rest of the reviews as I don’t remember a really bad rumble since 1999. Some are worse than others but I think they're ususally pretty good. We'll see if my memory is correct.
Royal Rumble 2002
In my last post I stated how I there wasn’t a bad rumble since 1999. While 2002 certainly wasn’t bad I wouldn’t say it was very good either. It could have been good and should have been good. It just wasn’t.
The tag title match doesn’t do much for me. A year earlier we had two good teams in a gimmick free title match. Here we had another gimmick free title match, but there was a significant downgrade in one of the teams. The tag division had a brief revival in 2000, but by mid 2001 it was dead again. The random pairing of Tazz and Spike is very forgettable.
I like the IC match better. Regal goes through spurts where he is a good competitor and spurts where he is completely irrelevant. I’ve always been a Regal fan and was pleased to see he was being used. 2002 was a great year for Edge as he looked like he was about to reach the next level. His neck injury would delay that for about two years. I thought this was a good feud for these two at this point in their respective careers.
I don’t have anything to say about the women’s title match. I’m not being insulting. I simply have no memory of it. I wouldn’t have noticed if this was left out of the review.
I get the point of Vince vs. Flair, but I wasn’t very in to it. I think you’re right on KB when you say this was done just to say Flair fought Vince. The problem was Vince didn’t have the history with Flair like he did with Austin or Hogan. He didn’t have any personal ties like he did with Shane. I see why they went this way, but it just didn’t seem to click.
The title match was ok, but I’m not too crazy about it. I’m probably not being fair though. I really liked the match Rock and Jericho had at No Mercy. That’s probably the best match The Rock ever had. This was different and I was left a little disappointed. I realize different is good as I would not want to see a rerun of sorts. When I think of this feud I remember the No Mercy match and the Rumble match is an afterthought.
I liked the rumble better than you did KB, but there is a reason that doesn’t really have anything to do with the match. This year a group of friends and I started a game to play during the rumble. It’s a simple game that makes the event more fun. It requires five or six people. Let’s say you’re playing with six people. Each person puts $5 in singles into the game. Each person pulls five names out of a hat and are assigned those participants in the rumble. If one of your guys eliminates somebody you take a dollar. For example I remember drawing Chuck Palumbo as one of my guys that year. Normally I would not care about him at all. Because of the game I was watching to see what he did and was pleased that he actually eliminated somebody. It’s kind of a corny game, but it’s cheap and it adds a little bit of fun when you’re watching the event. We’ve done it every year since.
That’s why I liked the rumble a bit more at the time, however that doesn’t mean it was a good rumble. My little game doesn’t allow an event to stand the test of time. This was a poorly booked rumble. I agree with you about a lot of the quick eliminations. I don’t understand why Kane, Show, RVD, and Booker were eliminated so quickly. They were some of the bigger names in there and should have been more of a threat. There were a couple things I liked. Maven eliminating Taker was pretty cool. It was the pop of the crowd and Taker’s reaction that made that work. Also I liked Triple H’s long entrance. I understand why you’d rather he run down and get the action going right away. I like this better. The slow walk and stare down allowed the anticipation to build and I thought it worked pretty well. That should have been the WrestleMania X8 main event. I also loved seeing Mr. Perfect in this. I always like that surprise random return, but this was different. I thought Perfect looked great in there. Despite him not being in the WWF for years he didn’t look out of place and looked like he belonged in there. I love the final four of Hunter, Austin, Angle, and Perfect. Perfect just looked to fit in so well with those guys. I actually thought Perfect vs. Angle could have been a good match for mania. I should have known he wasn’t going to be used properly. There was one idea I had about Angle going into this. Going into this he was bragging about all his accomplishments in such a short time. Now he was going to add a rumble victory to his resume. The only reason he hadn’t won one was because he hadn’t competed in one. I thought it would have been great to see him enter at #1. He would have been so confident going in. We could see him draw his number and I’m sure Kurt could have given a great reaction. Then despite going in at #1 he lasts until the end. He is the last man eliminated and now has something to whine about. I just think that would have worked well for his character.
While I did enjoy the show I don’t think 2002 was one of the better ones. Overall it was a decent event, but I think it could have been much better with some different booking.
Royal Rumble 2005
Date: January 30, 2005
Location: Save Mart Center, Fresno, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Tazz, Jim Ross
Before I get going, this is the Rumble where the promo was designed after West Side Story. The tag line was “All the rumbling, minus the dancing and singing.” Again I say, WHAT IN THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE ON??? It’s not the scariest part that these people are agreeing to put this on, but that someone THOUGHT THIS UP and GOT PAID TO DO IT. I mean come on now. WEST SIDE STORY???
This is supposed to be one of the biggest fights of the year and it’s WEST FREAKING SIDE STORY??? ANYWAY, the rest of this show looks pretty weak other than the Rumble. Other than another year passing, we’ve seen the rise of Batista and Cena, who are all of a sudden the hottest guys in the company.
HHH is world champion in a stunning revelation and is facing Orton tonight, allegedly in his last title shot. Say it with me: HA! We also have JBL defending against Show and Angle in a match I completely don’t remember. Oh and Edge is back and an Achilles enthusiast now. Let’s get to this.
Our opening video talks about how the legacy of the Rumble continues tonight. That’s fine. We shift to an alley where we have Raw and Smackdown dressed like it’s the 1950s and singing about fighting each other, with one line being: “We’ll step into the ring and reach an understanding. When the smoke has cleared I’ll be the last man standing.” Please, I beg of you now, end my life so I don’t have to listen to this anymore!
Edge vs. Shawn Michaels
Edge has been using Metalingus for 5 years almost? Methinks this might be dubbed. Oddly enough the same band is doing the theme song for the PPV. At Taboo Tuesday, Shawn had gotten voted into the title match instead of Edge, so we get this as a result. Ross calls HBK a first ballot Hall of Famer. Who makes the ballots for that thing? I want that job. My first step: shorten the class size to like 5.
We start off fast, shocking no one. They already reference the 95 Rumble so at least they’re starting it early. To kill some time we list of some of Shawn’s accomplishments because we have to do that at least once a week. The heel heat that Edge is already drawing is really impressive. In a painful looking spot, Edge hits the Edge-O-Matic on the floor. That can’t feel good, which I think is the point. The crowd is hot tonight so that’s good.
Within maybe 30 seconds of each other, Lawler says that Edge has never gotten a world title shot and Ross says if Edge ever starts doing shampoo commercials he’ll be perfect. For those that have no clue why this is interesting, both of those things not only happened, but they both happened in 2002. Yeah I need a life don’t I? After Shawn comes back for a good while we hit the floor where Edge hits a spear.
For the love of mangoes he needs a new finisher. This is kind of an odd choice for an opening match. They’re both big names, so why not save this for a bit later? I guess because with only five matches on the card there’s no other place to put it. Edge tunes up the band but instead throws out the spear for two. Edge counters Sweet Chin Music into a SWEET electric chair that gets two. Edge is having a mental breakdown over this and his facials are still epic.
He counters a sunset flip into that weird kneeling Sharpshooter thing he would do that was always weird looking as hell. The hold looks just completely awful when you look at it for more than three seconds. Shawn is in it over a minute and doesn’t tap which is fairly cool I suppose. Edge finishes with a reversed rollup and uses the ropes for a pin. I like that ending. Edge’s reaction of completely freaking out and screaming I DID IT was just awesome.
Rating: B. It took me awhile to figure out if I liked this match or not. The ending made it for me though as Edge getting the win was a big deal. Shawn definitely didn’t need a win here while this was Edge’s biggest win of his career at this point. The ropes at the end helped a lot too to play up Edge as a heel. This was a very good match overall with the booking being especially good.
We go to the back where Bischoff and Long, who more or less is the same character that he is now. Torrie and Christy are running the number draw as Eddie and Flair come in, both dressed like kings. Eddie starts to reach in but Flair stops him. He dances a bit and says 16 times.
Eddie pulls his hand back and lets Ric go first. That was great to me for some reason. Ric is thrilled with his number and Eddie is upset. Ric brags and then Eddie hugs him. Flair shows the girls his number and realizes Eddie stole his and chases after him. That was a lot better than it sounds.
Heidenreich is in the back, talking about how he hates caskets. Snitsky comes up and says he knows Heidenreich hates caskets, but they like each other and Snitsky has an idea. There are more gay overtones here than there were with Piper and Bob Orton, and that’s saying A LOT.
We recap Taker vs. Heidenreich (Jon, because that takes too long to type) which more or less was Heyman bringing Jon in and them fighting a bit. Jon was supposed to be some big tough fighter or something but he was bland as hell and it bombed badly.
Heidenreich vs. Undertaker
This is a casket match. They actually start with wrestling stuff, shocking the hell out of me. Taker keeps using headlocks to drag Jon to the casket. That’s really smart as it freaks Jon out. Jon is kind of an MMA/street fighter kind of guy but he’s just not that good at it. In an awesome spot, we’re in the corner with Jon throwing punches at Taker. Taker grabs the ropes and throws his legs up to tie up Jon in a triangle choke while still up in the corner. That was awesome.
Tazz points out why Cole is messing up the names of the moves which Cole gets annoyed with. For some reason the fans start booing the hell out of the match. Oh Snitsky is here. They double team Taker with a double suplex and Jon somehow manages to botch that. Do you have any idea how hard it is to mess up a move like that? Kane is in the casket. This was supposed to be Taker’s match at Mania. I’m glad they went with Taker vs. Orton instead aren’t you?
The announcers are of course stunned at someone hiding in a casket, despite Taker having done it about a million times. Jon moves the casket away from the ring for no apparent reason. Taker is back to beat on him some more as we have a Christian Coalition sign in the front row. TNA is already spreading. They’re on PPV at this point so I guess it’s possible, even though Christian was still in WWE at this point so ignore me.
Apparently Taker’s knee is hurt or something like that. Jon pulls back the mat as this match is a train wreck at this point. With Taker laying on the floor, Jon gets a running start with the casket to ram it into Taker. Granted he was almost under the ring so it actually would have been easy to get out of the way so there we go. Jon goes to his finisher: a cobra clutch. Are you starting to see why this guy was such an epic failure?
Naturally as Taker is put in the casket, he gets an arm out. This needs to end, like NOW. Jon uses a Boss Man Slam which Cole says Taker nailed him with. Yeah they botched the hell out of that call. The crowd really isn’t that interested either. Jon rolls him to the casket and in the EXACT SAME SEQUENCE, Taker gets out. After a REALLY bad chokeslam, the tombstone finally ends this.
Rating: D-. This was just bad on a lot of levels. There were all kinds of blown spots and the Snitsky and Kane run in was completely pointless. What’s the point in booking Taker in these matches if he never loses them? Jon was supposed to be Taker’s arch rival. That’s just funny. At least this finally ended this awful feud so we don’t have to put up with it anymore. This was really bad.
Ad for Mania.
In the back, Long wants Eddie to give back the number. Eddie’s face is priceless on this. Evolution shows up and demands it back, but Eddie gives it up. He’s also made to give back Flair’s wallet which Flair didn’t know about. Why aren’t these guys ever sued? Anyway, Batista says he needs to go get his number and he’ll be right back. HHH says they have to plan something. Batista says it’ll only take a minute and HHH orders him to stay. This doesn’t go well. Well at least they didn’t try to be subtle.
Christian and Tomko are ready to pick their numbers. He’s happy with it until Cena comes in to a huge pop. They have a battle rap that goes nowhere. The best part is when Christian asks Tomko for a beat and Tomko just says no. Cena makes gay jokes and the crowd pops for no apparent reason.
JBL is champion. Angle wants to be champion. Show wants to be champion. If that’s not validation for a triple threat I don’t know what is.
Smackdown World Title: Big Show vs. Kurt Angle vs. JBL
Angle and JBL had a last man standing match on Smackdown apparently so they’re both sore. JBL with the limo was always cool. Show is the odds on favorite apparently. They did a double knock out on Smackdown. This is in the middle of JBL’s reign of doom where he held the belt for almost ten months. They need to get that belt back. It just looks awesome. Apparently there’s a petition to get rid of Teddy Long.
Angle hides on the floor which is a smart idea. They’re broadcasting in New Zealand apparently, so there you go Shadow! Show chops people quite a bit. Show is more or less dominating here. We have steps set up leading to the table which is a bit odd. Show sets for a chokeslam on JBL through it from on top of the steps, but Angle low blows him and a monitor shot puts Show through the table so it’s Angle and JBL at the moment.
The two of them fight it out in the ring to kill some time for Big Show to get back. Geez Show is huge compared to when he was the Giant still. That guy could have carried a company but he had to get all big and fat and slow and it didn’t work at all. Show gets back in and beats both guys up again and looks ready to win, more or less guaranteeing that he won’t. Just as I say that, the others team up to put him down with a combination Clothesline From Hell and chop block.
Show hits a chokeslam but JBL gets the foot on the rope. Show is actually moving with something resembling speed. And there goes the barricade as Show puts JBL through it. We cue up the run ins as Jindrak and Reigns come in to take out Big Show while the Cabinet gets JBL up and gives him a chair.
It isn’t used though as Angle walks into the Clothesline From Hell for the pin to keep the title as the fans boo the hell out of it. They don’t have much to boo about as he got a clean pin. Show got robbed apparently and would get a barbed wire cage match the next month that had a cool ending.
Rating: B. While I hate triple threats, this was pretty good. There was a flow here that you don’t often see in them as they kept one guy down for a good amount of the match in Big Show, which is definitely a good idea given how big he is and that he was the favorite. While it’s no classic, I like this one I think. It’s better than most I’ve seen if nothing else.
Batista won’t get rid of Long via the petition. He threatens Carlito who swallows the apple. In a continuous camera shot we go to the place where numbers are drawn and the GMs are arguing. Apparently Evolution is barred from ringside in the next match and Batista wants to tell HHH. You can see the turn a mile away.
Promo for Mania. It’s the Hollywood one this time.
Ross and Lawler talk about the PPV theme song and the Raw main event for no apparent reason.
We recap it as they had been feuding for months yet they kept going at it anyway. Who would have seen that? Orton allegedly wasn’t allowed to have another shot but of course he’s getting it again here. Orton got cheated out of the title at New Year’s Revolution by Evolution so he gets the shot here. I love how these guys have been feuding for almost five years over a team that existed for all of two years.
Raw World Title: Randy Orton vs. HHH
Orton is the somewhat over face here. He was far more over about 4 months ago but because he was over, HHH was clearly the better choice for the belt than the young, over hotshot that was getting better and more popular every time he got in the ring. Orton goes for an RKO and HHH throws him over the ropes. Why couldn’t it injure him like it did in I think their second last man standing match? Orton used to have this weird style of punches that he’s using here.
I’ve never been able to get into it either. Oh and Orton has a bad knee of course. He says shit about 7 times in 5 seconds in a nice touch. Why does something tell me that this will be by far and away the longest match of the night outside of the Rumble? HHH is already using the figure four because he has to be the new Ric Flair in every single way he can be. So we start fast and now HHH has decided to slow things down.
Did I mention that I really hate this match and rivalry? If there’s ever been a guy that has changed so completely over the years, it’s Orton. He’s almost unrecognizable both as far as looks go and the way he works in the ring. It’s a total contrast. Orton is bleeding badly from the lip and looks a lot like Ted DiBiase in that shot. He counters a Pedigree as I just couldn’t care less about this match.
There’s just something that’s always been missing between these two when they got at it and it’s always hurt this match. Granted this is better than most of their future matches, but the problem is already coming clearly here: they want this to be some epic encounter but at the same time, nothing ever comes of it and that’s not a good thing at all. Orton takes a shot to the head and looks like he has a concussion that I think is faked as they keep getting shots of it.
Damn it the referee went down. This match just needs to end and it needs to do so now. It’s hammer time as I’d advise you to make your own jokes. We’ve hit the part of the match that always happens between these two. There comes a point where it’s always about the damn hammer and not about the wrestling at all. This is where these matches lose it for me as I just freaking don’t care anymore about them.
Why does everything have to follow the same formula of a long match leading up to one moment where the hammer is the key to the whole thing while the referee is down? It always comes to this and it’s just boring as hell to say the least. Also, get some referees that can take a freaking hit. HHH gets the Pedigree and the academic pin to thankfully end this with HHH STILL having the belt.
Rating: D+. This was the same match you’ve seen from these guys a dozen times but with Orton as the face. HHH was clearly going to win and it was to have a title match on the show and nothing more. There was no point to this at all and it just wasn’t interesting whatsoever. HHH and Orton simply can’t have a great match and they need to stop trying like they seem to have done.
Nunzio gets a spot in the Rumble and Angle steals it from him and says it’s his unless Nunzio wants to fight for it. Ok then.
JBL and the Cabinet come into the drawing room celebrating with champagne and Long says there’s a barbed wire cage match at No Way Out. JBL’s face is great here.
Ross and Tazz are doing the commentary for the Rumble again.
Eddie is number one and Benoit is number two. Not a bad way to start. Benoit is rocking the teal here. Damn Benoit has bad luck as he was first last year. This is borderline chilling when you think about it. Naturally, this is a technical showcase which is what it should be. Daniel Puder, perhaps the most worthless wrestler in a long time, is third. His theme song is Getting Away With Murder. Talk about chilling.
It should be noted that the runner up in the Tough Enough show that Puder won was the Miz. Talk about two different career paths. Geez. Puder gets on the mic and says he’s great. Was there something in the water at that Tough Enough show? Naturally the two former world champions beat the living hell out of him. More or less they just spend the 90 seconds chopping and suplexing the hell out of him as Holly, the rookie hater, is 4th. This should be great.
He gets in and asks if he can have some fun with Puder too. He’s had zero offense. This really is quite funny. Even Holly is over because of this. Think about that for a bit. Holly throws what’s left of him out as Hurricane is 5th. Benoit and Guerrero throw out Holly since he’s useless again to get us down to three. They team up and Eddie tries to throw Benoit out and they’re at it again. Hurricane is out as Kenzo Suzuki, another completely worthless human being is number 6.
This Rumble feels like it hasn’t even gotten started yet and since we’re 1/5 of the way through, that’s not good. Again they double team the other guy until Benoit tries to throw Eddie out. Edge is in at seven. Rey is eighth as nothing at all is happening. Kenzo is out almost immediately. It’s not a good sign at all when you have four world champions in the ring and there’s just nothing going on at all. I mean it’s just boring for some reason.
The Guerrero vs. Mysterio feud was coming soon and it would be Eddie’s next to last major one. Shelton Benjamin, the IC Champion, is number 9. He hadn’t had his big match with Shawn yet to really get him over but it was coming. At this point he was just a guy with untapped potential rather than now as a guy that no one takes seriously with untapped potential. He would finally break out soon after this at MITB at Mania.
Booker takes us to ten as the least successful wrestler out of the 6 in there is Shelton Benjamin. They’re blowing their load too fast here as Tazz messes up by saying that Booker vs. HHH was last year. Benjamin might have gone out but we’re looking at Bischoff who just showed up for no apparent reason. We continue the insane star power in there with Jericho at 11th. He’s WAY over with a huge Y2J chant.
Hey looks here’s Teddy Long as Vince continues the theory of keep pushing the Brand Split until people accept it so you can say it was a good idea. Luther (for admin) Reigns comes in at 12 to break that streak. There are way too many people in there right now. Now we throw every man for himself out the window as Raw and Smackdown get on different sides for four one on one matches that consist of Rey vs. Jericho, Benoit vs. Reigns, Booker vs. Edge and Eddie vs. Shelton.
This is kind of cool but kind of stupid as it’s turning the Rumble into an even bigger gimmick match than it usually is. Muhammad Hassan, the most controversial wrestler perhaps of the millennium, is number 13. Everyone stops cold for this. His manager is more commonly known as Sheik Abdul Bashir in case you didn’t know that. In a humorous bit, everyone jumps him at once to a great pop. Rey gets 619 and then almost everyone picks him up and throws him out as a group. That was great.
Orlando Jordan is number 14 as this needs to stop being so gimmicky. Tazz tries to compare Orlando Jordan to Shelton Benjamin. That’s just amazing. In a TERRIBLE shot, Shelton is choking Jericho with his feet and Jericho has to grab the foot to move it to his throat. It looked terrible. Scotty is number 15, apparently returning from a tumor in his balls or something. Hassan keeps up a tradition of beating up Scotty on his way to the ring. That has to be what, three times?
So for another year, Scotty doesn’t get into the match. Charlie Haas is 16th. How in the hell did he get a chick like Jackie Gayda? Booker throws out Luther (for admin) and Orlando with ease. Booker goes for a spinaroonie but Eddie jumps him to put him out. We have Benoit, Guerrero, Shelton, Edge, Jericho, Haas and Rey in there at the moment. In yet another chilling line, Ross says Benoit and Guerrero are still alive.
Rene Dupree and the poodle is seventeenth to insane heat. The World’s Greatest Tag Team reunites for all of a second with Shelton then going for a Stinger Splash, actually called that by Ross, and Edge dumps him. Simon Dean is 18th as the Rumble is legal. While he’s warming up on the floor, Edge throws out Eddie to great heat. Shawn is 19th. He hammers Edge before casually turning around to clothesline Dean out. Eddie gets a huge chant as he leaves.
Ross says that Edge is trying to corner Rey in a corner. Shawn throws out Haas which gets no recognition as Ross thinks it was Dupree. Angle is 20 and he comes in and stays insane since saying going insane wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Shawn misses a superkick but hits the second to put Angle out in a shocker. Angle is PISSED. Currently we have Benoit, Edge, Rey, Jericho, Dupree and Shawn in there and they’re joined by the Coach of all people at 21.
This is the thing I hate about rumbles like these: what’s the point of putting him in there? Was there no one else on Raw that could have gone in there at all? I mean you couldn’t throw Lawler in there who at least was a wrestler? Rey almost puts Jericho as Jindrak comes in at 22. Angle runs back in and beats up Shawn and throws him over the top. Shawn is bleeding and apparently is out now, setting up their Mania 21 classic.
Number 23 is Viscera who still has no one that cares about him. At least he’s got a shirt on here. Paul London is 25th and he slides in so fast that he almost goes out the other side. Dupree does that stupid French Tickler dance and Jericho puts him out for it. Cena is 24th to a MASSIVE pop. Tazz likes him way too much.
He was just about to shatter the glass ceiling as he would win the world title at Mania from JBL. He manages to backdrop Viscera to eliminate him. I don’t care if you like Cena or not: he has SCARY strength.
Snitsky is 26th. London jumps him and in a video that’s become popular on the internet for obvious reasons, Gene clotheslines him so hard that London got spun backwards which I don’t think was planned. Kane is 27th, causing Tazz to freak over the way that Ross has to put up with these explosions. As someone that’s been surprised by his pyro, I feel his pain. Kane cleans house of course and there goes Jindrak.
A shirtless Coach tries to jump him but Snitsky saves him. London goes out on a stretcher. Batista is 28th and the pop is epic. They were pushing him to the moon around this time and it clearly was the right decision at the end. There goes Snitsky. Kane continues his tradition of getting beaten up by Batista, this time taking the powerbomb. Batista puts out his third guy by throwing out Jericho.
Christian is 29th, finally with the Just Close Your Eyes theme whose current version I’m completely addicted to. Cena goes off on Edge to show off their future great feud. Cena gets a half F5 half FU to Kane to put him out. Flair is number 30, making the final group Benoit, Edge, Coach, Batista, Cena, Christian, Rey and Flair. So other than Coach, all world champions in some company. Not bad at all. Flair throws Coach to Batista for a spinebuster and Flair throws him out.
There goes Christian. He and Edge were both wearing purple. Benoit and Flair have a chop off. Flair and Batista do the same thing to Benoit that they did to Coach. Flair tries to throw out Batista and it doesn’t go well. Rey and Edge knock Batista down with a double dropkick. Edge puts Flair out and your final four are Edge, Rey, Cena and Batista. Not bad at all. Edge hits a spear on Batista and Cena but Rey avoids it.
619 hits but Rey goes too fast and goes over and a spear puts him on the floor. Batista and Cena put Edge out to get the dream match for the final two. The crowd reacts to this in a great way. This has to headline Mania someday. Cena gets him up for the FU but Batista gets out. Cena is put up for the Batista Bomb but they go out at the same time in an homage to the 94 Rumble. Screw the homage part. It’s the same finish, but to be fair that was 11 years ago so I think it’s ok.
The referees argue over it until Vince comes out. He slides into the ring and hits his legs on the apron, ripping his quads and knees apart. He tries to stand up and just crumples to the ground in agony. Instead of screaming in pain or whatever, he sits on the mat leaning against the ropes and does his thing. Batista clearly is about to lose it. Think about it from his perspective for a minute.
You’re wrestling in the main event of the Royal Rumble, one of the biggest shows on the year and you’re in an angle that’s going to send you to Wrestlemania, and your boss, a billionaire, is sitting on the mat after collapsing and ripping his legs apart, not to mention the epic adrenaline rush you must have just been on. Think about that for a minute or two. Anyway, Fink says Vince ordered the match to be restarted.
This translates into Cena vs. Batista. Shouldn’t that mean Benoit and Guerrero come out again and we do the whole Rumble over? That’s what it sounds like to me. Anyway, Batista throws Cena over and then Cena throws Batista over before this is said which is just stupid, at least from Cena. FU is countered and after a spinebuster, Batista throws him out for the easy win.
Rating: B-. I’ve seen far worse I guess. This match never really seemed to get going for my tastes. Now to be fair while it was clear that Batista was the winner before the match even started, they did have Cena out there as a potential winner along with Edge who was a new main event guy, so at least they tried.
I just couldn’t get into this as there were too many things where the match more or less stopped for something. Also having the huge rush of talent in the first third hurt later parts of the match where those guys could come out. It was good but it could have been a lot better.
Overall Rating: B-. There’s some good stuff and there’s some bad stuff here, but the good is more prolific than the bad here. This was a lot more about changing the guard by launching Batista and Cena into the next level which makes it a bit awkward but that’s ok I think. They were the right choices and this was a great way to do the change. I like the show overall, but the second and fourth matches leave a bit to be desired. Not bad, but don’t expect to be blown away.
Royal Rumble 2003
When I think back to this event I remember it fondly. After reading the review I realize there was some bad stuff here, but overall this one works for me. It starts off rough but finishes strong.
I don’t understand the point of Lesnar vs. Show. Why did this need to take place? Why couldn’t they both be in the rumble? Show sucked at this time so why put him in a singles to expose his weaknesses when it would have been far easier to hide those weaknesses in the rumble. Besides he was just coming off a brief title reign so he would have been another big name threat in there.
By this point I was really getting tired of the Dudleys. It wasn’t really their fault. The tag division was so limited I just got tired of seeing them in title matches all the time. For a couple years it was the Dudleys vs. random flavor of the month heel team. I like Regal & Storm (I liked the team of Christian & Storm better), but I just wasn’t into the Dudleys at all anymore.
Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie was just awful on every level imaginable. This is one of the worst storylines of all time. That’s saying a lot. I don’t like death being brought into a storyline. If Dawn was responsible for Torrie’s father dying I don’t think Torrie would be satisfied with giving Dawn some arm drags and snapmares. Of course as time went by these two would be able to peacefully coexist without mention of this incident. It’s amazing how forgiving wrestlers can be.
Triple H vs. Scott Steiner amuses me. It’s kind of like how some people are amused by really bad movies. This is quite possibly the worst title match of all time. It’s amazing how the fans turned on Steiner during the match. He didn’t do anything to turn heel. He just sucked so much that the fans turned on him on the spot. I’m not sure I’ve seen that before. I will say I did like the build for the match. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it had kind of an old school feel for me. It’s really interesting what happened to Steiner. He had a lot of fanfare coming into the WWE. He was pretty popular until he actually wrestled. They made a big deal of his arrival and he got a nice reaction when he showed up at Survivor Series. He immediately was put into a program with Triple H. He was the new big name on the scene. Only a few months later it was time for WrestleMania and Steiner was left off and nobody noticed. It had to be the fastest fall from grace ever.
So far I’ve said we could have done without the first match. I was tired of the people in the second match. The third match had one of the worst storylines ever. And the fourth match was possibly the worst title match ever. Yet at the beginning I said I liked this event. The next match is the reason why. Angle vs. Benoit was simply awesome. This might be the best match not involving a guy named Bret or Shawn. It’s amazing how this was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum of the previous match. The fans were booing the last match out of the building. In a matter of twenty minutes these two got the fans back into the show and earned a standing ovation. Can you imagine if this went first and Triple H and Steiner had to follow? They might have had to fire Steiner during the match. That would have actually been entertaining. Anyway, Angle and Benoit have had a lot of good matches over the years, but this one was their masterpiece. This saved the show and immediately turned a bad show into a good one. This match was that good where it made me forget what I saw before and rate the overall event perhaps higher than it deserves.
I liked the rumble this year. I thought there was some pretty good talent in there. You’re never going to see a jobber free rumble. Considering there are thirty guys in the match not counting people used on the undercard that would be impossible. Every year you’re going to see a Bill Demott or a Bull Buchanan. I thought this year had some good mid card talent. You know they don’t have a chance of winning, but at least they’re credible. There were more guys like RVD, Guerrero, Booker, and Mysterio than Demott and Buchanan. That makes for a better rumble. I was disappointed to see HBK eliminated so quickly. We knew he was #1 and I assumed he would last a long time. It felt almost like a bit of a ripoff when he was eliminated. Despite that I thought this was a good rumble and flowed smoothly.
So this had some good and some bad. Even though quantity wise there was more bad, I think the good outweighs the bad here. The show got off to a bad start but finished great. Angle vs. Benoit was one of the best matches of the year (second only to HBK vs. Y2J at mania in my opinion). That plus a good rumble makes this a good event in my book.
Royal Rumble 2004
This is a good example of how a strong rumble match can make a show. The Royal Rumble is the one event where one match can turn a mediocre show into a good one. If the rumble delivers I can forgive usually forgive a weak undercard. The rumble delivered in this one so when I think back to this event I consider it to be pretty good.
For the fourth year in a row the Dudleys were in the tag title match. Every year I cared about them less and less. They were just stale by the point and I was ready for them to just go away. I don’t have anything against them but the lack of depth in the tag division was just killing them. One thing I find interesting is the Dudleys had kind of a Razor Ramon/Jacques Rougeau thing going on. They were in five rumble events, but they were never in a rumble match.
Despite being probably the smallest of all the cruiserweights Rey Mysterio actually seemed out of place in the division. He always seemed like he was on a higher level than the Jamie Nobles and Nunzios of the world. There wasn’t really anything to this match as it was more about the ridiculous Nidia storyline instead of he actual match.
I was looking forward to Eddie vs. Chavo. I figured two guys that were family would go out there and work really well together. I figured they would put their best efforts into making each other look good. The match was fine, but it was too short to be anything special. I love how Angle talked Eddie into this match. Angle was still face at the time but he was obviously in the process of going heel. He felt threatened by Eddie and talked him into this match when his actual motivation was to keep Eddie out of the rumble. This was a good way to plant the seeds for what would lead to a match at mania.
At the Royal Rumble you can get away with somewhat of a weak title match. The rumble match is the main attraction so it’s not necessary to stack the rest of the card. Despite that, how the hell did Bob Holly get a title shot at a major ppv? Last year the title match was a classic showdown between Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. One year later and Bob Holly is challenging for the title? What was it about Holly that he was able to keep a job for 15 years? During his career the best he did was Hardcore Champion. To say he was out of place here would be an understatement. At least it allowed an extra big name into the rumble.
Triple H vs. HBK was ok but they’ve had far better matches than this. One match that was a lot better took place on raw only about a month before this. That’s a little bit of a problem. I just saw a great match between the two on free tv and now at the big ppv they could not do as good as they did in the free match. The ending was kind of bogus. Triple H should have gone over and gone on to defend against Benoit in a single match. I really didn’t like the triple threat idea going in to mania, but I’m ok with it now since it turned out to be a great match.
This show was all about the rumble. This was a really good one and possibly my favorite of the decade. There were a few things I liked here. I liked Benoit and Orton starting out. Orton looked great lasting a long time. Foley’s surprise appearance is a classic rumble moment. I loved that. I also liked the run in from Brock. When he came in and jumped Goldberg we knew we had a big mania match upon us. Too bad they blew it and left right after mania. I really like the finish too. The way Benoit put Big Show out was great. The crowd was getting louder and louder as Benoit struggled to get Show out. He got a well deserved pop at the end and finally won the big one.
Despite the weak undercard the rumble was good enough to satisfy me here. After this we knew mania was going to give us Lesnar vs. Goldberg, Orton vs. Foley (eventually Evolution vs. Rock n Sock), Angle vs. Eddie (not directly touched upon here, but if you were paying attention you knew it was coming), and Benoit in a title match. I liked what I saw on this night and liked what I saw being set up for the immediate future.
Royal Rumble 2006
Date: January 29, 2006
Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Commentators: Joey Styles, Michael Cole, Tazz, Jerry Lawler,
The main changes are Batista and Cena. They’ve more or less taken over the company as the biggest things in the world. Except for Batista because he’s out with an injury. Edge is the current reigning world champion though as he had more or less stolen the title at New Year’s Revolution. He’s got his rematch with Cena tonight. On the other side, Mark Henry is main eventing the show. I give up.
The other main issue is of course the death of Eddie Guerrero, which there’s been more than enough written about already. Other than that, there’s just not a lot going on here. This more or less is the first Rumble of what would be classified as the modern era, so let’s get to it.
The intro is just a recap of the major feuds. For some reason, Angle vs. Henry gets the most hype. Naturally they push Raw vs. Smackdown again. Edge is the Rated R Champion now. Lita’s stomach is the thing that dreams are made of. I’ve always wanted to say that. For reasons that no one will ever comprehend, the theme is Roman or something, which meant nothing and no one wanted to see. Stephanie in Roman clothing was nice though.
Cruiserweight Championship: Cruiserweight Open
This is the standard thing they were doing back in the day as they had completely given up on having any kind of storylines or flow to the division, so they just said fuck it and threw everyone into one massive match where everyone is legal at once. In this, you have to be either the current Champion or a former champion. The participants are Kid Kash who is the champion, Paul London, Nunzio, Funaki, Gregory Helms and Jamie Noble.
London is wearing a gold mask for some reason that was never really explained. Helms is a surprise here. Oh geez there’s a Roman theme again where they have guys opening the door where people from out of the back from. It’s kind of like KOTR 96 for those of you that have seen that. Helms is from Raw here so he’s an outsider or something like that. Shockingly, the match is a pure clusterfuck to start as there are no tags or anything like that. Screw that order stuff.
London’s dropsault is stupid when it’s just one person but it’s cool when there’s two. It’s completely not effective but it looks good. Hell Rock won a bunch of world titles like that though so who cares? London looks like Tajiri for some reason. This is a pure spotfest here with nothing resembling flow or a story or anything like that, which makes sense I guess. At least they didn’t try as that would have been really stupid.
In a nice spot, Funaki whips Noble in and he launches a suicide dive through the ropes to take out two guys. You can tell a lot of these spots are preplanned but that’s fine as it’s working pretty well for what it’s supposed to be. With almost everyone else on the floor, London goes to the top rope and throws a shooting star press to the floor, more or less missing everyone and just slamming into the floor.
It looked PAINFUL and the fans give him a well deserved holy shit chant. In a cool spot that I haven’t seen before, London and Helms are on the top and Helms hits a swinging neckbreaker to get us back on the mat. It looked a lot better than it sounds.
For those of you that don’t know, Kash was a fairly big deal in ECW but other than that he’s been a minor player at best. The steps in the background are orange here so it looks like a bunch of empty seats. They get really fast in a hurry but it gets cut off too fast as Helms hits a Shining Wizard to Funaki for the pin.
Rating: B-. Now before everyone jumps on me, this isn’t the same kind of grade that I would give a normal match because this wasn’t supposed to be a standard match. This was designed to be completely insane and all spots to get the crowd awake and it worked fine. That’s the point of this and it did its job, so it gets a decent grade. There is no story to something like this and there shouldn’t be. Helms would hold the belt over a year.
Vince and Teddy long are around the Rumble drawing and Vince tells Long to leave. Naturally there are three hot women there. Orton and HHH come in and draw their numbers. Orton is happy and HHH hates his. Sex jokes abound as these two continue their eternal battle that never goes anywhere. Victoria looks incredible.
Trish is getting ready to be the referee. Mickie James says she loves her, and we have a lesbian stalker angle.
Mickie James vs. Ashley Massaro
For no apparent reason, this isn’t for the title as Trish is the referee and the champion here. They would have a decent match at Mania. This is back when Mickie was not only insane but also wore ridiculously awesome skirts. Ashley was one of the biggest flops in wrestling history as the winner of the Diva search who was just awful on a lot of levels. If nothing else we have Lillian, Mickie and Trish in the same ring. That’s not bad at all.
They have a headlock and actually go to the floor without breaking it up. That’s hard to do. Ashley can’t even lock up right. That’s almost sad. What’s sadder is that Joey has to say she’s a superstar. Oh yeah this was also when Mickie would scream her head off, which I’ve always liked for some reason. Ashley tried at least so I’ll give her that. The crowd is completely dead by the way. Mickie’s ass is flat out mesmerizing.
This is so odd to see someone with so much talent like James and someone with so little in Ashley. The thing here is that Mickie loves Trish but Trish trained Ashley. There are far too many bad submissions being done here to have a coherent match too. Ashley goes on offense and while it’s really bad, she’s trying. You can tell the different between someone that just doesn’t want to be there and Ashley, while bad, is trying.
However, her offense is either so limited or the fans like Mickie so much that they completely turn on her and boo her LOUDLY. Mickie powerbombs her out of the corner and Trish is really hesitant to count it, which is either part of the angle or then just giving up and saying let’s try to save some face here and just ending it early. Either of those would be believable to me.
Rating: C-. And that’s as generous as I can be. Ashley was bad here, but she was trying as hard as she could and I can easily respect that. Now later on when she just didn’t care, screw that. The fans turning on her like that annoyed me, but I can get what their point was. This was really just to set up Trish vs. Mickie, which is fine.
We see Helms at the WWE Interactive area, which means he’s chatting on WWE.com, which WCW had about 10 years prior to this.
More Rumble drawings with Rey and Big Show. It’s preceded by Vince checking the girls’ tattoos which is just annoying and stupid. In a funny bit, Show can’t get his hand in the tumbler to get a number out. Show is pleased and Rey is…oh screw it. They’re talking about Eddie again, which draws a huge chant and gives away the ending to the Rumble. Ok, before this comes up later, let’s just get it out of the way now.
The WWE needs to understand something. No wait, actually wrestling in general needs to understand something. When a wrestler dies unexpectedly, it doesn’t make them better. Eddie was indeed a very good if not great wrestler, but based on the things you hear about him now, you would think he was Ric Flair. He’s more about the level of Randy Orton or so. However, the undisputed champion of this is ECW with Louie Spicolli.
He was the epitome of an ok if not decent wrestler that was all of a sudden great after he died from a drug overdose. He simply was not as good as people made him out to be. For all of you ECW marks out there, show me ONE very good Spicolli match. It doesn’t even have to be great.
Show me one time where he had a great match. What was my point here? Oh yeah. Eddie was very good, but he only became considered great after dying. “KB you don’t know anything. He won the world title!” Yeah well this is 2 days after TLC and Sheamus is world champion so the belt really doesn’t prove all that much does it?
JBL vs. Boogeyman
The idea here is that JBL is terrified of Boogey. Oh and Boogey bit the “mole” off of Jillian’s face. She’s his assistant here or something like that. My goodness JBL has fallen far since winning the world title less than two years before this. It continues to amuse me when someone like Boogeyman is weighed in. And now I’m annoyed. I’ve never liked the Boogeyman character for one reason: he makes a mockery of wrestling.
Now yes, there’s a lot of stupid characters and while I tend to dislike the majority of them, when they can have a decent match, it’s almost acceptable. Boogeyman couldn’t do that, so when he does stuff like eat worms, then spit them up and spit them down into Jillian’s mouth, I have no use for him at all. It continues to have stupidity attached to it as we have to hear about how disgusted the announcers are.
Seriously, the Four Horsemen are in the same business as this guy. That’s just ridiculous. Thankfully, this lasts about a minute and a half, as after a stupid brawl where Boogey sells nothing at all, JBL misses a Clothesline From Hell and somehow slams into the post in a completely awful looking spot. A pumphandle slam ends it.
Rating: F-. This would usually be an N/A, but this was just a complete and utter waste of time. Seriously, why did this need to happen? I know it took less than 5 minutes, but really, there was NOTHING else we could have used that for? I hate gimmicks like these, I truly do.
Vince hits on the girls more and you can see they hate it. Shelton’s mama shows up. This was a freaking stupid gimmick where Shelton’s mom showed up to make sure he was taken care of. It was some comedienne that no one has ever heard of in a fat suit. You figure out how well it worked. Melina shows up and gets hit on too. Mama prevents him from hitting on her.
MNM, Joey Mercury and Johnny “Morrison” Nitro show up to draw as well. Both seem fairly middle of the road with their numbers. Melina says they’ll eliminate Shawn. We finish this long segment off with more Vince hitting on the girls. They eventually became a stable called Vince’s Devils. Yeah it went nowhere.
Before the Rumble starts, we have the Spirit Squad. Now for those of you that weren’t around for these guys, they were male cheerleaders that won the tag titles from Kane and Big Show. Amazingly everyone said the only one with talent was Kenny Dykstra. The one known as Nick became known as Dolph Ziggler. What does that tell you? Lillian is jaw dropingly hot here.
Lillian flubbing her lines is somehow sexy. How is that possible? HHH is number one and Rey is number two. Well you certainly can’t say they’re using no names to start us out. This is big match that’s never happened before. Oh the intervals are 90 seconds here. Oh here we go Rey is driving a lowrider. HEY, WE GET IT ABOUT FUCKING EDDIE! I wouldn’t be so annoyed about it, but seriously, he brought up Eddie in the BATISTA feud.
Oh look he draped an Eddie shirt on the car. This is freaking ridiculous because it’s obvious Rey is going to win here for the sake of “honoring Eddie.” Rey’s entrance reaches Taker levels of time. He does the ten punches in the corner and looks up before he does it. This is freaking ridiculous and we’re just hitting number 3 which is Simon Dean. Cole, who is doing the commentary with Lawler, FREAKS because a Smackdown guy is attacking a Smackdown guy.
They team up and eliminate him easily. Have I mentioned that I hate the Bronco Buster? Psicosis of the Mexicools is 4th. They were a team of Mexican stereotypes who rode lawnmowers. I wish I was making that up. Rey counters a Razor’s Edge to put him out with ease again so we stay with those two guys. Number 5 is Flair of all people. He trips coming into the ring as Rey is down for no apparent reason.
Flair and HHH hammer on each other for awhile as I think HHH is a heel here. Oh yeah he would be. That was a stupid comment. He and Flair feuded over the IC belt of all things in some decent matches. You know for a guy that was allegedly the biggest ladies man ever, he used a lot of testicular claws. He’s gone soon after and we’re back at 2 people. Big Show is 6th so hopefully we get people in here for awhile.
He’s mad at HHH also, which is still going on today, which works as it’s been less than five years ago so a feud can easily go on that long. Naturally Show dominates here. With an eyeroll from me, Coach is number 7. Why did he always get spots in the Rumble? Show puts him out in about 30 seconds. Show demonstrates his intelligence by having HHH above his head twice and not even getting close to the ropes.
The announcers say that Coach might have set a record for shortest time in the Rumble. That’s so stupid I’m not even going to bother making fun of it. Lashley is 8th and they say he could be a dark horse. Can I get a rim shot? He’s a rookie phenomenon here, meaning that his career wouldn’t mean much since Vince refused to ever pull the trigger on him, even though he tried. In an impressive move, he gets a backdrop on Show as Kane, who is currently tag champions with Show, is 9th.
He and Lashley square off in a match of two guys that will never win a world title in WWE again. In a very impressive looking spot that wasn’t really that impressive, he hits the Dominator on Kane. Rey has been down WAY too long for no apparent reason. Sylvan, playing a gay character who doesn’t actually say he’s gay is 10th. He’s the fashion consultant or something. Yeah he’s gone in about 30 seconds.
Show and Kane hit a double chokeslam on Lashley and throw him out. So HHH and Rey are more or less just laying on the mat for about 5-6 minutes at a time which is again, stupid as hell. HHH puts Kane and Big Show out, thus reaffirming his theory that he could out fight God if he had to.
Carlito is 11th, as other than the first two guys, no one has lasted 10 minutes yet. I really don’t like this theory of only having a few guys in there for the majority of the match. The Rumble should have about 6-7 guys in the ring for the majority of the match. It’s just right and it allows for things to not be too boring but also not too weak. Benoit is 12th as we’re picking up a bit.
He chops and suplexes the hell out of everyone just because he’s Chris Benoit and they’re not. Carlito gets a crossface for good measure as Benoit is freaking awesome. He and HHH fight over a suplex with Benoit on the apron which was cool looking if nothing else. The Canadian fights out of that and hits the headbutt on HHH so Carlito can get back up. Booker is 13th and the US Champion at the moment.
He’s wearing long tights which looks odd indeed. He would become king in a few months. Yep Booker is gone already, naturally by Benoit as those two were eternally joined at the hip for some reason. Apparently 20 minutes or so is a long time now. So the most we’ve had is what, 5 people I believe?
Mercury of MNM is 14th and since he brings Melina with him, he’s awesome. I love the way they carried the belts as they hung them from their pants so they swung between their legs. It’s original if nothing else. Mercury really is underrated in the ring. He’s a lot better than people realize. Cole brags about setting ratings records on UPN. That’s just hilarious. Tatanka is 15th to ZERO reaction.
He returned for a few months and no one, I mean NO ONE cared at all. His offense has somehow gotten even more generic if that’s possible which I didn’t think it was. The fans do the Florida St. Seminole chant to try to validate his entrance. Nitro is 16th. More commonly known as John Morrison if you’re not familiar. Tatanka beats on him, which somehow validated Matt Hardy and Tatanka vs. MNM on PPV in a non title match. You read that right.
The fans chant Eddie to just tick me off even more. Only Vince would manage to use death to push storylines. Trevor Murdoch is 17th. To recap we have HHH, Rey, Carlito, Benoit, Mercury, Nitro, Murdoch and for some reason Tatanka. Cole takes a lull to mention that Rey is dedicating this match to Eddie. Eugene is 18th, and is booed out of the freaking building. He’s a classic case of a comedy character being used badly.
Rey hurts him to get a solid pop. For the love of hell Animal of the LOD is 19th. Seriously, who picked these people? Oh apparently the new LOD are the long time rivals of MNM. You know, the team that’s been around for a few months. There are WAY too many people in there right now. RVD is 20th to a HUGE pop. Thankfully for the first time in history the company listened to the pop and made him world champion in June before he smoked his way out of the main event.
Oh yeah this was the summer that ECW returned. He cleans house of course. MNM is doing the Demolition thing of teaming up on everyone which is smart. Animal is out thank goodness. Orlando Jordan is 21st and I somehow manage to lose even more interest in this match. There are FAR too many people in the ring at the moment. Chavo is 22nd. Ok, him I have no problem with doing the pointing thing. There’s your difference between Chavo and Rey.
Chavo won a match with JBL on the Eddie tribute show, pointed to the sky a few times, and started using the frog splash. He’s mentioned Eddie a few times over the years, but for the most part he’s just said that he’s a Guerrero which he would have been no matter what. He had one angle with Rey over the Guerrero name, which made sense when you thought about it. That’s perfectly fine.
Then you have Rey, who used the splash, drove a lowrider, blew one up, pointed to the sky and dedicated about a year’s worth of matches to Eddie, using him as an angle and getting the world title because of it. He still mentions Eddie for storylines 4 years after Eddie passed away. There’s paying homage then there’s just being freaking ridiculous. What does Chavo get for being more humble about it? He lasts a minute here while Rey lasts an hour.
Of course Chavo shouldn’t have won or been in the last group or anything, but would 10-15 minutes have killed anyone? Seriously, Tatanka can get a long time but Chavo can’t? Matt Hardy is 23rd. There’s like 12 people in there right now and it’s absurd. You can’t see a damn thing in there at the moment either. Tatanka FINALLY goes out as Super Crazy is 24th. What is the point of half these guys being in here?
Shawn is 25th to a nice pop. He gets pyro when he comes out which is odd in a Rumble match. He ends Murdoch to thin the ranks out a bit. Chris Masters, who is more or less a newcomer at this point, somehow gets pyro also at 26th. I’m not even bothering to try to tell who all is in there at this point. Nothing of note is happening anyway. Viscera, currently the world’s largest love machine is 27th.
He puts out the far more talented Matt Hardy, but not before giving him the Visagra, which is where the other guy is on his stomach and Viscera gets on top of them and gyrates his hips. Yeah it’s worse than it sounds. Shelton is in next along with his mother. This is somehow stupider than I thought it was going to be. Eugene is gone, leaving a huge pool of sweat on the mat beneath him.
They’re really speeding up the intervals here to get through this. Goldust, who is returning for like the 12th time is 29th. That leaves Orton as number 30. Rey puts Crazy out as Orton comes out last. Ok, so your final group is Rey, HHH, Carlito, Benoit, Mercury, Nitro, RVD, Jordan, Shawn, Masters, Viscera, Shelton, Goldust and Orton. Yeah that’s not too many people at all. Screw the sarcasm. YES IT’S TOO MANY FUCKING PEOPLE!
Geez do you think 14, or just under half of the people being left at the end is enough? Why don’t we just get rid of the whole unique aspect of the freaking match and make it a regular battle royal like the classic World War 3 series that WCW used to do? Those things went great didn’t they? Damn it Vince how hard is it to book a freaking Rumble? You have about 7-8 guys in at the end, 5-6 of them are big names and two or three jobbers.
Three are legit contenders, three are dark horses, and two are jobbers. There, that took 8 seconds to come up with. Orton puts Benoit out which Cole says is a rematch from Summerslam two years ago. More like a year and a half but who cares about facts? Carlito and Masters put out Viscera and then Carlito throws out Masters. Goldust takes forever to set up Shattered Dreams but at least manages to kick that turnbuckle really well.
RVD puts him out just before Orton puts out Jordan. Shawn and HHH go at it to keep the balance of the universe in order. Shawn puts out both of MNM within 5 seconds of each other to further kill the tag division which HHH and Shawn are the current champions of as of this being written. Sweet Chin Music puts out Shelton as Shawn is on a roll. Vince’s music hits as he and Shawn were feuding at the moment. He distracts Shawn so Shane can put Shawn out.
That leaves us with Rey, HHH, Carlito, Orton and RVD. Well I’m glad they took their time getting rid of the people. Shawn goes after Shane but HHH stops him but gets chin music. HBK chases the McMahons out because he’s a face and they’re heels. Van Dam puts Carlito out to give us our final four of Rey, HHH, Orton and RVD. RVD was returning so he wasn’t going to win.
HHH and Orton were possible and Rey was the clear winner so there we go. They split off with HHH vs. Rey and Orton vs. RVD. The faces hit some nice double team stuff to hurt the heels. Van Dam shows how stupid he is by going for a Five Star and gets put out. Orton and HHH get together for no apparent reason other than to beat up a guy that’s 5’5. However, Rey is empowered by the memories of a guy that he feuded with so he takes them both down.
Orton fights HHH. In other news, girls have boobs. Rey puts out HHH and it’s officially inevitable. Rey gets beaten up by HHH to just further make us take note of how awesome Rey is. Orton acts cocky and yeah Mysterio is going to Mania. Orton would get in and make it a triple threat where Rey would win the title and of course, dedicate it to Eddie since that’s all he’s allowed to do.
Rating: D. Eddie oversaturation aside, this Rumble sucked and it sucked hard. The booking was way off here as there were far too few guys in the ring at first and far too few in the end. The Rey thing annoys the hell out of me as people like to say RIP Eddie, yet they have zero problem with his history being exploited for the sake of bad storylines. Rey was passable as champion, but let him get there on his own and not because a guy died. That’s just stupid.
Other than that, WAY too many jobbers and fillers in there, which kind of reflects on the company as a whole. Seriously, why did Booker and Lashley stay in there for just a bit? To be fair, Booker was hurt so that might explain it. Either way, this match was awful in a lot of ways and I hated it quite a bit.
Rey is happy with his win.
We recap Cena vs. Edge, which was a result of the first cashing in of the Money in the Bank in a truly shocking moment. This was a huge thing as Cena was completely dominant and everyone was PISSED when he held the title again after the Elimination Chamber.
But when Vince’s music went on, everyone knew what was coming and it was awesome. Naturally Cena insisted on a rematch and talked about respect and having the title mean a lot to him. This was also the reign with the live sex celebration that apparently made Edge’s career better than Taker’s.
Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Edge
So the scaffolds from the ceiling begin to lower. Smoke and lights and pyro go off. Styles says it looks like a spaceship. Yep, Cena is getting a special entrance that of course looks awesome. More or less his feet are where the top of his head would be if he was walking normally. Yeah there’s nothing at all that’s being implied about who wins here at all. Lita of course looks completely amazing. If nothing else I’ve heard Edge’s theme live so that’s cool.
For the love of hell, change the spinner belt. The W is spun almost halfway around and it just looks stupid as fuck. It starts off with their standard stuff which is traditionally good. Cena starts off in control but thanks to Lita Edge hits a spear into the steps, which more or less proves that he desperately needs a new finisher. We go into the crowd for just a bit but it goes nowhere. Cena dives in to beat the ten count which if nothing else looked cool.
Edge goes old school with his spinning heel kick. Why is Joey Styles the only commentator that mentions the referee’s names consistently? Cena can sell really well if nothing else. Good night Lita’s chest is amazing. The announcers get into an interesting argument: who is the better technical wrestler? That’s a most interesting question that’s going to get a thread soon. Edge’s facials remain awesome as ever. The crowd is fairly loudly booing John here.
Edge chokes Cena so of course despite being put in a hold that should kill him or would end any MMA fight, he gets up with ease. Both guys are down so we get another few shots of Lita’s chest to fill time. Following some botched interference from the hot chick, the FU and STFU give Cena the belt again. That was abrupt.
Rating: B. Eh, this was what it was. Cena and Edge work together just fine so their matches are almost always passable. Edge was more or less given the title as a test run and that’s fine. He got his name in there and that’s what counts. Cena was definitely the right choice to have the belt going into Mania so I have no issues with the booking here. The match was fine and it came off well. It’s nothing great but it’s fine for a title change that goes 15 minutes.
In case you were wondering, Rey is still happy that he won.
We do a very quick, as in about 10 second long recap of Angle vs. Henry, which consists of Henry breaking the ankle lock, which had been done by about 15 people up to this point, but it’s impressive here because of POWER. Angle was a transitional champion if there ever was one.
He took over when Batista got hurt (shocking isn’t it?) so he’s held the title less than three weeks at this point. Angle does his usual solid promo and then comes back to tell Henry he sucks. That’s what makes Angle better than most. He would head to TNA later in the year and be a huge coup for TNA.
Smackdown World Title: Kurt Angle vs. Mark Henry
So Daivari used to hang out with Angle but he dumped him for Henry for no apparent reason. Soon after this Khali would show up. Yeah Angle is introduced as the new World Heavyweight Champion here. That’s the beauty of having guys like Angle or Shawn on your roster.
If something like an injury happens, you can throw the title on them for a quick fix and because they hang around the upper midcard with occasional main event matches, it’s perfectly believable to put the belt on them and no one really had a problem with Angle as champion. We get a fairly long feeling out period, but Henry catches Angle in position for the World’s Strongest Slam. Naturally though instead of slamming him though, he throws him to the floor.
More or less Henry beats the hell out of Angle for awhile as you would expect. Good night Henry you’ve been in the company ten years at this point. Don’t you think it’s time you learned some new offense? I mean really, we know you can slam, club, punch and squeeze. LEARN ANYTHING NEW. Angle gets a bad German, but to be fair, look what he’s working with. Angle Slam gets two. Henry powers out of the ankle lock using the same counter that everyone else uses to knock the referee down.
Angle gets a bad chair shot to Daivari and takes it into the ring. The chair is bent which always looks cool. Angle goes Hogan and cheats but remains a face. Two decent chair shots put Henry down but the fans are more or less dead here. They of course get two which gets a decent pop. I really don’t get the point of the chairs this early in the match. Angle pulls the turnbuckle pad off the middle turnbuckle and sends Henry’s head into it on a reversal for the pin. Really? That’s the best you’ve got?
Rating: D-. I have no freaking clue what they were going for here, but it was just an epic failure. Henry had no business being in there but he came off looking like a far bigger face than Angle did. It was really short, and I have no idea what the point was of this main eventing the show. Oh wait. Now I get it.
A gong goes off and the lights go purple. Ok, Taker has druids and a horse drawn chariot. That makes up for the main event. He signals that he wants the belt and sets off lightning. The ropes fall to the ground and the ring collapses as Angle holds the belt to his chest as we go off the air. Ok, that was freaking cool.
Overall Rating: C-. This was a very lackluster show. I know a lot of people will love the Eddie tributes etc. but I HATED them. One or two points to the sky and some frog splashes are just fine but seriously, giving the Rumble and ultimately the world title to a guy over Eddie? That’s WAY too much. Other than that, there’s just nothing special here at all. Edge and Cena is pretty easily the match of the night.
This show really was more about setting up for the future though, as Cena had to get the belt back and Angle had to get set up with Taker, which they managed to accomplish both. This really started setting the table for Mania, so that’s fine, but the show just wasn’t that interesting. Not recommended at all really, although some people might like it.
I noticed something in the 2006 Royal Rumble that I don't think anybody picked up. When Chavo went for the frog splash and HHH eliminated him, I don't think Chavo went over the top rope to attempt it? If he would have went over the top rope and than attempted it and the same thing happened, he would have been eliminated. If they would have picked up on it, they could have had Chavo and Rey be the final two. I hated how they mention Eddie every three seconds and I still believe Chavo should have gotten the push that Rey did. Chavo is a very underrated wrestler and this would have been huge and understandable since he was actually related to Eddie although I don't know if Rey is. I would have loved to see Chavo as heavyweight champion but he has done nothing of note since and that saddens me.
Rey isn't related to Eddie, no.
You have to keep in mind that the rules for elimination change every year. Savage fucked up in 92 by jumping over the ropes to the floor but it didn't count yet in 97 Mil Mascaras did the same thing and was sent to the back. With Chavo not getting pushed, it's because he's not marketable. I've said this a milliion times: if wrestling was about what you could do in a ring, Dean Malenko vs. William Regal would have headlined every Mania for the last 10 years. Rey sells t-shirts, Chavo doesn't, as simple as that.
I do feel bad for Rey because his world championship will be the attached to the stigma that he won it because of Eddie. That is the main reason why people have a problem with him as ever being champion other than his size. If he didn't win in 2006 and let's say he won it last year, then I don't think people would have a problem and they wouldn't book his reign as a tribute to Eddie. I thought Rey didn't ask for it and deserved better than that, but by thier constant exploitation of Eddie, Mysterio seems to have more haters than he once did.
Royal Rumble 2005
I really liked the WWE in 2004/2005. There was a great mix of established veteran talent and new young future stars. Look at the roster at this time. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, JBL, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, Batista, Edge, Booker T, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, Kurt Angle, Big Show, etc. That’s a stacked roster and they would all be on display at the rumble.
I like Edge vs. Shawn Michaels. I didn’t at first, but I watched it again several months ago and liked it much more. I’ve come to expect so much from Shawn over the years that anything that isn’t a five star classic is a disappointment. That’s not fair and even though this wasn’t a five star classic it was still very good. I could be wrong, but I think Edge was actually using Metalingus at this time. I don’t think that was dubbed in.
I kind of liked the build for the casket match. Only because it seemed like a mid 90’s feud and I felt like I was 14 again. Other than that I didn’t think much of this. Heidenreich was just another worthless big guy on Undertaker’s long list of victims. I really thought it was going to be Taker & Kane vs. Heidenreich & Snitsky at WrestleMania. Thank goodness that didn’t happen.
I like the triple threat match. I didn’t think I would, but I did. I wasn’t crazy about it when it was announced, but they sold it to me on Smackdown in the weeks leading up to the ppv. I remember some diva search girls being used a lot in this story, but since both only lasted a couple months I don’t even remember their names. I’m one of the few people who really liked JBL’s title reign. I thought he was great in that role.
If you would have asked me two months earlier I would have told you Randy Orton vs. Triple H would be the main event at WrestleMania 21. It’s pretty amazing how Batista came out of nowhere to take the spot that was meant for Orton. I don’t know what it is about Hunter and Orton that they can’t put on a good match together. I’m not saying this was bad, but it was pretty dull. I have to say I’m not surprised that Orton’s face turn didn’t work. Not because Triple H buried him, but because he just doesn’t seem like a good face. He’s a natural heel. He just looks like an asshole. That smirk he has just makes you want to punch him in the face. He’s naturally unlikable. That’s somewhat of a compliment since we’re talking about the wrestling world.
I like the rumble match as there are a few parts that stand out to me. Puder’s initiation from three of the hardest hitting guys in the company was entertaining. The brief raw vs. smackdown battle was pretty cool as the crowd seemed to like it. I love the altercation between Michaels and Angle. I would have liked to seen them in the match a little longer, but the important thing was these two were obviously going to mania. That was one of my all time most anticipated matches. I was hoping to see this match at mania and figured they may cross paths at the rumble. To see it actually happen was great. The finish was pretty cool. Neither Cena nor Batista had reached the main event yet, but both were clearly going there soon. When it came to them as the final two it was like looking into the future. Their careers were running parallel on opposite shows and they arrived to the main event at the same time. Had one or the other already won a title this would not have been as good. Having two stars right on the cusp of the main event was cool. I don’t like recycling old ideas, but I think they should have been co winners like in 1994. Why not? There were two titles and they were on different shows. They both ended up with title shots at mania anyway. They could have been declared co winners with each winning a title shot against his respective brands champion. As I’m typing this I’m remembering something. The angle leading into mania was Triple H trying to talk Batista into choosing to face JBL at mania instead of him. That wouldn’t have worked if there were co winners so I’m not sure what would have been better.
Overall I enjoyed this show. Seeing Batista and Cena at the end left me looking forward to the new main eventers. We saw the Batista turn on Triple H coming a mile away, but that’s ok. In fact most times a feud works better that way. For weeks it built and built and it was awesome when it finally happened. It wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good if the turn just randomly happened by surprise one week. Anyway, between the introduction of two new main eventers and the set up for Angle vs. Michaels, this was a good show to me.
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