There are times when just about everyone has the Royal Rumble plans figured out before the event even takes place. This year was different, as the WWE did a nice job setting up several different subplots that could have played out in pro wrestling’s most famous gimmick pay-per-view.
Would it be DX pals Shawn Michaels and Triple H left as the last two men battling for a main event spot at WrestleMania? Perhaps John Cena would win again to aid in his quest for revenge against Sheamus or Batista would triumph so he could get a rematch with the Undertaker.
Instead, a surprise participant ended up as the last man standing at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena. Entering in the 29th position, Edge immediately set his sights on eliminating Chris Jericho, then outlasted a star-studded final four to win the Rumble match.
Early on, it looked like it would be CM Punk’s time to shine. The Straight Edge Superstar eliminated five of the first six people (yes people, as Beth Phoenix was among the victims) he faced, using the time in-between to cut heel promos on the microphone.
Punk’s night was eventually ended by Triple H, who had to wait ten more men until he was joined by Michaels. Though many expected they would both be around at the end, HBK made his old friend the last of his five and a half eliminations.
Michaels got close to achieving his goal of securing another shot at Undertaker, getting dumped out by Batista (the final Rumble entrant) with only four men left. He initially took his frustration out on the referee, dropping him with Sweet Chin Music, but eventually calmed down enough to head for the back.
With Shawn gone, Cena was left facing the two freshest men in Batista and Edge. He managed to eliminate The Animal, but Edge capped off his return from a long injury layoff by dumping Cena to the floor and getting his hand raised in victory.
Edge will have his pick of champions to face at WrestleMania, one of which is an unfamiliar face in Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior retained his WWE Championship by disqualification after Cody Rhodes attempted to help Randy Orton and was caught by the referee. The tensions in Legacy boiled over after the match, with Rhodes and Ted DiBiase both feeling Orton’s wrath.
The Undertaker has already beaten Edge at WrestleMania, but they could also face off again. Rey Mysterio put up a spirited effort attempting to take the World Heavyweight Championship away from the Dead Man, but a Last Ride eventually sealed his fate.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Elimination Chamber on February 21th.
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.
This may be the least exciting three-man announce team in Rumble history, with Michael Cole joined by Matt Striker and Jerry Lawler. I’m just saying.
Ezekiel Jackson w/ William Regal (challenger) vs. Christian (champion) – ECW Title Match
After they lock up, Christian knocks Ezekiel from the ring. Christian then launches himself over the ropes and crashes into the challenger. William Regal tries to interfere but is caught by the ref and tossed from ringside. Jackson then rams Christian into the steps. Back in the ring, Christian is choked on the ropes. Christian hits a flying elbow off the top turnbuckle and follows with a drop kick. Jackson kicks out. Christian misses a diving head butt, but Jackson can’t get the pin. Christian looks for the Killswitch, but Jackson counters. Christian counters into a sleeper, but Jackson slams him into the turnbuckle. Jackson looks to ram Christian again, but Christian slides off and hits the Killswitch. He covers for the win.
Winner… and still ECW champion… Christian at 11 minutes and 59 seconds.
Match Rating: 6/10
Teddy Long and Tiffany are talking backstage, and Cryme Tyme drops in. They only have one spot in the Rumble, but they both want to participate. They call in The Great Khali and try to get his spot by offering him a kiss from Tiffany. Khali’s interpreter jumps in and says no dice. They start clowning Cryme Tyme until The Miz comes in to restore order. Teddy Long isn’t pleased with The Miz, and books him in a match to defends his U.S. title… and that match is next.
You forgot the best part, which was Long and Khali launching into an impromptu rendition of “Pants on the Ground.” I’d rather hear them sing it than Brett Favre!
Cody Rhodes tells Randy Orton that Ted Dibiase is talking about winning the Rumble and then going to WrestleMania and beating Orton for the title. Rhodes says he’s got Randy’s back.
Yeah, DiBiase has a big head now that he’s the favorite wrestler of Redbox users everywhere. Of course several WWE grapplers have held that title with their direct-to-DVD exploits.
MVP (challenger) vs. The Miz (Champion) – U.S. Title Match
MVP connects on a back drop and The Miz rolls out of the ring. MVP follows him and drops him over the security barrier. The Miz recovers and kicks MVP in the face. Back in the ring, MVP hits a face buster and follows with the Ballin’ Elbow. The Miz blocks the Playmaker, but MVP kicks him in the face. Miz rolls out of the ring. The Miz dodges a kick and the two exchange pinfalls until Miz rolls out of the ring. Miz slips into the ring, and rolls up MVP to get the win. After the bell, Miz decides to taunt MVP and gets smacked in the face for doing so.
Winner… and still U.S. Champion… The Miz at 7 minutes and 30 seconds.
Match Rating: 6/10
Big Show confronts Chris Jericho about his jealousy. What jealousy, you ask? It has something to do with the fact that Show has already found a better tag team partner. Jericho pleads that he can still feel the chemistry between them in an… um… awkward moment. R-Truth butts in and actually gets in a pretty good burn on Jericho. Yeah, that surprises me too.
Ted DiBiase and Orton talk in the hallway. Ted tells Randy that Cody is planning on winning the Rumble and taking Orton’s title.
Randy Orton and Legacy end their relationship.
Randy Orton(challenger) vs. Sheamus (champion) – WWE Title Match
|WHAT YOU THINK
What did you think of the Royal Rumble?
It was great. – 27%
It was okay. – 26%
It sucked. – 13%
Didn’t see it. – 35%
Orton and Sheamus lock and Orton connects with a drop kick. Sheamus hits an arm breaker, forcing Orton to retreat to the floor. Sheamus follows him and slams Orton’s arm across the ring steps. Back in the ring, Orton floats over Sheamus and nails him with a chop block. Orton is tossed into the ring post and driven into the corner. Sheamus hits a single arm DDT. Orton and Sheamus trade punches. Orton is in trouble, but slides out of the Celtic Cross. Sheamus is knocked to the outside, and Orton catches him returning to the ring, hitting the DDT off the ropes. Orton covers, but Sheamus grabs the ropes to break the count. Orton waits for Sheamus to get to his knees and sets up the punt. Sheamus rolls out of the ring and Orton follows. Sheamus drives Orton into the ring post. Sheamus rolls Orton back into the ring but is then jumped from behind by Cody Rhodes. The ref yells at Cody, and Orton takes advantage by hitting the RKO. As Orton makes the pin, the ref calls for the bell and disqualifies Orton.
Winner… and still WWE Champion… Sheamus at 12 minutes and 27 seconds.
Match Rating: 5.5/10
After the match, Orton attacks Rhodes. DiBiase runs down and tries to break up the fight. Orton knocks him down in the corner. Orton then turns right into a bicycle kick from Sheamus.
Sheamus gets a little heel heat after attacking Orton, but it fades quickly. Surely this guy has to be dropping his belt at the next PPV, right? Right?
A video package takes us back through the feud between Michelle McCool and Mickie James. Normally I’d be upset about this, but this is probably the most entertaining women’s feud I’ve ever seen. As Dale says, having females taunt each other about their weight is almost a no-brainer.
The heel divas have their cake and wear it too.
Michelle McCool (champion) vs. Mickie James (challenger) – WWE Women’s Title Match
Not content with letting her previous words and actions speak for her, McCool calls out “Piggy James” for one last appearance, and Layla arrives in a fat suit. Mickie sprints down and kicks Piggy/Layla off the apron, and it only takes her 20 seconds to pin McCool and win the title. The rest of the face Divas come down with a cake to celebrate, and Striker has a good line where he says that any time food is in a WWE ring, it’s usually bad news. The cake gets smashed into the heels’ faces, and I miss whatever happens next because I’m thinking about Gail Kim and icing. Yum!
Winner… and new WWE Women’s Champion … Mickie James at 20 seconds.
Match Rating: 8/10 (for the feud and the pay-off, not the actual wrestling)
An ad is aired for the Elimination Chamber PPV. I always thought that was a slang term for a toilet. A video recap of the Undertaker-Mysterio feud (with special guest appearances by Batista) follows.
Rey Mysterio goes for the 619 on The Undertaker.
The Undertaker (champion) vs. Rey Mysterio (challenger) – World Heavyweight Title Match
Rey comes out looking to stick and move, but he’s quickly sent out to the floor. Several times. In fact, Mysterio spends a good chunk of the opening minutes out on the floor. He finally dodges a big boot and goes to work on UT’s right leg. Undertaker looks for a Last Ride on the floor (which would really hurt), but Rey escapes and hits a moonsault off the apron. Undertaker is bleeding from the nose when the fight returns to the squared circle. He hits a sidewalk slam for a near fall. Rey gets the worst of an exchange of strikes. Undertaker tries again for the Last Ride, but Rey maneuvers him into a 619. Mysterio uses a springboard drop kick to set up a second 619. He comes off the ropes again, but the third time is not the charm as ‘Taker catches him in mid-air. Rey is elevated for the Last Ride, and he’s not kicking out of that.
Winner… and still WWE champion … The Undertaker at 11 minutes and 7 seconds.
Match Rating: 7.5/10
Kane tells Michaels that his obsession with beating Undertaker at Mania is unhealthy. And step one in realizing you have a problem is Kane telling you that you have a problem.
|Royal Rumble Stats
|1 Dolph Ziggler
|1 Evan Bourne
|2 Evan Bourne
|2 Dolph Ziggler
|3 CM Punk
|4 The Great Khali
|5 The Great Khali
|5 Beth Phoenix
|6 Beth Phoenix
|6 Zack Ryder
|7 Zack Ryder
|7 CM Punk
|8 Triple H
|8 The Miz
|9 Drew McIntyre
|10 Ted DiBiase
|10 Matt Hardy
|11 John Morrison
|13 Cody Rhodes
|13 Cody Rhodes
|14 Ted DiBiase
|15 John Morrison
|16 The Miz
|16 Drew McIntyre
|17 Matt Hardy
|17 Triple H
|18 Shelton Benjamin
|19 John Cena
|19 Yoshi Tatsu
|20 Shelton Benjamin
|20 Chris Masters
|21 Yoshi Tatsu
|21 Mark Henry
|22 The Big Show
|22 The Big Show
|23 Mark Henry
|23 Jack Swagger
|24 Chris Masters
|25 Kofi Kingston
|26 Jack Swagger
|26 Chris Jericho
|27 Kofi Kingston
|28 Chris Jericho
|29 John Cena
Winner of the Royal Rumble: Edge
Time of the Rumble: 49 minutes and 25 seconds
Most Eliminations: Michaels with 5 ½.
Shortest time in ring: The Miz at 30 seconds.
Longest time in ring: Unlike in past years, no one had a marathon session in this year’s Rumble. If the math is right, John Cena was the iron man at only 23 minutes.
In three Rumbles, John Morrison has spent over an hour of time in the ring without a single elimination. He spent 11 minutes in the ring this year and came up empty once again.
Beth Phoenix became the second woman to participate in the Rumble. She lasted just under two minutes, but in that time she eliminated The Great Khali (with a kiss) and took the GTS from CM Punk.
MVP was jumped on the ramp by The Miz and never made it to the ring. MVP returned when The Miz entered the ring. He took out the Miz and eliminated himself at the same time.
We’ll have to have the SLAM! Wrestling intern check on it, but CM Punk is believed to be the first Superstar to cut multiple promos during the Rumble match.
Total Event Time: 2 hours and 41 minutes
Event Rating: 7/10