How’s that saying go? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? The Royal Rumble has always been one of the most popular pay-per-views, sending the fans home after watching one triumphant superstar battle through 29 wrestlers to get a title match at WrestleMania. Not this year.

In a stunning move, the Rumble was booked in the middle of Sunday night’s show from Miami’s American Airlines Arena, with both title matches running the anchor leg. In what has become a cliché, the winner of the Rumble was not the first man in, but the second. Rey Mysterio eliminated first-man-in Triple H, leaving him face to face with fellow Smackdown star Randy Orton. A frustrated Game pulled Mysterio from the ring, slamming him into the ring steps. Orton was primed to win his first Rumble, but took too long in picking up Rey Rey. Mysterio grabbed the top rope, then used a head scissors to pull Orton over the rope and to the floor.

The Raw main event (which should have ended the show… well, actually the Rumble should have ended the show, but that’s a column for Nick to tackle) featured John Cena trying to regain the title that he lost to Edge three weeks ago. Cena made a grand entrance on a catwalk that was lowered from the ceiling. The match had the potential to be a train wreck, but both competitors wrestled a solid match. Edge dodged an F-U by raking Cena’s eyes. Cena dodged a Spear and followed with a flying forearm. A clothesline set up the Five-Knuckle Shuffle and a pin. The ref didn’t make the count as Lita jumped on the apron. Cena confronted Edge’s main squeeze with bad intentions on his mind. Edge tried to make the save, but instead knocked Lita to the floor. Cena picked Edge up and hit the F-U, and immediately locked in the STF-U. Moments later Edge tapped, and Cena regained his title.

Mark Henry may have waited almost a decade for it, but he finally got his chance to star in a pay-per-view main event — even if it’s not real clear what he did to deserve it. Right off the bat, the World’s Strongest Man did his strength thing, tossing Angle to the floor where Daivari gleefully took a few shots. Henry also caught Angle coming off the top rope and broke free of the Ankle Lock for the second time in the past few weeks.

Angle managed to hoist his large foe for an Angle Slam only to see Henry kick out at two. Another Ankle Lock proved no use, but this time Angle got kicked into referee Charles Robinson. A chair came into play, with both Daivari and Henry tasting the steel. Even that wasn’t enough to put Henry down for the count, so Angle exposed the steel on one of the middle turnbuckles, and a drop toehold put an end to Henry’s first, and probably last, PPV world title shot.

The next WWE pay-per-view (even though it wasn’t promoted at all during Sunday’s show) is the Smackdown-only No Way Out on February 19.

If you’ve been with us for the past few years, you know the drill by now. Nick’s comments will be in plain type with Dale’s remarks in italics.

Kid Kash (champion) vs. Funaki (challenger) vs. Jamie Noble (challenger) vs. Nunzio (challenger) vs. Paul London (challenger) vs. Gregory Helms (challenger) – Cruiserweight Title Match – Texas Tornado Rules

Helms is the surprise entrant in this one – I guess he heads to Smackdown if he wins. My wife succinctly sums up the current plight of WWE cruiserweights by asking, “Is Heat still on?” The coolest high spot of the match occurs when London fires off a Shooting Star Press with all five of his foes on the floor, though hardly anyone breaks his fall, poor guy. Speaking of poor guys, Funaki ends up in Noble’s dragon sleeper. Helms breaks it up and tosses Noble through the ropes, then turns and nails Funaki with the Shining Wizard. A three count follows. Get it? Three Count? Helms? Anyone except for the five people watching at the tail end of WCW’s run is now officially lost.

It’s bad enough that WWE keeps heaping the dirt on WCW, but now they’re starting to bury their own show. First Kurt Angle jumps to Smackdown and wins the Heavyweight Title, and now Helms wins the Cruiserweight Title. Maybe it’s time to rethink the brand split, hmmm?

Winner… and new Cruiserweight Champion… Gregory Helms at seven minutes and 41 seconds

Match Rating: 7/10

Teddy Long, looking sharp in his bowtie, drops in to tell Vince McMahon that he’s there to help make sure the show stays on track. McMahon politely tells Long he has everything under control. And if you’re counting, that’s 22 whole seconds Long worked to get his PPV bonus this month. Torrie, Victoria and Candice are on hand to help pick the numbers for Royal Rumble entry spots, and Randy Orton is the first to choose. Triple H is next, and he can’t resist taking a shot at Orton’s “Mr. Destiny” bit by calling himself “Mr. Reality.” But reality must not be that great, because Orton laughs when he sees the number Trips draws. Randy says he’ll see Hunter in the Rumble… or maybe not. Think The Game picked number one?

Will someone tell Vince he’s not Hugh Hefner? Please?

Ashley vs. Mickie James with Trish Stratus as special referee

In an awkward pre-match moment, Mickie tells Trish she loves her, and not like a sister, if you catch my drift. Also, don’t be surprised if you hear that Ashley has suffered a career ending injury, as Mickie drops her on her head off the top turnbuckle. Trish makes the count, reluctantly, and Mickie picks up the win. After the match, Mickie goes crazy, hugging Trish. The women’s champ wants no part of it.

Winner … Mickie James at seven minutes and 44 seconds.

Match Rating: 2.5/10

Vince is checking out the Diva’s tattoos when Big Show stops by to draw his number. Show seems indifferent to his number, unlike Rey Mysterio. Rey Rey says Eddie is helping him, but after looking at his number, Rey isn’t pleased with the help.

John Bradshaw Layfield vs. The Boogeyman

I keep thinking The Boogeyman’s entrance should involve him coming out from someone’s closet or underneath someone’s bed. But I guess the worms are enough. Speaking of worms, Jillian Hall gets up close and personal with a few of them when JBL leaves her at Boogeyman’s mercy. The wrestling god finally summons up the courage to do battle, choking Boogeyman with some tape. A minute later, Boogeyman hits his pumphandle powerslam, and it’s over before you can say, “Boogeyman’s coming to get you!”

Winner … The Boogeyman at one minute and 53 seconds.

Match Rating: 6/10 if you like worms, 1/10 if you don’t

Vince thinks he’s getting goosed by one of his Divas, but it’s actually Shelton Benjamin’s Mama. Her son picks his number, promising to take care of Shawn Michaels. Melina and MNM drop in to draw spots and make a similar vow to rid McMahon of HBK. Geez, everybody has it in for Shawn. A video package promotes the Rumble match, and for the first time we get the sinking feeling that the Rumble isn’t going to be the last match on the card tonight. And if that’s not bad enough, Lilian Garcia’s attempt to explain the rules are interrupted by the Spirit Squad. The guys do their version of a Royal Rumble cheer, leaving me with the following thought: when they told these guys they were getting called up from OVW, did they happen to mention that they were going to be male cheerleaders? One hopes so.

Royal Rumble


No. Drawn No. Elim.
1 Triple H 1 Simon Dean by HHH/Rey
2 Rey Mysterio 2 Psicosis by Rey
3 Simon Dean 3 Flair by HHH
4 Psicosis 4 Coach by Show
5 Ric Flair 5 Sylvan by Lashley
6 Big Show 6 Lashley by Show/Kane
7 Coach 7 Kane by HHH
8 Lashley 8 Big Show by HHH
9 Kane 9 Booker T by Benoit
10 Sylvan 10 Animal by RVD
11 Carlito 11 Chavo by HHH
12 Benoit 12 Tatanka by M-N-M
13 Booker T 13 Murdoch by HBK
14 Mercury 14 Matt Hardy by Viscera
15 Tatanka 15 Eugene by Benoit
16 Nitro 16 Super Crazy by Rey
17 Murdoch 17 Benoit by Orton
18 Eugene 18 Viscera by Masters/Carlito
19 Animal 19 Masters by Carlito
20 RVD 20 Goldust by RVD
21 O. Jordan 21 Jordan by Orton
22 Chavo 22 Mercury by Nitro assist HBK
23 Matt Hardy 23 Nitro by HBK
24 Super Crazy 24 Benjamin by HBK
25 HBK 25 HBK by Shane-O-Mac
26 C. Masters 26 Carlito by RVD
27 Viscera 27 RVD by Rey
28 S. Benjamin 28 HHH by Rey
29 Goldust 29 Orton by Rey
30 Randy Orton

Most Eliminations: Rey Mysterio with 5.5

Longest time in ring: Rey Mysterio at 62 minutes and 15 seconds

Shortest time in ring: Booker and Coach at under one minute

Longest time without an elimination: Tatanka with 20 minutes


* Immediately after helping Masters toss Big Vis, Carlito once again turned on the Masterpiece, eliminating him after the Rumble.

* After HBK eliminated Benjamin, Vince McMahon headed to the ring. He distracted Michaels long enough for Shane to enter from the crowd, and toss HBK from the ring.

* In case you missed it… Super Crazy was eliminated as Goldust was entering the ring. (Thank goodness for our host, Brian Whorl, and his magic DVR!)

John Cena (challenger) vs. Edge w/ Lita (champion) – WWE Championship Match

Winner … and new WWE Champion…John Cena at 14 minutes and two seconds.

Match Rating: 7.5/10

Mark Henry (challenger) vs. Kurt Angle (champion) – World Heavyweight Championship Match

Winner … and still World Heavyweight Champion … Kurt Angle at nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Match Rating: 4/10

Total Event Time: 2 hours and 47 minutes

Event Rating: 7/10

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