Today, I’d like to take a look back at the best of what the Royal Rumble has to offer us. I have broken it down 9 Deuce style. I am joined by my after PPV podcast partner, Steve, for this particular venture. Keri and Russ basically flipped me off. So here you go, this is what we consider the best of the Rumble. Both of us have seen every single year, so you know that you are getting legit perspectives.
Best save from elimination, meaning the coolest way(s) people have saved themselves from being eliminated. I don’t know if this should be the Shawn Michaels award or the Kofi Kingston award.
Steve: John Morrison in 2011, when he got knocked into the guardrail and hung on.
Kent: Morrison is my pick as well, but props to Kofi for walking on his hands in 2012 I think it was.
Best quick elimination from the match. Old school fans may recall one of the Bushwackers getting eliminated in record time, and then Santino set the standard. We aren’t caring about who was quickest, but rather which one was the best. The Elimination should occur before the next participant comes out.
Steve: I’m going to go with the Bushwackers, something about how he was just completely unfazed about being tossed out right away and kept doing his walk right to the back.
Kent: Jerry Lawler back in 97 when he wa son commentary, enters the ring, goes out in seconds and returns to the announce desk like he never even entered. There are a ton of good ones to choose. Warlord, Titus, Santino, Bushwackers, JBL, etc.
Favorite elimination from the Rumble. This one is self explanatory.
Steve: Maven eliminating the Undertaker is my favorite, just because it was so unexpected. Also Macho Man getting himself eliminated is a good one.
Kent: Sid eliminating Hogan in 1992 was awesome, Muhammad Hassan’s elimination in 2005 was great, but I will go with Benoit eliminating Big Show in 2004 because it was a neat way at the time and I just wasn’t sure if WWE ever truly had faith in Benoit.
Best rookie hazing during the match. There are obvious times when the veterans have some fun with the young guys with various chops and other old school moves. Give me your favorite example.
Kent: Well Steve alluded to Maven eliminating Taker, and after that, he got his ass handed to him. Still, Daniel Puder in 2005 was absolutely brutal with Eddie, Benoit, and Hardcore Holly.
Best Hoss showdown in the rumble. In the Rumble, it’s inevitable for 2 big boys to square off and all of the focus on them. What one was the best or your favorite?
Kent: Giant Gonzales vs Taker in 1993 for all of the wrong reasons. It’s still hilariously bad.
Best Eliminator, or the Kane award, goes to your favorite wrestler who has his fair share of eliminations. Something about the way that he does it, just pleases you.
Kent: I really enjoyed Punk in 2010 holding his ground for a long time and owning that ring.
Best Survivor is for those guys that always seem to last long and entertain you doing so. Maybe they have won the whole thing, maybe they have come up short. This isn’t for just one year, it’s a sign of overall appreciation through the years, or maybe you just love what Ric Flair did in in 1992. Woooooooo!
Kent: Jericho is probably my pick with a nod to Rey, Cody, and Backlund in 93.
Worst Rumble of all time. Yeah, this one is self explanatory. Do you focus on the in ring work, the lack of stars, the terrible eliminations, the bad storyline leading in, the outcome of the match, or maybe everything was just too obvious from the get go. Don’t let your hatred of Bluetista sway your pick. Seriously…..don’t. .
Kent: 1993, look at the participants. They get rid of Flair, Perfect, and Dibiase so early and have nothing left. Absolute trash.
Best Rumble of all time. Take everything I just said above in #8 and pretend it’s opposite day. You probably still aren’t picking 2014, but you can. Tell us why you chose this one.
Steve: 1992 should be everyone’s best. It was for the title, Flair came in at 3 and won it, Heenan and Monsoon were great the entire night on commentary. The after Rumble interview with Mean Gene telling someone off camera to put the cigarette out.
Kent: I’ll go 2008, despite that being Cena’s year. That Rumble had everything that you want in a rumble. It had great stars, some returns and legends, and Cena coming back was actually incredible at the time, and still is today. 1992 finished second for me.
Best surprise entrant in the Rumble. Please, don’t get this confused with a returning wrestler, say somebody from injury. No, this should be a big surprise that the average fan wouldn’t have known about. Let’s call this the AJ Styles award to ruin anybody’s thunder if they try to pick him and make their pick seem obvious and stupid. A female entrant would fall under this category if you wanted to be historic.
Steve: Does Diesel in 2011 count? I believe it got Matt Striker fired so he has that going for him.
Kent: Jericho in 2013 and to hold his own for so long was incredible to me. I loved it. Also, AJ Styles has to be mentioned.
Best returning entrant in the Rumble. This should be a superstar that has been with the company and probably has just been injured. They didn’t defect from ECW or WCW, they were already with the WWF/WWE. Think of it as the HHH while listening to Creed’s “My Sacrifice”.
Steve: John Cena in 2008. Although it’s cool to hate him, and say everything he does is terrible, he came back from shoulder surgery way sooner than anyone should…which makes me think he has mutant healing powers, or took HGH. It also had the crowd cheering him when his music hit, which for John Cena to have 100% of the crowd cheering is amazing.
Kent: Cena for all of the reasons that Steve suggested. I don’t care if he was on something like HGH, he was possibly missing Wrestlemania, and yet he returns for the Rumble. Unreal! Way better than HHH’s return, which was crammed down our gullet like a Women’s Revolution.
Finally, I would like to give you some interesting facts that I dug up on Wikipedia that I feel may interest you in the Rumble. These are numbers and statistics that don’t get much love from commentary on WWE.
Longest Cumulative Time Spent in the Royal Rumble
HHH @ 3:59:37 Chris Jericho @ 3:55:59 HBK @ 3:42:30 Kane @ 3:38:46 Rey Mysterio @ 3:20:01 Cody Rhodes @ 3:08:30
Honestly, I’m surprised by Cody. He’s only been in 7 or 8 of them while Shawn has been in 12, and HHH with 9. Rey has been in at #1, 2, 4, and 8 in the past, and he always did well, except 2014.
Most Royal Rumble Appearances
Kane with 19 HBK with 12 Goldust and Big Show with 11 Taker and Rikishi with 10 Viscera, Mark Henry, Miz, HHH, Jericho, and R Truth with 9
Basically, Kane should have this record for many years to come. If he participates this Sunday, that will be 20 out of 30 Rumbles, or two thirds of all Rumbles. Shawn’s #’s would be higher if he wasn’t out for 4 and a half years, obviously. Taker and Mark Henry should be higher but injuries to big men is a hell of a thing. Big Show has been involved in lots of singles matches or he would be higher. Miz has a shot at Kane’s record in my opinion.
Most Cumulative Eliminations in the Rumble
Kane with 44 HBK with 39 Stone Cold with 36 Taker with 35 HHH with 33 Big Show with 31 Hulk Hogan with 27 Roman with 23 Cena with 22
I absolutely loathe this Roman Reigns bullshit. He should have to prove himself before being handed all of these things. Kane had to be Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel before given his push. Roman, well he’s Dwayne’s cousin with really moist hair. I’m surprised that HHH doesn’t have more, and Big Show’s numbers are a travesty. Big Show actually has a higher elimination average per Rumble than Kane. Of course Roman is almost averaging 8 a year. Yeah, would you look at that.Austina averaged 6, Hogan with 6.75, but Roman has 7.67 average. Stupid WWE!!!
With that being said, don’t expect any records broke this year, but lots of fun….hopefully. Enjoy!
Welcome to the 9 Deuce exclusive, The Royal Rumble Retrospective. This has long been the most beloved match of the year for a huge portion of wrestling fans. Every year, I tend to watch a few of these and have a great time. This year, I wanted to go back and revisit each and every Rumble from the beginning and find out what each Rumble brought to the table and try to determine my personal favorite. I’m not going to say the best, as your criteria is probably very different, and incorrect, from mine. This has been an arduous task, but I hope you enjoy this project which will have taken about 35-40 hours when all is said and done. I will provide links to all of these in each edition for easier navigating. A new part will be added daily until completion. I have also linked each Rumble to it’s Wikipedia page so you can see all the info that I didn’t provide.
2003 – Big Show vs Brock, HHH vs Scott Steiner, and then Kurt vs Benoit all before the Royal Rumble match. Talk about having a mountain to overcome. So they start off with HBK and Y2J, and you say why not. Stacy Kiebler was absolutely F’N stunning here. My God. Best looking diva ever in my opinion along with prime Sunny, prime Trish, Dawn Marie, and a few others. Man….Cena’s rap was vulgar and tremendous. Jericho’s face looks awful thanks to the stray kendo stick from Dreamer I believe. I forgot about Jamal, who ended up being Umaga, one of the all time best unfulfilled potentials. Test and Cena fight a lot in this one. The last 3 guys are Batista, Brock, and Taker. Wow. That’s insane. Taker first eliminates Cena. Then Maven goes for the dropkick from behind in a hilarious spot, a continuation from the previous year. The final four are Kane, Taker, Brock, and Batista. Holy crap! This is just hoss heaven. I think I was cheering on Batista when this aired live. If this happened this year, I’d be cheering on Batista or Kane. The ending was good, really good. This is actually a great overall PPV plus a great Rumble. This was interesting all the way through and had stars the whole time, plus a great final 4. I’d give this an 8.3.
Best Save – Edge was so close twice, once thanks to Rey. Matt Hardy also saved by Shannon Moore propping him up by his legs.
Best Quick Elimination – Bull Buchanan
Favorite Elimination – Christian doing Jericho’s entrance which caused HBK to be distracted, and was quickly eliminated. Jericho with a huge knot on his face, eliminating Edge and Christian.before #12. Jeff Hardy goes to the top rope and gets shoved off by RVD was awesome.
Best Rookie Hazing
Best Hoss Showdown – Rikishi vs Rosey
Best Eliminator – Chris Jericho with 6
Best Survivor – Chris Jericho @ 38:54
Best Surprise Entrant
Best Returning Superstar – Taker
2004 – This Royal Rumble is rated TV-MA. Shiiiiiiiit. Well after that HHH vs HBK bloodbath, I can see why. Anyway, for all you stupid idiots that were in the YES movement in 2014, pretending like it was the most important thing, 10 years prior, there was a man that was every bit as good, and probably better than Daniel. The crowd loved this man. The crowd didn’t act like a bunch of whiny millennials and whine and protest. No, they just hoped with every ounce of hope that a man who had busted his ass for years, a man who may be a little shorter and not the prettiest face in the room, but perhaps the most talented guy, would finally get his chance. That man was ‘The Crippler’ Chris Benoit. Yes, it was obvious that he was winning it, and it was totally worth it. Now, I can look back with less bias and actually judge the whole match. Benoit was #1 and a young Randy Orton was #2, oddly enough, the man that would take the belt off of Benoit that summer, in a terrible mistake. Thankfully, this is an every 90 seconds Rumble. I like how Benoit is saving himself and is only doing 2 consecutive Geman suplexes as opposed to his usual 3. Early on, the star power is lacking aside from Randy and Benoit. Steiner, Bradshaw, Matt Hardy, Rhyno, Matt Morgan, Mark Henry, Tajiri, and The Hurricane don’t move the needle much. But They were all good talents that weren’t total jobbers so it held a middling level of interest. The second third is far more entertaining, featuring Kane, Booker T, Shelton Benjamin, Albert, Rikishi, Ernest the Cat Miller, and Kurt Angle. Wow, so much better. Of course Benoit just unleashed the triple German’s on Kurt. Test was due out at 21, which got me pumped momentarily, but then I got more pumped at his replacement, Mick Foley, which was a huge story at the time, for Foley and Randy. Holy crap, Randy just cranked Mick with 2 of the most vicious chair shots that you’ll ever see. Nunzio gets the Mandible Claw then refuses to get in the ring. Awesome. The final 10 include Foley, Christian, Big Show, Jericho, Goldberg, RVD, Billy Gunn, and John Cena. This is a loaded third. This is when Cena was just turning face and he got over, and then he finds Nunzio. Brock attacked Goldberg and F5’d him. That may happen this year. Final 6 are Benoit, Cena, Y2J, Kurt, and RVD. That’s loaded! Cena, then RVD, Jericho, Kurt, and finally Big Show. I think Cena tweaked his knee and/or ankle upon elimination. That Angle elimination was great. I love how much damage Big Show took. It told a great story, and showed that he had been weakened for the proper ending. He had the Walls of Jericho, Angle Lock, and Crossface, plus other stuff. That final elimination was iconic as well, well until they stopped showing it. Man, this Rumble was friggin great. I gotta give this an 8.5 based on the storytelling. Would be a 9, but the first 10 participants lacked one more star or if we had a bonafide hoss showdown. They set up so many great angles for Mania though and that’s the whole point. Kudos!
Best Save – Jericho had a few close ones
Best Quick Elimination – Randy and Benoit eliminate Ernest and Lamont who were dancing to “Somebody Better Call My Momma”.
Favorite Elimination – Foley eliminates himself and Randy was huge for their rivalry. The winner is Big Show’s flipping elimination on Angle. It was amazing. One of the all time greatest and most overlooked.
Best Rookie Hazing – Scott Steiner on Orton, it’s ridiculous, after Hurricane’s elimination. Matt Morgan also got some hazing by Rikishi.
Best Hoss Showdown – Randy vs Foley
Best Eliminator – Benoit with 6
Best Survivor – Benoit @ 1:01:35
Best Surprise Entrant – Mick Foley
Best Returning Superstar – Billy Gunn
2005 – This is when WWE was in the midst of making Orton and Batista into stars while Edge was becoming a superstar. The older established guys like HHH, HBK, Jericho, Taker, Eddie, Benoit, and such were doing what they could. Cena was in full SuperCena mode, and was pissing off the everyday common fan. This is one of my personal favorite Rumbles. Aside from the Rumble, we get Edge vs HBK, Taker vs Heidenreich, Big Show vs JBL vs Kurt, and HHH vs Orton. Yeah, a lot of star power is used up in matches instead of pawning it off on tag team and women’s matches, like they should. Eddie pickpocketing Flair’s number backstage was great. Also Snitsky and Heidenreich backstage….B movie grade stuff there. Wow, the shit that JBL got away with saying to Teddy Long….wow. Eddie drew #1 and this is his last Rumble, sadly. Fortunately, he gets to start against his good friend, Chris Benoit. This is the year of hazing, and Daniel Puder was a douchebag to Kurt, and he paid for it. This was absolutely intentional in who would come out. As bad as Maven’s hazing was, this was way worse. The first 10 was pretty damn stacked with Benoit, Eddie, Edge, Rey Mysterio, Shelton, and Booker T. Good start to a memorable evening. At one point, we have 4 RAW guys (Edge, Y2J, Benoit, & Shelton) and 4 Smackdown guys (Booker T, Eddie, Rey, and Luther Reigns) and they have a rumble, which leads to Muhammad Hassan, and one of those unforgettable moments where everybody teams up on him. He gets the 619 and then unanimously dumped.
“Orlando is the new Virgil” sign held by Rappaport. Love it. Rumble-roonie by Booker T, and immediately eliminated by Rey and Eddie, haha. Edge gets ride of Eddie and immediately mocks him while Simon Dean is outside “warming up”. The second set of 10 guys was incredibly underwhelming for the most part, but it did include Jericho at 11, HBK at 19, and Kurt at 20. The rest of them…..yikes. The Kurt getting eliminated by Shawn and then coming back in and eliminating Shawn and busting him open was memorable. Jericho doing the French Tickler dance after eliminating Rene was smart. Cena was very over, as the fans weren’t sick of him yet. Jesus, Snitsky eliminating Paul London resulted in a concussion I believe. It was brutal. Haha, Coach has attacked Benoit and Kane from behind, both with hilarious results. Cena just randomly elbowed Coach while resting in the corner. The final third is the hoss third with Viscera, Snitsky, Kane, Batista, Cena, Christian, and Ric Flair. That’s a solid lineup. Christian’s song was probably my favorite at the time, and I still listen to it. It’s called “Just Close Your Eyes” by Waterproof Blond. The remake of his song with the dude singer sucked. The final 8 are Flair, Batista, Cena, Edge, Christian, Rey, Benoit, and Coach. Yes, Coach. Batista is way too tired too early in his match. The final four are Cena, Rey, Bats, and Edge. Clearly Batista’s second foot first, but it was a well done spot, especially with 2 power guys. It was smart. The crowd was crazed. Vince is so pissed as he comes out, he runs and slides in the ring, tears both quads at the same time. He is in so much pain, and he just sits there feeling like a fool. Batista is clearly looking concerned. What an ending, and poor Vince. In the end, we get a restart and Batista wins it. If it wasn’t for the poor middle third, this would be an easy favorite. Alas, despite it probably being my favorite, there are flaws, lack of hoss matchups also hurt. This scores incredibly high on eliminations and memorable moments and star power. I give this an 8.2 on those merits alone. It’s so good.
Best Save – Rey had a decent save before Edge speared him
Best Quick Elimination – Muhammad Hassan was incredibly memorable. Then of course there was the Kurt getting eliminated by HBK in like a minute which led to one of the all time great Mania matches, so that holds up well.
Favorite Elimination – Kurt getting Shawn back and busting him open, or Batista and Cena tossing each other after Vince comes out. Jericho eliminating Rene and then mocking, also classy. Shit, Edge spearing Rey off the apron wins it.
Best Rookie Hazing – Daniel Puder in chop city courtesy of Eddie, Benoit, & Hardcore Holly. Kenzo Suzuki had a bad time as well with Eddie and Benoit.
Best Hoss Showdown – Kane vs Snitsky
Best Eliminator – Edge and Batista with 5 each
Best Survivor – Benoit @ 47:26, Edge @ 40:19, Rey @ 38:25, Y2J and Eddie both over 28 minutes
Best Surprise Entrant – Does Angle count?
Best Returning Superstar
2006 – This is the Royal Rumble after Eddie’s death. Lots of Eddie armbands. Basically, Rey and HHH last the whole damn way. They wasted the momentum, and while I felt others were more deserving than Rey, but Rey was the greatest Cruiserweight that I have ever seen so kudos to him. HHH also wanted some glory, I know, I know, that’s hard to believe. It wasn’t a great Rumble, but 3 great jobs by HHH, Rey, and Carlito. I’d give this one a 6.2.
Best Save – Rey as HHH tosses him, Rey gets under the rope and latches on to the bottom rope ala Rick Martel
Best Quick Elimination – Simon Dean, Sylvan, Coach, Booker T
Favorite Elimination – HHH eliminating Big Show and Kane simultaneously, HHH knocking Chavo off top rope, HBK Sweet Chin Music on Shelton
Best Rookie Hazing – Joey Mercury and Johnny Abs (Morrison)
Best Hoss Showdown – Lashley vs Big Show, Kane vs Lashley, Kane vs Big Show
Best Eliminator – Rey with 6
Best Survivor – Rey @ 1:02:12 and HHH @ 1:00:15 obviously
Best Surprise Entrant – Tatanka, Goldust
Best Returning Superstar
2007 – This is one of the all time great ones. The matches were fine, but the real treat was the Rumble match. Finlay turned back the clock and stayed in for a long time. We got Rated RKO kicking lots of ass. This was CM Punk’s first Rumble and Benoit and Flair’s last, for 2 completely different reasons, obviously. The pacing was smart, plenty of good spots. Not huge on the saves until the end. But the end, that’s where this one really shines. It is without a doubt, the greatest final 2 showdown of all time with Taker and HBK. Those 2 stole the show and set the bar for how to end a Rumble. Taker eliminating Khali was a thing of beauty as Khali prematurely jumped. That left Taker to will Khali over with pure strength, and Khali was not much help. It just showed how incredible Taker was. I give this one an 8.3 and I don’t know which one is better between this one and 2002.
Best Save – Shelton with feet inches away from floor
Best Quick Elimination – The Miz
Favorite Elimination – Rated RKO eliminates the Hardy Boys, Taker powering Khali after Khali F’d up his elimination
Welcome everybody to the greatest wrestling blog that uses a 9 Deuce gimmick, The Wrestling 9 Deuce. This week was a very mixed bag as you will see. RAW improved, Smackdown wasn’t as good as normal, and 205 is absolutely stealing the show. Joining me, as always, is Russ and Keri, the only 2 people I know who will work for free. Delightful The big news is that Kurt is headlining the 2017 Hall of Fame class, and that’s awesome. We’d like to think that we each personify one of the 3 I’s. That would mean that Russ is the Integrity, Keri is the Intelligence, and I’m the Intensity, but then we’d be falsely claiming that Russ has Integrity, and that’s just not true.
What do you make of Sheasaro almost losing the tag team titles? Do you sense a break up soon?
Russ: I have a firm belief that at WrestleMania we will be seeing Sheamus vs. Cesaro. In order for that to happen it would make sense for them to drop the belts. Now that gives them a few months before they actually have to drop the belts, but I sense it happening sooner rather than later. The almost loss gives G&A a reason to have a match at Royal Rumble against Sheamus and Cesaro if they aren’t all in the rumble (I have no clue.) Has anyone else noticed that everytime G&A go up against the Tag champs they only lose by getting screwed out of it, at least recently anyway.
Keri: I have a strong feeling that Sheasaro’s days as RAW Tag Team Champs are very numbered. Will they lose at Rumble? Will they lose before Mania? Who knows? But I’m calling it now that Sheasaro will not be tag team champs after Wrestlemania weekend, at the latest. I’m also calling an epic implosion once they do drop the belts and by implosion I mean a match of the year candidate.
Kent: Hey, remember when last week I suggested that wrestler’s have the option of a match continuing after a DQ? See how that could have made this such a different dynamic instead of a boring DQ? I’m better than the RAW writers….fact. As for the near title change, I admit to being pissed momentarily. I do not want them dropping the belts any time soon. I hope that they aren’t a transitional championship team. With a few tweaks, RAW could be in need of more faces soon enough. I don’t see a break up. I see Sheamus getting over as a face eventually.
I also don’t condone any use of the term epic in these blogs. NOTHING that is happening has any chance of being epic right now. These are facts. If Taker faces Cena, we will have an epic match. Anything else is non-epic. Good? Sure. Great? Possibly. Epic? Get the fuck outta here with the hyperbole. If we overuse the term epic, what happens when something epic actually happens? (Russ: It becomes Ultra Mega Hyper Epic, Guy.) (Keri: But I like the word epic. Pouty face). It’s like the boy who cries wolf. Nobody is going to believe anybody when they call something epic. At this rate, by reading message boards, anything a 6.7 or higher qualifies as epic. Sad days. These guys aren’t going to have a Wrestlemania match against each other. That would be a big waste of time and energy. We have seen it. Nothing is gained from that sort of short term booking. The payoff comes when Finn is healthy enough to reform the Club and then win the belts. That doesn’t mean that these guys split up either. I don’t think they are splitting up for at least 6 months. There’s nothing to be gained from that. Think about it. What gain is there? If they wanted to push Cesaro as a singles wrestler, they would have done so. They had the opportunity when Finn went down. It’s not happening, at least not for awhile. If he can’t get a push when injuries arise, it’s over. My colleagues seem to want Cesaro to going back to being the Dolph Ziggler of 2016. That’s horrible, guys! I wish him better than that. Keep him in an entertaining team for now and develop.
Is Titus O’Neil on the verge of a push, or is he just fodder until the Royal Rumble arrives?
Russ: This is a tough one. It seems like they are trying to establish Titus by giving him some stuff to do. It also seems legitimate because they are putting him up against a very charismatic team in New Day. New Day helping Titus seems like a natural way to improve Titus and showcase his talent. However, I believe that Titus is not getting pushed and he is just fodder for the New Day until the rumble. Here is how you can tell it will be a push. If he eliminates the team of the New Day in the Rumble (is he even going to be in it?) Anything other than that and I say we will not hear from Titus until after WrestleMania.
Keri: Hahaha. Oh, wait you’re serious? Then let me laugh even harder. There is no way Creative is pushing Titus. This is just a feud to give the New Day something to do until Rumble. Nothing more, nothing less. Let’s face it. The Titus brand is yesterday’s news and completely out of style.
Kent: I think that this is just fodder. At least that is the intention, and Titus hasn’t done anything to really get over. If he had done something great or popular, I think he would have had a chance, at Xavier’s spot. But he didn’t. Titus isn’t getting over. With the plethora of talent down at NXT, his time is running thin. Shame, he seems like a legitimately good guy.
So, in the opening segment last night, we saw the foreshadowing of a potentially exciting clash at Royal Rumble. I’m talking about that Braun and Brock staredown. What are your thoughts on this inevitable clash? Also, what were your overall thoughts on this segment?
Russ: So much went on with this segment you have to keep a scorecard! Braun and Brock was pretty cool. I want to see what happens when you pit the beast vs the monster of a man. I could see Brock vs Goldberg at WrestleMania turn into Brock vs. Goldberg vs. Braun (maybe even throw in Taker for good measure.) Braun has history with Goldberg and have Brock Eliminate Braun so he has history with Brock as well. Boom Three beast one match (a triple threat match would help Goldberg make it past 27 seconds before getting tired.) As for the rest of the segment, like I said it was insanely packed and for once an oversized segment delivered the goods. This was fun for me for several reasons. First, it made sense. Now that doesn’t seem like a huge compliment, but given how RAW has been lately this is indeed a huge compliment. Second, the brawling was done well. I like how everyone got their licks in at some point and the pace was fast. Finally, I like how they utilized Brock. Usually brock will just go out and hop around while Heyman will talk about the importance of his client. Instead we got a more engaged and active Brock, which is good, who destroyed a couple people along the way. Overall I liked what I saw and hey it lead to a match that was pretty decent too.
Keri: First, I have to say that stare down (and almost fight) kinda gave me chills. When those two finally fight it will be entertaining and perhaps Braun can start learning more about his craft. Wait, I got it. Here is how he should be booked post Rumble. Braun should be placed on the big man tour. Have him fight Big Show, then Lesnar, then Taker that way he gets to learn from the best. Kent, you really do have the best ideas. Reader, if you don’t know what I’m talking about listen to last week’s “Are You Not Kentertained?” podcast to find it why I suggested this and praised Kent for his ideas. As for the opening segment overall, well I booed, cheered, and groaned a lot over the course of this segment. Booed because Reigns, groaned when Rollins came out (we all know you are fighting HHH at Mania, so go away), and cheered Heyman (because it’s Heyman). Also I like the not so random Sami Zayn sighting that was added to this segment. All in all it was slightly less than meh for me.
Kent: Yawwwwn. Boring and poorly done. Fuck this mindset of having a hoss like Braun at least not get in there and have a stalemate before the refs break it up. There, that would have made the segment good. But we have to keep making our best heels look like total pussies at every turn and it’s beyond stupid. You can keep a heel strong and a bad ass, and not give away a big fight, if you spend 20 seconds thinking up an angle. Instead, we get Yawn Stowman. Aww, no I’m sorry, I hate changing people’s names for terrible comedy sake. But somebody can wake me up when he eventually has a good match. Against Lesnar? Ha! Nope. Watch Lesnar give a German Suplex. He has forgotten how to do it properly. Watch Kurt. Kurt loosens the grip while suplexing to allow the opponent to slide and land on their back and shoulders. Brock hasn’t been doing that. With a guy like Braun who isn’t a great bumper, that’s a terrible idea. I veto this match up in every conceivable way until Braun can consistently wrestle, and Brock learns to do a German properly again.
Did the match of Enzo and Big Cass vs. Jinder and Rusev finally end the horrible feud that this has been?
Russ: Thumbs up question! Alright, I’ll keep this short and sweet, Like Kent’s Mom! Seriously, she is a short, sweet lady! This feud has been awful! With what started out promising, like so many of RAW’s feuds. I’m not talking about how Enzo was naked outside the locker room. I’m talking about how we had a chance to see Rusev vs. Cass. However, they just decided to try and make this as awkward as possible. I don’t blame any of the performers, especially not Rusev (He always tries to make his horrible angles the best that they can be.) I just wish we didn’t have to deal with the antiquated sexism that this angle was clearly about. I hope it is done and dead! (Kent: This feud had sexism??? Where? I’m seriously asking. I don’t recall it, but this has been rather forgettable, so it’s probably my memory.)
Keri: I seriously hope so but probably it won’t. We all know how RAW creative likes to beat a dead horse week after week which means that this feud is far from over. With that being said, this feud has done nothing for the individuals involved. Well, except maybe it has done something for Rusev (and indirectly Lana) It has made the guy look more or less strong. Therefore, my challenge to creative is simple. If you want to make Rusev look really strong put him in the same conversation as the guys who were in the opening segment Monday night. Do not put him in a meaningless comedy feud that goes nowhere. Seriously, guys do we have to come up with everything for these idiots. I feel like I, actually we, should be paid for this stuff.
Kent: Man, question 4 seemed to be written by a “hate-uh”. This has been great as it is showing that Rusev can do everything and is probably one of the 10 biggest commodities that they have at the moment. Meanwhile, Enzo and Cass’ stock continue to plummet. They need to fix these guys and make them hold their own in some fights or else they won’t come close to New Age Outlaws status. As I have been re-watching the past Royal Rumbles, believe me, Enzo has a LONG way to go. Road Dogg was so much better, but he was way more experienced. So it’s an unfair comparison, but it’s the only logical comparison. They need to make Enzo tougher, even if he has to lose some, that’s fine. Right now, he looks like the realest bitch in the room, and that’s terrible. E&C are my boys and I love them, but I hate their run on the main roster so far. This isn’t a Rusev and Jinder problem, they are actually doing great. This feud should be hot as hell with Enzo’s injury, the hotel attack, HBK’s involvement, and yet, it’s terrible. The way to fix this is easy. Handcuff Enzo to the top rope and beatdown Big Cass and maybe have a little blood. Then the fans will be red hot.
What has your attention this week in the Cruiserweight division? The build for Neville vs Rich Swann, Alicia Fox breaking up with Cedric, Jack Gallagher vs Daivari in an I Forfeit match, the rise of Drew Gulak or Tony Neese, Tajiri’s injury, or the impending debut of Tozawa? Also, would you be in favor of a Cruiserweight Tag Team division?
Russ: Is it sad that the Cruiserweights have better developed stories than the rest of RAW? Almost all of the feuds with the cruiserweights are hitting on all cylinders. I’m on the official bandwagon for Alicia. She is indeed a FOX! Holy crap she looked great this week. However, my interests lie with Neville and Rich. I love how dynamically different these two are. Neville is a hard hitting no nonsense jerk who will kick you in the teeth and tell you it’s your fault because you didn’t respect him enough. Where Swann is easy going and smooth with no fear. They have been building this feud up well and the pay off is coming at Rumble, though I wouldn’t mind if this feud lasted until Mania. My only complaint is that it is already happening. I wanted Swann to establish himself as a champion before he really got into a feud that he can legitimately lose. Still these two have been great and I look forward to the match at Rumble.
Keri: Two words and two words only…Jack Gallagher. This guy is growing on me and I’m really starting to like this guy. His character is fantastic and so is his in-ring ability. His feud with Daivari from what little I’ve seen on RAW is fantastic. I really need to binge watch 205 live to get more of this guy and catch up on what I’m missing in this division.
Kent: The Jack and Daivari match was really well done. I’m also absolutely loving seeing Drew and Tony starting to get to showcase their talents more. Tony has future star written all over him. My real answer is of course Alicia Fox because I am one of the bigger Alicia Fox marks, and I love the crazy stuff. Yeah, it goes overboard way too often, but she’s good at it. It’s not hurting the division or storylines at all. I really am loving it. Also, I’m loving Neville’s beard.
Is Smackdown getting the shaft in the buildup of the Royal Rumble? We can all agree, just this once.
Russ: Yes! Smackdown seems to be almost completely ignoring the Royal Rumble this year. Other than the marquee match of AJ vs Cena which, let’s face it, is going to be the match of the event. There isn’t much going on for the Blue Brand. Even talk about the actual Rumble match has been almost non-existent. However, the way Smackdown is structured they could easily incorporate a few matches into the card without any of us saying that came out of nowhere. That is what makes Smackdown the best brand. Logical coherent stories that if a match was made for a PPV in the last week we would all say “yea, that makes sense.”
Keri: Absolutely! I mean other than the Styles vs. Cena match is there anything else announced. I doubt we will see a women’s title match since we got that for free last night. There has been zero build for any type of Smackdown tag team feud so I’m going to go with nope there as well. And anyone who could possibly be feuding for the IC title is in the Rumble. Yeah this “PPV” is RAW heavy. I bet we also get a RAW Rumble winner. So much for one of the four biggest shows of the year. At least us Smackdown fans have Elimination Chamber to look forward to in a few weeks. Right, everyone? Everyone? (Kent: Right, but can’t we have boths?)
Kent: Yeah, it’s getting downright ridiculous. Look at the card. RAW’s red belt, RAW’s Women’s championship, RAW’s cruiserweight Championship, Smackdown’s World Championship are the 4 other featured matches aside from the Rumble. One or two more may be added, like tag team match, but it would probably be for the RAW belts. THEN on top of that, who is getting the most hype for the Royal Rumble match? Goldberg, Brock, Braun, Seth, Jericho, New Day, and then Baron and Dean. Even the Undertaker made his announcement on RAW and is mentioned mainly on RAW. That is so fucked! Seriously, could WWE be showing any more bias than they did at Summerslam? Yup, they sure are. They are putting the inferior show on a pedestal for some unknown reason. I swear they won’t be happy until they break the fan’s love of Smackdown. It makes no sense!!!
What happened to Smackdown doing great things with the tag division? Who’s the next team to challenge American Alpha?
Russ: Every year around this time the tag division seems to fall to the wayside and I think that is because of the rumble. Many times the teams are needed to fill out the 30 man roster. This makes it so the tag division takes a step back to let the Rumble have top shelf. As for the team to challenge American Alpha, I’m not sure. Smackdown has done a poor job of elevating its heel teams. I can see the Uso’s challenging them, but they have been pretty non-existent lately. What other heel team is even on the level? I’m sure Smackdown will remedy this after the Rumble, but for now it seems kind of bleak.
Keri: I think they are taking a Rumble break. I fully expect a lot of the guys in that division to be cannon fodder for the Rumble. Sad but so very very possible. As for who should challenge American Alpha next. Well let’s see we have the Usos, Breezedango, the Vaudevillians, and the Ascension. And given the current booking for the division, carry the one and divide by 2, I calculate that we will see an Uso-AA feud before and at Mania. This feud should keep AA occupied until the Revival debuts on the Smackdown after Wrestlemania.
Kent: I think Zach’s injury really hurt the division and they aren’t quite sure how to rebound. How about teaming Mojo with Kalisto or Apollo? Why not bring Heath and Rhyno back in or the Uso’s? I am baffled by this and hope that they get this straightened out quickly. A hiccup every once in awhile is fine, but when The Uso’s, Ginger Rhynos, Breezedango, Vaudevillains, and Ascension are just sitting there doing nothing, yet Nattie and Nikki get stuff every week, it’s incredibly frustrating. This week’s segment so didn’t need to happen, but because Nikki is banging Cena, she gets her segment. It’s asinine and Smackdown is better than this. Also, Baron needs a strong showing next week or else Smackdown will not be seen as a threat whatsoever in the Rumble. So f’n pathetic.
What does Mickie James arrival on Smackdown mean to the near future, and does it have an impact on which roster gets the valuable pick up of Asuka down the road?
Russ: With Mickie James coming back I think things are going to get a little shake-up on Smackdown and that’s a good thing. Mickie’s arrival will divert Becky’s attention from Alexa giving us two fresh new feuds. I don’t think this will impact where Asuka will go when she arrives on WWE Proper. By the time Asuka leaves NXT enough time will have passed that Mickie’s arrival will have no impact on where she goes. With that said, I still think she is going to RAW. No matter how good Smackdown is RAW will always be the flagship. They want to put the spectacles on RAW and Asuka is indeed a spectacle. When Nia Jax finally wins the gold (*shuttering* a sad day indeed.) They will need someone who can take it from her. That person is Asuka.
Keri: Yea! Mickie James is back! Ok, now that I have gotten that out of the way, I will answer the questions. First, I think adding Mickie to the Smackdown roster is a good move. You have a veteran who can go in the ring and can work with the women on the roster to improve their craft. You know the stuff that Nikki Bella can’t do and is still learning how to do. Now onto Asuka. Yes, this move means that she is probably RAW bound whenever she is called up. However, in the grand scheme of things, it probably is the best move for her. The RAW women’s roster is extremely thin. It is also extremely thin on heels and Asuka can play both roles. Also, I can’t wait to see her steamroll through that “history packed” division. On a side note, damn it Smackdown creative how dare you use the word historic on the steel cage match. You cheapen it. We were excited about it. The use of that word was unnecessary. I’m taking a half a gold star from you because that is a RAW word.
Kent: I fear that this means that Asuka will be part of historical matches on RAW this year. SIgh. Mickie is great, and she can only help this division and in a weird way, I’d rather have the veteran who can get people over rather than the hungry new girl. On Smackdown, that division works pretty flawlessly, and while Asuka would be fun as hell, Mickie will enhance the division rather than take it over. I gotta say, somebody on the podcast suggested that it would be Mickie James under the mask. Who could that have been? Keri? No she said it was some Mexican wrestler who we had never heard of. Russ? No, he started talking about something and then talked about Seth for 5 minutes. Oh yeah, it was me!
Was having Dolph attack Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler the right idea, or was it “too cheap” of heat?
Russ: It was indeed what we like to call cheap heat. Was it too much? Yes, yes it was. This segment was boring. If I wanted to watch an old guy talk to an inanimate object I’d check out Clint Eastwood (old reference, is old.) Non-talking Dolph is stupid. We know he can deliver on the mic so let’s just have him be sick of the fans and others and tells us about it. I don’t know why Smackdown thinks the silence is something that works. Cheap heat of course has it’s place in wrestling, but this was way too much. Hometown hero, guy who gets cheered almost no matter what he does… wait I take it back this was really effective. They don’t want Dolph to be cheered, what better way to do that but by annoying us with silence and super cheap heat! Get ready everyone because this is Dolph’s new gimmick. He comes out, sits there silently, then a hometown hero will come out and he will superkick them. Brilliant!
Keri: Honestly, this segment was unneeded. So I say too cheap of heat. I also think it was just an excuse for WWE to use Lawyer since they were in Memphis. This segment reeked of RAW creative and quite frankly Smackdown creative I expected better from you. And for that I shall take one gold star from the hundreds I have given you over the past few months. So, in short, Smackdown creative, I’m basically saying that I’m not mad at you. I’m just disappointed. (Kent: This week had a lot of RAW like stuff. This one, the Nikki stuff, historic reference, it seemed off.)
Kent: Too cheap of heat. Dolph’s promo on Talking Smack last week should have been played this week and it would have helped tell the story way better. This, I just didn’t care for it. Dolph needs to find a way to get some big heat or else he will get lost in the shuffle…yet again. He’s too good to get lost in the shuffle. Give us Dean vs Dolph next and let them make up for Summerslam’s one month feud.
Kurt Angle is going to be the big marquee name for this year’s Hall Of Fame class. With Jimmy Superfly Snuka recently dying, Hulk Hogan sorta out of of the Hall of Fame, and Chris Benoit’s situation, I want to talk about who belongs. So I named 4 wrestlers (Kurt, Jimmy, Hogan, Benoit) and I would like you to tell me which should and should not be in the Hall of Fame, in your opinion, and if you say no to any of them, please explain.
Russ: All of them should be in the Hall of Fame. Kurt is easy. The man has done a ton in wrestling and has done it all. My only concern with him is, can we please get him in another match or two before he is gone forever! Hogan is also easy: The man made Wrestling what it is today (for better or worse.) You can’t deny that and to keep him out of the Hall of Fame for outside reasons doesn’t represent what he did for the industry. Snuka is also simple. The man brought top rope moves to the big stage setting up a lot of the crazy things we see today. Again he is a trend setter and should definitely be forever known for it. Benoit… OK, I’ll admit this is tougher. I say he should be in it. Again, you should be considered for your work in the industry, but you need to consider actions outside of the ring especially if they are heinous. However, with Benoit there are too many unanswered questions. Were his actions the result of brain damage? If so, while his actions were horrendous, he was suffering from an undiagnosed illness that if treated might have prevented these things from happening. He was great in the ring and the WWE should acknowledge that, but also mention the tragedy that surrounded him to hopefully prevent it from happening in the future.
Keri: I think really all four belong in the Hall of Fame. Angle because he was one of the best during his time and has an Olympic gold medal. Oh it’s true, it’s damn true. As for Hogan, the man is the reason why this company is successful as it is. Seriously, where would WWE be without Hogan? It would either be an Indy promotion or would not exist and we would all still be watching WCW. Snuka also deserves his spot. He was one of the brightest stars of his era. Now onto the big elephant in this question and I’m referring to Benoit. This one is kinda difficult to say a definitive yes or no. On one hand, the man was an amazing wrestler and one of the first “small” guys to have success in the WWE. On the other hand, you have the situation surrounding him and his family which is going to create a media frenzy if they ever name him to the hall of fame. Yes, there was never any concrete evidence provided to the public of what happened that day or what exact mental state Benoit was in at the time. But I think that the potential public outrage that naming him to the hall of fame would cause will in the end keep him out of the hall of fame. While we are talking about people who should be in the hall of fame, why are we not talking about Chyna? They made a big deal about her death when it occurred. But from what I heard in the rumor mill as of right now she is not getting a nod this year. Kinda sad that even in death Chyna can’t get a honor that she kinda deserves. (Kent: Interestingly enough, I included a note about her this week to touch on. So something to consider for the podcast. Who would induct Chyna and who would accept on her behalf? I think that’s actually a tough one and am very unsure. I know that she worked with X-Pac, Mark Henry, and Jericho, so maybe someone there, or one of the females like Tori. )
Kent: All of them should be in. I am a big believer that the criteria for a sporting hall of fame should be based on what you did in the sport, not outside of it. Somebody like Pete Rose should be in the baseball Hall for instance, but so should the 90’s steroid era stars. So that’s why I don’t watch, nor support baseball because that’s a bitch sport allowing bitches to vote on shit. As for the 4 names, all of them belong, and it’s either an all or nothing approach here. All of them have some serious issues or allegations. Kurt has 2 DUI’s I believe, which to me is the same as attempted murder and in some ways, even more selfish. He didn’t hurt anybody, but he had to be released from WWE before something bad happened. Still, in ring, one of the 10 best. Jimmy belongs for what he accomplished in the ring, and his influence. With that being said, what I had read about the murder incident seemed at least possible, and perhaps even likely. I have no definitive proof one way or the other, but based on what I read, if I had to guess, I’d say that he should have been charged years and years ago. Hogan, he said something in private that was racist, and i don’t give a fuck. What you say in your privacy shouldn’t be held against. His crimes against up and coming superstars and constantly hogging the spotlight and being kind of a dick is why I would have had to question it. Really, we give this dude a pass when he Cena’s the shit out of Cena on the days when it Reigns. Finally, Benoit should be in, no questions asked. There’s no proof that he did it, at least anything that has ever been made public. Do your research and you will find that there is a high likelihood that Chris may not have done it, or if he did, his brain may have legitimately been beyond fucked from wrestling and may not have even known what he was doing. If you don’t know anything about head trauma, just stop with blaming Chris entirely. I still don’t think that he committed the murders, but I have spent hours researching this. The deaths were posted online before news broke of them. Seriously, that happened, and nothing came from it. Fuck WWE for not doing their own due diligence.
I wanted to ask if you feel that The Elimination Chamber is good or bad for “the Road to Wrestlemania”, but then Baron Corbin and Bray Wyatt appeared on Talking Smack, and my brain got working. Is Bray vs Baron a future feud that you want to see? My bigger question is that Dave Meltzer has supposedly reported on the Undertaker’s status for Wrestlemania. The indication is that he won’t be taking on Cena, nor will he be fighting for a belt, nor will it be Braun Strowman. Assuming a few things are happening like Y2J vs KO, and Goldberg vs Brock, who does that leave Taker fighting against? If by some chance that it ends up Taker vs Baron Corbin, would you be ok with Taker losing to Baron or would you be totally against it? Same thing applies for Taker vs. Samoa Joe. Yeah, lots of questions.
Russ: I always enjoy the Elimination Chamber matches. It adds a certain unknown possibility to the mix of Mania. This year I don’t think that will help because I highly doubt that if Cena does win his “historical” 16th championship on a PPV in February. Especially, with a certain event in early April right around the corner. If Cena doesn’t win at the Rumble he isn’t winning the title until Mania. This leaves us with AJ as champ and I almost want to say the same thing but in reverse. If AJ doesn’t lose at the Rumble I highly doubt he will lose it at the Elimination chamber. Still I love the event and it gives a few younger guys a chance to showcase for the Main Event. As for the Undertaker… If he isn’t fighting for a championship nor Cena, then I’d like to see him go up against either AJ styles or Samoa Joe. Honestly, I would want a match-up I’ve never seen before because anyone who goes up against Taker would relish the opportunity, even in a loss. As for someone beating him? I’d be ok with it if it didn’t already happen. (I know, I’m breaking the rule of it didn’t happen, but this is was something I was worried about.) I always thought that if Taker was going to lose it would be to an up and comer. The win would immediately elevate the person to Main Event Status and we would all take note of the person. Since WWE has already wasted that opportunity I say no! Taker should never lose again at Mania!
Keri: So it looks like I have a lot of ground to cover here with this question. First, let’s talk about the Elimination Chamber match. This one is already setting up to be something interesting. We have Cena and Styles again which isn’t news but also indicates that we may not see a title change at Rumble. But the potential addition of Miz and the possible continuation of the Styles-Corbin dynamic, it will be interesting to see who else they add to this match. This may actually be a must see match for what is basically a throwaway PPV before Mania. As for Taker, all I have to say is as a proud member of the Corbin bandwagon, I couldn’t think of a better person than Corbin to get the Undertaker rub. If booked correctly, this could be the passing of the torch match that we were hoping for with Bray. I know it’s not Cena vs. Taker but it has potential. On the other hand, I think that Taker vs. Joe would also be a good use of a Taker loss. But I really feel a feud with Corbin would have that special feel to it that Mania matches have been lacking the past couple of years. Now, onto the last part of this question. Bray vs Baron could be interesting especially now we know that Baron can talk on the mic. Any feud with Bray is ultimately a promo off so whoever Bray feuds with has to keep up with him on the mic. This could be really good. Whew. I think that’s it on this question. Did I miss anything?
Kent: I like the uncertainty that the Elimination Chamber brings during the build up, especially in the safer PG environment of the current product. The matches aren’t as great anymore, but you need to have a safe match before the biggest event of the year, so I am fine with it as is. RVD landing on HHH’s throat is still stuck in my head. I want Bray vs Baron this year with both guys as is, just 2 guys who want to fight. Rumors are that Taker is facing Roman, but I think Baron is the best match up if AJ and Cena are off the table. Those are the 2 best options. Baron is 3rd, and Roman is probably 4th or 5th in all fairness. Dean would also be fun as would Miz or Dolph. I would be ok with Baron beating Taker. This is the sort of guy that the streak was meant to be broken against. This exact guy. As much as I love Joe, I wouldn’t be in favor of him winning. Same applies for FInn, but Finn is an interesting matchup at the very least. Joe….I just don’t know.
Oh, one more thing. Rolling Stones magazine has now hitched a ride on my coattails like Russ and Keri. Check out this article about Baron Corbin. Remember, when I first suggested that this man was going to be something special, you either didn’t believe me or you were very undecided at the moment. These are facts. Now you are all starting to BOlieve!