|Available at Amazon.com|
The premise is quite simple. Thirty superstars are picked or qualify for the Rumble match in the weeks prior. To eliminate an opponent you must simply throw them over the top rope and have both their feet touch the floor outside. Two men start in the ring and others join the match at timed intervals (usually every ninety seconds or two minutes). The last person standing in the ring after twenty-nine other competitors have been eliminated would be declared the winner. Onto WrestleMania they will go to get a title shot against their brand’s champion in the main event.
2008 would see another awesome addition to the Royal Rumble anthology as the undercard was filled with great matches. Ric Flair brought his legendary status and put his career on the line against a next generation star in Montel Vontavius Porter. Chris Jericho and JBL would battle it out in a match consisting of two guys that have had maybe three matches combined in the past two years, but they haven’t lost it. The two biggest championship belts in all of the WWE were put on the line and those involved proved they belong in the upper tier.
The Rumble match itself was something to be remembered and also forgotten. It is my favorite type of match ever and it just goes to show the fans that chaos can actually work in a wrestling ring and still entertain. Umaga, Khali, Kane, Big Daddy V, Mark Henry, and the Undertaker showed just how good it is to be a giant that is hard to move. Others like Santino, Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, and many more showed that anyone can have a dream and go forward hoping to fulfill it. Anyone and everyone from the smallest underdog to the biggest favorite could try to win the prize of all prizes. Yet sometimes someone comes in and just takes any meaning from something that can be considered an “ultimate goal” and make it mean absolutely nothing.
~ Career Threatening Match: Ric Flair Vs. MVP – Ric Flair is going to deliver no matter what match he is in. The guy is a living legend and he knows the end of his career is near so he’s going to put on the best show possible. MVP has certainly proved his own big time and holding that US Title for so long is evidence that others think so as well. This is a nice “old vs. new” match for anyone to make sure and catch.
~ Chris Jericho Vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield – Jericho’s return to the squared circle after a two year absence has been marred by Randy Orton and now JBL. JBL returned to the ring after a semi-retirement so he could step up to the plate against Jericho. This was a brutal match that was nothing but anger spewing from both men and there was a lot of sheer violence. It’s too bad the match had a crappy finish.
~ World Heavyweight Championship Match: Edge (c) Vs. Rey Mysterio – It’s no secret that I hate Rey Mysterio, but I give him credit for being extremely talented. His matches just don’t thrill me, but his character is appealing to me even less. Edge on the other hand is a top talent and a fantastic heel. This was your basic really bad guy versus really good guy match and while I enjoyed the way it ended because it was creative; it also was the second straight match that didn’t have a clean finish.
~ WWE Championship Match: Randy Orton (c) Vs. Jeff Hardy (Intercontinental Champion) – Orton and Hardy have only had one of the best feuds for the WWE Championship in a long time. It’s really quite a shame that both of them are so horrible on the mic because their matches and the way they build up the battle lines is just so awesome. They honestly delivered here in a great match from start to almost finish. The ending was clean and all that, but it was kind of out of nowhere. Both of them work so well in the ring and their chemistry with each other is phenomenal, but the ending just kind of ended it all of a sudden and left me hanging.
~ The 2008 Royal Rumble Match – (SPOILERS AHEAD)Now the Rumble match is quite possibly my most favorite match every year no matter what comes along later on. Thirty superstars facing off in random pairings. The winner gets the ultimate prize of not only getting to battle for a world title, but they get to actually main event the biggest wrestling event of the whole year, WrestleMania. You just can’t beat it. It is just awesome and this year’s match was no different. You saw the big men kicking some butt. Then it was time for some superstars to establish their places in the match and last over thirty to forty minutes each. The real fat guys dominated and then were miraculously eliminated. At one point the ring got so filled up with guys that it was hard to concentrate on the action, and it was great.
But then it happened. John Cena made his oh so miraculous return to the WWE from a severe injury. He came back much earlier then expected and his comeback was kept a big secret. His music shocked the world and all the fans watching in the arena. I’ll admit that I was even shocked as all hell and smiled a little bit even though I detest Cena. He came in as the thirtieth entrant and ended up prevailing so he could make his way to Mania and main event. He’s done it before, but every time has to be incredibly special. Then Cena cashed in his main event title shot early and faced Orton at No Way Out thus rendering the Royal Rumble of 2008 pointless. Cena lost that match and then got his main event shot again on Raw thus rendering the main event of No Way Out completely inconsequential. If you thought Cena was on my hate list before, he was all over it now. I loved the Rumble match, but the ending completely ruined it all for me.
The event is shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and the WWE just never seems to have any problems at all with their delivery of great picture on all their DVDs. I found no pixilation or any problems at all.
The event is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and the entrance music and pyro sounds great in the surround sound, but the commentary (which is featured most prominently) is usually only heard through the center speaker. Nothing really to complain about though.
Raw January 14, 2008: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Jeff Hardy (c) Vs. Randy Orton – This is a simple and quick match that is more about everything happening after it then actually during it. Orton and Hardy were already fixated on destroying one another, but their true chance wasn’t to come for still two more weeks. Jeff Hardy was out to prove a point though and he certainly did it by doing a death-defying swanton bomb off the Raw set and onto a laid out Orton below.
Triple H Talks To John Cena Post Royal Rumble Match – A little idle chit-chat and a “welcome back” from Trips to Cena. Nothing much here.
As much as it may seem like I didn’t like this event, that just isn’t true. I’ve loved all the Royal Rumbles and think they are still some of the greatest PPVs each and every year. The ending of the match and the following events in weeks to come just really hit me the wrong way and made it seem as if the Rumble‘s importance was lessened to virtually nothing. Cena is going to be a big name in the world of the WWE until the day he dies and there’s nothing I can do about it. Honestly, there’s nothing that should be done about it because every fan needs someone to hate. Just bothers me that his emergence from an injury needed to happen here. The special features aren’t much but included is the awesome match (or post match I should say) from Raw between Hardy and Orton that featured an insane spot by Jeff. There’s no way this DVD can’t be recommended. Be warned though that if you’re a smart fan and have never seen this event before, then be prepared to be disappointed and also very angry by the time the night is through even though you’ll have loved everything up until the last fifteen minutes.
WWE Home Video presents Royal Rumble 2008. Featuring: John Cena, Triple H, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Edge, Ric Flair, and many more. Running time: 180 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: February 26, 2008. Available at Amazon.com