Royal Rumble: Through The Years (Part 4, 2006-2010)
by Scrooge McSuck
Last time in our re-visiting of the Royal Rumble, we took a look at each Rumble from 2000 through 2005, and it was like comparing night and day with what we suffered through in Part 2. 2004 might be the best Royal Rumble Match of all-time (arguably, of course), 2001 isn’t too shabby, and the weakest of the batch were still pretty good compared to the Mid-Late 90’s. This time around, we kick things off with the year 2006 and I’m going to be honest... from 2008 through 2011, I fell completely out of love with wrestling and don’t have as much knowledge of the product for those years, so apologies in advance if there’s anything I miss or incorrectly identify....
2006 (January 26th, American Airlines Arena @ Miami, FL)
Participant Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. Triple H, 2. Rey Mysterio, 3. Simon Dean, 4. Psicosis, 5. Ric Flair, 6. The Big Show, 7. Jonathon Coachman, 8. Bobby Lashley, 9. Kane, 10. Sylvan, 11. Carlito, 12. Chris Benoit, 13. Booker T, 14. Joey Mercury, 15. Tatanka, 16. Johnny Nitro, 17. Trevor Murdoch, 18. Eugene, 19. Animal, 20. Rob Van Dam, 21. Orlando Jordan, 22. Chavo Guerrero, 23. Matt Hardy, 24. Super Crazy, 25. Shawn Michaels, 26. Chris Masters, 27. Viscera, 28. Shelton Benjamin, 29. Goldust, 30. Randy Orton
1. Simon Dean (by Mysterio & HHH), 2. Psicosis (by Mysterio), 3. Ric Flair (by HHH), 4. Jonathon Coachman (by Big Show), 5. Sylvan (by Lashley), 6. Bobby Lashley (by Kane & Show), 7. Big Show (by HHH), 8. Kane (by HHH), 9. Booker T (by Benoit), 10. Animal (by RVD), 11. Chavo Guerrero (by HHH), 12. Tatanka (by MNM), 13. Trevor Murdoch (by Michaels), 14. Matt Hardy (by Viscera), 15. Eugene (by Benoit), 16. Super Crazy (by RVD & Mysterio), 17. Chris Benoit (by Orton), 18. Viscera (by Masters & Carlito), 19. Chris Masters (by Carlito), 20. Goldust (by RVD), 21. Orlando Jordan (by Orton), 22. Joey Mercury (by Michaels), 23. Johnny Nitro (by Michaels), 24. Shelton Benjamin (by Michaels), 25. Shawn Michaels (illegally by Shane McMahon), 26. Carlito (by RVD), 27. Rob Van Dam (by HHH & Mysterio), 28. Triple H (by Mysterio), 29. Randy Orton (by Mysterio), WINNER: REY MYSTERIO
Memorable Moments and Random Tidbits...
- Another year’s worth of "Rumble Qualifying Matches"... Chavo Guerrero def. Rob Conway, Shelton Benjamin def. Val Venis, Kane def. Snitsky, Sylvan def. Scotty 2 Hotty (BOO!), Trevor Murdoch def. Heart-Throb Antonio, Viscera def. Lance Cade, Gregory Helms, and Tomko in a Battle Royale, The Mexicools def. The Dicks, and Coach def. Jerry Lawler with an assist from the SPIRIT SQUAD.
- Yes. It’s the "I’ve got to win it for Eddie" Royal Rumble. Just sit back and wait until the ride is over before you let out a series of expletives.
- In 2004 and 2005, Jim Ross and Tazz called the Royal Rumble as a combined effort for Raw and Smackdown. In 2006? Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. Yay.
- Seriously, they just did the "underdog has to go coast-to-coast to win the Rumble" in 2004 with Chris Benoit, and the fans didn’t actively crap all over that storyline every week. Did they really need to throw Rey out there to start the match to do the same underdog booking, except with a far less impressive performance? Sorry for all the negativity already, but this Rumble brings a lot of it.
- Remember when Simon Dean introduced a tag team called "Gymini", the twin brothers who wrestled in NWA-TNA as the masked Johnsons? I almost forgot, too until Cole reminded me.
- For old time’s sake, Psicosis and Rey Mysterio have a short exchange (no, their history in ECW is never mentioned). Speaking Psicosis... The Mexicools. My boss, who was a very casual viewer at the time, still comes up to me talking about the Mexicools and how they were a pretty racist gimmick, three Mexicans riding around on JUAN DEER lawn mowers. Then I told him about Saba Simba.
- Ric Flair and Triple H have a heated exchange, months after a pair of heated battles when Triple H turned on his former mentor. Then HHH has to do battle with his (at the time) latest rival, the Big Show. You know what’s funny? Even Big Show’s music seems bored these days. I can’t think of anyone elses music who gives me such a great feeling of apathy.
- Big Show and Kane were YOUR (Raw) Tag Team Champions. In 2006. 10 Years Later, they were the cornerstones of the Authority. They weren’t quite as over in 2015 as they were in 2006. Oh, and they also have a one-on-one for the sake of doing it as often as possible.
- Why didn’t Chris Benoit win it for Eddie? Or Chavo? Why was Rey Mysterio hand-picked by Eddie’s Soul? Why couldn’t Animal win it for Hawk, since we’re on the subject of doing it for your dead buddy?
- In Tatanka’s last Royal Rumble appearance (1996), Triple H was also the #1 entrant.
- MNM are united in the ring for an extended period of time and don’t clear out the over-crowded ring. This is one of those things that bothers me every year. Why have both men of a tag team in the ring if they don’t take advantage of the situation and take out at least a few people in a crowded ring?
- I don’t know who got the least reaction of the match, Trevor Murdoch (from Raw), Orlando Jordan (from Smackdown) or Sylvan (also from Smackdown).
- Rey spends most of the match just laying around. There’s even rumors floating around that he was so gassed he puked (off camera) on the arena floor. Meanwhile, Triple H, the #1 heel, works like he’s a face, over-coming odds and eliminating some of the biggest threats in the match.
- Shelton Benjamin’s Momma. ‘Nuff said.
- Rey Mysterio set the new Iron Man Record with a total time of just over 62-minutes, surpassing Benoit’s record from 2004 by about 30-seconds. Sylvan, Coach, Simon Dean, and Booker T all lasted less than a minute. One of those names just doesn’t belong.
Rumble Match Rating: The first half of the Rumble I have very little to complain about. With the exception of booking the top heel like a babyface, there were some decent sequences, the obvious dead-weight of the match was dealt with in timely fashion, and there was decent star power. Then the second half just fell apart, with too much cluttering in the ring, and the "story of the match" just laying around like a defenseless slug. I know its easy to hate on the match just for the "Doing it for Eddie" angle, but the actual performances and booking of the match really hits the skids and doesn’t recover enough to make it a good Rumble. [**1/2]
- Gregory Helms def. Kid Kash, Funaki, Jamie Noble, Paul London, and Nunzio for the Cruiserweight Championship in a Cruiserweight Open Challenge Match. Helms was on Raw at the time, while Smackdown was the exclusive home for the Title. Match barely went 7-minutes, thus guarantees that no individual will actually get over. Anyone else forget about the Noble/Kash version of the Pitbulls? [**]
- Mickie James def. Ashley, with Trish Stratus as the Special Referee. Trish in the referee’s outfit was the best part of the match. Mickie James' awkward sexual advances comes in second. The match ending is third. [1/2*]
- The Boogeyman squashed JBL in less than 2-minutes. [DUD]
- John Cena def. Edge to regain the WWE Championship. Edge cashed in the first ever Money in the Bank briefcase at New Years Revolution, a finish that seemed fresh and shocking at the time. The big decision to follow that up is to have Cena win the belt back two weeks later in a so-so rematch. [**]
- Kurt Angle def. Mark Henry to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the show-closing match just for the sake of the post-match shenanigans where the evil forces of the Undertaker destroyed the ring. [ * ]
2007 (January 28th, AT&T Center @ San Antonio, TX)
Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. Ric Flair, 2. Finlay, 3. Kenny Dykstra, 4. Matt Hardy, 5. Edge, 6. Tommy Dreamer, 7. Sabu, 8. Gregory Helms, 9. Shelton Benjamin, 10. Kane, 11. CM Punk, 12. King Booker, 13. Super Crazy, 14. Jeff Hardy, 15. The Sandman, 16. Randy Orton, 17. Chris Benoit, 18. Rob Van Dam, 19. Viscera, 20. Johnny Nitro, 21. Kevin Thorn, 22. Hardcore Holly, 23. Shawn Michaels, 24. Chris Masters, 25. Chavo Guerrero, 26. Montel Vontavious Porter, 27. Carlito, 28. The Great Khali, 29. The Miz, 30. The Undertaker
1. Ric Flair (by Edge), 2. Kenny Dykstra (by Edge), 3. Tommy Dreamer (by Kane), 4. Sabu (by Kane), 5. Gregory Helms (by Booker), 6. The Sandman (by Booker), 7. Super Crazy (by Rated RKO), 8. Jeff Hardy (by Edge), 9. Matt Hardy (by Orton), 10. King Booker (by Kane), 11. Kane (illegally by Booker), 12. Finlay (by Michaels), 13. Viscera (by 8 Superstars), 14. Shelton Benjamin (by Michaels), 15. Johnny Nitro (by Benoit), 16. Kevin Thorn (by Benoit), 17. Chris Masters (by RVD), 18. Hardcore Holly (by Khali), 19. Chris Benoit (by Khali), 20. The Miz (by Khali), 21. Rob Van Dam (by Khali), 22. CM Punk (by Khali), 23. Carlito (by Khali), 24. Chavo Guerrero (by Khali), 25. The Great Khali (by Undertaker), 26. Montel Vontavious Porter (by Undertaker), 27. Randy Orton (by Michaels), 28. Edge (by Michaels), 29. Shawn Michaels (by Undertaker), WINNER: THE UNDERTAKER
Memorable Moments and Random Tidbits...
- This would be the last Royal Rumble I’d watch until 2013, so from 2008-2012, it was all years after the fact.
Combined age of the two men starting the Rumble Match: 107 years.
- You want to talk about the unoriginal, generic names of the present day WWE scene? KENNY DYKSTRA. I hope the story behind that name comes from someone being pressed to come up with an idea, maybe 5 minutes, and they just saw a baseball card with Len Dykstra on it and thought "there we go, no one would know. Vince still thinks MLB is segregated. By the time he comes to the 1980’s, he’ll be dead." Too bad he still had Spirit Squad stink on him.
- This is the first year that the "ECW" Brand will have their own list of entrants. In prior years, it was 15 Raw and 15 Smackdown guys. 2007’s ECW field? 7. Not too bad, considering the lack of depth. You’ve got Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, RVD, CM Punk, Kevin Thorn, The Sandman, and Hardcore Holly representing.
- Speaking of ECW, Sabu gets to live out his dream of being eliminated by being put through a table at ringside, courtesy of Kane. One year later, I doubt the "Homicidal, Genocidal, and Suicidal" part of anyone’s gimmick would be uttered (Editor's Note: It's "Suicidal, Homicidal, Genorcial". It goes in order: "He'll kill himself (suicide)! He'll kill you (homicide)! He'll kill everybody (genocide)!")
- Kane is making a record-breaking 9th consecutive Royal Rumble appearance. They still pushed his 2001 performance as a major career moment, and you can bet your fanny that trend will continue.
- Is it me, or has Booker T been a consistently poorly booked Rumble Match performer? It seems like he’s either eliminated in under a minute or barely lasts long enough to see the next entrant coming in. This might’ve been his best performance.
- Rated RKO does the first bit of house cleaning, at least by the standards of this era of Rumbles. You never really see a tandem take care of business in the Rumble, just a solo act.
- It takes 8 Superstars to eliminate Viscera, a new record for one elimination. The old record? 7 people eliminating Viscera, then known as Mabel, from the 1994 Royal Rumble. Shawn Michaels and Hardcore Holly were present for both instances.
- Another year of cluttering the ring. There’s too many men in there for too much of the match, making it hard for anything to really stand out beyond the few seconds of a new entrant.
- The Great Khali, fairly new to the roster at this point (debuted after WrestleMania 22), gets the honors of clearing out a lot of the ring, disposing of 7 Superstars, most of them guys fans cared about. That young up-and-comer the Undertaker is the man who gets to end his reign of terror. I know, it was the natural rivalry at the time, I just like giving Undertaker crap.
- The Undertaker with the 4th blade-job in Royal Rumble Match history.
- Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker is another nominee for greatest Royal Rumble finale in the history of the PPV.
- For the first time in the 20 year history of the Royal Rumble, the #30 entrant actually wins the match.
- Finlay set the Iron Man mark of 2007, lasting approximately 32 minutes. Not as impressive as we’ve seen from the previous three years. The Miz has the shortest time in the ring, running in and out for Great Khali’s disposal in about 10-seconds. Speaking of Khali, he also dominated the field, with his 7 total eliminations.
Rumble Match Rating: A change of pace from the usual complaints, as the match suffered from too much clutter early and often, but then the last 15-minutes really kicked ass, with the Great Khali clearing the ring of more than half the remaining field, Undertaker coming in to take care of him, the sequences with Rated RKO vs. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, and finally the final sequence between the Undertaker and Michaels. If not for the last 10-15 minutes, this is definitely one of the weakest Rumbles. With it, it holds up well enough to not give a thumbs down. [***1/4]
- The Hardys def. MNM in a rematch from the infamous ECW December to Dismember PPV. I didn’t care much for the Hardy Boyz/Hardyz/Team Extreme reunion, but to be fair, I completely soured on the product by this point. Too long (again), but it serves its purpose. [***]
- Lashley def. Test by Count-Out to retain the ECW Championship. Yep, ECW was back. Yep, Test was back and given a renewed push based on his not-so-clean-choice-of-muscle-enhancing. Yep, this match sucked. [DUD]
- Batista def. Mr. Kennedy to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. What was this, the month of trying out new challengers to see if any of them stick? Batista usually falls under two categories: matches that are surprisingly great, and then matches that fit at the level we usually expect of him. This was the latter. [*1/2]
- John Cena def. Umaga to retain the WWE Championship in a Last Man Standing Match. Umaga’s first defeat since being introduced after WrestleMania. At the time the PPV took place, I had zero hope for this match and was almost wishing for it to be terrible to finally end Umaga’s push. Then Cena proves why he can be one of the best at carrying limited opponents and sometimes "smart" fans need to grow the fuck up. [****1/4]
2008 (January 27th, Madison Square Garden @ New York, NY)
Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. The Undertaker, 2. Shawn Michaels, 3. Santino Marella, 4. The Great Khali, 5. Hardcore Holly, 6. John Morrison, 7. Tommy Dreamer, 8. Batista, 9. Hornswoggle, 10. Chuck Palumbo, 11. Jamie Noble, 12. CM Punk, 13. Cody Rhodes, 14. Umaga, 15. Snitsky, 16. The Miz, 17. Shelton Benjamin, 18. "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, 19. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, 20. Kane, 21. Carlito, 22. Mick Foley, 23. Mr. Kennedy, 24. Big Daddy V, 25. Mark Henry, 26. Chavo Guerrero, 27. Finlay, 28. Elijah Burke, 29. Triple H, 30. John Cena
1. Santino Marella (by Undertaker), 2. The Great Khali (by Undertaker), 3. Tommy Dreamer (by Batista), 4. Jamie Noble (by Palumbo), 5. Chuck Palumbo (by Punk), 6. Hardcore Holly (by Umaga), 7. Shelton Benjamin (by Michaels), 8. Roddy Piper (by Kane), 9. Jimmy Snuka (by Kane), 10. Snitsky (by Undertaker), 11. The Undertaker (by Michaels), 12. Shawn Michaels (by Kennedy), 13. The Miz (by Hornswoggle), 14. John Morrison (by Kane), 15. Hornswoggle (Forfeit), 16. Finlay (Disqualified), 17. CM Punk (by Chavo), 18. Cody Rhodes (by HHH), 19. Big Daddy V (by HHH), 20. Elijah Burke (by Foley), 21. Mick Foley (by HHH), 22. Carlito (by Cena), 23. Chavo Guerrero (by Cena), 24. Mark Henry (by Cena), 25. Mr. Kennedy (By Batista), 26. Umaga (by Batista), 27. Kane (by HHH & Batista), 28. Batista (by HHH), 29. Triple H (by Cena), WINNER: JOHN CENA
Memorable Moments and Random Tidbits...
- Rumble Qualifying Match goodness... Umaga def. JIM DUGGAN, Snitsky def. Drew McIntyre, Hardcore Holly def. Trevor Murdoch, Morrison and Miz def. Yang and Shannon Moore, Hornswoggle and Foley def. The Highlanders, Jamie Noble def. Chuck Palumbo, Cody Rhodes def. William Regal, Carlito and Santino def. DH Smith and Super Crazy, Shawn Michaels def. Trevor Murdoch, Triple H def. Snitsky, Mark Henry, and Regal, and CM Punk def. Chavo.
- The first WWE PPV to be presented in HD. We’ve definitely entered a new era of "Sports Entertainment", and I think we might officially be in the PG Era, too. We’ve also got, for the first time in Rumble history, what sounds like 6 people talking over each other. Is Vince screaming in all their ears at the same time?
- MICHAEL BUFFER does the ring introductions for the opening of the Royal Rumble. That just seems weird to me, knowing him for his occasional work for WCW. To be honest, I never cared much for him.
- The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, the final two men in the 2007 Royal Rumble, have the unfortunate luck of drawing #1 and #2 for the 2008 Rumble. Personally, I would’ve just let them eliminate every geek through Entry #20, because it would be something different and people wouldn’t mind because it’s Shawn vs. Taker.
- Unless you were Ric Flair in 1992, #3 has to consistently be one of the worst numbers to draw in the Royal Rumble based on performance.
- You want to know about the depth issues in the Tag Team Division? Hardcore Holly and a green Cody Rhodes are the Raw Tag Champions. At least Smackdown had the obnoxious duo of Miz and Morrison, formerly Johnny Nitro.
- Joey Styles speculating Tommy Dreamer would cash in his Rumble victory for a shot at the "ECW" Title is too laughable.
- For the second year in a row, ECW is represented by 7 "Extremists"; John Morrison, The Miz, CM Punk, Tommy Dreamer, Elijah Burke, Shelton Benjamin, and Big Daddy V (Viscera with ANOTHER push and wrestling in a singlet. Not pretty).
- Hornswoggle is our first official "little person" entrant in Rumble History and immediately steals from the 1996 playbook of Jerry Lawler.
- What were Chuck Palumbo and Jamie Noble doing back on the roster in 2008? Both were low-level scrubs the last time we saw them in 2003-04, and its not like they were getting much of a push here, either.
- Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka go at it for REALLY Old Time’s Sake. Seriously, it’s 2008. I know it was MSG, but these two guys had no business being in a ring at this point, even for a comedy spot.
- Did we ever get a CM Punk vs. Shawn Michaels singles match?
- Once again, too much cluttering in the ring, even if most of it is Main Eventers and the more talented part of the undercard crew.
- Shelton Benjamin must be channeling the spirit of the Natural Butch Reed, sporting bleach-blond hair. And it took me longer to type this than his entire stint in the match.
- Finlay is Disqualified for (take your pick) using a foreign object and/or jumping the gun on his entrance. Pretty sure everyone else has gotten away with both in years past.
- Triple H and Mick Foley go at it for a fresher version of "For Old Time’s Sake", and of course, Foley puts Hunter over.
- John Cena is a surprise #30, and holy crap does the crowd pop hard for it... then realizes what they’ve done and try to cover it up by booing him. Oh, and #CenaWinsLOL.
- Batista is the 2008 Iron Man, lasting approximately 38-minutes. Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker were in for around 32-minutes, and John Morrison just shy of half-an-hour. Shelton Benjamin has the honors of shortest time for someone who wasn’t a joke spot, lasting about 18-seconds. Jamie Noble didn’t last much longer, at about 30-seconds.
- Triple H with the most eliminations, throwing out 6 Superstars. John Cena and Batista each totaled 4 eliminations.
Rumble Match Rating: Another example of starting the match on the right foot and ending it strong, but having a whole lot of nothing in the middle. When some of the "highlights" of the middle section of the match is a battle of 60 year olds in Snuka and Piper and Shelton Benjamin being thrown out in about 15-seconds, there’s obviously not a whole lot of meat to it. Still, Taker vs. Michaels was a good match-long little story, even if the crowded ring hurt things more than it helped, and everything from Triple H’s entrance and onward (including Cena’s surprise return) is some good stuff. [***]
- Ric Flair def. Montel Vontavious Porter to avoid being forced into retirement. MVP was the reigning US Champion, but this was Non-Title for obvious reasons. The Flair storyline culminated at WrestleMania with a loss to Shawn Michaels. [**]
- JBL def. Chris Jericho by Disqualification. Jericho recently came back, had a short feud with Randy Orton, and was put into this nonsense with JBL, who was mostly retired for the last couple of years. This definitely is an odd period for me to look back on. [*1/2]
- Edge def. Rey Mysterio to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Edge has lackies Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins with him, who just dropped the "Major Brothers" gimmick from hell. Vicki Guerrero took the bullet to save Edge from defeat because she’s a pro who deserved better treatment throughout her time in WWE. [***3/4]
- Randy Orton def. Jeff Hardy to retain the WWE Championship. Decent match, but to be honest... I just never liked Jeff Hardy. Sorry. Any time he loses is a good night of entertainment for me. [**1/2]
2009 (January 25th, Joe Louis Arena @ Detroit, MI)
Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. Rey Mysterio, 2. John Morrison, 3. Carlito, 4. Montel Vontavious Porter, 5. The Great Khali, 6. Vladimir Kozlov, 7. Triple H, 8. Randy Orton, 9. JTG, 10. Ted Dibiase Jr., 11. Chris Jericho, 12. Mike Knox, 13. The Miz, 14. Finlay, 15. Cody Rhodes, 16. The Undertaker, 17. Goldust, 18. CM Punk, 19. Mark Henry, 20. Shelton Benjamin, 21. William Regal, 22. Kofi Kingston, 23. Kane, 24. R-Truth, 25. Rob Van Dam, 26. The Brian Kendrick, 27. Dolph Ziggler, 28. Santino Marella, 29. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, 30. The Big Show
1. The Great Khali (by Kozlov), 2. Montel Vontavious Porter (by Kozlov), 3. Carlito (by Kozlov), 4. Vladimir Kozlov (by HHH), 5. The Miz (by HHH), 6. John Morrison (by HHH), 7. JTG (by Undertaker), 8. Goldust (by Rhodes), 9. Mark Henry (by Mysterio), 10. Shelton Benjamin (by Undertaker), 11. William Regal (by Punk), 12. Kofi Kingston (by Kendrick), 13. The Brian Kendrick (by HHH), 14. Dolph Ziggler (by Kane), 15. Santino Marella (by Kane), 16. Jim Duggan (by Big Show), 17. R-Truth (by Big Show), 18. CM Punk (by Big Show), 19. Mike Knox (by Big Show), 20. Rey Mysterio (by Big Show), 21. Finlay (by Kane), 22. Rob Van Dam (by Jericho), 23. Chris Jericho (by Undertaker), 24. Kane (by Legacy), 25. Big Show (by Orton), 26. The Undertaker (by Big Show), 27. Ted Dibiase (by HHH), 28. Cody Rhodes (by HHH), 29. Triple H (by Orton), WINNER: RANDY ORTON
Memorable Moments and Random Tidbits...
- The third year of the ECW Brand being represented in the Royal Rumble. This time we’ve only for 4 members of that roster: Mark Henry, The Miz, Finlay, and Morrison. I guess Jim Duggan was an actual member of the Raw Roster at the time? Jesus Christ.
- You know we’re in for a long, bumpy ride when the most interesting sequence in the first half of the match is VLADIMOR KOZLOV clearing the ring of a handful of guys who have become more and more of an after-thought. That’s one push I’m glad I completely missed out on.
- I know this is getting to be a tired complaint, but yep, another case of too many fucking people in the fucking ring for the majority of the fucking match. Less. Is. More. There’s NO REASON this has to be an issue every year, especially when you have a trio of top-level heels in the form of Legacy, who do NOTHING the entire match until the very end.
- Khali absolutely no-sells Carlito’s attempt at doing a Back Stabber.
- It took me this long to reference Carlito is a 2nd Generation Superstar, and his father, Carlos Colon, actually competed in a Royal Rumble Match? That was back when Carlito’s father was a spry youngster. Yeah... 2009 is leaving me little to work with. I’d just hit the skip button, but dammit, I’ve committed my time to every year so far, I can’t stop now.
- JTG and Shad Gaspard have to flip a coin to see which member of Cryme Tyme gets to enter the Royal Rumble. JTG calls heads and wins. The joke? It was a two-headed coin. HILARIOUS! And somehow JTG gets to spend more than 20-seconds in the match.
- Triple H and Chris Jericho go at it for Old Time’s Sake™.
- Cody Rhodes and Goldust have their 1st Royal Rumble encounter, and the crowd is slightly OK with it. Based on reactions each time they did it, I guess we shouldn’t have expected it to work as a singles program.
- Another problem with these Rumbles... the same boring crop of midcarders year after year. You know why I make comments about JTG? Because he’s at least someone new. There’s nothing to say about Shelton Benjamin, or Johnny Nitro/John Morrison, or CM Punk, or Mark Henry or Kane, because we’ve seen them year after year without doing anything worth mentioning .
- Kofi Kingston makes his Rumble debut, back when he was using a fake Jamaican accent. I didn’t know being born in Ghana and raised in Massachusetts translated to a JAMAICAN accent.
- R-Truth is making his first Rumble appearance since his 2001 performance under the K-Kwik name. In both matches, he’s eliminated by the Big Show.
- Rob Van Dam is a "surprise entrant", throwing terrible clotheslines at anyone willing to sell for them. At least Jericho was smart enough to put his hands up so he didn’t get a concussion from one of his wild kicks.
- Santino Marella does the impossible, running in and getting clotheslined out by Kane in about 1-second, breaking the Warlord’s record set way-back in 1989.
- Big Show cleans house. Yay. He tied Triple H with most eliminations in 2009, chalking up 6 in just under 10-minutes of ring time.
- Iron Man "Honors" go to pretty much everyone... Mysterio, Triple H, Orton, and Dibiase all lasted over 45-minutes, Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho just shy of 40-minutes, MIKE KNOX over half-an-hour... ridiculous. Shortest ring time goes to Santino Marella, of course, for 1-second, a new record.
Rumble Match Rating: Long and dull. I don’t even have much to say to bad-mouth it, since it wasn’t a booking disaster like 1999. There’s too many guys in the ring for almost the entire match, with a ridiculous amount of people spending extended lengths of time in there doing nothing. One of the easiest things to book for this Rumble is the dominance of Legacy, and they didn’t even do that! The only memorable moment from this Rumble was Santino’s breaking of an infamous record. [*1/2]
- Jack Swagger def. Matt Hardy to retain the ECW Championship. WWE trying to push it as anything more than a midcard belt on the level of the US Title would be ridiculous, with names like Swagger and Chavo holding the belt over the last 12-months. Decent match, nothing special. [**1/4]
- Melina def. Beth Phoenix for the WWE Women’s Championship. Sloppy match and the crowd didn’t care. [1/2*]
- John Cena def. JBL to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Part of the "interesting" storyline where Shawn Michaels went broke through bad financial planning and the market crashing or whatever nonsense WWE tried to incorporate into their storylines. If JBL wins, he will pay Michaels enough to retire AND grant him a Rumble spot. OK? Match is the same so-so effort from these two. [**1/2]
- Edge def. Jeff Hardy for the WWE Championship thanks to interference from Matt Hardy. The original plan was for Christian to make his WWE return and take care of business, but "too many people expected it", so plans were changed and we got this instead. Hardy vs. Hardy Part 3. Or 4. I lost track. [***1/2]
2010 (January 31st, The Philips Arena @ Atlanta, GA)
Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. Dolph Ziggler, 2. Evan Bourne, 3. CM Punk, 4. JTG, 5. The Great Khali, 6. Beth Phoenix, 7. Zack Ryder, 8. Triple H, 9. Drew McIntyre, 10. Ted Dibiase, 11. John Morrison, 12. Kane, 13. Cody Rhodes, 14. Montel Vontavious Porter, 15. Carlito, 16. The Miz, 17. Matt Hardy, 18. Shawn Michaels, 19. John Cena, 20. Shelton Benjamin, 21. Yoshi Tatsu, 22. The Big Show, 23. Mark Henry, 24. Chris Masters, 25. R-Truth, 26. Jack Swagger, 27. Kofi Kingston, 28. Chris Jericho, 29. Edge, 30. Batista
1. Evan Bourne (by Punk), 2. Dolph Ziggler (by Punk), 3. JTG (by Punk), 4. The Great Khali (by Phoenix), 5. Beth Phoenix (by Punk), 6. Zack Ryder (by Punk), 7. CM Punk (by HHH), 8. The Miz (by MVP), 9. MVP (by own momentum), 10. Matt Hardy (by Kane), 11. Kane (by HHH), 12. Carlito (by Michaels), 13. Cody Rhodes (by Michaels), 14. Ted Dibiase (by Michaels), 15. John Morrison (by Michaels), 16. Drew McIntyre (by HHH & Michaels), 17. Triple H (by Michaels), 18. Shelton Benjamin (by Cena), 19. Yoshi Tatsu (by Cena), 20. Chris Masters (by Show), 21. Mark Henry (by Truth), 22. Big Show (by Truth), 23. Jack Swagger (by Kofi), 24. R-Truth (by Kofi), 25. Kofi Kingston (by Cena), 26. Chris Jericho (by Edge), 27. Shawn Michaels (by Batista), 28. Batista (by Cena), 29. John Cena (by Edge), WINNER: EDGE
Memorable Moments and Random Tidbits...
Rumble Match Rating: Great Rumble from start to finish. We got off on a good note with CM Punk dominating the field of weak participants and doing something that seemed fresh. There was a short sequence of filling the ring, but that was quickly justified when Shawn Michaels cleared the ring out almost single-handedly, culminating in a surprise elimination of his best friend and co-holder of the Tag Titles, Triple H. From there it was Cena and Shawn dominating the ring, a quick Battle of the Bulge, the heart-breaking elimination of Shawn Michaels, and the surprise return and victory for Edge. This might’ve been the last great Rumble Match. [****1/2]
- Matt Striker on commentary. Yay. It only gets worse in 2011. I think out of everything coming out of his mouth, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler might have directly responded to him twice, and that was only to make fun of him.
- The last Royal Rumble to feature Superstars from the "ECW" Brand, and what a field of talent we got this year: Zack Ryder, with his one short-leg, one long-leg tights and terrible music, Yoshi Tatsu, the biggest Japanese jobber since Funaki, and Shelton Benjamin, still rocking the "Gold Standard" bleach-blond gimmick. Their combined ring time was less than two-minutes. Did I mention ECW was all but dead yet?
- CM Punk clears out Ziggler and Bourne and begins an awesome sequence where he cuts a trolling promo on the crowd and the other competitors with his straight-edge society banter in between quick(ish) eliminations of several new entrants.
- Great Khali, the Punjabi Playboy. ‘Nuff Said.
- Beth Phoenix is the 2nd female competitor to enter the Royal Rumble Match, and the first since Chyna did it in consecutive years for 1999 and 2000. Somehow she looks more like a serious opponent for Khali than Rey Mysterio.
- Holy F*CK, why is Triple H so bloated and out of shape looking?!
- The first Rumble in forever that doesn’t suffer from over-crowding the ring. I think the 2002 Rumble is the last to keep it under control. That doesn’t guarantee a good Rumble, but it helps. Here’s a happy coincidence: both this and the 2002 Rumble took place in the Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA.
- Morrison’s signature spot, "The Starship Pain", looks fucking terrible and never hits.
- Kane must have his work-rate boots on, coming into the match doing a flying clothesline. Kane is STILL living off the reputation of his performance in 2001.
- Shawn Michaels is in the Rumble because he wants a shot at a rematch with the Undertaker at WrestleMania, and the only way to do that is win the Rumble and challenge him for the World Title after Undertaker turned down his original challenge.
- Cena and Michaels selling for YOSHI TATSU just feels wrong.
- John Cena tries to give Mark Henry the Attitude Adjustment, but that wasn’t happening.
- Was R-Truth getting a big push to have the honors of eliminating Mark Henry and Big Show at the same time?
- Edge pulls off the John Cena Special, a surprise return from injury that was believed to keep him out of action for far longer than this.
- With the arrival of #30, we have the thinnest field in Royal Rumble History for his arrival, with only four participants left. Most Rumbles in the years leading up to this were hitting double-digits.
- Shawn Michaels with the most heart-breaking elimination in Rumble Match History, temporarily crushing his dreams for a rematch with the Undertaker. This would play out further on TV in the coming weeks, but the match comes to a halt to sell the impact, and even referee Charles Robinson takes a man-sized bump off Sweet Chin Music to sell it.
- Shawn Michaels dominated the field, with 6 eliminations to his credit. CM Punk with an impressive showing as well, throwing out 5.
- After a year of everyone and their mother spending 20+ minutes in the ring in the Rumble, this year no one really pulled off an Iron Man performance. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and John Cena all lasted in the neighborhood of 20 minutes, while the shortest time in the ring can be credited to guys like JTG, Zack Ryder, Yoshi Tatsu, Miz, and MVP, among others who were literally in and out in 30-seconds or so.
- Christian def. Ezekial Jackson to retain the ECW Championship. This was the last PPV to feature the ECW Brand, as they converted the weekly show into "NXT", and no, not "NXT" as we know it now. Decent match, but damn if I have much to say about Zeke other than he’s big and black and he was hired muscle at one point for THE Brian Kendrick. [**1/2]
- The Miz def. Montel Vontavious Porter to retain the US Championship. Standard TV Match, doesn’t help that neither guy is that good of a worker. [**]
- Sheamus def. Randy Orton by Disqualification to retain the WWE Championship when Cody Rhodes interfered. Is this the beginning of Legacy falling apart? Sheamus vs. Orton will always stand out in my mind as a match that nobody, smart fans or marks, ever want to see. [**1/2]
- Mickie James def. Michelle McCool for the Women’s Championship in about 30-seconds in what should’ve been the end of the Piggie James nonsense, with the title switch and babyface giving the heels what they had coming to them, but I’m pretty sure they pushed the angle further and then just buried Mickie further before letting her go. [NR]
- The Undertaker def. Rey Mysterio to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The size difference really makes it hard to make Rey a believable opponent for Taker, but they worked hard for the little amount of time allowed. [***1/2]
Final Thoughts: You can definitely see a lot of inconsistent effort and performances in this batch of Rumbles. 2006 will forever leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth with the exploitation of Eddie Guerrero’s name, and that’s not taking into account that the actual work in the match was really weak. 2007 and 2008 started and finished strong, but suffered from over-crowded middle portions. 2009 completely went off the tracks, giving us very little worth remembering and was just a bunch of guys doing the lazy lean for half-an-hour. We ended the stretch with the best Royal Rumble since 2005, a strong performance both creatively and from the talent in the match, complete with another chapter in the HBK/Undertaker chapter and the big surprise finish with Edge. We will conclude our trip down the Rumble Memory Lane™ with 2011-2015... this is going to be rough.
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