The 23rd Royal Rumble took place in 2010 as we started a new decade. By this point, a lot of the same guys were still on top in WWE with a lot of firmly established main eventers. They did elevate Sheamus at the end of 2009 by having him win the WWE Title, so that was nice to see. It was a tough Royal Rumble match to predict because there were so many rumors about potential matches going into WrestleMania. Some of the things that seemed obvious after this show ended up changing after we got to Elimination Chamber too. I wouldn’t say that this was a particularly hot period for WWE because I think 2009 was a rough year, but there were some interesting storylines going on around this time.
It was in May 2009 when I started writing the WWE Raw Deal review column every week and I was doing Smackdown in this era too. That meant that 2010 was the first full year when I decided to make this writing hobby into a career and here I am all these years later. I was fully entrenched in the product at this point.
This show was used to set up WrestleMania 26 (read my review here).
This is a new review written in 2021. I did a live review of this show in 2010, but it really doesn’t hold up well compared to my current writing. I wanted to re-do it, so here we go.
WWE Royal Rumble
January 31, 2010
From Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia
The opening video package focused on the Royal Rumble match as well as the two major title matches. It featured multiple wrestlers saying “I am the one” since that was one of the marketing themes of the show.
There was an impressive pyro display followed by shots of the sold-out Phillips Arena in Atlanta with 16,000+ fans in attendance according to Michael Cole.
Christian entered first as the ECW Champion. The announce team of Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Matt Striker were at ringside to call the whole show. Lawler lied and said this is his favorite pay-per-view of the year. I’m sure he likes it, but WrestleMania is the favorite. The funny thing for Ezekiel Jackson’s introduction, the ring announcer Savannah said 209 pounds instead of 309 pounds. That was awkward. Anyway, the muscular Jackson had William Regal with him.
ECW Championship: Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson (w/William Regal)
Pre-match notes: Christian was the babyface ECW Champion for about six months. Jackson was the heel here.
Jackson used his power to shove Christian down early. Jackson used his size advantage to intimidate Christian, but then Christin dropkicked him out of the ring and hit a springboard cross body block on the floor. Jackson hit a body slam followed by forearms to the chest. Jackson with two hard whips into the turnbuckle, Christian went for a move, Jackson got out of it and then Christian stood on Jackson against the ropes. Christian with an uppercut punch, but then Jackson tripped up Christian by pulling him off the middle ropes. Regal went over to grab Christian, so the referee Aaron Mahoney (I had no memory of him as a referee there so I looked it up) ejected Regal from ringside. Jackson sent Christian back first into the steps. Jackson with a lifting slam for a two count as the fans were chanting for Christian. Jackson with a delayed suplex for another two count. Jackson with a forearm to the chest followed by a forearm to the lower back. Christian went for a sunset flip pin, but Jackson caught him and hit a two handed chokeslam for a two count. Christian came back with punches to the head, but then Jackson hit a clothesline to the back for two. Jackson set up Christian on the ropes, Christian kicked him off and Christian hit a flying back elbow off the top rope to knock Jackson. Christian with a missile dropkick off the middle ropes for two. Christian hit a reverse DDT, but Jackson sold it badly by going down to the mat too soon. Christian went up top, he jumped off with a splash, Jackson moved and Christian hit the mat. Jackson hit a clothesline for two. Jackson with a backbreaker for a two count. Jackson charged, Christian moved, Christian with two boots to the head and Christian hit an incredible Tornado DDT for a two count. Really good nearfall there. Jackson hit another clothesline. Christian slipped out of a slam attempt, he went for a sleeper, but Jackson drove Christian back first into the turnbuckle two times. Christian slipped out and hit a Killswitch (Unprettier) that drove Jackson into the match and that got the win for Christian at 11:49.
Winner by pinfall: Christian
Analysis: *** A good match with Christian doing the carry job here. Lots of power moves from Jackson, Christian sold really well and found a way to make the comeback for the win. It was easy to see why WWE management liked Jackson because he was a big guy. I just think Jackson was lacking a bit in terms of his in-ring work, which is probably why he kept going for clotheslines due to a limited moveset. Christian was doing great work as the ECW Champion even though it was a failing brand.
On the next episode of ECW two days later, WWE killed the brand with the last episode airing later in February.
There was a backstage scene with Smackdown GM Teddy Long talking to ECW GM Tiffany with Cryme Tyme walking up to them about how they can have one spot in the Royal Rumble match. Shad Gaspard and JTG said that they coerced somebody to give them their spot. Great Khali went into the ring with JTG saying if Khali gives them his spot, Khali gets to kiss Tiffany. Ranjin Singh showed up to translate for Khali and said that Khali wasn’t giving up his spot. That led to Ranjin and Khali saying they watched Family Matters reruns. Long told Cryme Tyme they looked like fools with their pants on the ground, so then everybody sang “pants on the ground” because it was some song at that time. The Miz showed up with the US Title. Miz said five years from now, nobody will remember what they are doing, but they will be talking about Miz winning his first Royal Rumble. Long said he made the rules around here because it’s not Raw with guest hosts. Long told Miz he’ll defend the US Title against MVP and that match is next.
Analysis: This was pretty bad and a way to get in some bad jokes. RIP to a great man in Shad Gaspard. Gone too soon.
Randy Orton was in the locker room with Cody Rhodes talking about how have gone too far for things to slip away. Cody told Orton he’ll be there for Randy, so Randy thanked him. Cody added that he wishes he could say the same thing for Ted while adding that Ted hasn’t been the same since that movie of his came out. Cody said that Ted is talking about the winning the Rumble match and going to WrestleMania to beat Orton for the WWE Championship. Cody thought it was crazy. Cody reminded Orton again that he could count on him.
Analysis: This was at a point where it was obvious that there would be a split in the three man Orton/Rhodes/Dibiase group known as Legacy, but we didn’t know who was turning or when it was going to happen.
The Miz entered as the United States Champion and he was booed as usual. Montel Vontavious Porter was up next as the opponent. MVP won a Fatal 4-Way match on Raw several weeks earlier to earn the title shot.
United States Championship: The Miz vs. Montel Vontavious Porter
Pre-match notes: The Miz was the heel US Champion while MVP was the babyface challenger. MVP was a two-time US Champion.
MVP with a running clothesline, knees to the ribs and a suplex. MVP with a back body drop and a belly to back suplex for a two count. Miz bailed to the floor, MVP followed him out there and then back in the ring with Miz knocked MVP off the apron into the announce table. Back in the ring, Miz with a leg drop and then he sent MVP into the turnbuckle leading to a running clothesline. Lawler was making jokes about MVP being arrested in his life. MVP jumped off the top with a double axehandle for a two count. Miz grounded MVP with a chinlock, MVP countered with a slam into the mat and a running knee to the face. MVP did the Ballin’ elbow, but Miz avoided a Playmaker, so MVP hit a boot to the face for two. Miz drove MVP’s throat into the top rope to send the challenger back and MVP bounced off the ropes with a running shoulder tackle for a two count. After MVP missed a running corner attack, he got a rollup for two. MVP with a backslide pin for two and a jackknife pin for two. Miz bailed to the floor, so MVP followed and brought Miz back in. With MVP on his way back in the ring, Miz hooked him with an inside cradle for the pinfall win at 7:30.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz
Analysis: **1/4 It was just an average match that didn’t really get a lot of time to be better than that. MVP got a lot of offense early, then Miz took control and MVP managed to get a couple of nearfalls. The finish came out of nowhere with Miz winning with a cradle, which is fine for a heel champion because it shows he can win in different ways.
Post match, Miz was bragging about the win and got in MVP’s face. MVP kicked Miz in the ribs and hit him with the Playmaker. There were boos for MVP for that, which was weird since he was the face in this scenario. MVP walked towards the back while Miz was down in the ring. Miz was announced as the winner and that drew boos again. Both guys were in the Royal Rumble later in the show.
Analysis: That was a strange fan reaction with MVP getting booed after Miz was taunting MVP after Miz won the match. Miz was a solid midcard champion that would go on to have more success later in the year as a Money in the Bank winner as well.
Big Show was shown walking down a hallway with Chris Jericho standing there to talk to him. Show said that Jericho is jealous that Show thinks Miz is a better tag team partner for him. Jericho told Show that Miz is using him for his own personal agenda and Show said it’s kinda like what Jericho did. Jericho said that they were the best tag team, Jericho said that he made Show into a giant destroyer and he knows that if it comes to them as well as Miz in the Royal Rumble, Jericho said he knows where Show’s loyalties lie. Show said that his loyalties are right there with him. R-Truth showed up telling Jericho that he’ll throw Jericho out of the Rumble. Jericho told Truth if he wants to throw out Jericho you have to throw out Big Show first, but Show had left by that point. Truth said it was every man for himself and that was the truth while Jericho said that he’s going to main event of WrestleMania and that is the truth.
Randy Orton was shown walking down a hallway with Ted Dibiase showing up to wish him good luck. Ted told Randy whatever he needs, Ted will be there. Ted said that Cody has been acting really weird with Cody saying that he’s going to win the Rumble match and go on to face Sheamus at WrestleMania. Orton said he’s seconds away from taking back the WWE Championship and he didn’t want either of them helping him.
Analysis: There’s Dibiase telling Orton something different than what Cody told Orton earlier in the show. As I mentioned earlier, there were problems forming with Legacy at this point.
There was a shot of members of the National Guard sitting in the front row.
Sheamus was the WWE Champion that won the title from John Cena at TLC one month earlier. After Randy Orton beat Chris Masters in a match on Raw two weeks earlier, Sheamus hit Orton with Brogue Kick after the match.
Randy Orton made his entrance. There was a replay of the previous Raw with Orton hitting Sheamus with an RKO out of nowhere. When Orton did his posing on the middle ropes, the fans cheered yet Lawler said this was a “battle of the unlikeables” even though the fans were just cheering Orton.
WWE Championship: Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
Pre-match notes: Sheamus was the heel WWE Champion. Orton was a heel for a few years prior to this, but this was around the time when fans were cheering Orton, so I think it was fair to call Orton a face.
There were “Randy” chants as they locked up with Orton hitting a dropkick. Orton with a forearm, but Sheamus came back with a double axe shot to the chest. They left the ring with Sheamus hitting Orton with an uppercut and Sheamus slammed the left arm into the top of the steel steps. Orton went after the left knee of Sheamus and then worked over the left knee with a knee drops. Orton wrenched on the left knee with Lawler wondering why the fans weren’t more supportive of Orton and noting that Orton has done a lot of evil things in his career. Sheamus took control again by sending Orton’s left shoulder into the turnbuckle. Sheamus with shoulder tackles to the ribs. Orton got back into it with kicks to the leg as well as the other limbs of Sheamus. Orton pulled Sheamus to the apron and whipped it against the edge of the apron. Orton drove the left leg of Sheamus into the ring post. Orton was favoring his left arm as the fans chanted “Randy” again. Back in the ring, Sheamus with an armbar takedown to the mat for a two count. Sheamus slapped on armbar on the left arm to keep Orton grounded. Orton came back with punches, Sheamus did some punches on his own, the fans cheered for the Orton punches and booed the Sheamus punches as Orton hit a forearm to the chest. Sheamus hit the lifting backbreaker later to be known as the Irish Curse backbreaker for a two count. Sheamus lifted up Orton for his finisher, but Orton got out of that and kicked Sheamus out of the ring. Orton got a hold of Sheamus by the ropes and Orton hit the draping DDT to a big pop. The fans were solidly behind Orton as Randy got a two count with Sheamus getting his left hand on the bottom rope. Orton teased doing The Punt, he charged and Sheamus rolled out of the ring, so Orton followed him on the floor. Orton with two uppercuts, but Sheamus came back by sending Orton into the ring post. While Sheamus was on the floor, Cody Rhodes jumped the railing and hit Sheamus with a forearm to the back. The referee Scott Armstrong asked Cody what he was doing because Scott saw what happened. Sheamus turned back around, right into a RKO by Orton…but referee Scott Armstrong called for the bell. Scott told the ring announcer Justin Roberts what he was ruling, so Roberts announced it and the fans were pissed off. It was a DQ win for Sheamus at 11:24.
Winner by disqualification: Sheamus
Analysis: **1/4 It was disappointing for a WWE Championship match because it was just an average wrestling match. They didn’t seem to mesh very well since Orton wasn’t fully a face and it felt like the crowd lost interest. Orton sold the left arm for most of the match while Sheamus sold the left leg, yet it didn’t mean much by the end of the match. The big story was what happened after the match.
Post match, Orton had an angry look on his face while Cody tried to plead with Randy saying he was sorry. The fans chanted “RKO” for Orton and Orton decked Cody with a punch to the head. Orton told Cody he screwed everything up, which led to Orton punching Cody repeatedly. Ted Dibiase showed up to pull Orton off Cody and Orton punched Dibiase in the face as well. Orton told Cody he was done and asked why he did what he did. Orton turned back around, which led to Sheamus charging in with a Brogue Kick to the head. That drew huge boos as Sheamus left with the WWE Title. Cody and Dibiase slowly left together while Orton was out in the ring.
Analysis: This booking worked in terms of making Orton more of a face because fans had sympathy for Orton after he lost the chance to win back the WWE Title due to interference. Orton was a heel for a long time going into this, but I think this was booked well in terms of the long term storyline that they went with here.
There was a “Please Don’t Try This at Home” commercial with wrestlers talking about their injuries.
A video package was shown for the Women’s Title match between champion Michelle McCool and Mickie James. Mickie won a triple threat match over Natalya and Beth Phoenix to earn the title shot. It was the infamous “Piggie James” storyline where the heels Michelle and Layla mocked Mickie with some bullying about Mickie gaining weight. They kept on mocking Mickie “Piggie James” in the promos including Layla dressing in a pig costume. James told them that this is what a real woman looks like and she warned Michelle that she will embarrass her. That led to a Smackdown segment where Michelle and Layla got an assist from Beth Phoenix where they tossed a cake and other food all over Mickie.
Analysis: The storyline sucked because Mickie really didn’t look like she gained weight. It was cheap heat by Michelle and Layla as the bullying “Laycool” duo. I realize it was a long-term storyline that was done with a payoff coming at this show. I just think it was lame to do.
Michelle McCool made her entrance as the Women’s Champion. Michelle did a promo saying that Piggie James was nowhere to be seen. Michelle said that if she was there, you couldn’t miss her as she did another bad fat joke. Michelle wondered if she was at the hot dog stand again, the fans chanted “WHAT” at her and she wondered where Piggie could be. Michelle claimed that Mickie forfeits. Layla made her entrance in her Piggie James outfit complete with a pig’s nose.
Analysis: That promo was awful and the crowd shit all over this with Layla in the costume. I may be a bit biased because I like Mickie way more than Michelle, but I thought this whole thing was a big miss from a creative standpoint.
Mickie James ran out to the ring looking great and she hit a running Thesz Press on Layla to take her down. James whipped Layla into the barricade.
Women’s Championship: Michelle McCool (w/Layla) vs. Mickie James
Pre-match notes: Michelle was the heel champion while James was the face challenger.
The bell rang with Layla going to the apron and Mickie grabbing her. McCool went for the kick, Mickie moved and Michelle knocked Layla off the apron to the floor. Mickie hit the jumping DDT called the Mick-DT for the pinfall win after 20 seconds.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW Women’s Champion: Mickie James
Analysis: 1/4* That was really quick with Mickie getting the easy win with one move. I don’t mind a finish like that.
Post match, Mickie hit Layla with a spinning Mick Kick that sent Layla on top of Michelle.
There was a cake brought out to the ring by Maria, Eve Torres, The Bella Twins, Gail Kim and Kelly Kelly. Mickie grabbed the cake and smashed it into the face of Michelle and Layla. The fans popped for that while the heels were screaming about it.
Analysis: It was a nice payoff to the storyline with James getting her revenge by taking the title and humiliating the heels as well. Would I have done the storyline to begin with? No, but the payoff was what it needed to be by the end of the segment. That was Mickie’s fifth Women’s Title win in WWE and sixth overall since she held the Divas Title as well.
Rey Mysterio was shown backstage getting ready for his World Heavyweight Title match.
A video package aired for The Undertaker defending the World Heavyweight Title against Rey Mysterio. Rey had a feud with Batista with Batista famously yelling: “You’re supposed to be my friend!” Rey beat Batista in a Steel Cage match by exiting the cage, which led to a World Heavyweight Match against The Undertaker. Rey talked about how he conquered his nightmares because he has dreams. Undertaker said that Rey will fail like the rest and Rey will rest in peace. Rey told Undertaker he is not afraid, he’s not like the rest and Batista showed up with a cheap attack on Rey again. That set the stage for this match.
Rey Mysterio made his entrance first as the challenger. The Undertaker was next as the World Heavyweight Champion as Taker did his slow walking routine to get down to the ring. They stood in the ring as Tony Chimel did the championship introductions.
World Heavyweight Championship: The Undertaker vs. Rey Mysterio
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the babyface World Champion while Mysterio was also a face. They were arguably the two biggest faces on Smackdown at the time. Taker was champion for nearly four months going into this match and he was 44 years old.
Rey used his speed to avoid the champion’s strikes until Taker got a hold of him and tossed Rey over the top to the floor. Taker punched Rey off the apron to the floor. Taker set up Rey on the ring apron with a boot followed by the leg drop attempt, but Rey slipped out of the way. Taker punched Rey to keep in him place, so then Taker hit a leg drop across the throat. Rey got back into it with a headscissors into the ropes, then Rey went for the 619 kick, Taker caught him and Rey fought out of a Tombstone attempt with repeated knee strikes to the face. Taker missed an elbow drop when Rey moved. When Rey went for a springboard cross body block, Taker stopped him in his tracks with a boot to the face. Rey left the ring so Taker followed him out there and Taker hit kicks to the face to keep Rey down. Taker went for a boot by the ring post, Rey moved and Taker’s leg hit the ring post. Rey hit a sliding dropkick into the right leg of Taker against the ring post. Taker was bleeding out of the nose. Rey went for a move on the floor, Taker caught him, Rey broke free and Rey hit an springboard Asai moonsault onto a standing Undertaker on the floor. Rey went for sliding attack, Taker moved and Taker shoved Rey back first into the barricade. That was a rough sounding bump. Taker with repeated shoulder blocks and Taker lifted up Rey leading to Taker sending Rey into the top rope. Taker with a sidewalk slam for a two count as the blood continued coming out the nose of Undertaker. Rey with some kicks to the body, but Taker put him down again with a punch to the face. Taker charged into a boot to the face by Rey and then Rey with a running takedown. Rey with a seated dropkick leading to Rey going up top with a leg drop for a two count. Rey ran the ropes right into a clothesline by Taker, who continued to bleed from the nose. Taker teased Last Ride, Rey slipped out of that with a dropkick into the ropes. Rey hit the 619 kick to the face, then a dropkick to the back into another 619 kick against the ropes. Rey jumped off the top, Taker caught him and Taker hit the Last Ride Powerbomb for the one, two and three for the pinfall at 11:09.
Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: ***1/4 A competitive match between two of the all-time greats that are very different in terms of their style of wrestling. I liked the story with Undertaker using his power leading to big bumps by Rey, but then Taker was also willing to sell some of Rey’s moves as well. A longer match would have been nice to see, but they made the most of the time given. The last few minutes were awesome with Rey coming close to winning a few times until Taker hit that Last Ride to win. I liked that ending a lot.
The Undertaker posed with the World Title as his music played.
Shawn Michaels was shown watching on a TV backstage when Kane showed up to talk to him. Kane told Shawn his obsession with his brother is unhealthy. Kane mentioned that he had the most eliminations in Royal Rumble history and he was the only ma not wrestle The Undertaker twice at WrestleMania. Kane told Shawn there is no light, only darkness. Triple H walked into the room to wish Shawn good luck. Shawn said he was sorry about being selfish last week and he hopes the best man wins out there. Shawn said if there was anybody he wants to see on the other side of the ring it’s Hunter. They shook hands. Shawn: “Me and The Undertaker, it’s meant to be.” Hunter said he knows it is, so that’s why he knows Shawn will find another way.
Analysis: Shawn would find another way as we found out at the Elimination Chamber PPV the next month.
The Royal Rumble “By The Numbers” video package aired. Those are always great.
It was time for the Royal Rumble match. Ring announcer Justin Roberts went over the rules for the Rumble match.
Royal Rumble Match
Dolph Ziggler was the #1 man from Smackdown in the match with Evan Bourne from Raw at #2 making his first Royal Rumble appearance. Bourne with a jumping headscissors followed by a heel kick. Ziggler with a dropkick with Bourne able to hold onto the ropes to prevent elimination. Bourne with a double knee attack to the upper body. Bourne with a headscissors that sent Ziggler to the apron, but Ziggler got back in the ring. Ziggler hit a Zig Zag, Bourne to the apron with a kick and Bourne hit the Air Bourne Shooting Star Press on Ziggler. CM Punk from Smackdown was #3 with Serena running out with him and Punk hit Bourne with repeated clotheslines. Bourne with a jumping knee to Punk, who avoided a Bourne charges, so Bourne bumped into Ziggler. Punk tossed Bourne out and hit a clothesline on Ziggler to knock him over the top to the floor. CM Punk did a promo since he was doing his Straight Edge Society gimmick at this point. Punk said that the men he throws over the top to the floor can be saved. The clock counted down with CM Punk saying it was clobbering time. JTG from Cryme Tyme and Smackdown was #4 as he unloaded on Punk with punches. JTG with a clothesline and a dropkick. JTG jumped onto Punk by the turnbuckle, which was foolish and Punk dumped JTG over the top to the floor. Punk said not everyone can win the Royal Rumble match just like not everyone can be saved. Punk said he’ll become the first ever Straight Edge Royal Rumble match winner. It’s Great Khali at #5 with Khali representing Smackdown and joined by “brother” Ranjin Singh. Punk told Khali he can see the pain his eyes while claiming he needed to be saved. Punk asked Khali if he accepted straight edge, so Khali chopped him. Khali squeezed the head of Punk.
There was a surprise at #6 because Beth Phoenix ran down to the ring as the second woman to enter a Royal Rumble match with the first being Chyna. Khali picked up Phoenix, put her on the apron and told her to leave, so Beth kissed Khali and pulled him over the top to the floor. That was a fun elimination.
Beth with a clothesline on Punk, but Punk held on from being eliminated and Punk hit the Go To Sleep on Beth, who I believe he was dating at the time. Zack Ryder from ECW was #7 in the match as Punk dumped Phoenix over the top to the floor. Punk told Ryder he had potential, then hit Ryder in the head with a microphone and Punk hit a clothesline as fans chanted “CM Punk” for one of WWE’s top heels at the time. Punk tossed Ryder over the top to the floor to eliminate him. Punk said whoever is next, he is better than them and said he’s better than every single one of us. It’s Triple H from Raw up next as the #8 man in the match with Hunter getting a big pop from the crowd. Hunter was one half of the Unified Tag Team Champions at this point. Hunter got right in Punk’s face and unleashed with punches followed by a facebuster into the knee. Punk with a running knee, but then Hunter came back with a spinebuster. It was Smackdown’s Intercontinental Champion Drew McIntyre as the next man at #9. Hunter with a jumping knee to McIntyre. Punk went for GTS, but Hunter caught the knee and Hunter tossed out Punk to eliminate him so Punk’s run was over with five eliminations in 10:04. Punk was mad about being eliminated. I’ll miss Serena. Punk should have been in there longer. The #10 entrant was Ted Dibiase from the Legacy group on Raw with Hunter and McIntyre in the ring. Dibiase with a powerslam on Hunter. McIntyre and Dibiase worked over Triple H with punches since they were both heels. McIntyre with a clothesline to knock Hunter down while Dibiase hit a fist drop.
It’s John Morrison at #11 as a babyface on the Smackdown brand. Morrison with a jumping kick on Dibiase and then punches on McIntyre, who he was feuding with at the time. Morrison with a spinning DDT on McIntyre. Morrison with a jumping back kick to knock Dibiase down. Morrison hit the Starship Pain splash off the turnbuckle on McIntyre and Hunter hit a clothesline on McIntyre as the clock counted down again. Kane was next at #12 from Smackdown as Kane jumped off the top with a clothesline on Hunter. Kane with a clothesline on Dibiase followed by a sidewalk slam. Kane with a double Chokeslam on McIntyre and Morrison. Dibiase managed to hold on when Kane tried to eliminate him. Kane hit a Chokeslam to Triple H. Cody Rhodes of Raw’s Legacy group was #13 in the match as he saved Dibiase from the clutches of Kane. Cody and Dibiase stomped away on Kane and Cody hit a neckbreaker on Hunter. Cody with a clothesline on McIntyre, then Morrison hung on while on the apron, but then Morrison jumped off the top and Cody hit him with a dropkick. Hunter sent Cody over the top with Cody hanging on while on the apron. It’s MVP at #14 from Raw, but then The Miz hit him in the back of the head with the US Title, so MVP never made it to the ring to be in the match. Dibiase with a clothesline to Morrison. There was a jumping kick off the ropes by Morrison on Kane and McIntyre. The two Legacy guys went after Hunter, but then Kane broke that up with punches. The #15 entrant was Carlito from Raw, who got almost no reaction at this point in his career. Carlito with punches, a dropkick and a jumping back elbow attack off the middle ropes. Carlito with a monkey flip to Morrison and then a Carlito dropkick to McIntyre. Carlito with a backstabber to Triple H and a Carlito backstabber to McIntyre and Dibiase as well.
The start of the second half of the match saw US Champion The Miz from Raw enter at #16. Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale on Carlito. That’s when MVP ran in to go after Miz. MVP with a clothesline to send The Miz and himself over the top to the floor, so they were both eliminated. Hunter held on when both Legacy guys tried to eliminate him and Hunter hit a DDT on Dibiase. Hunter sent Carlito to the apron with Carlito holding on. The #17 wrestler was Matt Hardy from Smackdown in a face role and he got a nice pop. Matt with the Side Effect slam on two guys. Matt went to the middle ropes, so Kane shoved him over the top to the floor so Matt was only in the ring for about 20 seconds. Right after that, Hunter eliminated Kane, which meant Kane only had one elimination. Hunter hit spinebusters on most of the other guys in the ring. McIntyre with a chop block to Hunter’s left knee and then he stomped oh the knee. It was the legendary Shawn Michaels in at #18 as a Raw babyface and he got a big pop. Michaels wanted Undertaker at WrestleMania, so the story was Shawn was desperate to win this match since Taker was the World Heavyweight Champion. Michaels with a back body drop over the top to eliminate Carlito. Michaels sent Cody over the top to the floor and Michaels also tossed Dibiase over the top to the floor. Michaels with the running forearm on McIntyre, then Michaels ducked a Morrison kick and eliminated Morrison. That meant Michaels eliminated four guys as Shawn was left with Hunter and McIntyre. DX worked together to hit a double team clothesline on McIntyre to send him over the top to the floor. There was a big name at #19 with Raw’s top babyface John Cena entering to a huge pop from the crowd. Cena with the running shoulder tackles on both guys and a spinning slam on Hunter. Cena did the Five Knuckle Shuffle leading to the double fist drop. Michaels held onto the top rope to hold on from an AA attempt. Hunter hit Cena with a Pedigree and with Hunter up against the ropes, Michaels hit a superkick to knock Hunter over the top to the floor! Huge pop for that. Shocking moment. Shelton Benjamin was #20 and he as in ECW at this point. Benjamin with a spin kick on Cena followed by a jumping attack off the top rope. Benjamin with a German Suplex on Cena and then he hit Paydirt on Michaels. Benjamin jumped up, Cena caught him and dumped Benjamin over the top to the floor. Michaels hit a belly to back suplex on Cena as the clock ticked down again.
There’s Yoshi Tatsu from ECW (only three ECW guys in the match) at #21 with some kicks on Michaels and Cena. Cena ducked a kick and tried to clothesline Tatsu out, that didn’t work, so Cena lifted Tatsu over the top and eliminated him. Good theme song, Yoshi. Cena was left in the ring with Michaels with Cena hitting a running bulldog. Big Show was next at #22 from Raw with Show hitting headbutts to Michaels and Cena. Show got Michaels in his arms, Michaels pulled Show towards the apron, Cena tried to help get rid of Show, but Show held on. Cena nearly eliminated Michaels twice and then Show tossed Michaels across the ring. There’s Mark Henry at #23 in his red Kool-Aid man attire since he was from Raw. Henry faced off with Show, who blocked a body slam and Show punched Henry in the ribs. Cena with a shoulder tackle on Show, Henry with a headbutt, Cena with a shoulder tackle and Henry with a body slam on Show. Cena lifted Henry, but then he collapsed due to Henry being too big. Show hit a Spear on Henry and there’s Chris Masters from Raw at #24 in the match. Masters hit a running clothesline on Michaels, then a corner whip with Michaels doing the upside down corner bump and Masters hit a press slam on Michaels. Masters tried a Master Lock on Big Show, but Show lifted him over his head and dumped Masters out. Henry tried to dump Show out, Michaels went over to help and the clock ticked down. It’s R-Truth from Smackdown at #25 with Truth dumping Big Show and Mark Henry over the top to the floor at the same time. That was big. It was down to Truth, Cena and Michaels with Truth hitting a scissors kick followed by an arm drag. Truth with a face first slam on Cena.
There were five guys with Jack Swagger at #26 from Raw. Swagger was aggressive with splashes and suplexes on the guys in the ring. Swagger with a powerslam on Truth. Swagger with a kick to the chest of Michaels followed by a clothesline, but Michaels held onto the ropes. There’s Kofi Kingston from Raw at #27 with Cole immediately saying “controlled frenzy” for him. Kingston with a cross body block on Swagger, dropkick and a leaping clothesline. Kofi hit the Boom Drop on Swagger and then Kofi used his legs to swing Swagger over to the floor. Kingston with a dropkick on Michaels. Truth nearly eliminated Kingston, but Kofi held onto the ropes. Kofi used his legs to send Truth over the top to the floor. Chris Jericho was #28 from Smackdown as he knocked down Kingston with a forearm. Jericho with a running back elbow. Cena countered a Jericho slam attempt with an Attitude Adjustment and Michaels hit a DDT on Cena. Michaels jumped off the top with an elbow drop on Jericho. Michaels charged in, but Kingston hit Shawn with a Trouble in Paradise kick. Cena got Kingston on his shoulders and hit an Attitude Adjustment over the top to the floor. Edge was #29 as a surprise entrance since he had a Torn Achilles Tendon on July 3, so it wasn’t known if he would be back. The fans reacted to Edge in a big way even though he was a heel because they missed him and that’s why he was cheered. Edge with a Spear on Jericho, a Spear by Edge on Michaels and a Spear by Edge on Cena. Edge eliminated Jericho. Edge with a neckbreaker on Michaels and Edge hit an Edgecution DDT on Cena. The fans cheered that offensive onslaught from Edge. The #30 entrant was Batista from Smackdown.
The final four wrestlers were John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Edge and Batista, who delivered a spinebuster to Edge. Batista with running clothesline on Cena and Michaels, then Batista with a body slam and a spinebuster. Batista turned around with Edge hitting him with a Spear. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Edge. Michaels with a running forearm on Cena followed by an atomic drop on Batista and Cena. Michaels with body slams on Cena and Batista leading to Michaels hitting and elbow drop off the top to Cena. Michaels with a kick to the head of Batista and Michaels hit an elbow drop on Batista as well. Michaels with a superkick on Cena and a superkick for Batista. Edge with a clothesline over the top on Michaels, then they landed on the apron, Michaels kicked Edge back into the ring and Batista hit Michaels in the back to eliminate him. Michaels was mad because he felt like he had to win. Michaels had a great showing at 25:45 in the match. Michaels went back into the ring, referee Charles Robinson told him to get out and Michaels hit Robinson with a superkick, which led to some boos from the crowd. Michaels slowly walked away looking dejected about the loss.
Cena with a back body drop on Batista, who fought off a F5 attempt. Batista charged, Cena ducked and Batista went flying over the top to the floor. The match was down to Edge and Cena as the final two. Cena with a kick to the gut. Cena charged, Edge moved and Edge tossed Cena over the top to the floor to win the match. Edge wins at 49:24. Cole: “Edge is going to WrestleMania.” Yes, that’s what WWE superstars do.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– The quality of the wrestlers made it feel fun by the end of the match. It wasn’t the most exciting Rumble in terms of match structure. They really didn’t have any star making spots or somebody that lasted the entire match. It is rare to see a finish where the last four guys are the result of the 30th guy going in when there were only three guys in before him.
– I didn’t expect Edge to be back. He had torn his Achilles in the summer of 2009 and we didn’t know when he would be back. The rumors were there, but everybody was saying he’d only be able to back by WrestleMania and not the Rumble. It was a genuine surprise for me at least. I would have liked to see more from Cena/Edge in the final two. There’s a long history there. It felt rushed.
– The longest entrant was John Cena at 27:11. I think that’s the shortest ever time for a longest entrant in Rumble history or at least one of the shortest. I don’t really get it, but I guess the point was they wanted it to be more of a fast paced match.
– The paranoia of Michaels was the best story in the match. At the time of the match I had no idea this would be his last Royal Rumble, but it was a hell of a way to go out.
– CM Punk was great in the 10 minutes he was out there. Beth eliminating Khali was a classic moment. Well done!
FACTS & OPINIONS
Person that lasted the longest: John Cena at 22:11.
Most Eliminations: Shawn Michaels with 10.
Best Performers (3): Shawn Michaels – This is like a lifetime achieved award since it was his last Rumble. Plus, you could feel his pain when he lost. He sold it so well.
Edge – His comeback was a surprise and he was on fire when he got in there.
John Cena – Losing clean in the Rumble is about the only time he’ll lose clean at anything. I will reward that.
Best Elimination: Michaels with the superkick on Triple H because it was a genuine surprise.
Match Rating: ***1/2 A good Rumble match overall, but nothing special about it either. It’s still a well-worked match overall with plenty of star power to keep things interesting.
There were replays of the key spots in the match while the announcers put over Edge’s efforts in the match.
Edge did the classic sign pointing at the WrestleMania 26 sign as the fireworks went off above him. Edge did some more posing as the crowd cheered and that was it. Cole said that Edge heads to WrestleMania.
Analysis: Edge would go on to get a World Heavyweight Title shot at WrestleMania although he did not main event the show.
The show had a run time of 2:39:04 on WWE Network.
Show Rating (out of 10): 6.5
It was a slightly above average show with a Royal Rumble match that had a nice surprise with Edge winning. While that was a shocking outcome, I thought it was booked strange with a lot of quick eliminations throughout the match. The Shawn Michaels story in the Rumble was definitely the most interesting part of it. The non-Rumble matches saw The Undertaker have a very good match with Rey Mysterio, Christian did his best to carry Ezekiel Jackson to a decent match and Randy Orton/Sheamus was just okay although the post-match angle worked very well. The Women’s match was a quickie that was more of a culmination of an angle. It’s not a particularly memorable show overall, but I think a lot of the storylines are pretty good, so that makes up a bit for the matches being a bit lackluster.
Best Match: Royal Rumble Match (***1/2 out of 5)
Worst Match: Mickie James vs. Michelle McCool (*1/4) – No fault of the women. It was just 20 seconds of action.
- Shawn Michaels
- The Undertaker
- Rey Mysterio
- Sheamus/Randy Orton
Check out the WWE Royal Rumble review archive right here.
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