We’re joined mid-Sandman entrance so you know it’s a serious episode. Oh never mind, it’s a Battle Royal because the Royal Rumble is this Sunday.
Five Man Battle Royale: The Sandman, Sabu, Kevin Thorn, Tommy Dreamer, Rob Van Dam
As everyone makes their entrance, we’re told Lashley will defend the title at the Rumble against Test and I have to pause and make sure I haven’t missed an episode or something. So Test interferes in Lashley vs. RVD and gets rewarded a title shot the next week against both men in a three-way, he didn’t win that so he gets a singles title shot at the PPV? Where’s the logic there? Why bother trying to get a real win if running in and hitting people with chairs will reward them better?
Back to this mega-epic five man battle royal. Moves are exchanged until Sabu eliminates himself and Dreamer via Frankensteiner. Kevin Thorn tosses Sandy out with ease. Thorn puts RVD on the top rope put he comes back with a spinning leg kick thing. They jostle for a bit and RVD teases getting thrown out pretty well so the crowd gets loud when he’s on the apron. Things break down as RVD is shouting spots at Thorn (like his name, he’s green) and Thorn still fucks it up in a sloppy bit looks like a vampire-deer in the headlights. Eventually RVD asks him if he’s ready and plants him with a big superkick/Van Daminator off the apron to win.
Winner: Rob Van Dam (Commentators celebrate RVD’s win but he’s in the same position Cesaro’s in now: crowd doesn’t want to see him win pointless mid-card matches, they want him to win the big one. WWE disagrees.)
On Sunday it’s Lashley vs. Test but tonight it’s Lashley vs. Test.
Marquis Cor Von vs. Wes Adams
Adams would later be a ref for Smackdown. Von admonishes him for not leaving the ring when Von entered and hits him with a mic. Poundings, double underhook release suplex and THE POUNCE ends it. Oh wait no, he’s still using the fiddly armbar thing afterwards to win via tap-out.
Winner: Marquis Cor Von (Von looks not-green and has a personality, but I hope he gets rid of that submission soon. It’s even more awkward than typing his name.)
Kelly Kelly returns as a threesome with Layla and Brooke Tessmacher. Together they’re (speaking at same time) EXTREME EXPOSE. They jiggle their wobbly bits to the tune of You Can Do It by Ice Cube. Scott Keith has warned me about keeping these PG so no GIFs I’m afraid but feel free to use your imagination (not like that). And that’s the segment.
Test gets another video package, complete with WARNINGS across the screen. Most people run from Test matches anyway but I appreciate the thought.
CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke
Matt Striker joins us on commentary so get ready for him to compare Punk’s Irish Whip to Bush’s stance on foreign policy between the years 2001-2003. Punk gets an in-window promo about winning the Rumble and how 2007 is going to be his year. That’d be 2009 but you’re getting there Punk , don’t worry. Burke comes out by himself because ManBearPig Sylvester Terkay, Star Of The Evil Bong was released last week and good riddance. In his short stint Terkay did nothing a dozen different big guys with beards could have done and he had terrible body language/facial expressions, mastering only ”confusion” and ”what am I doing?”
Burke and Punk play around with one another for a while until Burke and his ex-boxing fists take over. Striker compares Burke to a young Aaron Pryor and Tazz rinses him out: ”1985 wants their references back.” Punk tries to counter a monkey flip by getting on the top rope but Burke throws him off instead for a two. Crowd gets behind Punk as he takes a swinging neckbreaker and a Cobra Clutch-looking chinlock. Burke’s wrestling a smart style and not letting Punk do anything by doing a move, trying for a pin then locking in a chinlock. He’s not Aaron Pryor, he’s John Ruiz. Smart as it is, this is why wrestling’s wrestling and boxing’s something else because it’s dull as fuck. This combo carries on for so long the commentators start hyping up the Royal Rumble and what a big deal it is. Oh well if they weren’t convinced of it before this then this’ll switch them. Burke eventually mixes it up and tries for the Rude Awakening neckbreaker but Punk gets his own one in. Punk comes back with the firey multiple dropkicks like he’s just tagged in and he gets a two-count after the Flying Knee/Bulldog. Punk tries a Victory Roll, Burke counters and grabs the tights but Punk reverses that and gets the win.
Winner: CM Punk (Weird match as Punk got an almost fluke win over Burke, which he’d been doing with guys like Holly and Knox and that was OK because they were bigger or veterans. So they’re trying to push both men with no man losing steam, but not doing a screwy finish. Even with Matt Striker there on commentary.)
Tazz puts over Rise Against in a surreal bit of plugging. ”Yeah man thanks, good stuff right there!”
”It’s the first ever time ECW wrestlers have been let in the Rumble!” Well yeah, it didn’t exist this time last year you plonkers.
Lashley vs. Test (Non-Title)
I bet they regretted booking that Battle Royal at the start of the show as it means there’s nothing else to headline this show apart from the PPV match next week. Lashley clotheslines Test outside because he’s pissed (like the rest of us) Test is getting this. Lashley tries to slam him but he rolls outside and begs off. Time for a break and when we return Test has him in a chinlock. Crowd still chanting STEROIDS at him. And maybe Lashley too, but only Test has a back like F. Murray Abraham’s face. Lashley makes the hot comeback after about three minutes of action (gotta get those multiple clotheslines in) but that sneaky Test takes apart the turnbuckle. The ref stops him so Test does the other instead and he hurls Lashley into it before planting Big Lash with the Pump Handle Slam for two. Test goes for a chair but gets speared mid-charge. Lashley with the Fired Up Comeback part two, (now with Irish Whips and charges into the corner) while shouting ”AHHH COME ON.” Lashley lands hot dog skin man with a stalling suplex, charges him outside and then pins him clean after a running powerslam…wait.
Winner: Lashley (so the fucking guy challenging for the title on Sunday loses clean to the guy he’s challenging at the Rumble? No messy finish, no DQ, no Test winning the non-title match so we think he could win at the PPV, just a clean loss and a ”well you can bet Test is ready for Lashley this Sunday!” from the commentators.)
Overall: What a counter-productive waste of an hour this was. RVD is pushed out of the main event scene despite being arguably the most popular guy on the brand, Punk gets a fluke win over a guy who’s still riding with his stabilisers on and Test vs. Lashley was a shit match with a shit build to an even shitter match at the Rumble that no-one cared about.
In closing, here’s a GIF of the Tank cheat from TOCA to distract myself from the fact that I’ll have to watch that Rumble match next week.