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Old 10-01-2010, 09:28 PM   #55 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed

Raw and Smackdown Present;
~WWE ROYAL RUMBLE~
January 28th, 2007
AT&T Centre; San Antonio, Texas





*Opening Video*

We start with footage of various classic Royal Rumble matches, the ring full of Superstars...

Narrator: For 20 years, 30 men have chased a dream...

We now see some classic Rumble moments, starting with Shawn Michaels dumping The British Bulldog over the top rope and then collapsing to his knees in victory...

Narrator: 30 men have fought for greatness...

Triple H returning in 2002 and last eliminating Kurt Angle before celebrating in the ring...

Narrator: 30 men have chased their place in the annals of time.

Quick-fire shots of 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin's three Rumble wins, 1997, 1998 and 2001...

Narrator: They crave immortality...

We now see shots from last year's Royal Rumble, starting with Shane McMahon eliminating Shawn Michaels...

Narrator: They seek prominence...

The iconic image of Rey Mysterio headscissoring Randy Orton over the top rope to claim victory...

Narrator: But only one...

Rapid-fire images of eliminations, with bodies crashing to the floor as the pace of the video quickens...

Narrator: Will fulfil their destiny.

We now see stadium-wide shots of past Wrestlemania's, with the flashing lights and pyro displays of yesteryear...

Narrator: But what is their destiny?

We now cut to a dark room, a piercing light shining down upon a figure. This figure has his back to us, but he soon turns to reveal Triple H...

Narrator: Is it to be the best in the game?

Cut to the image of John Cena staring deep into the camera, pulling his cap down over his eyes to return the screen to darkness...

Narrator: Is it to fight for what they cherish most?

Batista now stands, shadow boxing, every fist thrown dashing in and out of darkness and light...

Narrator: Is it to prove why they are a champion?

Through the shadows we see Matt Hardy pour a bottle of water over his head, shaking his head, sending water flying through the light...

Narrator: Is it to show they belong?

Mr. Kennedy stares at the ceiling, drops of water slowly falling on him in place of the microphone he reaches for...

Narrator: Is to take that next step towards greatness?

We now see someone bowed deep in prayer. The man slowly raises his head into the light to show it's Shawn Michaels...

Narrator: Is it to make boyhood dreams come true?

The screen turns black until a swipe of Umaga's thumb draws a red light through the darkness...

Narrator: Or is it to make reality of our nightmares?

The pace of the video now quickens, starting with Finlay taking air shots with his shillelagh...

Narrator: Is Wrestlemania in your destiny?

Cut to The Undertaker raising his head, his hat slowly revealing his eyes...

Narrator: Will you be the one to fulfil your destiny?

Edge stares into the darkness, running his fingers through his hair...

Narrator: Do you control your destiny?

A door swings open, the light from inside the room showing us Ric Flair stepping into the darkness...

Narrator: Or does your destiny...

John Cena and Rob Van Dam, stood infront of each other, both staring into the distance, neither man capable of seeing the other...

Narrator: Control you?

Finally, the opening pyro display of Wrestlemania 22, in slow motion, before we fade to darkness.

We now hear the engine roar of a car, before the rapidly passing yellow lines of a road flash before us, a computer graphic version of the Detroit skyline and the Wrestlemania 23 logo in the distance...


Narrator: And now, the Road to Wrestlemania begins as Raw and Smackdown present... THE ROYAL RUMBLE!!



We cut into the arena for a mega burst of pyro, with the crowd going wild. The official Royal Rumble theme, 'Drones' by Rise Against blares out as the camera spans the arena, capturing the big time feel of the evening before we finally settle on the Raw announce desk to hear from Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler...

Jim Ross: Welcome everybody to the twentieth annual Royal Rumble!! The AT&T Centre in San Antonio, Texas is jam packed, for what promises to be a memorable night in WWE history! I'm Jim Ross, alongside Jerry 'The King' Lawler, we are at ringside all set to call the action from Monday Night Raw!

Jerry Lawler: And I can't wait to see it! Tonight, John Cena defends the WWE Championship against 'Mr. Monday Night' Rob Van Dam! And not only that, we're gonna find out who has the main event of Wrestlemania 23 in their destiny! It's gonna be a huge night!

Jim Ross: Cena and Van Dam, it's gonna be a slobberknocker that's for sure! Also tonight folks, we are scheduled to have an Intercontinental Championship match between Jeff Hardy and Kenny Dykstra, but King, we still don't know if Jeff Hardy has been medically cleared to compete here tonight after that heinous con-chair-to he suffered last Monday night.

Jerry Lawler: Well J.R., we've been callin' Jeff Hardy matches for a long time now. That kid has more guts than brains sometimes. I just hope that if the doctors haven't cleared Jeff to compete tonight, he does the right thing and listens to 'em.

Jim Ross: What a night it's gonna be folks! The Royal Rumble! Will it be a Raw Superstar who is the last man standing when it's all said and done, or will it be someone from Smackdown? Let's hand it over to our Smackdown colleagues Michael Cole and JBL.

Michael Cole: Thanks guys. Here on Smackdown we are ready for what promises to be nothin' short of a war as Batista and Finlay meet for the World Heavyweight Championship.

John Bradshaw Layfield: And what a war it's gonna be! Finlay has damaged not only the body but the psyche of 'The Animal' in a way I've never seen before Michael. The lights are on, the stars are out, and on the night dreams are made, Finlay is set to be Batista's nightmare! I love it!

Michael Cole: And of course we've got the Royal Rumble match. 30 men enter, but only one will fulfil his destiny. We've got a few favourites here on Smackdown partner.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Oh absolutely. The Undertaker, Kane, Matt Hardy, MVP, all of 'em have a huge shot at winnin' it all, but my money is on the fastest rising star in WWE history, the main eventer waitin' to happen, Mr. Kennedy! Kennedy is my pick to win the Royal Rumble! Just you wait and see Michael!

*WHATEVER...*

The crowd again erupts with a great response for Chris Benoit as he confidently makes his way down the aisle, United States Championship as always slung over his shoulder...


Tony Chimel: The following contest is scheduled for one fall and it is for the United States Championship! Introducing first... from Atlanta, Georgia... weighing in at 234 pounds... he is the current United States Champion... CHRIS BEEEEENNNNNOOOOOIIIIITTTTTT!


Michael Cole: We've got all of that to look forward to, but we're kickin' things off with the United States Championship on the line! The champion, 'The Rabid Wolverine' Chris Benoit has held the United States Title since October, but in recent weeks Test, who arrived here on Smackdown from ECW, has quite frankly dominated Benoit on several occasions.

John Bradshaw Layfield: When Test signed with Smackdown, he wanted to make an impact. He wanted to make a name for himself. He picked his target in Chris Benoit, and now Benoit is in danger of losing that United States Championship. Benoit was in the wrong place at the wrong time and he's about to pay for it tonight!

Benoit hands over the title and paces in the ring, cocking his head as he awaits the arrival of the challenger...

*THIS IS A TEST (EXTREME REMIX)...*

The crowd gives off a good amount of heat as Test arrogantly strides to the ring. A pissed off look on his face, Test is in no mood to exchange pleasantries with the crowd, as he flashes a look of disgust in their direction...


Tony Chimel: And introducing the challenger... from Toronto, Ontario, Canada... weighing in at 285 pounds... TEEESSSSSSTTTTT!

Michael Cole: He calls himself 'The Impact Player', and he's made quite the impact over the last month. Ever since Test burst onto the scene on Smackdown, he has had the United States Championship in his sights. Is tonight the night Test makes an even bigger impact and becomes the new United States Champion?

John Bradshaw Layfield: Michael, I have seen Chris Benoit wrestle for almost 20 years now. I've never seen him dominated and dismantled in the way that man Test has. Unless Benoit can pull somethin' special out the bag, it's gonna be a long night for 'The Crippler'.





United States Championship Match:
United States Champion Chris Benoit vs. Test

Both men initially circle the ring, sizing each other, before the pair come together in the middle of the ring for a collar and elbow tie up. Being the larger of the two, Test is able to back Benoit into the corner, with the referee quickly stepping in to call for a break. Initially Test obliges, only to strike with a cheap right hand. Benoit quickly fires back, and the crowd pops as a brief slugfest ensues. It all comes to an end though as Test aims a kick to the midsection, doubling Benoit over and wrenching him into a headlock. Benoit quickly backs into the ropes, using the momentum to fire Test across... but the challenger bowls Benoit over with a shoulderblock. Test quickly turns to again run the ropes, with Benoit back on his feet just as fast... to catch Test with a drop toe hold... and go for the CRIPPLER CROSSFACE! The crowd explodes as Benoit goes for the early submission, but he can't get it locked on clean, as Test does all he can to fight and struggle his way to freedom. With Test doing all he can to avoid his arm being trapped, Benoit begins hammering Test on the mat with a series of stiff elbows to the back of the head. Momentarily dazed, Test's powers of resistance briefly fade, allowing Benoit to further wrench the arm into position... but Test quickly regains his composure, again fighting to stay out of the submission hold.

Realizing he can't lock the crossface in, Benoit jumps up to drop a few snap elbows to the back, with Test crawling towards the corner to try regroup. Benoit doesn’t give him an inch though, assisting the challenger back to his feet in the corner to unload with a three stiff knife edge chops to the chest. “Woooo”’s ring out as Benoit unloads, before he sends Test across with an Irish whip and charges... but Test gets a boot up, and he explodes out of the corner with a hard clothesline. Taking his time to recover, Test shakes his head a few times before he drags Benoit to his feet, sending the champion crashing into the corner with a hard Irish whip. Slowly, Test makes his way towards the corner, carefully measuring Benoit to deliver a pair of elbows to the side of the head. Test shows off his aggressive side by driving his right boot into Benoit’s throat, choking the champion. Test then looks to send Benoit to the opposite corner, but Benoit reverses and charges in... Test gets an elbow up, staggering the champion, and the challenger attacks... but Benoit ducks his clothesline... GERMAN SUPLEX! Benoit plants Test, but he keeps his grip... SECOND GERMAN SUPLEX! The crowd pops as they all know what’s coming... A THIRD GERMAN SUPLEX!!

On the third German Benoit releases, and this allows Test to wisely roll under the bottom ropes to recover on the outside. The ref steps in to give a ten count, but Benoit doesn’t want to wait, stepping through the ropes to grab Test on the floor, slugging him with a stiff right and tossing the challenger back into the ring. Test is quickly back to his feet, and as Benoit climbs back up onto the apron, Test is already motoring towards him... SHOULDERBLOCK SENDS BENOIT FLYING INTO THE BARRICADE!! Benoit crashes into the barricade, immediately clutching his ribs, letting out a few violent sounding coughs as the camera zooms in. After taking a few seconds to get his bearings, Test goes outside to bring Benoit back into the ring, realizing a count out victory is no good for him. Test rolls Benoit back into the ring, and he slides in to make a cover...

...
One
.....
Tw...NO!

Benoit quickly kicks out of the first cover of the match, but now Test looks to take control, targeting the ribs that bore the brunt of the impact of Benoit’s trip to the barricade. With Benoit facing the corner, Test aims forearms and knees to the small of the back and side, before dragging Benoit to the centre of the ring for a backbreaker. Instead of dropping Benoit to the mat, Test keeps a grip of the champion, keeping Benoit lying across his back, applying downward pressure to the chin of the champion, transitioning into a pendulum backbreaker. With one hand on a knee and the other on the chin, Test pushes down with both arms, applying pressure, causing Benoit to cry out in pain. The crowd tries to rally behind Benoit, and the champion is able to make a move to break free, swinging his free leg upwards, catching Test with a kick to the head. Dazed, Test shakes his head, managing to continue to apply pressure, so Benoit swings again with the foot... and again... and a fourth kick finally allows the champion to fall to the mat! The crowd pops, sensing a Benoit comeback, and the champion looks to provide on as he catches Test with a kick to the gut, before an Irish whip sends Test to the corner. Benoit races towards the corner, but Test gets a boot up, catching Benoit in the midsection. Benoit immediately clutches his ribs, stopping any momentum, and Test hammers home his advantage by firing out of the corner to drop Benoit with a RUNNING BOOT TO THE FACE! The crowd gasps at the impact at which Benoit’s head snapped off the canvas, and knowing he got all of that move Test quickly goes for the cover, hooking a leg...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

The crowd cheers as Benoit kicks out, but the frustration from Test is clear for all to see as he slams his hand down off the mat. Slowly dragging Benoit back to a vertical base, Test connects on a pair of right hands to the face, before he sends Benoit off the ropes, scooping the champion up as he rushes forward... and dropping Benoit with a sidewalk slam. Again Test hooks a leg...

One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Again frustrated, Test stands up, pulling Benoit with him, and he grabs the champion and carefully applies an abdominal stretch. With another hold designed to wear Benoit down and apply pressure to the ribs, Test wrenches the hold on tight, even going as far as to drive the occasional elbow into the exposed side of the champion. The two are locked up near the ropes, and Test uses this to his advantage, as when the referee goes to check on Benoit, the challenger reaches out, grabbing the ropes to gain additional leverage, causing the cries of pain from the champion to intensify. On several occasions Test can be heard shouting “Give up!” at Benoit, but each time the referee asks Benoit if he wants to submit, the champion defiantly answers “No.”, much to the annoyance of Test. Continuing to stretch the rules, Test again reaches out to grab the top rope. This time though, the referee catches him in the act, immediately demanding Test break the hold. Test is given a five count, but when the challenger pleads his innocence, Benoit is able to break the hold himself, countering with a hiptoss. Benoit sells the effects of the hold, dropping to his knees and clutching his side, but he’s soon back on his feet to meet Test, striking with a right hand. Test looks to fire back, but Benoit blocks it, scoring with a right of his own. Again Test swings a right, but again Benoit blocks and responds with a stiff punch of his own. Benoit then rattles off two uninterrupted shots, before Test again swings... Benoit ducks underneath and counters... BRIDGING NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX!

One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Test is able to forcibly kick out, and both men find a burst of energy to return to their feet quickly. Benoit beats Test to the punch by unloading with a series of stiff chops to the chest which drive Test to the corner, where the chops continue as Benoit rattles off three straight. A hard Irish whip sends Test across, and when he crashes into the opposite corner he staggers out of it... straight into a big back body drop! Test flies and crashes, and with the challenger down in the middle of the ring, Benoit turns to the corner, stepping through the ropes to climb to the top. When he gets there, Benoit steadies himself, but before he can attack, a desperate Test makes it back to his knees... and dives for the ropes! This causes Benoit to crotch himself on the top turnbuckle, allowing Test a brief moment of recovery against the ropes. After a few moments Test reaches up and pulls himself to his feet, and with Benoit still perched on the top turnbuckle, the challenger begins to climb to the second rope. Grabbing hold of Benoit’s tights, Test positions himself to go for a suplex off the top... but Benoit grabs hold of the top rope with his free arm, saving himself. Benoit then strikes with right hands to the gut, before grabbing Test’s head and connecting on a pair of stiff headbutts... that knock Test back down to the mat! Test crashes, and once again he’s in position in the centre of the ring. Benoit cautiously stands on the top turnbuckle, readying himself, before launching through the air... DIVING HEADBUTT... NO!!

At the last split second, Test rolls to safety, leaving Benoit to crash into the mat head first. The champion immediately grabs at his skull, writhing in pain, crying out in agony. Although he avoided the contact, Test is still down hurt from the previous Benoit attack. With both men down flat on the mat, the referee has no option but to give them both a ten count.

One
.....
Two
.....
Three
.....

There are signs of life from Test as he starts to crawl towards the ropes, but Benoit is still down, writhing in pain.

Four
.....
.......
Five
.....
.......
Six
.....
.......
Seven
.....
.......

Test has made it back to his knees, and as he begins to crawl towards Benoit, the ref ends his count, but he’s soon counting again as Test hooks the leg for another cover...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
THR-NO!

The crowd erupts as Benoit rolls his shoulder at the last split second, causing Test to hold his head in his hands, incredulous as to how Benoit is still in the match. Test then turns to the referee, holding up three fingers, motioning he thought it should’ve been over. Both men struggle to return to a vertical base, and when they finally make it back up, it’s Test who strikes first with a stiff right hand. Another right lands on the head of Benoit, before Test looks to send Benoit to the corner... but Benoit reverses, and he charges towards Test... clothesline in the corner finds it’s mark. Now it’s Benoit who lands the right hands, connecting with three before he looks to charge off the ropes... straight into a big boot to the face! Just like that the momentum swings back in Test’s favour, with the challenger making a tired looking cover, not even hooking a leg...

One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Anger crosses Test’s face as he wonders what it will take to keep the champion down. Soon, Test is back on his feet and he pulls Benoit up with him, sending Benoit off the ropes... right into a BEARHUG! Test catches Benoit and grips around the small of the back, squeezing on Benoit’s ribs, causing the champion to cry out in pain. Test continues to apply pressure by wrenching on the champion, violently swinging Benoit from side to side, all the while maintaining a tight grip. Benoit tries to fight free, struggling to break the grip, but it’s a helpless situation for the champion, and it appears like he’s slowly beginning to fade. The referee now steps in for a closer look, and on noticing the champion is fading, he lifts Benoit’s right arm in the air... and it drops. Seeing this gives Test a boost, as he now enthusiastically wrenches Benoit around, pausing briefly to allow the ref to raise Benoit’s arm again... and for the second time it drops. The crowd responds, trying to cheer Benoit back into the match, but Test shakes his head at the crowd, again upping the pressure. The ref raises Benoit’s arm for a third time, pausing before letting go... this time Benoit keeps his arm in the air! The crowd pops as Benoit manages to stay in the match, and he claws at Test’s hands around his waist, trying to break the grip. Unable to do so, Benoit simply rears back and strikes Test with a trio
of headbutts. The headbutts have an effect as Test’s legs start to wobble, but he still has both hands clasped around the champion’s waist. In one last effort to break free, Benoit grabs Test... and twists into a BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX!

The crowd pops as Benoit breaks free, and now Benoit looks to build some momentum, beating Test back to his feet, but it’s the challenger who throws a right hand first... Benoit blocks, firing back with one of his own. Benoit then strings off two more rights, before Benoit goes for an Irish whip... Test reverses, and he lines Benoit up for a clothesline... but Benoit ducks and puts on the breaks, grabbing Test’s waits from behind... GERMAN SUPLEX! Both men are now tiring, but Benoit valiantly hangs on and pulls Test up... SECOND GERMAN SUPLEX! Almost a dead weight now, Benoit takes an age, but eventually he drags Test up... but when he goes for the third German, Test blocks it with an elbow to the side of the head, hitting another to break Benoit’s grip before the challenger turns... kick to the gut, and now he reaches down... GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB!! Test nails his finishing move, and he drapes over Benoit, hooking the leg...

ONE
.....
.......
TWO
.....
.......
.........
THREE?
.....
.......
.........
NO!!!

Somehow, Benoit rolls a shoulder at the last second, infuriating Test, who immediately gets back to his feet, grabbing the ref by the shirt. Test screams in his face “That was three!”, with the referee cowering in fear, only able to raises three fingers as a response. The pissed off challenger aggressively lets go of the shirt, giving a little shove to the ref in the corner as he does. Benoit is still down, but Test soon stands over him, looking down at the fallen Benoit, as he’s done so many times over the last month. Test stares into the hard camera, soaking in the boos of the crowd, before he reaches down to the mat, grabbing Benoit around the neck and pulling him back to his feet. Slowly, Benoit is back up, and once again Test reaches around his waist, hoisting Benoit into the air one more time... GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB... NO!! Benoit uses the momentum to push himself down to his feet behind Test, grabbing one of the challenger’s arms and forcing him down to the mat... to lock in THE CRIPPLER CROSSFACE!!! Benoit struggles but gets the submission move locked in tight, with Test clawing for the ropes. The champion wrenches back on Test’s neck, but the challenger strives to reach out and grab the ropes... but it’s no use, Test can’t reach... and HE BEGINS TO TAP OUT!!!


Winner: And still United States Champion, Chris Benoit @ 12.43

*WHATEVER...*

Test continues to tap furiously until finally, mercifully, Benoit releases his grip, letting go of the crossface. Benoit rolls away from Test, his head face down on the mat as he tries to recover from the effects of the match. Soon Benoit makes it back to both knees, the referee handing him the United States Title and raising Benoit's arm in victory...


Tony Chimel: Here is your winner... and STILL United States Champion... CHRIS BEEEEENNNNNOOOOOIIIIITTTTTT!

Michael Cole: What an unbelievable effort from Chris Benoit. 'The Rabid Wolverine' was subjected to an onslaught from Test, but somehow Benoit remains the United States Champion.

John Bradshaw Layfield: I dunno how he does it Cole. Test was in control, he was dominating, I thought for sure we had a new US Champ, but Benoit show a whole lotta’ balls to stay in the match and then pull out the win. I said Benoit would need somethin' special, and that was a special performance if you ask me.

Slowly Benoit rolls out of the ring, cradling the title, hoisting it high at the foot of the ramp to another nice pop from the crowd before we cut backstage...

To what we can assume to be Mr. McMahon's office. The Chairman of the Board sits on a big leather couch, dressed in a smart suit. Vince's accessory of choice for this evening is a white neck brace. The Boss, obviously in pain with every move, tries to turn to grab a nearby bottle of water. A nervous Jonathan Coachman sees Vince struggling to turn his head and grab the bottle, so the Executive Assistant steps in to offer help...


Jonathan Coachman: Oh - allow me Mr. McMahon! Remember what the Doctor said. You should be resting right now. Infact, Mr. McMahon, if you want my opinion, you shouldn't even be here right n-

Mr. McMahon: SHADDUP! If I want your opinion Coach, I'll ask for it. Now hand me that bottle over there.

???: Here, I got it.

The camera quickly pans to reveal Shane McMahon has entered the room, to an initial pop until a few boos are heard. Also dressed in a sharp suit, Shane grabs the bottle, handing it to his father, before turning to Coachman...

Shane McMahon: Haven't you done enough damage to my Father? I mean, you're supposed to be makin' sure he's got everythin' he needs tonight. You're supposed to be showin' a bit of initiative tonight Coach.

Mr. McMahon: Listen Shane, like I told you on Monday night, you don't need to be here tonight.

Shane McMahon: Oh, I need to be here alright. Y'think I enjoy sittin' at home, watchin' my Father bein' FU'ed through a table? Y'think I want to see my Dad gettin' hit with a frog splash?

Vince says nothing, instead taking a sip from his water bottle as Shane turns back to Coach...

Shane McMahon: And what about you? I mean, the whole reason he's got a neck brace on is 'cause you pissed off John Cena, and then you ran away and left my Dad to take on two men!

Coach offers no response, instead he nervously looks at the ground...

Shane McMahon: Listen Dad, you and me... we're McMahons! I'm not gonna let some punk like John Cena get away with what he did to you last Monday night. I'm gonna be at Raw tomorrow night, and I think it's about time that John Cena and myself, had a little chat.

Mr. McMahon: YEAH! Yeah, that's my boy! Y'see Coachman, that's how a McMahon handles a nobody like John Cena. We don't run for the hills, we get right in his face, and we tell it like it is!

Suddenly receiving a burst of energy, Vince ignores his 'injured' neck and bounces up off the couch...

Mr. McMahon: Now, I left Teddy Long in charge of the drawing of the Royal Rumble spots... but I wanna be in that room now. I wanna look each WWE Superstar entered in the Royal Rumble right in his eye. I wanna see who has the ruthless aggression to main event MY Wrestlemania. Let's go!

And with that, Vince, Shane and Coach all leave to exit the room...

Mr. McMahon: Uh... not you Coach. You stay here. Make some coffee or somethin' like that. C'mon Shane.

Annoyed, Coach can only watch as the two McMahons leave the shot, with Coach sighing deeply as we cut to...

The very room Mr. McMahon is headed for. The camera focuses on the tumbler full of Royal Rumble balls, which is flanked by Raw diva Maria and Smackdown's Layla. Stood nearby is Teddy Long, who rubs his hands with excitement...


Teddy Long: Alright ladies are we ready?!

Maria and Layla offer a squeal of excitement in response...

Teddy Long: Then let's get those balls rollin' playa!

The eye candy go to work, turning the tumbler as Teddy looks on...

Teddy Long: Alright, alright! I like 'dat! Now... who's up first?

The camera turns to reveal the World Tag Team Champions Edge and Randy Orton have entered the room. Having already secured Number 30, Edge is all smiles, while Orton scowls menacingly...

Teddy Long: Alright, Edge and Randy Orton. Edge... what you doin' here playa? You already got Number 30.

Edge: Yeah, thanks Teddy. I don’t need you or anybody else to remind me of that fact. I’m sure everybody remembers last Monday night to where I earned that precious Number 30 spot.

Nearby, a look of annoyance crosses Orton’s face as he shakes his head...

Teddy Long: So... whatcha' doin' here?

Edge: I'm here to offer my partner Randy Orton a little moral support. I mean, there's only one Number 30 spot, and I'm the guy who's got it. I'm the only guy with the talent to handle a position like Number 30. It's a lotta pressure on me Teddy.

Randy Orton: Listen... Edge, I don't need any of your... moral support right now. Quite frankly, after the stunt you pulled on Monday night by eliminating me from the battle royal... you're lucky I'm lettin' you stand next to me right now.

Edge: Whoa! Hey, easy Randy. Listen, it's the Royal Rumble. It's every man for himself! I just did what I had to do Randy. And as my partner... I know you understand that.

Orton smirks at Edge as he reaches into the tumbler, fishing around for the right ball...

Randy Orton: Well Edge, I hope you understand when I throw you over the top rope tonight and win the Royal Rumble.

Orton pulls out the ball, looking at it and showing it to Edge...

Edge: That's not bad. Not as good as 30 though is it?

???: Alright, alright. Outta my way. Let the man who's going to win the Royal Rumble pick his spot.

Edge and Orton both turn to see Smackdown's Mr. Kennedy enter the room, pushing himself in-between the Rated-RKO duo to dip his hand into the tumbler...

Edge: Wait, wait a second. You? You, Mr. Kennedy? You think you're gonna win tonight?

Kennedy pulls a ball out of the tumbler, but before he gets a chance to look at which number he's picked, Kennedy turns to face Edge and Orton...

Mr. Kennedy: Wait, wait... let me guess. You, Edge... you're Number 30. And you think that because of that, you think you're the favourite to win. Right?

Edge: Well... yeah.

Mr. Kennedy: Right, right. Y'know somethin' Edge? The guy who enters the Royal Rumble last... has never... NEEEEVVVVEEERRRRRR... won the Royal Rumble. And the sheer fact that I am in the Royal Rumble means that once again... Number 30 ain't gonna be goin' to Wrestlemania! Hell, it doesn't even matter what number I pi...

Disgusted, Kennedy looks on in horror as he checks his number. Clearly unhappy with the selection, Edge and Orton grab Kennedy's wrist, turning his hand to show them but not the camera what number he picked...

Edge: Oh my... wow!

Randy Orton: Yeah have fun with that number Kennedy.

Edge: I was gonna brag about how when I enter at 30 I was gonna take a lot of pleasure in eliminating you Kennedy but... I don't think you're gonna make it that far!

Orton and Edge turn to leave, while the camera stays focused on the furious Kennedy, who throws his bingo ball off the wall before storming out of the room.

Back to ringside to the Raw announce desk to a sombre looking Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler...

Jim Ross: Ladies and gentlmen, coming up next, we are scheduled to have an Intercontinental Championship match between the Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy and the number one contender, Kenny Dykstra. However, due to a vicious assault from Rated-RKO on Jeff Hardy last Monday night on Raw, that Intercontinental Championship is now in jeopardy.

Jerry Lawler: Well you called it 'vicious' J.R. and that's exactly what it was. Kenny Dykstra, Edge, Randy Orton, all three members of Rated-RKO attacked Jeff Hardy, and now, we don't know if that Intercontinental Championship match is even going to happen tonight.

Jim Ross: Jeff Hardy, who was tryin' to do the right thing after we heard Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin make some pretty disturbing threats to poor Torrie Wilson, and Jeff paid for it. Rated-RKO saw that as their chance to strike, and they took advantage of it.

Jerry Lawler: Yeah and J.R., we haven't heard any official word on Jeff Hardy's condition. But from what I've heard around the locker room, the rumours aren't too good. I've heard that Jeff suffered injuries ranging from a concussion to a fractured skull. I just... I honestly don't see how Jeff Hardy can compete tonight.

"YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME...

HEY! NOTHING YOU CAN SAY..."

*BURN IN MY LIGHT (RATED-R REMIX)...*


A ton of heat, no doubt influenced by the actions of Monday night, welcomes the arrival of Kenny Dykstra. The essence of arrogance, Dykstra slowly and smugly swaggers down to the ring, a smirk etched on his...

Lillian Garcia: The following is scheduled for one fall and it is for the Intercontinental Championship! Introducing first... the challenger... from Worcester, Massachusetts... weighing in at 230 pounds... KENNY DYYYKKKSSSSTTRRAAAAAAA!

Jim Ross: Well I hope that young man is happy with what he did last Monday night. I hope that smug son of a bitch is proud that he jumped a man from behind and then put him in an ambulance.

Jerry Lawler: I think Kenny Dykstra is plenty proud of what he did last Monday night. He's about to win the Intercontinental Championship by forfeit by the looks of things.

Having reached the ring, Dykstra arrogantly steps through the ropes, striding straight towards the corner where Lillian Garcia and referee Jack Doan stand. Dykstra aggressively snatches the microphone out of Lillian's hand before turning to stand in the middle of the ring...

Kenny Dykstra: I know you all saw what I did to Jeff Hardy last Monday night. I know each and every one and you saw me nail Jeff Hardy with a one-man-conchairto. But, just incase you missed it... and because I really like watchin' it... I'm gonna play it again one... more... time. Roll the footage!

*Video Package*


Jeff smiles and grabs himself a bottle of water off the table...

Jeff Hardy: Hey, don't worry about it. I'm sure if Carlito wasn't gettin' ready for his match he'd have...

Out of nowhere Hardy is blindsided by Edge, Randy Orton and Kenny Dykstra!! Hardy is hammered from behind by the Rated-RKO trio, causing Jeff to go crashing into the table, knocking it over, sending food and bottles scattering all over the floor. Torrie screams and then runs for the hills, but Edge, Orton and Dykstra take no notice of her, instead they continue to pound Hardy on the floor. Jeff tries to struggle to his knees to put up a fight, but the numbers get to him as Dykstra mounts him, laying in with stiff shots to the skull as Edge and Orton lay in with kicks.

Eventually Kenny stops, returning to his feet to stand with his colleagues...

Edge: Alright! There ya' go! That's how you become a CHAMPION junior!!

Randy Orton: Alright, c'mon let's go.

Edge and Orton turn to leave, but Dykstra, a sick look in his eyes as he stands over Hardy doesn't move...

Kenny Dykstra: No. No I'm not done yet!

Dykstra walks towards another table nearby, chasing away a few backstage workers... and then grabbing hold of two steel chairs!

Dykstra quickly grabs Jeff by the hair, pulling his head off the concrete to place one of the chairs on the ground before releasing his grip, letting Jeff's head drop onto the steel. Loving what they are seeing for their protégé, Edge and Orton give Kenny plenty of encouragement...

Randy Orton: C'mon Kenny DO IT!!

Edge: Yeah! YEAH DO IT!! HIT 'IM!!

A group of referees and road agents quickly hit the scene, shouting "Back off Kenny!" and "Drop it! Drop the damn chair!", but Orton and Edge keep the agents away, as Kenny raises the second chair high in the air...

"No! Don't do it Kenny!"

Steadying himself...

"Hit 'im!! You wanna be a champion? HIT 'IM!!"


Before bringing the chair down...


for a sickening ONE MAN CON-CHAIR-TO!!!

Randy Orton: YEAH!! THAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT MAN!!

A sick smile flashes across Dykstra's mouth as he callously drops the chair in his hand, slowly backing away from Hardy, not taking his eyes on the fallen Intercontinental Champion...

Backstage Worker: Get the hell outta here!

Edge and Orton are all smiles as they stand next to Kenny, delighted with Kenny's actions...

Edge: Alright. Alright that's enough, let's go.

Edge and Orton turn to leave, with Kenny slowly following behind, his eyes still locked on Hardy as he leaves the scene...

Backstage Worker: God we... we need some help here! Somebody get an ambulance!

The camera zooms in on Hardy's head, with the Intercontinental Champion not moving an inch since the chair crashed down on his skull. Agents try to check on Hardy, asking "Jeff can you hear me?" but there's no response as we fade into commercial.


*End Video Package*

We cut back into the arena where it's ridiculous heat for Kenny, who is stood laughing and pointing up at the titan tron...

Kenny Dykstra: Oh my God... amazing! And y'know what's funny? That's probably Jeff Hardy's greatest moment in the WWE!

More boos...

Kenny Dykstra: I destroyed Jeff Hardy last Monday night! After the beatin' I gave him, there's not a chance in HELL he's gonna be able to compete tonight! And since I know Jeff Hardy won't be here tonight, I want you (Pointing at Jack Doan) to declare me the NEW Intercontinental Champion.

Not particularly happy at this development, Doan steps forward, and we are able to overhear him saying to Kenny "I gotta give him a 10 count"...

Kenny Dykstra: You gotta give 'im a 10 count? Fine. You could count to a million and he still wouldn't show up. Let's get this over with.

And with that, Doan steps towards the ropes, looking up the aisle at the entrance way to begin his count...


One
.....
Two
.....
Three
.....

Dykstra arrogantly stands in the middle of the ring, his arms open wide, soaking in the boos of the crowd as the count continues...

Four
.....
.......
Five
.....
.......
Six
.....
.......
Seven
.....
.......

Dykstra smiles as he shakes his head, shouting "HE'S NOT COMIN'! HE'S NOT HERE!!"...

Eight
.....
.......
.........
Nine
.....
.......
.........
...........


*LOADED...*

The roof damn nears blows off the arena as Jeff Hardy's music hits. Dykstra stands shocked, furiously shaking his head and shouting "NO!!", demanding that the ref finish the ten count. Doan refuses, much to Dykstra's disgust... and Jeff finally steps through the entrance way! Jeff Hardy is here! But as he slowly makes his way down to the ring, it's clear for all to see that Jeff isn't 100%...


Lillian Garcia: And introducing next... from Cameron, North Carolina... weighing in at 215 pounds... he is the Intercontinental Champion... JEEEFF... HAAAAAAARDY!

Jim Ross: JEFF HARDY! Jeff Hardy is here! Jeff Hardy is gonna fight with everythin' he's got!

Jerry Lawler: Yeah but J.R. just how much does Jeff Hardy have left to fight with? I don't think this is smart J.R., who knows what kind of damage Jeff suffered on Monday night. I don't think Jeff should even be out here right now.

Jim Ross: I don't think a doctor alive who could keep Jeff Hardy out of this match. He wants to get his hands on Dykstra, and he wants to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

Gingerly climbing up the ring steps and stepping through the ropes, Dykstra wastes no time in attacking, clubbing Jeff as he's half way through the ropes, leading to Doan calling for the bell as the match is on.




Intercontinental Championship Match:
Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy vs. Kenny Dykstra

And immediately Dykstra targets the neck and back of the head, furiously stomping and dropping forearms, continuing to show the anger he felt when Jeff interrupted the ten count. Jeff still has the Intercontinental Championship wrapped around his waist as Kenny drags him to his feet by the hair, connecting with knees to the midsection that drives Jeff into the corner. The ref steps in, trying to separate the two, but Kenny has no intention of providing a clean break. Another pair of knees double Jeff over, allowing Kenny to hit more well placed forearms to the back of the head and neck. Kenny then sends Jeff across the ring with an Irish whip, but as Jeff reaches the corner he forces himself up using the top ropes, elevating over the onrushing Kenny and landing behind Dykstra, who quickly turns to catch a boot from Hardy... who twists into a mule kick! The force of the kick causes Dykstra to land seated in the corner, his head against the bottom turnbuckle. Jeff wastes little time in charging towards the prone Dykstra, pushing himself into the air off the top ropes... and crashing down with the Hardyac Arrest! But as Jeff lands the back of his head hits the mat hard, with both commentators quick to point out how Jeff clutches his head and is slow back to his feet. The kick connects with enough force that Kenny ducks under the bottom rope to the outside, taking a few moments to recover. Jeff too tries to recover in the ring, and he's on his feet in to see Kenny approach the ropes. This leads to Jeff charging the rope... baseball slide dropkick... that sends Kenny flying into the barricade!

Having survived the initial onslaught, the champion now tries to regroup in the ring, continuing to grip at the back of his head. On the outside, the challenger is slowly back to his feet, but it's Jeff who makes the first move, walking to the ropes and using them to launch himself into the air... for a slingshot crossbody! Jeff crashes into Dykstra, with both men collapsing in a heap. Jeff quickly mounts Kenny to connect on a trio of right hands, before using the apron to pull himself back to his feet. Kenny quickly turns and out of desperation begins to crawl away, trying to distance himself from Jeff. Hardy of course follows in pursuit, catching Kenny near the steel steps, snatching Dykstra's foot. As Kenny turns, he quickly reaches out, turning the tables by grabbing Jeff by the top of his pants and pulling Hardy forward... HEAD FIRST INTO THE STEEL STEPS!! Jeff connects with a thud, and after shaking off the cobwebs, Kenny is quick to aim more boots to the skull.

Still down on his knees near the steps, Hardy is a sitting duck as Kenny backs away, looking like he's lining Hardy up. Slowly Kenny makes his move, charging in... to KICK JEFF'S SKULL INTO THE STEPS... NO! Jeff thankfully is able to dive out of harms way, and the slow of Kenny's foot cracks off the steel steps. Clutching at his ankle, Kenny shows the effects of his missed attack, and Jeff is quick to connect with rights to the face, before pulling Kenny in and hoisting him up... SITOUT INVERTED SUPLEX SLAM ON THE FLOOR!! The crowd pops as Jeff drops Kenny face first to the floor, with Jeff slowly returning to his feet, dragging Kenny up with him and rolling him back into the ring.

Dykstra looks to distance himself again, rolling towards the furthest away corner, but Jeff doesn't give him an inch, snapping off a pair of rights to the face before pulling Kenny into the ropes and sending him off them with an Irish whip... but Jeff lowers his head... and Kenny takes advantage with a snap swinging neckbreaker! Jeff immediately clutches at the back of his head, writhing in pain while Kenny quickly moves to make the first cover of the match...

...
One
.....
Tw...NO!

Jeff quickly rolls the shoulder, not kicking out with any great authority, and Kenny senses a chance to apply pressure, wrenching Jeff into a reverse chin lock. Jeff struggles, trying to break free, but the young challenger has the hold synched in tight, not allowing Jeff to return to his feet. Hardy wildly throws his right arm around, trying to reach out for the ropes to gain a break, but he's nowhere near them. Referee Jack Doan very audibly asks Jeff if he wants to submit, to which Hardy manages to force out a "No". Now Jeff clutches at the clasped hands of Kenny, with the champion now trying to break Dykstra's grip on his chin. Unable to force free Dykstra's grip, Jeff struggles but manages to make it back onto a knee, forcing Kenny to stand up. With the chin lock still in place, Jeff pushes himself back onto both feet, and he quickly strikes with an elbow to the midsection... and another one... and a third finally breaks the hold! Jeff moves quickly to go for an Irish whip to the corner... but Kenny reverses, but Jeff runs the turnbuckle's to the top rope... whisper in the wind... NO! Kenny runs through, avoiding Hardy who lands on his feet... until Kenny drops him with a big-time clothesline!

...
One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Despite a brief rally from Jeff, Kenny remains in control of the match, dragging Jeff to his feet to connect with more forearms to the back of the head. Kenny then goes for an Irish whip to the corner, with Jeff hitting the turnbuckle hard, slumping to the mat on impact. Starting to feel a little bit cocky, Dykstra swaggers towards the fallen champion, arrogantly placing a boot on Jeff's neck before grabbing the top rope, using the leverage to force the foot downwards, upping the pressure on the neck. The referee is quickly in to give Kenny a five count, with the arrogant youngster taking it right to four before he releases the pressure. Aggressively, Kenny pulls Jeff back to a vertical base, and he looks to send Jeff off the ropes... but Hardy reverses, and now it's Kenny who's on the run... Kenny swings with a running clothesline, but Jeff slides underneath it... and drops Dykstra with a sitout jawbreaker! The impact of the move also effects Jeff though, and now both men are down, but slowly Jeff crawls over into a cover...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Kenny rolls a shoulder, much to Hardy's disappointment. Jeff continues to clutch at the back of his head, but he returns to his feet first, catching Kenny with a pair of rights. The offence from Jeff is very sluggish though, and this allows Kenny to return fire with a kick to the midsection, before he again takes Jeff down with a cradle suplex. With Jeff down, again clutching his head, Kenny has a arrogant smile on his face as he walks to the corner, stepping through the ropes to the climb to the top rope. On the top turnbuckle, Kenny steadies himself before launching in the air... into a FLYING ELBOWDROP!

...
One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

The crowd pops as Jeff kicks out, much to Kenny's annoyance. Kenny sits up, frustrated, shouting "C'mon ref!" in Doan's direction. Realising that it'll take something with a bit more bite to it, Dykstra drags Jeff to his feet, pulling him in so that Jeff's head is between Kenny's legs. With this, Dykstra wraps his arms around Jeff's midsection... and takes Jeff vertically up into the air... for a PILEDRIVER... NO! Jeff franticly kicks his legs, allowing him to drop down to his feet. Again Dykstra grips the waits and hoists Jeff into the air... but again Hardy's legs flail widely, allowing Jeff to drop down to his feet. A third time Kenny looks to wrench Jeff up, but this time Hardy counters, sending Kenny over with a back body drop! Kenny crashes hard to the mat, and now with a burst of energy Jeff goes on the attack, driving Kenny to the corner with a string of rights before going for an Irish whip... Kenny reverses, but Jeff quickly runs to the top rope... WHISPER IN THE WIND! This time Jeff finds his mark, but he's unable to make the cover, instead taking his time to recover. Both men return to their feet at the same time, with Kenny swinging a wild right hand, which Jeff ducks, firing back with an inverted DDT! This time Jeff does hook the leg...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Audible sighs ring out as Jeff comes close to victory, but he remains on the attack, returning to his feet to slug Kenny with right hands, but Kenny swings back... Jeff ducks underneath, and he grasps Dykstra from behind, running him into the ropes... ROLLUP!

...
One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Kenny kicks out, which propels Hardy back to his feet, and he bounces off the ropes to catch the now standing Dykstra with a clothesline. Kenny is quickly back up, but again Jeff connects with a clothesline to knock him down. Jeff then grabs both of Kenny’s legs, shouting to the crowd before nailing the double legdrop to the groin. Dykstra writhes in pain, crawling towards the ropes, but Jeff is keen to stay in control, coming off the opposite ropes and charging... but Dykstra executes a perfect leapfrog to avoid the contact, but in his arrogance he doesn’t realise that Jeff has put on the breaks and now stands behind him... Dykstra turns... kick... TWIST OF FATE!! Jeff plants Kenny, and he slowly rolls over to hook the leg...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
THR-NO!

It takes Jeff too long to make the cover, allowing Kenny the chance to kick out. Both men feel the effects of this one, with both slow to return to their feet. When they do, a slow slugfest ensues, with right hand being countered with right hand. Jeff snaps off three in a row, backing Kenny to ropes and then sending him across... Kenny reverses, and Jeff comes off the ropes... flying forearm... but Kenny ducks... AND JEFF STRIKES THE REFEREE! The crowd gasps as Jeff flies into Jack Doan, and Kenny is quickly on his feet to drop boots. Seeing that both Hardy and the ref are down, Kenny sees this as a chance to do some real damage, so he quickly rolls under the bottom rope, chasing away Lillian Garcia and grabbing the chair she leaves behind. Bringing himself and the chair into the ring, Dykstra checks to make sure the ref is still down, before he motions for Jeff to get back to his feet. Still grasping the back of his head, Jeff staggers back up... AND DYKSTRA SWINGS... NO! Jeff ducks underneath, kick... TWIST OF FATE!! The crowd erupts as Jeff connects for the second time, and he hooks the leg...

.......
.........
...........
NO REFEREE!!

Jeff has Kenny pinned, but he’s unable to get the pinfall. Knowing he still has Kenny grounded, Jeff stares into the crowd, who respond with a nice pop. The pop increases as Jeff walks towards the corner, stepping through the ropes... and climbing to the top rope! The crowd rises as Jeff steadies himself on the top turnbuckle, just in time for the ref to rise... but out of desperation, Dykstra pushes the ref into the ropes... crotching Hardy on the top turnbuckle! Still disorientated, the ref simply falls back down again, while Jeff is left perched on the top turnbuckle. Moving quickly, Dykstra senses this as a great chance to attack, picking up the chair he had previously dropped and placing it flat on the mat near the corner. Dykstra then hooks Jeff’s head under his arm, pulling Jeff towards the middle of the ring with Jeff’s feet still hooked on the top rope. The crowd gasps as they see what Dykstra has in mind... TOP ROPE HUNG SPIKE DDT... ON A STEEL CHAIR!! J.R. is incensed as Jeff is truly planted, and Kenny slides the chair out of the ring just as the ref stirs for a painfully slow count...

.....
ONE
.....
.......
.........
TWO
.....
.......
.........
...........
.............
THREE!!!


Winner: And NEW Intercontinental Champion, Kenny Dykstra @ 10.14

"YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME...

HEY! NOTHING YOU CAN SAY..."

*BURN IN MY LIGHT (RATED-R REMIX)...*


Lillian Garcia: Here is your winner... and NEW Intercontinental Champion... KENNY DYYYKKKSSSSTTRRAAAAAAA!

Dykstra immediately springs back up onto his knees, throwing both fists up into the air in celebration, not giving a damn about the jeers of the crowd or the fact that Jeff is damn near dead inches away from him. The ref quickly hands over the Intercontinental Championship to Dykstra, but he barely acknowledges Kenny as he immediately drops down to Jeff, whispering in Hardy's ear, searching for a sign of conciousness...

Jim Ross: Bah gawd I don't believe it! Jeff Hardy, he gave it everythin' he had, and that son of a bitch Dykstra still had to cheat to win.

Jerry Lawler: God I... I can't believe it. I mean, we need some help out here for Jeff Hardy. Jeff is down, he's hurt and-

Jim Ross: (Interrupting) Aw now would ya' look at this! You gotta be kiddin' me Dykstra!

The reason for J.R.'s disgust is that in the ring, Dykstra has dragged Jack Doan away from tending to Jeff, leaving Doan down on the mat. Dykstra stands over him, and the camera hears Kenny shout "Raise my hand!". Obviously worried and concerned for the wellbeing, Doan pulls himself back to his feet and rushes past Kenny to return to Jeff, but Dykstra steps infront, blocking Doan's path, pushing the referee in the chest and shouting "RAISE... MY HAND... NOW!!". Reluctantly, Doan is forced to grip Kenny's left wrist, raising his hand in the air as Kenny hoists up the Intercontinental Title with his right hand. The heat is damn near ungodly right now, but it soon changes to a pop, as sprinting down the ramp comes MATT HARDY! The other Hardy slides into the ring, which causes Dykstra to quickly dive through the ropes. Matt immediately tends to his brother, waving to the back for EMTs and agents to come down to the ring and help. The camera begins to switch between the fallen Jeff, his concerned brother Matt, while on the outside the new Intercontinental Champion slowly backs up the aisle as we fade into a video package.


*Video Package*

We fade into a dimly lit gym, which has clearly seen better days. Smashed windows, a dusty ring, wooden bleachers, it appears to be a high school gym...

Narrator: For years he has carved a reputation as one of the very best...

We now see a slender built man aiming a series of stiff kicks at an unknown opponent, and in-between brief flashes of light we see this man is wearing maroon coloured tights...

Narrator: He has travelled the world, winning countless championships...

We now see this man engaging in a submission move with his unknown opponent, namely the cattle mutilation...

Narrator: But now...

We see our man now dressed in street clothes, leaving the shoddy gym, a blinding white light flooding the screen as he swings open the double doors...

Narrator: He brings his skill, talent and recognition...

The white light fades, and now we see the man back in his ring gear, stood in a WWE ring in an empty arena...

Narrator: To the WWE!

The camera revolves around the man, who stares into the rafters of the arena...

???: My name, is Bryan Danielson...

The camera now comes to a stop, with the man staring straight at it, a determined look in his eyes...

???: And Smackdown better be ready... for me!

The camera lingers for a few seconds before we fade to black and then the following graphic appears...

"BRYAN DANIELSON - COMING SOON TO FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN!"


*End Video Package*


We now cut to the earlier room where Teddy Long was overseeing the process of the drawing of Royal Rumble spots. Layla and Maria continue to act as eye candy next to the tumbler, but there is a much less jovial atmosphere in the room, as the camera pans to reveal Mr. McMahon and his son Shane are now in the room. Teddy stands near the tumbler, while the McMahons are stood infront of a TV screen...

Mr. McMahon: Now that... that was impressive. That's the kinda ruthlessness I wanna see outta one of the youngest guys in my company. That Kenny Dykstra... that kid could make a big name for himself on Monday Night Raw.

Shane McMahon: Yeah. Yeah, he was impressive. Very impressive. I dunno about this Bryan Danielson guy though. I mean, where the hell d'ya find that guy?

Mr. McMahon: Well, that was one of Teddy's signings. Where did you find that Danielson guy?

Teddy Long: Oh believe me Mr. McMahon, he came highly recommended. People the world over know this guy. He's had some of the best matches outside of the WWE that you'll ever see. Trust me playa, once you see him on Friday Night Smackdown, you'll find out just how good he is.

Mr. McMahon: Can't say I've ever heard of the guy before. You ever heard of him before?

Shane McMahon: No. No, me neither.

Mr. McMahon: You better hope he's as good as you say he is Teddy. AH! Well, from some of the new, young Superstars of the WWE to one of the all time greats!

Everyone in the room turns to see the entrance of the legend that is Ric Flair. A chorus of "WOOO" is heard from inside the arena as Flair strolls towards the McMahon's...

Mr. McMahon: Ric Flair! How are ya' Ric?

Feeling a little uneasy at Vince's unusually happy disposition, Flair smiles nervously before shaking Vince's hand...

Ric Flair: I'm feelin' good Vinny Mac! Better than that, I'm feelin' GREAT! Tonight is the night that Ric Flair wins the Royal Rumble for the second time! I can feel it! 15 years ago, I won the Royal Rumble, and I styled and profiled all the to the MAIN EVENT of Wrestlemania VIII and I'm doin' it again tonight baby! WOOOO!

Mr. McMahon: Alright, alright. Why don't you step right up and pick your number there Ric.

???: If ya' don't mind, I'll go first.

Again the attention of everyone in the room is drawn towards the door, with the latest entry to the room being none other than 'The Game' Triple H! A mixed response of cheers and boos welcomes the arrival of Triple H, with the crowd still unsure as to where Triple H stands. It appears everyone in the room shares these feelings, as an uneasy standoff ensues between all present...

Triple H: Hey Ric. How's it goin'?

Ric Flair: I'm good my friend, I'm good. But I got a lil' somethin' to say to you brother.

Triple H: Oh yeah? What's that?

Ric Flair: This thing with you and Shawn... what's the deal with that man? You two can't even shake hands, act like men and put it behind you?

Triple H: Listen Ric, I'd love to tell you it was that easy. I may have over reacted a bit two weeks ago but... he hit me in the head with a damn chair! You know how much I hated Orton and Edge, you know how much it meant to me to beat their asses for the tag titles. I wanted it Ric... I wanted it bad. And Shawn took it away from me. He hit me in the head with a steel chair... and that was it. I lost out on the titles, I lost out on gettin' back at Edge and Orton... I lost out. And why did I lose out? Because I put my trust in somebody else. I trusted Shawn... and he let me down.

Ric Flair: Aw c'mon Hunter! You know... you damn well KNOW... that Shawn didn't hit you with that chair on purpose. After all you two have been through over the years, after all you two have gone through together... you owe him at least a handshake.

Deep in thought over Flair's words, The Game looks down to the ground to compose himself before looking back at Flair...

Triple H: Y'know, maybe you're right. Maybe I do owe Shawn a handshake. But it's not gonna happen tonight. Tonight is the Royal Rumble. It's every man for himself. You know that, I know that... and you can be damn sure Shawn knows that too. You saw what happened in the battle royal last Monday night. Shawn kicked me over the top rope the first chance he got, just like he'll kick me over the top rope tonight if he gets a chance to. Maybe one day I'll stand in the ring and I'll listen to his apology... but until then... I'm focused on winning the Royal Rumble and goin' to Wrestlemania.

And with that, 'The Game' turns and dips his hand in the tumbler, drawing out a number. Trips looks at the number, before he smiles and turns to leave...

Triple H: See ya' later Ric. Say "Hi" to Steph for me Shane!

Flair watches Triple H exit the room, a concerned look on his face. Flair shakes his head, with the camera staying focused on him until we cut back into the arena.

To hear from the Smackdown announce desk as Michael Cole and JBL are ready for the next match...


Michael Cole: Well, those were certainly some strong words from Triple H. But right now, we've got a World Heavyweight Championship match to think about partner.

John Bradshaw Layfield: A what a match this is gonna be! The World Heavyweight Champion, 'The Wounded Animal', Batista, takes on the man who ever since he was named number one contender has hurt and damaged Batista in a way I've never seen. We've already seen one title change hands tonight, and I think we're gonna see another one change hands right now! I can't wait to see it happen!

Michael Cole: Well you referred to Batista as 'The Wounded Animal', let's take you back folks and see just how these two came together.

*Video Package*


We cut back to four weeks ago and the first Smackdown of 2007, where a fatal four way match takes place to determine the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. King Booker, The Undertaker and Kane all seek a shot at Batista, but it's Finlay who grabs victory, a shillelagh shot to the skull of Kane handing the Irishman the victory.

Batista: Bring the fight, bring your shillelagh, hell, bring that damn leprechaun too! But you better understand this Finlay... I'm ready for ANYTHING you can throw at me. You may be the Belfast Brawler... but I'm The Animal... and guess what Finlay? I love to fight too!!

The following week on Smackdown, where Batista and Finlay meet in tag team action, with Kane partnering 'The Animal' while Mr. Kennedy teams with Finlay. Once again the shillelagh plays a part, as Finlay grabs his trusty weapon and cracks Batista over the head with it behind the referee's back, allowing Finlay to pin the World Heavyweight Champion to pick up the win for his team. After the match, a brutal beatdown takes place, with Finlay unloading with the shillelagh, delivering shot after shot to Batista, in particular targeting Batista's left shoulder.

John Bradshaw Layfield: ...the World Heavyweight Champion is down and he is out cold! Irish eyes are smillin' bright as their boy Finlay just got a HUGE psychological advantage over The Animal.

Batista: Finlay... drag your ass out here... RIGHT... NOW!!

Nine days ago, where Batista steps out, his left shoulder heavily taped, to challenge Finlay to a fight there and then. Finlay answers, and we kick off Smackdown in explosive fashion as the two brawl all over the ringside area. It takes Teddy Long and a posse of security to separate the pair.

Later in the show, the main event sees Batista take on Mr. Kennedy. Batista has Kennedy up for the Batista Bomb... only for Finlay to storm the ring and nail Batista on the injured shoulder with his shillelagh. Just as it looks like Kennedy and Finlay are gonna have their way with 'The Animal', Kane races down to the ring to make the save. Finlay bails, leaving Kennedy to face an almighty Batista Bomb!

John Bradshaw Layfield: Batista may be standin' tall, but Finlay is still standin' too. Neither man has given an inch tonight!

And finally two nights ago, on the final Smackdown before the Rumble, where on his way to the ring for a tag team match where Finlay would team with King Booker to face Batista and The Undertaker, Finlay is confronted by Teddy Long.

Teddy Long: Listen playa. These last few weeks, you won a lot of matches, and you done a whole of damage to Batista. But you been doin' it with a weapon in yo' hand playa. And I ain't gonna stand for that no more... you hand over that shillelagh, or I'm gonna cancel your title match this Sunday. I ain't gonna stand for you usin' that no mo' playa. Now... hand it over.

And onto the title match, where Finlay and Batista's confrontation winds up in an all out brawl between the two, neither man caring about the tag match, with both men wanting to beat the hell out of each other ahead of the Royal Rumble.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Batista and Finlay are gonna fight all night! Hell, they might still be fightin' by the time we make it to the Royal Rumble!

The final image before the Rumble is that of Batista and Finlay, brawling on the aisle neither man backing down as we fade to black.


*End Video Package*

Back into the arena, where a lone bell rings as Tony Chimel stands in the ring...

Tony Chimel: The following is scheduled for one fall... and it is for the WORLD... HEAVYWEIGHT... CHAMPIONSHIP!!

"MY NAME IS FINLAY... AND I LOVE TO FIGHT..."

*LAMBEG...*


After an initial pop the crowd quickly turns to boos as Finlay angrily marches down to the ring. Conspicuous by their absence are both Finlay's shillelagh and The Little Bastard...

Tony Chimel: Introducing first... the challenger... from Belfast, Northern Ireland... weighing in at 232 pounds... FIIIINNNNLAY!

Michael Cole: And you'll all notice that there is no shillelagh in Finlay's hand tonight. Two nights ago on Smackdown, Teddy Long banned Finlay from bringing that shillelagh to ringside, and I think it's a great call. If Finlay is as tough as he claims he is, he won't need the shillelagh to win tonight.

John Bradshaw Layfield: What d'ya mean IF he’s as tough as he claims? The damage Finlay has done to Batista over these last few weeks proves exactly how tough Finlay is. There's no doubt about it Cole, Finlay wore Batista down and tonight he's goin' in for the kill, shillelagh or no shillelagh!

In the ring, Finlay paces, eagerly anticipating the arrival of...

*I WALK ALONE...*

It's a great pop that welcomes the World Heavyweight Champion into the arena. Batista charges out from the back, stopping at the top of the aisle to pound his chest before dropping into his machine gun motion to set off a mega burst of pyros. As the crowd goes crazy, Finlay drops to the outside, standing infront of the Smackdown announce desk, giving the champion plenty of space to enter the ring...

Tony Chimel: And his opponent... from Washington, D.C... weighing in at 290 pounds... he is the World Heavyweight Champion... 'The Animal'... BATIIIIISSSSTTTAAA!

Michael Cole: It is deafening in this arena right now! Batista, the World Heavyweight Champion, is here looking' for a fight! 'The Animal' wants to get his hands on the man who has caused him so much pain in recent weeks.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Yeah you can say that all you want Cole. Look at that left shoulder, it's still heavily taped up. Batista may want to get his hands on Finlay, but he's not look gonna like what happens when Finlay starts unloading on 'The Animal'. This is gonna be nothin' but a brawl, and I'm gonna love every minute of it!




World Heavyweight Championship Match:
World Heavyweight Champion Batista vs. Finlay

As the bell rings, both men are stood against the ropes at opposite sides of the ring from each other, with Finlay only just having stepped through the ropes. The challenger flashes that toothy grin of his as he points towards the heavily taped shoulder of the champion, with the camera zooming in to hear Finlay ask “How’s that arm doin’?”. Batista merely snarls in response, wanting to just get the match started. Finlay steps towards ‘The Animal’, and the pair lock up for a collar and elbow tie up... to which Batista pushes Finlay half way across the ring! Finlay crashes to the mat and quickly rolls to the ropes, a stunned lock on his face, with Cole and JBL quick to point out that the damaged shoulder doesn’t seem to be having any effect of the power of ‘The Animal’. The challenger slams his hand off the mat, quickly charging into another collar and elbow tie up... and once again Batista powers Finlay down to the mat, the challenger quickly back on his feet though, this time kicking the bottom rope out of sheer frustration. Pausing to try regain his composure, Finlay stands against the ropes, staring at the champion who shouts “C’mon!” in response.

One more time Finlay goes for a tie up, but this time he quickly breaks the tie up to snap a headbutt against Batista’s left arm, causing the champion to immediately grimace in pain. The challenger then grabs Batista by the wrist, driving his own elbow into the shoulder before going for an Irish whip... but Batista runs straight through Finlay with a shoulder block! Careful to take the contact on his good arm, Batista briefly clutches his left arm before he snaps Finlay’s head back with a pair of right hands. Batista backs Finlay into the ropes, sending the challenger across with an Irish whip, while the champion also rears off the ropes... to run through Finlay with a big time clothesline! This time Finlay crawls for the corner, but Batista is straight on him, pulling Finlay to his feet and then driving his shoulder into the gut of the challenger. Another two thrusts of the shoulder land on the midsection, before Batista looks to send Finlay to the opposite corner... but the challenger reverses, and he charges at Batista... who steps out of the corner to hammer Finlay with a big boot to the face! Finlay’s head bounces off the canvas, but the challenger, perhaps unwisely, quickly staggers back to his feet near the ropes, with ‘The Animal’ building momentum to attack... and send Finlay flying to the outside with a clothesline!

The crowd pops as in the ring ‘The Animal’ slaps his chest, before he steps through the ropes to join Finlay on the outside. The challenger is stunned, and it only gets worse as Batista grabs him by the head, smashing Finlay face first off of the Smackdown announce desk. Finlay bounces off the desk and hits the floor, but Batista wastes little time in pulling Finlay to his feet, only to scoop the challenger up onto his shoulders... to lawndart Finlay into the steel ring post... no! Finlay drops down behind, and with the champion’s momentum and a push in the back, Batista HITS THE RINGPOST INJURED SHOULDER FIRST! The champion immediately cries out in pain, grasping at his arm while Finlay is doubled over, trying to take in some deep breaths to recover from the early onslaught he suffered. With Batista still stood against the post, his shoulder pressed against it, Finlay grabs Batista’s left wrist, pulling the shoulder against the ringpost, placing his boot against the post to add extra pressure on the arm. Batista cries out in agony, but Finlay is unrelenting, causing the referee to administer a five count, admonishing Finlay when he finally releases his grip at four. Batista walks away from the post, still in considerable pain, but Finlay doesn’t let him rest, rolling ‘The Animal’ back into the ring.

Batista props himself up against the turnbuckle, allowing Finlay to aim two stiff kicks to the shoulder, before the challenger goes for an Irish whip across... but Batista reverses, and he’s ready as Finlay bounces out of the corner... into a back body drop! Still wincing, Batista cracks Finlay with a hard right that sends Finlay to the corner, where once again Batista whips him across. Finlay hits the corner hard, staying against the turnbuckle, so ‘The Animal’ charges... SPEAR IN THE CORNER... NO! Finlay dives for safety, which sees Batista HIT THE RING POST SHOULDER FIRST! Finlay avoids the contact, and he quickly moves to drag Batista from the corner, pulling the champion in for a short arm clothesline. With Batista down, Finlay holds the left arm down to the mat, before jumping up in the air for double foot stomp right across the arm. With the champion still grounded, Finlay now crouches near the arm, repeatedly driving his knee into the shoulder joint. Finlay then wrenches the arm into a seated armbar, trying soften up the champion a little more. Finlay pulls Batista’s left arm across his knee, applying pressure, but it’s still too early in the match to keep ‘The Animal’ grounded, as Batista is able to quickly fight back to his feet. Finlay tries to keep the hold locked in, but a pair of right hands from the champion soon breaks his grip, and when Finlay swings with a right hand, Batista ducks, firing back with an atomic drop and then a big clothesline that plants the challenger.

While he waits for Finlay to get back to his feet, Batista shakes his left arm, trying to get some feeling back. The challenger returns to a vertical base, where Batista is waiting, taking Finlay up into the air for a vertical suplex... but Batista can’t hold Finlay in the air, the pain in his arm too severe. Batista has to drop Finlay, who lands on his feet, immediately grabbing the arm... SINGLE ARM DDT! Once again Batista cries in agony, and Finlay quickly goes for a cover...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Batista powers out, but Finlay quickly moves to mount the champion, laying in with a string of stiff right hands. Finlay then drags Batista towards the ropes, placing ‘The Animal’ on the second rope, reaching around to pull the rope tight against Batista’s throat, choking the champion. The ref is there again to admonish the challenger, serving Finlay with a five count. Finlay holds the choke in as long as he dares, before he turns and charges off the opposite ropes, dropping his leg across Batista’s neck. Batista coughs as he collapses to the mat, and Finlay is quick to grab the weakened arm, pushing down onto the mat to drop a snap legdrop across it. Batista pulls the arm into his body to try and cover up, but Finlay simply yanks it back onto the mat, again snapping down with the legdrop. With Batista still down on the mat, Finlay grabs the arm, wrenching it behind the champion’s back, locking on a seated hammerlock. Finlay then looks to up the pressure, wrenching the arm further upwards, forcing Batista to lie flat on his stomach. Now Finlay is in control, the hammerlock applied tight, allowing the challenger to drive the occasional knee into the arm. Finlay continues to apply pressure, but Batista tries his best to fight free, managing to push himself onto his knees. This causes Finlay to mount Batista’s back, trying to apply all his weight to keep Batista grounded. It’s no good however as Batista fights back to his feet, the crowd cheering as now it’s the challenger who’s in a compromising position. With Finlay on his back, Batista reaches up, grabbing Finlay by the head and using a standing snapmare to send Finlay over his head and down to the mat.

However, the damage done by Finlay has taken its toll, as the champion is unable to build on his breaking free of the hold, as it’s Finlay who is quickly back on his feet to swing a right hand... but Batista blocks, returning fire with a right of his own. With Finlay staggered, ‘The Animal’ goes on the attack, rocking Finlay with right after right, backing the challenger to the corner. Batista then looks to send Finlay across, but Finlay reverses the momentum, whipping Batista into the corner from where he came. The short distance gives Batista no time to brace himself, and he hits turnbuckle full force on his shoulder. With Batista facing into the corner, Finlay sees this as a chance to go for the pin, as he grabs the champion and pulls him down for a rollup...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Batista defiantly kicks out, and the force of the kick out sends Finlay through the ropes to the floor! Finlay crashes hard to the outside, with the champion quickly rolling under the bottom ropes to try and take advantage. On the outside, Finlay staggers back to his feet, walking up the aisle for a few steps to try and distance himself from Batista. The tactic works to an extent as when Batista approaches from behind, Finlay is able to snap off an elbow to the gut. Batista doubles over, and Finlay sees this as a great chance to do some damage, as he pulls Batista in... DDT ON THE FLOOR... NO!! Batista counters... BACK BODY DROP ON THE CONCRETE!! The crowd comes alive as Finlay flies through the air, crashing hard to the concrete below. Batista, still feeling the effects of the damage from Finlay’s earlier attack drops to his knees, while the referee has raced down the aisle to admonish both men and encourage them to return to the ring.

Crying in pain, Finlay is dragged back to his feet, and now the champion senses he has a body part to target, as he drives Finlay spine first into the barricade. The nearby fans cheer wildly and pat both competitors on the back, with Batista grabbing the challenger and walking him back down towards the ring. With the battle now taking a painful turn for Finlay, Batista looks to continue to attack the back, as he stops at the base of the aisle and takes Finlay up... SCOOP SLAM ON THE FLOOR! Again Finlay cries out in pain, with the padded floor offering little comfort compared to the concrete. The referee tries to regain control, shouting at Batista to return to the ring, to which the champion obliges, casually ducking his head under the bottom rope to break the count before he returns to the fallen challenger. Grabbing Finlay by the head, Batista pulls Finlay to his feet to drive him into the ring apron, the challenger crumpling to his knees on impact. Still favouring his left arm, Batista is determined to do some damage, so he carefully drags Finlay back up, eyeing up the steel steps. Grabbing Finlay by the wrist, the champion goes for an Irish whip... but Finlay reverses... and BATISTA CRASHES INTO THE STEEL STEPS SHOULDER FIRST!! The top half of the steps fly on impact, and ‘The Animal’ writhes in agony on the floor. After taking a few seconds to recover, Finlay snaps off a boot to the shoulder, before rolling Batista back into the ring to hook the leg...

...
ONE
.....
TWO
.......
NO!

Batista rolls the shoulder, frustrating Finlay again. With the champion grounded, Finlay shows a bit of arrogance as he stamps down on the shoulder, smiling as he does so. Batista tries to struggle back to his feet, but his attempt ends as Finlay snaps off yet another boot to the injured arm. With ‘The Animal’ on his knees near the ropes, Finlay grabs the damaged arm, wrapping it around the top rope. Finlay pulls down on the arm, applying serious pressure to the shoulder, with the camera zooming in to hear both the snarls of the challenger and the grimaces of the champion. The ref is on hand to again deliver the five count, with Finlay taking every second of it, finally letting go just before five. Batista slumps to the mat, holding his arm tight, while Finlay, the calculating veteran, lines Batista up for another attack, pulling Batista to his feet... but out of nowhere ‘The Animal’ connects with a right hand, and another, and a third lands on Finlay’s head before the challenger knows what’s hit him. Dazed, Finlay staggers backwards, until out of sheer desperation he fires a kick to the midsection. Finlay tries to shake away a few cobwebs, as he climbs to the second rope, holding his hands above his head, obviously looking for a double axe handle to the shoulder, but as he launches himself, ‘The Animal’ has a burst of energy, stepping towards the flying Irishman... to counter with a TWISTING SPINEBUSTER!! Batista plants Finlay, but the impact takes a toll on the champion too, as he clutches his arm before hooking the leg...

ONE
.....
TWO
.......
NO!

Finlay manages to get the shoulder up, giving us the closest near fall of the match thus far. Still clutching at his shoulder in pain, Batista slowly staggers to his feet, pulling Finlay up with him. The challenger grabs at the small of his back, leaving him open to the stiff right hands the champion throws at him, the force pushing Finlay back against the ropes. ‘The Animal’ sends Finlay across the ring with an Irish whip, with Finlay unable to stop himself running straight into a big back body drop! The crowd pops as the champion looks to continue to build offence, and as Finlay gets back to his feet, Batista attacks, nailing a massive clothesline that turns the challenger inside out. On his knees down on the mat, Finlay holds out his hands, almost begging Batista to be lenient on him, but the champion is not in the mood for slowing down, grabbing Finlay and sending him to the corner with a hard Irish whip. The champion then lines Finlay up, charging in for a big time clothesline against the turnbuckle. Finlay’s legs look like they’re about to turn buckle as he holds the top rope, lumbering to the centre of the ring, where Batista again fires him across with an Irish whip... straight into a MASSIVE SPINEBUSTER!!

The crowd erupts again as Batista is quickly back on his feet, shaking the ropes, but only doing so with his good right hand, still continuing to favour the left. Both thumbs go up... and then down, and the crowd comes alive again as Batista looks ready to finish things. Finlay can barely make it back to his knees, but when he does, out of sheer desperation he grabs the referee, using the ref almost as a human shield, placing the ref between the champion and the challenger. Batista, out of frustration, grabs the ref by the collar, forcibly removing him from the situation. But this distraction is all the opening Finlay needs, as when Batista pulls the ref out of the way, he turns his back on the challenger... who nails Batista with a LOW BLOW!! The crowd winces and groans as ‘The Animal’ crumples to the mat in pain. The referee turns and plays dumb, wondering what on earth happened to Batista, with Finlay of course playing dumb as to how the nature of the match swung back in his favour. Still seated on the mat, Finlay quickly moves to rolls Batista onto his back, hooking both legs tight for a cover...

ONE
.....
TWO
.......
NO!

The crowd cheers as the defiant champion powers out, hanging onto the title once again. Enraged that his dirty tactics didn’t get him the three, Finlay is straight back to his feet, mouthing off at the referee. Turning back to Batista, Finlay now looks to show his technical expertise, as he yanks on the left arm, twisting and turning... and locking on a FUJIWARA ARMBAR!! Almost immediately, ‘The Animal’ cries out in agony as Finlay wrenches back on the shoulder, looking to rip Batista’s arm right out of the socket. Pushing up with his feet, Finlay applies all kinds of strain and tension to the arm. The referee slides down next to ‘The Animal’, checking if he wants to submit, while Finlay continues to up the pressure, placing more and more strain on the shoulder, all the while screaming “Tap! Tap!” at the champion. Somehow, despite clearly being in agony, Batista claws at the canvas, trying to pull himself and Finlay towards the ropes. Slowly, Batista drags Finlay towards safety, but with every inch closer to safety Batista gets, the Irishman rears back, further wrenching on the arm in an attempt to finally make Batista tap out. It appears to be working, as Batista, still unable to reach the ropes, drops his head to the mat in a slump. The ref is there to check on Batista’s status, asking if the champion wishes to submit, but there’s no response, as it appears the champion has passed out due to the pain. Finlay continues to up the pressure, with the referee taking one final check on ‘The Animal’... who has a sudden surge of power! Screaming in determination, Batista uses what strength he has left, using his right arm to power himself towards the ropes. Finlay shakes his head almost in disbelief in the effort shown by Batista, and with one final push, Batista reaches out an arm... TO GRAB THE BOTTOM ROPE!

The crowd erupts again as Batista survives, much to the disgust of Finlay, who gives it one final wrench of the arm before finally releasing the hold as the ref’s five count hits four. With Batista still down, still clutching at his arm, Finlay now looks to make his move, crouching down in the middle of the ring, waiting for Batista to rise. Using his one good arm, it takes an age for ‘The Animal’ to rise, with Batista having to pull heavily on the top rope to finally make it back up. When he does, Batista still looks dazed from the pain he suffered, but he turns and staggers to the centre of the ring... straight into the waiting Finlay... who scoops Batista up onto his shoulder... looking for the CELTIC CROSS... NO!! Batista hammers Finlay’s head with elbows, managing to drop down onto his feet... to kick Finlay in the gut, doubling the challenger over, then pulling him in... and taking him up into the air... BATISTA-BOMB!!! The champion plants the challenger, slumping to the mat, clutching at his arm, but finally moving over to make the cover...

.....
.......
.........
...........
.............

NO COUNT!!!??

Batista looks up, wondering why in the hell the referee hasn’t counted the three, and he soon finds his answer... THE LITTLE BASTARD IS UP ON THE APRON!! Having scurried out from under the ring, The Little Bastard now has the referee distracted near the ropes. Batista stands up, leaving the fallen Finlay behind, walking to the apron and pushing the ref aside... to GRAB THE LITTLE BASTARD!! Grabbing the little guy by the collar of his jacket, Batista shouts “Get the hell outta here!” as him. The ref protests, begging Batista not to do any damage, but with his back turned on the ring, neither the ref nor Batista see Finlay over in the corner, reaching down in behind the steel steps... to PULL OUT A SHILLELAGH! Immediately Cole screams down the headset to remind us all about the stipulation banning the shillelagh, but it means little as Finlay now has his trusty weapon in hand. With the ref finally managing to convince Batista to loosen his grip on The Little Bastard, the referee doesn’t see Batista turn towards Finlay... who goes to strike with the shillelagh... NO! Batista sees him coming, kicking Finlay in the midsection. The force of the kick causes Finlay to drop the weapon, and Batista picks up... AND CRACKS THE SHILLELAGH ACROSS FINLAY’S SKULL!!!! The arena damn near explodes as after weeks of suffering at the hands of the shillelagh, Batista lets Finlay know how it feels, tossing the weapon from the ring and hooking both legs, just in time for the referee to turn...

ONE
.....
.......
TWO
.....
.......
.........
THREE!!!


Winner: And still World Heavyweight Champion, Batista @ 16.32

*I WALK ALONE...*

Batista rolls off of Finlay, exhausted from the barrage of punishment he took from Finlay. Continuing to sell the effects of Finlay's attack, Batista clutches at his left shoulder, briefly letting go to hold tight the World Heavyweight Championship as he's handed the belt by the referee. Using his good arm and a little assistance from the ref to pull himself back to his feet, Batista kisses his title before lofting it up in the air to another pop...

Tony Chimel: Here is your winner... and STILL World Heavyweight Champion... 'The Animal'... BATIIIIISSSSTTTAAA!

Michael Cole: I gotta admit, several times tonight I thought it was over. I thought Finlay had done enough to break Batista, but-

John Bradshaw Layfield: (Interrupting) Ah shut the hell up Michael! God it makes me sick! HE CHEATED! BATISTA CHEATED! How the hell is Finlay not the World Heavyweight Champion right now!? I saw it, you saw it, the whole freakin’ world saw it! Batista cheated! Finlay should be the World Heavyweight Champion right now!

Michael Cole: I don't know what to tell ya' partner, but it was Finlay who brought that shillelagh into the ring. Batista just gave him a taste of his own medicine.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Ah that’s a god damn crock! That is typical of you Cole. You only see what you wanna see! I saw it. Batista is a down and out cheat! Don’t you dear try and deny it Cole!

Batista slowly begins the long walk back up the aisle, slapping hands with his right hand, the title slung over that shoulder as we fade into a video package...


*Video Package*

We open to a pitch black, with the faint sound of a revving motor engine slowly but surely getting louder...

Narrator: The road may be long...

Slowly on the horizon we see a red convertible driving over a hill, heading towards a sunset which lights the screen...

Narrator: The journey may be treacherous...

The revs of the engine increase and get louder, with the camera closing in on shots of the side of the car...

Narrator: But you'll love every second of it!

We now skim along the rear of the car, the sun glistening on the chrome duel exhaust...

Narrator: So strap yourself in...

The car now speeds past a road sign that reads "8 MILE ROAD"...

Narrator: And get ready!

From behind we see an image of the Detroit skyline, with our car heading down a straight road towards it...

Narrator: 20 years on, Wrestlemania returns to Detroit, Michigan!

More fast paced shots of the car racing through the streets of Detroit...

Narrator: And it's going to be...

The car suddenly crashes into the screen, with the grill of the car having the official Wrestlemania 23 logo and tagline printed on it...

Narrator: The ride of your life!



"WWE WRESTLEMANIA XXIII - APRIL 1ST - LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW!"

*End Video Package*

We cut backstage to see Todd Grisham is standing by ready for an interview...

Todd Grisham: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my guest at this time... he is the WWE Champion... John... Cena!

The crowd pops loudly, as Cena enters the frame with his game face on, briefly nodding a hello in Grisham's direction while adjusting the WWE Championship that is perched on his shoulder...

Todd Grisham: And John, we are just moments away from your WWE Championship match with Rob Van Dam. John, do you have any final thoughts ahead of your match tonight?

Cena pauses before answering, taking his time to choose his response carefully...

John Cena: My final thoughts? Well, it's pretty simple Todd. Right now, the only thoughts in my head, the only thing on my mind right now... is beatin' Rob Van Dam and holdin' on to my WWE Championship.

Quick pop...

John Cena: Rob Van Dam is a guy I've got a lotta respect for. He's a hell of a wrestler. But tonight, I got a lot of points to prove to not only Rob Van Dam... to not only each and every fan in this arena and watchin' at home... and to myself. Rob Van Dam, last Monday night you questioned my heart. You questioned my desire! Well let me tell ya' RVD, ever since that night in the Hammerstein Ballroom when you took my WWE Championship away from me, it's taken all my heart and all my desire to get this title back!

Cena now pulls the title off his shoulder, holding it infront of the camera...

John Cena: So tonight RVD, I will prove to you, me, everybody watchin' just how much heart and how much desire for this business and this championship I really have! I owe you big time Van Dam, and tonight I get my payback! And when I do, you and everybody WWE fan are gonna realise that THE CHAMP...

Cena now stares straight down the frame with the camera zooming in on him...

John Cena: IS... HEEERRRREEEE!!!

The camera lingers on the intense image of Cena's face for a few moments until we cut back to the room where the Royal Rumble numbers are being drawn. Mr. McMahon and his son Shane remain in the room, as does Teddy Long. Layla and Maria continue to act as eye candy...

Mr. McMahon: God it makes me sick. To think that the WWE Championship is about to be defended by John Cena against Rob Van Dam. Makes me sick to my stomach.

Shane McMahon: Relax Dad. We'll take care of the two of 'em tomorrow night. Just wait it out Dad.

Mr. McMahon: Alright, alright. Let's keep this thing moving along here. Alright... who's up next? Oh you gotta be...

With a look of disgust on his face McMahon turns away from the entrance to the door. The camera turns to show us that it's ECW Champion Bobby Lashley who has entered the scene...

Mr. McMahon: The Eee-Cee-Dubya Champion Bobby Lashley.

Bobby Lashley: Vince. Shane. Hey Teddy! How you doin' man?!

Teddy Long: It's all good baby! I like that title belt over your shoulder man, that's a good look for ya' playa!

By turning to speak to Teddy, Lashley turns his back on Vince, further annoying the Chairman of the Board...

Mr. McMahon: HEY! Who do you think you are Lashley? You don't turn your back on me when I'm talkin' to you! I thought I told you I didn't want to see that ECW Title on your shoulder anymore. I don’t want that worthless piece of garbage on my shows anymore.

Bobby Lashley: You did say that Vince. I just decided... I didn't want to listen to ya'.

Mr. McMahon: Oh really? Well isn't it a shame that the winner of the Royal Rumble won't be able to challenge you. I refuse to allow that piece of garbage to be part of my Wrestlemania main event, you understand me? Face it Lashley, that title is nothin' but trash!

Bobby Lashley: Oh yeah? Well I think that...

???: Excussemay, excussemay, excussemay. Haha!

The attention in the room again turns to the doorway, where we see Armando Alejandro Estrada and Umaga have decided now is the time for them to choose their Royal Rumble spot. Estrada barges past Lashley to shake a now beaming Mr. McMahon's hand...

Armando Alejandro Estrada: Senor McMahon! Is how ju' say... haha... a pleasure to meet ju' Sir!

Mr. McMahon: Well, well. Mr. Estrada. Always nice to meet a fellow successful business man. How's the ol' monster over there gettin' on? Still undefeated from what I hear?

Armando Alejandro Estrada: Ah, Senor McMahon! The Saaaaamoan Bulldozerrr Umaga, he is ready to win tonight amigo! Todos, we want to see Umaga, one on one with any champion in the main event of Wrestlemania amigo!

Mr. McMahon: Alright! Well, step right up, make your choice and-

Bobby Lashley: (Interrupting) I think you'll find I'm up next.

Lashley steps forward to dip his hand into the tumbler, only for Umaga to step infront of him. Quickly the two bulls are nose to nose, with Umaga snarling in Lashley's face...

Mr. McMahon: Hoho! I don't think you want any part of that Lashley!

Lashley smiles at Umaga before barging past him, the two colliding shoulders, with Lashley finally being able to make his pick...

Bobby Lashley: Hey Estrada. You tell Umaga... I'll see him in the ring tonight. And anytime he feels like it... he can put that undefeated record on the line... against me!

And with that, Lashley walks off, leaving behind the snarling Samoan. Estrada pats Umaga on the shoulder, trying to calm his beast down as we cut back to ringside.

Jim Ross: Certainly an intense situation there between Lashley and Umaga. One can only imagine what it would be like if those two ever met in the ring. But folks, up next, the WWE Championship is on the line. John Cena, one of the most passionate young men in the business today, meets Rob Van Dam, the epitome of what it meant to be extreme.

Jerry Lawler: Oh boy what a match this is gonna be! We know they both don't have much love for Mr. McMahon, but it's not about that. Tonight, it's about the WWE Championship. And we all remember what happened the last time those two met with the title on the line.

Jim Ross: It was in the Hammerstein Ballroom at ECW One Night Stand last Summer when Cena and Van Dam met. RVD won that night, but just who will leave the WWE Champion when it's all said and done tonight?

*Video Package*

New Year's Night, where Mr. McMahon kicks off the show, trashing the legacy of ECW. Rob Van Dam appears, announcing his signing with Monday Night Raw by confronting McMahon, claiming the legacy of ECW will never die despite McMahon's best efforts. After taunting RVD, the segment ends with Van Dam delivering a five star frog splash to McMahon!

John Cena: Yeah, that's... that's good. I like that. I guess IF you win tonight... you'll be going after that ECW Championship again?

Rob Van Dam: Well... actually John... WHEN I win tonight... I think I'd rather challenge you... (pointing at the WWE Championship) for that.

The following week, where Van Dam lays down an informal challenge to Cena, claiming if he beats Bobby Lashley in his match later that evening Van Dam wants a shot at Cena and the WWE Championship. During the RVD/Lashley match, Mr. McMahon and his crony Jonathan Coachman make their presence felt, prompting Cena to charge the ring, chasing away McMahon and Coachman. Van Dam picks up the victory, and we go off the air to Cena giving RVD a salute from the top of the ramp, signifying that he accepts Van Dam's challenge.

Two weeks ago, where after their actions last week, Cena and Van Dam are subjected to matches of Mr. McMahon's choosing. Cena is forced to run the gauntlet, while RVD is put into action against Umaga. Both champion and challenger comes up short, with McMahon once again showing his authority over both.

John Cena: I look at you RVD, and I think... you're the one who got away. I fought and I battled to get back the WWE Championship, and now I have it, I ain't givin' it up for NOBODY!

Rob Van Dam: If you spent one second in an ECW locker room... You'd learn more about fire and passion and desire than you'll ever know Cena.

And finally, last Monday night, where Cena and Van Dam meet eye to eye for a contract signing under the supervision of Mr. McMahon. After both men sign on the line, the segment descends into chaos, with Vince slapping Cena in the face! This leads to Cena planting McMahon through a table with the FU, while Van Dam follows it up with a five star frog splash. In the ring, both Cena and RVD stare up at the biggest prize in the business, and that's the final iconic image we fade out on. The defiant champion and the determined challenger, both men standing tall as we fade to black.


*End Video Package*

*ONE OF A KIND...*

It's a great pop for Rob Van Dam, no doubt the largest of the night so far. RVD confidently swaggers down to the ring, slapping hands with a few ringside fans before climbing up the steps into the ring. Van Dam then jumps up to the middle turnbuckle to do his thumb taunt as the crowd enthusiastically responds with "ROB... VAN... DAM!!"...

Lillian Garcia: The following is scheduled for one fall and it is for the WWE Championship! Introducing first, he is the challenger. From Battle Creek, Michigan... weighing in at 237 pounds... ROB... VAN... DAMMM!!!

Jim Ross: It was New Year's Night that Rob Van Dam very forcibly announced his return to Monday Night Raw by hittin' the five star frog splash on Mr. McMahon. Ever since that moment, Van Dam has had his sights set on John Cena and the WWE Championship. Tonight, RVD gets his opportunity at Cena and the gold.

Jim Ross: Gosh J.R. I honestly think this match is too close to call! I mean John Cena, the current WWE Champion, he's overcame tough challengers in the past... but he couldn't overcome Rob Van Dam the last time these two met. I dunno J.R., I'm not sure if I could even give ya' a prediction on this one.

In the ring, Van Dam shares a few words with referee Mike Chioda, while silence descends on the arena. Until...

*MY TIME IS NOW...*

Very much a mixed response, as has been the norm for months now for the WWE Champion. Cena though ignores the mix of boos, charging out from the back with his usual burst of enthusiasm. Cena pauses at the top of the aisle, adjusting the WWE Championship on his shoulder before saluting the ring and then charging towards Van Dam...

Lillian Garcia: And introducing his opponent... from WEST NEWBERRY, MASSACHUSSETS... weighing in at 240 pounds... he is the current WWE Champion... JOHNNNN CEEEEEEENAAAA!!!

Jim Ross: One of the most controversial Superstars in WWE history! Nobody prompts a response like John Cena does! Redemption is very much on the mind of the WWE Champion tonight, as John Cena looks for vindication against the man who Cena feels is the one who got away from him.

Jerry Lawler: J.R., as you like to say, business has picked up! Both men are ready, both men are confident. This is gonna be a great match, I can't wait to see what happens between these two!




WWE Championship Match:
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Rob Van Dam

Both men stand in opposite corners, Cena doing a few last minute stretches while RVD is the personification of calmness. A both men begin to slowly circle each other, the crowd makes their presence felt, as duelling chants of “Let’s Go Cena!” and “R-V-D!” break out, with both men pausing briefly to acknowledge the crowd. As the duelling chants continue, RVD points at Cena and then at the crowd, with the camera catching him saying “You hear that?”. Cena smiles and nods, and once again both men are circling the ring, until they come together in the middle for a collar and elbow tie up. Initially Van Dam stands up to the strength advantage of Cena, and he turns the initial tie up into a reverses waistlock. Cena quickly twists around into a waistlock of his own, then wrenches Van Dam around into a side headlock. Cena squeezes tight on the neck, twisting it in the centre of the ring, with Van Dam clawing to break free. Eventually RVD backs Cena into the ropes, sending him off them to break the hold, but the champion simply mows the challenger down with a shoulder block. Cena pauses briefly to stand over RVD, looking down at his opponent on the mat... but Cena doesn’t strike. Instead, in a display of the level of respect between the two, Cena backs away, allowing Van Dam to roll onto his knees and then stand up unopposed. Cena flicks his hands in RVD’s direction, calling “C’mon!” at his opponent at the two tie up again. This time it’s Van Dam who works into the headlock, but with a higher level of aggression than Cena showed. Cena tries to grab at RVD’s hair to break free, but the challenger simply twists on the neck, causing Cena to back RVD into the ropes and send him across. Van Dam springs off the ropes and Cena charges to the middle of the ring, swinging with a clothesline... Van Dam ducks, and he puts on the breaks... to rock Cena with a jumping spinning heel kick! Cena crashes to the mat and quickly rolls towards the corner, rubbing his chin, while Van Dam stands in the centre of the ring, offering Cena the same chance to return to his feet without challenge.

Cena nods in RVD’s direction, a much more determined look on his face now, stepping back to the centre of the ring where the two again lock up. This time Cena uses his strength advantage to back RVD into the corner, with referee Mike Chioda quickly in to call for a break. Although he does give the break, Cena snaps off a quick right hand, following with another pair of rights before a hard Irish whip sends RVD across the ring. Van Dam hits the opposite turnbuckle hard, clutching his back as he staggers into the arms of Cena, who takes RVD up... for a FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Cena quickly scoots over for an early cover...

...
One
.....
Tw...NO!

Van Dam kicks out, and both men quickly jump up, with Cena striking first, teeing off with two right hands before he backs RVD to the ropes, going for an Irish whip... RVD reverses, and he goes for a forward roll as Cena runs towards him... transitioning into a monkey flip! Cena hits the mat hard next to the ropes, but he’s quick to pull himself back up using the ropes... which allows RVD to charge and clothesline Cena over the top rope to the floor! The crowd pops as RVD takes the advantage, with Cena visibly angry after crashing to the floor. Sensing a chance to string together some offence, Van Dam walks towards the ropes, waiting for Cena to rise before launching himself... SLINGSHOT CROSSBODY TO THE FLOOR! Again the crowd rises as RVD flies onto Cena, quickly mounting the champion to nail a trio of right hands.

Back on his feet, RVD drags Cena up with him, slamming the champion face first off the mat. Cena tries to distance himself by walking to the other side of the ring, shaking his head as he does, but RVD stays on him, grabbing Cena and this time slamming his head off the barricade. Cena drops to a knee, but Van Dam quickly hooks him up, lifting Cena up into the air... and dropping Cena gut first across the barricade! The champion cries out in pain, while RVD rolls under the bottom rope to break the count, but only for a second, as Van Dam then stands himself on the apron, looking down at Cena before he launches himself... TWISTING LEGDROP ACROSS THE BARRICADE!! Van Dam flies into Cena, with both crashing to the floor in a heap. Both men feel the effects of the move, with Van Dam feeling his lower back while Cena is down and motionless. RVD is first back up, and he drags Cena with him, rolling the champion back in the ring, knowing a count out does him no good. RVD looks to continue the attack, and with Cena down inside the ring, Van Dam springs up onto the apron, grabbing the top rope... SLINGSHOT SENTON! Van Dam crashes across Cena’s chest, and he quickly hooks the leg...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Cena kicks out, with Van Dam not wasting anytime, pulling Cena back to his feet to connect on a series of right hands that back Cena into the corner. Van Dam then drives the shoulder into Cena’s gut, doing it twice before backflipping out of the corner and charging for a third turnbuckle thrust... but Cena sees RVD coming, and elevates the challenger over the top rope. Van Dam shows great balance to land on the apron, and as Cena turns, Van Dam throws a right hand... Cena blocks, and he swings with a right of his own, which RVD ducks, finally driving that third shoulder to the gut, doubling Cena over. This allows RVD to slingshot into the ring, rolling across Cena’s back to land on his feet with momentum, running the ropes to charge at Cena... but the champion fires back with a big time clothesline! The crowd rises, although not as much as for RVD’s previous attacks. Cena stays focused though, as he backs off to the ropes, waiting for RVD to rise before charging... running one-handed bulldog! Cena plants RVD face first, and the champion hooks the leg...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
NO!

Van Dam rolls his shoulder, staying in the match, but Cena has now taken charge, as he helps Van Dam up the champion rocks the challenger with a pair of rights before going for an Irish whip to the corner... but Van Dam uses the top ropes to elevate himself into the air, trying to go straight over the top of the charging Cena... but Cena puts on the breaks, catching RVD on his shoulders... in perfect position for the FU! But Van Dam fights with all he has to keep his grip on the top ropes, with Cena desperately trying to pull both himself and RVD into the centre of the ring. Van Dam fights with all he has to stay with the ropes... but eventually Cena breaks the grip! In the middle of the ring, Cena has Van Dam ready... FU... NO!! RVD’s legs flail wildly, and he’s able to fight free, landing on his feet... kick, but Cena catches the left foot... JUMPING SPINNING HEEL KICK! Van Dam connects with the right foot, and the force of the kick sends Cena to the mat and rolling under the bottom rope to the floor.

Cena hits the floor hard, but he’s able to quickly get back to his knees, reaching up to grab the bottom rope, pulling himself up onto the apron. But before Cena can finish his return to the ring, RVD charges, connecting with a baseball slide dropkick. Cena teeters, but he doesn’t fall back to the floor, his tight grip on the bottom rope keeping him on the apron. RVD immediately sees this as an opportunity, as he gets back up and grabs the top rope... SLINGSHOT GUILLOTINE LEGDROP!! Again RVD drops the leg across Cena’s back, this time with the champion perched across the apron. Cena immediately rolls to the centre of the ring, trying to distance himself from Van Dam to give him a chance to recover. On the outside, RVD pulls himself back up, sliding back into the ring to see Cena lying on the mat at the other side of the ring. This is all the invitation RVD needs as he charges... ROLLING THUNDER! RVD connects, and he quickly hooks the leg...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
.........
FOOT ON THE ROPE!

The referee clearly points out to Van Dam that Cena has a foot on the rope, leaving the challenger disappointed. Van Dam presses on though, as he returns to his feet, waiting for Cena to rise... scoop slam puts Cena back down again, just infront of the turnbuckle. RVD then walks towards the corner, gripping the top rope with both hands and then pulling himself up... SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT... CENA GETS BOTH KNEES UP!! Van Dam crashes into the knees, causing the challenger to clutch at his midsection, rolling around on the mat, writhing in pain. Van Dam clutches and kicks the mat in pain, while in the corner Cena pulls himself back up, perching himself against the turnbuckle to try and rest a little. RVD uses the ropes to drag himself to his feet, but he’s still clutching his midsection as Cena charges... running neck snap! Cena plants RVD, and now the champion looks to quicken the pace of the match, as he stands at the opposite ropes waiting for RVD to rise... flying shoulder block! Cena knocks RVD back down, but both men are up quickly as Cena charges off the ropes again... flying shoulder block... no! RVD ducks underneath... and Cena crashes to the mat! Cena is near the ropes, pulling himself back to his feet, but this only encourages Van Dam, who charges... RUNNING CROSSBODY... KNOCKS BOTH MEN OVER THE TOP ROPE!!

The crowd pops as the match again returns to the outside, with both J.R. and King pointing out the back and forth nature of the match so far, with neither man able to take control. On the outside, Van Dam is back to his feet first, pulling the champion up with him to slam Cena face first off the announce desk. Cena cries out, letting everyone in the arena hear the effect RVD’s offence is having on him. RVD grabs Cena by the head, looking to again smash Cena’s face off the announce desk... but the champion slams his hand down to block, scoring with an elbow to the gut... and then slamming Van Dam’s face of the desk! Still neither man can gain the upper hand, but that could be about to change as Cena grabs RVD by the wrist, going for an Irish whip... towards the steel steps... no! RVD reverses... sending Cena CRASHING INTO THE STEEL STEPS! Cena hits the steps shoulder first, wincing in pain on the floor. RVD slowly stalks over to the champion, not giving him any time to rest, tossing the champion back into the ring under the bottom rope. Van Dam bounces up onto the apron, then quickly jumps up to the top rope, with Van Dam poised, ready to strike... FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH... NO!! Cena wisely rolls away from RVD before he can launch himself, but RVD sees it, and he manages to stay on the top rope as Cena rolls, waiting for Cena to stop before this time he does fly through the air... FLYING LEGDROP! Cena doesn’t roll far enough away, allowing Van Dam to hit a different move, and after taking a moment to clutch at the back of his thigh, the challenger hooks the leg...

...
One
.....
Two
.......
.........
NO!

Cena stays alive at the last split second, rolling the shoulder. The crowd is still mixed, with a pop and boos greeting Cena’s ability to stay in the match. Both men are slow to get back to their feet, but when they do, it’s Cena who strikes first, the champion aiming a kick to the gut and then snapping off a DDT, almost out of desperation. Both men stay down, with RVD dazed from the DDT while Cena tries to recover. After checking on both competitors, the referee sees neither man looking like returning to their feet, so he starts his ten count...

One
.....
Two
.....
Three
.......
.........
Four

Cena is first to show signs of life, stirring and crawling towards RVD, and he drapes an arm across RVD’s chest....

...
One
.....
Two
.......
.........
NO!

RVD rolls the shoulder, with the crowd responding with a great cheer. Cena rolls away to the corner, waiting for RVD to rise. The challenger takes an age to return to his feet, but when he does, Cena is waiting... to explode into Van Dam with a clothesline! Sensing now is his chance to attack, Cena looks to build momentum, as RVD quickly returns to his feet... only for Cena to knock him back down just as fast with another clothesline. The crowd rises as Cena looks to quicken the pace, throwing his arms in the air and shouting “Get up!” as Van Dam staggers to his feet... right into a FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Cena plants RVD to complete the brief flurry of offense, and now he stares into the crowd, looking to feed off the cheers before he bends down, waving his hand in RVD’s face before he comes off the ropes... FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE!! Cena drops the fist across Van Dam’s head, but instead of going for a cover, Cena jumps back to his feet, again soaking in the cheers of the crowd as he waits for Van Dam to rise. RVD takes an absolute age to get back up, but as he uses the top rope to pull himself to his feet, RVD turns into the middle of the ring and the waiting Cena... who hoists Van Dam up onto his shoulders... FU... NO!! Once again Van Dam thwarts Cena’s FU attempt, furiously hitting elbows to the face out of desperation. The elbows cause Cena to stop his motion, and this allows Van Dam to roll down the back of Cena... into a sunset flip... but Cena rolls all the way through, the momentum of the move propelling Cena straight up onto his feet, and with RVD still down on the mat, Cena reaches down, grabbing Van Dam by the ankle... twisting, stepping over the challenger... before dropping down to the mat, hooking his arms underneath the chin... to lock on THE STFU!!!

Cena strains to lock it in, but RVD out of sheer desperation fights and struggles to keep the free half of his body moving towards the ropes. Cena wrenches back on the neck, trying desperately to keep Van Dam from moving, but RVD shows great tenacity and determination to slowly inch his free leg towards the ropes. The crowd is close to fever pitch, with half the crowd cheering for the fact Cena has his deadly submission move locked in, while the other half is frantically trying to encourage Van Dam to make it to the ropes. Another cry rings out from the champion, as Cena wrenches back, applying all kinds of pressure on RVD’s neck, almost begging the challenger to tap out. Referee Mike Chioda is right there, lying on the mat, watching for a tap out, all the while the camera hears him shouting at RVD “You wanna quit Van Dam? You wanna submit?” Although he doesn’t answer, RVD defiantly refuses to give up, continuing to fight, scratch and claw his way towards the safety of the ropes. With one hand on the mat, desperately inching Van Dam towards the ropes, the challenger uses his other hand to try break Cena’s grip, clawing at the champions’ hands. It’s no use though as Cena continues to wrench on the neck, refusing to let go. Ever so slowly, inch by inch, RVD edges towards safety, causing Cena to lean further back, upping the pressure of the hold. Almost looking like he’s about to give up, RVD holds his hand in the air, the referee leaning in intently, waiting for the hand to drop... but it doesn’t! With one final, last gasp effort, RVD uses both arms to force himself towards the ropes. Cena shouts “NO!!” in response to RVD’s great display of strength, with the champion leaning back with all he has, but RVD makes one final push, striving for the ropes, and he reaches out... TO GRAB THE BOTTOM ROPE!!

The reaction is split as RVD reaches the ropes, with a portion of the crowd wanting to see Cena finish Van Dam off with the STFU, but a larger portion relieved to see Van Dam is still in the match. Chioda is quickly on hand to give Cena a five count to break the hold, with the champion finally relinquishing his grip on four. It’s a distinct look of disappointment that is on Cena’s face as he slowly stands back up, realizing that having the STFU locked on and not getting the submission was a big opportunity lost. Seeing RVD still down in pain, and no doubt aware that his previous FU attempts have been rejected, Cena instead turns towards the corner, looking to take a risk in the hopes it kills off Van Dam’s chances. Cena steps through the ropes and carefully climbs to the top rope, steadying himself and slowly gaining his balance. He takes too long to do this though, as Van Dam is able to get back to his feet and spring to the corner... JUMPING SPINNING HEEL KICK... KNOCKS CENA OFF THE TOP TURNUBUCKLE TO THE FLOOR!!

It’s a huge fall for Cena, but it appears the kick was out of desperation by Van Dam, as the challenger collapses to the mat out of exhaustion. Cena is down on the outside, lying motionless, while in the ring RVD rolls towards the ropes, rolling under the bottom one to the outside. RVD finds Cena lying near the two announce desks, with RVD having to drag the near dead weight champion back to his feet. RVD garbs Cena by the head, smashing his face off the Smackdown announce desk. Cena hits the table hard, collapsing with the top half of his body on the desk. A push from RVD forces the rest of Cena’s body onto the desk, and the crowd pops in anticipation as they see Cena laid flat out on the Smackdown announce desk. The crowd again pops, this time much louder as slowly RVD turns his head... to the top rope! Quickly RVD rips the top of the desk, tossing monitors to the side as Michael Cole and JBL sense what could be coming, with both men moving quickly to distance themselves from Cena. Van Dam reaches up, grabbing the ropes to pull himself onto the apron. Slowly, Van Dam climbs to the top rope, carefully poising himself, before he exhales a deep breath. Down below, Chioda screams “No!”, frantically waving his arms, but the crowd is ready to explode, screaming and urging Van Dam to fly. Over at the Raw announce desk, J.R. and King are going nuts, begging Van Dam not to do it. But soon RVD leaves his crouched position, standing up before briefly pausing... but now he flies through the air... FIVE... STAR... FROG SPLASH... THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE DESK!!!

The roof damn near comes off the arena as the audience explodes, a massive pop ringing out for Van Dam. Pieces of the desk fly, bodies are strewn across the floor while a “Holy Shit! Holy Shit!” chant can be heard. It should be a disqualification or a count out, but it appears Chioda has lost all control as he’s willing to let it go, instead checking on the health of both men. Van Dam reaches up to grab the Raw announce desk, using it to ever so slowly drag himself to his feet, but even though RVD is back up first, he sells the effects of the attack he placed on Cena. The champion is still down, showing no sign of life, but the challenger is determined to press on, grabbing the arm of his lifeless opponent and pulling him free of the rubble and debris. Dragging Cena across the floor to the apron, Van Dam then reaches down to help Cena up, managing to force Cena back onto the mat, a final push rolling Cena into the ring before RVD follows Cena inside. With Cena near the ropes, Van Dam drags the champion into the middle of the ring before dropping down to his knees to hook the leg. It’s gotta be over?

...
ONE
.....
.......
TWO
.....
.......
.........
THREE?
.....
.......
.........
NO!!!

Unbelievably Cena rolls his left shoulder off the mat, the crowd still split as the champion stays alive. The camera focuses in on the face of the challenger, a look of dejection etched on it as Van Dam looks he’s wondering what’s it gonna take to put Cena away. Van Dam gingerly makes it back to a vertical base, but he shows fatigue as he staggers into the corner to prop himself up. Waiting for the champion rise, RVD takes a few deep breaths, with Cena having to grip the ropes with both hands to pull himself up. Cena is back up, but RVD is already making his move towards the champion... but out of nowhere Cena takes Van Dam down with an INSIDE CRADLE!

...
ONE
.....
TWO
.......
.........
NO!

Cena shocks everybody with the inside cradle, but he can’t surprise RVD for long enough to get the three count. Both men return to a vertical base, with the legs of both competitors looking shaky. RVD strikes first with a right hand, but Cena fires back with a right of his own. RVD... then Cena... then RVD again... but again Cena answers back, and now the champion looks to build momentum, connecting with another right hand and then a third in a row... but RVD looks to answer back, swinging with a right, only for Cena to duck... KILLSWITCH! Cena plants Van Dam, and now with the crowd somewhat behind him, the champion has a burst of energy, getting back on his feet and waiting for Van Dam to rise before charging off the ropes... FLYING SHOULDER BLOCK! J.R. questions where Cena is getting this energy from, and Cena looks to continue the momentum as he again comes off the ropes... SECOND FLYING SHOULDER BLOCK! RVD goes down again, and now Cena stands poised, waiting for Van Dam to get back up, ready to strikes... Van Dam staggers back to his feet... and Cena makes his move, hoisting RVD up onto his shoulders... FU!!! The crowd erupts as Cena nails the FU, and he crawls over to make the cover...

...
ONE
.....
.......
TWO
.....
.......
.........
THREE?
.....
.......
.........
NO!!!

Cena can’t believe it! Certain he had Van Dam put away, the champion is stunned as RVD kicks out. Cena rolls until he is in a seated position on the mat, his head in his hands, a dejected look on his face as Cena turns to Chioda, holding three fingers in the air and simply asking “3?”. Chioda shakes his head, responding with two fingers, much to Cena’s disappointment. Nonetheless, determined to give one final effort towards victory, Cena is back on his feet, awaiting the rise of Van Dam. RVD reaches up for the top ropes, forcing himself back up to continue the fight. Both men look out of it, but Cena manages to fire a kick to the midsection... but RVD grabs the foot... and counter with a step over spinning wheel kick! Both men are down, and after checking on them both, Mike Chioda starts his count.

One
.....
Two
.....
Three
.....

Van Dam is the first man to show signs of life, as he slowly crawls to the centre of the ring, pushing himself onto both knees. Cena follows by trying to sit up.

Four
.....
.......
Five
.....
.......
Six
.....
.......
Seven
.....
.......

Van Dam is back on his feet first, breaking the count, with Cena not far behind. RVD strikes first, rattling off a pair of right hands before he goes for an Irish whip to the corner. The champion hits the turnbuckle hard, allowing the challenger time to charge in... but Cena gets his boot up, catching RVD on the jaw. Briefly doubled up, RVD takes a few steps back, and this prompts Cena to push himself onto the second rope... DIVING LEG DROP BULLDOG!! Cena drops Van Dam, and he hooks the leg...

ONE
.....
TWO
.......
.........
NO!

Yet another near fall as RVD rolls his shoulder. Cena slams a hand off the mat in frustration, but he once again forces his body up off the mat, waiting for Van Dam to rise. Slowly the challenger is back to a vertical base, and the champion makes his move... reaching down, Cena forces Van Dam up onto his shoulders... FU... NO!! Once again Van Dam fights out of it, dropping to the mat behind Cena and spinning the champion around... Cena swings with a right hand, but Van Dam ducks, pushing the champion off the ropes... RUNNING ROUNDHOUSE KICK!! Van Dam connects, dropping Cena to the mat, with the champion in perfect position. Seeing this, RVD gives it one last burst of energy, firing to his feet, staggering towards the corner before hoisting himself to the top rope. Steadying himself, Van Dam is perched up top, poised, ready to strike... FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH... NO!! Such as has been the nature of the match, once again a finishing move is missed, with Cena rolling to safety, as Van Dam crashes to the mat. Both men are exhausted, but somehow Cena returns to his feet in a flash, waiting for Van Dam to rise. The challenger is back up, clutching his midsection, staggering to the centre of the ring... where the champion waits, ready to attack... Van Dam is on his shoulders... and Cena fires him up... FU!!! FU!!! Cena nails the FU, and he hooks both legs, covering Van Dam tightly.

ONE
.....
.......
TWO
.....
.......
.........
THREE!!!



Winner: And still World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena @ 22.28

*MY TIME IS NOW...*

Exhausted after the effort they both put in, neither man rises from the mat as Cena rolls off of Van Dam. Both lay grounded, on their back, staring up at the lights...

Lillian Garcia: Here is your winner AND STILL WWE CHAMPION... JOHNNNN CEEEEEEENAAAA!!!

Jim Ross: BAH GAWD!! CENA HAS DONE IT! I dunno how, but John Cena is still the WWE Champion!

Jerry Lawler: What an unbelievable performance from both those men. Cena and Van Dam, they threw everything at each other! They gave it all they had, but it was John Cena who retains the WWE Championship!

Jim Ross: Unbelievable heart, and passion, and courage on display from both men. Rob Van Dam has nothin' to be ashamed of. He came so close to winnin' the WWE Championship on several occasions.

In the ring, Cena is first back on his feet, but having been handed the WWE Title he nearly collapses into the corner, the turnbuckle the only thing keeping him on his feet. In the opposite corner, Van Dam drags himself back up, shaking his head in disappointment. The music dies and both men stand opposite each other, with Van Dam almost ashamed to look in Cena's direction. Cena makes the first move, gingerly walking towards RVD, and then grabbing Van Dam by the shoulder, spinning him around. Cena positions the belt over his shoulder, before extending his right hand in RVD's direction. Van Dam again shakes his head at his defeat, but he slowly is able to look Cena in the eye... and then shake his hand! It's a very respectful pop and round applause from the audience who appreciate what they've just witnessed...

Michael Cole: An incredible performance from both men. One hell of a WWE Championship match that everybody involved with Monday Night Raw can be proud of. But right now, it's time for the big one! It's time for the Royal Rumble Match! I know you're excited JBL!

John Bradshaw Layfield: You kiddin' me! I can't wait!

Michael Cole: Well you don't have to wait long. We are just moments away, but right now let's head backstage for one last look at some of the contenders for this year's Royal Rumble.

We now cut to a camera to see a very concerned Matt Hardy going through his final preparations in his dressing room...

Michael Cole: And what must be going through that man's mind right now? Matt Hardy, who earlier tonight watched his brother Jeff be stretchered out of an arena for the second time in less than a week. How is that gonna effect Matt's chances tonight?

John Bradshaw Layfield: I think it's gotta affect him Michael. He watched his little brother be carried out of this arena, his mind has gotta be shot right now. I don't think Matt Hardy is in the right frame of mind to win the Royal Rumble.

Out of sheer frustration, Matt punches a nearby locker before storming out of the room. We now cut to another camera to see Carlito doing some last minute stretches. 'Lito quickly stops though, motioning for a quick kiss on the cheek from his girlfriend Torrie Wilson. Torrie of course obliges, and with that Carlito is off down the corridor, confidently tossing his apple up into the air and catching it...

Jim Ross: Well what about one of the rising young stars over here on Monday Night Raw? Carlito may have had his differences with Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas lately, but no doubt the Caribbean Superstar will be fully focused on winning the Royal Rumble tonight.

Jerry Lawler: Well he better be focused. I mean, we both watched Carlito eliminate himself last Monday night to save Ric Flair from Haas and Benjamin. I can't see anythin' like that happening tonight. It's every man for himself J.R.!

We now cut to another camera to see MVP sauntering down a corridor, still wearing his sunglasses and bling...

Michael Cole: Or what about the returning Montel Vontavious Porter? MVP is set to compete for the first time since Armageddon over a month ago, where he of course lost to Kane in an inferno match.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Yeah but MVP returned to Smackdown last Friday night in a big way! He cracked a steel chair over Kane's skull not once, but two times. MVP returned, he laid out Kane, and now he's chasing his dream of main eventing Wrestlemania.

Our final competitor is none other than Shawn Michaels. HBK sits lonely in his dressing room, perched on a steel chair, his eyes closed in either deep thought or prayer. HBK soon opens his eyes, taking a deep breath before sighing deeply, his troubled mind clear for all to see...

Jim Ross: Well we heard Michael Cole and JBL discuss the mental state of Matt Hardy, but what on earth could be goin' through the mind of Shawn Michaels right now? The ending of DX in very dubious circumstances, the way Michaels eliminated Triple H from the battle royal on Raw. Where is Shawn Michaels' head at right now King?

Jerry Lawler: I honestly have no idea. I mean, with the way in which DX ended and his actions last Monday night, I don't think I could even guess what's goin' on in Shawn Michaels' head right now. I still think he's got a great shot at winnin' the Royal Rumble, but I dunno if mentally he's all there right.

Jim Ross: Let's take you over to Lillian Garcia for the announcements.

Lillian Garcia: Ladies and gentlemen, it is now time for the Royal... Rumble... Match!

Big pop from the crowd who finally get what they've all came to see...

Lillian Garcia: In just a few moments, the Superstars who drew Numbers One and Two will make their way to the ring and the match will begin. Every ninety seconds thereafter, another Superstar will enter until all thirty men have entered the ring. For eliminations to occur the individual must go over the top rope and both feet must touch the ground. The winner of this match will be the superstar who goes onto the Main Event of Wrestlemania XXIII to challenge for either the WWE or the World Heavyweight Championship!

Another pop for the prospect of Wrestlemania being so close now...

Lillian Garcia: Now, let's introduce the two individuals who drew Numbers One and Two...


30 Man Royal Rumble Match:
Winner has automatic title shot at EITHER brand’s Champion at Wrestlemania XXIII:
Entrants in Alphabetical order:

Bobby Lashley, Brian Kendrick, Carlito, Charlie Haas, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Masters, CM Punk, Edge, Gregory Helms, Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro, Kane, King Booker, Lance Cade, Matt Hardy, Mr. Kennedy, Montel Vontavious Porter, Paul London, Randy Orton, Ric Flair, Sabu, Shawn Michaels, Shelton Benjamin, The Miz, The Sandman, The Undertaker, Tommy Dreamer, Trevor Murdoch, Triple H, Umaga


*THIS FIRE BURNS...*

ENTRANT #1: CM PUNK


It's a good pop that sees CM Punk step out as entrant Number One. Punk stands at the top of the aisle, tapping his wrist and holding it against his ear before shouting "IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!" and then racing down to the ring...

Lillian Garcia: Introducing first... from Chicago, Illinois... weighing in at 222 pounds... C... M... PUNK!!

Jim Ross: Well it's gonna be the newcomer to Monday Night Raw, CM Punk, who's gonna kick things off. Punk only qualified for the Rumble last Monday night, and now he's straight in the deep end as the first entrant.

John Bradshaw Layfield: I hear this is the guy who doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke and he doesn't do drugs.

Jim Ross: That's him!

John Bradshaw Layfield: Then what the hell does this guy do in his spare time? What kind of social life does this kid have? He sounds about as much fun as a night out in Vegas with Michael Cole.

In the ring, Punk bounces up and down, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the second entrant...

"KENNEDY..."

*TURN UP THE TROUBLE...*

ENTRANT #2: MR. KENNEDY


After an initial pop, the boos quickly sound out as the cocky, brash youngster from Smackdown Mr. Kennedy steps out from the back. At the top of the aisle, Kennedy stops and reaches up for his trademark microphone which lowers down...

Lillian Garcia: And introducing entrant Number Two. From Green Bay, Wis-

Mr. Kennedy: (Interrupting) Shut your pie hole Garcia! Why don't you just take a seat and let the pro handle this. In-tro-ducing... entrant Number Two! I hail from... GREEN BAY, WISCONSINNNNNNNNN! Earlier today, I weighed in at a scintillating 243 pounds! I am the man who is guran-damn-teeing that I'm gonna win the Royal Rumble... MMMIIISSSTTTEEERRR KEN – NAH – DAY!

Jim Ross: What a piece of work this Kennedy guy is. I can't believe that he-

Mr. Kennedy: (Interrupting) KEN - NAH - DAY!!

Jim Ross: Well, I guess I've been put in my place. But he's the man you picked to win it all JBL, yet here he is entering the Royal Rumble as entrant Number Two.

John Bradshaw Layfield: The luck of the draw hasn't been kind to Kennedy, but that doesn't matter to him! You heard him yourself J.R., Kennedy guaranteed victory, and I'm buyin' what he's sellin' right now!

Kennedy finally enters the ring, removing his t-shirt and tossing it aside. On the outside, the two refs make their final checks before the bell rings and we're under way!

And the crowd gives a good pop as we get under way, with a angry looking Kennedy pacing the ring in aggressive fashion, while Punk has a smile on his face as he circles the ring. Eventually both men come together for a collar and elbow tie up, with both men fighting hard for position. Kennedy is able to twist into a waistlock, taking Punk up and slamming him down to the mat face first. Punk though quickly twists out of it, working behind Kennedy on the mat until both men fight back to their feet. Still clamped behind Kennedy, Punk release his grip and spins Kennedy around, nailing a pair of right hands before sending Kennedy to the corner with an Irish whip.

Punk then charges the corner hard, springing up to connect with a shining wizard, but instead of finishing of the sequence with a bulldog, Kennedy gets his arms underneath Punk... and tries to dump him over the top rope! The crowd pops at the prospect of such an early elimination, with Kennedy trying to muscle Punk out. Desperately Punk hooks both legs around the top rope, grabbing the ropes with his left hand while swinging wildly at Kennedy’s face with his right. After a flurry of rights, Kennedy finally relents, staggering to the middle of the ring. This gives Punk the chance to pull himself back into the ring, charging Kennedy from behind for a one-handed bulldog. Punk smiles as he stands back up, while Kennedy crawls to the corner, where Punk unloads with a string of punches and chops, before Punk goes for the Irish whip... Kennedy reverses, but Punk uses the momentum to jump to the second rope... and come flying out of the corner for a springboard clothesline! Punk nails Kennedy, and with both men down the clock ticks down for the third entrant...

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*WORLD’S GREATEST...*

ENTRANT #3: SHELTON BENJAMIN @ 01.34


A fair amount of heat welcomes one half of the World’s Greatest Tag Team, with Benjamin ignoring the crowd to sprint down the aisle...


Jim Ross: Well here comes, for my money, the best pure athlete in the WWE today. Monday Night Raw’s Shelton Benjamin, a young man well equipped to win the Royal Rumble from such an early position.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Since the day he entered the WWE, we’ve all known about the serious potential for greatness that man has. Is tonight the night Shelton Benjamin lives up to the hype surrounding him?

Shelton slides under the bottom rope, and he catches Punk as he gets back to his feet, with Benjamin scoring a string of right hands in the middle of the ring before he charges off the ropes to catch Punk with a clothesline. Benjamin then turns to Kennedy, connecting with boots and rights that back Kennedy into a corner. A hard Irish whip sends Kennedy across the ring, and Benjamin rears back in his corner before charging... BLINGER SPLASH... NO! Kennedy dives out of harm’s way, which sees Shelton smash into the top turnbuckle face first. Benjamin is dazed as he staggers out of the corner, to the waiting Kennedy who plants Benjamin with a snap DDT!

There’s an appreciative pop from the crowd for Kennedy, and it nearly erupts as Punk appears out of nowhere... to LAUNCH KENNEDY OVER THE TOP ROPE... NO! Kennedy clings on, landing side first on the apron and quickly wrapping both legs around the bottom rope to hang on. Punk lays in with a few stomps and then drives his foot into Kennedy’s chest, trying to force him down to the ground. Kennedy clings desperately, teetering but not falling, somehow managing to hang on and keep himself on the apron. By now Benjamin has returned to his feet, and he ‘saves’ Kennedy by grabbing Punk from behind, twisting Punk around... to nail a T-BONE SUPLEX... NO! Punk strikes with elbows and knees to the head, freeing himself long enough to fire Benjamin off the ropes into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker!

Punk plants Benjamin, but before he can try and eliminate his fallen opponent, Kennedy, having rolled back under the bottom rope into the ring, clubs Punk from behind with a forearm, backing Punk into the corner with right hands. Kennedy tees off with well placed shots, and he’s soon joined by Benjamin, who viciously lays in with left hands. After both taking shots at Punk, Benjamin and Kennedy decided to show a little teamwork, as they pull Punk to the centre of the ring for a double Irish whip... Punk comes off the ropes, ducking the double clothesline from Punk and Benjamin... to fly with a double clothesline of his own!

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*DEAD WHITE GUYS...*

ENTRANT #4: KING BOOKER @ 03.06


Big time heat as the former World Heavyweight Champion steps out. Clearly unhappy at drawing a low number, a furious scowl adorns Booker’s face as he first removes his crown and then his robe, handing both over to Queen Sharmell who shouts advice to her man before pointing him in the direction of the ring while she turns to head backstage...


Michael Cole: The former World Heavyweight Champion, King Booker. A man who has been lookin’ for a way to get back into the hunt over on Smackdown, and it’s lead him into some problems with The Undertaker as of late.

Jerry Lawler: Well, I might not agree with the way he rules his kingdom over on Smackdown, but King Booker, despite how early he’s entering the Rumble, has gotta be considered a serious contender to win tonight.

Punk is first of the trio already in the ring back to his feet, and as such, Booker lays in with duelling boots and right hands before he takes a few steps back to bounce in for the HARLEM SIDEKICK! Punk goes down, and now Booker turns his attention to Kennedy, snapping Kennedy’s head back in the corner with a string of right hands. Booker then pulls Kennedy to the middle of the ring, sending the ‘Green Bay Loudmouth’ off the ropes... into the BOOK END! With Benjamin still down, King Booker remains the only man standing, allowing him a moment to raise his pinkie high in the air, drawing more heat from the crowd. Shelton Benjamin is the first man back up to confront Booker, but the King snaps a few rights off, backing Shelton into the ropes. Booker then reaches down, trying to simply muscle Benjamin over the top rope, but Shelton wraps a leg around the middle rope and both arms around the top rope, not going anywhere.

By now Punk and Kennedy are back on their feet, with Kennedy having driven Punk into the corner, hitting a trio of shoulder thrusts to the midsection. Punk staggers out of the corner, but Kennedy soon grabs his wrist, pulling Punk in and hoisting him up on his shoulders. Kennedy now tries to force Punk over the top rope, but Punk fights to grab the top rope, extending his arms to stop Kennedy muscling him out. Eventually Kennedy realises he won’t be able to force Punk out, so he drags Punk away from the ropes, and with him still on his shoulders, Kennedy takes two steps... to hit the GREEN BAY PLUNGE! Punk crashes to the mat, immediately grabbing at his midsection, but Kennedy is given no time to grab a breath as Booker, having given up on trying to eliminate Benjamin, now unloads with chops that back Kennedy to the corner, drawing “Wooos” from the crowd.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*BAD DREAM...*

ENTRANT #5: TOMMY DREAMER @ 04.32


An appreciative pop welcomes Tommy Dreamer to the fray, the hardcore legend jogging down to the ring wearing a black t-shit with bright white “ECW” written across it...


Michael Cole: The heart and soul of ECW, Tommy Dreamer. Can the recent addition to the Smackdown roster cause what some would consider a huge upset by winning the Royal Rumble?

Jerry Lawler: Things could be about to get extreme right now!

John Bradshaw Layfield: Lemme tell ya’ somethin’. If that idiot wins the Royal Rumble, I’m gettin’ back in the ring! The fact that lunatic is even a member of the Smackdown roster disgusts me!

Despite JBL’s words, Dreamer slides into the ring and is confronted by Shelton Benjamin, with Shelton throwing a right hand. Dreamer fires straight back, and soon a slugfest breaks out, with both men furiously swinging right hands. Soon the fresher Dreamer starts swinging wildly with rights and lefts, and all Shelton can do is cover up and back his way into the corner, a loud “EEE – CEE – DUB! EEE – CEE – DUB!” chant greeting Dreamer’s flurry of offence. With Benjamin reeling, Dreamer easily picks him up from behind, hooking Shelton’s legs on the top turnbuckle, hanging him in a tree of woe position. The crowd is still buzzing as Dreamer retreats and then charges... to nail the low-angle dropkick! Dreamer springs back to his feet, holding his arms out to another pop... only to be levelled by a stiff clothesline from Kennedy!


With Booker and Punk paired off in the corner, and Punk’s face being repeatedly slammed off the top turnbuckle, Kennedy briefly grabs a breath before he begins to stomp down on Benjamin and Dreamer, dropping boots to the chest of both men. In the corner, Booker now makes a move to eliminate Punk, hoisting Punk up into the air with a suplex... that PLACES PUNK OVER THE TOP ROPE! However, Punk shows great balance by landing on the apron, and he fires back with shots to the ribs, backing Booker away. This gives Punk a chance to slingshot himself onto the top rope... to take Booker down with a SPRINGBOARD CLOTHESLINE!!

On the other side of the ring, Benjamin and Kennedy work together to try eliminate Dreamer, but the veteran grips the ropes, refusing to be eliminated, and eventually he resorts to biting Shelton on the forehead and then kicking Kennedy in the face to free himself. Benjamin crouches in the corner, while Kennedy staggers towards the middle of the ring, straight into the waiting Punk... who takes him up on his shoulders... GO TO SLEEP! The crowd pops as Punk drills Kennedy, but both men slump to the mat having delivered a lot of offense in the early goings.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*PAPARAZZI...*

ENTRANT #6: JOHNNY NITRO @ 06.09


Boos welcome the appearance of Johnny Nitro, who is without Melina or his fabulous fur coat. Instead, Nitro is all business as he sprints down the aisle...


Jim Ross: He may look like a model, but he’s as tough as a two dollar steak. Entrant number six is Johnny Nitro.

Michael Cole: A former member of the Smackdown roster, and since his move to Monday nights, Nitro has gone on from strength to strength. He could certainly go a long way here tonight.

Looking to take advantage of the situation, Nitro slides into the ring and immediately grabs hold of the tired CM Punk, grabbing a handful of hair and running towards the ropes... and LAUNCHING PUNK OVER THE TOP ROPE! Nitro turns to the middle of the ring, celebrating the instant impact he thinks he’s made. But Nitro doesn’t see Punk land on the apron, rolling back under the bottom rope to save himself. Nitro spots this, and he immediately starts to lay into Punk with the boots, while over in the corner, Kennedy tries to recover from the GTS he was just subjected to. Dreamer is treated to a double beating as the two other heels in the match King Booker and Shelton Benjamin lay into the hardcore legend. Eventually Booker decides to leave Benjamin to it, and as Shelton tries to force Dreamer out, Booker looks to pick on the easy target that is Kennedy. But as Booker moves towards the corner, Kennedy fires out with a boot to the gut, doubling Booker over and allowing Kennedy to toss Booker into the corner to do some damage.

Nitro has Punk up against the ropes, but a pair of uppercuts drive Punk to the corner. Nitro goes for an Irish whip, but Punk reverses, seeing Nitro hit the corner hard. Punk then charges in, only for Nitro to use a back body drop to ELEVATE PUNK OVER THE TOP ROPE! But Punk continues to live dangerously, landing on the apron, and smashing Nitro face first off the top turnbuckle. Punk now takes a few steps up to climb to the second rope on the outside, while Nitro does the same on the inside. Nitro snaps off a few lefts to the gut, and it looks like he wants to go for a superplex... but Punk grabs the top turnbuckle. Out of nowhere, in an incredible piece of athleticism, Shelton Benjamin charges the corner and bounces to the second rope, hooking up Punk. Now together, Nitro and Benjamin look for a double superplex... but before they can pull it off, Tommy Dreamer runs over, hooking up both Nitro and Benjamin... TOWER OF DOOM!! The crowd erupts as all four men come crashing down to the mat!

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*HUKA BLUES...*

ENTRANT #7: SABU @ 07.42


The crowd gives another solid pop as the second ECW legend enters the fray, with Sabu pointing to the sky before running down the aisle...


John Bradshaw Layfield: Ah great! Another one of these glorified stuntmen gettin’ involved.

Jim Ross: Boy I’d hate to be sat at the table when you and King discuss the history of ECW, JBL.

John Bradshaw Layfield: You wouldn’t be invited. I’d rather have that pencil neck geek Joey Styles there so I could slap some sense into ‘im.

After nailing that massive move, Dreamer is full of energy as he holds his arms out to a cheer from the crowd just as Sabu slides into the ring. The two Extremists meet in the centre of the ring, but any ideas of the two teaming up are quickly forgotten as Dreamer and Sabu start trading right hands. After a big right staggers Dreamer, Sabu turns and jumps off the second rope, catching his partner with a springboard back elbow. With Nitro, Punk and Benjamin still down, and Kennedy catching rest in the corner, it’s King Booker who catches Sabu from behind with a forearm to the back of the head. More clubs to the back force Sabu against the turnbuckle, and Booker goes for an Irish whip across... but Sabu bounces to the middle rope... SPRINGBOARD TORNADO DDT!

Booker joins the fallen on the mat, but as Sabu returns to a vertical base, Kennedy hammers him from behind, knocking Sabu to the mat. Kennedy lays in with the boots, while on the far side of the ring Johnny Nitro now has Punk on his shoulders, trying to force him out. Benjamin does likewise near the ropes with Dreamer, and soon King Booker is over to lend his weight to the effort. With Dreamer dangling upside-down almost, he looks in serious danger of being eliminated, but Sabu shows that some alliances do exist in the Rumble, as he grabs as Booker, poking a thumb in the eye and then rocking Benjamin with right hands, allowing Dreamer to safely land on the apron and roll under the ropes to safety.

Kennedy and Punk, having been in from the beginning now battle for supremacy in one corner, while in the centre of the ring Nitro has Benjamin lined up... for the NITRO BLAST... NO! Benjamin ducks underneath, snatching Nitro into an overhead release belly-to-belly suplex. Dreamer rattles Nitro from behind with a clothesline, with still no eliminations as we get set to welcome the eight entrant...

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

”OOOOH CHAVO...”

*CHAVITO ARDIENTE...*

ENTRANT #8: CHAVO GUERRERO @ 09.06


Heat as Chavo confidently steps out, his Aunt Vickie briefly by his side to offer last minute words of encouragement before Chavo carefully jogs down the aisle...


Michael Cole: Entrant Number 8, the man who just two nights ago on Smackdown reintroduced himself to the Cruiserweight division. Smackdown’s Chavo Guerrero!

Jim Ross: And there’s been some legendary performances from Guerrero’s in Royal Rumble’s in the past, will we see another one here tonight?

Chavo shows great athleticism to leap into the ring between the bottom and middle ropes, tucking into a forward roll to quickly spring to his feet and rock Punk with stiff uppercuts against the ropes, with Chavo wasting little time in trying to dump one of the men who started the match over the top rope. In the corner sits Kennedy, trying to grab some rest, while Dreamer and Sabu now team to square off against Nitro and Booker. Soon the duos split as Booker nails stiff rights to Dreamer in the corner, while Nitro trades shots with Sabu against the ropes. Sabu connects on three punches, and he soon goes for an Irish whip across... which Nitro reverses, but Sabu jumps to the second rope... springboard crossbody... but Nitro counters... JUMPING ENZIGUIRI! A sick thud rings out as Nitro’s boot connects with Sabu’s head, and ever the opportunist, Kennedy springs out of his corner to grab Sabu... and LAUNCH HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE TO THE FLOOR!

ELIMINATION #1: SABU BY MR. KENNEDY @ 09.46

Kennedy leans on the ropes with a smile on his face, pleased with making the first elimination of the match. He soon rushes over to where Chavo is working on Punk, clubbing the Mexican in the ribs with a right hand. Dreamer and Benjamin now go at it in the corner, while Nitro now turns his attentions to Booker, backing the King into the corner with rights and then driving his boot into the throat. Chavo, having tried and failed to eliminate Punk in partnership with Kennedy, now grabs Kennedy from behind, twisting Kennedy around... and going for a suplex... but Chavo holds on! Pulling Kennedy to his feet, Chavo snaps off another suplex... and continues to hold on! Once more Chavo drags Kennedy up, rearing back... to finish the THREE AMIGOS! Chavo let’s go after the third rolling vertical suplex, and despite Chavo being a heel, an “Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!” chant breaks out.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*SWEET AND SOUR...*

ENTRANT #9: LANCE CADE @ 10.39


Boos as one half of the Redneck Wrecking Crew Lance Cade hustles down to the ring...


Jim Ross: Well here’s a guy from your neck of the woods JBL. Lance Cade, who was presented this spot in the Royal Rumble under dubious circumstances thanks to Jonathan Coachman.

John Bradshaw Layfield: A tough ol’ Texas boy, Lance Cade! The second best lookin’ guy in the WWE with a cowboy hat!

Michael Cole: I guess you’re number one?

John Bradshaw Layfield: You better believe it junior!

Cade slides under the bottom rope and is quick to unload on CM Punk, with each new entrant now looking to target the first man in. While Cade hammers Punk, Kennedy crawls to the corner to try recover from the three amigos, while King Booker looks full of energy as he hammers both Nitro and Benjamin with Harlem Sidekicks! But when Booker grabs Dreamer’s wrist, twists on it and goes for a hook kick, Dreamer ducks underneath, grabbing Booker and taking him up with a scoop lift and then down with an inverted DDT! With Benjamin and Nitro both victims of a Booker kick, both men struggle to return to their feet, but when they do, Benjamin drills a kick to the gut and then grabs Nitro... and HURLS HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE... NO! Nitro hangs on, making sure his feet don’t hit the floor before pulling both legs back onto the canvas. Once again, Kennedy makes a move to take advantage, racing up to club Benjamin from behind, trying to force Shelton out. Benjamin tangles arms and legs across the ropes, with Kennedy alternating between trying to muscle out Benjamin and stomp out Nitro.

In the corner, Cade continues to try and force Punk out, with Chavo and Dreamer now paired off in the opposite side of the ring. Cade has Punk on his shoulders, trying to use the top turnbuckle for leverage, but Punk hooks both arms under the top rope, keeping himself in the ring. Punk then starts hammering his heel into Cade’s head, sending Cade staggering to the middle of the ring, with Punk running from behind to hit the one handed bulldog. Looking to build some momentum, Punk charges towards Kennedy at the ropes, and he grabs both legs to try and muscle Kenned out. With Nitro and Benjamin both still in the area, Punk comes close to eliminating all three, with Nitro and Benjamin both teetering, hanging onto the bottom rope, while Kennedy has limbs wrapped around the top rope.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

”LISTEN...”

*IT’S TIME...*

ENTRANT #10: GREGORY HELMS @ 12.03


Decent heat as the Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms races down the aisle, quickly ripping off his beanie and tossing aside...


Michael Cole: It was one year ago at the 2006 Royal Rumble that Gregory Helms won the Cruiserweight Championship and he’s held onto it ever since. Could we see Helms win tonight and earn the right to go to Wrestlemania an try win even more gold?

John Bradshaw Layfield: One of the greatest Cruiserweight Champions in history right there! This kid’s gonna go a long way tonight, you mark my words.

And as soon as he enters the ring Helms heads straight to the corner where Guerrero and Dreamer are still going at it, with Helms clubbing Chavo from behind and then stomping Chavo on the mat, with Cole reminding us all of the staredown between the pair on the last episode of Smackdown. Helms smashes a pair of knees into the face of the seated Dreamer, before he turns back to Chavo, snapping Guerrero over with a northern lights suplex. On a roll, Helms encourages opponents to attack, shouting “C’mon!” as King Booker staggers straight into a spinning heel kick. Helms now moves to grab a handful of CM Punk’s hair from behind, as Helms runs with Punk... SENDING HIM FLYING OVER THE TOP ROPE... NO! Once again Punk hangs on, landing on the apron and rolling back in. Helms now stomps down on Punk, and then mounts the ‘Straight Edge Superstar’ to hammer him with right hands.

Nitro and Kennedy have now taken their fight to the corner, with Kennedy trying to force Nitro out. Shelton Benjamin is also back on his feet, and he peppers Guerrero with rights and lefts, while near the ropes Lance Cade tries to muscle out Tommy Dreamer. Helms continues to look to quicken the pace, snatching Kennedy from behind and sending Kennedy off the ropes... Kennedy reverses, and he waits for Helms to come off the ropes and rattle him with a hard clothesline. The burst of adrenaline Helms gave the match ends after Kennedy clocks him, and now most of the competitors either down on the mat or paired off trying (but failing) to force someone over the top rope. The pace of the match slows right down, and the crowd is more hushed than usual as the clock again ticks down...

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*SEXY BOY...*

ENTRANT #11: SHAWN MICHAELS @ 13.36


The roof damn near blows off the arena as the hometown boy ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ steps out and races down to the ring...


Jim Ross: Business is about to pick up! San Antonio’s own Shawn Michaels, a former two time Royal Rumble winner is about to enter the match!

John Bradshaw Layfield: I can’t hear a damn thing! These people are goin’ nuts right now!

Michaels slides into the ring and is confronted by Shelton Benjamin, who throws a right hand. Michaels easily blocks off, and HBK fires back with a trio of his own rights, before Benjamin fires a desperate knee to the midsection. Shelton manages to back Michaels to the ropes, and he goes for an Irish whip... which Michaels reverses, and he waits for Benjamin to arrive... LOUT THESZ PRESS! Michaels takes Shelton down, and he hammers him with right hands. Stunned, Benjamin somehow returns to his feet, wildly missing with a swinging punch, allowing Michaels to counter with an atomic drop! Not knowing what’s hit him, Benjamin staggers towards the ropes, and HBK keeps rolling as he charges... to CLOTHESLINE BENJAMIN OVER THE TOP ROPE!

ELIMINATION #2: SHELTON BENJAMIN BY SHAWN MICHAELS @ 13.57

The arena comes unglued as Michaels brings the match to life, and he’s not done as when he turns back to the ring, Mr. Kennedy charges... but Michaels avoids the contact... SWEET CHIN MUSIC TO KENNEDY! Kennedy collapses to the mat, and looking to take advantage is Lance Cade, who clubs Michaels from behind, backing him to the ropes. With Michaels caught off guard, Cade sees a chance to make a huge name for himself, charging, hoping to eliminate HBK... but Michaels gets his wits just in time... to BACK BODY DROP CADE TO THE FLOOR!!

ELIMINATION #3: LANCE CADE BY SHAWN MICHAELS @ 14.12

Michaels gets his second elimination, but he’s immediately confronted by Johnny Nitro, who stings Michaels with right hands... only for Michaels to grab Nitro and toss him into the corner. There, HBK begins unloading with hard knife edge chop, each one drawing more “Woooos!” from the crowd. Michaels continues to work over Nitro in the corner, until King Booker nails him from behind, and Nitro and Booker soon try and work together to eliminate HBK. In the far corner, Helms and Punk are now going at it while by the ropes Tommy Dreamer has his hands full with Chavo Guerrero, with Mr. Kennedy still lying prone in the centre of the ring.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*SLICED BREAD...*

ENTRANT #12: BRIAN KENDRICK @ 15.11


A nice pop as one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions sprints down to the ring, wasting little time in getting into the action...


Michael Cole: Here comes one half of the tag team champions over on Smackdown. Brian Kendrick could make a huge name for himself here tonight.

Jerry Lawler: Always a lot of energy when that young man enters the ring. I think the pace could be about to pick up!

And Kendrick looks to get instantly involved, targeting Chavo Guerrero with right hands before hooking Chavo around the neck and running for the corner... SLICED BREAD! An instant impact from Kendrick, who drops Chavo. Gregory Helms looks to attack, but from his knees Kendrick strikes with a forearm to the gut, doubling Helms over as Kendrick quickly springs to his feet... TORNADO DDT! The crowd cheers as Kendrick plants Helms, only for King Booker to club Kendrick with a double axe handle. Booker then looks to send Kendrick off the ropes, catching Kendrick with a kick to the gut that doubles him over. Booker then bounces off the ropes, taking his time to go for the SCISSORS KICK! The crowd gives a respectful pop for the move, and despite him being a heel, the crowd loves it as Booker treats us to the Spin-A-Roonie... SWEET CHIN MUSIC! As Booker spins to his feet, Michaels strikes out of nowhere!

With Booker flat out in the centre of the ring, and Kennedy in the corner still reeling from the kick he took, it’s Tommy Dreamer who’s next to take the fight to Michaels, with Dreamer driving HBK to the corner with shots to the head. In the corner, Michaels quickly grabs Dreamer and tosses him against the turnbuckle, unloading with chops to the chest. Instead of covering up in pain, once Michaels hits a fourth chop, a sick smile crosses Dreamer’s face. The crowd cheers as Dreamer shows off his extreme side, taking every chops Michaels can throw and even shouting “Do it again!” as Michaels hesitates to throw another. Despite looking like he’s creeped out by Dreamer’s pain tolerance, Michaels does throw another chop, to which Dreamer responds by smacking HBK with a clothesline out of the corner. Once again the “EEE – CEE – DUB! EEE – CEE – DUB!” chant rings out, but it soon ends as Johnny Nitro sprints to the ropes, jumping to the second rope and flying off for a springboard roundhouse kick that flattens Dreamer.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

.....
.......
.........
...........
............

*GONG...*

*GONG...*

*GRAVEYARD SYMPHONY...*

ENTRANT #13: THE UNDERTAKER @ 16.49


The crowd goes nuts as everyone in the ring comes to a standstill, fear gripping the minds of each competitor. The arena is plunged into darkness, but through the mist The Undertaker can be seen making his entrance...


Jim Ross: Bah Gawd! Here comes The Phenom!

John Bradshaw Layfield: The Phenom, The Deadman, The Demon of Death Valley! Call ‘im what you will, The Undertaker has Wrestlemania in the sight of those evil eyes of his!

Jerry Lawler: He’s the only man in the WWE that calls number 13 his lucky number!

Nice line King. Taker confidently strides down to the ring and up the steel steps before stepping over the top rope. In the ring, a standoff ensues between Taker and a bunch of the other entrants, no one wanting to be the first man to attack ‘The Deadman’. With Michaels, Dreamer and Kendrick down on the mat, and Punk both down in the corner resting, it’s mostly scared heels who stand opposite Taker. Nitro, Kennedy, Helms, Guerrero and even King Booker, who’s been vocal about Undertaker in recent weeks, stand across from ‘The Phenom’. With no volunteers wanting to attack first, Taker slowly draws a thumb across his throat, drawing another pop from the crowd. Booker decides he’s seen enough, but instead of leading the charge, he pushes Nitro towards Undertaker... straight into a big boot to the face! Helms is next, but he goes down from a right hand, same for Chavo. Kennedy has a try, but Taker ducks his clothesline, both men running the ropes... RUNNING LEAPING CLOTHESLINE! Undertaker flies to take down Kennedy, and now Booker sees this as his chance to attack, striking with a wild flurry of rights and lefts as Taker struggles to a knee. Booker relents, only to line Undertaker up... HARLEM SIDEKICK... NO! Taker ducks underneath... and he seizes Booker by the throat... and FORCES HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE TO THE FLOOR!

ELIMINATION #4: KING BOOKER BY THE UNDERTAKER @ 17.38

A massive pop welcomes the elimination of King Booker, with Booker reacting furiously on the outside. In the ring, Nitro has somehow made it back up, but ‘The Deadman’ is waiting, grabbing the wrist, twisting the arm, wrenching on it and then climbing to the top rope. Taking a risk, Undertaker walks the top rope... to deliver OLD SCHOOL! Nitro goes down, but he’s soon back up as Taker grabs him... and HURLS NITRO OVER THE TOP ROPE!!

ELIMINATION #5: JOHNNY NITRO BY THE UNDERTAKER @ 18.04

Bodies are strewn all over the ring as ‘The Deadman’ surveys the carnage he has caused. Soon though, both Helms and Chavo return to their feet, both men dazed as they stumble to the centre of the ring... where Undertaker grabs them both by the throat and hoists them up in the air... DOUBLE CHOKESLAM! Both cruiserweights are driven to the canvas, but before Undertaker can eliminate them...

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*HELL WILL BE CALLIN’...*

ENTRANT #14: BOBBY LASHLEY @ 18.36


The mixed reaction that has been following Bobby Lashley around returns once again as the ECW Champion paces down the aisle, a look of dominance on his face...


Michael Cole: He’s the last ever ECW Champion, and despite the problems he’s been having over on Raw with Mr. McMahon as of late, Bobby Lashley could turn ECW gold into World Heavyweight gold!

Jerry Lawler: And correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t it Bobby Lashley who ended your career JBL?

John Bradshaw Layfield: Let’s get one thing straight King. No matter the circumstances surrounding my retirement, I remain a Wrestling God! Bobby Lashley will never take that away from me!

As Lashley steps through the ropes a bit of normality has been restored, with Undertaker in the corner firing rapid fire rights into the midsection of CM Punk. Shawn Michaels is busy trying to muscle Brian Kendrick out, while Tommy Dreamer is down in the corner trying to recover. On the mat, Helms and Chavo are trying to pick themselves off the mat, and once again it’s Mr. Kennedy who’s set to profit from the offence of others, as he rushes at Chavo near the ropes... to CLOTHESLINE GUERRERO OVER THE TOP ROPE!

ELIMINATION #6 CHAVO GUERRERO BY MR. KENNEDY @ 18.52

Kennedy again springs into the match to eliminate someone, but he’s unable to run and hide this time, as Lashley is there to knock him down with a big right hand. Lashley then backs Kennedy to the ropes and goes for an Irish whip, which Kennedy reverses... Lashley builds momentum as he runs the ropes, ducking a Kennedy clothesline... SPEAR! Lashley springs off the ropes to spear the hell out of Kennedy, but before he can do anything about it, Tommy Dreamer confronts Lashley, teeing off with jabs to the face, the heart and soul of ECW facing the new face of extreme. Dreamer has some success as he backs Lashley to the ropes, but when he goes for a clothesline, Lashley sidesteps... and uses Dreamer’s momentum to THROW HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE!

ELIMINATION #7 TOMMY DREAMER BY BOBBY LASHLEY @ 19.18

The boos intensify as Lashley eliminates the hardcore legend, but Lashley tries to stay focused, as he hammers Helms with forearms to the spine. The Undertaker continues to work on Punk in the corner, unloading with big elbows to the side of the head, while Shawn Michaels delivers stinging chops to Kennedy’s chest in the corner. Michaels looks to whip Kennedy across, but Kennedy aggressively reverses, sending Michaels crashing upside down into the corner. Michaels leaves the corner somehow still on his feet, but he’s soon put down as Kennedy smashes him with a clothesline. This prompts Brian Kendrick to spring to life as he flies at Kennedy with a forearm, the pair brawling into the corner as the clock ticks down.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*WORLD’S GREATEST...*

ENTRANT #15: CHARLIE HASS @ 20.01


Boos as the second half of the World’s Greatest Tag Team Charlie Hass jogs down to the ring, no doubt upset at seeing his partner Shelton Benjamin already eliminated...


Jim Ross: We’re at the halfway mark folks. Charlie Hass is entrant Number 15, which means we still have fifteen men to enter before it’s all said and done.

Michael Cole: And you gotta believe Charlie Haas was hoping his tag team partner Shelton Benjamin would still be out here so they could try double up to eliminate a few guys.

Jerry Lawler: Well speakin’ of still being in there, can you believe the two men who kicked this thing off, Mr. Kennedy and CM Punk are still in there? What an effort so far from both those guys.

Putting his disappointment behind him, Haas rolls into the ring and immediately takes aim at Shawn Michaels in the corner, hard uppercuts repeatedly snapping Michaels’ head back against the top turnbuckle. A snap mare sends Michaels to the mat, with Haas aiming a painful kick to the base of the spine. Bobby Lashley continues to work on Gregory Helms, but when he swings for a clothesline Helms ducks underneath, kicking Lashley in the gut and then charging of the ropes for a crossbody... but Lashley catches Helms! The crowd roars as Helms realizes he’s in trouble, as Lashley takes a look over his shoulder and launches Helms... FALLAWAY SLAM OVER THE TOP ROPE!

ELIMINATION #8 GREGORY HELMS BY BOBBY LASHLEY @ 20.33

In one corner Kennedy sits propped against the middle turnbuckle as Punk and Kendrick take turns to hammer him with boots, while in the opposite corner Michaels has taken control of Haas, unloading with chops to the chest. By the ropes, Lashley looks down on the eliminated Helms, but he slowly turns back to the middle of the ring... and a roar soon breaks out from the crowd... as The Undertaker turns to face Lashley! The two dominant forces stand opposite each other, both men slowly stepping to the centre of the ring, going nose to nose. The crowd is at fever pitch as both men seem hesitant to strike... until Taker draws a thumb across his throat! It’s on! Lashley hammers with a big right, only for Taker to fire back. Back and forth they go until Taker rattles off three rights in a row, backing Lashley to the ropes... Irish whip... but Lashley reverses, sending Undertaker off the ropes... straight into a SPINEBUSTER! The crowd gasps as Lashley hammers ‘The Deadman’, with Lashley quickly on his feet to roar his approval... but The Undertaker sits up! Staring a hole through Lashley, Taker rises up, only for Lashley to back him into the corner with hard right hands.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

”ONE... TWO... YOU HEAR THE CLOCK TICKIN’...”

*I’M COMIN’...*

ENTRANT #16: MONTEL VONTAVIOUS PORTER @ 21.35


Big heat as the returning MVP races down the aisle, tossing aside his bling and sunglasses before sliding into the ring...


Michael Cole: He hadn’t seen MVP for a number of weeks until he returned last Friday night on Smackdown. Tonight, MVP steps into a WWE ring for the first time since six weeks ago at Armageddon.

Jerry Lawler: MVP, making his Royal Rumble debut here tonight, but could the last entrant announced by the last man standing come the end of the night?

John Bradshaw Layfield: It doesn’t matter who wins the Royal Rumble tonight, MVP is gonna be a winner regardless. After suffering those traumatic injuries at Armageddon, I’m amazed the man can even walk never mind still wrestle. Unbelievably recovery from MVP, and inspiration to us all!

Michael Cole: God, you gotta be kiddin’ me!

MVP enters the ring and is immediately confronted by CM Punk, the two exchanging right hands in the centre of the ring. MVP rears back for a big right hand, which Punk ducks underneath, rocking MVP with a high kick to the head. The kick rocks MVP to the ropes, where Punk grabs him for an Irish whip... but MVP reverses... and catches Punk with a snap overhead belly to belly suplex! In the middle of the ring, MVP bounces, full of energy, and he finds his next victim as Kendrick stumbles towards him, with MVP hitting a kick to the gut... PLAYMAKER! Kendrick is driven to the mat, and once again, it’s Mr. Kennedy who looks to take advantage, as he reaches down, grabs Kendrick and LAUNCHES HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE!

ELIMINATION #9 BRIAN KENDRICK BY MR. KENNEDY @ 21.57

Once again, Kennedy takes advantage of the situation to grab another elimination. Kennedy leans against the ropes, smiling as Kendrick writhes on the floor below, but as he turns around, he steps right into a stiff right hand from The Undertaker. Kennedy snaps back against the ropes, and soon Undertaker picks up momentum... TO CLOTHESLINE KENNEDY OVER THE TOP ROPE... BUT KENNEDY HANGS ON! Hooking his arms on the top rope, Kennedy manages to land on the apron, franticly rolling under the bottom rope to escape once again. With Taker’s back turned to him, MVP hammers ‘The Deadman’ from behind, with Charlie Haas over to also lay in with boots and fists. Michaels has Punk elevated in the corner, with Punk desperately hanging in there, while Lashley composes himself propped against a turnbuckle before he steps out and grabs Haas from behind, spinning him around and slamming him to the mat.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*SLICED BREAD...*

ENTRANT #17: PAUL LONDON @ 23.02


A decent pop as the second Hooligan and other half of the WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London races down the aisle, but before he enters the ring, London runs into his partner Brian Kendrick, with the recently eliminated Kendrick giving his partner a few last minute words of encouragement...


Jim Ross: Always a lot of energy out of this kid Paul London. He’s been Cruiserweight Champion, he’s one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions, could London make the move into the heavyweight ranks tonight?

John Bradshaw Layfield: Every week I’m impressed with what London and Kendrick bring to the table. But we’ve seen Kendrick try and fail to hang with the big boys, let’s see if London can do any better.

After his brief exchange with Kendrick, London slides into the ring where he’s confronted by Kennedy, Michaels and Punk, with London throwing right hands at all three, knocking the trio down one by one. London helps Kennedy back to his feet, but only to go for an Irish whip... but Kennedy reverses, and he swings with a clothesline... but London ducks underneath, still running, coming back off the opposite ropes... flying forearm! Kennedy goes down, but London is rapidly on his feet, charging the prone Kennedy to connect on a running shooting star press! Kennedy quickly crawls for the safety of the corner, but London now settles down a bit, stomping Kennedy in the corner.

In one corner, two legends go at as Undertaker lands big elbows to the side of Shawn Michaels’ head, only for HBK to turn the tide, tossing Taker to the corner to unload with chops to the chest and then grabbing a leg to try force ‘The Deadman’ over the top rope. Lashley now has his hands on CM Punk, with Punk frantically clinging on as he teeters over the top rope. Desperately Punk throws elbows to break free of Lashley’s grip, landing on the apron as Lashley turns away. Punk, on the outside of the ring, quickly slingshots himself onto the top rope as Lashley turns back towards him... FLYING CLOTHESLINE... SPEAR! Lashley cuts Punk in half with a mid air spear, with Punk clutching at his midsection while writhing on the mat.

Haas and MVP battle for position against the ropes, with MVP soon muscling Haas up, but Haas wraps arms and legs around the top and middle ropes, saving himself. After decimating Punk, Lashley drags the ‘Straight Edge Superstar’ to his feet, and with a handful of hair he rushes to the ropes... and TOSSES PUNK OVER THE TOP ROPE... NO! Punk grabs the top rope, valiantly hanging on, landing on the canvas to once again survive.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

”BEHOLD THE KING... THE KING OF KINGS...

*THE GAME...*

ENTRANT #18: TRIPLE H @ 24.09


The arena erupts with a cacophony of cheers and boos as Triple H confidently marches down the aisle. In the ring, Shawn Michaels immediately abandons his attempts to eliminate The Undertaker, with Michaels’ and Triple H’s eyes immediately locked on each other ...


Jim Ross: It’s time to play the game! He may be having his issues with Shawn Michaels right now, but tonight, it’s all about the chance to go to Wrestlemania. Nobody wants to win the Royal Rumble more than Triple H!

John Bradshaw Layfield: And look at Shawn Michaels. He’s staring a hole straight through ‘The Game’. We might be about to see these two go at it right now!

Spraying a jet of water into the air, Triple H steps through the ropes, still focused on Michaels. Nearby, Paul London connects on an inverted atomic drop to Charlie Haas, the force of this sending Haas towards Triple H... who grabs Haas... AND DUMPS HIM OUT OF THE RING!!

ELIMINATION #10 CHARLIE HAAS BY TRIPLE H @ 24.21

The crowd cheers as Triple H makes an instant impact, removing the first obstacle between himself and Michaels. Paul London charges, but it proves a foolish decision as ‘The Game’ hammers him with a clothesline. CM Punk also has a go, but Trips ducks an attempted clothesline, hitting a kick to the gut... PEDIGREE!! Triple H hammers Punk with the pedigree, with Punk staggering to his feet against the ropes... AND TRIPLE H CLOTHESLINES HIM TO THE FLOOR!!

ELIMINATION #11 CM PUNK BY TRIPLE H @ 24.45

A great effort from CM Punk which sees him last almost 25 minutes before he becomes the second victim of Triple H. The crowd is pumped as ‘The Game’ roars and flexes his muscles, with Mr. Kennedy now trying his luck... but he runs straight into a DOUBLE A SPINEBUSTER!! Kennedy is hammered to the mat, but before Kennedy can suffer any further damage, ‘The Game’ spots that Paul London has staggered to the ropes... LONDON IS CLOTHESLINED OVER THE TOP ROPE!!

ELIMINATION #12 PAUL LONDON BY TRIPLE H @ 25.12

‘The Game’ is cleaning house, eliminating three men in quick succession to leave six in the ring. With Lashley trying to rid the ring of MVP, Kennedy being choked out by Undertaker’s boot, Triple H and Shawn Michaels stand opposite each other, the crowd roaring for the two to meet. Slowly the two walk towards each other... and the fists start to fly! Weeks of frustration for both men suddenly release as the two former DX members trade right hands, the crowd not knowing which man to cheer for. Despite not being the fresher man, it’s Michaels who wins the brief encounter, rattling off three straight rights and then going for an Irish whip... but as ‘The Game’ approaches, Michaels ducks his head for a back body drop... Triple H counters with the facebreaker knee smash! Dazed, Michaels flails, and ‘The Game’ grabs him by the hair... AND THROWS MICHAELS OVER THE TOP ROPE... NO! Triple H walks away, thinking he’s just eliminated Michaels, but HBK somehow hangs on, and he completes his return to the ring by skinning the cat.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

”I SPIT IN DA’ FACE OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO BE COOL...

*COOL...*

ENTRANT #19: CARLITO @ 25.46


Carlito struts out with Torrie Wilson on his arm. Carlito smiles and nods to the crowd for the solid pop he received, before he accepts one last kiss from Torrie, rips off his t-shirt and takes one last bite of his apple before he jogs down to the ring...


Michael Cole: The young Caribbean superstar Carlito! A guy who’s had a difficult 2006 but now he’s aligned himself with Ric Flair, perhaps things are gonna start lookin’ up for Carlito now on Monday night.

Jerry Lawler: Did Torrie really have to leave? She coulda came and sat next to me if she wanted some company.

Carlito slides into the ring and is quickly on his feet as Kennedy moves towards him... but before Kennedy can attack, Carlito spits the pieces of apple in his eyes, blinding the Number One entrant. Swinging wildly with rights and lefts, Kennedy comes nowhere near hitting Carlito, and this gives ‘Lito the chance to throw KENNEDY OVER THE TOP ROPE... NO! Again Kennedy hangs on, clinging to the top rope and wrapping his legs around the bottom rope, stopping Carlito making a similar instant impact to that of Triple H. Thinking he’s just tossed out Kennedy, ‘Lito turns to the middle of the ring, sneaking up behind Triple H... BACKSTABBER! MVP is next in Carlito’s sights, as ‘Lito grabs MVP from behind and spins him around... BACKSTABBER! Despite two men already down, Carlito isn’t finished, as just as Michaels finishes his return to the ring... he too suffers a BACKSTABBER!

Having fought with Kennedy before he confronted Carlito, Undertaker now finds himself scrapping with Lashley in the corner, with ‘The Deadman’ landing big blows to the head. With bodies strewn around the ring, Carlito has his pick of who to target, and he wisely picks the longest entrant in the match, with ‘Lito working hard against the ropes to muscle Mr. Kennedy over. In the corner, Shawn Michaels has climbed to the second rope, hammering down on MVP with hard right hands. Michaels leaves himself open to elimination though, and soon Triple H charges... to PUSH MICHAELS OVER THE TOP ROPE... BUT AGAIN MICHAELS HANGS ON!! For the second time Triple H tries and fails to eliminate Shawn Michaels, with Michaels dangling a leg perilously close to the floor but managing to force himself back on the apron. Seeing Michaels has survived, instead of applying pressure to try force him to the floor, ‘The Game’ instead lets Michaels be, dragging MVP out of the corner and sending him across with an Irish whip... kick... PEDIGREE... NO! MVP counters with a back body drop, sending Triple H crashing to the mat.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*PAPPARAZZI...*

ENTRANT #20: JOEY MERCURY @ 27.19


A small amount of heat for Joey Mercury who races down to the ring not wasting any time to get involved...


Michael Cole: Here comes the man who for months now has been involved in a bitter rivalry with Matt Hardy, but hopefully we saw a little bit of closure in that feud last Friday night when Hardy beat Mercury in a first blood match.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Lemme’ just say, for the record, I was disgusted at what I saw last Friday night. Joey Mercury, a guy who suffered a horrific facial injury, who endured countless surgical procedures on his face, and he’s forced into a first blood match? That ain’t right. And I blame Teddy Long!

Michael Cole: I didn’t hear you complain when Mercury busted Hardy open two weeks in a row.

John Bradshaw Layfield: You ever say anythin’ like that to me again I’ll slap the hell out of you Michael!

Mercury wastes no time once he hits the ring, snapping right hands to ‘The Game’ that backs Triple H into the corner, but Trips soon returns fire, tossing Mercury to the corner to unload with shots to the midsection. Hunter then tries to force Mercury out, which causes Joey to wrap limbs around the ropes just seconds after he entered the match. Near the ropes, The Undertaker has been brought to his knees by the combination of Bobby Lashley and MVP, the two showing some nice teamwork by taking it in turns to hammer down on ‘The Deadman’ with stiff right hands. Taker is then pushed into the corner, with MVP and Lashley both grabbing a leg, trying to force Undertaker over the top rope. Taker manages to free himself by lashing out with wild kicks, and when he gets his feet back on the mat, he grabs both men’s heads to give Lashley and MVP a meeting of the minds.

Slumped in the corner, Mr. Kennedy gasps for air, once again catching rest while the others assault each other. Nearby, Carlito is dangling over the ropes, with Shawn Michaels trying hard to eliminate him. Once again Kennedy sees an opportunity to profit from the actions of others, as he finds a burst of energy and races towards Michaels and Carlito... AND PUSHES BOTH OF THEM OVER THE TOP ROPE... BUT THEY BOTH HANG ON! The crowd gasps as both men cling to the bottom rope, with Kennedy driving one boot into ‘Lito and the other into HBK in a desperate attempt to eliminate the pair. In their corner, Mercury has turned the tide on ‘The Game’, with Triple H hanging upside down, dangling perilously close to elimination, his foot being hooked under the top turnbuckle the only things that has him saved.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

"HEY!..."

*BURN IN MY LIGHT...*

ENTRANT #21: RANDY ORTON @ 28.52


A ton of heat welcome ‘The Legend Killer’ as he arrogantly struts out and saunters down the aisle, more than happy to let the damage in the ring accumulate before getting involved...


Jim Ross: He’s one half of the World Tag Team Champions, he’s a can’t miss prospect, and he’s lookin’ to return to the main event of Wrestlemania after challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 22. Entrant Number 21, Randy Orton.

Michael Cole: You talked about last year and the World Heavyweight Championship match, on so many occasions it looked like Randy Orton had the title won. Orton is on a mission to become champion again!

Jerry Lawler: That young man is my favourite to win it! I think tonight is gonna be Randy Orton’s night to shine!

Orton eventually slides into the ring, and he immediately grabs Triple H and spins him around... RKO! Orton strikes with instant impact, but he’s not done there, with The Undertaker walking towards him... Orton ducks a big right hand... RKO! The crowd pops for the suddenness of Orton’s attacks, but ‘The Legend Killer’ hasn’t finished yet, as he spins Shawn Michaels around... for a RKO!! In the middle of the ring, Carlito lays into Kennedy with right hands and kicks, and then he looks to send Kennedy to the corner... but Kennedy reverses the Irish whip, only for Carlito to leap to the second rope, going for a springboard crossbody... RKO! Orton flies to catch Carlito with a mid air RKO!! With Carlito now down, Kennedy looks to once again pick up a cheap elimination, as he drags Carlito to his feet... RKO!! Orton surprises Kennedy with the RKO, and Orton is dominating right now, so much so that he drags Kennedy to his feet... and LAUNCHES KENNEDY OVER THE TOP ROPE... BUT AGAIN KENNEDY HANGS ON!! Somehow, Kennedy continues to survive, pulling himself onto the apron.

Orton now turns back to the middle of the ring, seeing he has both Michaels and Triple H on their knees, with boots to ‘The Game’s’ midsection and right hands to Michaels. The same is true for Carlito and The Undertaker, with ‘The Deadman’ hammering ‘Lito down to the mat and then using his boot to choke ‘Lito. Bobby Lashley is close to elimination in one corner, as both MVP and Mercury team up to try force Lashley out, with the ECW Champion having to wrap his arms around the top rope, refusing to be eliminated. Orton continues to pound Triple H and Michaels, but ‘The Game’ fights back to his feet, teeing off with hard right hands, staggering Orton until Triple H goes for a clothesline... but Orton avoids the contact...and ‘The Game’ smashes Michaels... THROUGH THE ROPES THE FLOOR! The commentators play dumb, wondering if Michaels went over the top or not, but the replay clearly shows Michaels is not yet eliminated.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*VIRTUAL VOODOO...*

ENTRANT #22: UMAGA @ 30.04


Gasps ring out from the crowd as ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ steps out, snarling at every word from the nearby Armando Alejandro Estrada...


Jim Ross: Business has just picked up again! The monster who has dominated Raw in recent months, Umaga, has drawn a great number here.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Look at this guy. What a savage he is! Where the hell did Estrada find this guy? It’s a whole different ballgame now gentlemen.

Jerry Lawler: J.R., I changed my mind. That’s my favourite right there.

Having been knocked through the ropes, Shawn Michaels takes his time to recover, pacing on the outside... until Umaga sets his sights on him! Michaels, walking with his back to the Samoan, is grabbed by the shoulder and spun around... SAMOAN SPIKE!! Michaels is drilled with a Samoan Spike, and left writhing on the floor. Umaga then slams his hands on the steel steps and walks up them, many people in the ring unsuspecting of the threat stepping through the ropes.

In the ring, Umaga steps to the middle of the ring, waiting for someone to attack. Carlito is first to step up, as he runs towards Umaga... STRIAGHT INTO A SAMOAN DROP! ‘Lito cries out in pain, clutching at his ribs as he has the air driven out of him. Umaga roars, and he doesn’t have to wait long as Lashley attacks... only to be sent down with a headbutt! Mr. Kennedy has a go, but he too runs into a headbutt. Joey Mercury is next to have a go, as he tries to sneak up from behind... SAVATE KICK! Umaga damn near takes Mercury’s head off, and he easily scoops Mercury up and DUMPS HIM TO THE FLOOR!

ELIMINATION #13 JOEY MERCURY BY UMAGA @ 30.53

Umaga turns back to the ring, and he spots Carlito, his legs still rubber, staggering towards ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’... and CARLITO IS TOSSED OVER THE TOP ROPE!

ELIMINATION #14 CARLITO BY UMAGA @ 31.01

In the corner Randy Orton continues to hammer Triple H, with ‘The Game’ slumped, his head snapping against the middle turnbuckle with every punch that lands. Orton is unaware as Umaga grabs him from behind, spinning ‘The Legend Killer’ around... SAMOAN SPIKE! Orton is drilled, and once again Umaga steps to the middle of the ring, roaring at the crowd and then charging towards Triple H... SAMOAN WRECKING BALL!! ‘The Game’ slumps to the mat as Umaga has run roughshod over the entire field.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

”WOOOOO...”

*ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA...*

ENTRANT #23: RIC FLAIR @ 31.36


A huge ovation welcomes the legend that is Ric Flair. Flair confidently walks down the aisle, taking his robe off as he does. When Flair reaches the bottom of the aisle, he drops to a knee to check on the health of his friend Shawn Michaels, with HBK still suffering from the vicious assault he suffered at the hands of Umaga...


Michael Cole: The sixteen time World Heavyweight Champion! Can Ric Flair turn back the clock and get to main event of Wrestlemania one last time?

Jerry Lawler: He’s still stylin’ and profilin’! Ric Flair knows what it takes to win a Royal Rumble. He’s got a huge chance of goin’ to Wrestlemania.

John Bradshaw Layfield: If he’s gonna get there he’s gonna have to get past Umaga first. And I don’t see anybody doin’ that.

After checking on the status of Michaels, Flair steps up the steps and into the ring, where MVP goes to confront him... but a chop to the chest sends MVP down. Bobby Lashley has a go too, but he too runs straight into a chop that knocks him down. Kennedy is the third man to confront Flair, but Flair stings his chest with a series of knife edged chops, backing Kennedy to the corner. Flair then goes for an Irish whip, only for Kennedy to reverse it, with Flair hitting the corner hard. Flair steps out, and Kennedy is waiting to send him flying with a back body drop! Flair cries out as he hits the mat, but he can’t rest as Kennedy grabs him... and RUNS FLAIR TOWARDS THE ROPES... BUT FLAIR REVERSES... AND USES THE MOMENTUM... TO SEND KENNEDY FLYING OVER THE TOP ROPE TO THE FLOOR!!!!

ELIMINATION #15 MR. KENNEDY BY RIC FLAIR @ 32.14

After entering a Number 2, lasting over half an hour, surviving several elimination threats and eliminating four others, Mr. Kennedy is finally gone at the hands of ‘The Nature Boy’. After landing on the floor, Kennedy sits up, the camera focused on the stunned look on his face as he realises his guarantee of victory won’t be coming true.

In the ring, Flair is now on stinging Randy Orton’s chest with chops, while The Undertaker has the advantage over Umaga, as he hammers with rapid fire shots to the midsection. Taker then goes for an Irish whip, but Umaga reverses... and he catches Taker with a SWINGING SIDE SLAM! Undertaker is planted, but behind Umaga, Shawn Michaels has snuck back into the ring... SWEET CHIN MUSIC!! For the first time in the match Umaga is finally knocked down!

The camera then focuses on Mr. Kennedy, who slowly begin to trudge back towards the dressing rooms... but he stops, turns to the ring with a seriously pissed off look on his face... and THEN RACES BACK INTO THE RING! Kennedy slides under the bottom rope, and he immediately grabs Ric Flair, catching ‘Naitch’ by surprise... and TOSSES FLAIR OVER THE TOP ROPE!!

ELIMINATION #16 RIC FLAIR BY (AN ALREADY ELIMINATED) MR. KENNEDY @ 32.58

The crowd shits all over Kennedy’s actions, but he doesn’t give a damn as he destroys Flair on the outside with vicious right hands, then lays in with stiff kicks to the ribs. Referees scramble to pull Kennedy away, but he takes no notice, continuing to hammer Flair and then dragging Flair to his feet... and LAUNCHING HIM INTO THE TIMEKEEPER’S DESK!

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

”OH YEAH...”

*LIVE FOR THE MOMENT...*

ENTRANT #24: MATT HARDY @ 33.12


The cheers that welcomes Hardy is nowhere near the usual pop he receives on Smackdown as the crowd is still mesmerised by the actions of Kennedy...


Michael Cole: Well... here comes Matt Hardy, but there’s chaos goin’ on right next to us!

Jim Ross: We need some help out here! Where the hell are the damn officials? Somebody’s gotta get out here and stop this!

John Bradshaw Layfield: Have you seen the look in Kennedy’s eyes right now? There’s not a referee alive who would go near him right now.

The two officials assigned the match plead with Kennedy to stop, but he takes no notice, pounding the forehead with hard right hands. Eventually Kennedy relents, and the camera zooms in to see that Flair has been BUSTED OPEN. The blood streams out of Flair’s head, but Kennedy isn’t finished yet, as he grabs one of the chairs strewn on the floor... lines Flair up... hoists the chair high... AND DELIVERS A SICK CHAIR SHOT TO THE SKULL!! “For the love of God!” screams J.R., but Kennedy doesn’t give a damn, instead he slams the chair down, pulling Flair cheek to cheek with him, Flair’s blood staining the platinum blonde of both men. With the camera right on top of them, Kennedy holds the lifeless Flair’s head in his hands, shouting “This was my night! This... was MY... NIGHT!” before he finally drops Flair’s head to the floor. The refs cry for Kennedy to leave, and he finally agrees, slowly being led backstage, all the while his eyes fixated on the broken down legend he’s left behind.

In the ring, Hardy has made a positive start, rocking MVP with right hands, before ducking a swing from MVP... SIDE EFFECT! Randy Orton also goes for Hardy, but Matt sees him coming, hitting a kick to the midsection... TWIST OF FATE! Hardy nails Orton, and he now has Orton against the ropes, trying to muscle him out.

Michaels now pummels Umaga, trying to soften him up in the corner, but Umaga pushes him back. In an interesting moment, Triple H comes to Michaels’ aid, as he then takes up the fight in the corner, snapping at Umaga with hard right hands. Michaels returns to the corner, and now both he and Triple H are connecting with right hands, before they drag Umaga to the ropes and send him across... DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE! The former DX members work together once again, with both men stopping to stare at each other, releasing they briefly put their problems aside... but the moment doesn’t last as Undertaker smashes ‘The Game’ while Lashley clubs Michaels from behind.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*SLOW CHEMICAL...*

ENTRANT #25: KANE @ 34.40


The crowd gives a great pop for Kane who menacingly lumbers down to the ring, passing the now stretcher bound Ric Flair who is being wheeled up the aisle by EMT’s...


Michael Cole: We’re at Number 25! Here comes ‘The Big Red Machine’ Kane, the man who holds the record for the number of eliminations in a single Royal Rumble match!

Jerry Lawler: Is it just me or did it get awfully warm in here all of a sudden?

The ring clears, with one man stood in the middle of it... a furious looking MVP! After his actions on Friday night, MVP is dying to get his hands on Kane, but Kane is obviously feeling the same, as he snarls at MVP before rolling into the ring. MVP gets the jump on Kane, stomping down on him, but Kane soon battles to his feet, rocking MVP with thrusts to the throat, before he sends MVP off the ropes... into a TILT-A-WHIRL SLAM! The crowd cheers as Kane rises to his feet, his hand cocked in the air, waiting for MVP. Dazed and disorientated, MVP stumbles to his feet... AND KANE CLUTCHES HIM BY THE THROAT... AND FORCES MVP OVER THE TOP ROPE!!!

ELIMINATION #17 MONTEL VONTAVIOUS PORTER BY KANE @ 35.07

Kane gets a measure of revenge by eliminating MVP, and he now turns his attentions to Umaga, the man who beat him in a ‘Loser Leaves Raw’ match four months ago. Kane hammers Umaga with hard shots to the throat, then grabbing Umaga by the throat to choke him against the ropes. The remaining competitors pair off in the corners, with Michaels taking a beating from ‘The Deadman’, while Matt Hardy has Randy Orton dangling upside down, close to elimination. In another corner it’s a battle of the powerhouses, as Lashley and Triple H tee off on each other, neither man able to gain the advantage. Against the ropes, Kane has Umaga teetering, and realising he can’t eliminate Orton, Matt Hardy rushes over to lend his support. Triple H sees this, so he drills Lashley with one final right hand and goes over to add his muscle to the cause. Orton has regained his balance, so he too steps in, with four men trying to force Umaga over the top rope. With Estrada stood below, pleading for his monster to hang in there, as the four struggle to shift ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*SWEET AND SOUR...*

ENTRANT #26: TREVOR MURDOCH @ 36.08


Not much of a response for the second half of the Redneck Wrecking Crew as Trevor Murdoch jogs down to the ring, removing his trucker’s jacket and throwing his hat away on the way...


Jim Ross: Here comes Trevor Murdoch. This guy’s tougher than a two dollar steak. He can do some damage in there.

John Bradshaw Layfield: He better get in there quick and try help eliminated Umaga before the beast breaks free!

Instead of taking JBL’s advice, Murdoch gets into the ring and drags Matt Hardy away from the ruck of bodies, knocking Hardy down with a stiff right hand. Shawn Michaels clambers over, but he too is rocked with a big right, Michaels hitting the mat then crawling to the corner to try and recover. Murdoch then begins to hammer Bobby Lashley, with Murdoch driving Lashley to the corner, then hitting a series of shoulder thrusts before backing off and charging in with a big boot to the face.

By the ropes, Orton, Triple H and Kane continue to try force Umaga out, but ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ decides he’s had enough, and with a surge of power he sends all three men flying away from him. Kane is the first man back on his feet, and he fires a shot to Umaga’s throat, then chokes ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ against the ropes. Orton and Triple H both struggles to get back up, and when they do Orton beats ‘The Game’ to the punch, snapping off a right hand. Triple H tries to swing a fist in reply, but Orton ducks, dropping ‘The Game’ with the inverted backbreaker.

The Undertaker lumbers along the side of the ring until he’s meet by Umaga, who having already knocked Kane down with a headbutt now pummels ‘The Deadman’ against the ropes and tries to force ‘Taker out. In the corner, Trevor Murdoch now targets Shawn Michaels, with Murdoch hammering Michaels with kicks to the gut, each stomp forcing Michaels closer and closer to the mat until he’s grounded. In the opposite corner, Matt Hardy has Lashley spread across the top rope, with Lashley hooking legs and arms underneath to hang on, while nearby Randy Orton has Triple H hanging upside down, ‘The Game’ wrapping his legs around the top rope to survive.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*REALITY...*

ENTRANT #27: THE MIZ @ 37.43


A fair amount of heat for The Miz, who arrogantly walks down to the ring, Michelle McCool shouting advice in his ear all the way down the aisle...


Michael Cole: I think uh... I think we’ve lost the Raw announce team for the moment. Here comes The Miz, and JBL, I understand you’re the founding member of The Miz fan club?

John Bradshaw Layfield: I swear to God, you better shut your damn mouth Cole or you’ll wind up in a hospital bed next to Ric Flair.

Miz slides under the bottom rope and he immediately targets Matt Hardy, hammering Hardy with stinging right hands before he sends Hardy to the corner... and charges in for the swinging corner clothesline! Quickly Miz turns his attention to Kane, smashing Kane repeatedly with hard forearms to the face... until Kane grabs Miz by the throat and tosses him to the corner! Kane unloads with rapid fire lefts and rights to the midsection, before a massive uppercut rocks Miz up and then down to the mat.

In the corner, Orton and Trevor Murdoch team up to punish Shawn Michaels, the man who has been in the match the longest. Michaels is hammered down until he’s sat on the mat, with Orton then driving a boot into Michaels’ throat, choking him against the middle turnbuckle, while Murdoch continues to strike down with right hands.

Across the ring, Triple H and Lashley have started their slugfest once again, with Lashley trying to force Triple H over the top rope. ‘The Game’ wraps an arm around the top rope, while he wraps his other arm around Lashley’s thick neck, not allowing himself to be dumped out. Now back on his feet, Matt Hardy comes to the aid of Shawn Michaels, spinning Orton around, but before he can connect with any punches, Orton drives Hardy to the mat, mounting Matt to rain down on him with right hands. Orton soon stands up, and he waits for Hardy to rise... RKO... NO! Hardy pushes Orton off of him, but when Orton hits the ropes he hangs on, stopping the momentum. Hardy sees this and charges... ORTON ELEVATES HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE! But Hardy lands on the apron, and he ducks an Orton clothesline to drive his shoulder into the midsection, and now Hardy tries to pull Orton over the top rope too.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*NIGHTMARE...*

ENTRANT #28: THE SANDMAN @ 39.16


A decent pop for The Sandman, but as the camera focuses on the entrance way, Sandman is nowhere to be seen. The shot soon cuts to the crowd, where The Sandman is seen among a section of the audience, his kendo stick held high as he smashes a beer can off his head...


Jim Ross: Can you imagine if The Sandman goes on and wins the Royal Rumble? The luck of the draw’s been on his side, he could be one half of our main event at Wrestlemania 23.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Look at this idiot. It’s gonna be time for entrant Number 29 by the time this jackass makes it to the ring!

As Sandman makes his way through the arena to the ring, Orton and Matt continue to try force each other out, with both men now stood on the apron. With one hand griping the top rope, Matt hammers Orton with his free hand, ‘The Legend Killer’ slowly starting to sway. Matt continues to strike, trying to eliminated Orton, but somehow Orton hangs on. By now, The Sandman has made it to the arena floor, conveniently next to where Orton and Hardy are slugging it out. With his kendo stick still in his hands, Sandman sees Orton and Hardy... AND STARTS SWINGING WITH THE STICK!! Both men stop beating each other as Sandman furiously strikes them, with both Hardy and Orton diving into the ring to escape his wrath. Sandman goes to enter the ring, but before he does a referee demands that he releases his grip on the kendo stick, with Sandman begrudgingly letting go.

In the ring, Sandman rocks Orton with a right hand, and then he hammers the approaching Trevor Murdoch with a kick to the gut and a Russian legsweep. The “EEE – CEE – DUB! EEE – CEE – DUB!” chant soon breaks out, but it’s stopped in a second as Umaga smashes Sandman with the savate kick. Lashley continues to try eliminate Triple H, while Kane now has Shawn Michaels in a perilous spot with HBK desperately trying to hang on to the ropes while down on the mat. Realising he can’t eliminate HBK, Kane turns to the middle of the ring to see Miz and Trevor Murdoch both struggling to return to their feet. . Kane then waits for Miz and Murdoch to sit up, as he comes off the ropes to nail a double low angle dropkick! The pace off the match has slowed right down again, but the crowd rises in anticipation as the clock ticks down.

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

*THE MASTERPIECE...*

ENTRANT #29: CHRIS MASTERS @ 40.48


Heat for ‘The Masterpiece’ as he takes his time in entering the ring, standing at the top of the aisle while his pyro shower goes off, before he shakes loose his robe and jogs down to the ring...


Jim Ross: Well I’m pretty sure it was Jonathan Coachman who pulled a few strings to get Chris Masters a spot in the Rumble, and I can’t help but think he pulled a few more to help land Masters such a high number.

Jerry Lawler: J.R. will you stop it with these accusations please? You’re gonna get us in trouble one of these days. Unlike you, I need this job. We can’t all go home and sell barbeque sauce y’know.

When Masters finally does enter the ring, he targets Shawn Michaels, hammering Michaels from behind with hard shots to the small of the back. Spotting Triple H stood in a corner, he lays into ‘The Game’ with boots to the midsection, driving Triple H down to the mat. Masters then shows some aggression as he drives his knee into the face of ‘The Game’. Determined to keep the momentum going, Masters turns back to the ring, and he spots The Sandman stomping down on Trevor Murdoch. Sneaking up from behind, Masters spins Sandman around... AND CLOTHESLINES HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE!

ELIMINATION #18 THE SANDMAN BY CHRIS MASTERS @ 41.17

A brief appearance by The Sandman as Masters makes quick work of him. Masters now turns to see Kane driving his boot into Randy Orton’s throat up against the turnbuckle. Masters sneaks up from behind, and clubs Kane with a double axe handle, before dropping hard forearms to the small of the back that knock Kane down. A pair of rights land on Orton’s head, before Masters then turns to the opposite corner where Lashley and Hardy are trying to rid the ring of The Miz. Miz has both arms wrapped under the bottom rope, and he gets more help in his quest for survival as Masters drags Hardy to the centre of the ring, taking Hardy up and down with a sidewalk slam. Masters then drills Lashley from behind in the corner, aiming double axe handles to the neck, while he also has a few shots to the Miz.

Twenty nine have entered and twelve men remain, with Shawn Michaels currently the longest serving member of the match having entered at Number 11. The Undertaker and Bobby Lashley also both have a long service time having entered at Number 13 and Number 14 respectively, while it’s a long drop until we get to Randy Orton at Number 21. Matt Hardy at 24, Kane at 25, Murdoch at 26, Miz at 27 and Chris Masters at 29 complete the field, as the clock ticks down one last time, with everyone knowing just who is about to enter...

...
... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

... BUZZER ...

”YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME...”

*METALINGUS...*

ENTRANT #30: EDGE @ 42.21


As always there are cheers for the awesomeness of his entrance theme, but as soon as Edge steps out the cheers turn to huge heat as ‘The Rated-R Superstar’ makes his entrance...


Jim Ross: The luckiest man in San Antonio! Edge is in a great spot to go on and win the Royal Rumble!

John Bradshaw Layfield: But remember this, nobody has entered the Royal Rumble at Number 30 and went on to win. It’s never happened before!

Michael Cole: But could tonight be the night? Could Edge make history here tonight?

As soon as he slides into the ring, Edge crouches, coiled waiting to strike. The impressive Chris Masters is the first man to turn... SPEAR! Edge drills Masters with the spear, and again he crouches, waiting for another chance to strike. Trevor Murdoch ambles towards the centre of the ring... SPEAR!! Edge delivers another spear, and now he crouches in the corner, waiting for more victims to attack. Seeing Shawn Michaels in the corner, Edge has his next victim in his sights, with ‘The Rated-R Superstar’ clawing at his hair, working himself into a frenzy before he attacks... SPEAR... NO! Michaels avoids the contact, seeing Edge spear the middle turnbuckle, before he staggers towards Michaels... SWEET CHIN MUSIC! The arena erupts as Michaels connects on Edge... only for KANE TO HAMMER MICHAELS WITH A BOOT TO THE FACE!

Kane briefly stands over HBK, but he’s soon hammered by Randy Orton, who drives Kane to the ropes. Orton tries to muscle out Kane, but it’s no use as ‘The Big Red Machine’ hangs in there. Soon The Miz joins the effort, but Kane continues to hang in there. Matt Hardy slugs right hands at The Undertaker, trying to back ‘The Deadman’ to the ropes, but ‘Taker stands his ground, firing back with rights of his own. Hardy then aims a kick to the midsection, socking ‘The Phenom’ with yet another right hand before finally backing Taker to the ropes for an Irish whip... but ‘The Deadman’ reverses, and he waits for Hardy to return... and swings with a clothesline... but Hardy ducks underneath, catching Undertaker with a kick to the gut as he turns... TWIST OF FATE!! Hardy nails the legendary Undertaker, and he jumps to his feet to roar to the pop of the crowd... until he’s HAMMERED BY UMAGA! Unable to bask in his glory, Hardy is smashed as Umaga runs right through him, sending Hardy flying to the mat near the corner.

In the corner, Edge rubs his jaw, shaking his head to try and wake up a bit after being rocked by Michaels. HBK is the subject of a Chris Masters and Trevor Murdoch double team, as the pair take it in turns to beat down on Michaels.

Deciding they’ve done enough damage to HBK, the Masters and Murdoch combination now turn their attentions to Bobby Lashley, with Masters clubbing Lashley from behind while Murdoch swings his fists into Lashley’s ribs. His back in pain, Lashley grabs at it as Masters and Murdoch back him to the ropes, both men propelling Lashley off the ropes with an Irish whip... but Lashley ducks underneath their double clothesline... and comes back off the ropes... FLYING DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE! Lashley takes both men down, and now he grabs Trevor Murdoch and runs him to the ropes... TO THROW MURODCH OVER THE TOP ROPE!!

ELIMINATION #19 TREVOR MURODCH BY BOBBY LASHLEY @ 44.42

The crowd pops as Lashley eliminates Murdoch, but the ECW Champion slumps to the mat, clearly suffering the effects of the match. Lashley now tries to rest up, but he’s given no time to do so, as Masters viciously assaults him, raining down with a frenzy of left and right hands. Standing to face the crowd, Masters roars at them, drawing some more heat, before he stands behind Lashley, waiting for him to rise. Still suffering, Lashley takes an age to rise to his feet, grabbing at his ribs, wincing in pain... but here comes Masters... MASTERLOCK! Masters locks in The Masterlock, and he viciously wrenches Lashley around... SWEET CHIN MUSIC! Lashley ducks at the last second, and Michaels catches Masters square on the chin, breaking The Masterlock... and SENDING MASTERS OVER THE TOP ROPE TO THE FLOOR!!

ELIMINATION #20 CHRIS MASTERS BY SHAWN MICHAELS @ 45.29

The crowd pops for the unique elimination of Masters, who hits the floor hard and stays laid out. Much like Lashley, Michaels is feeling the effects of being in there so long, and both men visibly display their tiredness by slumping to the mat. Edge is finally back on his feet now, and he communicates to his fellow World Tag Team Champion and Rated-RKO member Randy Orton that now is the time for the two of them to work together. With Edge directing traffic, he points Orton is the direction of the slumped in the corner Triple H, while Edge turns towards the dazed Matt Hardy. Orton drops vicious boots to the chest of ‘The Game’, while across the ring Edge hammers Hardy with big right hands. With four men down and the tag champs the only two men standing, Edge tells Orton to drag Triple H to his feet as ‘The Rated-R Superstar’ retreats to the corner. The crowd realises what’s going on, and the buzz of anticipation soon rings out as Edge crouches, waiting for Orton to deliver. Slowly Orton helps ‘The Game’ to his feet, and after an uppercut against the turnbuckle, Orton goes for an Irish whip... and HERE COMES EDGE... RUNNING CLOTHESLINE FROM TRIPLE H! The crowd explodes as ‘The Game’ turns Edge inside out, and now he turns to the onrushing Orton... DOUBLE A SPINEBUSTER! Triple H plants ‘The Legend Killer’ and he’s quickly on his feet for the incoming Matt Hardy... KICK... PEDIGREE!!! Hardy tastes the pedigree, but Triple H isn’t done as he calls “Cmon!” at Lashley, who slowly uses the ropes to return to his feet... CLOTHESLINE OVER THE TOP ROPE... NO! Lashley hangs on, landing on the apron! Quickly realising he’s not quite eliminated Lashley, Triple H turns back towards the ropes to try again... but he’s quickly spun around by Randy Orton... RKO!!

The crowd gasps as Orton nails ‘The Game’, killing the momentum Triple H had built. Once again Edge and Orton are in the dominant position, as they see nothing but bodies strewn across the mat, except for Umaga, who is pummelling poor Miz. Deciding they want no part of ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’, Edge and Orton instead look towards The Undertaker, with ‘The Deadman’ using the ropes to drag himself to his feet. Cautiously the Rated-R duo approach, peppering The Phenom’ with well placed punches. Edge and Orton continue to attack, but suddenly there’s a roar from the crowd... as KANE SITS UP! Almost as if he sensed his brother was in trouble, Kane rises and stalks Edge and Orton from behind, spinning Orton around for a hard shot to the throat. Edge suffers the same treatment, as soon he’s been sent off the ropes... into a TILT-A-WHIRL POWERSLAM! Orton is back on his feet, but The Undertaker is waiting, smacking Orton with kicks to the midsection before Orton too is sent for the ride... BIG BOOT TO THE FACE!

The Brothers of Destruction make their presence felt, and soon Miz is in their sights, as he stumbles to his feet in the middle of the ring... straight into the grasp of ‘The Deadman’! Undertaker scoops Miz up... TOMBSTONE!! Miz is planted with the tombstone, and Kane quickly drags him to his feet... and TOSSES MIZ OVER THE TOP ROPE!!

ELIMINATION #21 THE MIZ BY KANE @ 48.14

Miz crashes to the floor with a thud, while in the ring Kane and Taker stand tall, the crowd loving seeing them working together. Against the ropes, Umaga is in a bad place as Shawn Michaels and Matt Hardy have him against the ropes, trying to force Umaga over the top rope. Estrada is there, pleading for his monster to hang on in there, but the situation worsens for ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ as Bobby Lashley joins the duo in trying to eliminate Umaga. Triple H, who had been resting in a corner sees this as a huge chance to eliminate one of the favourites, so he too joins the posse, lending their weight to try and force Umaga out, but Umaga holds firm despite the presence of the other four men.

Kane and Undertaker now spot that Randy Orton and Edge are staggering to their feet, the two Rated-R members huddled close together, leaning on each other for support. A look of fear crosses both faces of the World Tag Team Champions, as they realise that The Brothers of Destruction are stood waiting for them. Hemmed in against the ropes with nowhere to run, Edge and Orton cling to each other in fear, while that sick bastard Kane can only laugh. Edge stares intently at the two, before the camera catches him taking a big gulp... as UNDERTAKER DRAWS A THUMB ACROSS HIS THROAT! The crowd pops as Kane and Taker make their move... only for Edge to shove Orton forward... straight into a big right hand from Kane! Edge tries to attack, but he just runs into a massive right from ‘The Deadman’. Orton is quickly dragged to his feet, where Kane whips him into Undertaker... WHO SNATCHES ORTON BY THE THROAT! The crowd pops, and it only gets louder... AS KANE GRABS ORTON BY THE THROAT TOO!! Orton’s eyes look like they’re about to explode out of his head, with ‘The Legend Killer’ screaming at Edge for help. Edge is still down, and soon ORTON IS LIFTED UP INTO THE AIR! Kane and Undertaker hold him in the air just long enough for Edge to get back on his feet... AND DECIDE NOT TO HELP ORTON! Edge brushes Orton off, deciding not to help his partner, feeling he’s a lost cause. A stunned look on his face, the camera audibly hears ‘The Legend Killer’ shout “OH SHIT!” as he knows his fate is sealed... as Orton is SENT FLYING OVER THE TOP ROPE!!

ELIMINATION #22 RANDY ORTON BY KANE AND THE UNDERTAKER @ 50.07

Edge, doesn’t give a damn, slumping down into the corner to try recover as his fellow World Tag Team Champion lies motionless on the outside. Attention now returns to the ropes as Umaga is closer and closer to being eliminated. Michaels, Hardy, Lashley and Triple H continue to strive to force Umaga out, but somehow Umaga manages to hang in there. Still the big man teeters across the top rope, inching closer and closer to elimination... and soon Kane and Undertaker lend their support! They hit the pile with momentum, and the added weight and force of BOTH Brothers of Destruction sees Umaga... slowly... ever so slowly... inch by inch... TEETER OVER THE TOP ROPE AND CRASH TO THE FLOOR!!!

ELIMINATION #23 UMAGA BY SHAWN MICHAELS, MATT HARDY, BOBBY LASHLEY, TRIPLE H, KANE AND THE UNDERTAKER @ 50.43

It takes SEVEN superstars but Umaga has finally been eliminated. The seven all stand near the ropes, taking a moment to relax, but that all changes as Edge springs to life, racing into the scrum and from behind he DUMPS BOBBY LASHLEY OVER THE TOP ROPE!!

ELIMINATION #24 BOBBY LASHLEY BY EDGE @ 50.56

The crowd is stunned as Edge, ‘The Ultimate Opportunist’ sneaks up from behind and eliminates the ECW Champion! Lashley slams his hand off the apron, furious at the manner of his elimination. Lashley turns and aggressively kicks the steel steps in frustration, before he sees Umaga stood nearby. Estrada tries to lead his monster away, but Umaga is having none of it, as he and Lashley square up... AND THE FISTS START TO FLY! Out of sheer frustration Lashley picks a fight with ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’, with both men swinging wildly at each other, but due to the sheer size, strength and dominance of both men, neither can gain an advantage is soon becomes a brawl up the aisle, as referees and officials race down to try separate the two monsters. Slowly they manage to stop the fight, leading Lashley up the ramp first. A group of officials try to calm down Umaga, but ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ simply bursts past them , grabbing Lashley from behind... SAMOAN SPIKE! Umaga hammers Lashley, and soon he stands over the fallen ECW Champion until Estrada can finally lead his savage away.

Back to the ring, and with six men left, the only heel left in the match, Edge, is now a huge target. As he stares up the aisle, smiling at the mayhem he’s caused for Lashley, Edge doesn’t notice the fact that the other five men in the ring have slowly moved into position to circle. Turning, Edge quickly gets the message that he doesn’t have any friends in the ring. Nervously glancing from man to man, Edge knows he’s in a world of trouble... SO HE DROPS AND SLIDES UNDER THE BOTTOM ROPE! The crowd shits all over Edge’s tactics, with ‘The Rated-R Superstar’ not giving a damn, smiling and tapping the side of his head in a show of intelligence. In the ring, the other five all exchanging glances, before soon the brawl begins, with Michaels and Undertaker now trading blows while Kane, Triple H and Hardy turns into a three man melee. This is the opportunity Edge needs as he now slides back into the ring and clubs Kane from behind.

Edge nails Kane with repeated forearms to the back, but soon Kane is returning fire, backing Edge to the ropes with hard shots to throat. Kane then goes for an Irish whip, but Edge reverses to send Kane for the ride. Edge lowers his head for a back body drop, but Kane spots it in time, hitting a kick to the chest that snaps Edge’s head up. Kane then goes for a kick to the gut, but Edge catches the boot, smiling, knowing he has Kane in trouble... until Kane hits an enzuigiri! The crowd pops as Kane hits a rarely seen move from him. Edge lays face down on the mat, breathing hard while Kane is back on his feet, his hand cocked in the air once again. Slowly Edge gets to both knees, using the ropes to help aid his return to his feet. Edge then turns and stumbles towards Kane... WHO GRABS EDGE BY THE THROAT... NO! Edge kicks the gut out of desperation, staggering towards the ropes. This prompts Kane to attack... WITH A BIG BOOT... BUT EDGE DUCKS! Kane crotches himself on the top rope, and soon Edge is coming off the opposite ropes to attack... AND SPEAR KANE OFF THE APRON!!

ELIMINATION #25 KANE BY EDGE @ 52.41

Big time boos for Kane’s elimination, with ‘The Big Red Machine’ clutching his leg in pain on the floor. Edge props himself up against the middle rope, smiling at Kane as he’s just eliminated a second monster from the ring. Edge then looks at the other four men in the ring, and with Undertaker and Triple H hammering each other in one corner, Edge heads for the opposite turnbuckle to assist Matt Hardy as he tries to force Shawn Michaels out.

Michaels manages to turn the tide on Hardy though, snapping him back with chops, and he’s ready to deliver the same to Edge as he approaches. Edge goes down, but here comes Hardy charging out of the corner... straight into a back body drop! Michaels turns back to Edge, but Edge strikes first with a series of right hands, before he sends Michaels off the ropes... Michaels ducks a clothesline... and connects with THE FLYING FOREARM! Michaels takes down Edge, and he kips up, much to the delight of the crowd. Now Michaels readies himself, tuning up the band, waiting for Edge to rise... SWEET CHIN MUSIC... BUT EDGE DIVES TO SAFETY... AND MATT HARDY TAKES IT SQUARE ON THE CHIN!! Michaels looks stunned as he connects with Matt, but there’s no time to show remorse as Edge takes him down from behind with a chop block, before he grabs the lifeless Matt Hardy... AND HURLS HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE TO THE FLOOR!!

ELIMINATION #26 MATT HARDY BY EDGE @ 53.56

Tons of heat for the Hardy elimination, with a great effort from Matt landing him in the final five, clearly the best Royal Rumble performance of his career. Edge smiles at the fallen Hardy, but when he turns back to the ring, each member of the final four stands in a separate corner. Each man glances at each other, the difference in emotions on their faces profound. After entering over 40 minutes ago, Shawn Michaels now adds the pain in his knee from Edge’s chop block to the fatigue he’s feeling. Triple H slumps against the top turnbuckle, breathing hard, yet still a confident look on his face. The Undertaker as always gives little away, while Edge claws at his hair, the fresh man dying to get his hands on someone. The crowd buzzes with anticipation, they too desperate to see the action restart.

It’s Edge who blinks first, as he goes after Shawn Michaels, who can barely move from his corner. Edge cracks Michaels with a pair of rights, but he’s soon dragged away from Michaels by Triple H. Undertaker takes over the attack on HBK, but ‘The Game’ now looks to go to work on Edge, sending crashing to the corner with a hard Irish whip and then charging in for a corner clothesline... but Edge dodges the attack, letting Triple H smash against the turnbuckle. Instantly Edge starts running springing off the far away, building up a head of steam... SPEAR! EDGE NAILS TRIPLE H WITH A SPEAR!! The Undertaker hears the roar of the crowd and turns to the middle of the ring... SPEAR! SPEAR TO THE UNDERTAKER!! The crowd is going nuts, and now Edge crouches in the corner, working himself and the arena into a frenzy, slapping himself in the face, yanking at his hair, pleading, begging Shawn Michaels to step out of the corner... which slowly he does... and here comes Edge... SPEAR... NO!!

Michaels dives to safety, leaving Edge to connect with the middle turnbuckle! Once again Edge fails to connect the spear on HBK, and is history about to repeat itself as Edge stumbles from the corner... SWEET CHIN MUSIC... NO!! Edge ducks underneath, and he grabs Michaels by the hair... AND LAUNCHES MICHAELS OVER THE TOP ROPE... BUT MICHAELS HANGS ON! Michaels somehow maintains a grip on the top rope, trying to skin the cat, and when he does... he gets Edge in a headscissors! Michaels tries to drag Edge over the top rope, but Edge valiantly hangs in there. Triple H is back on his feet, and he sees the situation, and now he comes off the ropes, LOOKING TO ELIMINATE EDGE... BUT EDGE FREES HIMSELF OF MICHAELS’ GRIP AND DIVES FOR SAFETY... TRIPLE H HITS THE ROPES... AND ELIMINATES SHAWN MICHAELS!!!

ELIMINATION #27 SHAWN MICHAELS BY TRIPLE H @ 56.23

The crowd gasps as in a reversal of last Monday night, Triple H eliminates Shawn Michaels... but surely he didn’t mean it? There’s little chance for ‘The Game’ to feel remorseful though, as Edge quickly clubs him from the side, knocking Triple H down to the mat. With The Undertaker still suffering the effects of Edge’s spear, ‘The Rated-R Superstar’ now looks to take control, mounting Triple H to rain down on him with rapid right hands.

The heat for Edge right now is damn near off the charts as the audience shits on the fact that he’s in control so close to the end of the match. One more time, Edge crouches in the corner, waiting for his moment to strike. ‘The Game’ clutches at the top rope, hauling himself off the mat, with Edge going crazy, dying to attack. Triple H slowly turns around... and here comes Edge... SPEAR... NO! TRIPLE H COUNTERS WITH A DOUBLE A SPINEBUSTER! The arena explodes as ‘The Game’ plants Edge, but there’s no bursting back to his feet this time as the effects of the match take their toll.

With all three men briefly down, the buzz of anticipation is again heard as Triple H and The Undertaker make an almost triumphant return to their feet, each man stood against the turnbuckle in his corner. Slowly ‘The Game’ paces towards ‘The Phenom’, the roar of the crowd increasing with every step they take. Soon the two men are nose to nose, Triple H throwing trash talk. The noise from the crowd continues to rise, as they can’t wait to see both men take the fight to each other. More words from ‘The Game’, but ‘The Deadman’ isn’t fazed, until he decides he’s ehard enough... AND DRAWS A THUMB ACROSS HIS THROAT! The crowd gives a huge pop, but Triple H shows no fear, staying nose to nose with Taker... until Triple H steps back... AND GIVES UNDERTAKER THE DX CHOP! Drawing perhaps the biggest pop of the night, ‘The Game’ lays down the challenge to Taker... and it’s on! ‘The Deadman’ swings with a hard right, only for Triple H to fire straight back with interest. The crowd “Ooohs” with every punch as a slow slugfest ensues, with eventually ‘The Game’ gaining the upperhand, connecting on three straight right hands that backs Undertaker to the ropes. Triple H then goes for an Irish whip, but Taker reverses... and Triple H ducks underneath his clothesline attempt, with ‘The Game’ still running... for a RUNNING HIGH KNEE STRIKE!!

‘The Phenom’ goes down, but he’s soon back up again, only for Triple H to catch him with the facebreaker knee smash. Taker staggers away, swinging wildly and stumbling around the ring, while ‘The Game’ looks poised to strike... kick to the gut... PEDIGREE... NO! Taker counters with a back body drop! A mixture of cheers and boos from the crowd, with half of them wanting to see the pedigree while the other half cheered for Undertaker’s counter.

With ‘The Game’ crashing to the mat, ‘The Deadman’ briefly drops to one knee before standing tall, waiting for Triple H to rise. Feeling the effects of the effort he’s shown tonight, Triple H is slow to return to a vertical base, but he does manage, with Taker waiting for him... to scoop him up on his shoulder... AND TRY TO FORCE THE GAME OVER THE TOP ROPE!! Desperately, Triple H grabs the top rope while still on Undertaker’s shoulder, trying to force himself away from the ropes. ‘The Phenom’ continues to push, but ‘The Game’ shows unbelievable strength to somehow keep himself in the ring. Undertaker continues to press, even going as far as to pull Triple H into the middle of the ring, hoping to break ‘The Game’s’ grip on the top rope. Finally Undertaker pulls hard enough that Triple H let’s go off the top rope, and again he looks to eliminate Triple H... but ‘The Game’ drops to his feet behind ‘The Deadman’... and USES THE MOMENTUM TO PUSH UNDERTAKER OVER THE TOP ROPE... BUT TAKER GRABS HOLD OF THE TOP ROPE... AND GRABS HOLD OF TRIPLE H... AND PULLS TRIPLE H OVER THE TOP ROPE... WITH TAKER LANDING ON THE APRON... WHILE THE GAME CRASHES TO THE FLOOR!!!!

ELIMINATION #28 TRIPLE H BY THE UNDERTAKER @ 59.58

TRIPLE H HAS BEEN ELIMINATED! The crowd erupts as ‘The Deadman’ pulls ‘The Game’ over the top rope, but Taker is still PERCHED ON THE APRON... AND HERE COMES ‘THE ULTIMATE OPPORTUNIST’... TO SPEAR THE UNDERTAKER TO THE FLOOR!!!!

ELIMINATION #29: THE UNDERTAKER BY EDGE @ 60:04

Winner: And earning an automatic title shot at EITHER brand’s Champion at Wrestlemania XXIII: Edge @ 60:04

Edge immediately collapses to the mat, slamming his fists off the canvas in a fit of jubilation. Still not quite able to believe he's won, Edge grabs at his hair and slaps himself in the face, almost trying to make sure this moment is real...

Michael Cole: EDGE! EDGE!! EDGE HAS DONE IT! He entered at Number 30, and now Edge is goin' to Wrestlemania!

Jerry Lawler: Unbelievable! Edge has just become the first man to enter the Royal Rumble at Number 30 and go on to win the Royal Rumble!

Jim Ross: Yeah but what about Triple H? What abput The Undertaker? They were so damn close to winnin' and-

John Bradshaw Layfield: (Interrupting) None o' that matters right now! All that matters is that Edge now has his choice. Will it be the WWE or the World Heavyweight Championship Edge challenges for? Wrestlemania is about to go Rated-R!

Edge climbs to the second rope, holding his arms high in victory, not giving a damn about the boos raining down from the crowd. Triumphant in victory, Edge soaks it all in, and the final image of the broadcast is that of Edge staring up at the rafters, pointing to the banner that reads "Wrestlemania XXIII" all the while a crazed look in his eyes as we fade... to... black.

*End Show*


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