The 19th annual WWE Royal Rumble match was the centerpiece of the Rumble PPV in January 2006. It was a few months after the shocking death of Eddie Guerrero in November 2005 and a lot of the build going into this match centered around Rey Mysterio promising to win it for his fallen friend. Going into the show, I don’t think a lot of us believed WWE would really pull the trigger on a Rey win since Rey was the smallest guy in the match. In other words, we had to see it to believe it.
I remember watching this show with a heavy heart, but also a smile because it made me think of all the great performances Eddie gave us over the years.
The other big matches on the card included Edge defending his newly won WWE Title against John Cena. They went on to have one of the biggest rivalries in the company in 2006. Also, Kurt Angle defended his newly won World Heavyweight Title against a surprising challenger in Mark Henry. It was an average looking lineup, so there wasn’t too much to be excited about.
If you want even more coverage about the 2006 Royal Rumble, I also wrote a full review of the WWE Untold episode about Rey Mysterio that covered this Rumble as well.
This review was originally written in September 2018. I’m going to add some updated thoughts in blue font as well.
This show was used to set up WrestleMania 22 (read my review here).
WWE Royal Rumble
January 29, 2006
American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida
The show earned a TV with “S” for Sexual Content rating. Hello ladies.
The opening video package focused on Kurt Angle vs. Mark Henry for the World Heavyweight Title, the 30 men in the Royal Rumble match and Edge defending the WWE Title against John Cena. It ended hyping up that the road to WrestleMania 22 begins now.
The pyro went off by the entrance the crowd in Miami was loud with 16,178 announced by Michael Cole as the crowd. The duo of Cole and Tazz were at ringside for Smackdown while Joey Styles and Jerry Lawler were at ringside for Raw. The Spanish announce team were at ringside hoping nobody breaks their damn table.
The cruiserweights started the show with a Cruiserweight Open for the Cruiserweight Championship that was exclusive to Smackdown. It was open to the current champions and former champions. Kid Kash was the champion.
Cruiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Kid Kash, Funaki, Jamie Noble, Nunzio, Paul London, Gregory Helms
Pre-match notes: The heels were Kash, Noble, Nunzio and Helms while London and Funaki were faces. Helms was a Raw guy, but he was eligible for this as a former Cruiserweight Champion.
All six guys are in the ring at once. The first pinfall or submission wins the match.
Helms was targeted by four guys early on since he was a Raw guy. Kash worked over Funaki with kicks for a two count. Nunzio with a neckbreaker on Kash for two with Noble breaking it up. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio. London hit a dropsault on Helms and landed on Noble for a two count. London with a body slam on Helms followed by a senton splash. Helms tossed London over the top to the floor. Nunzio nailed the Sicilian Slice to the back of the head for two. Funaki hit a bulldog on Noble for two. Most of the two counts were caused by guys breaking up the pin. Kash with a back body drop on Nunzio onto London and Helms on the floor. Noble with a leg lariat on Kash for two. Noble with a suicide dive on Nunzio on the floor. Kash sent Funaki to the apron, Funaki with a punch, Funaki up top and Kash tossed Funaki off the top onto three guys off the floor. London with a kick that sent Kash out of the ring. London up top and he hit a Shooting Star Press on three of the guys on the floor. That was impressive with fans chanting “Holy Shit” for it. Helms and London battled on the top with Kash on the mat underneath them and Helms hit a swinging neckbreaker off the top for two. Kash with a dropkick on Helms. Kash hit the Dead Level brainbuster on London with Nunzio and Funaki breaking up the pin. Backbreaker by Kash on Nunzio. Noble kicked Kash out of the ring. Noble had Funaki on his back and hit the knees to the gut for a gutbuster. Helms tossed Noble out of the ring. Helms with a Shining Wizard knee to the head for the pinfall win on Funaki at 7:40.
Winner and New Cruiserweight Champion: Gregory Helms
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a fast-paced match with a lot of excitement. It’s nice when you can get a match without the headlocks to slow it down and it’s all about going for pinfalls due to there being six guys in the match. I like the way it was booked with several moments where somebody could have won, but ultimately it was Helms that outsmarted them all.
(This was booked well although it was too short to really be much of a match. They had some good matches featuring the cruiserweights in 2006. Helms ended up having a very long title reign and did great with his new character that was completely different than his Hurricane run.)
Post match, Helms celebrated with the title. Helms was a Raw guy going into the match, but he was a Smackdown guy after this. He had a long run as champion and was very entertaining in the role.
Vince McMahon and Teddy Long were in Vince’s office talking about Royal Rumble excitement. Vince liked Teddy’s bowtie. Vince told Teddy he’ll handle the Rumble number drawing. The lovely trio of Candice Michelle, Victoria and Torrie Wilson were sitting by the tumbler for the number drawings during the show. Vince flirted with the ladies. Randy Orton was the first man to pick a number. Orton was happy with it. Triple H was up next, and told Orton he’s not standing a chance tonight. Hunter: “Would you mind opening the box for me?” Innuendo is fun. Hunter asked Candice to hold his ball. Hunter opened the ball and had a stunned look on his face. Orton said tough luck, he’ll see him out there or…maybe not.
Analysis: The three women were sometimes known as Vince’s Devils since they were heels. They were lovely. As for the Hunter thing, it teased something interesting in the Rumble as far as his number in the match.
Trish Stratus, the Women’s Champion, was backstage in her referee gear. Mickie James went up to her to say that she loves her. Trish was stunned and left because her music was playing.
Trish entered as the referee looking amazing as always. Mickie James was up next to a mixed reaction because it was early in her career. Ashley Massaro was up last. She was the 2005 Diva Search winner that only had a few months of training. She was not very good in the ring.
Mickie James vs. Ashley Massaro (Trish Stratus as referee)
Pre-match notes: Ashley was the face and James was something of a tweener at this point. Stratus was the face referee.
Mickie and Ashley locked up, then rolled out to the floor and were still locked up. Ashley managed to get a cradle for a one count. Ashley with an arm drag, so Mickie left the ring to take a break and Trish told Mickie to get back in the ring. When Mickie was on the apron, Ashley kicked her out again. Ashley with a clothesline off the apron onto Mickie on the floor. Back in the ring, Ashley with punches, Trish pulled her back and Mickie hit Ashley in the back with a punch. Mickie pulled back on the leg of Ashley to slow it down. They left the ring with Mickie slamming Ashley into the ring post. Mickie with a baseball slide dropkick that knocked Ashley down. Mickie hit a Fisherman’s Suplex for a two count. Mickie pulled back on Ashley’s arms with the announcers doing a good job of putting over the story of Mickie looking for Trish’s approval. Ashley with punches that looked bad and Ashley kicked Mickie down. Ashley tossed Mickie around by the hair. Ashley got a sloppy pin attempt for two. Ashley with some awful looking punches. Trish pulled her off. Ashley with a sloppy tackle into the turnbuckle. Mickie hit a Powerbomb after Ashley was punching her against the ropes, Mickie pulled on the tights and hit the Powerbomb. Trish counted one…two…pause and three to give Mickie the win at 7:44.
Winner by pinfall: Mickie James
Analysis: 1/2* Bad match. It pains me to say that about a Mickie match, but this was poor and I’m sure they knew it. It’s crazy that they would put Ashley out there for seven minutes on a PPV when she barely had any experience. Ashley’s punches looked bad. The story was mostly about pushing Mickie’s angle with Trish and giving Mickie a win to set her up for WrestleMania against Trish.
(It made me sad reading about this knowing Ashley committed suicide in 2019 when she was just 40 years old. Gone far too soon. She wasn’t the most talented in the ring, but she always tried hard and had a connection with the fans, which is important. God bless her loved ones.)
Post match, Mickie celebrated and tried hugging Trish, but Trish kept pushing her way. Mickie made Trish raise her hand as the winner. Lawler had a funny line about how he needs to have a cigarette now.
Analysis: The story progressed from there with Mickie turning heel and setting up the big WrestleMania match against Trish.
Vince and the three ladies were in the office with the tumbler. Vince showed Vince a tattoo on her boob. Victoria had one that said “Divas” on her back. Big Show wanted to show his tattoos, but Vince said just a number. Candice gave Show his number, he seemed to like it and that was it. Rey Mysterio showed up, Show said it’s cool that he’s dedicating tonight to Eddie and Show reminded him it’s every man for himself. Rey was wearing an Eddie Guerrero shirt with the “EG” armband. Rey said “you’ve got to be kidding me” and pointed up as if Eddie was behind it.
Analysis: There was a lot of mentioning of Eddie on this show and in the months that followed.
John Bradshaw Layfield made his entrance with Jillian Hall without the limo entrance. She was in a short skirt and showing a lot of cleavage. Jillian had the ridiculous mole bitten off her face by The Boogeyman, so she was back to looking normal, which is good for her. The Boogeyman made his entrance “from the bottomless pit.” The creative team must have spent some time there when they thought of this gimmick.
Analysis: I think Jillian is one of the most underrated women in WWE history due to the silliness of the mole gimmick and then the comedy singing gimmick that she did. She had talent in the ring and could have had a bigger role if they used her better.
The Boogeyman vs. John Bradshaw Layfield (w/Jillian Hall)
Pre-match notes: The Boogeyman was the face that loved to eat worms while JBL was the heel. This was Boogeyman’s PPV debut.
JBL brought Jillian in the ring for some reason, there was a worm coming out of Boogeyman’s mouth and JBL hid behind Jillian. JBL shoved Jillian into the Boogeyman, she collapsed and Boogeyman spit worms on her. She screamed as if she was in a horror movie. Tazz: “There’s a worm sticking out her cleavage!” He said it. Not me.
The bell finally rang. JBL attacked Boogeyman with punches. Boogeyman got in a punch, but JBL sent Boogeyman out of the ring and whipped him into the steel steps. Boogeyman no sold JBL’s blows until JBL hit a boot to the face to take him down. JBL sent Boogeyman in the ring, Jillian on the apron, JBL choked him with tape and hit him with punches. JBL ran the ropes, he went for the Clothesline from Hell, Boogeyman moved, JBL hit the ring post with his shoulder and Boogeyman hit a Pumphandle Slam for the pinfall win at 1:54.
Winner by pinfall: The Boogeyman
Analysis: 1/4* A quick match to put over Boogeyman with one move. I think it’s silly that a former WWE Champion lost to one move (two if you count hitting the ring post), but that’s how WWE booked Boogeyman in short matches since he was a poor worker that was unable to have good matches. It was mostly a shock value gimmick.
(Awful like most Boogeyman matches. At least Jillian looked great.)
Post match, Boogeyman did his dance routine. Boogeyman had dozens of worms in his mouth as part of his celebration.
Vince and the girls were in the office again with the tumbler. Mama Benjamin showed up, she called Vince “daddy” and said last time she saw Vince, he had his pants around his ankles. Shelton Benjamin picked his number and he seemed happy with it. Benjamin said he’ll make Vince’s nigh by throwing Shawn Michaels over the top rope. Melina showed up to wish Shelton the best of luck. Melina complained about the working conditions on Smackdown and asked Vince to look into that. Mercury and Nitro drew their numbers. Melina said that the WWE Tag Team Champions would be happy to eliminate Shawn Michaels. Vince told Melina she had pretty eyes. Vince invited the girls to sit with him on the couch to enjoy the Rumble. Torrie told Vince her dog Chloe has a “Vince” tattoo. Heels lie.
Analysis: Vince loved being around the hot women in segments like that. Must be nice.
The video package aired about the Royal Rumble match with 15 Raw superstars and 15 Smackdown superstars.
The Royal Rumble announcers are Michael Cole of Smackdown and Jerry Lawler of Raw.
The five-man cheerleader group known as The Spirit Squad did a pre-Royal Rumble cheer to annoy the crowd.
Lillian Garcia is the ring announcer and she botches some of the rules, but she eventually gets it right. The intervals are at about 90 seconds for the Royal Rumble. It’s Triple H at #1 with Rey Mysterio in the #2 spot. Rey comes out in a low rider like Eddie Guerrero used to do and he wears an Eddie shirt, which he leaves on the windshield of the car. Rey was hugely over here.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Hunter was a heel here while Rey was as popular as ever because they were mentioning the late Eddie Guerrero a lot, which only helped him in terms of popularity. The crowd chants “Eddie” fairly early. Rey hits a missile dropkick, HHH avoids it and hits a clothesline. We’ve got the fitness guru Simon Dean at #3 coming out on a segway. He works on Rey, but Rey avoids elimination. Simon thinks he’s out, wants a high five from HHH and Rey hits a seated senton leading to both of them throwing him out. Rey takes over and hits a Bronco Buster on HHH. Psicosis of the Mexicools is #4. Great worker, but he never got much of a push in WWE. He goes after Rey and hits a spinning kick on HHH, then he picks up Rey who leg drops HHH in the face. Psicosis hits a spinning facebuster on Rey. He goes for a powerbomb, Rey counters with headscissors and Psicosis gets eliminated. That was a fantastic counter. WOO for #5 Ric Flair, who is in babyface mode. He’ll party with you, but his credit card might be declined. Be warned. He had a feud with HHH to end 2005. The crowd is super hot for Flair. He goes after HHH, hitting a backdrop and all of his usual offense. HHH gets the facebuster with the knee, so Flair counters by GRABBING HIS BALLS! WOO! Hunter gives him a thumb to the eye, so Flair does one back. He walks into Hunter and HHH backdrops him out. Flair lasted about 90 seconds as we’re back to the two guys. I would have liked to see more Flair in this match.
Well it’s a Big Show at #6, who was also feuding with Triple H around this time. Rey has been chilling in the corner during all this. The story was that Triple H broke Show’s hand with a sledgehammer, yet here Show is beating on him with the right hand. He headbutts Rey, then he goes for Triple H and hits a side slam. Show hits a bodyslam and a couple of elbows to keep Triple H down. The #7 spot is The Coach, who is in his second straight Rumble. He was announcing on Raw at this point. The crowd starts a “You Suck” chant for him. He goes after Show with a punch, Show grabs him around the neck and shoves him out of the ring. Show hits a press slam on Triple H. A big pop for Bobby Lashley at #8, who was on the verge of a big push. He was undefeated here and you could tell management really wanted to move him up the card rather quickly. Show goes for a chokeslam, but Lashley avoids that and hits a backdrop on Show to put him down. He boots him out of the ring under the bottom rope. He powers Rey down and hits HHH with a shoulderblock. It’s one half of the tag champs, Kane at #9. He was the babyface partner of Big Show. He has a showdown with Lashley where neither guy goes down, so Kane just boots him in the face to knock him down. That works. Lashley hits an overhead belly to belly suplex. Lashley hits a press slam on Triple H and then he hit the Dominator on Kane. That was pretty damn awesome I have to say. The #10 guy is Sylvan, who was Smackdown’s fashion consultant at this point. This gimmick didn’t last very long. He hits Lashley from behind, which wasn’t a smart idea as Lashley eliminates him with a hip toss. Double chokeslam by Kane & Show onto Lashley. That was nice. They dump Lashley. That was an impressive 3 or 4 minutes by Lashley. Well booked. Kane and Show start brawling even though they are partners. Kane boots Show, then he chokes him, but Show chokes him back. They both pull down on the rope a bit and Triple H comes up from behind to throw Show & Kane out. We’re back to just HHH and Mysterio.
It’s Carlito from Raw in the #11 spot. He was a heel who they wanted to push, but they never totally got behind him. Rey misses a moonsault and Carlito counters him to hit the Back Stabber. Triple H eye pokes him. Carlito’s able to kick him and punch him down as we wait on the next guy. It’s babyface Chris Benoit at #12 to a big pop. Chops for everybody and a release German suplex for Rey. There’s a release German suplex for Triple H, Carlito counters one and Benoit puts him in the Crossface, which leads to Carlito tapping. Hunter throws Benoit in, who takes the bump sternum first Bret Hart style. Hunter and Benoit try to suplex eachother while Chris is on the apron, then they fight on the turnbuckle where Benoit headbutts him down and nails the flying headbutt. We’ve got Booker T. in the #13 spot. Benoit throws him out in 18 seconds even though Booker was the US Champion. Shows how much they cared about that belt. Benoit pairs off with Triple H while Carlito works on Rey. The fresher guys are working over the tired guys. Here’s Joey Mercury at #14, who comes out with Melina. It’s a shame we don’t see Melina’s entrance because she was ridiculously hot in these days with the short skirts. Mercury goes after Carlito. Benoit catches Mercury with a German suplex, but he counters with a reverse DDT. It’s Tatanka at #15, who is a surprise entrant that’s come back from the 90s. He actually hung around for a while after this. I was very shocked that they would bring Tatanka back of all people, but he did have a lot of energy at least. There are six guys in the ring as we reach the halfway point.
It’s Johnny Nitro (Morrison) at #16, also of the heel MNM tag team that were the tag champs on Smackdown at this time. Benoit nearly eliminates Hunter, but he’s able to slide back in. There’s not a whole lot going on, so the crowd starts an “Eddie” chant. We’ve got Trevor Murdoch at #17, who was not exactly a bodybuilder. Hunter goes to eliminate Rey, but he’s able to hang on once again as he hugs the bottom rope to stay in. He dropkicks Triple H to the knee and hits a seated dropkick to the face. It’s Eugene at #18 to a big pop from the crowd. He wants to shake Murdoch’s hand, but he punches him a few times and Eugene Hulks Up on Murdoch leading to the Airplane Spin. That tires Eugene out and Rey hits a double bulldog on both guys. It’s Road Warrior Animal at #19, who is immediately attacked by MNM, but he counters them with a clothesline and hits a powerslam on HHH. There are some near eliminations, but everybody’s able to stay in there. A big pop for Rob Van Dam at #20. He was out since the middle of 2005, so he was very fresh and the crowd chants “RVD! RVD!” for him very loudly. He hits kicks on everybody in the ring. Spin kick on Benoit. Double dropkick on MNM. Eugene starts clapping. Van Dam dumps Animal out.
The #21 spot belongs to Orlando Jordan, who Cole says has plenty to prove. Doesn’t everybody? The crowd chants for RVD. He gets a kick to the jaw of Carlito, who nearly gets eliminated, but he’s able to hang on. Big pop for Chavo Guerrero at #22, who was a babyface due to the death of Eddie. Big “Eddie” chants as soon as Chavo gets in there. He hits a lovely headscissors on Carlito. Vintage Eddie time as he hits the Three Amigos suplex. To the top, Chavo goes for the Frog Splash, but HHH shoves him out of the ring to huge heel heat. Oh yeah for Matt Hardy at #23, who is in babyface mode. He hits the Side Effect. Super Crazy of the Mexicools is #24. There’s not too much action here with the ring piling up. It’s getting a little too congested for my liking. Rey nearly gets Carlito out while HHH nearly gets thrown out by Hardy. A massive pop for #25 Shawn Michaels. His main feud at this time was with Vince McMahon. Murdoch charges into Michaels, but Shawn ducks and Murdoch is eliminated. Shawn hangs on when Carlito tries to throw him out.
The final five begins with Chris Masters at #26, who does his full entrance as Vince has a joygasm backstage. He comes in throwing fists. If they really wanted to push him he should have thrown multiple people out right away. Hunter’s able to hang on from a Hardy elimination attempt. The World’s Largest Love Machine Viscera is #27 as The King wonders who can throw him out over the top rope. I don’t know King except for the fact that he loses every year. But that doesn’t matter because he’s a threat to win. Samoan Drop on Hardy. Then he jumps on Hardy and does the humping to Hardy. One of the worst moves in the history of wrestling. Hardy goes for a Twist of Fate on Viscera, so Viscera picks him up and throws him out. Now Matt can have grapes. The #28 spot is Shelton Benjamin, who was in heel mode with his “momma” by his side. That gimmick didn’t work. Benoit throws out Eugene. Things are really quiet as Shelton Benjamin hits a spin kick on Triple H. Here’s a surprise at #29 in the form of Goldust. He hits the atomic drop and clothesline immediately. Triple H nearly eliminates Benjamin, but he hangs on. “Hey hey there’s nothing you can say” for Randy Orton in the #30 spot as a heel. He goes after Benoit right away and he eliminates him. RKO on Viscera. The ring is full of dudes. I can’t even count. Cole says we’re at 50 minutes now.
The team of Masters & Carlito eliminate Viscera. Then Carlito dumps out Masters because he’s evil like that. Goldust hits Shattered Dreams on Carlito although that allows RVD to spin kick Goldust out of the match. Jordan works on Orton and Orton is able to eliminate him. Michaels hits the flying forearm on Triple H and an atomic drop, but MNM saves HHH. MNM hits a double Gutbuster on Michaels. Michaels backdrops Mercury, then Nitro charges in, HBK moves, Mercury is out and HBK clotheslines Nitro out to get rid of both MNM guys in succession. Shawn turns around right into a Dragon Kick from Benjamin. There are 7 guys in the match. Right on cue Michaels eliminates Benjamin with a superkick while Benjamin is on the apron. And Benjamin goes flying. Vince McMahon’s music starts as he walks out in a suit. No running this year. Running leads to torn quads! Shane McMahon appears from behind and he throws Shawn out of the match. Then he does the Shane O Mac dance just for fun. Michaels chases Shane, HHH tries to Pedigree Shawn, but Shawn fights out and superkicks Triple H. We’ve got five left. RVD eliminates Carlito with a spin kick.
Final four: Triple H, Orton, RVD and Mysterio. RVD boots Orton down and then along with Rey they hit a double leg drop on HHH followed by a moonsault/Rolling Thunder combo on Orton. That was sweet. RVD to the top, HHH crotches him, Rey charges and HHH propels him into RVD who gets eliminated as Rey accidentally eliminates RVD. Now it’s HHH and Orton left with Rey. They double team Rey as the announcers forecast doom for Rey. He manages to hit a double DDT on them. He dropkicks each guy a few times, showing a lot of fight. He sets up both guys for the 619 and hits it. Seated senton on Orton, but HHH comes back with a clothesline as all three guys are down. That was a really good sequence. The “Eddie” chant starts up once again. Orton hits a powerslam on HHH, which Cole now calls a scoop slam because he’s an idiot. HHH comes back with a Spinebuster on Orton. Triple H goes for a Spinebuster on Rey, but Rey hooks his legs around him and propels Triple H over the top to the floor. Great elimination. There was a huge pop for that since Triple H was the favorite. After the elimination Triple H was pissed off, so he grabs Rey and throws him into the steel steps before tossing him back into the ring. Orton, who has a head full of hair by the way, realizes Mysterio is out. He picks up Rey slowly, puts him on his shoulder, charges in and Rey hangs on to flip Orton out with a hurricanrana for the win. Fantastic finish. The match ended at 62:12.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: I’ll use point form thoughts for it.
– The beginning was okay, the middle was below average and the ending was fantastic especially with the final three guys. They really booked it well by setting it up with Rey as the underdog against two dominant heels, yet he overcame the odds to get the win. It’s hard to book the smallest guy to go the distance and to win the match, but they did a pretty good job of it. It would have been stupid for him to eliminate 10 guys or some outrageously high number. Eliminating six was fine because it was spread out. Rey didn’t dominate. He just did enough to win.
– Hunter was excellent. You could tell the crowd believed he was going to win. He portrayed the bully well. He turned face later in 2006, so this was his last true heel run. This match actually made me want to see Hunter vs. Rey at Mania. Instead, we got Cena over Hunter in the main event (so even though Hunter lost here he really got to main event) and the Rey-Angle-Orton triple threat that was way too short for reasons I’ll never understand.
– According to former WWE writer Court Bauer, Triple H was the original choice to win this match. From a Bauer interview in 2013: “It came down to Hunter or Rey winning and obviously most people were pushing for Hunter. Very few people were pushing for Rey, but the right guy was able to push that through and get it into the end zone, and that guy was Pat Patterson. Pat Patterson, Bruce Prichard and myself obviously wanted Rey to win. Pat had the most influence because he’s Pat Patterson, and really was the most influential in getting that decision and getting Rey over… But that was something that came down to the last ten days.”
In the end, it didn’t really matter because Triple H main evented WrestleMania that year in a match against John Cena as I mentioned earlier.
– The Michaels-McMahon feud was okay. I don’t think it was ever great at any point. It was just a case of Vince wanting to work with Shawn, I think. The silliness that followed with Shawn teaming with “God” was ridiculous although it set up the return of DX, which a lot of people loved.
– I was a bit sad watching this show with all the Eddie tributes. Really miss that guy.
ROYAL RUMBLE FACTS AND OPINIONS
Person that lasted the longest: Rey Mysterio at 62:12. (That’s still the record in the 30-man Royal Rumble match. It was broken by Daniel Bryan in the 50-man Greatest Royal Rumble match.)
Most Eliminations: Rey Mysterio with 6.
Best Elimination: I liked Mysterio’s elimination of Triple H the best. The crowd reacted to it huge too.
Match Rating: ***3/4 The first third was pretty good, but things dragged way too much in the middle before ending in spectacular fashion. Overall, it was a very entertaining match with the crowd invested in everything especially Mysterio’s win at the end.
(I think it was a very good Rumble match for the most part. The ending is always so important and they built up to the finish so well, so it’s hard for me to not like it. The story of Rey finding a way to win by eliminating the bigger guys was pretty damn cool. There were plenty of other good moments in the match along the way too.)
Mysterio celebrated the win and pointed up to the heavens as if he was saluting his late friend Eddie Guerrero.
There was a clip of Trish Stratus doing a WWE Instant Access WWE.com interview with Mickie James showing up thanking her. Trish said she just did her job. Mickie said she loved Trish and Trish loved her. Mickie left happily while Trish wanted to try to catch up to her.
There was a shot of Rey Mysterio backstage with Chris Benoit, Chavo Guerrero and Dean Malenko celebrating the win. Edge walked up with the WWE Title with Lita by his side. Edge told Rey if he thinks he’s going to challenge Edge for the WWE Title at WrestleMania, his dream isn’t going to have a happy ending.
The video package aired for Edge vs. John Cena for the WWE Title. Edge cashed in Money in the Bank at New Year’s Revolution weeks earlier on a bloody Cena and become WWE Champion. The next night on Raw, Edge and Lita had a “live sex celebration” on Raw that drew big ratings. This match was Cena’s rematch as the former WWE Champion.
Analysis: That was the first WWE Championship win for Edge that ended Cena’s first reign as WWE Champion. Both guys would win many more times in their careers.
John Cena made his entrance on a steel walking platform that was set up by the entrance area. The platform went from the entrance all the way to the ring, right above the top rope. When Cena got to the ring, he just jumped in there looking ready to go. Styles called it one of the greatest entrances ever. I wouldn’t go that far. It wasn’t that special.
Edge made his entrance with the WWE Championship around his waist with Lita by his side showing a lot of cleavage. Have I mentioned this was my favorite run of Lita’s career? Just saying.
WWE Championship: Edge (w/Lita) vs. John Cena
Pre-match notes: Edge was the heel WWE Champion while Cena was the face that was the former champion.
Cena with a clothesline, Edge to the floor and Cena sent Edge into the ring apron. Back in the ring, Edge whipped Cena face first into the turnbuckle. Cena hit a sidewalk slam on Edge for a two count. Edge left the ring, so Cena followed with punches and he sent Edge into the steel steps. Edge hid behind Lita, he shoved Lita into Cena and Edge hit a Spear into the steel steps. That looked like a painful bump for Cena, who was out on the floor for a few moments selling the lower back injury. Edge with a baseball slide dropkick that sent Cena over the barricade into the crowd. Cena got back in the ring just before the ten count. Edge was relentless with knee drops followed by a boot to the throat to keep Cena down. The crowd did their “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” routine. When Cena tried to get some momentum, Edge hit him with a spinning heel kick. Cena tried to fight back, but Edge connected with a suplex. Eye gouge by Edge followed by a standing dropkick. Lita applauded her man while I applauded the director for showing Lita. Edge punched Cena out of the ring followed by Edge whipping Cena shoulder first into the steel steps. Edge sent Cena throat first into the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring, Edge went up top and he connected with a missile dropkick for two. Running clothesline by Edge allowed him to remain in control. Edge set up Cena on the top rope, but Cena shoved him off and Cena went for a lefty leg drop, Edge moved and Cena hit the mat hard. Edge got a two count out of that. Edge worked over Cena with jab punches.
Cena whipped Edge into the ropes, Edge avoided an attack, Cena had Edge on his shoulders and Edge gouged Cena’s eyes. Edge hit a running boot to the face of Cena. Edge went up top, Cena struggled to his feet and Edge hit a cross body block into a Cena roll into a pin for two. Edge slapped on a sleeper hold and a body scissors. That lasted about one minute until Cena drove Edge into the turnbuckle. Edge charged into the corner, Cena moved and Edge hit the turnbuckle headfirst. Cena with a running shoulder tackle, two clotheslines and the spinning sitout slam. Cena with the Five Knuckle Shuffle with the first drop. Lita was on the apron to distract. Edge charged, Cena moved and Edge knocked Lita off the apron. Cena hit the FU. Cena slapped on the STFU submission for the tapout victory at 15:01.
Winner and New WWE Champion: John Cena
Analysis: **3/4 The match was just average with Edge controlling most of it, Cena making the big comeback and the ending was straight out of a finish you would get from a house show. It really wasn’t that creative at all. I think the lack of believable nearfalls hurt the match a lot. If you want to see a better match from them I recommend the TLC match at Unforgiven 2006 because that was outstanding. I kept waiting for this match to get into that next year where I could call it great, but it never got there. This was early in their rivalry, though, so there were a lot more matches for them.
(Good match, but they would have better ones as I said. I don’t know how many times they wrestled in 2006 on TV/PPV plus live events, but they really developed great chemistry by the time they got to Unforgiven in September 2006. Looking back on this, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Cena won the title back although I remember being mad that Edge’s title reign was less than one month. At least they turned it into a good story that led to the awesome Edge vs. Mick Foley match at WrestleMania 22 that was arguably the best match at WrestleMania that year. Then after that was over, it was back to Edge’s rivalry with Cena again.)
After the match was over, Cena celebrated with his spinner version of the WWE Championship with Styles and Lawler putting over how gutsy Cena was. This was Cena’s second WWE Championship win.
Edge and Lita were interviewed by Todd Grisham behind the curtain, or at least Grisham tried. Grisham asked Edge about being a transitional champion. Edge told him to shut up and left. Lita stuck around to try to explain her frustration. Hacksaw Jim Duggan showed up to say he’s there on behalf of John Cena, he’s got one thing to say to Lita, the fans yelled “hoooo” and he called Lita “hoooo” with the crowd laughing along with it.
Analysis: WWE comedy at its best…or worst. You decide. I admit I chuckled.
A clip aired of Mark Henry kicking Kurt Angle out of the ring on Smackdown when Angle had Henry in the Ankle Lock.
Kurt Angle, the World Heavyweight Champion, was interviewed by Josh Mathews. Angle said what Henry did had never been done before, but he is Kurt Angle and he can beat people in ways that haven’t been invented yet. Angle said there’s no way in hell Henry will win and Angle said he’s walking out the World Heavyweight Champion. Angle ended it by saying: “By the way, Mark Henry, you suck.”
Mark Henry made his entrance with Daivari as his manager. There was a generic theme song playing for Henry. I assume that’s a WWE Network edit.
Analysis: This was five years before Henry became a World Champion in WWE. They tried to push him often and it usually failed. This was one of those times.
Kurt Angle made his entrance as the World Heavyweight Champion. Fans chanted “You Suck” with Angle pointing at Henry.
Analysis: Angle was part of Raw at the previous PPV, New Year’s Revolution, but Angle moved to Smackdown, he won a battle royal and became the World Champion since Batista had to give up the title due to injury.
World Heavyweight Championship: Kurt Angle vs. Mark Henry (w/Daivari)
Pre-match notes: Angle was the face World Heavyweight Champion while Henry was the heel challenger. The Cena/Edge match felt bigger going into the show, but by the end of this night, it was obvious why this was the main event.
It was a slow pace early on. Henry blocked Angle punches by grabbing his hand and taking Angle down. Henry missed an elbow drop. Henry caught Angle in his arms, Henry put Angle on the top rope and sent him over the top to the floor. Daivari worked over his former client Angle with punches. Back in the ring, Henry kicked Angle in the ribs to take him down. Henry stood on Angle’s chest. Henry hit a splash for a two count. The crowd was quiet. Henry slapped on a bearhug for about one minute and Angle tossed Henry down to break free. Henry went for a slam, Angle slipped out of it and slapped on the Ankle Lock submission. Henry pounded Angle in the back. Angle came back with a German Suplex that drew a good reaction. Angle picked up Henry and hit an Angle Slam for two with Henry getting his right shoulder up. Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock on Henry. Daivari was on the apron, Henry kicked Angle and Angle hit ref Charles Robinson, who bumped. Angle grabbed a chair, Daivari tried to stop him, so Angle hit Daivari with a chair to the head. Henry grabbed the chair from Angle, so Angle hit a low blow punch to the balls. Angle crushed Henry with a stiff chair shot to the head and Angle hit Henry in the head again. That looked brutal. The ref recovered to slow count to two as Henry kicked out. Angle was shocked. Angle exposed the middle turnbuckle, he tripped up Henry to send him face first into the exposed steel and Angle did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! at 9:29.
Winner by pinfall: Kurt Angle
Analysis: *1/2 It was below average especially for an Angle match, but that’s what happened when you put him in there with a limited big man like Henry. I thought it was booked well even with the predictable ref bump. Angle was the face that cheated way more than the heel did, but it fit Angle’s character since he was a heel in the past. It just wasn’t that exciting of a match.
(I’m sitting here looking at that star rating for the match and I wonder if it’s the worst star rating for a Kurt Angle singles match. Angle did not have bad matches almost ever, but it just didn’t work with Henry as a title contender. Henry got better later in his career with his best run coming in 2011 when he was a World Champion that figured out how to have better matches. They just didn’t work well together here.)
Angle’s celebration was brief because The Undertaker’s music hit and The Undertaker walked out in a chariot with horses. Undertaker stood in the aisle while Angle looked at him wondering what he wanted. The Undertaker made the belt motion around his waist, which means he wanted a shot at the World Title. Undertaker raised his hands leading to a bolt of lightning that set off some pyro in the arena. There was more pyro and then the ring collapsed with Angle in it. Smoke filled the around the ring. Undertaker stared at Angle and then Taker left.
Analysis: That was cool. It was also why a Mark Henry match got to main event a PPV in 2006 because they wanted fans to think about Taker vs. Angle to end the night. That appearance by Undertaker set up Angle vs. Taker for the World Title at No Way Out 2006. That match was amazing and I’m excited about seeing it again. I remember thinking at the time that it was a shame that they didn’t do it at NWO 2006, then do a controversial finish and then do it again at WrestleMania 22 because they could have had really elevated that title.
(That Angle/Undertaker match at No Way Out 2006 – click the link above or here to read my review of it – really is special. I went ****1/2 out of five on it, but if somebody thinks it is five stars then I’m not going to argue or complain about that. Also, this ending is why the Rumble match didn’t go on last. It made sense.)
The show had a run time of 2:44:42 on WWE Network.
Show Rating (out of 10): 6
It was just an average show with a fun Royal Rumble match that made history due to the performance of Rey Mysterio. Triple H and Randy Orton were excellent in that match as well with Hunter going over one hour without making the final two. When something good like that is over one-third of the entire show, I can’t hate on the whole thing too much. I think the Cena/Edge match was decent with Cena winning the WWE Title back, but they had better matches later in the year. I liked the cruiserweight opener. The other stuff was pretty bad, so the less said the better. The Undertaker showing up at the end to confront World Champion Angle was a smart way to end the show on a happy note.
Best Match: Royal Rumble match (***3/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: The Boogeyman vs. JBL (1/4*)
- Rey Mysterio
- Triple H
- Randy Orton
- John Cena
Check out the WWE Royal Rumble review archive right here.
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