- Originally broadcasted on Pay-Per-View on January 29th, 2006 from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL. This era of WWE marks the rapid decline of my interest in the product, as we will find out later in the show one of the main contributors to that decision. Joey Styles and Jerry Lawler are calling everything from Raw, and Michael Cole and Tazz are working on the Smackdown side of things. Cole and Lawler call the Rumble, a change from the J.R. and Tazz team that did a respectable job for two guys who've rarely done commentary together.
Anyway, yeah, HHH and Rey start. Spoiler: Rey probably wins. For Eddie. Triple H isn't the largest man in the world, but even he looks ridiculous trying to straight up wrestle Rey. There's too much size difference to make it look good and still suspend disbelief. Rey goes for 619, but Hunter ducks and connects with a clothesline. Simon Dean is #3, coming to the ring on a scooter. Remember his protege's, Gymini? Me neither. Dean goes after Rey, but gets punked out by Hunter and they work together to toss Dean at 2:38. Psicosis is #4 and goes after Rey to remind fans of better days. Rey fights out of a Razor's Edge, and sends Psicosis over and out with a head-scissors at 4:53. Ric Flair is #5, and he still has bad blood with Triple H. Flair dominates until a face-buster turns the tide, and Flair's night is over pretty quickly at 6:30. Big Show is #6, and I guess he has issues with Triple H, too. Doesn't everybody? At least Hunter is selling for someone for longer than 3-seconds. Jonathon Coachman is #7, having qualified for the match with a victory over Lawler, with the help of the recently debuted Spirit Squad. He goes after Show and gets thrown out at 9:38. Show-Slam on Hunter as the undefeated Bobby Lashley enters at #8. One year later, it's your ECW Main Event. Go ahead and cry. Show with the big punch, but it's not a KO punch, yet. Kane is #9, and I forgot he was Co-Tag Team Champion with the Big Show. He has a half-hearted slugfest with Lashley. Lashley with the Dominator on Kane, but he doesn't bother to try and eliminate anyone. #10 is Sylvan, and it took me 10-seconds to figure out who the hell it was. His run as a fashion designer (or whatever) was very short-lived. Lashley no-sells his offense and throws him into the front row at 14:55. Show and Kane with a Double Chokeslam on Lashley, and he's gone at 15:17. Kane and Show duke it out for the hell of it, 'cause it's every man, giant, and monster for himself. They continue to battle near the ropes, so Hunter tosses both of them out at 16:23.
#11 is Carlito, and I don't even know if he's a babyface or heel. He goes after Rey, so maybe he's a heel. He hits Rey with the Back-Stabber, before the move had a name. Hunter thumbs the eyes, Ric Flair-style. #12 is Chris Benoit, and he was smart enough not to guarantee victory for Eddie Guerrero. He lays into everyone with chops and throws Rey half-way across the ring with a German suplex. Carlito counters, only to walk into the Crossface. He fights with Triple H over a suplex on the apron until getting crotched along the top rope. Benoit fights him down with headbutts and comes down with the Swandive Headbutt! #13 is Booker T, wearing long tights and reigning U.S. Champion. All of this stuff is a big blur to me. Benoit tosses Booker at 21:40, because I guess they had issues, and maybe Booker is still nursing an injury? #14 is Joey Mercury, one-half of the Tag Team Champions (of Smackdown). He randomly goes after Carlito. He hits his half of the Snap-Shot on Benoit, but again, there's no pinfalls, so why bother? I know, to pop the crowd. #15 is Tatanka... I forgot all about that comeback. The crowd cheers/taunts him with the Braves chant. Ugh, I hate that f*cking chant. #16 is Johnny Nitro, which means one member of MNM is getting eliminated. #17 is Trevor Murdoch. Nobody cares for him, either. Lots of nothing going on. #18 is Eugene, only about a year removed from when people gave a shit about him. His training video with Regal still stands as a moment of awesome. He Hulks Up™ on Murdoch and gives him an Airplane Spin. #19 is Road Warrior Animal with neon-green shoulder pads. He plows through MNM with a double clothesline and takes Hunter down with a powerslam. There's too much dead weight in this and no ring clearing in site. #20 is Rob Van Dam, making his "return" after a lengthy absence due to injury. He hits everyone but no elimination attempts. Correction, he eliminates Animal at 35:10. Still too many people in there.
#21 is Orlando Jordan, with even worse music and even less a reaction than in 2005. There's too much and too little going on, if that makes sense. #22 is Chavo Guerrero... he probably wants to win it for Eddie, but he sucks for going after Rey. He rips off Eddie's taunt and the Three Amigos, because it's the only way for him to pop the crowd. Hunter pushes him off the top to eliminate him at 37:18, sparing us of the Frog Splash. #23 is Matt Hardy. I didn't even know he was still in WWE. MNM with the Snap-Shot on Tatanka, but the camera misses it. Tatanka gets tossed at 40:11. #24 is Super Crazy. I wonder how far back Juventud was cut for being a crazy bastard. #25 is Shawn Michaels, with pyro. ELIMINATE SOMEONE! Murdoch is gone at 41:58. #26 is Chris Masters, about four years before he started not-sucking in the ring. #27 is Viscera, the World's Largest Love Machine. Ugh. He dry humps Matt Hardy as some kind of insane inside joke, I'm sure. Cole makes a smart-ass remark about seeing Viscera in these colors (purple and gold) before... I guess on TV, since Mabel was LONG GONE by the time Cole was even hired by WWE. He tosses Matt at 45:38. #28 is Shelton Benjamin, along with Mama Benjamin. My God, what a terrible period for the creative team. Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:19. Shelton works in his roundhouse heel kick on Hunter to little reaction since you can't see anything. #29 is Goldust, making yet another return, I guess. This crowd sucks, but they have every right to be: this show has sucked. Randy Orton is #30 to round things out. He tosses Benoit out at 49:13 to annoy me, leaving a field of about 12 people still in this. Too many for this late in the match, too many for any point in a Rumble Match.
Orton with an RKO on Viscera, allowing Masters and Carlito to pair up and dump the big guy out at 49:52. Carlito instantly turns on his on-again/off-again partner and dumps him at 49:58. Goldust pounds away on Carlito and gives him Shattered Dreams to the biggest pop of the match. RVD with a heel kick on Goldust, and the poor guy practically throws himself out at 50:38. Jordan gets tossed by Orton at 50:55. Michaels and Hunter have a mini-showdown for (not quite) old times sake. MNM go for the Snapshot on Michaels, but he fights them off, dumps Mercury at 52:20, and Nitro at 52:24. Michaels Superkicks Benjamin off the apron and out at 53:00 in the most over-sold Elimination of the Night™. Mr. McMahon comes out to distract Shawn Michaels, allowing SHANE to sneak in and toss Shawn out at 54:04. I totally forgot about this. Sore-Loser Michaels hits Hunter with Sweet Chin Music and chases down the McMahons, because we're building to WrestleMania 22. RVD knocks Carlito out at 55:20, leaving a Final Four of Triple H, Rey Mysterio, Rob Van Dam, and Randy Orton. RVD and Rey work together on the former Evolution buddies, but Triple H comes back to life and uses face miscommunication to eliminate RVD at 56:54. Now to eliminate Orton... Rey survives the 2-on-1, but that darn Hunter just won't stay down. Orton goes for the RKO, but Hunter blocks and counters with a Spinebuster. He tries dumping Rey, but he hangs on, and Triple H is gone at 59:58. Okay, I didn't see that coming. I guess he holds the record for longest duration in a match and losing. Sore-Loser Helmsley pulls Rey to the floor and sends him into the steps. Orton takes his sweet time finishing Rey off, and SURPRISE, SURPRISE, Rey holds on, and eliminates Orton at 1:02:00 to earn a Championship Match at WrestleMania 22. He did it for Eddie! **1/2 With the exception of the finish and a very occasional spot from the first half of the match, one of the most boring Rumble matches I can recall. Not nearly the worst, but there was a total lack of effort into doing anything fun with this one.
Final Thoughts: As much as I stand by my comment that the 1997 Royal Rumble was the worst, uninteresting Rumble PPV in history, this one does a damn good job of challenging for that Title. It's better, barely, but it has the same problems, just with a different cast: Title matches that does nothing but cut someone off at the knees and push an angle nobody cared for, a Rumble with so many uninteresting and filler participants, that it turned out to be 60-minutes of waiting for the inevitable Rey Mysterio victory, and a poorly put together undercard. When Mickie James' lesbian crush on Trish Stratus is the best, most thought-out angle featured on the card, you have some serious problems. Seriously recommended to avoid.