The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2008

The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2008 – Live, in HD, from Madison Square Garden. This rant will also be presented in widescreen, so adjust your margins to 100 columns to match.  (2012 Scott sez:  First WWE show I ever ordered in HD!) – Your hosts are Michael Cole and The Coach and Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler and Joey Styles and Tazz.Ric Flair v. MVP This is for Flair’s career, but not MVP’s title, which hardly seems like a fair swap. Flair grabs a headlock and gets knocked down to start. They trade hammerlocks and Flair starts with the chops, but MVP brings him down with a Yakuza kick and a neckbreaker for two. He goes to the armbar, but Flair elbows out and clips him. MVP fights off he figure-four, then reverses another attempt into a cradle for two. They slug it out in the corner and Flair gets backdropped, allowing MVP to follow with another high kick in the corner for…the pin? Nope, Flair’s foot is on the ropes. That’s always struck me as a dangerous way to break a count, because the ref could miss it. (2012 Scott sez:  Just ask John Cena.)  Flair gets a rollup for two, but MVP clotheslines him and gets a suplex for two. To the top for the superplex, and that gets two. MVP goes for some kind of fireman’s carry thing, but Flair escapes and they collide in the corner, giving Flair a cradle for two. Backslide gets two. Flair throws chops, but MVP takes him down with a kneelift. He sets up to finish, but Flair reverses to the figure-four to finish. Well it’s not like Flair was going to retire here. **1/2 – Meanwhile, Vince and his midget bastard discuss Rumble strategy.  (2012 Scott sez:  I forget, did they ever resolve the issue of Hornswoggle’s parentage?  Was it actually Finlay who was his dad?)  Chris Jericho v. JBL (2012 Scott sez:  Oh man, this feud was DEATH.  Jericho was already on the ropes as a babyface character at this point in his comeback and JBL did nothing to make people care about him.)  JBL ducks away from the lockup to start and hides in the ropes, then goes with the cheapshot before Jericho takes him down with a spear and pounds away. The reactions for Jericho seem a bit tepid tonight. Jericho punts the ribs and quickly gets the Walls of Jericho, but JBL is in the ropes. JBL bails, bu Jericho hits him with a baseball slide and sends him into the stairs. Back in, JBL catches him with a stungun. JBL hits him with a pair of short clotheslines and chokes away on the ropes, forcing JR to say “larynx” far too many times for someone who can’t pronounce it. Jericho fights back with chops, but walks into the sleeper. Jericho fights out with a clothesline, but JBL boots him down and then sends him into the post. And we have blood! (2012 Scott sez:  Blood?  What’s that?)  JBL is all over that, stomping the cut in the corner, but Jericho shoulderblocks him down and drops elbows. Lionsault and a Cactus clothesline put both guys on the floor, and Jericho uses a chair to draw the DQ. LAME. Jericho goes nuts and chokes JBL with the TV cable (which is hopefully Monster HDMI, since it’s in HD now and all), and that finally gets the crowd a little more on his side. Lots of blood from Jericho, but the match was strictly TV quality, with a limited moveset from JBL. **3/4 – Meanwhile, Santino Marella informs an apparently anorexic Ashley that Maria won’t be doing Ashley’s “booby magazine”. Spoiler: She already has.  (2012 Scott sez:  She was the last one to do so, I believe.)  Smackdown World title: Edge v. Rey Mysterio What’s with the hate from the crowd for Rey Rey? And what’s with a tattoo of a chain around his neck? Who DOES that? Really, though, how can you not love Edge and his circus of flunkies? (2012 Scott sez:  I guarantee I wasn’t watching this thinking “Hey, Edgehead #2 might just be US champion and one of my favorite wrestlers someday relatively soon.”)  They do the test of strength and Rey escapes with a headscissors, and the crowd is just all over him for some reason. Low dropkick gets two (or should I say “Boo”) and Edge backs off. Edge gets the big boot and tosses Rey, and sadly the Edgeheads get sent back to the dressing room by the ref before they can do anything. Rey fights back in and goes for the 619, but Edge bails, so Rey follows with a pescado. Senton back in gets two. Rey misses a charge in the corner and Edge kicks him in the injured knee to take over, so Rey bails. Back in, Edge stomps the crap out of the knee and goes to a half-crab. Rey fights out with an enzuigiri, but Edge powerslams him for two. Edge can’t get a horse-collar, so he goes with a kneebar instead, but Rey kicks out of it. Edge stays on the knee, but Rey comes back with the bulldog, and the crowd really hates that for some reason. It’s not my favourite move either, but geez. (2012 Scott sez:  Eh, it’s New York, what are you gonna do?)  Edge tries a sunset flip, but Rey rolls through and boots Edge down for two. Rey takes Edge down out of a powerbomb attempt for two. To the top and a double-stomp gets two. Edge comes back with the big boot and sets up for the spear, but misses and hits the corner. 619 miraculously brings Vickie Guerrero out of her wheelchair in time to pull the ref out, and she blocks a second 619, allowing Edge to spear Rey and retain the title. (2012 Scott sez:  This was the run where Vickie really blossomed from annoying manager into nuclear heat generator.)  Good match, weird crowd reactions. Never really took off like their tag matches together used to, but Edge is a different worker now and Rey is a lot more banged up. The soap opera finish worked well. ***1/2 Quick story for you: I’m watching Smackdown at work the other night because it’s in HD now and thus I can actually justify having it on, and my co-worker, who hasn’t watched in a few years, is asking what happened to Teddy Long. I tell him I’m not sure, and he asks who the GM of Smackdown is now. I tell him that it’s Eddie Guerrero’s widow, and he comments that things much be just about as bad now as when he stopped watching. So there you go, WWE. – Meanwhile, Kennedy Kennedy gets in Flair’s face and volunteers to be the guy to retire him at Wrestlemania. (2012 Scott sez:  I do believe that was the plan at one point before Shawn got the honors instead.)  Shawn Michaels chases Ken off (“Kids these days…”) and then shills his t-shirt while mediating a dispute between HHH and Batista. – Maria joins us for the Royal Rumble HD Kiss Cam, but Ashley and her disgusting ribs interrupt to offer a spot in Playboy. Thankfully, Santino is once again the voice of reason and nearly incites violence from the crowd with his comments about the Giants. Maria polls the crowd, but Santino points out that the crowd are like sheep and they’ll cheer if you ask them if they want hepatitis. HA! The payoff, as usual, is Big Dick Johnson, because they had nothing better to use for a punchline, I guess. RAW World title: Randy Orton v. Jeff Hardy (2012 Scott sez:  The 2008 Rumble was WAY up in buys almost exclusively due to Jeff Hardy challenging for the title now.  For example, I bought the show based solely on seeing this match and I’m a cynical fuck who stopped caring about buying PPVs years before this show, so that tells you what kind of a draw this match was.  And although hindsight says that what they did was the right decision in the long run, man was it ever the wrong decision at the time.  A little goodwill goes a long ways sometimes.)    This one finally has the big match feel that has been lacking from the other matches tonight. Well, except for Mike Adamle calling him “Jeff Harvey”. Hey, hope you enjoyed your one PPV, Mike. (2012 Scott sez:  Sadly he stuck around a while longer.)  Jeff is the Good Guy and Randy is the Bad Guy and the crowd has their side picked firmly. They fight for a lockup to start and Jeff grabs the headlock and gets two. Orton reverses to a headscissors, but Hardy takes him down for the legdrop and a low dropkick for two. Orton pounds him down (“Who’s your boy now? What’s he going to do? NOTHING!” That’s some good trash talk!), but Hardy clotheslines him to the floor and follows with a baseball slide that sends Orton’s head into the railing at a pretty sick angle. Jeff follows with a pescado, prompting Orton to take his belt and leave, but Jeff cuts him off and they brawl outside. Jeff tries to springboard in, but Randy uses his DROPKICK OF DOOM to counter and put Jeff back on the floor. Nice spot! Orton suplexes him on the floor, and gets two back in the ring. Orton uses the Garvin Stomp and then drops a knee on Jeff’s face (Not his beautiful face!) for two. Jeff fights back and sends Orton to the floor, then follows with a dive off the apron and surprisingly hits it. Back in, he gets two. He charges Orton and eats post, however, and Orton gets two. Orton goes to the chinlock with the bodyscissors, and a powerslam gets two. Orton uses his deadly side headlock, but Hardy comes back with a clothesline and elbows him down. Whisper in the Wind gets two. Mule kick in the corner and Jeff goes up, but Orton rolls to the apron to stop him. Hardy dropkicks him to the floor anyway and then goes back up with a moonsault press to the floor. Back in, Orton reverses the Twist of Fate into the RKO out of nowhere for the pin to retain. That one just totally sucked the life out of the crowd. Didn’t really have a finishing sequence as such, which hurt it a lot. I’ve gotta be honest, I bought the show based on the buildup to this match and I was expecting WAY more out of it, and it was a pretty big disappointment. Especially without some kind of big bump from Hardy or otherwise memorable spot. I dunno, I keep giving them another shot and they keep letting me down. ***1/4  (2012 Scott sez:  Story of my life with WWE.  “Hey, you like this Ryder guy?  Let’s have Kane beat him like a dog for 10 minutes and then ‘break’ his back by chokeslamming him through a gimmicked stage.  Now give us your money!”) Royal Rumble Undertaker draws lucky #1, and Shawn is #2. Huh. Wouldn’t have predicted that. Taker quickly whips Shawn into the corner for the Flair Flip and slugs away. To the other corner as Shawn teases going over the top again, but he goads Undertaker into charging and puts him on the apron. Shawn charges and gets caught by Taker, and they’re both back in for the big boot from Taker. Santino is #3 and he immediately eats the superkick and he’s gone. Poor guy. Shawn attacks Taker while he’s tossing Santino, and gets an atomic drop and chops in the corner. Flying forearm and Great Khali is #4 while Taker chokeslams Shawn. Taker immediately jumps Khali, but faces the BITCHSLAP OF DEATH. Crowd chants “You can’t wrestle”. Too true. Taker and Khali choke each other, but Taker dumps him and we’re back to Shawn v. Undertaker again. Hardcore Holly is #5, and Taker gets the corner clothesline on him and boots him down. Shawn keeps trying to catch Taker from behind and dump him, but Taker reverses to a fireman’s carry and they fight on the ropes. John Morrison is #6 and he gets his ass kicked by Shawn, but hangs on when chucked over the top. Shawn hits him with the flying elbow and sets up for the superkick, but John catches it and spinkicks him. Tommy Dreamer is #7, but he quickly gets pounded down by Undertaker. Batista is #8, and he’s all over it with spinebusters, leading to a showdown with Undertaker. Tommy interrupts that and tries a DDT, but Batista tosses him to end his dreams. Batista spears Morrison, but Taker chokes him out in the corner. Hornswoggle is #9 (8.5?) and he immediately hides under the ring. Can’t argue that strategy. (2012 Scott sez:  Worked for Jimmy Hart back in the day.  It’s solid battle royale planning!)  Holly clotheslines Shawn to the apron, but he hangs on while Chuck Palumbo is #10. The black bandana in his pocket indicates heavy S&M, according to Wikipedia. Hey, he played the gay tag team wrestler. (2012 Scott sez:  Oh man, was that when he was playing the car mechanic?  He could have made way better money fixing all the vehicles blown up by Vince Russo over the years.)  Jamie Noble is #11 and Palumbo tosses him right away. For the seven people who care about that feud, I guess. Shawn tosses Morrison and he hangs on, as CM Punk is #12 and throwing knees at everyone. He tries to bulldog Shawn, but Taker clotheslines him. Shawn ends up on the apron again, as does Palumbo, and Punk knees Chuck off to eliminate him. Cody Rhodes is #13 to deafening silence, and he’s dumb enough to go after Undertaker. Shawn tries to piledrive Batista but gets backdropped, while Taker beats on Rhodes. Umaga is #14 with red tights that threaten to blow out my TV, and he immediately clotheslines Holly out of the match while Rhodes backdrops Shawn to the apron yet again. Snitsky is #15 and he gets offense against everyone, but Rhodes jumps on his back and takes him to the apron. Sadly, neither goes out. The Miz is #16 as this thing is really starting to drag. Miz and Morrison team up on Punk while Taker tries to dump Umaga without any success. Shelton Benjamin is #17 and he too goes after Punk with a fancy DDT, but Shawn superkicks him out just as he’s getting warmed up. And yet Cody Rhodes is still allowed to bore us?  (2012 Scott sez:  Thankfully Cody would get much less boring after the whole Legacy deal.)  Superfly Jimmy Snuka is #18 looking like he just got unearthed from his tomb, and poor Miz gets to sell for him. Speaking of unearthed, Roddy Piper is #19, and he’s not looking that hot either. Piper and Snuka do a comedy sequence while the match literally stops. Kane is #20 and dumps both of the seniors, thankfully. Chokeslam for Miz and he beats on Umaga in the corner. Carlito is #21 and he gets the usual flurry of offense before reality sets in with a bulldog from Cody Rhodes. Mick Foley is #22. Hey, he’s back. Again. How can we miss him if he won’t go away? Mick goes after Kane with a DDT while Undertaker powerbombs Batista, and there’s lots of laying around and punching going on. Kennedy is #23 and we desperately need someone to clear the deadwood. Downward spiral for Punk and Miz, but Taker sits up and chokeslams him. Big Daddy V is #24 as Snitsky gets tossed…and Shawn superkicks the Undertaker out. And then Kennedy tosses Shawn. Oh, SNAP. Well that makes the winner pretty obvious. I should note that Michaels and Undertaker were not “deadwood” and didn’t need clearing. Cody and Kennedy battle on the apron while Mark Henry is #25 to really crank up the workrate. Hornswoggle finally leaves the hiding spot and pulls Miz out, then goes back under again. Chavo Guerrero is #26 as we’re running out of spots and stars to fill them. Punk and Chavo go at it while Kane boots Morrison out of the match. Hornswoggle emerges again, but gets dragged in by Henry and Vis. Finlay comes in to save him, and takes him back to the dressing room. Apparently Finlay was #27 and was DQ’d for using the shillelagh. Lame. Elijah Burke is #28 while Chavo chokes Punk out of the match. HHH is #29 and it’s deadwood time. Rhodes is finally gone. V is gone. Mick Foley slugs away on HHH and gets tossed into Burke, putting them both out. So that’s why they left all those guys in there. Umaga misses a charge and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE for him. And holy crap…John Cena is #30. So much for rehab. (2012 Scott sez:  Cena used a crazy technique called “lying” whereby he did not tell the truth about his injury on Twitter every week, thus preserving the illusion that he would be out for months instead of weeks.  Randy Orton has not learned this lesson, apparently.  I guess that makes Cena = Scotty and Orton = LaForge.)  Bye, Carlito. So long, Chavo. Ciao, Mark Henry. Cena and HHH have the staredown and slug it out, and HHH gets a spinebuster. Umaga recovers from his Pedigree and attacks HHH, but gets speared by Batista. Kennedy gets thrown out like the garbage, and Batista clotheslines Umaga out for an encore. HHH and Batista team up to get rid of Kane, and we’re down to Cena, Batista and Kane. Now that’s quite the finish. Batista gives them the thumbs down and Cena can’t see anyone. HHH tells them to suck it and it’s on. Everyone slugs it out and Batista elbows Cena down and clotheslines HHH in the corner, then clotheslines both guys. Spinebuster for Cena, and he reverses a Pedigree into another one for HHH. Cena reverses the demon bomb, and HHH dumps Batista to leave Cena and HHH. They slug it out and now the crowd totally turns on Cena after giving him the big pop, and Cena gets a backdrop suplex. F-U is reversed to the Pedigree, but they clothesline each other. HHH tries to clothesline him out, but runs into a boot. He recovers with a DDT and fights with Cena on the ropes, but they trade finisher attempts and Cena dumps him with the F-U to win the match and the title shot. Pretty dull Rumble, but the finish was super-heated and shows that clearly they need to change the belt at No Way Out (if not sooner) and do Cena v. HHH at Wrestlemania for the title. ***  (2012 Scott sez:  Well, Cena v. HHH v. Orton, so close enough, although it wasn’t exactly a heated classic or anything.)  The Pulse Nothing bad and a HUGE shock ending to the Rumble make this a pretty easy thumbs up, although honestly it was a bit of a letdown overall. If you’re watching for the Hardy-Orton title match, however, you’ll be disappointed. Mild recommendation.

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.