I checked out the rental store today, and would you believe it? They actually had the '07 Rumble available for rent! Considering that most of the places here in my town don't care about wrestling, it was a surprise indeed to find this one sitting there. I guess I've got a fellow fan somewhere in management. With that being said, let's add the most recent Rumble to the Ace List. We've got Cena vs. Umaga, Batista vs. Kennedy, Lashley vs. Test, and a Rumble to Remember. Let's get to it.
WWE Royal Rumble '07 |
Posted by the Accelerator, March 2nd, 2007
- The box itself is an interesting one, as we've got over 20 wrestlers on the cover, with everyone going at it. It's not just the Rumble participants, as the match participants are there as well. Interestingly enough, Lashley is press-slamming Finlay, instead of Test, while Cena is giving Edge the F-U, instead of Umaga. Oh well, it's just a cover. I won't analyze it too much.
- Just one more note about the DVD. The rental I got (from Blockbuster) has a bonus DVD with it, featuring the Cena/Umaga contract signing and the Michaels/Edge Street Fight from Raw, the Kennedy/Undertaker battle from Smackdown, and the Lashley/RVD/Test match from ECW. The Rumble disc itself has its own extras, including Cena/Michaels vs. Rated RKO, McMahon/Trump, and an interview with the Brothers of Destruction. It is a very nice collection to have added with the discs, as it helps remind people about different storylines.
- The intro video is all about the 20 years of the Rumble, showing previous winners. We then are shown most of the competitors in the Rumble match, as well as brief clips about the three title matches taking place. Cena/Umaga gets a lot more time than the other two.
- We're in San Antonio, TX. Our announcers are JR & the King from Raw, Michael Cole & JBL from Smackdown, and Joey Styles & Tazz from ECW. So where are they hiding the Spanish announcers now?
M-N-M (Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro) w/ Melina vs. the Hardy Boyz (Jeff & Matt Hardy):
The Raw crew handles this one, as the King immediately starts talking about Mercury taking the ladder to the face at Armageddon '05. Replays are shown of the gory injury. Remember, kids, don't try this at home! Mercury is wearing his nose guard, as I have visions of Mankind and Vader. I also have to say, Jeff's wild, spasm-filled entrance really looks different next to brother Matt, who just stands there and raises his fist. We see replays of Matt beating Mercury on Smackdown, followed by M-N-M giving Matt the Snapshot on the exposed concrete. Matt supposedly has a dislocated jaw. Wow, a lot of information before the bell has even rung; I may have my work cut out for me tonight.
Matt chases after Mercury, which allows Nitro to attack him from behind and get control for his team. Mercury tags in and tries to go after Matt's face, specifically, according to JR, his jaw. Quick tags ensue, as Matt is kept isolated. Matt finally takes control with some high-hanging shots on Mercury, then tags in Jeff, who leaps in a with a "Mule Kick" (just quoting JR, people). Nitro tags in, but Jeff gets a couple of groin maneuvers (the Atomic Drop and the Leg Drop) to take control for a 2 count. The Hardyz double-team Nitro. JR incorrectly calls Jeff the legal man; luckily, Matt knows better. Matt gets his nice nuckbreaker on Nitro for a quick count, but Nitro counters a maneuver a second later and gets a stiff punch on that jaw to take advantage again. Melina's scream soon rings out, as M-N-M beats on Matt again. Nitro hangs Matt on the ropes, then, as the ref is distracted, Mercury gets a kick to the face, nearly enough to keep Matt down for the count.
The match continues, with M-N-M getting the double-team maneuver for a couple of 2 counts, but Matt just... won't... die. A rough clothesline from Mercury even seems to have hurt Mercury's arm, but once again, they can't keep Matt's shoulders on the, er, mat. The announcers talk about how bad the injury to Mercury was, with JR calling it the worst he'd ever seen. I guess Mick Foley's fall through the cage doesn't count. Mercury finally misses a turnbuckle-elbow, allowing Matt to get a few punches and get the almost-anticlimatic tag to Jeff. Jeff beats on Nitro, getting a facebuster for a close count. Jeff then dodges a punch and gets the high-risk Whisper In The Wind, with Mercury breaking up the 3 count. Matt comes in and the Hardyz Suplex first Mercury, then Nitro. They opt for the double-team off the top turnbuckles, but it's only half-successful, as Nitro gets his knees up on Jeff's Splash, but still takes the Matt Leg Drop. The legal men are both down, but Nitro gets to his corner first, allowing Mercury to be on the attack, as Nitro lays in the corner. Mercury concentrates on Jeff's hurting mid-section, keeping Jeff from the tag. Nitro tags in and helps out, and I'm starting to wonder if Nitro's jaw got busted from that leg drop, as he's really favoring it.
Jeff nearly steals a win from a roll-up, but M-N-M regains control, landing a Double Gut-Buster. Nitro goes for the pin, but Matt breaks it up before any count can happen. First major rest holds in this one, as Nitro locks Jeff in a Grapevine and a Front Face-Lock, with Jeff desperately trying to get the tag. We get the old missed-tag spot, as the ref got distracted by Mercury, which keeps Jeff in. Matt goes nuts, as M-N-M beat down Jeff in their corner. Nitro gets tagged in, but Jeff manages to shove Mercury into him on the run, knocking down Mercury. Jeff then uses another "Mule Kick" to get free, finally tagging in Matt. We have the second hot Hardy of the night, as he takes down both M-N-M members. Matt gets the Second-Rope Leg Drop on Nitro for a 2 count. Nitro gets a kick on Matt, almost allowing the Snapshot, but Jeff breaks it up. Poetry In Motion lands on Mercury, but Nitro dodges the attempt, getting a really close pinfall on Matt. Nice. Matt comes back with the Side Effect and the Twist of Fate on Nitro, but Mercury breaks it up. However, as Matt and Mercury fight out of the ring, Jeff smartly makes the tag and lands the Swanton Bomb on Nitro, getting the pin for the victory!
Ace Thoughts: Hell of an opening match! There were several moments in there where I thought things were actually going to end, only to either have a kick-out or a save. The win for M-N-M on that dodged Poetry In Motion would have been entirely convincing, in my view. They gave these guys around 15 1/2 minutes to really show off, and I already feel that I got my money's worth on this DVD, long before the Rumble and the Cena/Umaga match. What can I say? I love good tag-team wrestling. I also love the fact that I'll be seeing three of these four in the Rumble later. Why isn't Mercury there as well? I have no clue.
- We go to Jonathan Coachman(Raw) & Teddy Long(Smackdown), who are doing the Rumble Drawings tonight, along with Kelly Kelly(ECW). Edge comes in and makes fun of Kelly Kelly, who makes a great point about "Edge" not being his real name. Orton comes in and calms things down, and the two members of Rated RKO draw their numbers.
King Booker: (walks in with Sharmell) "Tell me he didn't just say that!"
- A Wrestlemania promo runs, and it's the "All Grown Up" promo. I can't say I'm that happy with this one, since, after all, kids aren't supposed to do this at home.
- We get a promo really putting over Test as the Impact Player. Of course, Lashley defeated Test in both a "Triple Threat" Match (he pinned RVD), then beat Test CLEAN a week before the Rumble, so there weren't exactly high expectations here. Of course, the clean defeat is not mentioned in the promo video.
Bobby Lashley(c) vs. Test, ECW World Heavyweight Title Match:
I find it humorous that Lashley's entrance video mentions him as "Soft-Spoken". That's one way to put it. As expected, Styles & Tazz are the announcers. We starts with a lock-up, with Test getting Lashley into the corner after a short walk. Test, of course, gets the slap of disrespect. Lashley answers with a shove and a tackle, taking Test down. Test comes back by begging off, then tripping Lashley into the ropes and choking him on them. Test uses his big boot to Choke Lashley in the corner. The lariat gets reversed, but Test catches Lashley coming in with an elbow. However, Lashley then catches Test coming back in and starts to show up his suplex expertise, dishing out a T-Bone Suplex and a Delayed Suplex, sending Test to the floor. Lashley follows him out and sends him back in. Test manages, though, to get a shoulder into Lashley's gut, then sends him flying into the ring post along the apron! Lashley hits hard on the outside, as the cameraman barely gets out of the way (and gets a great shot). Test brings him back in for a 2 count.
We go into rest holds with an arm bar. After a short struggle, Lashley manages to get up, whipping Test into the ropes. Test kicks the shoulder on Lashley's way in, then slams the arm down for a 2 count, before reapplying the arm bar. Second match in a row with good psychology, although I'm still not sure the crowd cares about this one. The announcers talk about this being the first time the ECW Title is defended at the Rumble. Lashley escapes again and manages to catch Test with a Backdrop to start getting momemtum. Lashley gives Test a clothesline (with the good arm) and multiple Spears into the Gut, then picks up Test for a Press Slam, only to have his hurt shoulder give out! As Lashley feels the pain, Test, gets up and charges in with a Big Boot, getting a close 2 count! Test slaps the mat in frustration, then tries to give Lashley the TKO, but Lashley counters and gives him a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Lashley then clotheslines Test out of the ring. The ref counts fast, and Test suddenly decides that he's had enough, and walks away, being counted out! The fans aren't happy, and I don't blame them. Lashley isn't happy, either, as he drags Test back into the ring and gives him the Dominator, at least getting a little satisfaction.
Ace Thoughts: Honestly, having had a month to really forget about the clean loss the week before, this one wasn't that bad... until the ending. It just made no sense for Test to leave, knowing that Lashley's shoulder was still hurt. There was no better time for Test to face Lashley, but a clothesline is enough for him to leave, THEN get taken out? I guess it shouldn't be too surprising that, only a month after the Rumble, Test is no longer with WWE, although it probably had more to do with Wellness issues than anything.
- John Cena gets checked out by the doctors in the back after his ribs were bashed in by Umaga on the previous Raw. Vince McMahon comes in and taunts him, saying that he can't see him continue as the champ after the Last Man Standing match.
- A video package runs, talking about Mr. Kennedy's win in the "Beat The Clock Sprint" series, having kept the Undertaker from beating the Miz in time. It also shows Kennedy's trickery, causing Batista to blow the Undertaker's chance at regaining the title shot. In fact, the promo is all about making Kennedy look like a viable contender to the belt. I'm buying it.
Batista(c) vs. Mr. Kennedy, WWE Smackdown World Heavyweight Title Match:
Kennedy's smiling as he gets on his hanging mic before the match.
Kennedy looks ready for the challenge as Batista comes out to his usual explosive entrance. Kennedy also can't take his eyes off of the World Title, which nearly allows Batista the early edge. Cole & JBL are the announcers. Batista & Kennedy lock up, with Batista throwing the smaller Kennedy down twice, with Kennedy leaping back up for another lock-up. Who's the face here? Batista gets Kennedy into the corner, but Kennedy surprises him with a near roll-up. Batista takes back control, but a thumb to the eyes gives Kennedy a chance for a few punches. But Batista catches Kennedy off the ropes with a weak boot, followed by a suplex for a 2 count. We go outside, where Kennedy shoves Batista's knee into the stairs, causing him to favor the leg. More psychology! Batista's still in charge, though, back in the ring, as he pounds on Kennedy in the corner. Kennedy comes back with a quick dropkick to the knee, focusing on the injury. JBL seems to be in a bad mood tonight, berating Cole for being a parrot.
Kennedy continues to target the knee, hammering on the leg using the ropes, then gets a unique Figure Four variation to tweak that knee. I'm impressed. Kennedy gets caught using the ropes by referee Nick Patrick, which causes the break. Kennedy is bleeding from the nose, and I'm not sure where they came from. Did a punch land full-force or something? Hmmm. Kennedy remains in control with a Running Boot for another 2 count. I'm not sure exactly who the fans are pulling for here. We go to a Half-Boston Crab on Batista's knee, and I'm loving all the psychology tonight. Batista manages to reverse out of the Crab, then gets a surprise roll-up for 2. Kennedy manages to roll out of a power maneuver by Batista and clips the knee, a painful hit. But Batista comes back with a Spinebuster, nailing Kennedy but also hurting the knee again. We have punches from Batista, followed by kicks by Kennedy. Batista suddenly goes super-human, clotheslining Kennedy. He slams him around several times, then does the Rope Shake and signals "Thumbs Down". At least he's remembering to limp. Kennedy shoves Batista backwards to get out, as Batista clips Patrick with his arm. Patrick, of course, collapses.
Kennedy gets a low blow with the ref down, then lands a neck breaker, which is enough to keep Batista down. Unfortunately, so is the ref, so there's no title change. Kennedy gets up and yells at the ref, then kicks Batista in the head for a close 2 count. JBL is pissed off about the ref, and the fans are even chanting for Kennedy! Batista, though, comes back, reversing a whip. Kennedy gets his boot up, then tries a 2nd-rope maneuver, but Batista clotheslines him down. Batista then quickly grabs Kennedy and picks him up for the Batista Bomb. Kennedy tries to fight out of it, but Batista lands it anyway, for the 3 count. Batista takes his time celebrating afterwards, as he's still selling the knee injury.
Ace Thoughts: Very impressive match, as Kennedy and Batista seemed to work well together. Kennedy looked EXTREMELY strong in this one, and his future is bright. Of course, not long after this, Kennedy again got beat clean by Batista, then challenged Bobby Lashley for the ECW World Title and lost there a couple of times, too. Once again, talent gets misused. Then again, if he won a belt, we'd probably say he'd been rushed to the top. We're picky that way.
- Kevin Thorn w/ Ariel draws his number, with the Coach commenting on the freaks on ECW. Little Bastard then comes in to draw Finlay's number. The Coach mentions how he hopes the number isn't small, and Little Bastard beats the crap out of him! Little Bastard gets distracted, though, by the Great Khali, showing the immense size difference there. Little Bastard runs for it, as the Great Khali grabs several numbers. The Coach cautiously tells him to only take one, so Khali drops the rest. Kelly Kelly picks them up and comments on them being the biggest balls she's ever held. We then get the obligatory "Damn!" from Ron Simmons/Faarooq.
- Another Wrestlemania promo, this one using Saliva's "Ladies & Gentlemen". I like that one a lot better. Saliva's in the audience, enjoying some frosty beverages.
- Our third wrestling video package talksa bout Cena/Umaga. We see shots of Umaga dominating Cena at New Year's Revolution, with Cena managing a surprise roll-up to retain the title. A rematch gets signed later on, with Armando Estrada choosing the match: a Last Man Standing Match. Cena shows he's crazy enough to sign the contract, while also taking out Umaga & Estrada. It ends with Umaga giving Cena the brutal Splash from the top rope through the table, with the shocked looks from the fans. It definitely didn't look like an easy landing.
John Cena(c) vs. Umaga, WWE Raw Heavyweight Title Last Man Standing Match:
Lillian Garcia reads out the rules of the LMS Match; basically, if you don't get up by the count of 10, the match is over. Easy, right? JR & the King are the announcers. The King thinks Umaga is scarier than King Kong. JR mentions the classic Bruno Sammartino/Ivan Koloff WWWF Title change from 36 years ago today. You've gotta love 'em. Suffice to say, the psychology is already built into this one, as Cena takes off his shirt ro reveal his taped ribs. We start this one with the staredown/punches that you can get in the Raw vs. Smackdown video game. I guess it is realistic. Umaga shoves Cena into the corner, but Cena comes right back out with punches and a jawbreaker, followed by more punches. But one shot by Umaga to the ribs and Cena collapses out of the ring. Umaga punches Cena as he tries to come back in, getting him to hang on the ropes. Cena actually falls off, and it didn't look like that was what he was going for, but it looked good nonetheless. Umaga adds another good effect, throwing Cena into the steps. Cena survives the count, continuing the match.
The two men fight up the aisle, with Cena managing some punches to get in control. He bounces Umaga's head off the apron, but Umaga has that SAMOAN head, so it doesn't work. Umaga back in charge as we reenter the ring. Umaga beats on the ribs, and the announcers smartly talk about how Estrada is instructing Umaga on what to concentrate on. Cena gets a boot on a charge into the corner, but Umaga cuts the rally quickly with a massive clothesline. This starts another count, getting to 7 before Cena can get up. Umaga slams Cena in the ring and goes for the stairs, but since the count is going on, Estrada keeps Umaga from reentering. When Cena manages to get back up again, Umaga throws the stairs in. But Cena's recovered, bouncing Umaga's throat off the ropes, then picking up the stairs and launching them out of the ring onto Umaga!! To quote Faarooq, DAMN! That one's just hard to fake, people. Umaga gets up at 6, so Cena takes it to Umaga on the outside. Back in the ring, though, Umaga gets a spin kick to regain momentum, then goes back to the ribs with a bear hug.
Since Cena can't submit, Umaga gives the hurting champion a Belly-To-Belly Suplex. Cena struggles to get up as Umaga goes for the rest of the stairs, since the first part worked so well. Cena's up at 8, so Umaga goes after him again, belting him. The fans show their sympathy for Cena.
Umaga gets the steps up in the corner, leaning, then puts Cena there. Umaga steps back as the crowd rises in anticipation. Umaga then tries his butt ram, but Cena moves, as Umaga smashes into the stairs! Cena gets enough energy to hammer Umaga between the eyes with the stairs, then collapses, actually taking a 3 count. Umaga struggles and gets up at 7 3/4ths. Cena tries for a Crossbody, but Umaga catches him and gives him a painful-looking Spinning Uranage! Near the ropes, Umaga gives Cena multiple Banzai Drops, adding to the pain of the ribs. Overconfidence causes Estrada to call for one more, and Cena gets his knees up to nail Umaga between the legs! Cena then regains his energy to deliver Umaga face-first to the steps! Cena follows by giving Umaga the Proto Bomb on the steps!! Yowsa! Cena gets up after a double-count and opts to do the 5-Knuckle Shuffle on Umaga on the steps, rather than wait for the count. Cena then goes for the FU, but his ribs give out, causing Cena to drop his head on the steps, with Umaga on top!!
Both men survive the next count, although Cena, rising at 9, is now bleeding profusely. Umaga is dominating now, as Cena is turning the mat a rosy color. Cena struggles to his feet at 8, and starts getting pummeled again. But Cena's firing up, calling for more hits! He punches away at Umaga, then tries the ropes, but Umaga gives Cena a massive Samoan Drop!! Cena did NOT land well there. Umaga prepares for the Samoan Spike, but Cena blocks it by grabbing him with both hands! Umaga answers with his Samoan headbutt, which'll put down anybody. Cena's in the Tree of Woe, and he's wearing the Crimson Mask for sure now. Umaga tries a diving headbutt into the corner, but Cena surprisingly sits up, dodging it. Cena then gets a Leg Drop from the top rope! Umaga right back up, but Cena tosses him into the post. Cena leaves him hanging there and gets one of the announce monitors, smashing it over Umaga's head!! Umaga's down, as the count begins. Umaga survives, getting up at 8.
Cena sends Umaga to the outside, then tries to come off the apron, only to get caught and slammed into the post! Umaga then ko's Cena on the stairs and takes him to the announce tables! All the announcers are running for it, as Cena is positioned on the ECW announce table, while Umaga goes to the Raw table! Estrada helpfully removes a monitor that was missed, before Umaga runs across the tables and tries a splash, but Cena moves!! Wow, that was impressive. Umaga shockingly gets up at 9, and the fans seem to love it. Cena tries to grab Umaga, but Umaga knocks him back into the ring, as Estrada starts to release the top rope! Estrada tells Umaga to take the top turnbuckle pad that was loosened and hammer Cena with it! Umaga screams and tries, but Cena lands the FU!!! Estrada goes down, and Cena applies the STFU while using the ring rope!!! Umaga's going out, as Cena screams like crazy. The look on his bloody face is insane! The ref starts the count, and Umaga starts to get up! But Cena quickly reapplies the STFU, completely choking him out! An exhausted Cena releases the hold, and the ref counts to 10, as Umaga is out cold. Cena stays the WWE Champion.
Ace Thoughts: If you would have told me last year that Ekmo/Jamal/Umaga would be battling for the WWE Title at the Rumble, much less that he would put on a potential match of the year, I would have probably been a little critical of your thought processes. I am man enough to admit when I'm wrong, and I was definitely wrong about Umaga. He proved tonight that he deserved his run near the top, as he was very believable as a monster heel. Great match, and we've still got the Rumble to go!
- The Coach gets a little freaked out as the Sandman comes in to get his number, drink some beer, and hit himself in the head. The Coach is happier about Ric Flair, who shows off some class to Kelly Kelly. The other members of the Extreme Expose come in and dance with Flair, with the disco ball lights spinning around. Strange, but ok.
- The announcers for the Rumble are going to be Michael Cole, JBL, and the King. Screw you, E-C-Dub! No announcers for you!
- We have a Rumble promo, talking about some of the greatest moments in Rumble history. We'e got legacies, controversies, destinies, et cetera. This Rumble is called the most star-studded Rumble ever. I don't think so, but they're free to use their poetic license. We see some of the major contenders, including Michaels, the Great Khali, King Booker, Kane, and the Undertaker. Very nice promo to build up the energy after that Last Man Standing Match zapped the crowd.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match:
Lillian Garcia reads the rules, as I read her t-shirt. Ok, I have no clue what it says, but it's a nice read, nonetheless. #1 is "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. The announcers immediately talk about Flair winning the '92 Rumble when coming in early. Amazing to think that it's been 15 years since then. #2 is Finlay, and we've got two hard-hitting veterans in there! It's mentioned that the clock's at 90-seconds tonight. Finlay starts off stiff with a shoulder block, and we go to the corner, where Finlay starts belting away on the Nature Boy. Flair answers with chops, but Finlay comes back, trying to toss out Flair. Flair rakes the eyes, then goes back to chops, as #3 Kenny Dykstra comes in. Flair meets him with more chops, but Finlay then takes out Flair. We have a double elimination attempt, as the wrestlers continue to go at it. #4 is Matt Hardy, sore jaw and all, who comes to the aid of Flair by taking on Dykstra, landing the Side Effect. We break down into two one-on-one contests, faces vs. heels. #5 is Edge, who races to the ring and Spears Flair and Finlay! Hardy dodges his Spear, though, and gives Edge the Twist of Fate!! The announcers quickly talk about the history of Hardy & Edge, as Flair goes for a chair. He wanted a Conchairto on Edge, but Dykstra broke it up. Edge then throws out Flair! As Dykstra gloats with some Flair struts, Edge throws him out as well!
#6 is Tommy Dreamer, who gives Edge a Running Dropkick while Edge is in the Tree Of Woe. Dreamer goes after Finlay, while Hardy and Edge renew their battle. #7 is another ECW Extremist, Sabu, who immediately sets up a table on the outside. The crowd cheers. Sabu leaves the table on the outside, then goes after Dreamer, which seems to me a strange choice. Then again, who else would Sabu know better in there? #8 is Gregory Helms, who immediately goes after his recent rival, Matt Hardy. Sabu almost eliminates Finlay, who hangs on. We have near eliminations taking place on all sides. Sabu tries to send Helms torwards the table, but no success. #9 is Shelton Benjamin, who jogs to the ring and immediately goes after Hardy. Why is everybody attacking Matt right off? Hardy almost takes a plunge to the table, but hangs in there. Benjamin and Finlay also almost head towards the table, as the crowd is waiting for someone to break that piece of wood. #10 causes fire and brimstone, as "The Big Red Machine" Kane stomps out. Men start flying from the big man's power. Edge gets the Chokeslam. Kane throws out Dreamer, then goes after Sabu. Sabu comes back, but gets flipped to the outside, then Chokeslammed through the table! Sabu is definitely out of the Rumble.
#11 is CM Punk, entering his first Rumble. He goes after Edge, trying to eliminate him, but Finlay catches him and nearly tosses him right away. Luckily, Punk gets back in, then starts delivering some knees. Finlay's the long-runner right now, at 15 minutes and counting. #12 is King Booker w/ Sharmell. He takes off his crown and robe and comes to the ring, punching away on Helms, soon tossing out the Cruiserweight Champ! #13 is Super Crazy, who surprisingly gets focused on by Kane. Bummer for Crazy. Eight men in the ring, as former Court members King Booker and Finlay go at it. #14 is Jeff Hardy, still holding his sore ribs. The Hardyz team up, landing maneuvers on Finlay, Edge, and Super Crazy. They then go after Kane, with Kane nearly Chokeslamming them, only to have multiple low blows free them. Poetry in Motion takes Kane down, as the count begins again. #15 is the Sandman, who comes in from the crowd. The cane quickly pummels people left and right, but the Sandman surprisingly then was tossed out by King Booker!! Short night for the Sandman, thanks for coming.
#16 is "The Legend Killer" Randy Orton, who quickly reteams with his Rated RKO partner, Edge, to throw out Super Crazy! They next concentrate on Matt, with Jeff trying to make the save. Instead, Jeff gets tossed by Edge, as Randy sends out Matt! The Hardyz are both gone, and we're back down to 7 wrestlers. #17 is "The Rabid Wolverine" Chris Benoit, the '04 Rumble Winner, who chops the heck out of Edge, King Booker, and others. He's on fire! #18 is Rob Van Dam, who does what he normally does in Rumbles, dishing out the kicks to different guys. The fans are already chanting for RVD. King Booker takes a kick to the face, stunning him and allowing Kane to throw him out! A pissed-off King Booker comes back into the ring and boots Kane, then lands the Axe Kick! Seconds later, King Booker knocks Kane out of the ring and eliminates him! The two men fight around the outside and to the back, as #19 "The World's Largest Love Machine" Viscera comes in. We don't see his entrance, though, as we're concentrating on King Booker and Kane.
JBL: "How the hell could he not be incensed? He should have not had to be in the Rumble anyway. He takes a cheap shot at him and throws him out!"
Michael Cole: "It's part of the match, and you know it!"
JBL: "He shouldn't have been in the Royal Rumble, Michael! I'm begging you to be unbiased!"
#20 is Johnny Nitro, who comes out without Melina. I guess she was busy with Mercury. Nitro immediately grabs RVD and tries to toss him, with no success. Punk is getting squashed in the corner by Viscera. Benjamin barely keeps from going out, hanging centimeters from the outside. #21 is Kevin Thorn, our very own vampire, who charges after Finlay. We get a replay of Benjamin's knees actually hovering above the outside mats. Impressively close. Van Dam tries multiple charging clotheslines on Viscera, but Viscera came back with a clothesline of his own. I actually was expecting Van Dam to get the shoulder toss, so I'm pleasantly surprised. #22 is Hardcore Holly, and the ring is rapidly filling up. I'm guessing someone's getting fed a lot of wrestlers. I count around 11 in the ring. RVD again almost gets sent out, but he's hanging in there. Meanwhile, Rated RKO, Nitro, & Finlay quadruple-team Viscera. All the other wrestlers come over as well, as #23 "The Heart Break Kid" Shawn Michaels comes running in. He beats on Finlay, as the crowd goes wild for their home-town boy. Michaels delivers, clotheslining Finlay out after a 32-minute run! Seconds later, Michaels gives Viscera some Sweet Chin Music, which allows everyone to send the big man out! Soon after, Michaels sends out Benjamin, having a major effect on the Rumble already.
#24 is "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters, as Rated RKO focuses on Michaels. Their history is clear, as Rated RKO took out Triple H. Slightly-offcamera, Benoit knocks Nitro off the turnbuckle, eliminating the M-N-M member. Edge is over 30 minutes and is the current timekeeper. #25 is Chavo Guerrero, who springs through the ropes and surprisingly goes after Masters, as Benoit eliminates Thorn on the other side. The flow continues, as #26, Montel Vontavious Porter, jogs down for his first Rumble, despite the burns on his back. He quickly gets double-teamed by Benoit and Michaels. Welcome to WWE, my friend. Van Dam dropkicks Masters, sending him out. #27 is Carlito, bringing us to 10 in the ring. Cole immediately talks about how 4 people have won from that number. In other words, Carlito doesn't stand a chance.
#28 is the Great Khali, and we've got Cole's favorite in the Rumble. Most wrestlers in the ring stop and try to prepare for Khali, as he comes in, beating everyone down with headbutts. His hand completely covers over Chavo's head. Whew! Chops start flying, as almost everyone gets laid out. Khali's the only one standing, as he tosses out Hardcore Holly. Benoit gets tossed out next, as the camera switches away. #29 is the Miz, who immediately gets grabbed by Khali and sent out! He didn't break the record (he was there for 5 seconds), but it was quick. Khali starts getting rid of people. Let's see, it was Rob Van Dam, CM Punk, Carlito, and Chavo. That's seven already for Khali. Michaels goes after Khali, but takes a Two-Handed Chokeslam. Khali raises his arms in victory, as the count starts again. #30, though, turns out the lights, as the Undertaker makes his way out! It's Khali vs. the Dead Man! Khali tries for another Chokeslam, but the Undertaker breaks free, then punches Khali to the ropes and single-handedly eliminates the Great Khali!
The Dead Man goes old-school on MVP, really a stupid move, but he gets away with it. Seconds later, MVP is tossed out. We're down to our final four: Edge, Michaels, Orton, & the Undertaker. MVP tries to come back in with a chair, but the refs stop him. This allows Orton to get the chair and pummel the Dead Man. As Orton sets up the Undertaker for another shot, Edge prepares for the Spear on the other side! But Orton turns before hand, threatening with a chair shot, and Rated RKO is on the ropes! Orton grabs Michaels, though, giving him the RKO! Rated RKO pulls it together, double-teaming the busted-open Undertaker, as the crowd chants for him. The Undertaker fights back on both men, nearly getting a Double Chokeslam on both men, but Rated RKO fought out of it. He kept fighting, though, Clotheslining them down. The Undertaker goes for the Chokeslam on Orton, but Edge breaks it up with a Spear. Edge then adds in a steel chair to the skull, messing up the Dead Man. Rated RKO prepares the Undertaker for the Con-Chair-To, but both have forgotten about Michaels! Michaels tosses out Orton, then dodges Edge and gives him some Sweet Chin Music, sending out Edge as well! We're down to two men!
Both men stay down for a minute, then the Undertaker sits up! Michaels follows with a kip up! It's legend vs. legend! Michaels climbs the corner and pounds on the Undertaker, with the Dead Man throwing Michaels off. Michaels nearly gets eliminated with a toss into the corner, but he survives. Michaels chops away at the Undertaker, ducking the Undertaker's punches. The Undertaker reverses, sending Michaels to the outside via another spin around the turnbuckle! The Undertaker goes for a big boot, but Michaels moves, and the Undertaker nearly spins to the outside himself!! They both manage to get back in the ring, with Michaels landing the Swinging Neckbreaker on the Undertaker. Both men get back up, exchanging punches/kicks. The Undertaker wins out, nearly sending Michaels out by depositing him on the apron. But Michaels fights back, bouncing the Undertaker's head off the turnbuckle. HBK gets caught coming in on the top, though, as he hangs from the turnbuckle. The two men fight up on top, as the crowd is quiet in anticipation. They struggle, with the crowd pulling like crazy for Michaels. The Undertaker falls back into the ring, which allows Michaels to suck it up and land the Flying Elbow!
Michaels gets fired up after the hit, going to the corner and tuning up the band! It's time for some Sweet Chin Music! No! The Undertaker blocks it, then lifts Michaels up and Chokeslams him!! The air goes out of the crowd! A staggering Undertaker does the cut-throat gesture, preparing for the Tombstone! But Michaels fights free, then lands the Sweet Chin Music!!! Both wrestlers are down! The Undertaker slowly moves, grabbing for the ropes, as Michaels considers another kick. But the Undertaker catches him, then dumps him over!!! Michaels is gone, and the Undertaker wins his first Royal Rumble!! Any other city, the fans would be going crazy. But this is San Antonio, and they're hurting. Michaels can't believe it, holding his head on the outside. The two legends exchange a glance, with the Undertaker giving HBK a nod of respect. The Dead Man then turns to the Wrestlemania 23 sign, knowing what's next. He takes a knee, doing his pose in the bluelight.
Ace Thoughts: Tremendous Rumble, and I loved the way it came down to the very end. There aren't too many Rumbles where you really aren't sure who's going to win. This was one of them, as either Michaels or the Undertaker would have made sense. I definitely enjoyed this one, even though I did have to watch Khali decimate so many guys. Still, he was impressive, I'll give him that.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed this PPV. I wish I could have watched it live, but unfortunately, every place here in town has cut back on their wrestling PPVs. Maybe someone will have Wrestlemania. Who knows? Either way, now that this one is out on DVD, you need to go check it out if you haven't seen it. A very good card with only one shaky match (ECW World Title).