The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2007

The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2007 (2012 Scott sez:  I’ll take “Shows I Don’t Remember A Damn Thing About” for $200, Alex.)  – Live from San Antonio, TX – Your hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, JBL, Joey Styles & Tazz.The Hardy Boyz v. MNM (2012 Scott sez:  Interesting how John Morrison did such a complete reinvention of himself that no one remembers his time with MNM.)  Matt gets suckered into the MNM corner to start, and Mercury pounds him on the mat. Matt fights back after a double-team and brings in Jeff, who comes in with a mule kick for two. Nitro comes in and gets legdropped for two. Double-team by the Hardyz and Matt suplexes Mercury to get rid of him for the moment, and a neckbreaker on Nitro gets two. They go to the injured face of Matt, however, and work it over, which is certainly unique psychology. Mercury kicks him in the face and Nitro gets two. Mercury keeps slugging at the face and gets a hard clothesline for two. Finally Mercury misses a splash and Jeff comes in again. Front suplex gets two on Nitro. Whisper in the Wind gets two. The Hardyz double-team Nitro with a suplex and both head up, but it’s mixed news as Jeff hits Nitro’s knees and Matt gets his legdrop. That’s pretty unique — I’ve never actually seen a spot done like that before. And so, Jeff is YOUR raver-in-peril, as Jeff gets taken into the corner and Nitro charges in with a running knee for two. Jeff’s ribs appear to be hurt, so that’s what they go for. Double-team from MNM gets two. Jeff rolls up Mercury for two, but Mercury pounds on the ribs again to keep him down. MNM with the double gutbuster for two, but Matt breaks it up. Nitro goes to a bodyscissors, but Jeff fights out and makes the tag…which the ref doesn’t see, naturally. Finally, it’s hot tag Matt, and he does the bulldog/clothesline combo for two on Nitro. Yodelling elbow gets two. Way to change it up, Matt. MNM comes back with an attempt at a Snapshot, but Jeff breaks it up and they get Poetry in Motion. Another one is missed by Jeff, and Nitro cradles Matt for two. Matt comes back with the Side Effect and Twist of Fate, but Mercury takes him out. Jeff goes up, however, and finishes with the swanton bomb. (The Hardy Boyz d. MNM, Jeff Hardy swanton — pin Nitro, 15:27, ***) Pretty much a formula Hardy match, as they’ve pretty much squandered every cent they could have made out of the Hardy reunion at this point.  (2012 Scott sez:  Thankfully there was still money to be made off the Hardys in different ways.)  – Meanwhile, Edge and Orton draw their numbers for the Rumble and mock Kelly Kelly (who is an exhibitionist).  (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, whatever happened to that?) ECW “World” title: Bobby Lashley v. Test Shoving match to start and Test stomps away and chokes him down, but Lashley hits him with a t-bone suplex. Delayed vertical suplex and Test bails, but he suckers Lashley into standing the apron long enough for a trip into the post. Great, now we get to watch him try to sell. Back in, Test gets two. We go to an armbar, and you know Test means business because he cycles through his two facial expressions and gives us “Angry Test”. And we stay on the armbar for a while, as Test’s face just does not change. Did he get Botox done or something? I mean, sure, he’s expanded his range of emotion by 100%, but geez. Lashley backdrops him and follows with a corner clothesline and some shoulderblocks in the corner, but his arm gives out on a press-slam attempt. Big boot from Test gets two, and it’s ANGRY TEST again. F5 is escaped by Lashley, and he clotheslines Test to the floor (causing him to shift facial expressions to “Confused and/or Injured Test”) and Test walks out on the match. Countout finishes are EXTREME! (Lashley d. Test, countout, 7:10, 1/2*) Well that was pretty fucking lame. Nothing like a match where no one gets over and the fans boo both guys. Lashley destroys Test afterwards to complete the burial.  (2012 Scott sez:  Sorry, Andrew.  RIP) – Meanwhile, Vince wants John Cena to lose. And John’s injured too. Uh oh, he’s facing impossible odds! He can’t possibly win, can he?  (2012 Scott sez:  Nope.)  Smackdown World title: Batista v. Mr. Kennedy Frankly I’m surprised that no one has brought up the weird coincidence of a guy named “Batista” fighting a guy named “Kennedy”. It’s a political allegory and they didn’t even realize it. Look for Batista to get beaten by a guy named Castro next time they do a tour of Cuba, I guess. JBL notes that the fans are on their feet because they get to see a World title match, which is a rarity. On a show with THREE OF THEM. Well, he’s trying. (2012 Scott sez:  That’s unfair.  The ECW title wasn’t really a World title.)  Kennedy slugs away to start and gets a rollup for two. Batista is all in his face and stuff, so Kennedy hammers away until Batista slugs back. Suplex gets two for Batista. They fight out of the ring and do nothing, and back in for more punching from Dave. Kennedy goes to the knee, however, and starts working on it. Somehow that gets two. Kennedy wraps him up in a reverse figure-four, but he uses the ropes and gets caught. Back to the knee as Kennedy is apparently suffering a nosebleed. Lay off the yayo, Ken. (2012 Scott sez:  We never did find out why he got fired…) Running boot in the corner gets two. Kennedy goes to a half-crab, but Batista counters to a small package for two. He tries a powerslam, but Kennedy sneaks out and clips him. He walks into a spinebuster, but Batista can’t cover. He fights back and no-sells some stuff, getting a standing backdrop and corner clothesline. Awkward slam and Regal Roll cues the comeback, but Kennedy hits the knee again to block the Batista Bomb. Ref is bumped, but Kennedy gets a DDT for two. The crowd actually starts chanting for Kennedy, but he goes up and lands on a Batista clothesline. Batista Bomb ends it. (Batista d. Mr. Kennedy, Batista Bomb — pin, 10:24, **) Not bad, actually, which is a pleasant surprise given how how much of a shitty non-roll Batista has been since the comeback. They kept it basic and short and thus Batista was exposed less than usual. I wouldn’t bring it home to marry my daughter or anything, but it didn’t make me want to rip my own arm off, so huzzah.  (2012 Scott sez:  That Undertaker match was a major turnaround for Big Dave, actually.)  – Meanwhile, the Little Bastard meets The Great Khali. Hilarity ensues and Ron Simmons says “Damn”. – Speaking of hilarity, intentional or not, The Marine comes out on Tuesday, you know.  (2012 Scott sez:  Still one of the only movies to make money for WWE Films, oddly enough.)  – Wrestlemania 23: 63 days away. Maybe by then they’ll have a direction for the main event.  (2012 Scott sez:  Barely.)  RAW World title: John Cena v. Umaga, Last Man Standing Cena is wearing the DDP rib tape tonight. Gee, I wonder what the story of the match will be? They slug it out and Cena gets a jawbreaker, but Umaga hits him in the ribs and Cena bails. Pussy. Umaga slugs him off the apron and sends him into the steps, but sadly he’s not coughing up blood yet. C’mon, John, be a man and bite down on that condom full of red liquid! They down the aisle and Cena brings him back to ringside, but he forgets the first rule of wrestling: Samoans have hard heads. Well, maybe not the FIRST rule of wrestling, but it’s up there. Back in, Umaga headbutts him down and kicks him in the ribs again, and Cena keeps trying to run away, like little boys from Rob Feinstein… …allegedly.  (2012 Scott sez:  That’s unfair.  He was trying to pick up an undercover officer playing a TEENAGED boy… …allegedly.)  Umaga lays him out with the clothesline, but Cena , fearing for his merchandising cut, makes it up at 7. Umaga gets the stairs as Cena beats another count and then recovers the stairs himself and tosses them at Umaga to knock him out. Oh, what a role model, using the stairs as a weapon. What a jerk. Umaga beats the count and goes back to the ribs, via a bearhug, but then stops and grabs another set of stairs. Well, Cena deserves it for using them the last time. They get set up in the corner and Cena sits against them, but the RUNNING ASS OF DEATH misses and Cena uses the stairs again. Umaga answers the count at 7. Cena goes up, but gets caught in a uranage on the way down. Hah, serves him right. Umaga goes back to the ribs, but Cena kicks him in the nuts to stop him. Just can’t fight fair, can you? Blue Thunder bomb on the stairs and both guys are down, but Cena is up first, probably by some sort of illegal supplement, and the F-U on the stairs follows. Cena, however, hits his head on the way down, showing that poor sportsmanship is never rewarded. Except in real life. Cena starts bleeding to go along with the taped ribs, and now the crowd catches onto his bad attitude and starts telling him that he sucks. Umaga slugs him down, but John fights up again. I’d test the blood dripping off his face for drugs if I was them. Cena, obviously high on goofballs, hulks up, but Umaga hits him with a samoan drop. This sets up the THUMB OF DEATH, but Cena blocks it. Umaga hangs him in the Tree of Woe, but Cena dodges a charging Umaga and goes up with a top rope legdrop, then cheats again by sending him into the post. Just to really hammer home what a dirty cheat he is, he uses a monitor, thus adding destruction of private property to his list of transgressions tonight, but Umaga is up at 8. Man, the WWE is gonna be screwed if they ever switch to LCD monitors like the rest of the world. Cena comes off the apron, but Umaga sends him into the post and it’s onto the ECW table. Umaga preps all of the announce tables, and then charges across all of them, before missing and belly-flopping through the ECW one. Now that was unique. Umaga is up at 9, however. Estrada undoes a turnbuckle while Umaga recovers and heads back in. So the entire top rope is dislodged, which seems a bit involved when just giving him the WRENCH would have sufficed just as well. Umaga, of course, misses his big chance, and Cena uses the loose rope to choke him out like the no-good cheat that he is. Umaga pops right up again, so Cena chokes him out again, adding attempted murder to his rap sheet tonight. (John Cena d. Umaga, STFU — knockout, 22:40, ****) Oh, sure, Cena won, but at what cost? His SOUL? The lives of kids everywhere who idolize this cheating maniac? For SHAME, WWE. OK, the match was pretty cool, though. (2012 Scott sez:  This was the start of the period where it was obvious that Cena could get good stuff out of a lot of people.) – That commercial with the little kids is pretty creepy. – Meanwhile, Ric Flair draws his number and dances with random chicks. Uh, OK. Royal Rumble: 90 second intervals this year, which should work out well, time-wise. So Ric Flair draws #1 for the second time in his career, and Finlay is #2. This should be interesting, actually. Finlay gives him a drubbing in the corner and tries to get him out, but Kenny is #3 and he of course goes after Ric. Finlay kind of hangs back and takes his shots as they come. Matt Hardy is #4, working twice tonight. Side Effect for Kenny, but he can’t toss him. Kenny and Finlay go back to working Flair over, and Edge is #5. Spears for all! Matt hits him with the Twist of Fate to stop the path of rage, and everyone is out. Flair decides to get a chair, but Edge tosses him. Well, that went about as bad as it could for him. Kenny celebrates, so Edge turns on him and dumps him. Ha! Serves him right for taking credit for other’s work. Tommy Dreamer is #6 and goes after Edge, dropkicking him in the Tree of Woe before getting taken down by Finlay. Edge and Matt continue like private war, and Sabu is #7. It’s table time already. He sets one up at ringside and heads in to pound on Dreamer. Gregory Helms is #8 and goes after Matt, as Sabu almost gets Finlay out and then chokes him down instead. Not much going on and Shelton Benjamin is #9. He can’t throw either Matt or Helms through the table at ringside. Nor can Finlay. That table had better be setting up a really big spot later given this buildup. Kane is #10 and everyone panics, rightfully so because Kane starts hitting people unimpeded. Goodnight, Dreamer! So long, Sabu! Kane chokeslams him through the table to pay it off. Could’ve been better. CM Punk is #11, and immediately gets pounded by Finlay. So much for his push. (2012 Scott sez:  He’ll probably do OK for himself.)  King Booker is #12 and Helms is gone as a result. Super Crazy is #13, and I’m sure that won’t make much of a dent. Kane beats on him right away, and some other people for good measure. Jeff Hardy is #14 and teams with Matt against Finlay, and then against Edge and Crazy. They even get Poetry in Motion on Kane, and Sandman is #15. He canes some people…and gets tossed by Booker 10 seconds into his appearance. Well that was a letdown. Hardy gets tossed by Finlay, but skins the cat back in. Same deal with Punk. Randy Orton is #16, as the ring is getting too full. The champs team up to get rid of Crazy.  (2012 Scott sez:  I’d be referring to Rated RKO there, right?) They go after Matt, and when Jeff tries to save they dump him. And then Matt, just to rub it in. That’s a little better. Chris Benoit is #17, and he’s chop crazy! Finlay eats a german suplex as Punk hangs on for his life. Finally Finlay clobbers him to slow him down, but can’t get him out. Rob Van Dam is #18, and he kicks lots of people. Kane uses that advantage to toss King Booker, thus ending his dream of a rematch. Booker doesn’t take it well and eliminates Kane in retribution. Well, there’s a feud for you. (2012 Scott sez:  Not so much.)  Viscera is #19 and he goes after Edge, and it’s a lot of kicking and punching. Johnny Nitro is #20, and gets nowhere fast. Much like this match. Kevin Thorn is #21 and does nothing. (2012 Scott sez:  They were actually ahead of the curve with the vampire stuff.  A character based on Erik Northman might actually work now if they could get the dreamy Swedish hunk to play it.)  RVD goes after Viscera, but can’t get him out alone. Hardcore Holly is #22 as we’re really into the doldrums now. Kick, punch, choke. There’s just nothing going on, and there’s too many people in the ring. Finally everyone gets smart and goes after Viscera as Shawn Michaels is #23. He goes after Finlay for whatever reason and dumps him, ending his 30 minute run. Superkick for Vis, and that’s what everyone needs to get him out. Shelton charges at Shawn and goes bye-bye. Chris Masters is #24. I’m sure they’re all shaking. Nitro gets tossed, didn’t catch why. Replay shows that Benoit knocked him off the top rope. People who go up the ropes in Rumbles are idiots. (2012 Scott sez:  Don’t forget people who dance!  They’re stupid too!)  Team RKO works on Shawn in the corner as Chavo Guerrero is #25. Benoit powers Thorn out on the ropes, which is one of the rare times you see someone actually fighting for the elimination like that and getting it. MVP is #26, but Benoit starts chopping him. RVD dropkicks Masters out while Orton pounds Punk on the apron, but can’t get him out. Carlito is #27, and he goes after Orton & Edge. RVD nearly gets Michaels out, but Holly makes the save. Great Khali is #28, and at least he’ll probably toss some people out. Everyone stops and readies themselves for him, but he fights off everyone. It’s the Elephant’s Graveyard out there as he lays out the whole pack, and Miz is #29. Khali tosses him, thankfully. Benoit is gone, Holly is gone, Punk is gone, RVD is gone, Carlito is gone, Chavo is gone. Is there no stopping the path of suck? Undertaker is #30, the one time I’m glad to see him. Taker fires away on Khali , and clotheslines him out. MVP, odd man out in the main eventer mix left, is quickly dealt with by Undertaker. Final four: Undertaker, Edge, Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels. So really anyone can win. Orton gets a chair and lays Taker out, but Edge sets up for a spear. Whoops, awkward. Shawn interrupts the argument between the champs, but takes an RKO as a result. Rated RKO goes after Undertaker and pounds him down, but he fights back. Corner clotheslines for both of them and he clotheslines both at the same time. Snake Eyes for Edge and big boot, and Orton is about to be chokeslammed before Edge spears Taker to save. A rather nasty chairshot puts Taker down again. Edge gets another chair and sets up the concerto, but Shawn recovers and dumps Orton, then superkicks Edge out of the match. So we’re down to Shawn and Undertaker, as I’ve apparently set my alarm clock for 10 years ago and not realized it. Shawn slugs away in the corner, but Taker fires back and nearly punches him out of the ring. When Melodramatic Selling Goes Bad. Shawn takes another overblown bump in the corner and gets hung up, but Taker charges and lands on the apron himself. Shawn charges and hits elbow, however. Back in, Shawn gets a neckbreaker and they slug it out, selling it like death after only being in the ring for like 10 minutes combined. Shawn ends up on the apron during a suplex attempt, but tries to go up and gets slugged down. Both guys fight on the top, but Taker goes down first, and Shawn follows with the flying elbow. Superkick is caught by Taker, and it’s chokeslam city. Taker goes for the tombstone, but Shawn escapes and superkicks him. Another try is blocked, however, and Taker dumps him to win the Royal Rumble for the first time, and also becomes the first person to win at #30. And….the crowd is pissed. Wow, that was a pretty gutsy finish. (2012 Scott sez:  Seems like Undertaker and Shawn might want to have a match or two at Wrestlemania to settle things.)  (Undertaker wins Royal Rumble, 56:31, ***1/4) The main body of the match was boring as hell, but the finishing sequence once Khali got in was spectacular, until they totally blew the big underdog win. This one just totally sucked the life out of the crowd. Just an average Rumble match overall. The Pulse: Well, the Rumble match mostly delivered, as the drama was good once you had no idea who was going to win it, and the Cena-Umaga match was a hell of a brawl, so it’s good enough for a mild thumbs up, but Batista-Undertaker is going to be a real mess unless they go with the more intriguing Cena-Undertaker matchup instead.  (2012 Scott sez:  Batista-Undertaker ended up just fine, thank you very much.  You know what’s crazy about this show, though?  This is only 5 years ago, and look at all the major players who are now either retired, dead, or moved on:  Batista, Michaels, Benoit, Umaga, Kennedy, Test, Lashley, The Hardy Boyz and Edge all gone for one reason or another.  That’s a HUGE chunk of star power that’s been cycled out with no real replacements aside from CM Punk and maybe Alberto Del Rio.  No wonder the product is so stale now.) 

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2007

The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2007 (2012 Scott sez:  I’ll take “Shows I Don’t Remember A Damn Thing About” for $200, Alex.)  – Live from San Antonio, TX – Your hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, JBL, Joey Styles & Tazz.The Hardy Boyz v. MNM (2012 Scott sez:  Interesting how John Morrison did such a complete reinvention of himself that no one remembers his time with MNM.)  Matt gets suckered into the MNM corner to start, and Mercury pounds him on the mat. Matt fights back after a double-team and brings in Jeff, who comes in with a mule kick for two. Nitro comes in and gets legdropped for two. Double-team by the Hardyz and Matt suplexes Mercury to get rid of him for the moment, and a neckbreaker on Nitro gets two. They go to the injured face of Matt, however, and work it over, which is certainly unique psychology. Mercury kicks him in the face and Nitro gets two. Mercury keeps slugging at the face and gets a hard clothesline for two. Finally Mercury misses a splash and Jeff comes in again. Front suplex gets two on Nitro. Whisper in the Wind gets two. The Hardyz double-team Nitro with a suplex and both head up, but it’s mixed news as Jeff hits Nitro’s knees and Matt gets his legdrop. That’s pretty unique — I’ve never actually seen a spot done like that before. And so, Jeff is YOUR raver-in-peril, as Jeff gets taken into the corner and Nitro charges in with a running knee for two. Jeff’s ribs appear to be hurt, so that’s what they go for. Double-team from MNM gets two. Jeff rolls up Mercury for two, but Mercury pounds on the ribs again to keep him down. MNM with the double gutbuster for two, but Matt breaks it up. Nitro goes to a bodyscissors, but Jeff fights out and makes the tag…which the ref doesn’t see, naturally. Finally, it’s hot tag Matt, and he does the bulldog/clothesline combo for two on Nitro. Yodelling elbow gets two. Way to change it up, Matt. MNM comes back with an attempt at a Snapshot, but Jeff breaks it up and they get Poetry in Motion. Another one is missed by Jeff, and Nitro cradles Matt for two. Matt comes back with the Side Effect and Twist of Fate, but Mercury takes him out. Jeff goes up, however, and finishes with the swanton bomb. (The Hardy Boyz d. MNM, Jeff Hardy swanton — pin Nitro, 15:27, ***) Pretty much a formula Hardy match, as they’ve pretty much squandered every cent they could have made out of the Hardy reunion at this point.  (2012 Scott sez:  Thankfully there was still money to be made off the Hardys in different ways.)  – Meanwhile, Edge and Orton draw their numbers for the Rumble and mock Kelly Kelly (who is an exhibitionist).  (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, whatever happened to that?) ECW “World” title: Bobby Lashley v. Test Shoving match to start and Test stomps away and chokes him down, but Lashley hits him with a t-bone suplex. Delayed vertical suplex and Test bails, but he suckers Lashley into standing the apron long enough for a trip into the post. Great, now we get to watch him try to sell. Back in, Test gets two. We go to an armbar, and you know Test means business because he cycles through his two facial expressions and gives us “Angry Test”. And we stay on the armbar for a while, as Test’s face just does not change. Did he get Botox done or something? I mean, sure, he’s expanded his range of emotion by 100%, but geez. Lashley backdrops him and follows with a corner clothesline and some shoulderblocks in the corner, but his arm gives out on a press-slam attempt. Big boot from Test gets two, and it’s ANGRY TEST again. F5 is escaped by Lashley, and he clotheslines Test to the floor (causing him to shift facial expressions to “Confused and/or Injured Test”) and Test walks out on the match. Countout finishes are EXTREME! (Lashley d. Test, countout, 7:10, 1/2*) Well that was pretty fucking lame. Nothing like a match where no one gets over and the fans boo both guys. Lashley destroys Test afterwards to complete the burial.  (2012 Scott sez:  Sorry, Andrew.  RIP) – Meanwhile, Vince wants John Cena to lose. And John’s injured too. Uh oh, he’s facing impossible odds! He can’t possibly win, can he?  (2012 Scott sez:  Nope.)  Smackdown World title: Batista v. Mr. Kennedy Frankly I’m surprised that no one has brought up the weird coincidence of a guy named “Batista” fighting a guy named “Kennedy”. It’s a political allegory and they didn’t even realize it. Look for Batista to get beaten by a guy named Castro next time they do a tour of Cuba, I guess. JBL notes that the fans are on their feet because they get to see a World title match, which is a rarity. On a show with THREE OF THEM. Well, he’s trying. (2012 Scott sez:  That’s unfair.  The ECW title wasn’t really a World title.)  Kennedy slugs away to start and gets a rollup for two. Batista is all in his face and stuff, so Kennedy hammers away until Batista slugs back. Suplex gets two for Batista. They fight out of the ring and do nothing, and back in for more punching from Dave. Kennedy goes to the knee, however, and starts working on it. Somehow that gets two. Kennedy wraps him up in a reverse figure-four, but he uses the ropes and gets caught. Back to the knee as Kennedy is apparently suffering a nosebleed. Lay off the yayo, Ken. (2012 Scott sez:  We never did find out why he got fired…) Running boot in the corner gets two. Kennedy goes to a half-crab, but Batista counters to a small package for two. He tries a powerslam, but Kennedy sneaks out and clips him. He walks into a spinebuster, but Batista can’t cover. He fights back and no-sells some stuff, getting a standing backdrop and corner clothesline. Awkward slam and Regal Roll cues the comeback, but Kennedy hits the knee again to block the Batista Bomb. Ref is bumped, but Kennedy gets a DDT for two. The crowd actually starts chanting for Kennedy, but he goes up and lands on a Batista clothesline. Batista Bomb ends it. (Batista d. Mr. Kennedy, Batista Bomb — pin, 10:24, **) Not bad, actually, which is a pleasant surprise given how how much of a shitty non-roll Batista has been since the comeback. They kept it basic and short and thus Batista was exposed less than usual. I wouldn’t bring it home to marry my daughter or anything, but it didn’t make me want to rip my own arm off, so huzzah.  (2012 Scott sez:  That Undertaker match was a major turnaround for Big Dave, actually.)  – Meanwhile, the Little Bastard meets The Great Khali. Hilarity ensues and Ron Simmons says “Damn”. – Speaking of hilarity, intentional or not, The Marine comes out on Tuesday, you know.  (2012 Scott sez:  Still one of the only movies to make money for WWE Films, oddly enough.)  – Wrestlemania 23: 63 days away. Maybe by then they’ll have a direction for the main event.  (2012 Scott sez:  Barely.)  RAW World title: John Cena v. Umaga, Last Man Standing Cena is wearing the DDP rib tape tonight. Gee, I wonder what the story of the match will be? They slug it out and Cena gets a jawbreaker, but Umaga hits him in the ribs and Cena bails. Pussy. Umaga slugs him off the apron and sends him into the steps, but sadly he’s not coughing up blood yet. C’mon, John, be a man and bite down on that condom full of red liquid! They down the aisle and Cena brings him back to ringside, but he forgets the first rule of wrestling: Samoans have hard heads. Well, maybe not the FIRST rule of wrestling, but it’s up there. Back in, Umaga headbutts him down and kicks him in the ribs again, and Cena keeps trying to run away, like little boys from Rob Feinstein… …allegedly.  (2012 Scott sez:  That’s unfair.  He was trying to pick up an undercover officer playing a TEENAGED boy… …allegedly.)  Umaga lays him out with the clothesline, but Cena , fearing for his merchandising cut, makes it up at 7. Umaga gets the stairs as Cena beats another count and then recovers the stairs himself and tosses them at Umaga to knock him out. Oh, what a role model, using the stairs as a weapon. What a jerk. Umaga beats the count and goes back to the ribs, via a bearhug, but then stops and grabs another set of stairs. Well, Cena deserves it for using them the last time. They get set up in the corner and Cena sits against them, but the RUNNING ASS OF DEATH misses and Cena uses the stairs again. Umaga answers the count at 7. Cena goes up, but gets caught in a uranage on the way down. Hah, serves him right. Umaga goes back to the ribs, but Cena kicks him in the nuts to stop him. Just can’t fight fair, can you? Blue Thunder bomb on the stairs and both guys are down, but Cena is up first, probably by some sort of illegal supplement, and the F-U on the stairs follows. Cena, however, hits his head on the way down, showing that poor sportsmanship is never rewarded. Except in real life. Cena starts bleeding to go along with the taped ribs, and now the crowd catches onto his bad attitude and starts telling him that he sucks. Umaga slugs him down, but John fights up again. I’d test the blood dripping off his face for drugs if I was them. Cena, obviously high on goofballs, hulks up, but Umaga hits him with a samoan drop. This sets up the THUMB OF DEATH, but Cena blocks it. Umaga hangs him in the Tree of Woe, but Cena dodges a charging Umaga and goes up with a top rope legdrop, then cheats again by sending him into the post. Just to really hammer home what a dirty cheat he is, he uses a monitor, thus adding destruction of private property to his list of transgressions tonight, but Umaga is up at 8. Man, the WWE is gonna be screwed if they ever switch to LCD monitors like the rest of the world. Cena comes off the apron, but Umaga sends him into the post and it’s onto the ECW table. Umaga preps all of the announce tables, and then charges across all of them, before missing and belly-flopping through the ECW one. Now that was unique. Umaga is up at 9, however. Estrada undoes a turnbuckle while Umaga recovers and heads back in. So the entire top rope is dislodged, which seems a bit involved when just giving him the WRENCH would have sufficed just as well. Umaga, of course, misses his big chance, and Cena uses the loose rope to choke him out like the no-good cheat that he is. Umaga pops right up again, so Cena chokes him out again, adding attempted murder to his rap sheet tonight. (John Cena d. Umaga, STFU — knockout, 22:40, ****) Oh, sure, Cena won, but at what cost? His SOUL? The lives of kids everywhere who idolize this cheating maniac? For SHAME, WWE. OK, the match was pretty cool, though. (2012 Scott sez:  This was the start of the period where it was obvious that Cena could get good stuff out of a lot of people.) – That commercial with the little kids is pretty creepy. – Meanwhile, Ric Flair draws his number and dances with random chicks. Uh, OK. Royal Rumble: 90 second intervals this year, which should work out well, time-wise. So Ric Flair draws #1 for the second time in his career, and Finlay is #2. This should be interesting, actually. Finlay gives him a drubbing in the corner and tries to get him out, but Kenny is #3 and he of course goes after Ric. Finlay kind of hangs back and takes his shots as they come. Matt Hardy is #4, working twice tonight. Side Effect for Kenny, but he can’t toss him. Kenny and Finlay go back to working Flair over, and Edge is #5. Spears for all! Matt hits him with the Twist of Fate to stop the path of rage, and everyone is out. Flair decides to get a chair, but Edge tosses him. Well, that went about as bad as it could for him. Kenny celebrates, so Edge turns on him and dumps him. Ha! Serves him right for taking credit for other’s work. Tommy Dreamer is #6 and goes after Edge, dropkicking him in the Tree of Woe before getting taken down by Finlay. Edge and Matt continue like private war, and Sabu is #7. It’s table time already. He sets one up at ringside and heads in to pound on Dreamer. Gregory Helms is #8 and goes after Matt, as Sabu almost gets Finlay out and then chokes him down instead. Not much going on and Shelton Benjamin is #9. He can’t throw either Matt or Helms through the table at ringside. Nor can Finlay. That table had better be setting up a really big spot later given this buildup. Kane is #10 and everyone panics, rightfully so because Kane starts hitting people unimpeded. Goodnight, Dreamer! So long, Sabu! Kane chokeslams him through the table to pay it off. Could’ve been better. CM Punk is #11, and immediately gets pounded by Finlay. So much for his push. (2012 Scott sez:  He’ll probably do OK for himself.)  King Booker is #12 and Helms is gone as a result. Super Crazy is #13, and I’m sure that won’t make much of a dent. Kane beats on him right away, and some other people for good measure. Jeff Hardy is #14 and teams with Matt against Finlay, and then against Edge and Crazy. They even get Poetry in Motion on Kane, and Sandman is #15. He canes some people…and gets tossed by Booker 10 seconds into his appearance. Well that was a letdown. Hardy gets tossed by Finlay, but skins the cat back in. Same deal with Punk. Randy Orton is #16, as the ring is getting too full. The champs team up to get rid of Crazy.  (2012 Scott sez:  I’d be referring to Rated RKO there, right?) They go after Matt, and when Jeff tries to save they dump him. And then Matt, just to rub it in. That’s a little better. Chris Benoit is #17, and he’s chop crazy! Finlay eats a german suplex as Punk hangs on for his life. Finally Finlay clobbers him to slow him down, but can’t get him out. Rob Van Dam is #18, and he kicks lots of people. Kane uses that advantage to toss King Booker, thus ending his dream of a rematch. Booker doesn’t take it well and eliminates Kane in retribution. Well, there’s a feud for you. (2012 Scott sez:  Not so much.)  Viscera is #19 and he goes after Edge, and it’s a lot of kicking and punching. Johnny Nitro is #20, and gets nowhere fast. Much like this match. Kevin Thorn is #21 and does nothing. (2012 Scott sez:  They were actually ahead of the curve with the vampire stuff.  A character based on Erik Northman might actually work now if they could get the dreamy Swedish hunk to play it.)  RVD goes after Viscera, but can’t get him out alone. Hardcore Holly is #22 as we’re really into the doldrums now. Kick, punch, choke. There’s just nothing going on, and there’s too many people in the ring. Finally everyone gets smart and goes after Viscera as Shawn Michaels is #23. He goes after Finlay for whatever reason and dumps him, ending his 30 minute run. Superkick for Vis, and that’s what everyone needs to get him out. Shelton charges at Shawn and goes bye-bye. Chris Masters is #24. I’m sure they’re all shaking. Nitro gets tossed, didn’t catch why. Replay shows that Benoit knocked him off the top rope. People who go up the ropes in Rumbles are idiots. (2012 Scott sez:  Don’t forget people who dance!  They’re stupid too!)  Team RKO works on Shawn in the corner as Chavo Guerrero is #25. Benoit powers Thorn out on the ropes, which is one of the rare times you see someone actually fighting for the elimination like that and getting it. MVP is #26, but Benoit starts chopping him. RVD dropkicks Masters out while Orton pounds Punk on the apron, but can’t get him out. Carlito is #27, and he goes after Orton & Edge. RVD nearly gets Michaels out, but Holly makes the save. Great Khali is #28, and at least he’ll probably toss some people out. Everyone stops and readies themselves for him, but he fights off everyone. It’s the Elephant’s Graveyard out there as he lays out the whole pack, and Miz is #29. Khali tosses him, thankfully. Benoit is gone, Holly is gone, Punk is gone, RVD is gone, Carlito is gone, Chavo is gone. Is there no stopping the path of suck? Undertaker is #30, the one time I’m glad to see him. Taker fires away on Khali , and clotheslines him out. MVP, odd man out in the main eventer mix left, is quickly dealt with by Undertaker. Final four: Undertaker, Edge, Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels. So really anyone can win. Orton gets a chair and lays Taker out, but Edge sets up for a spear. Whoops, awkward. Shawn interrupts the argument between the champs, but takes an RKO as a result. Rated RKO goes after Undertaker and pounds him down, but he fights back. Corner clotheslines for both of them and he clotheslines both at the same time. Snake Eyes for Edge and big boot, and Orton is about to be chokeslammed before Edge spears Taker to save. A rather nasty chairshot puts Taker down again. Edge gets another chair and sets up the concerto, but Shawn recovers and dumps Orton, then superkicks Edge out of the match. So we’re down to Shawn and Undertaker, as I’ve apparently set my alarm clock for 10 years ago and not realized it. Shawn slugs away in the corner, but Taker fires back and nearly punches him out of the ring. When Melodramatic Selling Goes Bad. Shawn takes another overblown bump in the corner and gets hung up, but Taker charges and lands on the apron himself. Shawn charges and hits elbow, however. Back in, Shawn gets a neckbreaker and they slug it out, selling it like death after only being in the ring for like 10 minutes combined. Shawn ends up on the apron during a suplex attempt, but tries to go up and gets slugged down. Both guys fight on the top, but Taker goes down first, and Shawn follows with the flying elbow. Superkick is caught by Taker, and it’s chokeslam city. Taker goes for the tombstone, but Shawn escapes and superkicks him. Another try is blocked, however, and Taker dumps him to win the Royal Rumble for the first time, and also becomes the first person to win at #30. And….the crowd is pissed. Wow, that was a pretty gutsy finish. (2012 Scott sez:  Seems like Undertaker and Shawn might want to have a match or two at Wrestlemania to settle things.)  (Undertaker wins Royal Rumble, 56:31, ***1/4) The main body of the match was boring as hell, but the finishing sequence once Khali got in was spectacular, until they totally blew the big underdog win. This one just totally sucked the life out of the crowd. Just an average Rumble match overall. The Pulse: Well, the Rumble match mostly delivered, as the drama was good once you had no idea who was going to win it, and the Cena-Umaga match was a hell of a brawl, so it’s good enough for a mild thumbs up, but Batista-Undertaker is going to be a real mess unless they go with the more intriguing Cena-Undertaker matchup instead.  (2012 Scott sez:  Batista-Undertaker ended up just fine, thank you very much.  You know what’s crazy about this show, though?  This is only 5 years ago, and look at all the major players who are now either retired, dead, or moved on:  Batista, Michaels, Benoit, Umaga, Kennedy, Test, Lashley, The Hardy Boyz and Edge all gone for one reason or another.  That’s a HUGE chunk of star power that’s been cycled out with no real replacements aside from CM Punk and maybe Alberto Del Rio.  No wonder the product is so stale now.) 

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2007

The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2007 (2012 Scott sez:  I’ll take “Shows I Don’t Remember A Damn Thing About” for $200, Alex.)  – Live from San Antonio, TX – Your hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, JBL, Joey Styles & Tazz.The Hardy Boyz v. MNM (2012 Scott sez:  Interesting how John Morrison did such a complete reinvention of himself that no one remembers his time with MNM.)  Matt gets suckered into the MNM corner to start, and Mercury pounds him on the mat. Matt fights back after a double-team and brings in Jeff, who comes in with a mule kick for two. Nitro comes in and gets legdropped for two. Double-team by the Hardyz and Matt suplexes Mercury to get rid of him for the moment, and a neckbreaker on Nitro gets two. They go to the injured face of Matt, however, and work it over, which is certainly unique psychology. Mercury kicks him in the face and Nitro gets two. Mercury keeps slugging at the face and gets a hard clothesline for two. Finally Mercury misses a splash and Jeff comes in again. Front suplex gets two on Nitro. Whisper in the Wind gets two. The Hardyz double-team Nitro with a suplex and both head up, but it’s mixed news as Jeff hits Nitro’s knees and Matt gets his legdrop. That’s pretty unique — I’ve never actually seen a spot done like that before. And so, Jeff is YOUR raver-in-peril, as Jeff gets taken into the corner and Nitro charges in with a running knee for two. Jeff’s ribs appear to be hurt, so that’s what they go for. Double-team from MNM gets two. Jeff rolls up Mercury for two, but Mercury pounds on the ribs again to keep him down. MNM with the double gutbuster for two, but Matt breaks it up. Nitro goes to a bodyscissors, but Jeff fights out and makes the tag…which the ref doesn’t see, naturally. Finally, it’s hot tag Matt, and he does the bulldog/clothesline combo for two on Nitro. Yodelling elbow gets two. Way to change it up, Matt. MNM comes back with an attempt at a Snapshot, but Jeff breaks it up and they get Poetry in Motion. Another one is missed by Jeff, and Nitro cradles Matt for two. Matt comes back with the Side Effect and Twist of Fate, but Mercury takes him out. Jeff goes up, however, and finishes with the swanton bomb. (The Hardy Boyz d. MNM, Jeff Hardy swanton — pin Nitro, 15:27, ***) Pretty much a formula Hardy match, as they’ve pretty much squandered every cent they could have made out of the Hardy reunion at this point.  (2012 Scott sez:  Thankfully there was still money to be made off the Hardys in different ways.)  – Meanwhile, Edge and Orton draw their numbers for the Rumble and mock Kelly Kelly (who is an exhibitionist).  (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, whatever happened to that?) ECW “World” title: Bobby Lashley v. Test Shoving match to start and Test stomps away and chokes him down, but Lashley hits him with a t-bone suplex. Delayed vertical suplex and Test bails, but he suckers Lashley into standing the apron long enough for a trip into the post. Great, now we get to watch him try to sell. Back in, Test gets two. We go to an armbar, and you know Test means business because he cycles through his two facial expressions and gives us “Angry Test”. And we stay on the armbar for a while, as Test’s face just does not change. Did he get Botox done or something? I mean, sure, he’s expanded his range of emotion by 100%, but geez. Lashley backdrops him and follows with a corner clothesline and some shoulderblocks in the corner, but his arm gives out on a press-slam attempt. Big boot from Test gets two, and it’s ANGRY TEST again. F5 is escaped by Lashley, and he clotheslines Test to the floor (causing him to shift facial expressions to “Confused and/or Injured Test”) and Test walks out on the match. Countout finishes are EXTREME! (Lashley d. Test, countout, 7:10, 1/2*) Well that was pretty fucking lame. Nothing like a match where no one gets over and the fans boo both guys. Lashley destroys Test afterwards to complete the burial.  (2012 Scott sez:  Sorry, Andrew.  RIP) – Meanwhile, Vince wants John Cena to lose. And John’s injured too. Uh oh, he’s facing impossible odds! He can’t possibly win, can he?  (2012 Scott sez:  Nope.)  Smackdown World title: Batista v. Mr. Kennedy Frankly I’m surprised that no one has brought up the weird coincidence of a guy named “Batista” fighting a guy named “Kennedy”. It’s a political allegory and they didn’t even realize it. Look for Batista to get beaten by a guy named Castro next time they do a tour of Cuba, I guess. JBL notes that the fans are on their feet because they get to see a World title match, which is a rarity. On a show with THREE OF THEM. Well, he’s trying. (2012 Scott sez:  That’s unfair.  The ECW title wasn’t really a World title.)  Kennedy slugs away to start and gets a rollup for two. Batista is all in his face and stuff, so Kennedy hammers away until Batista slugs back. Suplex gets two for Batista. They fight out of the ring and do nothing, and back in for more punching from Dave. Kennedy goes to the knee, however, and starts working on it. Somehow that gets two. Kennedy wraps him up in a reverse figure-four, but he uses the ropes and gets caught. Back to the knee as Kennedy is apparently suffering a nosebleed. Lay off the yayo, Ken. (2012 Scott sez:  We never did find out why he got fired…) Running boot in the corner gets two. Kennedy goes to a half-crab, but Batista counters to a small package for two. He tries a powerslam, but Kennedy sneaks out and clips him. He walks into a spinebuster, but Batista can’t cover. He fights back and no-sells some stuff, getting a standing backdrop and corner clothesline. Awkward slam and Regal Roll cues the comeback, but Kennedy hits the knee again to block the Batista Bomb. Ref is bumped, but Kennedy gets a DDT for two. The crowd actually starts chanting for Kennedy, but he goes up and lands on a Batista clothesline. Batista Bomb ends it. (Batista d. Mr. Kennedy, Batista Bomb — pin, 10:24, **) Not bad, actually, which is a pleasant surprise given how how much of a shitty non-roll Batista has been since the comeback. They kept it basic and short and thus Batista was exposed less than usual. I wouldn’t bring it home to marry my daughter or anything, but it didn’t make me want to rip my own arm off, so huzzah.  (2012 Scott sez:  That Undertaker match was a major turnaround for Big Dave, actually.)  – Meanwhile, the Little Bastard meets The Great Khali. Hilarity ensues and Ron Simmons says “Damn”. – Speaking of hilarity, intentional or not, The Marine comes out on Tuesday, you know.  (2012 Scott sez:  Still one of the only movies to make money for WWE Films, oddly enough.)  – Wrestlemania 23: 63 days away. Maybe by then they’ll have a direction for the main event.  (2012 Scott sez:  Barely.)  RAW World title: John Cena v. Umaga, Last Man Standing Cena is wearing the DDP rib tape tonight. Gee, I wonder what the story of the match will be? They slug it out and Cena gets a jawbreaker, but Umaga hits him in the ribs and Cena bails. Pussy. Umaga slugs him off the apron and sends him into the steps, but sadly he’s not coughing up blood yet. C’mon, John, be a man and bite down on that condom full of red liquid! They down the aisle and Cena brings him back to ringside, but he forgets the first rule of wrestling: Samoans have hard heads. Well, maybe not the FIRST rule of wrestling, but it’s up there. Back in, Umaga headbutts him down and kicks him in the ribs again, and Cena keeps trying to run away, like little boys from Rob Feinstein… …allegedly.  (2012 Scott sez:  That’s unfair.  He was trying to pick up an undercover officer playing a TEENAGED boy… …allegedly.)  Umaga lays him out with the clothesline, but Cena , fearing for his merchandising cut, makes it up at 7. Umaga gets the stairs as Cena beats another count and then recovers the stairs himself and tosses them at Umaga to knock him out. Oh, what a role model, using the stairs as a weapon. What a jerk. Umaga beats the count and goes back to the ribs, via a bearhug, but then stops and grabs another set of stairs. Well, Cena deserves it for using them the last time. They get set up in the corner and Cena sits against them, but the RUNNING ASS OF DEATH misses and Cena uses the stairs again. Umaga answers the count at 7. Cena goes up, but gets caught in a uranage on the way down. Hah, serves him right. Umaga goes back to the ribs, but Cena kicks him in the nuts to stop him. Just can’t fight fair, can you? Blue Thunder bomb on the stairs and both guys are down, but Cena is up first, probably by some sort of illegal supplement, and the F-U on the stairs follows. Cena, however, hits his head on the way down, showing that poor sportsmanship is never rewarded. Except in real life. Cena starts bleeding to go along with the taped ribs, and now the crowd catches onto his bad attitude and starts telling him that he sucks. Umaga slugs him down, but John fights up again. I’d test the blood dripping off his face for drugs if I was them. Cena, obviously high on goofballs, hulks up, but Umaga hits him with a samoan drop. This sets up the THUMB OF DEATH, but Cena blocks it. Umaga hangs him in the Tree of Woe, but Cena dodges a charging Umaga and goes up with a top rope legdrop, then cheats again by sending him into the post. Just to really hammer home what a dirty cheat he is, he uses a monitor, thus adding destruction of private property to his list of transgressions tonight, but Umaga is up at 8. Man, the WWE is gonna be screwed if they ever switch to LCD monitors like the rest of the world. Cena comes off the apron, but Umaga sends him into the post and it’s onto the ECW table. Umaga preps all of the announce tables, and then charges across all of them, before missing and belly-flopping through the ECW one. Now that was unique. Umaga is up at 9, however. Estrada undoes a turnbuckle while Umaga recovers and heads back in. So the entire top rope is dislodged, which seems a bit involved when just giving him the WRENCH would have sufficed just as well. Umaga, of course, misses his big chance, and Cena uses the loose rope to choke him out like the no-good cheat that he is. Umaga pops right up again, so Cena chokes him out again, adding attempted murder to his rap sheet tonight. (John Cena d. Umaga, STFU — knockout, 22:40, ****) Oh, sure, Cena won, but at what cost? His SOUL? The lives of kids everywhere who idolize this cheating maniac? For SHAME, WWE. OK, the match was pretty cool, though. (2012 Scott sez:  This was the start of the period where it was obvious that Cena could get good stuff out of a lot of people.) – That commercial with the little kids is pretty creepy. – Meanwhile, Ric Flair draws his number and dances with random chicks. Uh, OK. Royal Rumble: 90 second intervals this year, which should work out well, time-wise. So Ric Flair draws #1 for the second time in his career, and Finlay is #2. This should be interesting, actually. Finlay gives him a drubbing in the corner and tries to get him out, but Kenny is #3 and he of course goes after Ric. Finlay kind of hangs back and takes his shots as they come. Matt Hardy is #4, working twice tonight. Side Effect for Kenny, but he can’t toss him. Kenny and Finlay go back to working Flair over, and Edge is #5. Spears for all! Matt hits him with the Twist of Fate to stop the path of rage, and everyone is out. Flair decides to get a chair, but Edge tosses him. Well, that went about as bad as it could for him. Kenny celebrates, so Edge turns on him and dumps him. Ha! Serves him right for taking credit for other’s work. Tommy Dreamer is #6 and goes after Edge, dropkicking him in the Tree of Woe before getting taken down by Finlay. Edge and Matt continue like private war, and Sabu is #7. It’s table time already. He sets one up at ringside and heads in to pound on Dreamer. Gregory Helms is #8 and goes after Matt, as Sabu almost gets Finlay out and then chokes him down instead. Not much going on and Shelton Benjamin is #9. He can’t throw either Matt or Helms through the table at ringside. Nor can Finlay. That table had better be setting up a really big spot later given this buildup. Kane is #10 and everyone panics, rightfully so because Kane starts hitting people unimpeded. Goodnight, Dreamer! So long, Sabu! Kane chokeslams him through the table to pay it off. Could’ve been better. CM Punk is #11, and immediately gets pounded by Finlay. So much for his push. (2012 Scott sez:  He’ll probably do OK for himself.)  King Booker is #12 and Helms is gone as a result. Super Crazy is #13, and I’m sure that won’t make much of a dent. Kane beats on him right away, and some other people for good measure. Jeff Hardy is #14 and teams with Matt against Finlay, and then against Edge and Crazy. They even get Poetry in Motion on Kane, and Sandman is #15. He canes some people…and gets tossed by Booker 10 seconds into his appearance. Well that was a letdown. Hardy gets tossed by Finlay, but skins the cat back in. Same deal with Punk. Randy Orton is #16, as the ring is getting too full. The champs team up to get rid of Crazy.  (2012 Scott sez:  I’d be referring to Rated RKO there, right?) They go after Matt, and when Jeff tries to save they dump him. And then Matt, just to rub it in. That’s a little better. Chris Benoit is #17, and he’s chop crazy! Finlay eats a german suplex as Punk hangs on for his life. Finally Finlay clobbers him to slow him down, but can’t get him out. Rob Van Dam is #18, and he kicks lots of people. Kane uses that advantage to toss King Booker, thus ending his dream of a rematch. Booker doesn’t take it well and eliminates Kane in retribution. Well, there’s a feud for you. (2012 Scott sez:  Not so much.)  Viscera is #19 and he goes after Edge, and it’s a lot of kicking and punching. Johnny Nitro is #20, and gets nowhere fast. Much like this match. Kevin Thorn is #21 and does nothing. (2012 Scott sez:  They were actually ahead of the curve with the vampire stuff.  A character based on Erik Northman might actually work now if they could get the dreamy Swedish hunk to play it.)  RVD goes after Viscera, but can’t get him out alone. Hardcore Holly is #22 as we’re really into the doldrums now. Kick, punch, choke. There’s just nothing going on, and there’s too many people in the ring. Finally everyone gets smart and goes after Viscera as Shawn Michaels is #23. He goes after Finlay for whatever reason and dumps him, ending his 30 minute run. Superkick for Vis, and that’s what everyone needs to get him out. Shelton charges at Shawn and goes bye-bye. Chris Masters is #24. I’m sure they’re all shaking. Nitro gets tossed, didn’t catch why. Replay shows that Benoit knocked him off the top rope. People who go up the ropes in Rumbles are idiots. (2012 Scott sez:  Don’t forget people who dance!  They’re stupid too!)  Team RKO works on Shawn in the corner as Chavo Guerrero is #25. Benoit powers Thorn out on the ropes, which is one of the rare times you see someone actually fighting for the elimination like that and getting it. MVP is #26, but Benoit starts chopping him. RVD dropkicks Masters out while Orton pounds Punk on the apron, but can’t get him out. Carlito is #27, and he goes after Orton & Edge. RVD nearly gets Michaels out, but Holly makes the save. Great Khali is #28, and at least he’ll probably toss some people out. Everyone stops and readies themselves for him, but he fights off everyone. It’s the Elephant’s Graveyard out there as he lays out the whole pack, and Miz is #29. Khali tosses him, thankfully. Benoit is gone, Holly is gone, Punk is gone, RVD is gone, Carlito is gone, Chavo is gone. Is there no stopping the path of suck? Undertaker is #30, the one time I’m glad to see him. Taker fires away on Khali , and clotheslines him out. MVP, odd man out in the main eventer mix left, is quickly dealt with by Undertaker. Final four: Undertaker, Edge, Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels. So really anyone can win. Orton gets a chair and lays Taker out, but Edge sets up for a spear. Whoops, awkward. Shawn interrupts the argument between the champs, but takes an RKO as a result. Rated RKO goes after Undertaker and pounds him down, but he fights back. Corner clotheslines for both of them and he clotheslines both at the same time. Snake Eyes for Edge and big boot, and Orton is about to be chokeslammed before Edge spears Taker to save. A rather nasty chairshot puts Taker down again. Edge gets another chair and sets up the concerto, but Shawn recovers and dumps Orton, then superkicks Edge out of the match. So we’re down to Shawn and Undertaker, as I’ve apparently set my alarm clock for 10 years ago and not realized it. Shawn slugs away in the corner, but Taker fires back and nearly punches him out of the ring. When Melodramatic Selling Goes Bad. Shawn takes another overblown bump in the corner and gets hung up, but Taker charges and lands on the apron himself. Shawn charges and hits elbow, however. Back in, Shawn gets a neckbreaker and they slug it out, selling it like death after only being in the ring for like 10 minutes combined. Shawn ends up on the apron during a suplex attempt, but tries to go up and gets slugged down. Both guys fight on the top, but Taker goes down first, and Shawn follows with the flying elbow. Superkick is caught by Taker, and it’s chokeslam city. Taker goes for the tombstone, but Shawn escapes and superkicks him. Another try is blocked, however, and Taker dumps him to win the Royal Rumble for the first time, and also becomes the first person to win at #30. And….the crowd is pissed. Wow, that was a pretty gutsy finish. (2012 Scott sez:  Seems like Undertaker and Shawn might want to have a match or two at Wrestlemania to settle things.)  (Undertaker wins Royal Rumble, 56:31, ***1/4) The main body of the match was boring as hell, but the finishing sequence once Khali got in was spectacular, until they totally blew the big underdog win. This one just totally sucked the life out of the crowd. Just an average Rumble match overall. The Pulse: Well, the Rumble match mostly delivered, as the drama was good once you had no idea who was going to win it, and the Cena-Umaga match was a hell of a brawl, so it’s good enough for a mild thumbs up, but Batista-Undertaker is going to be a real mess unless they go with the more intriguing Cena-Undertaker matchup instead.  (2012 Scott sez:  Batista-Undertaker ended up just fine, thank you very much.  You know what’s crazy about this show, though?  This is only 5 years ago, and look at all the major players who are now either retired, dead, or moved on:  Batista, Michaels, Benoit, Umaga, Kennedy, Test, Lashley, The Hardy Boyz and Edge all gone for one reason or another.  That’s a HUGE chunk of star power that’s been cycled out with no real replacements aside from CM Punk and maybe Alberto Del Rio.  No wonder the product is so stale now.) 

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2007

The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2007 (2012 Scott sez:  I’ll take “Shows I Don’t Remember A Damn Thing About” for $200, Alex.)  – Live from San Antonio, TX – Your hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, JBL, Joey Styles & Tazz.The Hardy Boyz v. MNM (2012 Scott sez:  Interesting how John Morrison did such a complete reinvention of himself that no one remembers his time with MNM.)  Matt gets suckered into the MNM corner to start, and Mercury pounds him on the mat. Matt fights back after a double-team and brings in Jeff, who comes in with a mule kick for two. Nitro comes in and gets legdropped for two. Double-team by the Hardyz and Matt suplexes Mercury to get rid of him for the moment, and a neckbreaker on Nitro gets two. They go to the injured face of Matt, however, and work it over, which is certainly unique psychology. Mercury kicks him in the face and Nitro gets two. Mercury keeps slugging at the face and gets a hard clothesline for two. Finally Mercury misses a splash and Jeff comes in again. Front suplex gets two on Nitro. Whisper in the Wind gets two. The Hardyz double-team Nitro with a suplex and both head up, but it’s mixed news as Jeff hits Nitro’s knees and Matt gets his legdrop. That’s pretty unique — I’ve never actually seen a spot done like that before. And so, Jeff is YOUR raver-in-peril, as Jeff gets taken into the corner and Nitro charges in with a running knee for two. Jeff’s ribs appear to be hurt, so that’s what they go for. Double-team from MNM gets two. Jeff rolls up Mercury for two, but Mercury pounds on the ribs again to keep him down. MNM with the double gutbuster for two, but Matt breaks it up. Nitro goes to a bodyscissors, but Jeff fights out and makes the tag…which the ref doesn’t see, naturally. Finally, it’s hot tag Matt, and he does the bulldog/clothesline combo for two on Nitro. Yodelling elbow gets two. Way to change it up, Matt. MNM comes back with an attempt at a Snapshot, but Jeff breaks it up and they get Poetry in Motion. Another one is missed by Jeff, and Nitro cradles Matt for two. Matt comes back with the Side Effect and Twist of Fate, but Mercury takes him out. Jeff goes up, however, and finishes with the swanton bomb. (The Hardy Boyz d. MNM, Jeff Hardy swanton — pin Nitro, 15:27, ***) Pretty much a formula Hardy match, as they’ve pretty much squandered every cent they could have made out of the Hardy reunion at this point.  (2012 Scott sez:  Thankfully there was still money to be made off the Hardys in different ways.)  – Meanwhile, Edge and Orton draw their numbers for the Rumble and mock Kelly Kelly (who is an exhibitionist).  (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, whatever happened to that?) ECW “World” title: Bobby Lashley v. Test Shoving match to start and Test stomps away and chokes him down, but Lashley hits him with a t-bone suplex. Delayed vertical suplex and Test bails, but he suckers Lashley into standing the apron long enough for a trip into the post. Great, now we get to watch him try to sell. Back in, Test gets two. We go to an armbar, and you know Test means business because he cycles through his two facial expressions and gives us “Angry Test”. And we stay on the armbar for a while, as Test’s face just does not change. Did he get Botox done or something? I mean, sure, he’s expanded his range of emotion by 100%, but geez. Lashley backdrops him and follows with a corner clothesline and some shoulderblocks in the corner, but his arm gives out on a press-slam attempt. Big boot from Test gets two, and it’s ANGRY TEST again. F5 is escaped by Lashley, and he clotheslines Test to the floor (causing him to shift facial expressions to “Confused and/or Injured Test”) and Test walks out on the match. Countout finishes are EXTREME! (Lashley d. Test, countout, 7:10, 1/2*) Well that was pretty fucking lame. Nothing like a match where no one gets over and the fans boo both guys. Lashley destroys Test afterwards to complete the burial.  (2012 Scott sez:  Sorry, Andrew.  RIP) – Meanwhile, Vince wants John Cena to lose. And John’s injured too. Uh oh, he’s facing impossible odds! He can’t possibly win, can he?  (2012 Scott sez:  Nope.)  Smackdown World title: Batista v. Mr. Kennedy Frankly I’m surprised that no one has brought up the weird coincidence of a guy named “Batista” fighting a guy named “Kennedy”. It’s a political allegory and they didn’t even realize it. Look for Batista to get beaten by a guy named Castro next time they do a tour of Cuba, I guess. JBL notes that the fans are on their feet because they get to see a World title match, which is a rarity. On a show with THREE OF THEM. Well, he’s trying. (2012 Scott sez:  That’s unfair.  The ECW title wasn’t really a World title.)  Kennedy slugs away to start and gets a rollup for two. Batista is all in his face and stuff, so Kennedy hammers away until Batista slugs back. Suplex gets two for Batista. They fight out of the ring and do nothing, and back in for more punching from Dave. Kennedy goes to the knee, however, and starts working on it. Somehow that gets two. Kennedy wraps him up in a reverse figure-four, but he uses the ropes and gets caught. Back to the knee as Kennedy is apparently suffering a nosebleed. Lay off the yayo, Ken. (2012 Scott sez:  We never did find out why he got fired…) Running boot in the corner gets two. Kennedy goes to a half-crab, but Batista counters to a small package for two. He tries a powerslam, but Kennedy sneaks out and clips him. He walks into a spinebuster, but Batista can’t cover. He fights back and no-sells some stuff, getting a standing backdrop and corner clothesline. Awkward slam and Regal Roll cues the comeback, but Kennedy hits the knee again to block the Batista Bomb. Ref is bumped, but Kennedy gets a DDT for two. The crowd actually starts chanting for Kennedy, but he goes up and lands on a Batista clothesline. Batista Bomb ends it. (Batista d. Mr. Kennedy, Batista Bomb — pin, 10:24, **) Not bad, actually, which is a pleasant surprise given how how much of a shitty non-roll Batista has been since the comeback. They kept it basic and short and thus Batista was exposed less than usual. I wouldn’t bring it home to marry my daughter or anything, but it didn’t make me want to rip my own arm off, so huzzah.  (2012 Scott sez:  That Undertaker match was a major turnaround for Big Dave, actually.)  – Meanwhile, the Little Bastard meets The Great Khali. Hilarity ensues and Ron Simmons says “Damn”. – Speaking of hilarity, intentional or not, The Marine comes out on Tuesday, you know.  (2012 Scott sez:  Still one of the only movies to make money for WWE Films, oddly enough.)  – Wrestlemania 23: 63 days away. Maybe by then they’ll have a direction for the main event.  (2012 Scott sez:  Barely.)  RAW World title: John Cena v. Umaga, Last Man Standing Cena is wearing the DDP rib tape tonight. Gee, I wonder what the story of the match will be? They slug it out and Cena gets a jawbreaker, but Umaga hits him in the ribs and Cena bails. Pussy. Umaga slugs him off the apron and sends him into the steps, but sadly he’s not coughing up blood yet. C’mon, John, be a man and bite down on that condom full of red liquid! They down the aisle and Cena brings him back to ringside, but he forgets the first rule of wrestling: Samoans have hard heads. Well, maybe not the FIRST rule of wrestling, but it’s up there. Back in, Umaga headbutts him down and kicks him in the ribs again, and Cena keeps trying to run away, like little boys from Rob Feinstein… …allegedly.  (2012 Scott sez:  That’s unfair.  He was trying to pick up an undercover officer playing a TEENAGED boy… …allegedly.)  Umaga lays him out with the clothesline, but Cena , fearing for his merchandising cut, makes it up at 7. Umaga gets the stairs as Cena beats another count and then recovers the stairs himself and tosses them at Umaga to knock him out. Oh, what a role model, using the stairs as a weapon. What a jerk. Umaga beats the count and goes back to the ribs, via a bearhug, but then stops and grabs another set of stairs. Well, Cena deserves it for using them the last time. They get set up in the corner and Cena sits against them, but the RUNNING ASS OF DEATH misses and Cena uses the stairs again. Umaga answers the count at 7. Cena goes up, but gets caught in a uranage on the way down. Hah, serves him right. Umaga goes back to the ribs, but Cena kicks him in the nuts to stop him. Just can’t fight fair, can you? Blue Thunder bomb on the stairs and both guys are down, but Cena is up first, probably by some sort of illegal supplement, and the F-U on the stairs follows. Cena, however, hits his head on the way down, showing that poor sportsmanship is never rewarded. Except in real life. Cena starts bleeding to go along with the taped ribs, and now the crowd catches onto his bad attitude and starts telling him that he sucks. Umaga slugs him down, but John fights up again. I’d test the blood dripping off his face for drugs if I was them. Cena, obviously high on goofballs, hulks up, but Umaga hits him with a samoan drop. This sets up the THUMB OF DEATH, but Cena blocks it. Umaga hangs him in the Tree of Woe, but Cena dodges a charging Umaga and goes up with a top rope legdrop, then cheats again by sending him into the post. Just to really hammer home what a dirty cheat he is, he uses a monitor, thus adding destruction of private property to his list of transgressions tonight, but Umaga is up at 8. Man, the WWE is gonna be screwed if they ever switch to LCD monitors like the rest of the world. Cena comes off the apron, but Umaga sends him into the post and it’s onto the ECW table. Umaga preps all of the announce tables, and then charges across all of them, before missing and belly-flopping through the ECW one. Now that was unique. Umaga is up at 9, however. Estrada undoes a turnbuckle while Umaga recovers and heads back in. So the entire top rope is dislodged, which seems a bit involved when just giving him the WRENCH would have sufficed just as well. Umaga, of course, misses his big chance, and Cena uses the loose rope to choke him out like the no-good cheat that he is. Umaga pops right up again, so Cena chokes him out again, adding attempted murder to his rap sheet tonight. (John Cena d. Umaga, STFU — knockout, 22:40, ****) Oh, sure, Cena won, but at what cost? His SOUL? The lives of kids everywhere who idolize this cheating maniac? For SHAME, WWE. OK, the match was pretty cool, though. (2012 Scott sez:  This was the start of the period where it was obvious that Cena could get good stuff out of a lot of people.) – That commercial with the little kids is pretty creepy. – Meanwhile, Ric Flair draws his number and dances with random chicks. Uh, OK. Royal Rumble: 90 second intervals this year, which should work out well, time-wise. So Ric Flair draws #1 for the second time in his career, and Finlay is #2. This should be interesting, actually. Finlay gives him a drubbing in the corner and tries to get him out, but Kenny is #3 and he of course goes after Ric. Finlay kind of hangs back and takes his shots as they come. Matt Hardy is #4, working twice tonight. Side Effect for Kenny, but he can’t toss him. Kenny and Finlay go back to working Flair over, and Edge is #5. Spears for all! Matt hits him with the Twist of Fate to stop the path of rage, and everyone is out. Flair decides to get a chair, but Edge tosses him. Well, that went about as bad as it could for him. Kenny celebrates, so Edge turns on him and dumps him. Ha! Serves him right for taking credit for other’s work. Tommy Dreamer is #6 and goes after Edge, dropkicking him in the Tree of Woe before getting taken down by Finlay. Edge and Matt continue like private war, and Sabu is #7. It’s table time already. He sets one up at ringside and heads in to pound on Dreamer. Gregory Helms is #8 and goes after Matt, as Sabu almost gets Finlay out and then chokes him down instead. Not much going on and Shelton Benjamin is #9. He can’t throw either Matt or Helms through the table at ringside. Nor can Finlay. That table had better be setting up a really big spot later given this buildup. Kane is #10 and everyone panics, rightfully so because Kane starts hitting people unimpeded. Goodnight, Dreamer! So long, Sabu! Kane chokeslams him through the table to pay it off. Could’ve been better. CM Punk is #11, and immediately gets pounded by Finlay. So much for his push. (2012 Scott sez:  He’ll probably do OK for himself.)  King Booker is #12 and Helms is gone as a result. Super Crazy is #13, and I’m sure that won’t make much of a dent. Kane beats on him right away, and some other people for good measure. Jeff Hardy is #14 and teams with Matt against Finlay, and then against Edge and Crazy. They even get Poetry in Motion on Kane, and Sandman is #15. He canes some people…and gets tossed by Booker 10 seconds into his appearance. Well that was a letdown. Hardy gets tossed by Finlay, but skins the cat back in. Same deal with Punk. Randy Orton is #16, as the ring is getting too full. The champs team up to get rid of Crazy.  (2012 Scott sez:  I’d be referring to Rated RKO there, right?) They go after Matt, and when Jeff tries to save they dump him. And then Matt, just to rub it in. That’s a little better. Chris Benoit is #17, and he’s chop crazy! Finlay eats a german suplex as Punk hangs on for his life. Finally Finlay clobbers him to slow him down, but can’t get him out. Rob Van Dam is #18, and he kicks lots of people. Kane uses that advantage to toss King Booker, thus ending his dream of a rematch. Booker doesn’t take it well and eliminates Kane in retribution. Well, there’s a feud for you. (2012 Scott sez:  Not so much.)  Viscera is #19 and he goes after Edge, and it’s a lot of kicking and punching. Johnny Nitro is #20, and gets nowhere fast. Much like this match. Kevin Thorn is #21 and does nothing. (2012 Scott sez:  They were actually ahead of the curve with the vampire stuff.  A character based on Erik Northman might actually work now if they could get the dreamy Swedish hunk to play it.)  RVD goes after Viscera, but can’t get him out alone. Hardcore Holly is #22 as we’re really into the doldrums now. Kick, punch, choke. There’s just nothing going on, and there’s too many people in the ring. Finally everyone gets smart and goes after Viscera as Shawn Michaels is #23. He goes after Finlay for whatever reason and dumps him, ending his 30 minute run. Superkick for Vis, and that’s what everyone needs to get him out. Shelton charges at Shawn and goes bye-bye. Chris Masters is #24. I’m sure they’re all shaking. Nitro gets tossed, didn’t catch why. Replay shows that Benoit knocked him off the top rope. People who go up the ropes in Rumbles are idiots. (2012 Scott sez:  Don’t forget people who dance!  They’re stupid too!)  Team RKO works on Shawn in the corner as Chavo Guerrero is #25. Benoit powers Thorn out on the ropes, which is one of the rare times you see someone actually fighting for the elimination like that and getting it. MVP is #26, but Benoit starts chopping him. RVD dropkicks Masters out while Orton pounds Punk on the apron, but can’t get him out. Carlito is #27, and he goes after Orton & Edge. RVD nearly gets Michaels out, but Holly makes the save. Great Khali is #28, and at least he’ll probably toss some people out. Everyone stops and readies themselves for him, but he fights off everyone. It’s the Elephant’s Graveyard out there as he lays out the whole pack, and Miz is #29. Khali tosses him, thankfully. Benoit is gone, Holly is gone, Punk is gone, RVD is gone, Carlito is gone, Chavo is gone. Is there no stopping the path of suck? Undertaker is #30, the one time I’m glad to see him. Taker fires away on Khali , and clotheslines him out. MVP, odd man out in the main eventer mix left, is quickly dealt with by Undertaker. Final four: Undertaker, Edge, Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels. So really anyone can win. Orton gets a chair and lays Taker out, but Edge sets up for a spear. Whoops, awkward. Shawn interrupts the argument between the champs, but takes an RKO as a result. Rated RKO goes after Undertaker and pounds him down, but he fights back. Corner clotheslines for both of them and he clotheslines both at the same time. Snake Eyes for Edge and big boot, and Orton is about to be chokeslammed before Edge spears Taker to save. A rather nasty chairshot puts Taker down again. Edge gets another chair and sets up the concerto, but Shawn recovers and dumps Orton, then superkicks Edge out of the match. So we’re down to Shawn and Undertaker, as I’ve apparently set my alarm clock for 10 years ago and not realized it. Shawn slugs away in the corner, but Taker fires back and nearly punches him out of the ring. When Melodramatic Selling Goes Bad. Shawn takes another overblown bump in the corner and gets hung up, but Taker charges and lands on the apron himself. Shawn charges and hits elbow, however. Back in, Shawn gets a neckbreaker and they slug it out, selling it like death after only being in the ring for like 10 minutes combined. Shawn ends up on the apron during a suplex attempt, but tries to go up and gets slugged down. Both guys fight on the top, but Taker goes down first, and Shawn follows with the flying elbow. Superkick is caught by Taker, and it’s chokeslam city. Taker goes for the tombstone, but Shawn escapes and superkicks him. Another try is blocked, however, and Taker dumps him to win the Royal Rumble for the first time, and also becomes the first person to win at #30. And….the crowd is pissed. Wow, that was a pretty gutsy finish. (2012 Scott sez:  Seems like Undertaker and Shawn might want to have a match or two at Wrestlemania to settle things.)  (Undertaker wins Royal Rumble, 56:31, ***1/4) The main body of the match was boring as hell, but the finishing sequence once Khali got in was spectacular, until they totally blew the big underdog win. This one just totally sucked the life out of the crowd. Just an average Rumble match overall. The Pulse: Well, the Rumble match mostly delivered, as the drama was good once you had no idea who was going to win it, and the Cena-Umaga match was a hell of a brawl, so it’s good enough for a mild thumbs up, but Batista-Undertaker is going to be a real mess unless they go with the more intriguing Cena-Undertaker matchup instead.  (2012 Scott sez:  Batista-Undertaker ended up just fine, thank you very much.  You know what’s crazy about this show, though?  This is only 5 years ago, and look at all the major players who are now either retired, dead, or moved on:  Batista, Michaels, Benoit, Umaga, Kennedy, Test, Lashley, The Hardy Boyz and Edge all gone for one reason or another.  That’s a HUGE chunk of star power that’s been cycled out with no real replacements aside from CM Punk and maybe Alberto Del Rio.  No wonder the product is so stale now.) 

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2007

The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2007 (2012 Scott sez:  I’ll take “Shows I Don’t Remember A Damn Thing About” for $200, Alex.)  – Live from San Antonio, TX – Your hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, JBL, Joey Styles & Tazz.The Hardy Boyz v. MNM (2012 Scott sez:  Interesting how John Morrison did such a complete reinvention of himself that no one remembers his time with MNM.)  Matt gets suckered into the MNM corner to start, and Mercury pounds him on the mat. Matt fights back after a double-team and brings in Jeff, who comes in with a mule kick for two. Nitro comes in and gets legdropped for two. Double-team by the Hardyz and Matt suplexes Mercury to get rid of him for the moment, and a neckbreaker on Nitro gets two. They go to the injured face of Matt, however, and work it over, which is certainly unique psychology. Mercury kicks him in the face and Nitro gets two. Mercury keeps slugging at the face and gets a hard clothesline for two. Finally Mercury misses a splash and Jeff comes in again. Front suplex gets two on Nitro. Whisper in the Wind gets two. The Hardyz double-team Nitro with a suplex and both head up, but it’s mixed news as Jeff hits Nitro’s knees and Matt gets his legdrop. That’s pretty unique — I’ve never actually seen a spot done like that before. And so, Jeff is YOUR raver-in-peril, as Jeff gets taken into the corner and Nitro charges in with a running knee for two. Jeff’s ribs appear to be hurt, so that’s what they go for. Double-team from MNM gets two. Jeff rolls up Mercury for two, but Mercury pounds on the ribs again to keep him down. MNM with the double gutbuster for two, but Matt breaks it up. Nitro goes to a bodyscissors, but Jeff fights out and makes the tag…which the ref doesn’t see, naturally. Finally, it’s hot tag Matt, and he does the bulldog/clothesline combo for two on Nitro. Yodelling elbow gets two. Way to change it up, Matt. MNM comes back with an attempt at a Snapshot, but Jeff breaks it up and they get Poetry in Motion. Another one is missed by Jeff, and Nitro cradles Matt for two. Matt comes back with the Side Effect and Twist of Fate, but Mercury takes him out. Jeff goes up, however, and finishes with the swanton bomb. (The Hardy Boyz d. MNM, Jeff Hardy swanton — pin Nitro, 15:27, ***) Pretty much a formula Hardy match, as they’ve pretty much squandered every cent they could have made out of the Hardy reunion at this point.  (2012 Scott sez:  Thankfully there was still money to be made off the Hardys in different ways.)  – Meanwhile, Edge and Orton draw their numbers for the Rumble and mock Kelly Kelly (who is an exhibitionist).  (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, whatever happened to that?) ECW “World” title: Bobby Lashley v. Test Shoving match to start and Test stomps away and chokes him down, but Lashley hits him with a t-bone suplex. Delayed vertical suplex and Test bails, but he suckers Lashley into standing the apron long enough for a trip into the post. Great, now we get to watch him try to sell. Back in, Test gets two. We go to an armbar, and you know Test means business because he cycles through his two facial expressions and gives us “Angry Test”. And we stay on the armbar for a while, as Test’s face just does not change. Did he get Botox done or something? I mean, sure, he’s expanded his range of emotion by 100%, but geez. Lashley backdrops him and follows with a corner clothesline and some shoulderblocks in the corner, but his arm gives out on a press-slam attempt. Big boot from Test gets two, and it’s ANGRY TEST again. F5 is escaped by Lashley, and he clotheslines Test to the floor (causing him to shift facial expressions to “Confused and/or Injured Test”) and Test walks out on the match. Countout finishes are EXTREME! (Lashley d. Test, countout, 7:10, 1/2*) Well that was pretty fucking lame. Nothing like a match where no one gets over and the fans boo both guys. Lashley destroys Test afterwards to complete the burial.  (2012 Scott sez:  Sorry, Andrew.  RIP) – Meanwhile, Vince wants John Cena to lose. And John’s injured too. Uh oh, he’s facing impossible odds! He can’t possibly win, can he?  (2012 Scott sez:  Nope.)  Smackdown World title: Batista v. Mr. Kennedy Frankly I’m surprised that no one has brought up the weird coincidence of a guy named “Batista” fighting a guy named “Kennedy”. It’s a political allegory and they didn’t even realize it. Look for Batista to get beaten by a guy named Castro next time they do a tour of Cuba, I guess. JBL notes that the fans are on their feet because they get to see a World title match, which is a rarity. On a show with THREE OF THEM. Well, he’s trying. (2012 Scott sez:  That’s unfair.  The ECW title wasn’t really a World title.)  Kennedy slugs away to start and gets a rollup for two. Batista is all in his face and stuff, so Kennedy hammers away until Batista slugs back. Suplex gets two for Batista. They fight out of the ring and do nothing, and back in for more punching from Dave. Kennedy goes to the knee, however, and starts working on it. Somehow that gets two. Kennedy wraps him up in a reverse figure-four, but he uses the ropes and gets caught. Back to the knee as Kennedy is apparently suffering a nosebleed. Lay off the yayo, Ken. (2012 Scott sez:  We never did find out why he got fired…) Running boot in the corner gets two. Kennedy goes to a half-crab, but Batista counters to a small package for two. He tries a powerslam, but Kennedy sneaks out and clips him. He walks into a spinebuster, but Batista can’t cover. He fights back and no-sells some stuff, getting a standing backdrop and corner clothesline. Awkward slam and Regal Roll cues the comeback, but Kennedy hits the knee again to block the Batista Bomb. Ref is bumped, but Kennedy gets a DDT for two. The crowd actually starts chanting for Kennedy, but he goes up and lands on a Batista clothesline. Batista Bomb ends it. (Batista d. Mr. Kennedy, Batista Bomb — pin, 10:24, **) Not bad, actually, which is a pleasant surprise given how how much of a shitty non-roll Batista has been since the comeback. They kept it basic and short and thus Batista was exposed less than usual. I wouldn’t bring it home to marry my daughter or anything, but it didn’t make me want to rip my own arm off, so huzzah.  (2012 Scott sez:  That Undertaker match was a major turnaround for Big Dave, actually.)  – Meanwhile, the Little Bastard meets The Great Khali. Hilarity ensues and Ron Simmons says “Damn”. – Speaking of hilarity, intentional or not, The Marine comes out on Tuesday, you know.  (2012 Scott sez:  Still one of the only movies to make money for WWE Films, oddly enough.)  – Wrestlemania 23: 63 days away. Maybe by then they’ll have a direction for the main event.  (2012 Scott sez:  Barely.)  RAW World title: John Cena v. Umaga, Last Man Standing Cena is wearing the DDP rib tape tonight. Gee, I wonder what the story of the match will be? They slug it out and Cena gets a jawbreaker, but Umaga hits him in the ribs and Cena bails. Pussy. Umaga slugs him off the apron and sends him into the steps, but sadly he’s not coughing up blood yet. C’mon, John, be a man and bite down on that condom full of red liquid! They down the aisle and Cena brings him back to ringside, but he forgets the first rule of wrestling: Samoans have hard heads. Well, maybe not the FIRST rule of wrestling, but it’s up there. Back in, Umaga headbutts him down and kicks him in the ribs again, and Cena keeps trying to run away, like little boys from Rob Feinstein… …allegedly.  (2012 Scott sez:  That’s unfair.  He was trying to pick up an undercover officer playing a TEENAGED boy… …allegedly.)  Umaga lays him out with the clothesline, but Cena , fearing for his merchandising cut, makes it up at 7. Umaga gets the stairs as Cena beats another count and then recovers the stairs himself and tosses them at Umaga to knock him out. Oh, what a role model, using the stairs as a weapon. What a jerk. Umaga beats the count and goes back to the ribs, via a bearhug, but then stops and grabs another set of stairs. Well, Cena deserves it for using them the last time. They get set up in the corner and Cena sits against them, but the RUNNING ASS OF DEATH misses and Cena uses the stairs again. Umaga answers the count at 7. Cena goes up, but gets caught in a uranage on the way down. Hah, serves him right. Umaga goes back to the ribs, but Cena kicks him in the nuts to stop him. Just can’t fight fair, can you? Blue Thunder bomb on the stairs and both guys are down, but Cena is up first, probably by some sort of illegal supplement, and the F-U on the stairs follows. Cena, however, hits his head on the way down, showing that poor sportsmanship is never rewarded. Except in real life. Cena starts bleeding to go along with the taped ribs, and now the crowd catches onto his bad attitude and starts telling him that he sucks. Umaga slugs him down, but John fights up again. I’d test the blood dripping off his face for drugs if I was them. Cena, obviously high on goofballs, hulks up, but Umaga hits him with a samoan drop. This sets up the THUMB OF DEATH, but Cena blocks it. Umaga hangs him in the Tree of Woe, but Cena dodges a charging Umaga and goes up with a top rope legdrop, then cheats again by sending him into the post. Just to really hammer home what a dirty cheat he is, he uses a monitor, thus adding destruction of private property to his list of transgressions tonight, but Umaga is up at 8. Man, the WWE is gonna be screwed if they ever switch to LCD monitors like the rest of the world. Cena comes off the apron, but Umaga sends him into the post and it’s onto the ECW table. Umaga preps all of the announce tables, and then charges across all of them, before missing and belly-flopping through the ECW one. Now that was unique. Umaga is up at 9, however. Estrada undoes a turnbuckle while Umaga recovers and heads back in. So the entire top rope is dislodged, which seems a bit involved when just giving him the WRENCH would have sufficed just as well. Umaga, of course, misses his big chance, and Cena uses the loose rope to choke him out like the no-good cheat that he is. Umaga pops right up again, so Cena chokes him out again, adding attempted murder to his rap sheet tonight. (John Cena d. Umaga, STFU — knockout, 22:40, ****) Oh, sure, Cena won, but at what cost? His SOUL? The lives of kids everywhere who idolize this cheating maniac? For SHAME, WWE. OK, the match was pretty cool, though. (2012 Scott sez:  This was the start of the period where it was obvious that Cena could get good stuff out of a lot of people.) – That commercial with the little kids is pretty creepy. – Meanwhile, Ric Flair draws his number and dances with random chicks. Uh, OK. Royal Rumble: 90 second intervals this year, which should work out well, time-wise. So Ric Flair draws #1 for the second time in his career, and Finlay is #2. This should be interesting, actually. Finlay gives him a drubbing in the corner and tries to get him out, but Kenny is #3 and he of course goes after Ric. Finlay kind of hangs back and takes his shots as they come. Matt Hardy is #4, working twice tonight. Side Effect for Kenny, but he can’t toss him. Kenny and Finlay go back to working Flair over, and Edge is #5. Spears for all! Matt hits him with the Twist of Fate to stop the path of rage, and everyone is out. Flair decides to get a chair, but Edge tosses him. Well, that went about as bad as it could for him. Kenny celebrates, so Edge turns on him and dumps him. Ha! Serves him right for taking credit for other’s work. Tommy Dreamer is #6 and goes after Edge, dropkicking him in the Tree of Woe before getting taken down by Finlay. Edge and Matt continue like private war, and Sabu is #7. It’s table time already. He sets one up at ringside and heads in to pound on Dreamer. Gregory Helms is #8 and goes after Matt, as Sabu almost gets Finlay out and then chokes him down instead. Not much going on and Shelton Benjamin is #9. He can’t throw either Matt or Helms through the table at ringside. Nor can Finlay. That table had better be setting up a really big spot later given this buildup. Kane is #10 and everyone panics, rightfully so because Kane starts hitting people unimpeded. Goodnight, Dreamer! So long, Sabu! Kane chokeslams him through the table to pay it off. Could’ve been better. CM Punk is #11, and immediately gets pounded by Finlay. So much for his push. (2012 Scott sez:  He’ll probably do OK for himself.)  King Booker is #12 and Helms is gone as a result. Super Crazy is #13, and I’m sure that won’t make much of a dent. Kane beats on him right away, and some other people for good measure. Jeff Hardy is #14 and teams with Matt against Finlay, and then against Edge and Crazy. They even get Poetry in Motion on Kane, and Sandman is #15. He canes some people…and gets tossed by Booker 10 seconds into his appearance. Well that was a letdown. Hardy gets tossed by Finlay, but skins the cat back in. Same deal with Punk. Randy Orton is #16, as the ring is getting too full. The champs team up to get rid of Crazy.  (2012 Scott sez:  I’d be referring to Rated RKO there, right?) They go after Matt, and when Jeff tries to save they dump him. And then Matt, just to rub it in. That’s a little better. Chris Benoit is #17, and he’s chop crazy! Finlay eats a german suplex as Punk hangs on for his life. Finally Finlay clobbers him to slow him down, but can’t get him out. Rob Van Dam is #18, and he kicks lots of people. Kane uses that advantage to toss King Booker, thus ending his dream of a rematch. Booker doesn’t take it well and eliminates Kane in retribution. Well, there’s a feud for you. (2012 Scott sez:  Not so much.)  Viscera is #19 and he goes after Edge, and it’s a lot of kicking and punching. Johnny Nitro is #20, and gets nowhere fast. Much like this match. Kevin Thorn is #21 and does nothing. (2012 Scott sez:  They were actually ahead of the curve with the vampire stuff.  A character based on Erik Northman might actually work now if they could get the dreamy Swedish hunk to play it.)  RVD goes after Viscera, but can’t get him out alone. Hardcore Holly is #22 as we’re really into the doldrums now. Kick, punch, choke. There’s just nothing going on, and there’s too many people in the ring. Finally everyone gets smart and goes after Viscera as Shawn Michaels is #23. He goes after Finlay for whatever reason and dumps him, ending his 30 minute run. Superkick for Vis, and that’s what everyone needs to get him out. Shelton charges at Shawn and goes bye-bye. Chris Masters is #24. I’m sure they’re all shaking. Nitro gets tossed, didn’t catch why. Replay shows that Benoit knocked him off the top rope. People who go up the ropes in Rumbles are idiots. (2012 Scott sez:  Don’t forget people who dance!  They’re stupid too!)  Team RKO works on Shawn in the corner as Chavo Guerrero is #25. Benoit powers Thorn out on the ropes, which is one of the rare times you see someone actually fighting for the elimination like that and getting it. MVP is #26, but Benoit starts chopping him. RVD dropkicks Masters out while Orton pounds Punk on the apron, but can’t get him out. Carlito is #27, and he goes after Orton & Edge. RVD nearly gets Michaels out, but Holly makes the save. Great Khali is #28, and at least he’ll probably toss some people out. Everyone stops and readies themselves for him, but he fights off everyone. It’s the Elephant’s Graveyard out there as he lays out the whole pack, and Miz is #29. Khali tosses him, thankfully. Benoit is gone, Holly is gone, Punk is gone, RVD is gone, Carlito is gone, Chavo is gone. Is there no stopping the path of suck? Undertaker is #30, the one time I’m glad to see him. Taker fires away on Khali , and clotheslines him out. MVP, odd man out in the main eventer mix left, is quickly dealt with by Undertaker. Final four: Undertaker, Edge, Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels. So really anyone can win. Orton gets a chair and lays Taker out, but Edge sets up for a spear. Whoops, awkward. Shawn interrupts the argument between the champs, but takes an RKO as a result. Rated RKO goes after Undertaker and pounds him down, but he fights back. Corner clotheslines for both of them and he clotheslines both at the same time. Snake Eyes for Edge and big boot, and Orton is about to be chokeslammed before Edge spears Taker to save. A rather nasty chairshot puts Taker down again. Edge gets another chair and sets up the concerto, but Shawn recovers and dumps Orton, then superkicks Edge out of the match. So we’re down to Shawn and Undertaker, as I’ve apparently set my alarm clock for 10 years ago and not realized it. Shawn slugs away in the corner, but Taker fires back and nearly punches him out of the ring. When Melodramatic Selling Goes Bad. Shawn takes another overblown bump in the corner and gets hung up, but Taker charges and lands on the apron himself. Shawn charges and hits elbow, however. Back in, Shawn gets a neckbreaker and they slug it out, selling it like death after only being in the ring for like 10 minutes combined. Shawn ends up on the apron during a suplex attempt, but tries to go up and gets slugged down. Both guys fight on the top, but Taker goes down first, and Shawn follows with the flying elbow. Superkick is caught by Taker, and it’s chokeslam city. Taker goes for the tombstone, but Shawn escapes and superkicks him. Another try is blocked, however, and Taker dumps him to win the Royal Rumble for the first time, and also becomes the first person to win at #30. And….the crowd is pissed. Wow, that was a pretty gutsy finish. (2012 Scott sez:  Seems like Undertaker and Shawn might want to have a match or two at Wrestlemania to settle things.)  (Undertaker wins Royal Rumble, 56:31, ***1/4) The main body of the match was boring as hell, but the finishing sequence once Khali got in was spectacular, until they totally blew the big underdog win. This one just totally sucked the life out of the crowd. Just an average Rumble match overall. The Pulse: Well, the Rumble match mostly delivered, as the drama was good once you had no idea who was going to win it, and the Cena-Umaga match was a hell of a brawl, so it’s good enough for a mild thumbs up, but Batista-Undertaker is going to be a real mess unless they go with the more intriguing Cena-Undertaker matchup instead.  (2012 Scott sez:  Batista-Undertaker ended up just fine, thank you very much.  You know what’s crazy about this show, though?  This is only 5 years ago, and look at all the major players who are now either retired, dead, or moved on:  Batista, Michaels, Benoit, Umaga, Kennedy, Test, Lashley, The Hardy Boyz and Edge all gone for one reason or another.  That’s a HUGE chunk of star power that’s been cycled out with no real replacements aside from CM Punk and maybe Alberto Del Rio.  No wonder the product is so stale now.) 

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant–01.23.12

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant – 01.23.12 Live from Phoenix, AZ. Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry LawlerCM Punk starts us out with another tirade against Big Johnny. The word of the week: Failure. John sucks at life and his career and everything else. He also notes that it’s incredibly hard to referee a match with two broken arms, so he presumes that John will call things down the middle in his match. Man, Punk is really turning into a bully here. John Cena comes out instead of Big Johnny, and he’s sick of hearing Punk ramble, and wants to show him how it’s done. So tonight, apparently the GM will give Zack Ryder his US title rematch TONIGHT, as well as Kane v. Cena match TONIGHT, plus he’ll resign as GM on top of all that. OR ELSE. Yeah, that never works. So the Interim GM joins us, and will not be intimidated by either guy. Punk trying to goad him into the ring is pretty funny. Big Johnny decides to punish Cena further by booking Ryder v. Kane in a falls count anywhere match, and if Cena gets involved then Zack never gets another US title shot again. Maybe Ryder should just cut his losses and move to Smackdown. Finally, it’s Punk & Cena v. Ziggler & Swagger…NEXT. So I’m guessing that means that Johnny Ace isn’t resigning. CM Punk & John Cena v. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger Cena beats on Ziggler and gets the bulldog for two, and brings in Punk for a GTS attempt that Ziggler bails out of. And we take a break. Back with Ace TEXTING while Ziggler beats on Cena and poses. Over to Swagger, and Cena hits him with a fisherman’s suplex, but walks into a clothesline. Swagger goes with the facelock, and back to Ziggler with the dropkick for two. Dolph drops a zillion elbows and does some situps for two. Swagger with the pump splash for two and a bearhug, but Cena reverses into the FU. Hot tag Punk and he runs wild on Ziggler with the high knee into the bulldog, and the high kick for two. I love Ziggler’s Mr. Perfect-style selling of that stuff. Cena brawls with Swagger outside and Punk goes up, but now Big Johnny jumps on the apron and Ziggler gets the cheap rollup at 10:00 for yet another fake “win” on Punk. This was fine if pointless. **1/2 See, I’m enjoying Johnny Ace in this role, but the more he plays the standard heel GM the less effective he becomes. He’s much better as the dispassionate middle management weenie. Punk, not particularly dismayed by the loss, challenges Ace to a match TONIGHT. And it’s on, apparently. Chris Jericho returns to hosting the Highlight Reel. Let’s see if fans actually catch on this week. Stalling device of the week: A t-shirt gun, which the idiot fans STILL pop for. And then he steals the camera and films the fans, who are still cheering. Then we get an actual highlight reel of Jericho’s career (pretty good one too)…and he finally speaks. And he promises that at Royal Rumble, it’s the end of the world. Again. For those who haven’t been following the discussion on my blog, the current popular theory is that Jericho gets #30, only to see the last two guys left eliminate each other so that he wins by default. Royal Rumble “by the numbers” promo. What exactly does “every WWE superstar is eligible” mean, anyway? Meanwhile, Mick Foley gives Zack some advice for his match against Kane. Cena offers assistance, but Ryder wants to do it alone. Good, be a man about it for once. Kane v. Zack Ryder Zack attacks and gets nowhere, as Kane boots him off the apron and punts him in the ribs. They seem to have trouble telling if it’s the ribs or back that’s injured. Ryder says the back, but Cole says the ribs. I guess it’s the torso in general that’s injured. Kane throws him into the stairs and stomps away on the ribs as Eve joins us, and we take a break. Back with Kane continuing the beating while Zack bumps around like a job guy, and a shot to the post gets two. Out into the crowd, and Zack finally fights back with a suitcase before getting punked out again. Over to the ramp and Zack gets beat up some more as Kane gets two. Ryder fights back a bit and Kane no-sells it, then chokeslams him through the stage as that’s apparently just going to be the end of the match at 10:00 or so. And Kane just leaves as John Cena comes out to tend to Ryder. Another week, another stretcher ride for Zack Ryder. But they’re totally not burying him. Next week he’ll get attacked and beheaded on live TV by Kane in the hospital and people will be like “Oh, they’re just setting him up for his big comeback, let it play out first!” Back from the break and we’re STILL taking Zack out of the broken stage with the obvious breakaway piece and crash pad as this show has ground to a screeching halt. Zack goes out on the ambulance and Cena puts his SERIOUS FACE on as Eve chastises him for screwing up Ryder’s life enough. I’m pretty sure it’s the writers at this point she should be blaming. Cena is HULKING OUT with RAGE. I think that kind of went over the edge and became hilariously awesome. Remember when heels used to beat up the guys they were fighting to get heat? This was like Hulk Hogan beating up Lanny Poffo on SNME. And even Lanny got to win by countout there! Ryder didn’t even get to have Kane sell a PUNCH! Sheamus v. Jinder Mahal This again? Sheamus pounds on him and gets two while Wade Barrett joins us on commentary. Sheamus goes up and gets slammed off, and Jinder follows with a high knee for two. Jinder with the dreaded cobra sleeper of his homeland, but Sheamus fights out and finishes with the Brogue Kick at 3:00. I think Sheamus has won this feud pretty decisively. Minor annoyance from Cole, as he notes a few times that the winner of the Rumble gets to main event Wrestlemania. When was the last time that even HAPPENED? Hell, Del Rio wrestled in the opening match last year! Randy Orton got the main event against HHH in 2009, but that’s a rarity in the past decade. Meanwhile, The Miz’s interview is interrupted by master of disguise R-Truth, who plays a marketing guy (“My name is FLEISCHER!”) who accuses Miz of being boring. Their argument is interrupted by Big Johnny, who is so annoyed by them that he gives the loser of their match the #1 slot in the Rumble. Brodus Clay v. Heath Slater Clay’s new T-Rex dance move is tremendous. Slater gets a dropkick to no effect, and Clay gives him the Sheeyah Suplex and finishes with the crossbody at 0:48. It’s now called “What the Funk” according to Michael Cole as they continue to tweak this. Crowd was pretty quiet for this, actually, but William Regal was something else on commentary. Why they don’t just let him be a commentator all the time is beyond me. The Miz v. R-Truth They brawl out of the ring and Truth sends Miz back in, but Miz catches him and stomps him down. Suplex onto the top rope and he puts Truth on the floor again with a shoulderblock, and we take a break. REALLY? Do we need a commercial break in every damn match? Back with Miz holding an abdominal stretch, but Truth comes back with a rollup for two. Falcon Arrow gets two. Axe kick misses, but Truth gets a backslide for two. Miz comes back with his double neckbreaker for two, as Cole sums up the feud: “This rivalry has been going on and on and on…” Agreed. Miz with the DDT for two. Truth hits the Downward Spiral to finish at 6:00, which gives the Miz #1 on Sunday. Cole keeps noting that only 2 men have ever won the Rumble from that position. Yeah, what’s their names? Meanwhile, we learn that Zack Ryder has a broken back. A BROKEN BACK! What more can they DO to this poor guy? Is Eve gonna leave him for John Cena next? Are they going to book his dog to die? Burn down his fake house? Put his dad in a limo and blow it up? And Big Johnny gets an upsetting fax from David Otunga. Who even uses a fax machine for sending messages anymore? The Amish? CM Punk v. The Executive Vice President In Charge of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager Amazingly, this advertised match does not actually occur. Holy shit, when does that ever happen? Otunga reads the fax before we start, as the Bored of Directors has decided that Ace will get his job review next Monday, to be conducted by COOHHH. So suddenly he’s apologetic to Punk and Foley and everyone else, but then Otunga attacks Punk after a verbal confrontation. Otunga quickly taps to the Anaconda Vice, and Punk hits Ace with the GTS before Ziggler pops in and hits the Zig Zag to end the show. So…why do I want to see the title match at the PPV now? Ziggler has zero chance and no one buys him as a serious threat for a second, and Punk has already gotten his revenge on Ace and Otunga in the same segment. The Pulse The Rumble remains kind of intriguing because it’s the Rumble and my second favourite PPV of the year traditionally, but this show was just hilariously bad. Whatever Zack Ryder did to piss off Vince McMahon and the writing team, I’m sure he’s very sorry for it now and won’t do it again.

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant–01.23.12

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant – 01.23.12 Live from Phoenix, AZ. Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry LawlerCM Punk starts us out with another tirade against Big Johnny. The word of the week: Failure. John sucks at life and his career and everything else. He also notes that it’s incredibly hard to referee a match with two broken arms, so he presumes that John will call things down the middle in his match. Man, Punk is really turning into a bully here. John Cena comes out instead of Big Johnny, and he’s sick of hearing Punk ramble, and wants to show him how it’s done. So tonight, apparently the GM will give Zack Ryder his US title rematch TONIGHT, as well as Kane v. Cena match TONIGHT, plus he’ll resign as GM on top of all that. OR ELSE. Yeah, that never works. So the Interim GM joins us, and will not be intimidated by either guy. Punk trying to goad him into the ring is pretty funny. Big Johnny decides to punish Cena further by booking Ryder v. Kane in a falls count anywhere match, and if Cena gets involved then Zack never gets another US title shot again. Maybe Ryder should just cut his losses and move to Smackdown. Finally, it’s Punk & Cena v. Ziggler & Swagger…NEXT. So I’m guessing that means that Johnny Ace isn’t resigning. CM Punk & John Cena v. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger Cena beats on Ziggler and gets the bulldog for two, and brings in Punk for a GTS attempt that Ziggler bails out of. And we take a break. Back with Ace TEXTING while Ziggler beats on Cena and poses. Over to Swagger, and Cena hits him with a fisherman’s suplex, but walks into a clothesline. Swagger goes with the facelock, and back to Ziggler with the dropkick for two. Dolph drops a zillion elbows and does some situps for two. Swagger with the pump splash for two and a bearhug, but Cena reverses into the FU. Hot tag Punk and he runs wild on Ziggler with the high knee into the bulldog, and the high kick for two. I love Ziggler’s Mr. Perfect-style selling of that stuff. Cena brawls with Swagger outside and Punk goes up, but now Big Johnny jumps on the apron and Ziggler gets the cheap rollup at 10:00 for yet another fake “win” on Punk. This was fine if pointless. **1/2 See, I’m enjoying Johnny Ace in this role, but the more he plays the standard heel GM the less effective he becomes. He’s much better as the dispassionate middle management weenie. Punk, not particularly dismayed by the loss, challenges Ace to a match TONIGHT. And it’s on, apparently. Chris Jericho returns to hosting the Highlight Reel. Let’s see if fans actually catch on this week. Stalling device of the week: A t-shirt gun, which the idiot fans STILL pop for. And then he steals the camera and films the fans, who are still cheering. Then we get an actual highlight reel of Jericho’s career (pretty good one too)…and he finally speaks. And he promises that at Royal Rumble, it’s the end of the world. Again. For those who haven’t been following the discussion on my blog, the current popular theory is that Jericho gets #30, only to see the last two guys left eliminate each other so that he wins by default. Royal Rumble “by the numbers” promo. What exactly does “every WWE superstar is eligible” mean, anyway? Meanwhile, Mick Foley gives Zack some advice for his match against Kane. Cena offers assistance, but Ryder wants to do it alone. Good, be a man about it for once. Kane v. Zack Ryder Zack attacks and gets nowhere, as Kane boots him off the apron and punts him in the ribs. They seem to have trouble telling if it’s the ribs or back that’s injured. Ryder says the back, but Cole says the ribs. I guess it’s the torso in general that’s injured. Kane throws him into the stairs and stomps away on the ribs as Eve joins us, and we take a break. Back with Kane continuing the beating while Zack bumps around like a job guy, and a shot to the post gets two. Out into the crowd, and Zack finally fights back with a suitcase before getting punked out again. Over to the ramp and Zack gets beat up some more as Kane gets two. Ryder fights back a bit and Kane no-sells it, then chokeslams him through the stage as that’s apparently just going to be the end of the match at 10:00 or so. And Kane just leaves as John Cena comes out to tend to Ryder. Another week, another stretcher ride for Zack Ryder. But they’re totally not burying him. Next week he’ll get attacked and beheaded on live TV by Kane in the hospital and people will be like “Oh, they’re just setting him up for his big comeback, let it play out first!” Back from the break and we’re STILL taking Zack out of the broken stage with the obvious breakaway piece and crash pad as this show has ground to a screeching halt. Zack goes out on the ambulance and Cena puts his SERIOUS FACE on as Eve chastises him for screwing up Ryder’s life enough. I’m pretty sure it’s the writers at this point she should be blaming. Cena is HULKING OUT with RAGE. I think that kind of went over the edge and became hilariously awesome. Remember when heels used to beat up the guys they were fighting to get heat? This was like Hulk Hogan beating up Lanny Poffo on SNME. And even Lanny got to win by countout there! Ryder didn’t even get to have Kane sell a PUNCH! Sheamus v. Jinder Mahal This again? Sheamus pounds on him and gets two while Wade Barrett joins us on commentary. Sheamus goes up and gets slammed off, and Jinder follows with a high knee for two. Jinder with the dreaded cobra sleeper of his homeland, but Sheamus fights out and finishes with the Brogue Kick at 3:00. I think Sheamus has won this feud pretty decisively. Minor annoyance from Cole, as he notes a few times that the winner of the Rumble gets to main event Wrestlemania. When was the last time that even HAPPENED? Hell, Del Rio wrestled in the opening match last year! Randy Orton got the main event against HHH in 2009, but that’s a rarity in the past decade. Meanwhile, The Miz’s interview is interrupted by master of disguise R-Truth, who plays a marketing guy (“My name is FLEISCHER!”) who accuses Miz of being boring. Their argument is interrupted by Big Johnny, who is so annoyed by them that he gives the loser of their match the #1 slot in the Rumble. Brodus Clay v. Heath Slater Clay’s new T-Rex dance move is tremendous. Slater gets a dropkick to no effect, and Clay gives him the Sheeyah Suplex and finishes with the crossbody at 0:48. It’s now called “What the Funk” according to Michael Cole as they continue to tweak this. Crowd was pretty quiet for this, actually, but William Regal was something else on commentary. Why they don’t just let him be a commentator all the time is beyond me. The Miz v. R-Truth They brawl out of the ring and Truth sends Miz back in, but Miz catches him and stomps him down. Suplex onto the top rope and he puts Truth on the floor again with a shoulderblock, and we take a break. REALLY? Do we need a commercial break in every damn match? Back with Miz holding an abdominal stretch, but Truth comes back with a rollup for two. Falcon Arrow gets two. Axe kick misses, but Truth gets a backslide for two. Miz comes back with his double neckbreaker for two, as Cole sums up the feud: “This rivalry has been going on and on and on…” Agreed. Miz with the DDT for two. Truth hits the Downward Spiral to finish at 6:00, which gives the Miz #1 on Sunday. Cole keeps noting that only 2 men have ever won the Rumble from that position. Yeah, what’s their names? Meanwhile, we learn that Zack Ryder has a broken back. A BROKEN BACK! What more can they DO to this poor guy? Is Eve gonna leave him for John Cena next? Are they going to book his dog to die? Burn down his fake house? Put his dad in a limo and blow it up? And Big Johnny gets an upsetting fax from David Otunga. Who even uses a fax machine for sending messages anymore? The Amish? CM Punk v. The Executive Vice President In Charge of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager Amazingly, this advertised match does not actually occur. Holy shit, when does that ever happen? Otunga reads the fax before we start, as the Bored of Directors has decided that Ace will get his job review next Monday, to be conducted by COOHHH. So suddenly he’s apologetic to Punk and Foley and everyone else, but then Otunga attacks Punk after a verbal confrontation. Otunga quickly taps to the Anaconda Vice, and Punk hits Ace with the GTS before Ziggler pops in and hits the Zig Zag to end the show. So…why do I want to see the title match at the PPV now? Ziggler has zero chance and no one buys him as a serious threat for a second, and Punk has already gotten his revenge on Ace and Otunga in the same segment. The Pulse The Rumble remains kind of intriguing because it’s the Rumble and my second favourite PPV of the year traditionally, but this show was just hilariously bad. Whatever Zack Ryder did to piss off Vince McMahon and the writing team, I’m sure he’s very sorry for it now and won’t do it again.

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant–01.23.12

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant – 01.23.12 Live from Phoenix, AZ. Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry LawlerCM Punk starts us out with another tirade against Big Johnny. The word of the week: Failure. John sucks at life and his career and everything else. He also notes that it’s incredibly hard to referee a match with two broken arms, so he presumes that John will call things down the middle in his match. Man, Punk is really turning into a bully here. John Cena comes out instead of Big Johnny, and he’s sick of hearing Punk ramble, and wants to show him how it’s done. So tonight, apparently the GM will give Zack Ryder his US title rematch TONIGHT, as well as Kane v. Cena match TONIGHT, plus he’ll resign as GM on top of all that. OR ELSE. Yeah, that never works. So the Interim GM joins us, and will not be intimidated by either guy. Punk trying to goad him into the ring is pretty funny. Big Johnny decides to punish Cena further by booking Ryder v. Kane in a falls count anywhere match, and if Cena gets involved then Zack never gets another US title shot again. Maybe Ryder should just cut his losses and move to Smackdown. Finally, it’s Punk & Cena v. Ziggler & Swagger…NEXT. So I’m guessing that means that Johnny Ace isn’t resigning. CM Punk & John Cena v. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger Cena beats on Ziggler and gets the bulldog for two, and brings in Punk for a GTS attempt that Ziggler bails out of. And we take a break. Back with Ace TEXTING while Ziggler beats on Cena and poses. Over to Swagger, and Cena hits him with a fisherman’s suplex, but walks into a clothesline. Swagger goes with the facelock, and back to Ziggler with the dropkick for two. Dolph drops a zillion elbows and does some situps for two. Swagger with the pump splash for two and a bearhug, but Cena reverses into the FU. Hot tag Punk and he runs wild on Ziggler with the high knee into the bulldog, and the high kick for two. I love Ziggler’s Mr. Perfect-style selling of that stuff. Cena brawls with Swagger outside and Punk goes up, but now Big Johnny jumps on the apron and Ziggler gets the cheap rollup at 10:00 for yet another fake “win” on Punk. This was fine if pointless. **1/2 See, I’m enjoying Johnny Ace in this role, but the more he plays the standard heel GM the less effective he becomes. He’s much better as the dispassionate middle management weenie. Punk, not particularly dismayed by the loss, challenges Ace to a match TONIGHT. And it’s on, apparently. Chris Jericho returns to hosting the Highlight Reel. Let’s see if fans actually catch on this week. Stalling device of the week: A t-shirt gun, which the idiot fans STILL pop for. And then he steals the camera and films the fans, who are still cheering. Then we get an actual highlight reel of Jericho’s career (pretty good one too)…and he finally speaks. And he promises that at Royal Rumble, it’s the end of the world. Again. For those who haven’t been following the discussion on my blog, the current popular theory is that Jericho gets #30, only to see the last two guys left eliminate each other so that he wins by default. Royal Rumble “by the numbers” promo. What exactly does “every WWE superstar is eligible” mean, anyway? Meanwhile, Mick Foley gives Zack some advice for his match against Kane. Cena offers assistance, but Ryder wants to do it alone. Good, be a man about it for once. Kane v. Zack Ryder Zack attacks and gets nowhere, as Kane boots him off the apron and punts him in the ribs. They seem to have trouble telling if it’s the ribs or back that’s injured. Ryder says the back, but Cole says the ribs. I guess it’s the torso in general that’s injured. Kane throws him into the stairs and stomps away on the ribs as Eve joins us, and we take a break. Back with Kane continuing the beating while Zack bumps around like a job guy, and a shot to the post gets two. Out into the crowd, and Zack finally fights back with a suitcase before getting punked out again. Over to the ramp and Zack gets beat up some more as Kane gets two. Ryder fights back a bit and Kane no-sells it, then chokeslams him through the stage as that’s apparently just going to be the end of the match at 10:00 or so. And Kane just leaves as John Cena comes out to tend to Ryder. Another week, another stretcher ride for Zack Ryder. But they’re totally not burying him. Next week he’ll get attacked and beheaded on live TV by Kane in the hospital and people will be like “Oh, they’re just setting him up for his big comeback, let it play out first!” Back from the break and we’re STILL taking Zack out of the broken stage with the obvious breakaway piece and crash pad as this show has ground to a screeching halt. Zack goes out on the ambulance and Cena puts his SERIOUS FACE on as Eve chastises him for screwing up Ryder’s life enough. I’m pretty sure it’s the writers at this point she should be blaming. Cena is HULKING OUT with RAGE. I think that kind of went over the edge and became hilariously awesome. Remember when heels used to beat up the guys they were fighting to get heat? This was like Hulk Hogan beating up Lanny Poffo on SNME. And even Lanny got to win by countout there! Ryder didn’t even get to have Kane sell a PUNCH! Sheamus v. Jinder Mahal This again? Sheamus pounds on him and gets two while Wade Barrett joins us on commentary. Sheamus goes up and gets slammed off, and Jinder follows with a high knee for two. Jinder with the dreaded cobra sleeper of his homeland, but Sheamus fights out and finishes with the Brogue Kick at 3:00. I think Sheamus has won this feud pretty decisively. Minor annoyance from Cole, as he notes a few times that the winner of the Rumble gets to main event Wrestlemania. When was the last time that even HAPPENED? Hell, Del Rio wrestled in the opening match last year! Randy Orton got the main event against HHH in 2009, but that’s a rarity in the past decade. Meanwhile, The Miz’s interview is interrupted by master of disguise R-Truth, who plays a marketing guy (“My name is FLEISCHER!”) who accuses Miz of being boring. Their argument is interrupted by Big Johnny, who is so annoyed by them that he gives the loser of their match the #1 slot in the Rumble. Brodus Clay v. Heath Slater Clay’s new T-Rex dance move is tremendous. Slater gets a dropkick to no effect, and Clay gives him the Sheeyah Suplex and finishes with the crossbody at 0:48. It’s now called “What the Funk” according to Michael Cole as they continue to tweak this. Crowd was pretty quiet for this, actually, but William Regal was something else on commentary. Why they don’t just let him be a commentator all the time is beyond me. The Miz v. R-Truth They brawl out of the ring and Truth sends Miz back in, but Miz catches him and stomps him down. Suplex onto the top rope and he puts Truth on the floor again with a shoulderblock, and we take a break. REALLY? Do we need a commercial break in every damn match? Back with Miz holding an abdominal stretch, but Truth comes back with a rollup for two. Falcon Arrow gets two. Axe kick misses, but Truth gets a backslide for two. Miz comes back with his double neckbreaker for two, as Cole sums up the feud: “This rivalry has been going on and on and on…” Agreed. Miz with the DDT for two. Truth hits the Downward Spiral to finish at 6:00, which gives the Miz #1 on Sunday. Cole keeps noting that only 2 men have ever won the Rumble from that position. Yeah, what’s their names? Meanwhile, we learn that Zack Ryder has a broken back. A BROKEN BACK! What more can they DO to this poor guy? Is Eve gonna leave him for John Cena next? Are they going to book his dog to die? Burn down his fake house? Put his dad in a limo and blow it up? And Big Johnny gets an upsetting fax from David Otunga. Who even uses a fax machine for sending messages anymore? The Amish? CM Punk v. The Executive Vice President In Charge of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager Amazingly, this advertised match does not actually occur. Holy shit, when does that ever happen? Otunga reads the fax before we start, as the Bored of Directors has decided that Ace will get his job review next Monday, to be conducted by COOHHH. So suddenly he’s apologetic to Punk and Foley and everyone else, but then Otunga attacks Punk after a verbal confrontation. Otunga quickly taps to the Anaconda Vice, and Punk hits Ace with the GTS before Ziggler pops in and hits the Zig Zag to end the show. So…why do I want to see the title match at the PPV now? Ziggler has zero chance and no one buys him as a serious threat for a second, and Punk has already gotten his revenge on Ace and Otunga in the same segment. The Pulse The Rumble remains kind of intriguing because it’s the Rumble and my second favourite PPV of the year traditionally, but this show was just hilariously bad. Whatever Zack Ryder did to piss off Vince McMahon and the writing team, I’m sure he’s very sorry for it now and won’t do it again.

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant–01.23.12

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant – 01.23.12 Live from Phoenix, AZ. Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry LawlerCM Punk starts us out with another tirade against Big Johnny. The word of the week: Failure. John sucks at life and his career and everything else. He also notes that it’s incredibly hard to referee a match with two broken arms, so he presumes that John will call things down the middle in his match. Man, Punk is really turning into a bully here. John Cena comes out instead of Big Johnny, and he’s sick of hearing Punk ramble, and wants to show him how it’s done. So tonight, apparently the GM will give Zack Ryder his US title rematch TONIGHT, as well as Kane v. Cena match TONIGHT, plus he’ll resign as GM on top of all that. OR ELSE. Yeah, that never works. So the Interim GM joins us, and will not be intimidated by either guy. Punk trying to goad him into the ring is pretty funny. Big Johnny decides to punish Cena further by booking Ryder v. Kane in a falls count anywhere match, and if Cena gets involved then Zack never gets another US title shot again. Maybe Ryder should just cut his losses and move to Smackdown. Finally, it’s Punk & Cena v. Ziggler & Swagger…NEXT. So I’m guessing that means that Johnny Ace isn’t resigning. CM Punk & John Cena v. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger Cena beats on Ziggler and gets the bulldog for two, and brings in Punk for a GTS attempt that Ziggler bails out of. And we take a break. Back with Ace TEXTING while Ziggler beats on Cena and poses. Over to Swagger, and Cena hits him with a fisherman’s suplex, but walks into a clothesline. Swagger goes with the facelock, and back to Ziggler with the dropkick for two. Dolph drops a zillion elbows and does some situps for two. Swagger with the pump splash for two and a bearhug, but Cena reverses into the FU. Hot tag Punk and he runs wild on Ziggler with the high knee into the bulldog, and the high kick for two. I love Ziggler’s Mr. Perfect-style selling of that stuff. Cena brawls with Swagger outside and Punk goes up, but now Big Johnny jumps on the apron and Ziggler gets the cheap rollup at 10:00 for yet another fake “win” on Punk. This was fine if pointless. **1/2 See, I’m enjoying Johnny Ace in this role, but the more he plays the standard heel GM the less effective he becomes. He’s much better as the dispassionate middle management weenie. Punk, not particularly dismayed by the loss, challenges Ace to a match TONIGHT. And it’s on, apparently. Chris Jericho returns to hosting the Highlight Reel. Let’s see if fans actually catch on this week. Stalling device of the week: A t-shirt gun, which the idiot fans STILL pop for. And then he steals the camera and films the fans, who are still cheering. Then we get an actual highlight reel of Jericho’s career (pretty good one too)…and he finally speaks. And he promises that at Royal Rumble, it’s the end of the world. Again. For those who haven’t been following the discussion on my blog, the current popular theory is that Jericho gets #30, only to see the last two guys left eliminate each other so that he wins by default. Royal Rumble “by the numbers” promo. What exactly does “every WWE superstar is eligible” mean, anyway? Meanwhile, Mick Foley gives Zack some advice for his match against Kane. Cena offers assistance, but Ryder wants to do it alone. Good, be a man about it for once. Kane v. Zack Ryder Zack attacks and gets nowhere, as Kane boots him off the apron and punts him in the ribs. They seem to have trouble telling if it’s the ribs or back that’s injured. Ryder says the back, but Cole says the ribs. I guess it’s the torso in general that’s injured. Kane throws him into the stairs and stomps away on the ribs as Eve joins us, and we take a break. Back with Kane continuing the beating while Zack bumps around like a job guy, and a shot to the post gets two. Out into the crowd, and Zack finally fights back with a suitcase before getting punked out again. Over to the ramp and Zack gets beat up some more as Kane gets two. Ryder fights back a bit and Kane no-sells it, then chokeslams him through the stage as that’s apparently just going to be the end of the match at 10:00 or so. And Kane just leaves as John Cena comes out to tend to Ryder. Another week, another stretcher ride for Zack Ryder. But they’re totally not burying him. Next week he’ll get attacked and beheaded on live TV by Kane in the hospital and people will be like “Oh, they’re just setting him up for his big comeback, let it play out first!” Back from the break and we’re STILL taking Zack out of the broken stage with the obvious breakaway piece and crash pad as this show has ground to a screeching halt. Zack goes out on the ambulance and Cena puts his SERIOUS FACE on as Eve chastises him for screwing up Ryder’s life enough. I’m pretty sure it’s the writers at this point she should be blaming. Cena is HULKING OUT with RAGE. I think that kind of went over the edge and became hilariously awesome. Remember when heels used to beat up the guys they were fighting to get heat? This was like Hulk Hogan beating up Lanny Poffo on SNME. And even Lanny got to win by countout there! Ryder didn’t even get to have Kane sell a PUNCH! Sheamus v. Jinder Mahal This again? Sheamus pounds on him and gets two while Wade Barrett joins us on commentary. Sheamus goes up and gets slammed off, and Jinder follows with a high knee for two. Jinder with the dreaded cobra sleeper of his homeland, but Sheamus fights out and finishes with the Brogue Kick at 3:00. I think Sheamus has won this feud pretty decisively. Minor annoyance from Cole, as he notes a few times that the winner of the Rumble gets to main event Wrestlemania. When was the last time that even HAPPENED? Hell, Del Rio wrestled in the opening match last year! Randy Orton got the main event against HHH in 2009, but that’s a rarity in the past decade. Meanwhile, The Miz’s interview is interrupted by master of disguise R-Truth, who plays a marketing guy (“My name is FLEISCHER!”) who accuses Miz of being boring. Their argument is interrupted by Big Johnny, who is so annoyed by them that he gives the loser of their match the #1 slot in the Rumble. Brodus Clay v. Heath Slater Clay’s new T-Rex dance move is tremendous. Slater gets a dropkick to no effect, and Clay gives him the Sheeyah Suplex and finishes with the crossbody at 0:48. It’s now called “What the Funk” according to Michael Cole as they continue to tweak this. Crowd was pretty quiet for this, actually, but William Regal was something else on commentary. Why they don’t just let him be a commentator all the time is beyond me. The Miz v. R-Truth They brawl out of the ring and Truth sends Miz back in, but Miz catches him and stomps him down. Suplex onto the top rope and he puts Truth on the floor again with a shoulderblock, and we take a break. REALLY? Do we need a commercial break in every damn match? Back with Miz holding an abdominal stretch, but Truth comes back with a rollup for two. Falcon Arrow gets two. Axe kick misses, but Truth gets a backslide for two. Miz comes back with his double neckbreaker for two, as Cole sums up the feud: “This rivalry has been going on and on and on…” Agreed. Miz with the DDT for two. Truth hits the Downward Spiral to finish at 6:00, which gives the Miz #1 on Sunday. Cole keeps noting that only 2 men have ever won the Rumble from that position. Yeah, what’s their names? Meanwhile, we learn that Zack Ryder has a broken back. A BROKEN BACK! What more can they DO to this poor guy? Is Eve gonna leave him for John Cena next? Are they going to book his dog to die? Burn down his fake house? Put his dad in a limo and blow it up? And Big Johnny gets an upsetting fax from David Otunga. Who even uses a fax machine for sending messages anymore? The Amish? CM Punk v. The Executive Vice President In Charge of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager Amazingly, this advertised match does not actually occur. Holy shit, when does that ever happen? Otunga reads the fax before we start, as the Bored of Directors has decided that Ace will get his job review next Monday, to be conducted by COOHHH. So suddenly he’s apologetic to Punk and Foley and everyone else, but then Otunga attacks Punk after a verbal confrontation. Otunga quickly taps to the Anaconda Vice, and Punk hits Ace with the GTS before Ziggler pops in and hits the Zig Zag to end the show. So…why do I want to see the title match at the PPV now? Ziggler has zero chance and no one buys him as a serious threat for a second, and Punk has already gotten his revenge on Ace and Otunga in the same segment. The Pulse The Rumble remains kind of intriguing because it’s the Rumble and my second favourite PPV of the year traditionally, but this show was just hilariously bad. Whatever Zack Ryder did to piss off Vince McMahon and the writing team, I’m sure he’s very sorry for it now and won’t do it again.

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant–01.23.12

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant – 01.23.12 Live from Phoenix, AZ. Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry LawlerCM Punk starts us out with another tirade against Big Johnny. The word of the week: Failure. John sucks at life and his career and everything else. He also notes that it’s incredibly hard to referee a match with two broken arms, so he presumes that John will call things down the middle in his match. Man, Punk is really turning into a bully here. John Cena comes out instead of Big Johnny, and he’s sick of hearing Punk ramble, and wants to show him how it’s done. So tonight, apparently the GM will give Zack Ryder his US title rematch TONIGHT, as well as Kane v. Cena match TONIGHT, plus he’ll resign as GM on top of all that. OR ELSE. Yeah, that never works. So the Interim GM joins us, and will not be intimidated by either guy. Punk trying to goad him into the ring is pretty funny. Big Johnny decides to punish Cena further by booking Ryder v. Kane in a falls count anywhere match, and if Cena gets involved then Zack never gets another US title shot again. Maybe Ryder should just cut his losses and move to Smackdown. Finally, it’s Punk & Cena v. Ziggler & Swagger…NEXT. So I’m guessing that means that Johnny Ace isn’t resigning. CM Punk & John Cena v. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger Cena beats on Ziggler and gets the bulldog for two, and brings in Punk for a GTS attempt that Ziggler bails out of. And we take a break. Back with Ace TEXTING while Ziggler beats on Cena and poses. Over to Swagger, and Cena hits him with a fisherman’s suplex, but walks into a clothesline. Swagger goes with the facelock, and back to Ziggler with the dropkick for two. Dolph drops a zillion elbows and does some situps for two. Swagger with the pump splash for two and a bearhug, but Cena reverses into the FU. Hot tag Punk and he runs wild on Ziggler with the high knee into the bulldog, and the high kick for two. I love Ziggler’s Mr. Perfect-style selling of that stuff. Cena brawls with Swagger outside and Punk goes up, but now Big Johnny jumps on the apron and Ziggler gets the cheap rollup at 10:00 for yet another fake “win” on Punk. This was fine if pointless. **1/2 See, I’m enjoying Johnny Ace in this role, but the more he plays the standard heel GM the less effective he becomes. He’s much better as the dispassionate middle management weenie. Punk, not particularly dismayed by the loss, challenges Ace to a match TONIGHT. And it’s on, apparently. Chris Jericho returns to hosting the Highlight Reel. Let’s see if fans actually catch on this week. Stalling device of the week: A t-shirt gun, which the idiot fans STILL pop for. And then he steals the camera and films the fans, who are still cheering. Then we get an actual highlight reel of Jericho’s career (pretty good one too)…and he finally speaks. And he promises that at Royal Rumble, it’s the end of the world. Again. For those who haven’t been following the discussion on my blog, the current popular theory is that Jericho gets #30, only to see the last two guys left eliminate each other so that he wins by default. Royal Rumble “by the numbers” promo. What exactly does “every WWE superstar is eligible” mean, anyway? Meanwhile, Mick Foley gives Zack some advice for his match against Kane. Cena offers assistance, but Ryder wants to do it alone. Good, be a man about it for once. Kane v. Zack Ryder Zack attacks and gets nowhere, as Kane boots him off the apron and punts him in the ribs. They seem to have trouble telling if it’s the ribs or back that’s injured. Ryder says the back, but Cole says the ribs. I guess it’s the torso in general that’s injured. Kane throws him into the stairs and stomps away on the ribs as Eve joins us, and we take a break. Back with Kane continuing the beating while Zack bumps around like a job guy, and a shot to the post gets two. Out into the crowd, and Zack finally fights back with a suitcase before getting punked out again. Over to the ramp and Zack gets beat up some more as Kane gets two. Ryder fights back a bit and Kane no-sells it, then chokeslams him through the stage as that’s apparently just going to be the end of the match at 10:00 or so. And Kane just leaves as John Cena comes out to tend to Ryder. Another week, another stretcher ride for Zack Ryder. But they’re totally not burying him. Next week he’ll get attacked and beheaded on live TV by Kane in the hospital and people will be like “Oh, they’re just setting him up for his big comeback, let it play out first!” Back from the break and we’re STILL taking Zack out of the broken stage with the obvious breakaway piece and crash pad as this show has ground to a screeching halt. Zack goes out on the ambulance and Cena puts his SERIOUS FACE on as Eve chastises him for screwing up Ryder’s life enough. I’m pretty sure it’s the writers at this point she should be blaming. Cena is HULKING OUT with RAGE. I think that kind of went over the edge and became hilariously awesome. Remember when heels used to beat up the guys they were fighting to get heat? This was like Hulk Hogan beating up Lanny Poffo on SNME. And even Lanny got to win by countout there! Ryder didn’t even get to have Kane sell a PUNCH! Sheamus v. Jinder Mahal This again? Sheamus pounds on him and gets two while Wade Barrett joins us on commentary. Sheamus goes up and gets slammed off, and Jinder follows with a high knee for two. Jinder with the dreaded cobra sleeper of his homeland, but Sheamus fights out and finishes with the Brogue Kick at 3:00. I think Sheamus has won this feud pretty decisively. Minor annoyance from Cole, as he notes a few times that the winner of the Rumble gets to main event Wrestlemania. When was the last time that even HAPPENED? Hell, Del Rio wrestled in the opening match last year! Randy Orton got the main event against HHH in 2009, but that’s a rarity in the past decade. Meanwhile, The Miz’s interview is interrupted by master of disguise R-Truth, who plays a marketing guy (“My name is FLEISCHER!”) who accuses Miz of being boring. Their argument is interrupted by Big Johnny, who is so annoyed by them that he gives the loser of their match the #1 slot in the Rumble. Brodus Clay v. Heath Slater Clay’s new T-Rex dance move is tremendous. Slater gets a dropkick to no effect, and Clay gives him the Sheeyah Suplex and finishes with the crossbody at 0:48. It’s now called “What the Funk” according to Michael Cole as they continue to tweak this. Crowd was pretty quiet for this, actually, but William Regal was something else on commentary. Why they don’t just let him be a commentator all the time is beyond me. The Miz v. R-Truth They brawl out of the ring and Truth sends Miz back in, but Miz catches him and stomps him down. Suplex onto the top rope and he puts Truth on the floor again with a shoulderblock, and we take a break. REALLY? Do we need a commercial break in every damn match? Back with Miz holding an abdominal stretch, but Truth comes back with a rollup for two. Falcon Arrow gets two. Axe kick misses, but Truth gets a backslide for two. Miz comes back with his double neckbreaker for two, as Cole sums up the feud: “This rivalry has been going on and on and on…” Agreed. Miz with the DDT for two. Truth hits the Downward Spiral to finish at 6:00, which gives the Miz #1 on Sunday. Cole keeps noting that only 2 men have ever won the Rumble from that position. Yeah, what’s their names? Meanwhile, we learn that Zack Ryder has a broken back. A BROKEN BACK! What more can they DO to this poor guy? Is Eve gonna leave him for John Cena next? Are they going to book his dog to die? Burn down his fake house? Put his dad in a limo and blow it up? And Big Johnny gets an upsetting fax from David Otunga. Who even uses a fax machine for sending messages anymore? The Amish? CM Punk v. The Executive Vice President In Charge of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager Amazingly, this advertised match does not actually occur. Holy shit, when does that ever happen? Otunga reads the fax before we start, as the Bored of Directors has decided that Ace will get his job review next Monday, to be conducted by COOHHH. So suddenly he’s apologetic to Punk and Foley and everyone else, but then Otunga attacks Punk after a verbal confrontation. Otunga quickly taps to the Anaconda Vice, and Punk hits Ace with the GTS before Ziggler pops in and hits the Zig Zag to end the show. So…why do I want to see the title match at the PPV now? Ziggler has zero chance and no one buys him as a serious threat for a second, and Punk has already gotten his revenge on Ace and Otunga in the same segment. The Pulse The Rumble remains kind of intriguing because it’s the Rumble and my second favourite PPV of the year traditionally, but this show was just hilariously bad. Whatever Zack Ryder did to piss off Vince McMahon and the writing team, I’m sure he’s very sorry for it now and won’t do it again.