Yea, I’m not updating as much. The truth is I’m pinging off most of my backlog, one match at a time. The problem is the four WWE sets I haven’t finished aren’t really that interesting. So for the sake of my own sanity, I’m going to have a Ring of Honor review up in the near future. Should be interesting. But, I’m still mostly the WWE DVD guy, so I’m going to put it to a vote for you Way Too Long Fans. Which of the following WWE DVDs do you want to be reviewed next?
Hulk Hogan Unreleased Collector’s Series
John Morrison: Rock Star
Jeff Hardy: My Life, My Rules
WWE Raw Best of 2009
Shawn Michaels: My Journey
The Next Way Too Long Review will more then likely be Ring of Honor: Glory by Honor VIII (The Final Countdown) with the Bryan Danielson/Nigel McGuinness match, so just vote on what the next WWE set you want to see most in the comments.
A reminder: this is the first show of the End Instant Replays Challenge. $1,000 has been placed in a bank account by myself and set aside for the WWE’s favorite charity, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Every time an instant replay during a pay-per-view causes any move to be viewable only in Squint-O-Vision, I would remove $50 from that fund and buy myself a video game with it. Whatever is left in the fund at the end of the year I will donate to Make-A-Wish, along with all receipts for the games I purchased on basically their dime and the reason why it was lost.
Of course, in an era where DVRs and DVDs have rendered the instant replay obsolete, it’s a good example of how behind the times the WWE is in terms of production.
January 31, 2010 from Atlanta, Georgia. Home of the Coca Cola Company. I bet that’ll put CM Punk in a bad mood.
Match #1: ECW Championship
(c) Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson
My first review of an Ezekiel Jackson match. Lockup and Jackson tosses Christian away. Lockup and Christian gets a waistlock. Jackson reverses it and then slams Christian down to the canvas. Christian decides the best option is to piss off the dude that out weights him by 100lbs and fires off a bitch-slap, then bails. Jackson gives chase and gets caught climbing back in the ring with a couple punches and a dropkick. Springboard-crossbody to the outside by Christian, then he tosses Zeek back in the ring. Back in, Christian ducks a couple clotheslines and fires off a bitch-slap. Jackson is officially mad now and fires off a scoopslam and an elbow drop, which misses. Christian can’t turn it into anything and gets clubbed down. More punching and clubbing blows. Christian tries for the Killswitch but gets caught in a press-slam. Christian wiggles out of that and ends up standing on Jackson’s back and pushing his throat into the ropes. Uppercut by Christian on the outside, and then he climbs but gets caught and yanked down with authority. Loved the spot but I’m sure it hurt like fucking hell. William Regal goes to do something to Christian and gets ejected.
Jackson throws Christian into the stairs, and then tosses him back in and covers for two. Neck-vise gets two. No, I’m not penalizing the replay on it because it wasn’t a move that was MISSED because of the replay. Nice spot sees Jackson pick up Christian off the canvas by the throat for a chokeslam for two. Delayed suplex gets two and ALMOST costs Make-A-Wish $50, but the move wasn’t fully executed until after the replay. Christian gets brawled to the ropes and elbowed in the back. Christian kicks off and goes for a springboard sunset flip but Jackson blocks it with a chokebomb for two. Chinlock now by Jackson, which he works like a bully by rubbing his wrist across Christian’s mouth. What’s with the hate for this guy? He’s not that bad. Christian smacks away at Zeek and fires off a few of his bitch-slaps. Zeek shrugs them off and clubs Christian down for two. Modified full-nelson, then Jackson loads up for a superplex. Christian kicks off and hits a reverse elbow off the top. Jackson is up first and we don’t even get a double-KO, which is nice. Jackson charges but only hits the turnbuckle. Missile dropkick by Christian gets two, with a power kickout by Jackson. He goes for the Killswitch but Jackson fights out. Christian goes to hit his reverse DDT, but the WWE is more interested in showing an instant replay of the dropkick. Thus…
Instant Replay Challenge Penalty #1
$50 Removed from Fund ($950 Remains)
Spent On: Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth (Nintendo DS, $30) and a $20 Wii Points Card used on Mega Man 10 (WiiWare) and Mouse House (WiiWare)
Even better, Jackson went to take the bump before Christian had set up the move. Makes me feel guilty that sick and dying kids lost $50 because I missed a botch, but hey, those are the rules. I have to laugh at Michael Cole covering the botch by saying Christian “didn’t get all of it.” Christian goes for a big splash off the top but misses and Jackson hits a clothesline for two. He loads up for the Uranage but Christian fights out and goes for the Killswitch. Jackson pushes out of it and catches Christian charging with a backbreaker for two. Christian avoids a charge in the corner and flips himself up to boot Jackson using the ropes. Tornado DDT for two. Funny exchange on commentary. “The last time the ECW title changed hands in this city, it was Mr. McMahon who won the title! … … Nothing?” Heh. Clothesline by Zeek gets two. Christian goes for the Killswitch again and again it gets avoided. Jackson hoists Christian up and rams him a few times into the turnbuckle, but then Christian wiggles out and quickly hits the Killswitch for the pin.
***3/4 This was a well wrestled big man/little man match. Christian is showing signs of improvement and Ezekiel Jackson is not that bad. Very good pace cut and the fundamental “Christian can’t keep the big guy down” psychology was spot on. The typical issues associated with variety of moveset and the botched reverse-DDT spot hurt it somewhat, but otherwise this was very entertaining. And a real treat for me because I was expecting this to suck.
-Meanwhile, Cryme Tyme has only one spot in the Rumble and thus they try to trade with someone else. They try to make an offer with the Great Khali, taking his spot for a kiss with Tiffany. No Dice, Home Slice. Everyone is like, “Wha?” Apparently, they get all their catchphrases from Family Matters reruns. “Did I do that?” says Khali. Crowd: “…” If the WWE was going to use a 90s sitcom, they should have done Home Improvement, since the average wrestling fan’s IQ is about what it would take to make that show funny. Having Khali say “More power!” and grunting would have gone over more. Then Teddy Long leads the group in singing Pants on the Ground song and we’ve officially reached a new low. Thankfully Miz is in to say that this will be dated in five years. Five years? It had a Steve Urkel joke in it! This shit was dated as soon as it was put on paper! Miz buries the song by saying they might as well be singing “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Miz says that all people will remember is him winning the Royal Rumble. So Teddy Long orders the US title to be defended against MVP. Yea? Then Khali starts singing the dog song, and a little part of me dies.
-Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes tries to pump up Randy Orton for his title match later while burying Ted DiBiase in a weasel manner. Orton’s all conflicted looking now. Then again he was all conflicted looking when Rhodes walked into the room. Come to think about it, Orton always looks conflicted.
Match #2: United States Championship
(c) The Miz vs. M.V.P.
They dance around and Miz fires off the first kick. He tries to slam MVP in the corner but gets reversed. MVP slings himself off the turnbuckle and gets a clothesline for two. Knees to the gut and a vertical suplex for two and zero. Whip to the corner but MVP charges into a big boot. Then Miz charges into a backdrop and a clothesline. Back suplex gets two and Miz bails. MVP gives chase and brawls him on the outside, dropping him on the guardrail and tossing him back in. MVP grabs a leg but Miz kicks him off to the apron, then kicks him off the apron and into the announce table. On the outside now where Miz brawls him around and slams him into the apron. Back in the ring, Miz stomps away and drops a leg and a knee to the back. Ram into the turnbuckle, then the diving clothesline in the corner. Miz climbs and hits a sledge off the top for two. Now to a chinlock. This sadly goes on forever, killing what had been a pretty good showing thus far.
Miz shoots off MVP but lowers his head into a kick. Shoot-off and MVP pancakes Miz and hits his crappy “I wanna be like Triple H” facebuster across the knee. Ballin’ Elbow and he goes for the Playmaker. Miz escapes but gets hit with the yukuza kick. Miz hangs him up on the ropes and goes for a kneelift, but it misses and MVP hits a shoulderblock for two. Running boot in the corner misses and Miz goes for the SCF. Miz turns this into a rollup for two, then a cover for two, then a jackknife for two. Miz bails to the floor, but MVP quickly tosses him back in. Miz catches him with a small package climbing back into the ring for the pin. He then screams in MVP’s face and holds up the belt in celebration, so MVP kicks him and hits the Playmaker. Fun stuff.
*** Decent match that got a little sloppy during the last three minutes. It’s proof of how good Miz has gotten that he could drag a very watchable match out of a guy who is arguably the worst worker on the entire roster. This is shaping up to be a good show.
-Meanwhile, Big Show and Chris Jericho have a moment in the hallway. Big Show asks if Jericho is jealous about how much chemistry he has with the Miz. Jericho says that Miz is using him. Big Show is like “Kind of like what you did?” Jericho says that if it comes down to himself, Show, and Miz in the Rumble, he knows that Big Show will side with him and prove where his loyalty lies. Show says he’ll toss them both, because he’s only loyal to himself. Then R-Truth sticks his nose in and threatens to dump Jericho. Jericho says he’ll have to go through Show, who’s not there anymore. “And that’s the truth” might be the worst catchphrase ever. Meanwhile, Ron Killings is pushing 40 and still acting like he’s a teenager, and not in that cutesy Degeneration X type of way.
-Meanwhile, Ted DiBiase tries to sow seeds of doubt about Cody Rhodes in Randy Orton’s pea brain. Orton says he doesn’t want any help.
Match #3: WWE Championship
(c) Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
No video package for this one, because quite frankly these guys had done NOTHING of note to build this feud. Sheamus gets no heat on his entrance. I know they needed to build to the Orton/Legacy breakup in time for Wrestlemania, but seriously, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING with this match-up? Heel vs. Heel is risky by itself. Heel vs. Heel for the WWE Championship when one of the guys is a heatless newcomer with no credibility I think would count as legally insane, even if this was the first step towards turning Orton babyface. On top of that, Orton is the toughest guy on the roster to get a good match with on pay-per-view. That’s not a knock on his talent. Orton has had great matches in the past, and he will have great matches in the future. But this gimmick of his does not led itself to good matches. I got a lot of “Are you serious?” e-mails regarding my choice of him for worst wrestler of the year in 2009. To be clear, I’m not faulting Randy Orton for that choice. He’s like a talented actor whose agent got him involved in a bad production. They really need to tone down his insanity gimmick and allow him to fucking wrestle.
The WWE does have a bad habit of letting the gimmick dictate the matches instead of letting the wrestlers dictate the gimmick using the matches, if that makes sense. As an example, Eddie Guerrero’s run from 2003 to before his heel turn in 2005. His gimmick was to lie, cheat, and steal. That’s fine. Great gimmick. BUT, the problem is the WWE would often force this gimmick into his matches too much, and there was no way to do this without an elaborate mid-match setup. As an example, his match with Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 20, which I’m not as fond of as some. They had a great pace going, but then they had to ignore the pace so they could start setting up the gimmicked-boot ending. There was no naturalistic way to work this into the match, so Angle and Eddie had to slow everything down to a crawl to prep the ending so that the fans wouldn’t miss it. And it hurt. The same situation happened many times during his run.
Randy Orton is in the same boat. He *can* wrestle folks. He has a proven track record against a variety of opponents. But since he began this insanity gimmick in early 2009, his matches have suffered because they often have to pause in the middle of the match to start putting over the gimmick instead of the action, and that’s why the quality is not there. Imagine if you were doing your job and your boss said to you “Do half the work like you would normally do, then half-way through you have to start doing it a different way.” It doesn’t matter which way you have to do it, the quality of work is going to suffer because you have to change your normal mode of operation. So although I did award Orton the 2009 Worst Wrestler Award, it’s not a knock on the performer. It’s a knock on the WWE’s creative team. The gimmick doesn’t work the way they’re doing it. It doesn’t need to be dropped. They simply need to adjust it so that Orton doesn’t have to put over his own gimmick in the middle of a match. Small changes could lead to a big payoff.
To the match. Circle and lockup leads to Orton grabbing a headlock. Orton gets shot off and tries a shoulderblock, but it doesn’t work, so he fires off a dropkick and takes Sheamus down. He then slithers away in creepy fashion. Sheamus isn’t intimidated. Lockup and we go to the ropes, where Sheamus pushes him off. Randy tries to push back and gets double-sledged down. Arm-breaker across the knee and Orton bails. On the floor, Sheamus brawls Orton around and slams him arm across the stairs. Back in, Sheamus winds up Orton’s arm and elbows it. Powerslam attempt but Orton clips the leg and stomps away on it. Sheamus lays there while Orton stalks around to sell his gimmick, then drops a knee for two. Stomping to the leg and a standing leglock, but Sheamus kicks off. To his credit, he sells the injury, which is more then what Orton did with his arm. Sheamus sends him into the post, and then fires off a shoulderblock. Pace is snail-like right now. Orton fights back with a kick to the leg and more stomping. Orton drags him to the apron and wrings his leg on it and the post. Orton breaks the count and does nothing. Sheamus pops up and hits a cross arm-breaker for two. This match is boring.
Armbar now by Sheamus. Randy tries to fight out and takes forever in doing so. This leads to a slug-off, won out by Orton who fires off an uppercut. The victory was short-lived as Sheamus catches Randy in his sideslam into the backbreaker thingy for two. He loads up for the Celtic Cross, but Randy wiggles out and kicks at the injured leg, causing Sheamus to spill out of the ring in a pretty good bump from the big man. Sheamus to the apron, where Randy snatches him in the rope DDT. He takes a couple seconds to tie up Sheamus’ arm so it won’t cross the plane of the ropes and covers for two after Sheamus grabs the ropes anyway. Just plain wasteful. Orton sets up for the punt, but Sheamus sees it coming and bails. How could he not see it coming? He stood there in his “I’m going to go for the punt” stance. Michael Cole tries to put it over like Sheamus had the move well scouted, instead of just saying “Well, Sheamus has two working eyes. If nothing else, that’s more then Shawn Michaels has going for him!” Orton tries to brawl Sheamus on the outside but gets tossed into the post. BUT WAIT~!! because Cody Rhodes shows up and smacks Sheamus on the outside, in full view of the referee. RKO by Orton but it’s too late because he’s been disqualified. And for once, Orton’s weird, blank facial expression works.
After the match, the fans chant for Randy to RKO Cody Rhodes. Orton simply punches him down and starts to slam him into the canvas. DiBiase pulls him off and gets clotheslined down. Randy jaws with both members of Legacy. The crowd is clearly on Randy’s side, which is something the WWE doesn’t seem to have expected. Meanwhile, Sheamus is back in the ring and hits his bicycle kick on Orton so that he doesn’t seem like a total wanker. Thus the worst title reign in WWE history continues. Somewhere in hell (all wrestlers go to hell), Stan Stasiak is like “Thank you Brian Gerwitz, I’m off the hook!”
* Neither guy could get into a groove. They tried psychology and it actually worked, but heel vs. heel matches are basically impossible to pace out correctly and these guys were doomed to fail from the start. I will give them credit for making the best of a bad situation, and in reality a one-star rating was the best they could have hoped for.
Match #4: Women’s Championship
(c) Michelle McCool vs. Mickie James
McCool has the microphone and brags that Mickie James is fat and not there tonight. Lots of generic insults. Layla shows up wearing a fat suit. Then Mickie James show up and man is she pissed. Thesz Press on the outside to Layla, then she comes in the ring. Layla climbs on the apron and eats a boot to the face. DDT to McCool and that’s it for her title reign. After the match, she dumps Layla on McCool. The babyface girls then come out and dump a cake on them.
No Rating for this title change angle, but let the record show I called this as an under-a-minute match.
Match #5: World Heavyweight Championship
(c) The Undertaker vs. Rey Mysterio
Mysterio stays close to the ropes and tries to kick at the Undertaker’s leg. Taker swings and misses and Mysterio tries to slug it out. He gets hate-hooed by the fans for it. Taker picks up Mysterio and slings him out of the ring. Mysterio rolls through the fall on the ground and thus is just stunned. Matt Striker tries to argue that Mysterio’s size is an advantage. Jerry Lawler laughs it off and asks Striker when was the last time he had to submit to a wellness test. Not really, but that would have been funny. Mysterio to the apron and he tries to slug it out. He goes for a springboard but gets swatted down and back to the floor. Taker brawls and goes for the leg drop on the apron. Mysterio rolls out of the way, but that only pisses Taker off. He preps Mysterio on the bottom rope and leg drops him there. Nasty. Back in he goes for the chokeslam but Mysterio turns it into a rana to set up the 619. Taker catches it and tries for the Tombstone, but Mysterio knees his way out of it. He kicks him some more so Taker casually stomps him. Crossbody by Mysterio is met by a big boot from Taker. Mysterio rolls out of the ring.
Taker bails and slowly stalks him around, then boots him in the face. Mysterio slowly gets up and gets booted in the face again. Running boot against the post misses and Taker crotches himself. Rey gets in the ring and baseball slides Taker, sending him to the floor. Mysterio goes for a rana, which Taker counters and goes for the Wedgiebomb on the guardrail. Mysterio wiggles his way to the apron and fires off an Asai Moonsault. Mysterio in the ring to go for a baseball slide, but Taker catches him and throws him into the guardrail. Taker tosses Mysterio into the ring and covers for two, but we miss it due to the replays and thus…
Instant Replay Challenge Penalty #2
$50 Removed from Fund ($900 Remains)
Spent On: Heavy Rain (Playstation 3)
Thanks you, production fuckwits. You’re bringing me the smiles. Taker goes to work on Mysterio’s arm, knotting it up and then hoisting him up by the arm, then throwing him into the ropes. That’s just a dick move right there. And I loved it. Taker as an evil zombie heel, without all the crappy Vince Russo stuff works. Too bad it’s one match only. Taker brawls Mysterio into the apron. Shoot-off and a sideslam gets two. Taker’s mouth and nose are all bloody. Taker punches him around, but Mysterio fights back with a jawbreaker. Reverse tornado DDT by Mysterio. Taker does a zombie sit-up, but Mysterio dropkicks him in the face instantly. Nice. He drops the dime for two. Mysterio bounces off the ropes and charges straight into a clothesline. He loads up the Wedgiebomb again, but Mysterio flips out of it and dropkicks him into the ropes. 619, but Taker only ends up staggering. So Mysterio fires off a dropkick to Taker’s back and hits another 619. He goes for the West Coast Pop but Taker catches it and hits the Wedgiebomb for the pin.
***3/4 Very good match that some people threw scores a little too high at. They were unable to cut a pace more suited for this match-up because Undertaker is still dealing with mobility issues. That said, this was classic big man/little man stuff and that dynamic rarely fails. Undertaker heeled it up just enough to cut off the crowd’s initial hatred of Mysterio off at the knees. This match would have been SCARY GOOD if done before Taker’s hip issues were in place. That all said, what’s up with making Mysterio look downright decent? What makes him special and CM Punk in need of looking like a scrub? My theory: read any wrestling book or watch any shoot interview and you’ll notice one pattern… partying. Mysterio has a wellness violation and CM Punk doesn’t, which clearly shows that CM Punk is in need of being made to look like a jobber because he doesn’t know how to act like a degenerate. Mysterio has proven his manly wrestling chops and thus he can be made to look a little good against the Mostest Respectedest ManliestestÂ© guy in the WWE, the Undertaker. Come on CM Punk; just have one little sip of beer, for the fans. We’re not asking you to get stinky drunk in a taxi and get arrested or anything.
-Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels runs into Kane, who says that his obsession with Undertaker is dangerous and that he can’t beat Taker at Wrestlemania so he’s wasting his time, more or less. He leaves and Triple H shows up. Shawn and Trips basically agree to work together until the end, but Shawn tells him that his match with Undertaker is meant to be. Trips says “He knows, and that’s why he’ll find another way.” God damn I love this whole angle. Every player big and small is making it work.
Match #6: Royal Rumble Match
#1 is Dolph Ziggler. #2 is Evan Bourne. He kicks away at Ziggles and fires off a rana and a heel kick. Ziggler brawls Evan on the ropes and fires off a dropkick, but Bourne only dangles on the ropes. Shoot-off and Bourne does his knee-facebuster thingy. Bourne botches a springboard rana, but not so bad that it’s embarrassing. Ziggles almost gets dumped but holds on and hits his Zigzag. Bourne almost gets dumped but hangs on and kicks Dolph down and hits the Shooting Star Press. #3 is CM Punk. Clothesline for Bourne. He misses a spinkick and gets kneed in the face. Evan charges but runs into Dolph, and both guys get dumped by Punk. He calls for a microphone and jaws with the fans, promising to save all those awful drug addicts. â€œIt’s clobbering timeâ€. Well that’s just fucking awesome. #4 is JTG. That’s hardly fair considering that he was in the Rumble last year too. I weep for Shad. JTG smacks Punk to the corner. He jumps on the ropes to mount some punches, and then Punk casually dumps him. He calls for the microphone again. “As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…” Brilliant. It takes a real heel to complain that the match isn’t entirely halted while he talks. He reminds everyone that few people, if any, have his level of dedication. #5 is the Great Khali. Punk promises to save him and make him even greater. Khali raises his right hand to accept straight edge into his life, the skull-chops him. He goes to choke him, and someone in production is paying attention because they quickly speed up the timer.
#6 is Beth Phoenix. Didn’t see that one coming. Of all the Divas to pick though, why her? She’s big, granted, but she didn’t exactly pop the crowd. She stands up to Khali, who casually picks her up and sets her over the top rope and onto the apron, then instructs her to walk out of the match. Instead she applies a Greco-Roman lip lock and causes him to be wooed over the top rope and out of the match. CM Punk tries to clothesline her but she beats him to the punch. She fires off a bunch of forearms but it’s all for naught, because Punk hits the GTS. #7 is Zack Ryder, who gets no heat at all. Punk tries to sign him up for the Straight Edge society, but before he finishes his pitch he opts instead to hit Ryder with the mic, brawl him around, and dump him. Fans are now chanting for Punk. Fucking duh. This happens anytime someone gets a Diesel Moment. Punk gets on the mic and jaws some more. #8 is Triple H, and Punk knows better then to sign him up for the Straight Edge Society. Fans are hot for this match-up. Trips punches Punk down, then CM lowers his head into a facebuster. Punk hits his kneelift, but can’t complete the combo when Trips pushes off the bulldog and hits a spinebuster. #9 is Drew McIntyre, who has no heat and never will. He takes his sweet time. Trips gets pissy and calls him into the ring. He does and they brawl. Flying knee to McIntyre, KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~!! to Punk is turned into the GTS, but that’s reversed and Trips tosses Punk. Trips then charges into a back-elbow from Drew. #10 is Ted DiBiase, who is not a star and thus gets no reaction. Trips smacks him down but gets caught charging and is powerslammed. Short-arm clothesline by McIntyre to Trips, then DiBiase drops a few fists. Drew and Teddy discuss strategy.
#11 is John Morrison, and he’s gunning for McIntyre. Heel kick to DiBiase, then mounted punches to McIntyre. Drew goes for something but Morrison plants him with a DDT. DiBiase stomps Morrison down and slowly loads up the Million Dollar Nightmare, but Morrison counters out of that. Starshit Pain to McIntyre completely whiffs in embarrassing fashion, but it’s one of those whiffs where he meant to hit it and thus Drew has to sell it like a schmuck. Triple H then clotheslines Morrison down. #12 is Kane, in his 12th Rumble. Thankfully the WWE doesn’t decide to have too much fun with the number twelve and spares us from having him dump twelve guys. Punches for all and a clothesline to DiBiase in the corner, followed by a sideslam. Double chokeslam to Morrison and McIntyre, and then a big boot to Trips. DiBiase comes off the ropes with a sledge attempt but gets caught coming down. Kane hoists Teddy up and tries to dump him, but Trips saves. Chokeslam to Trips for being such a douchebag. #13 is Cody Rhodes, who saves DiBiase from Kane. They double up on him, and then Cody gives Trips a crappy looking Russian leg sweep. Short-arm clothesline to McIntyre by Rhodes, then he goes to dump Morrison. Morrison saves and tries to spring off the ropes, but Cody dropkicks him coming down. Stinging jabs to Kane by Cody, then DiBiase joins him and they try to dump him. Trips saves and almost dumps Cody. #14 is MVP, but he doesn’t make it past the stage before Miz shows up and hits him in the back of the head with the US title belt. Kane punches McIntyre around, and then Drew grabs a front-facelock. Chopkick by Morrison to Drew. Why is everyone saving Kane? Apparently nobody gives a shit that he has the record for most eliminations in a single Rumble. Kane goes after Legacy. #15 is Carlito. No reaction. He goes after everyone, dropkicking Trips and hitting a springboard elbow on both members of Legacy. Monkey flip to Morrison where John has to over do it like he does every fucking move and he takes the bump on his face, making the whole thing look weak. Kane goes after Carlito and gets punched in the knee. Backstabber to Triple H, then to McIntyre (who botches it, naturally), and then one to DiBiase. Carlito looks for someone else to do it to, but everyone else is occupied.
#16 is Miz. SCF to Carlito. BUT WAIT~!! because MVP is still alive and he dumps himself and Miz over the top rope, then mounts some more punches on the floor. Right, because this feud is sooooo hot that it simply must continue. Drew almost gets dumped by Morrison while Legacy almost gets rid of Trips. Nothing comes of either. Trips almost dumps Carlito. #17 is Matt Hardy. Twist of Fate to McIntyre, then a Side Effect to Rhodes. DiBiase misses a charge and eats a boot. Then Kane swats Hardy out of the match. Trips takes advantage and dumps Kane. Spinebusters for all and then he loads up Cody for the Pedigree, but McIntyre saves with a chopblock. #18 is Shawn Michaels, who gets a surprisingly meek pop. Carlito charges at him and gets backdropped out. Atomic drops for Legacy and Rhodes charges and gets dumped. Ted DiBiase charges and gets dumped without any pomp or circumstance, or even an acknowledgement of his elimination by the announcers. Why? Because he’s not a star. I can’t believe anyone actually expected that talent-less piece of luggage to get booked to win the Rumble. Michaels chops at McIntyre, and then fires off the flying forearm and the nip-up. Morrison goes for the chopkick on Michaels but whiffs and gets dumped. Ping-pong punches by DX to McIntyre and they both dump him. #19 is John Cena, and thus we get a rematch of the 2009 Match of the Year Runner-Up. Shoulderblocks for both, and then in a NASTY SPOT John does the protoplex to Trips, spinning him around and smacking his head into Shawn’s, then he drops Trips down on Shawn. Fucking ouch ouch ouch! Double five-knuckle shuffle in the most douchey looking way possible to DX. Cena loads up Shawn for the FU, but Trips saves with the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~!! And then Shawn hits sweet chin music and knocks Triple H clean out of the match. Huge pop for that and an awesome callback to the Survivor Series match. Again, I can’t stress enough how every aspect of Shawn Michaels has ruled since the Slammy Awards. #20 is Shelton Benjamin. Punches for all and a step-over kick to Cena. Springboard elbow to Shawn, then a German suplex to Cena. Pay dirt to Shawn, and he coils down to dump Cena but gets caught and dumped. Michaels slowly fires off a back-suplex to Cena.
#21 is Yoshi Tatsu. Spinkick to Michaels, then a kicking combo to Cena. Weird roll-through dropkick to Shawn, but then Cena avoids a kick and dumps Tatsu. Only Tatsu didn’t get off his feet enough, so Cena looks like he gets frustrated and dead lifts him out of the ring. Shawn chops at Cena in the corner but gets shot-off and hit with a bulldog. Cena brawls him in the corner. #22 is Big Show. Cena sells this like the Grim Reaper himself is coming down the entrance ramp to harvest his soul. Shawn goes for a crossbody but gets caught. He turns this into a headlock and nearly drags Show out of the ring. Cena tries to assist but Big Show fights both guys off. So Cena tries to FU Shawn out of the ring. Shawn wiggles out and tries to superkick Cena, but that gets ducked and Shawn gets dumped. He holds on and skins the cat, almost catching Show in a rana. But that doesn’t work either and Show tosses him down into the canvas. #23 is Mark Henry, and we get the big ‘battle of the behemoths’ moment. Stare down leads to Henry firing off some slow punches. He tries to slam Show but that gets blocked and Show fires off a headbutt. Cena shoulderblocks him twice, and then Henry scoopslams him. Cena tries to FU him but Henry collapses on him. #24 is Chris Masters, with new ultra-ultra-ultra generic music and no heat. The music was new, not the lack of heat. He sends Shawn to the corner and then press-slams him. He then goes for the Master Lock on Big Show, which is pretty retarded. Not Sarah Palin retarded, but pretty dumb. He gets dumped. Henry tries to dump Show and Shawn joins him. #25 is R-Truth, who dumps Show and Henry. I’m not sure what the WWE sees in this guy but they sure are pushing him to the moon. Scissor-kick to Cena and a flowing hiptoss to Shawn. Front-Russian leg sweep to Cena, then he brawls Shawn to the corner.
#26 is Jack Swagger, who’s got such a funny face on while running to the ring that he makes Jerry Lawler laugh. Pump-splashes to Cena and Michaels. Vertical suplexes for both too. Oklahoma stampede to R-Truth. He really needs to be faster about doing it, like Dr. Death was. Shawn chops Swagger but lowers his head into a kick. Swagger dumps Shawn over the top rope but Michaels grabs the ropes. #27 is Kofi Kingston, who drew the magic number. They should have just made Edge this number to keep it magical. He comes off the top with a crossbody to Swagger. Dropkick and clothesline follows, then the boom drop. Kofi charges Swagger, gets caught, but still dumps him. Kofi ducks a Shawn Michaels chop and dropkick him as well. Truth brawls with Kofi and almost dumps him, but Kofi eliminates him with a bodyscissors. #28 is Chris Jericho and its clotheslines for all. He brawls Cena in the corner and shoots him off for a back-elbow. More brawling to Cena, who fights back with the FU. Shawn plants Cena with a DDT and then sets Jericho up for the flying elbow. Lawler cringes but Matt Striker points out that everyone is on the mat and thus it’s safe. It does hit and he tunes up the band. Kofi saves with the Tornado kick, and that was silly of Kofi because he turns around and gets FUed out of the match. Code Breaker to Cena. #29 is Edge. Huge pop. Jericho is like “oh shit.” Spears to all. Fans are hot for Edge as he quickly dumps Jericho. Edge-o-Matic to Michaels, then he escapes the FU and hits the implant DDT on Cena. Choppery and he hoists Shawn up to dump him.
FINAL FOUR: Shawn Michaels, Edge, John Cena, and #30, Batista. First time that the #30 entry leads straight into the final four sequence. This is one tightly booked Rumble. Spinebuster to Edge and clotheslines to everyone else from Batista. Powerslam to Shawn and a spinebuster to Cena. Edge spears Batista and then gets FUed. This is fucking awesome. Matt Striker points out that everyone in the ring has main evented Wrestlemania. Pretty star-studded. Flying forearm by Shawn to Cena, the nip-up, atomic drop, and a chop. Atomic drop and a chop to Batista. Scoopslams to Cena and Batista and Shawn climbs. Michael Cole tries to act smart like Matt Striker and points out that everyone else is on the canvas. Enziguri to Batista and Shawn climbs. Flying elbow to Cena, then he climbs and gives one to Batista as well. Sweet Chin Music to both. Edge dumps both himself and Shawn over the top rope. They both hang on and get to the apron, where Shawn hits him with Sweet Chin Music. Out of nowhere Batista comes and clubs out Shawn, who tries to hang on desperately but falls off the ropes and his eliminated. I’m embarrassed for those fans and ‘smart’ writers who claimed this was an accidental elimination. You have to be a knuckle-dragging retard to believe it.
Shawn’s out and Batista is feeling good about himself. Shawn is in total disbelief, and the ref is a little insensitive for asking him to quickly walk to the back. Shawn gives him a little sensitivity training by tossing him down and getting back into the ring. Charles Robinson tries to talk some sense into him and gets superkicked as well. Shawn then stares at his hands in awe. If this leads to him asking to be called Mr. Shawn Michaels and running for president, I’m on board. All three guys are out. Not sure how that happened, but that was a long pause. Then again, if a Jesus freak started talking to himself and acting all bug-eyed, I would play dead too. They’re in Georgia after all. Batista loads up for a Powerbomb but Cena wiggles out of it. Batista charges at him and gets low-bridged out of the ring. Cena is holding onto the ropes while Edge is set up to fire off a spear. Cena hits a kick to block it, but Edge shrugs it off and dumps Cena to win it all. Interesting choice for a winner.
***** Damn fine Rumble match. After five years of some really piss poor, quite frankly boring, Rumble matches, the WWE righted every possible wrong. Name one problem common to the Rumble and it was fixed here. Too many wrestlers in the ring doing nothing? Solution: keep the minimum number of wrestlers in the ring at all times. Too much random brawling? Solution: have guys just fire off their finishers left and right. Too much emphasis on near eliminations? Solution: Make every elimination a meaningful, deliberate thing and keep the apron dancing down. Clearly someone in the WWE was paying attention to all the criticism directed at the Rumble match because they fixed everything. That alone wouldn’t have been enough to five-star it, but thankfully most of the storylines made sense too. The WWE weaved multiple angles together and created one beautiful masterpiece. This was a crowning achievement and the best Royal Rumble match ever. Huge props.
Special Feature: Bret Hart confronts Vince McMahon the next night on Raw. Batista jumps him and they double up on him. Lame. Here’s a thought, WWE: why not include dark matches?
BOTTOM LINE: No sense of beating around the bush here. You get four out of six matches with passing grades and the signature match, the Royal Rumble, is the best its breed has ever produced. Huge thumbs up!
See you soon for Ring of Honor action.
Tags: batista, Beth Phoenix, big show, carlito, chris jericho, chris masters, christian, cm punk, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, edge, evan bourne, Ezekiel Jackson, Great Khali, jack swagger, john cena, John Morrison, JTG, kane, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, Matt Hardy, michelle mccool, Mickie James, mvp, R-Truth, randy orton, rey mysterio, royal rumble, shawn michaels, sheamus, shelton benjamin, ted dibiase, The Great Khali, The Miz, the undertaker, triple h, yoshi tatsu, zack ryder