-From St. Louis, MO. Our hosts are Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, and Booker T.
-Video package putting over John Cena’s greatness and controversy.
-Recap of Kane destroying Zack Ryder on Raw. There goes Ryder’s push. John Cena is sad about the whole thing.
-Poor Zack Ryder is in a wheelchair and John Laurinaitis has a personal dressing room for him. An insincere Big Johnny offers Ryder anything he needs. Eve shows up and tells Mr. Ace off for allowing Ryder to get hurt in the first place.
-The Cena/Kane brawl continues to the backstage area. Kane does some damage with a chair before noticing Zack Ryder’s private locker room. Kane kicks the door down and puts Ryder to sleep by attacking his face. Kane wheels Ryder into the ring and gets ready to hurt him more when Eve runs out to plead with him. Kane puts Ryder down with a Tombstone Piledriver anyway. Kane considers attacking Eve when Cena runs in for the save. Unfortunately, Cena eats a choke slam and Kane stands victorious. Ryder gets stretchered out while the commentators use their tasteless “Owen voice” to describe the situation. I hate this.
-Video recap of The Rock’s career. Whoo hoo.
-The hype package for the WWE Championship also highlights the saga of John Laurinaitis, who is facing a performance review from Mr. McMahon on the next Raw.
30 Man Royal Rumble: As per usual, the Rumble winner gets a Wrestlemania title match against the WWE or World Heavyweight Champion. At this point, I’m shocked that anyone still chooses to face the World Champion. The Miz is #1 and he takes a moment to whine about how nobody ever believes in him. Miz’s former protégé, Alex Riley, is #2. This would have meant something if both these guys hadn’t been constantly buried over the past few months. They have a back and forth exchange (to zero crowd heat) before Miz dumps Riley with ease. #3 is Miz’s current arch-enemy, R-Truth. They fill time with a livelier brawl and tease some eliminations. Cody Rhodes is #4. Cody helps Miz put a beating on Truth. Justin Gabriel is #5 and he unleashes a flurry of offense on everyone, regardless of heel/face alignment. #6 is Primo, one half of the Tag Team Champions, and therefore a jobber. Primo sneaks in some cool moves while Miz tosses R-Truth. Truth isn’t done and drags Miz to ringside for a DDT. #7 is Mick Foley to wake up the crowd. Foley beats up poor Primo and back drops him to the floor. Foley pummels Rhodes into the corner for his running knee to the face. Foley plants Cody with his double underhook DDT! #8 is Ricardo Rodriguez, doing his best Alberto Del Rio impersonation. Ricardo joins in on the Cody beating. Foley and Ricardo work together to toss Gabriel. #9 is Santino Marella and the ring is quickly filling up with comedic workers. Santino dominates a fun exchange with Rodriguez before eliminating him via wedgie. We’re then treated to Mr. Socko vs. The Cobra! #10 is Epico and he shows up just in time to take The Cobra and Foley’s Mandible Claw. And just like that, Epico is gone.
Foley and Marella continue their stand off until Miz and Rhodes decide they’ve had enough of the nonsense. Cody tosses Santino and saves Miz from Mr. Socko with another elimination. #11 is Kofi Kingston. Kofi cleans house on Rhodes and Miz, including a Boom Drop on both heels. Kingston is in trouble when #12 Jerry Lawler enters the match. Lawler outsmarts the young whippersnappers with his usual shtick. Cody dumps Jerry in short order. Cole made such a fuss about Lawler being in the Rumble that you know he’s next. #13 is Ezekiel Jackson and he gets a brief turn in the driver’s seat. #14 is Jinder Mahal and the crowd goes mild. Jinder takes his sweet time entering the ring and goes after Jackson. #15 is the returning Great Khali, who just happens to be Mahal’s brother-in-law. Khali plows through the competition and tosses Mahal and Jackson. #16 is Hunico, who rides a bike to the ring with Camacho. Hunico scores with some high flying moves before getting stepped on by Khali. #17 is Booker T, giving Cole another chance to complain. Booker goes on a rampage but Khali stops his momentum. Meanwhile, Kofi does a handstand at ringside to avoid elimination. #18 is Dolph Ziggler. #19 is Jim Duggan, making what feels like his umpteenth surprise return to cash in on his status as the first ever Rumble winner. The crowd goes nuts for Duggan, who arranges a meeting of the minds between Rhodes and Miz. Sadly, Cody rebounds to eliminate Hacksaw. Cody manages to dump Booker and Khali together. #20 turns out to be none other than Michael Cole.
Cole really hams up his Rumble entry until #21 Kharma makes her surprise (one-shot) return. Kharma nails Cole with a clothesline, and Booker and Lawler help her with the elimination. Aren’t the commentators adorable? Kharma drops Ziggler with the Implant Buster and throws Hunico over the ropes. Ziggler regains his manhood by dumping Kharma. #22 is Sheamus and he throws clubbing blows at all challengers. Sheamus eliminates Kofi, leaving himself alone against Rhodes, Miz, and Ziggler. #23 is Road Dogg for yet another nostalgic pop. Dogg shakes, rattles, and rolls and plants Miz with a pump handle slam. #24 is Jey Uso, who goes right after Road Dogg. #25 is Jack Swagger, who cleans house. #26 is Wade Barrett, who quickly tosses Road Dogg to the floor. #27 is David Otunga and he doesn’t really do much. #28 is hometown boy, Randy Orton! I was just noticing that the ring was getting awful crowded, giving Orton plenty of targets. Orton delivers a double spike DDT to both Miz and Cody. Orton tosses Jey Uso and Wade Barrett with ease. #29 is Chris Jericho, complete with the light-up jacket. Jericho eliminates Otunga quickly and mixes it up with Ziggler. #30 is Big Show! Show swats Swagger out and finishes him with a KO punch. Show eliminates Miz and Cody, who had both been in this for 45 minutes. Show is determined to ruin the match and tosses Ziggler.
Our final four are Big Show, Sheamus, Randy Orton, and Chris Jericho! Show saves himself from getting triple teamed and plants Jericho with a choke slam. Show spins around into the RKO! Orton dumps Show, and Jericho immediately dumps Orton! It’s down to Jericho vs. Sheamus! They have a fast paced back and forth exchange. Jericho blocks elimination and nails a missile drop-kick. Irish Curse backbreaker by Sheamus! Jericho counters the Celtic Cross with a near elimination. Sheamus hangs on after eating a drop-kick. Slingshot shoulder tackle by Sheamus! The Brogue Kick misses and Jericho applies the Walls! Jericho hangs on after taking a back drop. They battle on the turnbuckles and they both nearly flop out. Codebreaker, but Jericho can’t make a cover. Sheamus blocks a second Code Breaker and tosses Jericho, who skins the cat. The Brogue Kick sends Jericho to the floor, giving Sheamus the win at 54:42. The climatic mini-match really elevated this Rumble, though it’s not as good as the best Rumbles, nor as bad as the worst, ***½.
Final Thoughts: The Royal Rumble match itself is a pretty good time. Everything else on the show either stunk or failed to live up to expectations. I’d skip this one. Thumbs down.