Okay, lets go. Excellent opening video. Possibly the best I’ve read from you. Very nice, and sets the tone, also working in that Roman Gladiator theme.
Heck of a match to start proceedings. Given the history behind this one, it’s certainly a big match to kick the show off.
United States Championship
Mr. Kennedy (c) vs. Matt Hardy
Fairly slow opening, with Kennedy taking charge early, fending off his challengers offence, but Hardy early on, shows he will not die. His fighting spirit makes this a really back and forth exchange, and using the moonsault was cool. LOL at the old school eye poke. Kennedy steals Ortons punt kick, but only gets a two. Hardy definitely pulling out all the high flying stunts, with a cross body plancha too. Really liking the fire you’ve got in Hardy here. Makes for a more emotional type of match, rather than just another opener. Sudden DDT from Kennedy came unexpectedly, and turns the match on it’s head again. But Hardy coming back quickly, with a missile dropkick puts it back in his favour. Leg Drop doesn’t do it, and that appears to go against Hardy, as Kennedy gets back in charge with the Twist of Fate not paying off for Hardy here. Excellent use of the face wash, a simple move I love to see J. Kennedy stays in control, but the superplex has both men in trouble. Would’ve been funny had Kennedy finished the match with Matt’s brothers finisher, lol. As it turns out, he misses, and it allows Hardy a chance to fight back, but why didn’t he go for a cover on the Side Effect?? Kennedy plays the old rope a dope, and ends up rolling Hardy up for two. To be honest, I think there have been a few instances were both men have recovered from an impact move a little quickly. (Hardy after the snap DDT earlier, and Kennedy after the side effect. Both moves should’ve led to a prolonged beating for at least a slightly longer period). Nice finish, countering the Mic Check, then catching Kennedy with the Twist of Fate, crowning a new champion. Personally, I’d have liked to have seen Kennedy enjoy a period of time in the match in firm control, to set up a big Hardy comeback, but none of his periods in charge lasted long enough to really justify a big comeback from Hardy. I would’ve thought after that early Snap DDT, Kennedy would’ve picked Hardy apart for a while, before a stirring comeback. Strong opener though.
The Cryme Tyme thing was okay for what it was. Decent little idea for a skit, and a change on the usual Royal Rumble backstage things in recent years when Rumble participants collide when picking balls.
World Tag Team Championships
Ric Flair and Charlie Haas (c’s) vs. Shelton Benjamin and Elijah Burke
You know who needs to win this match, don’t you?? Glad to see you playing on the old Benjamin / Haas partnership early on, cancelling each other out, from knowing all about the other. Burke impresses, before brining Benjamin back in quickly, and yes indeedy, the corner power bomb works for me J. The quick tags from the heel challengers is sweet, showing they’ve got a strong gameplan, and seem to be gelling rather quickly. Maybe I remember it wrong, but shouldn’t Haas have been holding Benjamins leg for Shelton to hit the Dragon Whip? Haas finally makes it to Flair, and the Naitch rolls into action. But that doesn’t last long, and the challengers are back in full swing quickly, REALLY dominating this match, although Flair does manage to get a tag back out to Haas. Couple of neat reversals between Haas and Burke, but it’s the challengers dominating again. Hat Trick of Germans for Haas, before Flair accidentally becomes legal - I’m afraid to say I have no idea what a leaping spike reverse STO is, but it certainly sounds good. Flair gets attacked on the outside by Burke, and takes a further DDT in the ring, with Burke coming back in, the punishment continues. Haas even has to take more punishment screwing up a German on the apron. Whoa, almost thought Flair would steal that one, but Burke made it to the ropes. Haas and Benjamin brawling distracts the Naitch, and the Elijah Experience ends the match, and CROWNS NEW CHAMPIONS!!! Yee-haw!!! Not really a conventional tag match, with no big hot tag, but I actually like that, because it’s good to have a change of pace. Really pleased to see new champions crowned my man, although I expected Haas to take the fall and not the legendary Naitch. I’ll not complain, because I’ve treated Flair pretty much the same, but most people would like to see Flair used a little better than a tag teamer at this point.
Filler interview with Orton, just heading into the title match.
Randy Orton (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
A little irked that Orton didn’t seem to show fear of the Originals at ringside, or acknowledge them in the early going, especially if you’re wanting to get them over as an equal force. Orton gets the upper hand early, which is a surprise, as I’d have expected Van Dam to have the momentum, with the ECW guys behind him, and the added fact he would be hungry for revenge after the RKO on a chair from Raw. Smell the ratings - CHINLOCK~! That’s what I hate about Orton. Shitty borelocks, when they aren’t needed. Thankfully it was short, with Van Dam fighting back into it, but the control quickly swings back in the champions favour with the perfect dropkick for a two count. And rightfully, with the action on the outside, Van Dam is back in charge. I’ve counted three thumb taunts already. Overkill. RVD takes it to the outside, but this time, Orton dodges a high spot, and the match swings back to him again. Sandman gets bitched out by Orton, and doesn’t do anything in response in case he gets in trouble. Little lame for an extremist imo. Really love the back/neck breaker Orton does. Should probably finish more matches against lesser opponents, it’s that good. Just as I thought Orton might go through a period of dominance, RVD comes back right and quick, blocking a superplex, and responding with a moonsault for a near fall. Monkey Flip could lead to something … but it doesn’t. ‘Van Dam tried throwing Orton out of the ring but instead it was Orton who took advantage by picking Van Dam up and placing him on the ropes.’. That sounded really awkward, like something out of a wrestling game, rather than real life. Not sure I’d agree with the comment that RVD has taken a hell of a beating. It’s been even steven to me thus far. Elevated DDT nearly gets it done, but RVD smartly gets a foot on the rope saving the match. Second cover doesn’t get it done, and neither does the sick punt kick. Another foot on the rope saves Van Dam. RVD starts to get desperate, and it’s good to see him selling the kick for a while, before Rolling Thunder firmly puts the challenger in the driving seat, but that would never be enough to deliver the title for him. Another near fall for Van Dam … before MISSING the 5 Star!!! Close but no cigar for the challenger, but the match aint done yet, with Van Dam kicking out just in time. Orton though, makes trouble for himself, forcing a distraction for the referee, allowing Sandman to interfere, but screws it up big time, taking Van Dam out instead. Orton with an RKO on Sandman, and one for luck on Van Dam, ending this one, and Orton retains the title. Got a few problems with this. Mainly, ECW not looking on an equal par to the main roster. Firstly Orton no sells their presence at ringside, then bitch slaps Sandman, with no comeback, then Sandman gets an opportunity to get revenge, but screws it up, hitting his own man. Just made to look really weak imo. This is the type of thing I’d expect the WWE to do with ECW, but I know you want to make your ECW work - this certainly isn’t the way to establish credibility. After the match even, you could’ve had Orton get on the mic, and run down ECW, which could’ve led to the Originals storming the ring and beat the crap out of him.
Excellent little WM VP.
Another so-so backstage segment between Orton and Edge. Just cant see Edge living up to his end of the bargain to keep Angle from not quitting.
I Quit Match
Edge (c) vs. Kurt Angle
Rightfully, this title match goes on second. Slow opening, but nice to see continuity with Edge going to the shoulder. Into the crowd early on too, nasty fall down the cold hard stairs for Edge. Very nasty tumble. Backstage now, and a German suplex through a table. Ouch. Angle is definitely the aggressor in this one. To me, applying the body scissors backstage seems a little silly. Maybe it’s just me. All the way to the outside of the arena momentarily, and Edge slams Angle onto the windscreen. Seemed to get back into the main arena awfully quickly, after all the time they took to get to the outside. Finally, it’s back inside the ring, after some brutal moments on the way back. Old School Angle with the Chicken wing. Little surprised he just ‘let it go’, but I can understand. Time for weapons then, and OUCH - 2x4 cracks off Edges skull. Hardcore Angle with the German into the trash can. Still no signs of quitting from Edge, as Angle really decides to turn it up a notch, with a table and a chair coming into play. Desperation drop toe hold from Edge into the chair, fuck me, ONE MAN CON-CHAIR-TO!!! Angle should be spark out at this point. Awesome counter from Angle, sending Edge from one table through another!!! Both men are down, and need time to recuperate at this point. Holy Shit. Angle IS hardcore, blasting the living shit out of Edge with the pipe. Just as it looks like Angle could be on the verge of victory, in come Burchill to wreck the party. Would be really shitty if Angle quit because of a move from Burchill. Also, The Ripper > British Nightmare. Drop that and call him the ripper please J. We’ve seen a table and chair and now A LADDER!!! Edge makes this ‘HIS’ match with that, and we get some sick ladder shots on Kurt. Comedy ladder spot though, with Angle kicking Burchill into the ladder, and Edge goes flying. © Laurel & Hardy. Burchill is out of the equation for now. Credit to Edge for showing bottle, not quitting to the Ankle Lock, despite the added pressure of the ladder involved. Ankle Lock is released, and not sold for too long with Edge delivering a sickening DDT onto the ladder. Nice tease for the table spot, with Angle dodging the spear, but Edge stopping before impact, then getting nailed through it. Lovely stuff. Looks as though Angle has this won, after ridding the ring of Burchill again, but this time, Edge takes him, and then applies a sick shoulder submission on the ladder. Then, it’s a re-hash of the Royal Rumble ‘99 I Quit match, with the recording playing, although credit where it’s due, this one seemed more plausible. Having said that, I was expecting something completely innovative for the finish, which you had highly touted going into the event. Slightly disappointing finish for me, and surely this gives Angle a perfect opportunity to ask for a rematch. He certainly has genuine grounds for it.
Segment with Coach and JBL was decent, but rather peculiar. Talking about something for No Way Out, then JBL makes his excuses to leave. Does this mean anything, or was it just filler??
Royal Rumble time BAY-BAY!!! J.R & Tazz calling it is the right thing, so you’re off to a winner already. Finlay and Cena to kick off proceedings is interesting, as you’d expect Cena to be amongst the favourites. Looking for a big, big run from him tonight - surely final four at the very least?? Didn’t expect an elimination in that early going, but Dykstra has quick elimination written all over him. But it looks like I was wrong, as he hangs on in there, with Matt Hardy pulling DOUBLE DUTY!!! I mark out for double duty. It’ll be interesting to see how the new U.S Champ fares in this one, given his big win earlier. Just as I thought Kenny was going to hang on for another little while, Hardy chucks him out, just before - SHAWN MICHAELS. Some big names hitting the early numbers here. HBK, in his home town, should be good for a big run, possibly final four with Cena. Michaels and Hardy tear it up, whilst Cena and Finlay remain paired up. Mercury in next. Like Dykstra, I don’t see him lasting long, especially given his tag team credentials as opposed to his singles skills. No fear shown though by Mercury, going right after the hometown boy. Hardy was made to look a little jobberish though, just doing what Shawn told him to do by going away like a punk. I guess Mercury will regret that … on his way back up the aisle, lol. Cena and Finlay still going at it, but no sign of an elimination yet for either of them, going strong. Noble enters, and I’d expect a solid, if unspectacular run from the Cruiserweight champion, to at least put the CW champion over a little. At least he has lasted two minutes, and now Haas comes in for DOUBLE DUTY. I wonder how he’ll respond to the loss earlier tonight in this one. Finlay and Cena are still stuck to each other like glue. Geez, get a room you two. HBK busts out a head scissors, which would’ve been even better had it led to an elimination. Now, business is about to pick up - Mark Henry is about to take over this Rumble, before giving a hot face a big elimination to his bow. HORNSWOGGLE~!!! Saves Finlay from elimination in a nice spot. Hope that isn’t the last wee see of the Little Bastard. Happy to see Noble holding his own against the likes of Henry. It’s a boost for the CW division to see him on level terms with big men. Don’t see much happening for Helms to be honest. I think he could be wasted on Raw as a singles star, when he could be a massive asset to the CW division on Smackdown. There goes Noble. Ideally, would’ve liked a slightly longer run, but ultimately, there’s no shame in getting eliminated by the Worlds Strongest Man. WHOA!!! First big elimination, and that came as a sudden shock, because I wasn’t expecting Finlay to go anywhere any time soon. No surprise that it’s Cena to eliminate him, and I would envisage this turning into a short term feud on Raw up to No Way Out, after the two were basically married to each other in this contest. This could get interesting, with Burke in there now, with Haas still fuming from his loss earlier tonight. As expected, Haas and Burke get into it, whilst Cena attempts an FU on Henry … but it doesn’t pay off!!! Don’t see much happening for Kendrick either I’m afraid, but he could add quite a bit of excitement before getting his ass thrown out. And Henry is gone!!! Cena adds another elimination to his tally, and looks to be picking up quite the steam. And just before the countdown, Burke is outta here, courtesy of Haas!!! Wasn’t expecting that. And now, it’s the NAITCH-A BOY!!! It’d be sweet to see a good run for Flair here. Bit of time to just settle things down in the ring it seems after a few quick eliminations … and with Jeff Hardy added to the fray, we might see the excitement turned up another notch, with Kendrick already in there too, and of course, his brother too. Possible reunion for the brothers Hardy?? It’d be a nice moment for the match. Cena and HBK going at it btw would be a great highlight, and something for the fans to keep an eye on. Halfway there, and Cena is still going strong. This’ll be interesting now to see how Punk fares. He’s still new to the scene, but has been getting a quick push up the ladder. Quick elimination too, with Helms biting the dust. Helms needs to go to SD, because I don’t envisage him breaking the mid card ranks on Raw. YES!!! Hardy Boys gang up, and Haas screws up, GETTING HIMSELF ELIMINATED by Hardy!!!!!! Surprised to see Kendrick hanging in there. Nitro is up next, and I’d imagine he’ll do slightly better than his tag team partner. It’s a two minute spell with plenty of action, but no eliminations, until Kane enters the fray. With his history in the match, Kane could definitely be the man to make a few quick eliminations, and open the ring up a bit. Definitely not a winner imo. Brief scare for HBK and his rabid fans, as Cena nearly gets him out of there. What the heck is Haas playing at there?? Flair is eliminated by Matt Hardy, and Haas turns on his partner. Piece of shit imo.
Sabu makes up the ECW portion of this Rumble, and after the way ECW got squashed earlier, he NEEDS a strong run for sure. Sabu makes an early impression, not caring who he has to go through either. Hardys end any tandem work, and that’s how it should be imo - every man for himself. Well, at least we get an explanation as to why JBL had to shoot off earlier. Putting himself in the Rumble is INSPIRED. Lovely piece of booking, and a genuine surprise. YAY!!! Hornswoggle reappears … and Finlay does too, getting rid of Cena!!! Boo for that. No ratings for eliminating Cena early. Given that he was illegally eliminated, surely he has an argument for a title match?? … or at least a second chance in some form. Paul London is in now, and joins his tag partner - who has really shocked me with a big run thus far. Or at least he did. Ironic that once his partner arrives, he gets dumped. Nitro aint too far behind him either, and Kane makes a mark. Hardys joining up again, fcusing on London, with his partner outta there makes sense. WOOO Sabu takes this rumble … to the extreme. Excellent stuff. Couple of great spots from Sabu. Carlito gets a good number, but I don’t see him making much impact on the match. It’s hotting up in the ring, but no eliminations in the two minute time period. And Mister Kennedy gets a great number, and he’ll be looking to bounce back from his earlier loss. Is JBL still on commentary?? Should maybe note that somewhere, or have him comment when another entrant is introduced. Kennedy and Matt Hardy going heads up - along with HBK, Matt has been there a LONGGGG time. Sabu and Jeff teaming up seems a little off - surely Sabu should be going in as a lone wolf, standing for ECW?? Oh man, Batista could be a really dark horse … and stamps his authority by eliminating KANE!!! JBL gets dumped real quick by HBK, and surely that wont sit well with the GM of Smackdown. Good number for Jericho, but he’ll not be winning this. He has too much other stuff going on right now, with his fans winning quest. Sabu is gone, but got an okay run. No shame for him going at this point. Still surprised to see Punk there. Given a decent run here, he is definitely going places quickly on SD. Umaga is here as #25, and boy oh boy, it’ll take something special to get him out of here in my opinion. Umaga makes an immediate impact with a DOUBLE elimination, finishing off London and Punk. And Carlito is outta here too, courtesy of Jeff Hardy, for a disappointing showing for CCC. Definitely seems to be in a slump. Have to be honest … The Hardys are dumb as fuck. They had KK in a great position to dump him out, after blocking the Green Bay Plunge, but keep him in the ring with a DDT instead?? Silly move imo. Really great way to get the Undertaker in there quickly, cutting out the long ass intro, by having him appear in the ring. Definitely a great way to beat that five minute intro. And business picks up with Taker and Umaga going at it. Bulldozer is gone!!! BUT SO IS TAKER!!! Two huge eliminations for Batista, taking out BOTH Brothers of Destruction. Definitely setting the stage for Umaga - Taker at WM. Glad you mentioned the aftermath of the Umaga and Taker exchange rather than forget about it. Vicious brawl. HBK and Jericho look to be going for one another now too, playing on their long history. MVP draws a late number, but he certainly wont be winning. It’s a good spot for him though. Doesn’t make a good start though, making an enemy quickly, in Batista. The Hardy - Kennedy issue comes to a head with Matt getting ousted by Ken, as revenge for the opener this evening. Hardy may have the US Title, but Kennedy may yet go to the big dance. Oh. Triple H - #28. This could be his night. Hardy is taken out by Jericho and Batista. Surprised it took two men to eliminate Hardy, but regardless - he’s gone, and that’s for sure. Late number for Shelton, but he wont be winning either, it’s looking like a straight up tussle between HBK, Batista, Triple H and Rey (who must be #30). MVP didn’t get much of a run, as The Game begins to put a notch on his tally of eliminations. Now, could Rey be the first ever to win this thing from #30. He has the great number, and he was my pick all along. Lets see how it unfolds from here.
Poor showing for Shelton, but I guess since he had his match earlier, it’s not a big shame. Batista and Triple H bring up their old school history, but Batista is the man to be toppled, with The Game eliminating The Animal. I guess HHH finally gets one over on Batista two years on. I’d love to see this come down to HBK and HHH - that would be long time ratings given the epic history between them. Rey busts out the 619!!! Awesome. It said there that HBK threw Hunter over, returning the favour from last year - but you didn’t confirm it by saying Triple H is eliminated, nor did you say he landed on the apron. Bit lost now. Second 619 is too many for Rey, and he fails to repeat himself. So I take it The Game survived?? Rey helps out HBK, as it seems like groundhog day, having read Triple H pounding HBK trying to bust him open for the second time, then HBK dumps HHH returning the favour for last year, which you wrote earlier too. The Game is gone, and I’m shocked he didn’t make the final four. I just couldn’t imagine Hunter accepting anything less than a final four finish in a Rumble. Another attempt at a 619 fails for Rey, but I’m marking for the Jericho shuffle
. Yee-haw, Michaels nips up, but no ratings for a second Lou Thesz press from him in this match, as I don’t recall him using it at all, certainly not on a regular enough basis to use it twice in one match. Long period for the final four, before the least likely winner is out, with Rey eliminating Jericho, although the description of it was too awkward for me to understand I’m afraid. Rey then eliminates Kennedy … NO!!! NOOOOOOO!!! Rey is eliminated from the Rumble match?? No way. Down to two, and I just don’t see Kennedy pulling off the shock win in Michaels hometown. But man, that would be the ultimate push for Kennedy, shocking the world with a Rumble victory, last eliminating home town hero to go to WM. It doesn’t happen though, and HBK makes history with a Sweet Chin Music to end proceedings. The final few minutes between Kennedy and Michaels didn’t have that excitement that say Taker - Michaels did a few years back, but it’s a great victory for Michaels and he’s on his way to WM. With the event in San Antonio, I guess I should’ve thought about that one sooner. HBK gets to live his boyhood dream once more at WM, and I’d hope he takes on Edge rather than Orton in the WM main event. Great to see Kennedy get such an awesome run, as a shocking runner up, but I was pulling for a Mysterio win. Michaels will do though.
Solid Rumble match, and overall, an excellent effort. As previously stated, I had a few minor quibbles with some of the under card matches, but overall, it’s a solid platform to build the Road to WrestleMania.