WWE Royal Rumble '05
January 30th, 2005

It was the start of a new year, as well as the new generation of WWE. On the Raw side, Triple H had continued to manage to retain his title, thanks in part to his Evolution partner, Batista. On the Smackdown front, John Bradshaw Layfield continued to dominate his brand as the WWE Champion, but a major contender in John Cena was starting to show on the horizon. For the Rumble, though, while the future main eventers tried their best to win out in the Rumble Match, Triple H and JBL faced more challengers to their gold. Let's get to it.

WWE Royal Rumble '05
Posted by the Accelerator, March 5th, 2007

- This was the year that Vince McMahon and the WWE thought it would be a great idea to spoof "West Side Story" and have each brand dress up like the Sharks and the Jets and do musical numbers. Seriously. I'm not making that up. That was the main ad campaign (and explains the front of the box).

- Great opening video, starting with a Countdown, then going through some of the more memorable moments of the Rumble. It's actually pretty short for a Rumble intro video, but it's still dramatic.

- Michael Cole & Tazz are the announcers for Smackdown, with their Spanish partners, Carlos Cabrera & Hugo Savinovich, next to them at ringside. Meanwhile, the Raw announcers, Jim Ross & Jerry "The King" Lawler, are a little further away from the action.

The King: "This is not the West Side Story, this is the West Coast Rumble!" (Ok, thanks for clarifying that, King)

Edge vs. Shawn Michaels:

Jim Ross & the King will be handling announcing duties here. The story here is that, at Taboo Tuesday '05, the fans voted for Shawn Michaels, despite his bad leg, to get the title shot, instead of Edge. Edge, thus, screwed Michaels out of the shot, igniting their feud. JR mentions that HBK won the Rumble here in Fresno in '96. I love history. The match starts quickly, with Edge trying to surprise Michaels, but Michaels beats him off and sends him out of the ring, while Skinning the Cat back in. This gives Michaels a few seconds to finally take off his entrance garb, as Edge looks on angrily from outside. With things slowed down, the two lock up, with Edge taking HBK to the corner. HBK dodges the punch, though, and gets in a few chops, complete with Whooo's. HBK then tosses Edge into the ropes, but Edge catches HBK with his head down, getting a neckbreaker to take control. Michaels comes back briefly with a stiff-looking punch to the head, but Edge gets back with a thumb to the eye. Michaels responds by channeling Stone Cold and getting the Thesz Press, soon followed by Edge going to the outside.

Michaels makes the crucial mistake by going to the floor to fight Edge, who wins out on the battle with a slam. Edge then enters the ring, only to return with a baseball slide. The crowd is surprisingly docile after the opening cheers for both wrestlers. I guess they're saving their energy. Edge bounces HBK's head off the apron, then gets him back into the ring, where he starts to dominate, whipping HBK hard into the corner. HBK uses some chops to come back, but it's quickly snuffed out by a Sit-Down Powerbomb by Edge, which gets a 2 count. Edge next applies the Body Scissors, which takes up the next few minutes. Edge has blood on his arm; it might be from Michaels' hand, but I'm not sure about that yet. HBK finally fights free, but Edge yanks him down by the hair, which wakes up the crowd. They aren't Edge-Heads here in Fresno. HBK tries again to get back into this one, throwing Edge over the turnbuckle. But Edge lands on his feet, then sends HBK down by the hair again.

Edge opts to climb the turnbuckle for a Cross Body, but Michaels dodges, then gets a rollup for 2. Edge answers with a kick (called Sweet Chin Music by the King) for a 2 count, then goes after HBK's hair again. Hey, if any match was going to have a lot of hair pulling, this one would. HBK nearly gets Edge with a reversed suplex, so Edge comes back with a clothesline and a Reverse Chin Lock. Michaels manages to escape, then gets fired up, hitting Edge with chops and a painful-sounding running knee. Multiple inverted atomic drops follow. Michaels whips Edge into the corner, but Edge reverses. Michaels catches a charging Edge with an elbow, then gets him in the corner and mounts him for the punches. Edge recovers to bring Michaels out of the corner, but HBK sneaks over him and gets a Sunset Flip for a close 2 count. HBK next Slingshots Edge into the post for another 2 count, and Edge decides to take a walk up the aisle. Michaels gives chase and brings Edge back, knocking his head into the apron. But when the ref gets involved, wanting HBK back in the ring, Edge gets a surprising Spear on the outside!

The ref counts to 9, but Michaels manages to get back before Edge could get the win. After a little 'tuning up the band', Edge nails Michaels with another Spear, then makes the cover... for 2. Edge can't believe it, as he pulls his own hair. Hair is a major running-storyline in this match. Edge pulls himself together and puts HBK on the turnbuckle, but HBK fights him off, sending Edge back to the mat. HBK then comes off with his Elbow Drop, igniting the crowd! The ref counts away on both men, as Michaels manages to use the ropes to pull himself up. Michaels gets energized, doing his own tune-up before trying for some Sweet Chin Music. But Edge counters into the Electric Chair Drop, nearly winning with a 2 count! We have an exchange of punches and chops, with Edge managing to reverse another Sunset Flip attempt into a version of the Sharpshooter! Michaels struggles to get to the ropes, and after several attempts, makes it, and Edge is losing his mind. He's also got a bloody mouth. Michaels nearly gets a roll-up for 2, but Edge kicks out. A second roll-up by Michaels is reversed by Edge, who grabs the ropes and hangs on for the surprise victory! Michaels' head is clearly under the ropes due to the slight mistake in the roll-up, but the ref conveniently ignored it.

Ace Thoughts: Tremendous opening match, as these guys always had great chemistry. While I've seen better between them, this one was a great way to open the PPV, and the roll-up victory keeps both men strong. Also, of course, both men will be in the Rumble later, so we'll get to continue this one.

- Eric Bischoff (GM of Raw) and Teddy Long (GM of Smackdown) brag about their respective brands. Christy and Torrie are in charge of the draw, or at least the spinning of the container. Ric Flair and Eddie Guerrero draw their numbers. Flair is incredibly excited, while Guerrero, well, isn't quite as happy. Guerrero does congratulate Flair with a hug, then leaves quickly. Flair then shows off his number to everyone, but it's apparently changed, as Guerrero pulled a fast one and stole his number! Ahhh, good ol' Eddie. We still miss ya.

- We see Heidenreich, again talking about how he hates caskets. He's greeted by the madman of Raw, Gene Snitsky. Two freaks getting along. They like each other. Great.

- A video package has Heidenreich's poetry talking about the end of the Undertaker. It also showcases the battles in their feud. Heidenreich isn't afraid of the Undertaker, but, as I already wrote (and they've already said several times), Heidenreich hates caskets.

Heidenreich vs. the Undertaker, Casket Match:

The druids are here! They drag out the casket, for whoever will be placed in it. Cole & Tazz will be doing the announcing for this one. The entrances here take forever. The crowd loves it, though. We start out eighties-style with a lock-up followed by a headlock by the Undertaker. The Dead Man brings Heidenreich near the casket, as the announcers talk about mind games. The Undertaker continues with old-school moves, including a hip toss and an arm drag. Heidenreich gets to get his some offense now, getting a headlock, a shoulder block, and another headlock & shoulder block set. The Undertaker comes back with a single leg Boston Crab, with Heidenreich forced to escape by climbing towards the casket for the ropes. We go to the outside, with Heidenreich reversing a whip, sending the Dead Man slamming into the casket. Heidenreich's fear seems to be controlled for the moment, as he bounces the Undertaker's head off the casket.

Both men go back into the ring, with Heidenreich kicking away at the Undertaker in the corner. The fans cheer for the Dead Man, with Heidenreich telling them to shut up. Heidenreich tries a choke on the Undertaker, but the Undertaker somehow uses the ropes to put on a Triangle Choke in the corner! We go to the mat, with the Undertaker still choking out the big man. All of the sudden, though, Gene Snitsky appears, stomping away on the Dead Man! Snitsky has been feuding with the Undertaker's brother, Kane, so he's willing to help out Heidenreich. The two double-team 'Taker, giving him a Double Suplex. The two monsters drop elbows, then take the Undertaker to the casket. But the casket has an occupant already: Kane!! The crowd is going crazy! Kane attacks both heels, dominating them, as he goes after his rival, Snitsky, giving him a Cactus Jack clothesline to the outside! The two Raw stars fight through the crowd, leaving just the original wrestlers.

Back to the regular action, Heidenreich is gingerly shoving the casket up the aisleway, possibly just to get rid of it. The Undertaker comes up behind him, sending Heidenreich face-first into the casket! But Heidenreich comes back with a reversal, sending the Undertaker painfully into the steel stairs knee-first! Heidenreich, now a little more confident, moves the mat, then goes and gets the casket. In a slightly humorous moment, Heidenreich looks quickly inside the casket, making sure that it's empty this time, then rolls it down the aisle and running over the prone Undertaker!! Back in the ring, Heidenreich applies another choke/sleeper variation, trying to knock the Dead Man out. He rolls the Undertaker into the casket, but he can't close it, as the Undertaker raises his arm and comes back to life, er, as much as the Undertaker can. The Undertaker drags Heidenreich into the casket with him, then puts his head into the casket and puts the lid down, before doing a legdrop on the lid!!

Crowd: "Holy S$$t! Holy S$$t!"

Back in the ring again, the Undertaker tried a chokeslam, but Heidenreich gets free with headbutts. The Undertaker tries a toss into the ropes to go for his familiar DDT, but Heidenreich reverses into a Side Slam!! Heidenreich covers, but, of course, there's no count. After a few seconds of mistaken celebration, Heidenreich puts the Dead Man back in the casket, but the Undertaker comes out again, this time with a Choke hold! We're fighting it out in the ring, and this time the Undertaker gets his flying DDT maneuver, then lands the Chokeslam!! After a slash of the throat, the Undertaker delivers the Tombstone Piledriver, ko'ing Heidenreich! After a few kicks, the Undertaker gets Heidenreich into the casket, then quickly closes the lid, giving the Dead Man another Casket victory!

Ace Thoughts: Considering that this was a match with a rookie Heidenreich, this was actually pretty entertaining. The Undertaker usually does pretty well with caskets, and there were a few moves here that really showed how far he's willing to go for the fans. He made Heidenreich look good here, and the interference of Snitsky and Kane didn't really take anything away. If anything, the appearance of Kane (and the shocked reaction of referee Li'l Natch) added to the match, as the crowd exploded. So far, I'm really enjoying this PPV.

- We get a short promo, telling us Wrestlemania 21 is going Hollywood.

- Teddy Long is shown talking to Eddie Guerrero, as Evolution bursts in to get Flair's number back. Long talks Eddie into returning the number, then shows his smarts, keeping Guerrero from leaving until he also returns Flair's wallet!! Hilarious! Guerrero and Long leave, as Batista talks about going to get his Rumble number. Triple H wants to talk about the champ's match with Orton, but Batista isn't having it. Flair patches things up between the Evolution members.

- Back at the drawing area, Long tells Bischoff that he's fixed the problem. Christian is there w/ Tyson Tomko. Christian brags about signing the petition to get Long kicked off of Smackdown (that clearly didn't work), then gets his number. He's certainly happy with it, so that's good. John Cena comes in, and Cena and Christian have a minor confrontation. Christian says he can beat Cena in a freestyle rap contest at any point, so Cena says to give him a taste. Christian does a rough rap (Tomko refuses to b-box), then Cena takes him to school.

John Bradshaw Layfield(c) vs. Kurt Angle vs. the Big Show, WWE Smackdown Heavyweight Title Triple-Threat No-Disqualification Match:

This one had an interesting build to it, as we had JBL tricking Angle into going into Joy Giovanni's dressing room. Joy is the Big Show's girlfriend at the time, so the Big Show took out Angle. The next week, Joy was found in JBL's limo, causing another destructive outburst by the giant. Angle, of course, was behind the kidnapping. The next week, Angle & JBL joined together, along with their stables, to beat down the Big Show. On the Smackdown before the PPV, Angle and JBL's unity fell apart, with the two battling in a hard-fought brawl. It was all a plan by the Big Show to beat up both men before the title match. Both Angle and JBL are hurting as they come to the ring, making the bald giant the favorite. That's your story, hope you enjoyed it.

We still have Cole & Tazz as the announcers for this one, unless, of course, you're listening to the Spanish broadcast. In which case, we've still got Carlos & Hugo. We start out with JBL and the Big Show, as Angle stays on the floor to watch for a little while. The Big Show dominates with chops and headbutts, and JBL waves to Angle, desperate for some help. Angle just laughs. JBL tries to come back with a boot and a top rope maneuver, but the Big Show catches him in mid-air and slams him, then drops the leg. Angle finally comes in to break up the count, so the Big Show starts to dominate him as well, launching Angle painfully into the corner. JBL comes back and tries a suplex on the Big Show. Stupid JBL. The Big Show easily reverses it. Both JBL and Angle are on the ropes, so the Big Show clotheslines both men out of the ring! What can stop the giant?? The Big Show goes to the outside, continuing the destruction of both wrestlers. He throws JBL into the post, then sets up the steps next to the announce table. He clears the announce table, then prepares to Chokeslam JBL through it. But Angle's back with a low blow, then hammers the Big Show in the head with a monitor, sending the Big Show toppling into and through the table!!

It's now Angle and JBL, with Angle taking control around the ringside area. We go back into the ring, but JBL catches him coming in. Off the ropes, and Angle surprises JBL with an armbar. JBL quickly fights out, then slings Angle into the ropes to try a Big Boot. It's a swing and a miss, as Angle goes right back to the arm. Once again, JBL doesn't stay on the mat long, as he fights back into it, throwing Angle into the corners. Angle responds with a dodge, followed by a German Suplex! JBL tries to use the ropes, as well as elbows, to avoid another German, then goes for the Clothesline From Hell! Angle ducks, then lands the German anyway! Angle tries the Angle Slam, but JBL gets free, then gets a boot for a 2 count. As JBL looks frustrated, the Big Show comes back in, and the crowd gets pumped! The Big Show gives both men a Double Clothesline, followed by headbutts. He slams JBL, then slams Angle on top of JBL! The Big Show's been dominating everywhere this match.

After a double-ass-blast in the corner, the Big Show drops the straps and goes for a Double Chokeslam, but both men escape, with Angle clipping the knees from behind while JBL lands the Clothesline From Hell! As JBL tries to get the pin, Angle gives JBL a German Suplex, then gets a 2 count on the Big Show. As the giant gets up, Angle delivers the Angle Slam! JBL seizes the opportunity and tries his own pinfall on the Big Show for another 2 count. Whatever JBL's thinking of doing next, it doesn't work, as the Big Show Chokeslams him! JBL barely manages to get a foot on the ropes to stop the pin. A ticked-off Big Show follows JBL to the outside and runs towards him, Spearing JBL through the barricade!! Yowsas! We've got another chant going by the crowd. The Big Show reenters the ring, where Angle's waiting with a chair. He tries to nail Angle, but the Big Show lifts Angle up and face-plants him on the chair! Wow! The Big Show has the pin, but Mark Jindrak & Luther Reigns are there to battle the Big Show in the aisle. Meanwhile, the Cabinet (Orlando Jordan & the Bashams) come down to check on JBL, and Jordan surprisingly throws JBL back into the ring! JBL responds with the Clothesline From Hell on Angle!!! There's the pin, and JBL's retained the title! The Cabinet celebrates, as a furious Big Show looks on.

Ace Thoughts: We're three-for-three, as we had another great match. The ending really helped to build to No Way Out, as the Big Show looked unstoppable, but JBL managed to retain the gold. Several close calls, which is what you want to see in a Triple Threat Match. Oh, and that Spear through the barricade? Pretty cool.

- Carlito tries to intimidate Batista into signing his petition to get rid of Teddy Long. When Batista refuses, Carlito almost decides to spit his apple into Batista's face. But Batista responds by reminding Carlito about where he had stuck the Canadian flagpole in a bad place for La Resistance the week before, and Carlito backs down with a scared grin. Batista continues to the drawing room, where, as Bischoff and Long argue, he makes his draw. Bischoff, having talked about all the run-ins in the Triple Threat Match, lets Batista know that Evolution is banned from ringside during the Triple H/Orton Match. Batista doesn't seem too upset.

- We get another Wrestlemania preview, showcasing Eugene in a "Forest Gump" role. He gets so worked up about Wrestlemania moments, he knocks out the lady next to him. William Regal then comes in and tells Eugene to run. Somewhat funny.

- Video package about the Triple H/Orton feud, starting with the Elimination Chamber Match at New Year's Revolution. Orton beat Batista in a #1 Contenders Match, thanks to a miscue from Triple H. We flash back to their Evolution history, when Triple H & Evolution turned on Orton after Orton won the World Title from Chris Benoit.

Triple H(c) vs. Randy Orton, WWE Raw World Heavyweight Title Match:

JR & the King talk before the match about how Evolution is banned from ringside. More long intros. I guess that explains why the opening video was so short. Triple H shows off the title to Orton in the beginning, causing Orton to slap the Game across the face! The bell rings, and we're on! Orton strikes quickly with a backslide for 2, then lands some punches and a backdrop to put Triple H on the defensive. Orton then opts to go for the RKO, but Triple H manages to dodge and goes to the outside. Orton soon follows, punching Triple H to the mat, then smacking his head off of the apron, before sending the Game back into the ring. A dropkick leads to another 2 count for Orton.

The two fight into the corner, with Triple H using the ref's distraction to kick Orton in the gut. The two exchange punches, with Triple H gaining control with a knee. He goes for the 10 punches, but only gets 4 before Orton gives the Game the Snake-eyes on the turnbuckle. Orton tries for the RKO again, but Triple H launches Orton over the ropes and to the floor outside! Orton's laying in the destruction of the Smackdown announce table. Triple H comes out after him, bouncing Orton off the steel steps. Triple H goes back into the ring and poses like Orton, as Orton struggles to get up. As Orton gets back into the ring, Triple H lends a hand, then drops a few knees. Triple H chokes Orton next to the ropes repeatedly, as Triple H has no problems with a DQ. Triple H throws Orton into the corner and tries a charge, but takes a boot to the face, as Orton comes back with punches. But Triple H manages to get a chop on Orton's hurting leg, then adds to the damage with a shot into the post.

For the next few minutes, Triple H focuses on the leg, showing some good ring psychology. After all, you can't do the RKO on one leg, can you? I guess we'll find out. Orton surprises Triple H with an inside cradle, but the champ escapes, then locks on the Figure Four! There are a lot of Flair fans in the audience who give out some Whooo's. For a while, Orton's in trouble, but Triple H makes the classic mistake of slapping Orton. The insult causes Orton to fire up, with the third-generation wrestler reversing the Figure Four and causing Triple H to grab the ropes. Despite the reversal, Orton's still down, as Triple H goes back to concentrating on the leg by dragging Orton onto the apron. But Orton kicks free, sending Triple H toppling over the Spanish Announce Table! This allows Orton to recover, as he catches Triple H coming back in and gives him his knee-backbreaker (not very smart, considering the leg damage). Orton, though, is pumped up, as he punches away on the champ. A swinging neckbreaker and a modified neckbreaker both lead to 2 counts.

Orton continued to have the momentum, nearly winning again with a Powerslam. But Orton's own attempt at a 10-Punch in the corner ends in an Inverted Atomic Drop, allowing Triple H to struggle back and climb the turnbuckle. Whatever he was thinking, it doesn't happen, as Orton gives Triple H an armdrag off the turnbuckle! Orton then climbs the turnbuckle himself and comes off with a Crossbody, getting yet another 2 count. A frustrated Orton tries a backdrop, but Triple H gets a facebuster (using his knee), then goes for the Pedigree. Orton counters it, though, with a Slingshot into the corner. Orton again looks for the RKO, but HHH dodges again, this time getting a running knee for a 2 count. Orton's got a bloody mouth now. Another Pedigree attempt ends in a clothesline from Orton for another 2 count. The fight continues, as both head to the outside.

Orton gets the advantage, hitting Triple H off the steps before bringing him back in. Orton batters Triple H in the corner, as the Game leans almost unconscious against Orton. But a DDT attempt from Orton fails, as Triple H holds the ropes. Orton goes to the outside, as he looks completely dazed. JR quickly mentions a possible concussion, while the King talks about his "Krispy Kreme" eyes. Referee Earl Hebner encourages Orton to get back in, rather than counting him out. He seems concerned about Orton's condition, but concern is a bad thing in a wrestling ring, and Hebner gets taken out as Triple H charges in on Orton. We're back outside, as Triple H pulls out his sledgehammer! He prepares to take out Orton, but Orton trips him up, sending him face-first into the post! Orton's still badly dazed, as he can't walk straight. He climbs back onto the apron, then sees the sledgehammer and goes for it. He takes too long, though, as Triple H gives him a violent clothesline! Triple H gets the hammer, but, with the ref recovering, he decides that he doesn't need it. He tosses it to the outside, then picks up the nearly-unconscious Orton and delivers the Pedigree! The 3 count is academic, as Triple H retains the gold.

Ace Thoughts: In comparison with the other matches on this card, this bout really seems to suffer. The gimmicky-ending, with Orton apparently concussed, took a lot away from this one. The concussion angle would continue for a few weeks, but Orton eventually got himself healthy, then returned to what he's good at: being the heel. The damage had been done to his career over the last year, as sometimes it doesn't pay to win the big gold. Luckily for him, he'd eventually come back to earn more gold in WWE. This match wasn't bad, it was just a little forgettable in the long run.

- Kurt Angle steals Nunzio's number, scaring him off. Angle's obviously in a bad mood after losing in the title match.

- Bischoff brags to Long about the no-outside-interference in the Raw Title Match. Long's had an idea, but it's put on hold as JBL and his entourage come in, still celebrating the title defense with champagne and photographers. JBL insults Long, but Long reveals his idea to JBL, as JBL will face the Big Show at No Way Out... in a "Barbed Wire Steel Cage" Match!! JBL is speechless.

30-Man Royal Rumble Match:

We have one of the better Rumble pairings in recent memory, as Jim Ross joins up with Tazz to do the commentary here. Howard Finkle reads off the rules, which includes 90-second entrys. #1 is Eddie Guerrero(RIP), having had to return the stolen number to Flair. I still miss Eddie. #2 is "The Crippler" Chris Benoit! Guerrero vs. Benoit! Yes! The two lock up and struggle for position in the corner, with neither winning out. The two are evenly matched in the beginning of this Rumble. The fans are chanting hard for Eddie, which has to be strange for Benoit. #3 is Daniel Puder from Tough Enough, and he quickly goes to the outside to get a mic. He talks about being the first Tough Enough champion to win the Rumble. How about the first Tough Enough champ to last in WWE? Predictably, Benoit & Guerrero double-team Puder, beating the rookie down. They have a chopping contest. I say Benoit won. A suplex contest is next. I think Guerrero won that one. #4 is Hardcore Holly, who's well-known to having problems with rookies. Holly immediately waves off the other guys and destroys Puder with some stiff chops. I'm feeling sorry for Puder, an emotion I never expected to have. Everyone is chopping on Puder now. Holly adds in his low blow kick with the opponent hanging on the ropes, then delivers the Alabama Slam. Seconds later, Puder is tossed out by Holly.

#5 is the Hurricane, and as he's coming down, Holly gets attacked from behind by Benoit & Guerrero and gets tossed out! The Hurricane gets double-teamed by Benoit & Guerrero, but Guerrero then turns on Benoit, nearly throwing him out! We're into Triple Threat territory, as the three men go at it. However, Benoit seems to re-bond with Guerrero, as he whips the Hurricane into a Guerrero backdrop, sending the Hurricane high up and out of the ring. #6 is Kenzo Suzuki, who quickly gets double-teamed by Benoit & Guerrero. But Benoit 'returns the favor, according to JR, and nearly sends Guerrero out! Guerrero slips back in, surviving. #7 is Edge, who races to the ring and attacks everyone with a ton of energy. Surprising, since he's already wrestled tonight. It's Edge/Guerrero and Benoit/Suzuki. #8 is Rey Mysterio, a crowd favorite here in California. Mysterio lets loose his speedy offense on several guys, including a headscissors on Suzuki that sends the Japanese wrestler out! Guerrer slows down Mysterio seconds later with a rough Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker. #9 is Shelton Benjamin, and we've had a lot of great athletes in this one so far. Mysterio, Benoit, and Guerrero all do a close elimination run on one side, while Benjamin and Edge goes at it on the other side.

#10 is Booker T, and the good wrestlers keep on coming. Booker T starts pounding on Edge, as we've got six in the ring right now. Mysterio and Benjamin nearly eliminate each other, as Bischoff surprisingly comes out and starts cheering on the Raw wrestlers from the outside! #11 is "Y2J" Chris Jericho, who runs to the ring and starts pounding on everyone. A "Y2J" chant quickly rings out. Teddy Long soon appears, joining Bischoff in cheering on his brand. #12 is Luther Reigns, and the ring is definitely filling up now. Seconds after Reigns gets there, we suddenly have a split, as four Raw guys (Benjamin, Benoit, Edge, & Jericho) pair off against four Smackdown guys (Booker T, Guerrero, Mysterio, & Reigns)! The crowd senses the sudden change and starts to cheer, as the Raw guys rush the Smackdown guys! We've got a border war!! The fighting continues, as #13 Muhammad Hassan w/ Daivari comes out. Slowly, the battle in the ring stops, as everyone in the ring waits for Hassan. The crowd also gets into it.

Crowd: "USA! USA! USA!"

As Hassan enters the ring, he quickly realizes that all eight men have surrounded him! Both Raw and Smackdown groups assault Hassan, beating on him! Mysterio gets the 619, and every wrestler lifts up Hassan and tosses him out!! The crowd loves it, as Daivari freaks out. All the wrestlers go back to singles fighting, as #14 Orlando Jordan comes out. Jordan is met and contained by Benoit & Booker T, at least for a minute, before the freshness of OJ helps him out. #15 is Scotty 2 Hotty, who dances down the aisle. But Scotty gets assaulted from behind by Hassan, who puts Scotty in the Camel Clutch! Scotty is laid out before he can get to the ring, as Hassan & Daivari leave up the aisle. #16 is Charlie Haas, who looks around for people to hit, but then takes a stiff kick to the face by Booker T. Scotty is shown being helped to the back, and he's out of the Rumble. Seconds later, Booker T sends Reigns out, then immediately after throws out Jordan! Booker T then opts to give the fans a "Rumble Roonie", but it's a mistake, as Mysterio dropkicked him from behind, and Guerrero dropped the ropes, sending Booker T out! Friendships mean nothing in Rumbles.

#17 is Rene Dupree w/ Fifi. Fifi is his dog, by the way. Haas works out some old memories with his World's Greatest Tag-Team partner, Benjamin, landing their old finisher on Dupree! Soon after, though, Benjamin misses a splash on Jericho, and, despite landing feet-first on the top ropes, gets pushed out by Jericho anyway. I tells ya, any time you do your finisher, you're in danger for at least the next minute! #18 is Simon Dean, one of the least-favorites of the Rumble. Dean takes his time coming in, getting his equipment on outside the ring. Guerrero and Mysterio have a series of maneuvers, and Edge takes advantage, throwing out Guerrero! The fans aren't happy about that one, as they wanted Guerrero to last longer. Dean finally enters the ring right at the count, as #19, "HBK" Shawn Michaels, runs to the ring and goes after Edge! He also spies Dean doing some stretches and runs towards him, clotheslining Dean out! Edge stalks Mysterio, who's just too fast. Meanwhile, Michaels sends out Haas.

#20 is Kurt Angle, who had stolen Nunzio's number earlier in the night. Angle starts Suplexing everyone, including an Angle Slam for Edge and Dupree! Michaels dodges the Angle Slam, but has to fight off the Ankle Lock. Seconds later, though, Michaels gets some Sweet Chin Music on Angle, and Angle flies over the ropes and out of the ring!! Wow, quick night for Angle! #21 is Jonathan Coachman, with Tazz laughing about the quality of Raw talent and JR criticizing the "Coach" name written across his rear. The Coach is quickly de-shirted by Benoit, who beats on the announcer. Mysterio and Jericho exchange near eliminations, with both staying in. #22 is Mark Jindrak, and I almost feel that the quality wrestlers went too early in this one. All of the sudden, Kurt Angle returns, throwing out Shawn Michaels! Angle's temper is at full-force, as he bashes Michaels with the steel steps on the outside! Michaels is busted open! But Angle's not content, as he applies the Ankle Lock on HBK on the stairs! Michaels is screaming, as a ton of referees from both Raw and Smackdown run down to try and pull Angle away. That was violent. I like it.

#23 is Viscera, before he was the "World's Largest Love Machine". Here he's just a pissed-off big man with a Mohawk. Viscera actually looks slimmer here than I remember, but then, black is always slimming. Not much happens, as the count goes quick, and here comes #24, Paul London. London immediately gets knocked down by Dupree, who does his French Tickler. True to form, Jericho quickly throws him out after his dance, then mocks him. You don't do your finishers, and you don't do your dances! Make a note. Chris Benoit, the #2 entrant and the '04 Rumble winner, is still in there, but JR & Tazz aren't talking much about him. Huh. #25 is John Cena, who does the usual run-around attack. Viscera tries to slow him down, but Cena fights back, then uses the slow shoulder-drop to send the walking Viscera out! #26 is Gene Snitsky, who is still bandaged from his fights with Kane in recent weeks. London tries a sleeper hold on Snitsky, but Snitsky walks to the ropes and tosses London to the apron. London tries to avoid the hits, but he gets clotheslined off the apron by London and takes probably the crash of the night to the outside, being eliminated. Snitsky and Cena then have a staredown, with Snitsky winning out with a Big Boot.

#27 is "The Big Red Machine" Kane, as Snitsky prepares for him in the ring. Tazz mentions his quick night one Rumble, thanks to Kane. Kane is dominant, Chokeslamming Edge, Benoit, Cena, Jericho, and Mysterio. Kane then just simply throws out Jindrak, as London is shown being put on a stretcher on the outside. The Coach decides to attack Kane, which isn't that smart. But it works for Snitsky, who gives Kane a Pumphandle Slam. Most people are down in the ring, as the count begins again. #28 is "The Animal" Batista. Snitsky looks to meet him, but Batista quickly dominates, throwing Snitsky out! Batista and Kane come face-to-face, exchanging right hands, with the fans cheering for Batista. Batista wins out, lifting up Kane for a Powerbomb! Jericho tries a running Crossbody, but Batista turns it into a Press Slam and throws Jericho out! #29 is Christian w/ Tomko, who goes right after Cena, only to have Cena quickly nail him with kicks. Cena then picks up Kane and FU's him out of the ring!! Cena and Mysterio start conversing, looking to partner up as Smackdown contenders. #30, the final entrant, is "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair, complete with his fancy robe.

So right now we've got 7 men in there: Batista, Benoit, Cena, Christian, Coachman, Edge, Flair, and Mysterio. Interestingly enough, we've got 4 Rumble winners in there, although, at this point, only two have taken place (Flair in '92 and Benoit in '04). Evolution quickly partners up, with Flair feeding Coachman to Batista for a Spinebuster. Flair then tosses out Coachman, getting rid of the non-wrestler. Next, Flair gives Christian to Batista for another Spinebuster, followed by a Press Slam onto Tomko! Christian is gone, and we're down to six. Tazz finally talks about Benoit still being in there, and seconds later, Benoit get a Spinebuster and is sent out by Flair, ending his long run. Flair, though, then loses it and tries to toss out Batista! He doesn't come close, but his distraction allows Edge & Mysterio to give Batista a double-dropkick! Edge and Flair then go at it, with Edge tossing out Flair!

It's the final four, ladies and gentlemen! Batista, Cena, Edge, & Mysterio! All four fight into the corner, then break off, with Edge Spearing Batista and Cena! Edge misses the Spear on Mysterio, though, and Mysterio gets the 619 on him. But Edge dodges the Hurricanrana, then sends Mysterio to the apron, soon followed by a Spear that eliminates the masked man. Soon after, Edge runs at both Batista & Cena. Both men drop their shoulders, and Edge is out, leaving us with Batista and Cena, the two expected favorites in this one. The two have a staredown, then start exchanging right hands. Cena picks up Batista for the FU, but can't throw Batista out. JR can't stop calling Batista Cena, making his commentary very strange for a minute. Batista picks up Cena for a Batista Bomb, but falls backwards into the ropes, and the two men fall out simultaneously! Seriously, they hit the floor exactly at the same time! Different refs hold up different winners, and they're obviously confused about who just won the Rumble.

As the arguing continues, Vince McMahon stomps to the ring and tries to dive in, injuring himself in the process. The amazing thing is that McMahon just badly tore a muscle, as I recall, but he doesn't even show it, instead sitting in the ring. Batista, in a fury, throws Cena over the ropes again, but Cena comes right back in and throws Batista out! Finally, it's announced that Vince is having the Rumble restarted! Cena tries to capitalize, going for the FU, but it doesn't happen, as Batista gets the Spinebuster! Seconds later, Batista throws out Cena, and Batista is our Royal Rumble winner! He celebrates, as the fans cheer for the Animal. We quickly go to black, showing that the Rumble was probably over the time limit.

Ace Thoughts: A pretty good Rumble, although the strange ending takes something away from it. There was a lot of speculation about this one, as people weren't completely sure that the ending went as planned. Was Batista supposed to throw Cena out and stay in, winning it? Because it seemed strange to have the drama and the restart, only to have Batista and Cena exchange a similar combination as the one that ended the Rumble the first time, with Batista doing the simpler toss-out for the win. At the very least, this showcased the new breed of WWE, as both Batista and Cena would go on to Wrestlemania in hotly-contested matches to become the World Champ and WWE Champ, respectfully. Whatever the reason for the ending, this is where Batista and Cena really started to gain speed. With the other matches thrown in, I definitely can recommend this PPV.

The Accelerator