The Royal Rumble match reviews continue as we head into the end of the 2000s and the start of the 2010s. There were some familiar names in these Rumble matches, but also a time to put over some new stars too. We also saw the only 40-man Rumble match in WWE history, so that was unique.
In case you missed any of the previous reviews, check out the Royal Rumble Match archive here. Let’s get to it.
The 22nd Royal Rumble started a 2009 calendar year that wasn’t an amazing one for WWE. I’ll always remember 2009 for the parade of guest hosts that would hurt Raw more often than it would help it while Smackdown was a far superior show on a regular basis.
There was some star power missing from this Rumble match with John Cena, Edge, Jeff Hardy, JBL and Shawn Michaels involved in undercard matches while Batista was dealing with one of his many injuries. When you factor all of that in, it really wasn’t a strong roster at the time. Let’s see what went down.
WWE Royal Rumble
January 25, 2009
The announcers for the match are Jim Ross, who was from Smackdown, and Jerry Lawler, who was from Raw. Justin Roberts explains the rules to us. It’s 90 second intervals, which has become the usual.
The #1 man is perennial babyface Rey Mysterio with #2 entrant John Morrison, who was in heel mode here. Rey boots him, Morrison picks him up and nearly throws him out, but Mysterio holds on. Rey comes back with a springboard crossbody block followed by headscissors. Morrison hangs on to avoid elimination. Rey dropkicks him, but Morrison still holds on. It’s Carlito in the #3 spot, who was tag team champion with brother Primo at this point. He hits a sick neckbreaker on Rey. Morrison nearly throws him out as Carlito hits a springboard moonsault on Morrison. That was pretty sweet from Carlito. He should have done that move more often. The #4 entrant is MVP. He was in his losing streak gimmick, which turned him babyface. He suplexes Rey and hits the Ballin’ Elbow on Morrison. He comes back with a facebuster on Morrison. JoMo goes for a kick on MVP, but he moves and he hits Carlito, which leads to MVP kicking Morrison down. Here’s The Great Khali at #5, who was now a babyface as JR mentions his 7’3″ inch size. All four guys go at him ninja style (that’s one by one). He chops them all and slams Morrison down by the arm. Rey hits a dropkick that doesn’t work. Carlito goes for the Back Stabber on Khali, which doesn’t even work and the crowd basically laughs at him. Khali hits the Punjabi Plunge on Carlito.
It’s time for another big guy as the “Moscow Mauler” Vladimir Kozlov is #6. He overpowers Khali, hits him with a boot and clotheslines him out. MVP charges in with his kick, he misses Kozlov and gets thrown out over the top. Kozlov goes to throw Carlito out, but he hangs on. Kozlov drops him quickly with a stiff spinebuster. Kozlov throws Carlito out, which leaves us with three. He gets a knee on Rey, but he can’t throw him out. He headbutts Rey in the gut. It’s all about “The Game” Triple H at #7, who was in babyface Hunter McMahon mode. They were feuding on Smackdown around this time. Kozlov puts him down with a headbutt to the gut. Face crusher by Triple H followed by a crotch chop and he throws out Kozlov. Hunter hits the running knee on Morrison as “I Hear Voices” plays and we’ve got Randy Orton in at #8, who goes right for Triple H. JR quickly states that Orton’s never won the Rumble. HHH goes for Pedigree on Orton, but Morrison counters with a kick and Rey hits a seated senton onto Orton. Rey gets the 619 onto Morrison as everybody is down. The Cryme Tyme music starts up as they flip a coin and JTG wins it to be #9 thanks to a two headed coin. Mysterio nearly eliminates Orton as JR mentions again that the winner of the match goes onto WrestleMania to compete for a title in the main event. It’s Ted Dibiase at #10, who was affiliated with Randy Orton in Legacy. Morrison and JTG avoid elimination. Mysterio nearly eliminates Dibiase.
It’s Chris Jericho as a heel in the #11 spot. He was the 2008 Superstar of the Year, which was well deserved. Jericho hits the bulldog on HHH and then misses a Lionsault because he always misses. Hunter counters the Walls of Jericho as Chris hangs on to avoid elimination. The bearded monster Mike Knox is #12, who goes after JTG, Morrison and then Mysterio. The action is about as exciting as a Mike Knox promo, which isn’t a good thing by the way. The Miz is #13, who is one half of the World Tag Champs with Morrison. A heel of course. He hits the running clothesline in the corner on HHH and Rey. Morrison uses Rey as a battering ram while Orton hits a RKO on Morrison, Miz and JTG. Crowd reacts huge to those. Then HHH hits a Pedigree on Orton. Hunter throws Morrison into Miz and they both get eliminated. Mysterio gets thrown out, then he climbs on to Miz and Morrison and the steps to avoid elimination. That was creative! Finlay is #14 in babyface mode to the Hornswoggle music. Orton and Dibiase double team Finlay. The other Legacy member Cody Rhodes is #15 as they work together to beat on a variety of different people. Rey hits a springboard, but Orton catches him mid-air and Orton hits a RKO. JR totally misses it while Lawler points it out. They show the replay. That was very cool.
The lights go out for #16 as the gong hits and The Undertaker walks out. Everybody in the ring stops while Undertaker goes nuts, punching and kicking everybody. He throws out JTG. Undertaker hits the Snake Eyes and boot to the face of Cody Rhodes. There’s Goldust at #17 who goes for Dibiase right away. There’s the showdown with his brother Cody. Goldust decks him with punches, but Cody hangs on to avoid elimination. Once again Cody hangs on. Orton walks up to Goldust to hit the RKO. I think that’s five now. Orton instructs Cody to eliminate Goldust, so Cody throws him out. Randy shakes his hand. It’s babyface CM Pulk at #18, who was the IC Champ at the time. He hits kicks and knees on just about everybody, ending it with a bulldog on Jericho. He hits the Go To Sleep on Triple H. That was nice. Undertaker hits a big boot on Punk. Mark Henry is #19 as Lawler asks: “Who could ever throw him over the top rope?” Yes. They say it every year. It’s amazing. More ninja style attacks with the small guys bouncing off him. He hits a clothesline on Undertaker. He’s a heel here, managed by Tony Atlas. There are 11 or 12 guys in there. Henry dominates everybody, but he can’t eliminate Punk or anybody else. It’s the Gold Standard, the US Champion, Shelton Benjamin at #20. He hits Paydirt on Finlay. Meanwhile, Jericho and Punk are fighting on the top rope as Benjamin leaps to the top rope, hitting a double Paydirt on both guys. That was sweet. Benjamin hits a spin kick on Henry as Triple H nearly eliminates Punk.
The final third of the match sees William Regal, as a heel, in at #21. He’s managed by Layla at this time. We don’t get any shots of her ass, sadly. Mark Henry, the perpetual threat to win, eliminated nobody and got thrown out in only 3 minutes. Mysterio pulled the rope down as Henry went flying out. Here’s Kofi Kingston, who was still Jamaican (or Jafaican) here, is a babyface at #22. He hits the Boom Drop on Knox, who is still in the match for some reason. The ring is very full right now as JR points out Mysterio has been in there for 33 minutes. Undertaker spine-busters Benjamin down and then throws him out. We have Kane at #23, who the announcers point out has the record for most eliminations in a year ever with 11 in 2001. They say it every year…as they should. Kane takes down a lot of people as we have 12 or 13 guys in there now. I’m not counting. Undertaker’s bleeding by the way, which was not a common thing for WWE at this point. Kane and Undertaker hit a double chokeslam on Dibiase. Then Kane hits one on Kofi. CM Punk pulls Regal out of the ring to eliminate him. What’s Up for #24 R-Truth, who goes right after Triple H. There are a group of guys trying to get rid of Kane, but he’s able to hang on. The ring is very full as we have a shocker at #25 Rob Van Dam. He only made a one night appearance as everybody in the ring stops. The crowd went nuts for him since he’s from Michigan. He dominates the match as JR throws in his usual “educated feet” comment that we’ve come to know and love. He goes for the Five Star Frog Splash, but HHH charges at him so he leaps over him and hits a kick.
We have The Brian Kendrick at #26, who was “managed” by Ezekiel Jackson. Kofi gets eliminated by Kendrick and then HHH throws out Kendrick immediately. He lasted 15 seconds. The crowd keeps chanting for RVD. It’s Dolph Ziggler at #27 in his “Hi I’m Dolph Ziggler” gimmick. He celebrates being in the ring as he extends his hand to Kane. He whips him into the ropes and Dolph is eliminated. Here’s the king of the unibrow Santino at #28 and Kane immediately clotheslines him out. That was 1 second. He gets the official record for shortest elimination, beating the Warlord’s 2 second record. Congrats for that. HHHHHHHHOOOOOOO for #29 Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who won the first Rumble ever in 1988. The crowd loves him of course. Everybody sells punches for him, even Undertaker and Kane, much to my shock. The last entrant is Big Show at #30, who is in heel mode here. Everybody watches Big Show as Undertaker has a faceoff with him only for Kane to walk in with a punch.
I’m not sure how many are in the ring, but it looks to be 15 or so. Big Show slowly throws Duggan out. Punk avoids elimination. Big Show press slams R-Truth and throws him out of the ring. Cody manages to dangle to avoid elimination. Punk keeps hanging on, which was a common trend in the match. Big Show keeps trying to throw him, but he can’t. Eventually he just KO’s Punk and he’s eliminated. Mysterio and Knox both get dumped out by Big Show. Hornswoggle enters the ring. Oh great. He saves Finlay from a Kane attack for a minute, but Finlay gets backdropped out by Kane. Jericho hits the Codebreaker on Kane. RVD hits a leaping kick onto Show to stumble him. Orton hits the DDT off the middle ropes. Here’s the Undertaker/Show faceoff again. They throw punches. RVD hits a Five Star Frog Splash, then he stumbles around and Jericho throws out RVD. Jericho hits a Codebreaker on Undertaker, who stumbles back into the ropes and he manages to throw out Jericho. Good elimination. The Legacy boys eliminate Kane.
The final six is HHH, Undertaker, Big Show, Orton, Rhodes and Dibiase. Show hits a chokeslam on Triple H while Legacy triple teams Undertaker. Big Show looks very winded here. Undertaker punches them all down, then he hits chokeslams on all three Legacy guys in succession. With everybody down he has another showdown with Show as the crowd chants for Undertaker. They exchange blows, Undertaker hits the boot and the clothesline. Undertaker boots Big Show in the head, but the big man holds the ropes to hang on. Undertaker tries to throw him out. Show pulls Undertaker over the top rope. They have a choke-off on the apron. Orton hits a RKO on Show on the top rope, which eliminates him. Big Show pulls Undertaker out to eliminate him even though he was on the floor. They go fighting into the crowd.
The final four is Triple H, Randy Orton, Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes.
It’s the babyface Triple H versus three guys in the Legacy stable. They triple team him to the point where HHH is helpless as Orton slaps him in the face. Hunter counters the RKO by shoving him into the turnbuckle. He hits a facebuster on Rhodes followed by a Spinebuster on Dibiase. Orton nearly gets eliminated, but he hangs on. HHH hits a Pedigree to Rhodes. He throws Dibiase out. He throws Rhodes out. Right after Triple H throws Cody out, he gets thrown out by Orton. That was a well done finish. Great timing by all of them.
Winner: Randy Orton
The match ended at 58:38.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– The match was average and I’d consider it the worst one of the 2000s. At no point did they crank it up into second gear and have an amazing match. It was the same kind of thing as the year before when they loaded the ring up with too many people at once. I’ve never been a fan of Royal Rumbles having 15 guys in the ring at once. It’s better if the max is around 10 or so because you can see everything, the eliminations mean more and the flow leads to a better all around match.
– Orton was the first heel to win the Rumble since Vince won it in 1999, which was 10 years earlier. He was the right choice because they wanted to establish the dominance of the Legacy group, which was fairly new at this point. I believe that this performance did elevate the group, so it was effective in that sense.
– The crowd popped huge for RVD, who was a legitimate surprise after being out of WWE for a few years. He looked to be in great shape. I thought it would lead to a permanent return for him. Instead it was a one time thing.
– I was really disappointed that Jericho didn’t have a bigger role in the match. He was the Superstar of the Year in 2008 and he should have had a bigger impact here. He was in the ring for 37:17, he eliminated only one person in RVD and he did nothing else of relevance. That’s a waste of an incredible talent.
– The Santino elimination was the fastest in Rumble history. Don’t blink or you might miss it.
FACTS & OPINIONS
Person that lasted the longest: Triple H at 49:55
Most Eliminations: Triple H and Big Show with 9.
Best Performers (3): Randy Orton – The RKO was over huge as usual. He didn’t shine too much.
Triple H – Solid work, but never spectacular. Kind of like this match.
Rey Mysterio – He was never a threat to win, but he flew around the ring making everybody look good like usual.
Best Elimination: Undertaker eliminating Jericho after Jericho hit him with the Codebreaker was fantastic. Also props to Santino for being eliminated in just one second. Classic.
Match Rating: *** It was an average Rumble.
The 23rd Royal Rumble is one that I wrote live in 2010. I’ll admit that the writeup isn’t as thorough as some of the others you have read in this series. I thought 2009 was a down year for WWE, so as we headed towards the new year I had a lot of optimism about the product at that time.
One of the big stories heading into the match was that Shawn Michaels wanted to win so that he could guarantee himself a title shot at the World Champion Undertaker at WrestleMania. The deal was he wanted a rematch of their classic WrestleMania matchup the year before. Like most years when he was in the match, I picked John Cena to win this one. That wasn’t right. It was a surprise winner this year. Let’s see what happened.
WWE Royal Rumble
January 31, 2010
The announcers are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker. Intervals are at about 90 seconds like usual.
The #1 entrant is Dolph Ziggler and #2 is Evan Bourne. I guess nobody’s going from first to win this year, huh? They worked slowly, not much happened. #3 is CM Punk with Serena at ringside. Punk threw Bourne out and clotheslined Ziggler out. Punk grabbed a microphone. He thanked us for joining him. JTG is #4. Punk got rid of JTG in about 20 seconds. #5 is Great Khali. Punk tried to save him by converting him to straight edge, but Khali wanted none of that.
The #6 person to enter is Beth Phoenix. She kisses Khali and eliminates him from the match. That was memorable. Punk fought off her attack and gave her the GTS. #7 is Zack Ryder as Punk tosses Beth out. The interesting thing about Punk tossing Beth out is that they were dating at the time. Must have been quite the romance huh? I don’t know what I mean by that. I’m just saying. Punk hit Ryder with the mic, then tossed him out. Punk’s mouth is bleeding. #8 is HHH. They go face to face. They brawl a bit and #9 is Drew McIntyre. This was around the time when people were saying he was a favorite of HHH backstage, so the placement is interesting. Cole busted out the “vintage” for the high knee. Striker mocked him for it. HHH eliminated Punk by countering the GTS. #10 is Ted Dibiase.
The heels worked on HHH as we got #11, who is John Morrison. He goes after McIntyre right away with a sick DDT. Starship Pain by Morrison on McIntyre. #12 is Kane, who is in for the 12th time, which is a record shared with Shawn Michaels. The announcers of course have to tell us he’s a big threat. Chokeslam to HHH. Cody Rhodes is #13, so we have six guys in the ring right now. Nice dropkick by Cody on Morrison coming off the top. #14 is MVP, who never got into the ring. Why? Miz attacks him in the aisle with the US title. MVP gets helped to the back, so he never entered the match. #15 is Carlito. Eight guys in the ring. Hey, Carlito actually got some offense in. That’s shocking.
#16 is The Miz. Skull Crushing Finale to Carlito. And here comes MVP. Clothesline over the top to Miz, so they’re both out. #17 is Matt Hardy. Kane shoved Hardy out after about 20 seconds for Matt. HHH flipped Kane out. Everybody ran at HHH ninja style and he gave them all spinebusters. #18 is Shawn Michaels. They chucked everybody out except McIntyre rather quickly. Double clothesline on McIntyre sends him out. We’re at #19 and it’s John Cena. He works over the DX guys. HHH hits a Pedigree on Cena. Michaels just superkicked HHH out of the match. Wow. Pretty shocking there. #20 is Shelton Benjamin. He’s out pretty quick, so just Michaels and Cena.
#21 is Yoshi Tatsu. He’s gone quickly. #22 is the Big Show with only Michaels and Cena in there. They can’t get Show out of there. Michaels did the skin the cat move. Triple H was my pick to win. With him out I guess it’s HBK although I think it’s too obvious. #23 is “Somebody get the Kool-Aid!” Mr. Kool-Aid Mark Henry so we can get the vintage big guy vs. big guy spot while Michaels and Cena play dead. Bodyslam by Henry onto Show and Cena couldn’t get the AA on Henry. Doesn’t Cena have a bad back? That didn’t help. #24 is Chris Masters. No titty dance tonight. He’s serious. So serious that Big Show threw him out with one hand after about 30 seconds. #25 is R-Truth. Wow, R-Truth eliminated Mark Henry and Big Show at the same time as they were hanging. I guess maybe R-Truth is getting a push. It’s Michaels, Cena & Truth in there.
#26 is Jack Swagger. It’s 10:27pm and there’s only four spots left. Swagger got some decent offense in, sending all three guys to the mat. We’ve got at least Jericho and Batista left. Swagger clotheslined Michaels, but Shawn hung on with one arm. #27 is Kofi Kingston and Cole already busted about the “controlled frenzy” line. Kingston eliminated Swagger. Four in the ring with three spots left. Kingston just eliminated R-Truth with his feet. #28 is Chris Jericho. We have Batista left and one more. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Cena rather quickly. Michaels hit the top rope elbow on Jericho leading to a “vintage” Michaels from Cole. Michaels went for the superkick, but Kofi jumped in front of Jericho and hit the Trouble in Paradise. Cena capitalized and hit the Attitude Adjustment on Kofi to send him out. #29 is Edge. Woo! That’s a surprise! Spear on Jericho, spear on Michaels, spear on Cena. Edge tosses Jericho out. #30 is Batista. We’ve got the final four.
Final four: Michaels, Cena, Edge and Batista.
They all hit their finishers and they were all knocked out as the announcers set the stage for the final four. Edge looks to be in great shape showing no ill effects. When he threw Jericho out he taunted him and the crowd went nuts. Edge is definitely being booked as a babyface in case there was any doubt. It’s 10:35pm with the final four, so this foursome will get some time I assume. Michaels was in control, he hit a superkick on Cena, a superkick on Batista and then Edge tried to clothesline him out. Michaels superkicked Edge back in the ring. Batista clubbed HBK in the back and Shawn fell to the floor. He’s stunned. The crowd is silent. They’re playing up that he doesn’t get his match with Undertaker now. Shawn threw a ref down on the floor and went back in the ring. He then superkicked ref Charles Robinson in the ring.
Cena’s been in the ring for over 20 minutes. Batista charged at him, Cena ducked and Batista went out. Edge is waiting for Cena. Cena charges in and Edge tosses him out for the win. Edge wins the Rumble! I’m very happy to be wrong about this.
The match ended at 49:24.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– It wasn’t the most exciting Rumble. They really didn’t have any star making spots or somebody that lasted the entire match. I’m not really complaining. It’s just that they usually have some more memorable spots or moments than what we got here.
– 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.
– The longest entrant was John Cena at 22:11. I think that’s the shortest ever time for a longest entrant in Rumble history. That’s weird. 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 Rumble, but it was a hell of a way to go out.
– 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: ***1/4 A little better than 2009, but not by much. It felt way too rushed at times.
The 24th Royal Rumble is one that I wrote live in 2011. It’s historic because it’s the only Rumble match that had 40 entrants. I wasn’t a fan of the 40 entrants idea because that just meant 10 more people in the match that had no chance of winning. When you do these matches with 30 people and you know only about five of them have a chance of winning you’re not enhancing the match by adding ten names. If anything, it hurt it a bit. Let’s get to it.
WWE Royal Rumble
January 30, 2011
The announcers are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker.
The #1 spot belongs to CM Punk. We don’t know who #2 is because all The Corre guys come out. They jump Punk and all the Nexus guys come out as well. They start brawling. It’s a battle of the factions. The Raw GM has buzzed in. The GM types faster than me. The GM orders them to break it up and go back to the locker room. Let’s start again.
The #1 guy is CM Punk as we know and #2 is Daniel Bryan. I would be fine if both of these guys lasted near the end. Two of the best workers in the company. Bryan hits a nice dropkick here as I worry about my site crashing due to traffic. It seems to be functional. The #3 spot is Justin Gabriel. Bryan hits a back suplex on Gabriel to eliminate him leaving us with the first two guys again. It’s Zack Ryder at #4, who is a huge threat to win. Cole points out his #1 contender status. Hilarious that they always mention that. Bryan eliminates Ryder with a hiptoss. By the way, I’m informed via twitter that they went 73 seconds to get Gabriel in there. It’s not at 90 seconds like WWE might tell you. The #5 entrant is William Regal as Striker calls him the best superstar to have never held a WWE or World Title. I don’t agree although he’s still very talented. I’d put Curt Hennig, Owen Hart and British Bulldog ahead of him. RIP to all of them. He hits suplexes on Bryan and Punk. Very physical knee to the head of Punk. Bryan comes back, putting both guys down as we await the next guy.
Ted Dibiase is in at #6 as I ask that they do more close-ups of Maryse. That doesn’t happen, much to my dismay. It’s John Morrison at #7. He gets thrown out, but he is able to stay in the match. Regal gets thrown out. Morrison’s feet don’t touch the floor as he gets pushed out. He hangs onto the barricade with his feet at the bottom of the barricade. He climbs the barricade, then jumps onto the steps. That was freaky. I’m still marveling at Morrison’s spot. I don’t think I can do it justice with a written description. One of those things you have to see. The #8 guy is Yoshi Tatsu. Not a whole lot happens. Here’s Husky Harris at #9 as he stands in front of CM Punk to block him from a beating. Striker mentions he’s the youngest guy in the match at 23 years old. The #10 man is Chavo Guerrero as we are a quarter of the way through in this 40 person Rumble. Cole doesn’t like Chavo’s chances. Not exactly a stretch to say that. Chavo hits the Three Amigos suplex, but Punk breaks it up and then Chavo hits the suplexes on Punk. Then he hits them on Morrison. Now Daniel Bryan’s turn. He has hit two suplexes on 4 guys and then he hits the third on Bryan. He does the Eddie Guerrero shuffle to a good pop. Chavo hits a missile dropkick on Husky.
In at #11 is Mark Henry as Striker wonders how you can eliminate Mark Henry. I don’t know Striker, but he’s never done well in a Rumble. So I think they know how. They say it EVERY YEAR because he’s a THREAT TO WIN. Mark dumps Chavo out rather quickly. Mark hits a clothesline on Tatsu. That’s two eliminations for Mark. #12 is JTG as the ring is getting full with jobbers. I’m sorry if I miss some eliminations and small things like that. It’s #13 Michael McGillicutty, who dropkicks JTG out. What a shock that JTG didn’t last longer. The crowd is pretty quiet at this point. It’s Chris Masters at #14. I have no idea what the time is between entrants, but there’s no way it’s at 90 seconds. Nobody gets eliminated during this period as we have 7 guys in the ring. More Nexus time as David Otunga is #15, giving us 4 Nexus guys in the match. Punk eliminates Bryan after 20 minutes of action. That sucked. I wanted Bryan to last longer. They eliminate Dibiase. I think it was him. They get rid of Morrison too. Now it’s four Nexus guys plus Mark Henry. They dump him out. Four Nexus guys in the ring as #16 comes down.
The #16 spot is Tyler Reks. They throw him out in about 30 seconds. Cole points out that they are going to bulldoze their way through the match by working together to throw everybody out as soon as they get in the ring. It’s one half of the tag champs Vladimir Kozlov at #17. They pound him down. Punk waves bye bye to Kozlov and easily throws him out after about a minute. Cole points out it might be the greatest strategy in Rumble history while Striker wonders who can stop this. What’s Up for #18 R-Truth. They attack him like a swarm of bees, says Lawler. I would come out Undertaker style by taking a minute to get out there. They dump out Truth after about one minute as well. Here’s the returning Great Khali at #19. It’s his return from being on a Big Brother like TV show in India. He’s a threat to win of course. He chops all of the Nexus guys down. Khali eliminates Harris. Punk escapes his grasp. That was good booking because it neutralized the group mentality that was dominating. Now we’re onto the next guy. It’s another Nexus guy at #20, newcomer Mason Ryan. Khali misses a clothesline and Ryan eliminates him. That’s an impressive debut. Smartly booked first half of the Rumble because it really elevates this Nexus group.
It’s a big pop for Booker T as the surprise entrant at #21 as Striker says he’s marking out bro. That was a great moment for one of my fave wrestlers ever. He hits a sidekick on Ryan as Cole calls it vintage Booker. He gets a Scissors Kick and a Bookend. Spinarooni by Booker. Mason Ryan dumps out Booker. I wish he could have lasted longer. A massive pop for #22 John Cena, who was my pick to win. Cena eliminates Mason Ryan fairly easily and then he clotheslines McGillicutty and Otunga at the same time to get rid of them. The crowd is going nuts as Cena faces off with Punk one on one. The #23 man is Hornswoggle. He’s a big threat to win! He’s the shortest entrant in Rumble history, of course. Punk boots him down. I marked out for that, bro. Cena eliminates CM Punk rather easily with the Attitude Adjustment. That sucks. Now the Nexus group is out, but The Corre group will be in there for the second half of it. Cena spends some quality time with Hornswoggle as they await #24. My boy Tyson Kidd is #25 and he has to sell for Hornswoggle, which is a damn shame. Hornswoggle hits the Attitude Adjustment on Kidd thanks to Cena putting him on his shoulders. Cena throws Kidd out. I’m sad that Punk didn’t last longer.
It’s the Wendy lookalike Heath Slater at #26. I think The Corre’s music is terrible, by the way. Cena and Hornswoggle do the double Five Knuckle Shuffle. That made me want to puke. Hornswoggle hits the Tadpole Splash on Slater. And Cena throws Slater out. There goes my idea that The Corre would get a good push late in the match. We get another babyface with Kofi Kingston at #27 as he takes his time getting in the ring. They each look up at the WrestleMania sign. They barely wrestle at all. There’s Jack Swagger at #28. He puts down both guys, hitting his corner splash off the ropes. He says he’s going to WrestleMania. Swoggle hits Swagger low (where else can he hit him?) so Kingston hits a crossbody. Kofi hits a Boom Drop legdrop on Swagger while using Hornswoggle as a step ladder. Sheamus is in the #29 spot. He puts down Cena with a backbreaker. Hornswoggle goes HBK on Sheamus as he warms up the band. He kicks Sheamus in the shin. Cena saves an attack on Hornswoggle, who is still in the match. Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick to eliminate Hornswoggle. He was sitting on the top. That’s my fave elimination so far. Rey Mysterio is #30, which used to be the last spot. Not this year. There are five guys in the ring at the moment, by the way. He hits his high flying spots on everybody, but Sheamus slows him down with a clothesline. I’m told most entrances are about 90 seconds now while the time check is at 10:18 meaning we got another 30 minutes or so to go. Kingston hits Trouble in Paradise on Sheamus. Rey eliminates Swagger with a 619 after Swagger holds on.
The #31 spot, first time ever, is Wade Barrett. We have five guys in the ring right now: Cena, Sheamus, Kingston, Mysterio and Barrett. There’s no elimination. Here’s Dolph Ziggler at #32 even though he lost the World Title match earlier in the show. They mention the power of his girlfriend Vickie Guerrero to get him in the Rumble match. Ziggler and Barrett try to eliminate Cena, but Rey saves him. It’s Kevin Nash coming out as Diesel in the #33 spot. That was a spoiler from the weekend. His hair was black unlike the usual gray as the guys in the ring all turn around in shock. I knew he’d be there, but didn’t think they’d go the Diesel route since he worked as Kevin Nash in WWE for a few years in the mid 2000s. He got a really good pop coming out. The crowd knows their history. He hits some power moves on everybody, but no eliminations. There’s Drew McIntyre at #34. I had to run to the bathroom quick. I missed Diesel getting eliminated, so he didn’t last too long. The Miz is out there as Alex Riley is in the ring too. Show throws out The Miz. Sorry for missing a bit there.
The #36 man is Ezekiel Jackson, who doesn’t come out to The Corre’s music. Show eliminates McIntyre. Zeke throws out Big Show. They are supposed to have a feud. The six guys in the ring are Cena, Sheamus, Barrett, Jackson, Kingston and Mysterio. There are 4 people left in the match. Santino is #37. He lasts longer than 2009 already! He goes after Jackson, which is a bad idea. Sheamus boots down Santino, who slides under the bottom rope. Cole mentions that Cena’s been in the ring for 25 minutes at this point. Jackson nearly gets rid of Cena, but he hangs on. The #38 man is a big favorite Alberto Del Rio. He gets the introduction from Ricardo Rodriguez as they don’t even show the happenings in the ring. That’s always fantastic. Striker mentions that Riley got eliminated although we never saw it or who did it. Del Rio takes time to get out there. Miz hangs around on commentary. I assume that means Cena is winning to set that feud up immediately following this match. The #39 entrant is Randy Orton. That means both title match losers are in the Rumble. RKO on Del Rio. RKO on Sheamus. RKO on Kingston. Cole references six RKOs in 2009 when Orton won. He throws out Kingston and clotheslines Sheamus out. We have the Orton-Cena showdown. The announcers always try to sell this as if they never wrestled eachother before. Cena points at the WM sign again. He sure loves doing that. No Triple H at #40. It’s Kane at #40.
We’ve got the hoss showdown with Jackson and Kane. Jackson charges at Kane, who ducks. There goes Jackson. The six guys left are Kane, Barrett, Del Rio, Mysterio, Orton and Cena. I still pick Cena to win like I said the whole time. Kane goes for a chokeslam, but Rey eliminates him with a headscissors. Barrett knees Mysterio in the back to eliminate him.
Final four: Cena, Barrett, Orton and Del Rio (and Santino, who I originally forgot about in the live writeup).
Two babyfaces from Raw, two heels from Smackdown. We are at the 65 minute mark. We have some near eliminations, but Cena fights Barrett off with a Gutwrench suplex. Cole keeps talking about the dream of headlining WrestleMania. It’s like Orton and Cena haven’t been there many times before, huh? Cena can’t get AA on Orton. Now the heels take control of the faces in respective corners. Cena comes back with the AA on Del Rio. Here comes Riley to distract Cena. Miz runs in the ring to throw Cena out. There’s the typical elimination where they protect the top guy. The story is that Miz didn’t want to face Cena at Mania. Of course, that ended up happening anyway. Orton throws out Barrett. Del Rio throws out Orton! I marked out! Del Rio wins…we think. The music plays. Wait a second. Santino comes back in. He never got eliminated. Santino hits The Cobra on Del Rio. Cole is going nuts calling it a huge upset. He goes to throw out Del Rio, but Santino gets thrown out. It’s official. Del Rio wins.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
The match ended at 69:11.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– It was a solid Rumble using the typical formula they always do. The first half was dominated by CM Punk and the Nexus group. The middle part was a showcase for Cena. The end put over Del Rio huge by giving him the win from the #38 spot.
– I wish somebody lasted over an hour or that somebody eliminated a record number of guys. If you’re going to do the “biggest Rumble ever” you need to make it historic in some way. There wasn’t anything special about this match other than there were 40 people in it.
– The story of CM Punk and the Nexus dominating the first half of the match was awesome. Once they got eliminated the match lost a lot of the momentum it had and started to get a little boring.
– The tease of Santino ending was pretty fun for a second, but then when you realize it’s Santino you know it’s not going to really happy. I’ll give them points for being creative, at least.
– The match was too damn long at 69 minutes. I remember watching it the first time and being bored by it because it just kept going and going. I’m glad they don’t do a 40 person Rumble again.
FACTS & OPINIONS
Person that lasted the longest: CM Punk at 35:22.
Most Eliminations: CM Punk & John Cena with 7.
Best Performers (3): CM Punk – Lasted the longest and threw out the most guys. Carried the first half of the match.
John Cena – One of his better performances in a Royal Rumble match.
Alberto Del Rio – Wasn’t a clear number three star, so I’ll give it to the match winner.
Best Elimination: Del Rio eliminating Santino at the end.
Match Rating: *** Average match with some dull points. At least the finish was a bit different from the usual.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.