The Best of the Royal Rumble – 9 Deuce Style

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.   

The 9

  1.  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.

  1.  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.

  1.  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.

  1.  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.

  1.  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.  

  1.  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.

  1.  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.

  1.  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.   

  1.  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.

Bonus Deuce

  1.  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.

  1.  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!

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

The Royal Rumble Retrospective – Part 5 of 6 (2008-2012)

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.

Part 1 (1988-1992)
Part 2 (1993-1997)
Part 3 (1998-2002)
Part 4 (2003-2007)
Part 5 (2008-2012)
Part 6 (2013-2016)

2008 – Here we are at MSG in NYC.  They even got Michael Buffer to announce the rules.  This night had some solid matches like Flair vs MVP, Edge vs Rey, JBL vs Y2J, and RKO vs Jeff Hardy.  This one is definitely memorable as it set the standard for various things.  There is a guy by the entrance that is really pumped and may or may not have developmental issues.  Well, they start right off with Taker at #1 and HBK #2, the final 2 from the previous year.  Man, that’s crazy.   Aside from Taker and HBK, you got Khali, John Morrison and Batista in the first 10.  That’s more star power than 93, 94, and 95.  The second third was absolutely stacked with CM Punk, Cody, Umaga, Snitsky, Miz, Shelton, Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, and Kane.  WOW!  The NYC crowd is doing things right.  They aren’t trying to takeover the show, just amplify it.  HHH and Foley brawling was great.  Lots of great matchups here.  The final 10 include: Carlito, Mick Foley, Mr Kennedy, Viscera, Mark Henry, Finlay, HHH, and finally Cena.  Cena wasn’t supposed to be back for like 3 more months after injury.  The crowd went apeshit.  HHH’s face was the best.  The final 3 showdown with batista, HHH, and Cena was great, with each guy mocking the others. As much as I have hated Cena’s run, by and large, he obviously needed a Rumble win, and he came back in such a way, I am struggling to be too pissed off.  This gets an 8.5, one of the all time best rumbles due to pacing and star power, hoss match up, returning superstars, legends, everything you could ask for.

  1.  Best Save – Mr Kennedy somehow just hanging in there after Cody’s headscissors Finlay coming out hit Mark Henry and Big Daddy V with a shillelagh.  
  2.  Best Quick Elimination Santino at #3 gets got by Taker and HBK
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Taker eliminates Snitsky, HBK eliminates Taker, Mr Kennedy eliminates HBK, Taker puts Snitsky through a table.  That whole sequence.  Also, Hornswoggle on Miz was ridiculous. Kane punting Morrison was also good.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Punk by Taker with a bad ass clothesline after Punk knee’d HBK in the face
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Snuka vs Piper everybody in the ring just stopped and gave them the ring.  Cena vs HHH was also huge, plus we had Khali, Taker, Kane, Viscera, Mark Henry, Snitsky, Umaga, and Batista.  This is Hoss paradise.
  6.  Best Eliminator -HHH with 6
  7.  Best Survivor -Batista @ 37:40, HBK @ 32:39, Taker @ 32:33, Morrison @ 29:33, Hornswoggle, Cody, & Umaga all over 20
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Jimmy Superfly Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – John Cena

2009 – The main storyline here is that Randy Orton is pissed at Steph and then punted Vince in the head.  Good shit.  This one stayed loaded throughout.  No huge ring clearings.  Tons of talent, with a great mix of old, current, and new stars.  It did get a tad congested at times.  All in all, it was still very good and kept you captivated throughout, in my opinion.  The old guys put on a show.while Punk, Knox, and Johnny Abs got a chance to shine along with Cody and Ted.  Lack of big spots hurt, to a degree.  Still, this is one of the better ones.  7.7 seems fair.

  1.  Best Save – Rey landing on Miz and stepping on Morrison, hanging upside down on corner post
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – HHH eliminates THE Brian Kendrick, Kane eliminates Dolph even faster, and then the Santino elimination
  3.  Favorite Elimination – HHH eliminates Miz and Morrison
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Mike Knox
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Khali vs Kozlov, HHH vs Kozlov, Big Show vs Taker
  6.  Best Eliminator – Big Show & HHH with 6 apiece
  7.  Best Survivor – HHH @ 49:58, Rey @ 49:24, Randy @ 48:27, Ted @ 45:11, Jericho @ 37:17, Cody @ 37:01, Mike Knox @ 32:42, Taker @ 32:29…wow
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – RVD, Hacksaw Jim Duggan
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

2010 – The undercard had it’s ups and downs.  We had Sheamus vs Randy, which is one of those feuds that happened far too often.  We had the conclusion of the awful Piggie James feud between Mickie and Laycool.  The real gem here is Taker vs Rey Mysterio.  Now it’s Rumble time, and we start off with Dolph vs Evan Bourne.  Well, nobody gives a damn here.  Considering where these guys were in their career at the time, is this the worst first 2 of all time?  I think it has to be considered.   Thankfully Punk comes out to help this riff raff.  Serena has a great rack, that needs to be said.  This is when Punk was the leader of the Straight Edge Society, a great gimmick.  “Great Khali, I can make you greater.” – CM Punk.  Punk owns the first 7, but then HHH’s music and I would say that maybe the Rumble finally begins.  Punk vs HHH is quite interesting knowing what we know now.  The first 10 was not very good aside from HHH and Punk.  Dolph, Zack Ryder, Drew MacIntyre, and Ted Dibiase were the other “name” guys.  So far, so unimpressive.  I gotta say, this is a time when Kofi, Carlito, Morrison, Miz, MVP, Drew, Shelton, Cody, Dibiase and a few others were stuck in midcard purgatory and should be main eventers now.  WWE dropped the ball big time in failing to elevate those guys.Morrison should have been a world champ as should Cody, Drew, and Carlito in my opinion.  Not 15 runs of Cena. DX clears out the ring and then Cena comes out at #19.  

So the second set of 10 included: Morrison, Kane, Cody, MVP, Carlito, Miz, HBK, Cena, and Shelton.That;s a significant improvement.  I gotta say, the most impressive performance aside from HBK and Punk was Kofi.  Really innovative stuff.  Final four are Cena, HBK, Edge, and Batista.  Great picks here.  Batista is getting some heat for eliminating HBK who wanted that one last match with Taker, and Shawn is selling it, and is pissed.  Batista goes out next and Cena is out about 30 seconds later.  Edge truly deserved one Rumble win during his career.  It was a tad anti-climatic in all fairness. The last 10 guys included: Mark Henry, Big Show, Kofi, Swagger, R Truth, Batista, Jericho, and Edge.  It was a solid roster, no doubt about it.  The thing this one missed was more of a flow, longer survivors.  I loved the Shawn story, but other than that, there wasn’t much going on.  This was light on hoss matchups and survivors.  This is fun, but I gotta be real.  This gets a 6.7 as it was more pretty but without the substance.

  1.  Best Save – Edge and HBK going over simultaneously
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Matt Hardy’s dumbass getting eliminated in 20 seconds
  3.  Favorite Elimination – HBK kicking HHH out.  R Truth gets Big Show and Mark Henry out simultaneously.  WTF?
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown Big Show vs Mark Henry
  6.  Best Eliminator – Shawn with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Cena @ 22:11
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Edge

2011 – Ugh, the 40 man Rumble.  The most obnoxious Rumble obviously takes place in the most obnoxious place on Earth, Boston.  I want out already.  On the plus side, they are using Paralyzer as the theme song and I love that song.  The undercard features Edge vs Dolph, Miz vs Randy, and Eve Torres beating 3 legitimate women’s wrestlers.  So bad.  Oh no, the anonymous RAW GM thing.  No, just no.  This Rumble is almost 80 minutes long.  They put CM Punk in at #1 and he is now the leader of the new Nexus.  Out comes Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Justin Gabriel,Michael McGillicutty (Curtis Axel) and Heath Slater.  That in turn causes Otunga, Mason Ryan (Batista Jr.) and Husky Harris (Bray Wyatt) to all come out.  What a clusterfuck.  Everybody aside from Punk was ordered to the back or else be DQ’d.  #2 would turn out to be Daniel Bryan.  Wow, that’s how you start a Rumble!  No facial hair, it’s weird, and Punk’s hair is short and lighter.  I don’t dig the hair game her for either guy.  Michael Cole is killing it on commentary making fun of internet fans.  What I am seeing is a bunch of guys who should be the main event scene in Dolph, Punk, Daniel, Wade, Zack, Dibiase, Cody, and John Morrison, and well that’s just not the case 6 years later, sadly.  Zack Ryder has Nasty Boys trunks on, and was a #1 contender around this time. So the highlights from the first 10 guys were Punk, Daniel, Punk, Regal, Morrison, and tubby Bray.  The story around the teens is that Punk, Husky, Axel, and Otunga are working together and clearing the ring of everybody.    Khali eliminated Husky, but then Mason Ryan came out and got rid of Khali.  Superman at the height of his burial powers has to be due out soon I fear.  The second 10 guys were incredibly not noteworthy aside from Mark Henry and Khali.  I’m sick of Lawler whining about how this isn’t what the Rumble is about.  

Booker at 21 and the crowd is marking out big time.  Great sign that says “Wrestlemania, we coming for you N”.  If you don’t get why that is great, look it up.  Here comes Cena at 22.  Get the shovels out.  3 guys out in a minute, way to go Cena.  I hate Cena in this timeframe.  F*$& you Cena for eliminating Punk.  tyson Kidd having to take a beating  from Hornswoggle is ridiculous but funny too.  Suddenly Lawler isn’t complaining about how this isn’t what the Rumble is about.  Great.  Kofi and Cena had a nice moment, ya know, before Kofi gets buried.  Man, prior to this, Rey had been #1, 2, 4 & 8 in Rumbles.  Impressive. OK, the 3rd round of 10 was really good.  It involved the likes of: Booker, Cena, Rey, Wade, Sheamus, Swagger, Kofi, and Hornswoggle.  Just guessing that this may be better than the last 10 guys, but time will tell.  Man, as soon as Alex Riley enters, Cena clocked him.  I am starting to wonder if rumors are true that Cena held him back.  We know that Cena held Wade back.  Did you know that Alberto is the only person to win at #38?  Sorry, I had to.  Randy got rid of Kofi and Shaemus, and now looks at Cena.  If HHH was in there, that would be his 4 most opponents I feel.  Gotta look at the Mania sign like morons.  Kane at #40 is great.  In the ring, we have Kane, Wade, Cena, RKO, Rey, and Alberto.  Good choices.  Kane and Rey are out.  Riley comes out, distracts Cena, and miz eliminates him.  New favorite elimination.  Randy dumps out Wade, Alberto dumps Randy.  But wait, there’s still one more guy!  Santino never got eliminated!  The crowd was buying it.  COBRA followed by the trombone playing, and then Del Rio dumped him.  I honestly haven’t wanted a guy to win so badly in years and years.  We have long needed a surprise winner, and that would have really made Mania feel special.  Instead, Del Rio would win, then lose to Dolph the next night in one of the biggest moments in WWE history in my mind.  I loved it.  This match, took too long.  Pacing was a huge issue.  Half of these guys were not at all special.  The ending was great at the very least.  Also, they brought back 2 legends in Booker and Diesel, which is clutch.  Morrison had the great save.  Lack of hoss matchups hurt.  If it was just 30 guys, they could have actually had a better match in my opinion.  I will remember the night for Diesel, Santino, Morrison, and Miz eliminating Cena.  Still, I am giving this a 5.7 as it was a grueling match to watch.

  1.  Best Save – John Morrison with the Spiderman save.  That is still unbelievable.  
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Zack Ryder because Vince hates young stars
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Sheamus Brogue kicking Hornswoggle out, Miz dumping Cena out
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Alex Riley thanks to Cena’s shovel
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Big Show and Diesel on the entrance ramp
  6.  Best Eliminator – CM Punk with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – CM Punk @ 35:17
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Booker T & Diesel blew the roof off the place
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Great Khali

2012 – Aside from Punk and Bryan being champ, this is a brutal year.  Neither man got to main event Wrestlemania.  Instead, Cena vs Rock Once…..Twice in a Lifetime main evented 2 years in a row.  So bad.  If you want to know why I, along with numerous hardcore fans are cynical, this era really sticks out.  The guys who deserved the main spots got shoved away for the part timers.  End rant……for now.  The Miz is #1 and Alex Riley is #2.  This was a neat idea I suppose.  Eh, I lied.  This sucked.  I want some Fruity Pebbles.  Doo doodoo doooooo.  Can we please stop looking at the Wrestlemania sign?  I can’t be the only person sick of that balderdash.  Primo and Epico were tag team champions at the time.  That should tell you everything.  Foley came in at #7 and the crowd was pumped.  Nothing has happened so far, so of course they’re pumped.  My doppelganger is in the front row.  Ricardo came out at 8, and this was actually a great entrance.  The crowd is very much behind him.  Holy hell, Ricardo is killing it.  Santino comes out at 9 and let the comedy begin.  Foley and Santino have a showdown of socko vs cobra.  Tremendous.  Foley has now eliminated the tag champs and Gabriel.  

Out of the first 10 guys, I’d say that Miz, Foley, Santino, and Cody mattered.  Seriously, that’s such a bad list in 2012. The second 10 guys are highlighted by retired Hacksaw, Lawler, Booker T, and Dolph ZIggler.  I forgot how bad this year was.  Michael Cole at #20, and his song is Burn It To The Ground by Nickelback.  Yeah.  Kharma tosses out Hunico.  I think Kharma may have been one of my 10 favorite females.  Orton is over huge, and it’s his hometown, so there’s that.  We get Jericho and Big Show to finish it off and toss in Sheamus, Swagger, and Wade for the last 10, and therefore the best 10.  This was not a good year.  Sheamus wins.  I would say that this is like 4.4 territory based on the over reliance on old guys, and the fact that Miz and Cody were not exciting guys as survivors.  Sheamus was a boring choice for winner.  Jericho would have been a better choice as he feuded with Punk anyway. Geez, more sign gazing between Jericho and sheamus really irritated me.

  1.  Best Save – Kofi walking on his hands, spectacular!!!!
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – I would say Ricardo as it was short, but Lawler’s was shorter.  
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Big Show simultaneously taking out Miz and Cody
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown
  6.  Best Eliminator – Cody with 5….slow year
  7.  Best Survivor – The Miz @ 45:39, Cody @ 41:55
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Mick Foley, Jerry Lawler, Booker T, Michael Cole, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Kharma, Road Dogg
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

The Royal Rumble Retrospective – Part 4 of 6 (2003-2007)

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.

Part 1 (1988-1992)
Part 2 (1993-1997)
Part 3 (1998-2002)
Part 4 (2003-2007)
Part 5 (2008-2012)
Part 6 (2013-2016)

 

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.

  1.  Best Save – Edge was so close twice, once thanks to Rey.  Matt Hardy also saved by Shannon Moore propping him up by his legs.
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Bull Buchanan
  3.  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.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Rikishi vs Rosey
  6.  Best Eliminator – Chris Jericho with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Chris Jericho @ 38:54
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant
  9.  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!  

  1.  Best Save – Jericho had a few close ones
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Randy and Benoit eliminate Ernest and Lamont who were dancing to “Somebody Better Call My Momma”.
  3.  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.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Scott Steiner on Orton, it’s ridiculous, after Hurricane’s elimination.  Matt Morgan also got some hazing by Rikishi.  
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Randy vs Foley
  6.  Best Eliminator – Benoit with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Benoit @ 1:01:35
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Mick Foley
  9.  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.

  1.  Best Save – Rey had a decent save before Edge speared him
  2.  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.
  3.  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.
  4.  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.  
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Kane vs Snitsky
  6.  Best Eliminator – Edge and Batista with 5 each
  7.  Best Survivor – Benoit @ 47:26, Edge @ 40:19, Rey @ 38:25, Y2J and Eddie both over 28 minutes
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Does Angle count?
  9.  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.

  1.  Best Save – Rey as HHH tosses him, Rey gets under the rope and latches on to the bottom rope ala Rick Martel
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Simon Dean, Sylvan, Coach, Booker T
  3.  Favorite Elimination – HHH eliminating Big Show and Kane simultaneously, HHH knocking Chavo off top rope, HBK Sweet Chin Music on Shelton
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Joey Mercury and Johnny Abs (Morrison)
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Lashley vs Big Show, Kane vs Lashley, Kane vs Big Show
  6.  Best Eliminator – Rey with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Rey @ 1:02:12 and HHH @ 1:00:15 obviously
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Tatanka, Goldust
  9.  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.

  1.  Best Save – Shelton with feet inches away from floor
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – The Miz
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Rated RKO eliminates the Hardy Boys, Taker powering Khali after Khali F’d up his elimination
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – CM Punk
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Khali vs Taker
  6.  Best Eliminator – The Great Khali with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – Finlay @ 32:33
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

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