One of these days, I'm going to see a WWE Pay-Per-View live again. Yeah, and one of these days, I'll win the lottery. Anyhow, a friend of mine sent me a tape (yep, no DVD, just a video cassette; luckily, my VCR still mostly works) that showcases one of the premier events of the year, the Royal Rumble. Since I have reviews of most of the Rumbles up already, and since it's well-known that it's the event I always look forward to, maybe even more than Wrestlemania, it's about time I got to see this year's event! Let's get to the review, and see if I enjoy this one or not.
WWE Royal Rumble '08 |
Posted by the Accelerator, March 6th, 2008
- First off, there's no box and no extras, so you'll have to rent or buy the DVD version to see those. Mine's the cheaper "loaner" variety, which will be sent back soon enough. I might later get around to getting the DVD, and then I'll post an 'edit' here.
- We have all the usual players here tonight: Michael Cole & the Coach (Smackdown), Jim Ross & Jerry "The King" Lawler (Raw), and Joey Styles & Tazz (ECW). I kind of miss the old system, where we just have a couple of announcers for a broadcast, but I can see how that'd be hard to pull out. Cole & the Coach start things off, presumably because of MVP's involvement. Cole mentions that this is the first WWE PPV in HD. Yay. Justin Roberts is your ring announcer.
- Flair does a quick interview to the Madison Square Garden crowd, saying it's been a great honor to wrestle there. He praises the fans, but he doesn't get to finish, as MVP interrupts him. I notice MVP doesn't get his tunnel, either, due to the design of the old arena. He gets his fireworks still, but the single stream looked weak.
Ric Flair vs. MVP, Flair's Career On The Line:
I really wish the WWE United States Heavyweight Title was on the line as well in this one. This match needed some energy added to it, since no one believed that Flair's career would end here. The two feel each other out for a while, with MVP doing some mind games with his 'basketball shot' pose. I like his 'spread arms' pose better, but oh well. Flair answers with some chops and punches in another corner, complete with "Whooo's" for every shot. MVP comes back with a drop toe hold, then a great-looking Yakuza Kick to the face! MVP dominates for a while, trying to wear out the old veteran. He makes a mistake, though, by charging into the corner, and Flair immediately capitalizes with an elbow shot, followed by a Figure Four attempt. MVP managed to escape that attempt, though, and when Flair tries for it again, MVP rolls him up for a close pinfall.
MVP stays in control for the next few minutes, getting Flair to take his usual falls, including a back bodydrop. Then MVP breaks out another high kick, causing Flair to flop. MVP makes the cover, but Flair gets a foot on the ropes, which the ref (Charles Robinson) doesn't see until he counts to 3. MVP starts to celebrate, but Robinson waved off the decision. A complaining MVP nearly gets pinned for his troubles, but he's soon dominating Flair again. He sets Flair on the turnbuckle and lands a Superplex, and I'm still surprised at what Flair, at his age, will put his body through. Flair kicks out of the pin, so a frustrated MVP opts to pick the Nature Boy up and slap him a few times. But Flair falls out of a fireman's carry, then chops a few times at the US Champ. The two collide, and we have a double countout spot. Both rise, with Flair trying another couple of roll-ups/backslides, with no success. Flair's chops still sound like they hurt. MVP desperately punches Flair in the throat, then gets a kneedrop. He sets Flair up for the Playmaker, but Flair reverses into the Figure Four Leglock! MVP doesn't last long before tapping out, ending the match. Flair's still around.
Winner: Ric Flair
Ace Thoughts: It had some slow moments, but it wasn't a terrible beginning to this match. I just think, considering that they aren't doing anything with the US Title, that it should have been on the line here. It would have been great to give the Nature Boy another title run, although, I admit, the title would have been in the air for the next few months until Wrestlemania. I still believe that MVP has great things ahead of him. This just wasn't the best night for the US Champ.
- Vince McMahon and Hornswoggle are in the back, with Vince talking about the "Luck of the Irish" to his 'son'. Vince talks about how Hornswoggle can't trust anyone, which includes his friend, Finlay. Speak of the devil, Finlay walks in on the two of them. Vince tries to tell Finlay that he can't trust "the little guy", either, but I don't think Finlay buys it, seeing as how Hornswoggle leaps into Finlay's arms, and the two leave together.
- We have our new announcer, Mike Adamle (from XFL/American Gladiators), who talks about Jericho and JBL. We then get a nice video package, going over the feud, especially focusing on JBL costing Jericho his shot against Randy Orton and JBL later choking Jericho with a bullrope.
Chris Jericho vs. John Bradshaw Layfield:
This one should be a blood feud between these two guys, yet we start off like a normal match. Interesting. After a few lock-ups and JBL hiding in the ropes, we finally get some punches in. JBL sends Jericho outside the ring, but Jericho gets back in, Spearing JBL and kicking him in the ribs. Surprisingly, Jericho immediately goes for the Walls of Jericho, but JBL's still way too fresh, getting to the ropes. We go outside the ring, with Jericho sending JBL into the stairs. But coming back in, JBL targets Jericho's injured throat, dropping him on the ropes and landing several clotheslines to weaken him. Jericho attempts to come back, but JBL answers with the sleeper hold, which, yeah, I guess does add stress to the throat, so I like it better than a chinlock.
Jericho predictably comes back, getting free of the hold. He dodges a big boot and gets his own clothesline on JBL. But Jericho's too tired to capitalize, as JBL comes back with another big boot (this one landing). Jericho's sent into the steel post, and he starts bleeding everywhere! The crimson mask lives again! We fight in and out of the ring, with Jericho's bleeding just getting worse, as JBL focuses on the wound. The bloody Jericho starts to fight back, landing a few elbows, then starts to go for a Bulldog. For some reason, Jericho hesitates, but JBL doesn't, falling facefirst on his own to earn the boos of the crowd. Blown Spot Alert! Jericho doesn't stop, though, landing the Lionsault, then clotheslining JBL to the outside. They fight to the ECW table, with Jericho losing it, grabbing a steel chair and smashing JBL to cause the DQ! Afterwards, a wild Jericho chokes out JBL with the TV cable in the ring, letting out his rage. He hangs JBL, getting some revenge from the earlier bullrope assault.
Winner via DQ: John Bradshaw Layfield
Ace Thoughts: This wasn't a bad match, either, but I seem to be in a trend tonight of seeing matches as "Eh". As in, ok, I saw it, but I won't be remembering too much. Sure, it had a few good moments, like Jericho's bloody mask and the choke-out at the end, but the match itself showed off some of the ring rust of both wrestlers, especially that botched bulldog. I guess this match would be ranked higher for me if I didn't know the future of the feud (basically becoming barely a footnote in the Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out, with no great blow-off other than Jericho pinning JBL). So, once again, an ok match that I don't really need to ever see again.
- Santino Marelle denies Ashley her access to talk to Maria backstage about Playboy. That just means Ashley will have to find another time to encourage Maria to pose nude.
Edge(c) w/ Vicky Guerrero & the Rmy (Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder) vs. Rey Mysterio, World Title Match:
For those who don't know, Rey won a shot at the World Champion by winning a "Beat The Clock Challenge" Match over Edge (thanks in large part to the interference of Batista & the Undertaker). Mysterio also didn't understand the love affair going on between Vicky (the widow of Eddie Guerrero) and Edge. We're with you on that one, Mysterio. I've never understood it.
Teddy Long, Vicky's "assistant", wheels out Guerrero, and they're followed by Edge's Rmy. Mysterio, as always, is alone. Surprisingly, we get special ring announcing, with both men in the ring. Interestingly, Edge seems to get a lot more cheers than Mysterio does. Edge quickly acts as a bully, shoving Mysterio backwards. I like how Cole mentions that Edge & Mysterio once held tag-team titles together. History = Cool! Early on, Mysterio goes for a head-scissors that basically turns into a chest-scissors, as the move doesn't quite work right. We still have some back-and-forth maneuvers for a while, with Mysterio trying to use his speed, while Edge is trying to slow them down. At one point, Edge sends Mysterio sliding out of the ring, then gets a baseball slide to take him out. With Mysterio down, Hawkins & Ryder run over to take advantage. Before they can do anything, though, referee Mickie Henson sees them, and immediately ejects them from ringside! The Rmy is outta there!
A distracted Edge nearly gets caught with the 619, then gets nailed anyway on the outside, as Mysterio leaps out with a Splash! The fans are really behind Edge in this one, which is strange, as I don't remember Mysterio as the 'bad guy' very many times. Mysterio tries one too many high-risk maneuvers, as he manages to land on the 2nd rope, but Edge quickly kicks at his 'surgically-repaired knee' (as Cole repeatedly states), injuring him. Now Edge dominates for a while, stalking the hurting challenger and aiming for that knee. He adds in a half-Boston Crab to continue the pain, but Mysterio refuses to tap. He gets free and gets an Enziguiri on Edge to put him on the ropes, but Mysterio's too slow due to the injury to get the 619, with Edge getting a Powerslam for a near fall. Edge locks back onto the knee, twisting it around like crazy. Vickie has a cocky, happy look on her face to watch her husband's former best friend get beat up.
Mysterio can't even stand, so Edge poses to the crowd, which gets some more cheers, before going back to the knee. Mysterio comes back with one of his favorite counters into a bulldog. Mysterio then chops away at Edge, but his knee is really bothering him. It doesn't stop him, though, from using his usual roll-through to a kick (using the uninjured leg) for a 2 count. Mysterio also nearly gets the champ with a flip-over sit-down on Edge's chest, but Edge won't stay down. Mysterio goes to the top rope, with Edge meeting him there. But Mysterio fights off Edge, then comes off with the Warrior's Way!! Ok, why would Mysterio do that with an injured knee again? Anyhow, it's another 2 count, so Mysterio gives Edge a Hurricanrana out of the ring, then nails Edge with a baseball slide-into-a-DDT. Back in the ring for a 2 count again. Edge finally stops Mysterio's momentum with a boot to the face, then opts to try for his Spear. But Mysterio dodges, then gets another Hurricanrana to set Edge up! Mysterio then lands the 619, followed by the Frog Splash! But before the ref can count, Vickie leaps out of the wheelchair and runs around, grabbing the ref and stopping the count!!
A stunned Mysterio stares at Vickie, but doesn't miss Edge coming at him, putting Edge on the ropes for another 619 try! But Vickie gets in the way, and Mysterio nails her instead!!! Mysterio can't believe it, but he goes back to Edge, trying to leap off for a finisher. But Edge SPEARS him in mid-air!!! Mysterio is broken, and Edge easily gets the pinfall victory, thanks to Vickie's sacrifice. Afterwards, a distraught Edge goes to Vickie's aid, calling for help. The Rmy also comes out to her aid, as we get reviews of the best moments of the match. She eventually gets rolled out in the wheelchair again.
Winner, and still World Champion: Edge
Ace Thoughts: This is the first match of the night that I can really say I've fully enjoyed. The crowd reaction was wild, but they eventually came down on Mysterio's side, even cheering for when Vickie took the 619. This match had some close calls, some great maneuvers, and a pretty good finish, as it was totally believable that Mysterio could (and should) have won the title tonight. It would lead the two to have another match-up at WWE No Way Out, although that one would be a pale imitation of this one, due to Mysterio's arm injury.
- Flair celebrates his victory earlier with a shower, but then is interrupted by Mr. Kennedy. Alrighty then. Kennedy congratulates Flair, then says he wants to take care of Flair's career. Shawn Michaels comes in and seems a little thrown off by Flair & Kennedy in the bathroom together. He's followed by Batista and Triple H, who immediately clues in on how "awkward" this is. Batista and the Game have a tense moment, while Michaels just wants to sell t-shirts. Flair's happy to take one.
- Maria's out for the Royal Rumble Kiss Cam, which is convenient, since it allows Ashley to talk to Maria in the open about doing Playboy. Santino Marella charges out (with a cloaked sidekick) to put a stop to it, insulting the New Yorkers and their sports teams, the traditional way to get cheap heat. Since Santino knows people like to see "boobies", he brought his friend: Big Fat Naked Oily Guy! Ugh. He even has a Patriots logo on his chest, just to add insult to stomach sickness. Ashley beats up the BFNOG, and we thankfully cut away for a Wrestlemania Baywatch commercial featuring Mae Young. Ugh again.
- Mike Adamle accidentally talks about "Jeff Harvey" during his next clip. Well, I'll cut him some slack, he's just getting into the wrestling business. Learn those names, Mike!
- A cool video package runs, describing how Jeff HARDY got to this title shot, beating Triple H last month, and how their feud has been built up. I still love the Hardy plunge off the light riggings onto Orton, one of the best moments of the year thus far.
Randy Orton(c) vs. Jeff HARDY, WWE Title Match:
We start slowly with lock-ups, rolling the two wrestlers around the ring, as the crowd chants "Let's Go Hardy! Let's Go Orton!" Yep, there are Orton supporters in attendance. When Orton tries to taunt, Hardy gives him a shove, and the tension is up. We go to headlocks by Hardy, keeping the pace slow early on. Orton changes it to a headscissors, but Hardy escapes, then lands a few lower leg drops to get the first pin attempt. Orton takes advantage and screams at the crowd, taking care of a few of those fans cheering for him. Hardy responds by clotheslining Orton to the outside, then nails him with a huge dropkick so severe that the announcers think the match could already be over. His neck is at a terrible angle on the floor. Slowly, Orton gets up, only to get dived on by Jeff, adding to the abuse.
Orton decides enough is enough, and starts to take off, but Hardy meets him with fists in front of the announce table. Orton swings wildly at one point, which was a nice touch. As they're going back into the ring, Hardy tries to leap in, only to get dropkicked to the outside by Orton. The champ then follows Hardy out and suplexes him on the floor, before getting him back in for a pin attempt. Orton dominates for a while, blatantly choking Hardy at one point, since, according to JR, he doesn't care about being DQ'ed. Hardy finally comes back with a few shots, then throws Orton to the outside. Hardy then sets up another daredevil maneuver, leaping off the apron to crash into Orton and lay both men out.
Back in the ring, Hardy tries a charge into the corner, but Orton dodges, causing Hardy to slam his shoulder into the post! Orton, sensing opportunity, uses his favorite, the chinlock, but at least he adds a grapevine bodyscissors with it for a while. Hardy escapes, but gets caught with a powerslam for a 2 count. Orton then reapplies the chinlock. Sigh. Hardy escapes again, then reverses a whip into a clothesline, staying alive. He builds up momentum with multiple shots, then drives Orton into the corner. He runs to the other side, then lands the Whisper In The Wind! It gets Hardy a close 2 count before Orton can kick out. Hardy adds in an Enziguiri and a corner dropkick, before climbing the turnbuckle (with his shirt off). Orton runs out of range of the Swanton Bomb, but Hardy's still able to catch him with a top-rope dropkick, sending Orton to the outside! Hardy gets on the apron, then climbs the 'buckle, coming off with a moonsault that barely connects. Hardy gets up and brings Orton into the ring, where he sets him for the Twist of Fate, no, reversed, RKO!! Orton makes the pin, and just like that, this one's over!
Winner, and still WWE Champion: Randy Orton
Ace Thoughts: This was a pretty damn good match, which really, in my eyes, showed that Hardy really can be a main-event star in the future. I'd love to see him with a run with the title, although this might have been his best opportunity for that to happen. The fans were getting heavily behind him, which really crushed them when Orton won things so suddenly. Still, I like that we see that the RKO really can come out of nowhere, and beat someone that quickly. It really made Randy Orton look that much stronger as the champion, as he added Hardy to his list of defeated stars. Hopefully, down the line, Hardy will get another chance.
- Hardy is shown getting up after the match, to a burst of cheers from the crowd. It's not quite Benoit's Rumble after-cheers, but it'll do.
- Tazz & Joey Styles hype up the Rumble, while the rest of the announcers take a breather. The video for the Rumble is pretty cool, going over the statistics that have come before.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match:
Michael Buffer does the special entrance announcing, and even manages not to get super-kicked by Shawn Michaels this time (see the well-done subway promo, if this confuses you). #1 is the Undertaker, and the arena goes dark. From #30 to #1. Bummer for the Dead Man. #2 is Shawn Michaels, reuniting the two men who battled at the end of the '07 Rumble. The two have a staredown, followed by the Undertaker coming in like a boxer. The Dead Man soon has the advantage, including lifting Michaels by the throat and throwing him into the corner. The Undertaker beats on Michaels for a while before whipping Michaels into the corner, then kicking him up and causing him to rack himself on the ropes. But when the Undertaker follows in with a unique-looking leg drop attempt, Michaels moves, dodging the shot. Michaels tries to get rid of the Undertaker, but a goozle stops that. The Undertaker takes down Michaels with a big boot as the count goes down, and #3 Santino Marella comes down. Marella runs into the ring, then stops, realizing what he's facing. He tries to act tough, but some Sweet Chin Music lands, followed by the Undertaker dumping him out.
The two superstars continued to go back-and-forth, with Michaels denying the Dead Man's attempt to go Old School. The Undertaker takes the advantage with a Chokeslam, as #4, the Great Khali, comes down to go 1-on-1 with the Undertaker. A chop takes out the Undertaker, as the Great Khali works to beat down his rival. The fans can't help themselves, chanting "You can't wrestle!" Khali threatens a chokeslam, but the Undertaker responds with a goozle of his own, with the two backing up to the ropes. The Great Khali opts to try a chop next to the ropes, but the Undertaker dodges, then grabs the giant and throws him out! We're back to the two starters, as the announcers marvel about Khali's quick exit. #5 is Hardcore Holly, who really tries to take it to both men. As the Undertaker beats him down, Michaels sneaks up behind the Undertaker, but the Dead Man catches him, nearly tossing Michaels out! Holly makes the save, as the count begins again.
#6 is John Morrison, as the ring is finally starting to fill up. Morrison has no problem kicking at Holly and Michaels, but seems scared by the Undertaker. Michaels fights back, nearly tossing him, but Morrison manages to hang on and get back in. We pair off Holly vs. the Undertaker and Michaels vs. Morrison. #7 is Tommy Dreamer, battling in his old home state. The crowd starts chanting for Dreamer, showing that they know their history. Dreamer and the Undertaker go at it, while Holly, Morrison, and Michaels all switch around for a few minutes. The clock is running really fast this year, by the way. #8 is Batista, adding some meat to the ring. Batista starts taking out everyone, leading to Batista and the Undertaker facing off. Before they can battle, Dreamer charges Batista to try for the DDT. Big mistake, Tommy. Batista quickly tosses Dreamer, to the unhappiness of the crowd. Batista doesn't care, though, destroying Morrison with a massive spear. #8 is Hornswoggle, and the crowd seems happy about it. But with all the wrestlers watching him, Hornswoggle opts to slide under the ring instead of coming in, disappearing for some time, as the rest of the wrestlers continue to go at it.
#10 is Chuck Palumbo, who doesn't even get his entrance shown. That tells you how far he's going to go. Then again, he gets in a lot of offense on the various wrestlers, including HBK. Maybe he's not going to be jobbed out quickly here after all. #11 is Jamie Noble, still suffering from his injuries given to him on Smackdown from Palumbo. Noble beats on Palumbo at first, but his injuries allow Palumbo to get him to the apron, then knee him off, eliminating Noble quickly. Noble gets medical attention, as the 6 in the ring (7 if you count Hornswoggle) keep fighting it out. Morrison's had a few close calls, but keeps surviving. #12 is CM Punk, who goes to town on both Morrison and Michaels, only to get floored when it comes to the Dead Man. Punk takes some abuse, but manages a reversal on Palumbo to send him to the apron. as Palumbo tries to get back in, Punk knees him out, ending Palumbo's night.
#13 is Cody Rhodes, who ignores his partner (Hardcore Holly) and goes after Punk and Morrison. Rhodes finally notices that Holly's getting beat down by the Undertaker, and Rhodes throws brains to the wind and goes after the Dead Man. He doesn't do too badly, scoring a dropkick on the Undertaker and giving Holly some much needed breathing room. Holly returns the favor by ignoring his partner's peril and going after Michaels. #14 is Umaga, complete with red trunks. Umaga starts having fun, attacking everyone. He sends Holly out with the Samoan Spike, then gets met by Batista, leading to a big-time clash, with Batista taking some abuse. #15 is Snitsky, who brings his bald head to the ring and hits several people. Someone needs to teach these "monsters" to actually choose one man and throw him out first, before moving on. Rhodes surprisingly nearly eliminates Snitsky with a running charge, but Snitsky holds on. The fight continues throughout the ring, as the count begins yet again.
#16 is the Miz, who quickly helps out his tag-team partner, Morrison, to double-team CM Punk. Umaga and the Undertaker are going at it as well, with 'Taker unable to get rid of the Samoan Bulldozer, despite his best efforts. The clock's running about 1 minute every time. We are doing this at warp speed! #17 is the blonde-haired Shelton Benjamin, who strikes immediately, jumping to the top rope and taking down both Miz & Morrison! Impressive move. Benjamin lands his new finisher on Punk, but that's usually doomsday for guys like that in these matches, and Benjamin's no exception. Out of nowhere, Michaels lands the Sweet Chin Music, sending Benjamin out of the match.
#18 is a shocker, as "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka comes out! Snuka gets the cheers from the Madison Square Garden crowd. Snuka's head is still hard as it comes, as he takes out wrestler after wrestler with headbutts. Snuka even gets in some shots on the Undertaker and Batista, making him look like a superstar. #19 is another surprise, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper! Piper throws his kilt to the crowd (and his shirt, ugh), then comes in to go at it with a shocked-looking Snuka. The rest of the wrestlers are just watching, as Piper and Snuka go at it with punches and chops. A historic moment there, and it's just great to see Piper moving around after beating his cancer back. #20 is "The Big Red Machine" Kane, who quickly tosses out both Piper and Snuka! The crowd didn't really like that one. Kane chokeslams the Miz, and they liked that one a little more. The Undertaker threatens to goozle Kane, but he grabs a bloody-nosed Shawn Michaels instead, chokeslamming him.
#21 is Carlito, who wastes little time before spitting his apple into Cody Rhodes' face, blinding him. He opts for the 'fight-everyone' technique, and nearly pays for it, but he still lands the Backstabber on Punk. Rhodes gets some revenge with a running bulldog, shutting down Carlito's momentum. The clock is already ticking down again, and #22, Mick Foley, comes out! He goes after Kane and others, as the crowd chants his name. Meanwhile, in the background, Batista feels a powerbomb from the Undertaker, but then the Dead Man gets Samoan-Dropped by Umaga. Numbers 1 & 2 are still in there, and going strong. #23 is Mr. Kennedy. He seeks out Rhodes, for some reason, giving him a vicious face-wipe from his boot. He then starts delivering Mic Checks to the Miz and Punk, then kicks down the Undertaker when he dared to sit back up. The Dead Man answers with a goozle, chokeslamming Kennedy! That slows him down, as the dozen or so men in the Rumble right now are still going at it. There's almost too many in there to keep track of right now, and we're still not seeing that many eliminations.
#24 is Big Daddy V. To clear room for him, the Undertaker dumps out Snitsky. Seconds later, Michaels uses his Super Kick to knock the Dead Man out of the Rumble!! Only a few seconds after that, Mr. Kennedy grabs Michaels and throws him out as well!! Three men gone, just like that. With Michaels and the Undertaker in shock, Snitsky opts to attack, but the Undertaker makes him pay, dropping a leg on him on the Smackdown announce table (off-camera, unfortunately). In the ring, Mr. Kennedy almost eliminated Rhodes, who skinned the cat twice, then nearly caught Kennedy with a headscissors! Both men survive, though. #25 is "The World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry, giving us Henry, Big Daddy V, Kane, and Umaga in the ring. In the meantime, as the Miz dangles, trying to save himself with his hand, Hornswoggle suddenly appears, grabbing the Miz's hand and eliminating him!! Hornswoggle then disappears again under the ring. We finally get the video of the Undertaker destroying Snitsky, a little too late.
#26 is the ECW World Heavyweight Champion, Chavo Guerrero, who didn't get the chance to defend his title at this event. Chavo and Punk quickly go at it, with (sadly) little crowd emotion. Kane, meanwhile, takes out Morrison with a big boot, eliminating him. Near the side, Henry tries to dump Rhodes. Hornswoggle tries to take advantage again, but this time, Henry lifts Hornswoggle into the ring! Hornswoggle's finally in the Rumble, and he's in trouble, surrounded by Henry and Big Daddy V. Out of nowhere, though, Finlay (#27) runs in, attacking Henry and Big Daddy V with his shillelagh! Finlay gets Hornswoggle out of the ring, then... leaves. We soon learn that Finlay has been disqualified for using weapons (that's GOTTA be a new rule). However, they never really mention how Hornswoggle was eliminated. He just left.
#28 is Elijah Burke, as Batista lifts Kennedy up. Batista gets caught, though, with a Samoan Spike from Umaga, causing him to drop and roll under the ropes to the outside. He's not eliminated. But CM Punk is, getting dumped out by Chavo (who does it in a method similar to Chis Benoit's famous dumping of the Big Show for his Rumble win). Chavo goes at it with Foley, as the battles continue. #29 is Triple H, who, at this point, was everyone's favorite to win. He strikes fast, sending out Rhodes (whose knee tweaks badly on landing). The Game next focuses on Big Daddy V, getting a kneelift, then throwing the monster out! Umaga tries his luck, as does Foley, with both getting pounded by Triple H. Foley gets sent into Burke, and BOTH of them go over! Triple H is on fire! The Game starts beating on Umaga, smacking his head twice into the steel ring post, then Pedigree'ing him, laying him out, as the last count sounds....
And it's John Cena!! The crowd goes crazy at the unannounced return of "Da Champ", with most of the wrestlers in the ring looking completely stunned. Cena takes his time to take off his wardrobe, as Triple H wait. Of course, Henry hits Triple H from behind, knocking him down so that Cena can go crazy on everyone else. Cena quickly eliminates Carlito, Chavo, and Henry, clearing out the ring. Cena and the Game again staredown, with the WrestleMania sign in the background, and we have the two exchanging blows. Cena's the fresher man, but Triple H has the Spinebuster, taking down Cena. As the Game celebrates, though, Umaga comes in, giving Triple H the Samoan Spike! Another Spike is blocked by a charging Batista, who Spears Umaga to the mat! Batista then takes out Kennedy, eliminating him from the Rumble. Seconds later, Batista sends out Umaga. Kane tries to do a Double Chokeslam on Batista & Triple H, but they team up to eliminate Kane instead, leaving three men: Batista, Cena, and the Game!
After a brief staredown, Batista does his "Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down" pose, pumping up. Cena answers with "You Can't See Me". And, of course, Triple H has the "Suck It" pose ready as well, which gets the biggest cheer. The brawl breaks out between the three men, with Batista getting the advantage, even getting a double-clothesline on the superstars. He delivers Spinebusters to Cena and Triple H, then tries to pick someone to Batista Bomb. He chooses wrong, grabbing for Cena, who back-drops him. This allows Triple H to run over and clothesline Batista out, eliminating him! It's down to Da Champ & The Game. Triple H points to the WrestleMania sign, using some psychological warfare, but it doesn't faze Cena. After a long staredown, they finally fight, exchanging shots back and forth. The crowd cheers every Triple H shot, while booing for every Cena shot. It didn't take long for the boo-birds to get back into it. Cena doesn't care, landing the Five Knuckle Shuffle on the Game. The FU fails, though, as does a Pedigree attempt, and we have a double clothesline, taking both out. When they get back up, Cena tries another FU, with no success, as Triple H lands a DDT. A confident Game lifts Cena up, but Cena won't get tossed. An FU is blocked into a Pedigree attempt, which is blocked back to the FU, sending Triple H to the floor! John Cena returns from injury to earn his first Royal Rumble victory!
Winner: John Cena
Ace Thoughts: I'm sure it was a greater thrill live, when John Cena appeared out of nowhere. No one, I mean no one, had predicted his return, much less his victory here. Cena's return, plus other appearances, such as Foley, Piper, and Snuka, really made this a great Rumble, if only for the crowd reaction. It came down to 3 guys who could easily have gotten the win, adding a little intrigue. All-in-all, I have to recommend picking this one up, if you get the chance. If you love Rumbles like I do, this is one you need to see. If you don't like Rumbles, at least check out Orton/Hardy, and maybe even Edge/Mysterio.