The Way Too Long Review of the 2009 Royal Rumble

“Do you give thumbs up to everything?”

No.  Case in point, the Royal Rumble shows.  I’ve reviewed all twenty contained in the Rumble box set and gave thumbs down to eleven, and my memories of 2008 and 2009’s were not positive either.  I love the Royal Rumble match itself when it’s done right.  When it’s done wrong, it’s painfully boring and doesn’t lend itself well to repeat viewings.  It’s one of those matches where it’s feast or famine.  It’s either going to rock or it’s going to suck, with very little middle ground.  When I picked up the Extreme Rules DVD, I decided I might as well snag all the other 2009 pay per views as well since my PPV viewings were disrupted quite often and I rarely was able to sit and watch the shows uninterrupted.

That brings me to this show.  The Rumble match is obviously the selling point, but in 2009 it was so obvious who was going to win that they practically advertised it ahead of time.  The undercard matches don’t seem that interesting either.  If memory serves me correctly, this show was bad.  But my memory is a funny thing.  I remember in 2004 when I told everyone who would listen that the Rumble match was horrible and smart marks were just having a big circle jerk because Chris Benoit won it.  Four years later it was time to watch it again.  I don’t think I had ever been more wrong, because it was the best Rumble by ever by far.  So who knows, I might get surprised here.  But not bloody likely.

January 25, 2009 from Detroit, MI.  I always secretly hope one of these days the fans attend a show there and have a good ole’ fashioned riot, like the kind they do for the Pistons.  Something that puts the Pistons/Pacers brawl to shame.  Hell, I would intentionally book a show to achieve that goal.  It would go something like this.

-In the opening match, the WWE puts Chris Benoit’s ashes over the US Title

-John Cena makes every midcarder on the roster tap in three seconds to the STFU

-Shane McMahon wins the WWE Championship

-And finally the Coup de grâce… Royal Rumble Winner Vickie Guerrero

That should do it.  Full scale riot.  Just don’t cut the cameras off WWE.  There’s a fortune to be made in the scandal that would follow.  I look forward to the “I Survived the Royal Rumble Riot” T-Shirts, available exclusively on WWEShop.com

Oh, and afterwards don’t forget to somehow undo all my senseless angles in time for Wrestlemania.  Then again, Vickie Guerrero vs. Shane McMahon for the gold could not possibly be worse then Orton/Triple H was.

Match #1: ECW Championship
(c) Jack Swagger vs. Matt Hardy

Swagger is fresh off winning the championship two weeks earlier.  Lockup to start.  Matt takes Swagger to the corner and threatens a punch, which Swagger backs away from like a pussy.  Good heat for that.  Lockup again and Swagger takes Matt to the corner but gets punched down and bails to the corner.  Swagger comes in to wrestle some more but Matt slugs away and Swagger bails.  Matt bails as well and keeps punching him.  Back in, Swagger catches a kick but spins Matt around into a clothesline and he bails again.  Back in, lockup and Swagger takes him down and grabs a waistlock.  Matt escapes but Swagger grabs a freaky looking waistlock takedown and mounts a hammerlock.  Matt elbows out of it and goes for the twist of fate, but Swagger bails to the corner.  Matt quickly follows this with a dropkick to the face, a clothesline to the corner and a bulldog for two.  Swagger sends Matt to the corner, where Hardy climbs and gets pushed off to the floor.  Shoulderblocks by Swagger, then a shoot off and a shoulderblock for two.  Top keylock by Swagger, then some kicking in the corner, but Matt slugs out of it, then Swagger, still somewhat green, wings an armbreaker on the ropes that looked bad and Matt clearly wasn’t expecting it and doesn’t sell it properly.  Matt covers it by injuring his arm on a clothesline.  Swagger shrugs it off and kicks him in the face for two.  Standing armbar now, and Swagger works the hold by jerking Matt up and down with it.  Oh get your mind out of the gutter.  Matt starts to fight out of it, so Swagger turns it into a wristlock and starts wringing it.  Clothesline by Matt to escape, then a few more clotheslines and a side neckbreaker gets two.  Shoot to the corner and a clothesline, then a bulldog.  He’s already done that spot.  It gets two.  Elbow off the second rope gets two.  Swagger blocks the kick for the twist of fate, then hits a belly to belly suplex for two.  Wristlock takedown by Swagger gets two.  Swagger puts Matt on the top rope for a back-superplex but Hardy fights off.  Snap moonsault nearly is fatally botched by Hardy, but that just makes it look cooler.  It gets two.  Twist of Fate doesn’t work, so Matt goes for the side effect, and Swagger counters that by sending Matt into the ringpost.  Hardy tries to fight out the gutwrench bomb but can’t and Swagger retains.
***1/4 Good match, good way for Swagger to prove that he has what it takes to be a star in the ring.  And he’s only going to get better.  I’m a big fan.  Hope he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle on Raw.

Meanwhile, Randy Orton arrives and gets all kinds of stares from the people in the back.  I wish he had just gone nuts and started attacking people for looking at him funny.  Really put him over as a nut.

Match #2: Women’s Championship
(c) Beth Phoenix vs. Melina

Beth has Santino with her, looking like a miniature version of Zangief from Street Fighter II with the full beard.  Lockup and Beth slams Melina down in it.  Another lockup and Melina grabs a side headlock.  Beth is too strong and breaks it, then grabs a back waistlock, then rag-dolls her around.  Back elbows and a dropkick by Melina, but she runs into a shoulderblock.  Fans could care less about the match and are more interested in cheering Santino on at ringside.  Melina goes for a head scissors, but turns this somehow into an armbar.  Good in theory, but you can’t really take a flashy move and dull it up like that.  It gets the fans excited and then shuts them up.  Maybe if you were a heel, but not as a babyface.  Beth escapes it and powers Melina in the corner, but runs into a backelbow.  Melina ends up on Phoenix’s shoulders, where she gets casually flipped off and lands face first.  Beth slings her off the ropes and covers for one.  Half-crab follows.  She then stirs the crowd up HUGE by folding Melina’s foot so that it touches the back of her head own head.  Not satisfied by that buzz, she then gets them really groaning by beating Melina in the back of the head with her foot.  Awesome.  Melina fights out, but gets caught in a sideslam for two.  Beth sets Melina up in the corner, then tries a press-slam.  Melina wiggles out of it in what I’m guessing was supposed to be a school-boy attempt, but she botches it somehow.  Slugout follows, leading to Melina getting a rollup for two.  Drop toehold into the corner and a head of steam, followed by a facebuster for two.  Seated senton by Melina, but she somehow hurts her own ass doing it.  Melina goes for the leg smash but Beth counters it, only to be rolled up by Melina who claims the title.
** Not bad, wanted to go higher but Melina botched too many spots to justify it.

Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels looks at himself in the mirror.  “Damn, when did I go this bald and cross-eyed?”  JBL promises him he’ll pay him all the money he’s owed if he helps him win the championship.  Then Shawn bumps into the Undertaker, who tells him “sometimes it’s hell getting into heaven.”

Match #3: World Heavyweight Championship
(c) John Cena vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield

The Shawn Michaels part of this… what can I say?  A born-again Jesus freak, Texas republican, hayseed, ex-junkie who ends up losing all his money by placing faith in the Bush economy?  Possibly the most realistic storyline the WWE has ever done.  Which likely explained why it sucked so bad.  Lockup to start, Cena takes JBL down with a headlock takeover.  JBL reverses and follows up with the same set of moves.  Shoulderblock by JBL and then a backelbow for Cena and JBL bails.  Fans are hate-hooing everything that Cena does.  Back in, JBL brawls Cena around and but eats a bulldog for two.  Blockbuster gets two.  Cena gets distracted for no damn reason by Shawn Michaels, who’s just standing there, and gets clubbed down on the outside by JBL.  Slam into the stairs, and then back in the ring with a cover for two.  Short-arm clothesline gets two.  A series of elbowdrops gets two.  Snapmare into a chicken-wing type hold.  Cena quickly fights out of it but charges into a sideslam for two.  JBL clubs Cena off the apron and JBL seems content to let Cena get counted out, then comes to his senses and bails to toss Cena into the stairs.  He rolls him in and covers for two.  To the corner where Layfield sets up for a superplex but Cena fights him off and drops the leg off the ropes for two.  Cena charges into a big boot but changes it up and gets JBL snatched down in some mounted punches.  Cena slams JBL around the corners, then hits a shoulderblock and the protoplex.  Five knuckle shuffle but JBL elbows out.  JBL builds up momentum for the clothesline from hell, but Cena catches him and hooks in the STFU.  A few weeks prior, on Raw, Shawn Michaels earned this title shot for JBL after Layfield helped him break the hold by moving the ropes closer.  Shawn teases doing the same thing here, so Cena lets go of the hold and kicks at Shawn.  JBL dumps Cena through the ropes.  Cena back in only to eat the clothesline from hell… for two.  And it might as well be the WORST MOVE EVER~! because Cena is instantly healed from it and goes for the FU, but JBL wiggles out, bumps the ref, and both guys knock each other out with a clothesline.  Michaels gets into the ring and the fans buzz about who he’s going to attack.  The answer is… JBL, who he hits with Sweet Chin Music.  Cena is happy about that, only he turns around and eats some chin music as well.  He throws JBL on top, but there’s no referee.  Shawn bails on the rest of the match.  Meanwhile, another referee comes down and counts… to two.  JBL goes for a short arm clothesline but Cena hits the FU for the pin.
*** Really basic match between the two that called for more given their history of wild garbage brawls on pay per view.  It was just okay.

Match #4: WWE Championship
(c) Jeff Hardy vs. Edge

Back story: Hardy wins the title at Armageddon, then a series of unfortunate events struck Jeff, including having his pyro explode on him and being run down by a car.  Everyone was betting the farm that it was a returning Christian who was doing it.  Vickie comes out and makes this a no DQ match.  Thus Edge comes to the ring with Chavo Guerrero.  Jeff starts with some kicks in the corner and some clubbing blows, then a slam into the corner and more kicks.  Shoot off and a flying forearm, then more kicks.  Edge bails, so Jeff bails and grabs a chair, but gets kicked around on the way back in.  Edge brawls Jeff around but misses a charge in the corner and gets clotheslined.  Dropkick to the back of the head gets two.  Scoopslam, followed by nothing which allows Edge to brawl him around a bit.  This match kind of sucks so far.  They trade turns bailing, ending with Hardy kicking Edge and hitting a diving body press off the apron.  Back in, Jeff tries to spring into the ring but gets kicked in the face and falls to the floor.  Edge hits his own dropkick through the ropes, then tosses Hardy into the guardrail.  Edge slams Jeff into each of the three announce tables, then tosses him in the ring and drops and elbow for two.  Kick to the ribs by Jeff, then more celebrating.  Shoot to the corner and a shoulderblock by Edge.  Sunset flip by Hardy gets two, only for Edge to get a clothesline for two.  Then Edge opts for a waistlock.  Right, because Edge is so like big and muscular that such a move by him would be totally crippling.  Jeff tries to escape but gets yanked down by the hair.  Edge catches a kick but gets mule kicked.  Jeff climbs and then fights off Edge.  Body press by Jeff leads to him getting dropkicked coming down for two.  Edge bails to get some chairs, but Jeff spears him off the apron.  Plancha hits for Hardy, then to the apron where Hardy gets the twist of fate and both guys tumble to the floor.  Jeff preps an announce table for impact, then pulls out a ladder.  Chavo tries to save and buys Edge enough time to get off the table.  Jeff comes off the ladder with a clothesline to Chavo, then tosses Edge into the post.  Chavo is tossed into the stairs as well, then placed on the table.  Well this is stupid, as this isn’t the guy who he needs to beat.  Jeff nearly botches a splash off the ladder and through the table on Chavo.  The near botched made it look cooler.  Jeff tosses Edge in and hits a crossbody off the top for two.  Shoot off and Edge gets a big boot in.  He exposes the top turnbuckle, but Jeff fights him off and hits the whisper in the wind for two.  Twist of Fate is turned into the implant DDT by Edge for two.  Small package by Jeff gets two.  Pancake suplex by Jeff and he climbs, but Edge crawls away.  Jeff kicks Edge into the corner, then goes for the momentum kick, but Edge drops him on the exposed turnbuckle for two.  Edge goes for the spear, but it gets countered into the twist of fate.  Jeff climbs, BUT WAIT~! because Vickie Guerrero is out.  Jeff casually kicks her off and hits the swanton bomb… for two as Vickie pulls the ref off.  BUT WAIT~! because here is Matt Hardy and the ending is so obvious now they might as well stop the match and hand the belt to Edge.  He has a chair, which he hands to Jeff, then he grabs another chair and teases a conchairto, but plasters Jeff with it instead, and Edge gets the pin and the title.
**3/4 Really boring start, lots of stupid and illogical spots, I must say I wasn’t a big fan of this one.  But thankfully they would right this wrong a couple times over later in the year.

After the match, Jim Ross talks in his ‘sad voice’, also know as the ‘someone fell from the rafters’ voice.  They really need to put a shock collar on the announcers and prevent them from using it.  Though I am always somewhat amused when the announcers are shocked by a guy with a long history of heelish behavior doing heelish things.

Meanwhile, Randy Orton’s interview is interrupted by Chris Jericho.  Jericho takes Orton’s side in the whole anti-McMahon thing.  And he’s not even doing it to kiss his ass and earn some protection in the Rumble match.  He’s simply saying it because he thinks Orton will be fired the next day.

This is followed by a pretty awesome “Royal Rumble by the Numbers” hype video.

Match #5: Royal Rumble Match

#1 is Rey Mysterio, but without anyone dead to dedicate his victory to this year.  #2 is John Morrison.  Hey, this could be good.  Both guys jaw to start.  Morrison pie-faces Mysterio, so Rey kicks away.  More kicking by Mysterio, then Morrison lowers his head into more kicks.  Morrison nearly dumps Mysterio, then kicks his hands off the ropes, but Mysterio grabs a lower rope, and if he wasn’t the shortest guy on the roster he would have been toast there.  Mysterio springs over with a crossbody, then does a crazy head scissors.  Morrison almost gets dumped but hangs on.  That would be the theme for this year, having guys do the most crazy near eliminations possible.  Dropkick by Rey but Morrison hangs on and dangles over the floor.  #3 is Carlito.  He slugs away on both guys and spits apple in the face of Morrison, who actually is cool but I guess Carlito is not as picky these days.  Morrison tries to dump him, but Carlito hits an awesome springboard moonsault.  Morrison starts to blatantly choke Mysterio, and considering the talent level of the three guys in the ring, now is NOT the time to have the random brawling.  Ugh.  #4 is MVP, who is just coming off his losing streak.  And he’s really over here.  Elbows for Carlito and Mysterio, then a powerslam for Morrison.  He goes for the Ballin’ elbowdrop, tosses Mysterio out of the way, then hits it on Morrison.  Face buster to Carlito, then Morrison springs off the ropes with a dropkick to Carlito.  Running boot to Morrison, then Mysterio avoids getting dumped and throws a head scissors.  #5 is the Great Khali.  Everyone stops in their tracks, then decides to double up on him.  He swats them all off and slams Morrison down.  Khali is kind of over as well.  Mysterio comes springing off the ropes with a dropkick, but it doesn’t work.  Carlito goes for the backstabber but it doesn’t work and Carlito gets slammed.  Intervals are being sped up now, and #6 is Vladimir Kozlov.  Khali tells him to bring it, then they both do the worst collar-and-elbow tie-up ever.  Vladimir then quickly tosses Khali out of the match.  Morrison comes off the ropes at Kozlov and gets swatted away.  MVP charges and goes for a running boot in the corner but misses and gets tossed to huge heat.  Vladimir tries to toss Carlito, who catches himself on the apron and springs back at Kozlov, only to get slammed down and dumped.  Mysterio’s turn, but he puts up a fight.  #7 is Triple H.  Big slugout follows and Kozlov hits the bit headbutt, but Trips keeps fighting back.  Vladimir lowers his head into a facebuster and gets dumped.  Ugh, his elimination really called for more.  Morrison jumps Triple H and eats a flying knee.  #8 is Randy Orton.  Man, they’re really shooting the stars out there early.  Orton and Trips have brawl, ending with Orton hitting the wrap-around backbreaker.  He goes for the RKO but Trips turns it into the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! but Morrison stops that.  Mysterio hits the seated senton to Orton, then Morrison and Mysterio go back to their fight.  619 to Morrison and all four guys are knocked out.  What the fuck?  #9 is Cryme Tyme, fresh off shooting their roles in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Mudflap & Skids.  I heard they said the money was good but they were happy to return to wrestling, where they could avoid portraying racial caricatures.  Shad and JTG flip for the one spot in the match.  JTG wins because the coin is double sided.  He goes in and punches anyone he sees.  Side-swipe neckbreaker to Morrison, then shoulderblocks to Trips.  He fights back and slams JTG into Morrison.  Meanwhile, Orton and Mysterio fight around a bit, with Orton nearly tossing Rey.  Triple H saves.  #10 is Ted DiBiase.  Punches for all, while Morrison and JTG slug it out, then DiBiase almost dumps both guys.  They hang on to the ropes and kick at each other, then both guys return.  Then DiBiase and Mysterio have a near elimination.  Back in, Morrison dropkicks Orton in the balls.  #11 is Chris Jericho.  He dropkicks DiBiase, then tries to dump Orton but fails, then stomps away at JTG and tries to dump him… but fails.  Jericho bulldogs Triple H, then lands on his feet with the lionsault.  KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! to Jericho is turned into the Walls, but that doesn’t work either and Jericho almost gets tossed.  Mysterio and Trips try to double up on Jericho but he holds on.  #12 is Mike Knox.  He goes straight for Mysterio, who he was having issues with at the time.  He slugs away at him in the corner, but Orton and DiBiase have a plant.  They unleash it on JTG and stomp away on him.  Knox goes after Triple H.  I love how every jobber goes after him.  It’s like they know it’s their only chance to get any offense against him, ever.  #13 is the Miz.  He brawls with everyone and hits some knees in the corner on Trips and Mysterio.  He teams with Morrison to go after Orton, but then misses a splash in the corner.  Morrison eats an RKO, then Miz does, then JTG does, but Trips hits the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! on Orton.  Morrison tosses Miz and Morrison together.  #14 is Finlay.  Mysterio gets eliminated… BUT WAIT~! because he lands on the tag champs and uses them as stepping stones to get back into the ring.  Cool spot, but they should have saved it for when someone wasn’t making an entrance and drawing the crowd’s attention.  Finlay gets an atomic drop on Trips, then a butt splash.  He goes to dump Jericho, and Mysterio tries to help but Jericho holds on.  DiBiase (called Orton by Jim Ross) almost gets dumped by Finlay but Knox saves.  DiBiase almost gets dumped again but Orton saves.  #15 is Cody Rhodes and now everyone in Legacy is out.  The three guys decide to gang-beat everyone they can see, starting with JTG then moving on to Trips, then onto Finlay, and then they break apart.  Mysterio springs at Orton and gets caught with an RKO.  Jim Ross calls this a score for Mysterio.  Yipes.  Anyway, that spot was awesome.  #16 is the Undertaker.  They’re really shooting their wad with stars entering early here.  Everyone stops fighting and goes after him, yet he fights them all off.  JTG gets tossed, then Taker brawls around with everyone else.  Snake eyes and a running boot to Rhodes.  #17 is Goldust.  He brawls down DiBiase, then has a big stare down with his brother Cody.  He punches him down and goes to dump him, but Cody lands on the apron.  Shoot off and Goldust punches Cody and tries to dump him again, and again Cody lands on the apron.  RKO to Goldust and Orton orders Rhodes to toss his brother.  DiBiase almost gets dumped by Mysterio.  #18 is CM Punk.  He brawls with everyone and kicks both Priceless guys in the head.  Bulldog to Jericho, then he fights off a pedigree and hits the GTS to Triple H.  Now he turns his attention to the Undertaker.  Then random brawling all over the match.  #19 is Mark Henry.  Headbutts for all, then he goes for the Undertaker and hits a kick.  He stands on CM Punk, and Jerry Lawler points out there are too many guys in the ring.  World’s Strongest Slam to Trips, then Henry catches Punk coming off the ropes and nearly tosses him.  #20 is Shelton Benjamin.  He hits the paydirt on Finlay, then body-drops Mysterio.  Then he hits paydirt on Jericho off the top rope.  Trips casually tosses Punk, who grabs the ropes and hangs on.  #21 is William Regal.  He goes straight for Punk, who he lost the IC title to the previous week.  Still too many guys in the ring.  So much so that we miss Henry get dumped.  When there are so many guys in the ring that you can’t see a 400lb black man get eliminated, then your rumble match could very well be sucking.  Replay shows it was Mysterio who low-bridged him.  More random brawling.  #22 is Kofi Kingston.  Dropkicks for all.  Russian legsweep and the floating legdrop.  Shelton tries to spring up on the Undertaker and gets slammed down and tossed.  Rey nearly gets tossed by Jericho but wraps himself around the ringpost, upside down, to save.  #23 is Kane.  Punches for all.  Shoot off and a big boot to Rhodes, then a sidewalk slam to DiBiase.  Kane and Taker have a big stare down.  They then decide to double chokeslam DiBiase.  Jericho and Kingston try to attack them, and Kofi gets choke slammed by Kane.  Regal gets dumped by Punk.  Then more random brawling.  Ugh.  #24 is R-Truth.  He hits a horrible flying, twisting punch on Trips that completely whiffed and Triple H is forced to slum it by selling that shit.  Then more random brawling.  This match is flat-lining.  Get the paddles.  #25 is Rob Van Dam, making a special one-time appearance and looking really stoned.  Flying dropkick to Kane, clotheslines for all, then kicks for all.  Flying kick to Punk.  Five star frog splash attempt to Truth, but Triple H interferes with it, and nothing happens.  Wow, that’s um… awesome or something.  #26 is The Brian Kendrick.  Double legdrop by RVD and Mysterio to Truth, while Kendrick pushes Kofi out.  Trips then tosses him out.  Fans are hot for RVD to win this, and he almost tosses Punk as a result.  Punk saves.  Just way too many guys in there and random punching and kicking.  #27 is Dolph Ziggler.  He introduces himself to Kane and gets tossed.  Then more random brawling.  This is like the opposite of the ’99 Rumble in terms of entries.  The stars entered early, then the jobbers come on late.  Weird.  It’s not the opposite in entertainment factor, as this match flat out sucks.  #28 is Santino Marella.  He gets tossed in one second by Kane to set the new record.  Then more random brawling.  Yea!  Jericho gets a ten punch on Undertaker.  Kane almost dumps Trips.  #29 is Hacksaw Jim Duggan as the token old timer.  Punches for all.  Big “USA” chant for him.  Then more random brawling.  This match fucking sucks.  #30 is the Big Show.  And finally it’s time to start dumping some people.  Everyone stops in their tracks to stare at him while he enters.  This leads to a big stare-down with the Undertaker, but Kane comes out of nowhere and punches him.  Show fights him off, then Duggan tries to dump Show and gets tossed.  Taker almost dumps Punk.  More random brawling.  Jesus guys, the entrees are over.  Start doing something!  Taker almost dumps Orton but Rhodes saves, while Show press-slams R-Truth out of the ring.  Rhodes almost gets dumped, then Punk almost gets dumped by Show, then almost gets dumped again, then again, and Show keeps an eye on Punk the third time and punches him off the apron to eliminate him.  Knox and Mysterio both get dumped by Big Show.  Hornswaggle runs in the ring and almost gets killed by Kane.  Finlay saves and ends up getting dumped.  Then more random brawling.  Code breaker to Kane from Jericho.  Then nothing.  Kane tries to knot up Show’s legs, while Orton hits a DDT of the ropes on Triple H.  Show and Undertaker have their big stare down.  They slug it out, with Show trying to hit his big knockout punch but Taker keeps blocking it.  Five star frog splash to Orton, which wipes out RVD enough that Jericho dumps him.  Jericho hits the Code Breaker onTaker, but it’s the WORST MOVE EVER~! as Taker pops up from it then dumps Jericho when he charges for the elimination.  Ugh.  Legacy then triple teams Kane to eliminate him.  It’s final six, but everyone takes a corner like it’s final four, with Trips on one side, Show on another, Taker on another, and Legacy all huddled together.  Neat.  Show goes for Triple H while Legacy surrounds Taker.  Chokeslam to Trips, then Show grabs the ropes and starts gasping for air.  Chokeslam by Taker to Orton, then one to DiBiase, then one to Rhodes.  Show and Taker are left alone and we go back to the boxing match.  Clothesline by Taker takes down Show.  Running boot and Show goes over the ropes, but he does the close save as if he’s a lightweight.  Cool spot, and a good way to send off the ‘close eliminations’ angle of the match.  Orton goes for an RKO on Taker but gets fought off.  Taker goes over the top rope and both giants grab a chokehold.  Taker fights off Show, then Orton RKO’s show on the ropes and eliminates him.  Taker fights off Orton and grabs both members of Priceless, but Show yanks him off the apron to eliminate him.  FINAL FOUR: Triple H, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, and Randy Orton.  All three heels jump on Trips, then DiBiase and Rhodes kick away why Orton holds Trips still for them.  Orton calls for Triple H to be picked up, then jaws with Trips and goes for the RKO.  Trips shoves off.  Face buster to Rhodes and a spinebuster to DiBiase.  KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! to Rhodes, but not before almost dumping Orton.  DiBiase charges and gets dumped, then Trips tosses Rhodes, but Orton is still alive and tosses Triple H to win the match.
*1/4 One of the worst Royal Rumbles ever, only saved by some really neat non-eliminations.  And although it’s nice that the WWE finally booked a heel team to look smart in this match, the overall structure was boring and undisciplined.  The potential use of Legacy to team up and eliminate guys wasn’t realized until late in the match, when in reality they should have stuck by each other and dumped a lot more people then they did.  The best Rumble matches are ones that focus on central characters, and this Rumble didn’t do that until the very end.  It was just a collection of random brawling until we got down to the last four minutes or so.  Horrible, wouldn’t recommend it for viewing for anyone.

BONUS FEATURES: Rob Van Dam, stoned off his gore, says he’s not really back in the company, but still tells every other promoter to fuck off if they think they’re good enough to have RVD wrestle for them.  You also get Shane McMahon’s embarrassing attack on Orton the next night on Raw, where Shane somehow took out all three members of Legacy.  It cuts off early before things got really bad.

BOTTOM LINE: Thumbs down.  The two big title matches were nothing special.  The selling point of the show, the Rumble match itself, I have rated as the 4th on the worst rumbles list, behind only ’94, ’98, and ’99.  I don’t know if it’s because the ending was obvious and the bookers decided to just phone it in, but this overall show was just a total snore-fest.  Save your money.

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