The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2005 – Live from Fresno, CA. – Your hosts are JR, King, Cole and Tazz. – Opening match: Edge v. Shawn Michaels. Shawn attacks to start and gets a backdrop, then takes him out of the ring with a clothesline. Edge stops to be all crazy, and heads back in to exchange shots in the corner. Shawn gets the best of that and puts his head down, perhaps in celebration, allowing Edge to get a neckbreaker. Edge slugs him down, but Shawn fights back, forcing Edge to use that old standby, the thumb to the eye. Shawn gives him a Thesz Press and tosses him, but misses a baseball slide. Edge gives him an Edge-o-Matic on the floor as a result. Edge follows with his own baseball slide, and this one hits. Back in, Edge sends him into the turnbuckles and stomps away, then fends off another comeback attempt by blocking a rana with a powerbomb. That gets two. Edge hits the chinlock, and that goes on for a while. Shawn fights up, so Edge takes him down again and mocks him. That never seems to be a sound strategy. Edge keeps hitting him with chops and charges, but goes up and whiffs, allowing Shawn to get a rollup for two. Edge kicks him down for two. They slug it out and Edge goes for a backdrop suplex, but Shawn falls on top for two. Edge clotheslines him down again and we go back to the chinlock. Shawn fights out and makes the comeback, hitting Edge with an inverted atomic drop and blocking a blind charge with an elbow. That sequence looked pretty awkward. Shawn pounds away in the corner and gets a sunset flip for two. Catapult into the corner gets two. Edge bails and decides to walk out, but Shawn is like “Hey, that’s my act!” and chases him back in again. They brawl on the floor and Shawn walks into a spear. Edge tries for the countout, but Shawn is too darn resilient. Edge gets a little overconfident and sets up for the spear, hitting it clean for two. They head up top and slug it out, which puts Edge down for a flying elbow from Shawn. Shawn gets possessed by the holy spirit and he’s JESUSING UP, but Edge counters the superkick with an electric chair. About time someone thought of that. It gets two. Personally I’m waiting for someone to wait until he sticks his leg in the air and then punch him in the nuts, but maybe that’s just me. (2012 Scott sez: Pretty sure Jericho busted that one out in 2008, actually.) Shawn gets a sunset flip, but Edge rolls through into the Edgeucator, and Shawn really should have tapped there. He doesn’t, however, because he’s just too darn resilient. Edge tries again, but Shawn counters for two. Rollup gets two, countered by Edge for the pin at 18:35. Didn’t like the finish and the slow middle portion, but the rest was solid. *** (2012 Scott sez: Don’t remember the circumstances around this feud, but it seems like it should have been better than it was.) – Meanwhile, Flair and Eddie draw their numbers, resulting in Flair being delighted and Eddie not so much. The solution: Eddie picks his pocket. That’s certainly a unique solution. – Meanwhile, Heidenreich and Snitsky continue their epic romance from Survivor Series. I think someone’s been watching too much Oz. – Casket match: Undertaker v. Heidenreich. Speaking of Oz, this should be about as much fun as prison rape. UT grabs a headlock to start and hiptosses him into an armdrag. Heidenreich backs off, because he’s afraid of caskets. Interestingly, I’m afraid of Heidenreich matches. So everyone is kind of facing their fears. Taker goes after the knee now and gets a half-crab. Heidenreich bails and tries to run away, but Taker follows, and they brawl. I use that term loosely. Taker gets the worst of it, as Heidenreich overcomes his fear of caskets and rams UT into it a few times. They head into the ring, where Taker gets the deadly Bermuda Triangle Choke, but Snitsky runs in and breaks it up. That’s quite the complex plan they hatched, no? That allows Kane to pop out of the casket, which I’m sure no one saw coming, and clean house on his arch-enemy. How sad is it to have an arch-enemy named Gene Snitsky, whose gimmick is killing babies? Meanwhile, Heidenreich continues to fight his necrophobia, shoving the casket down the aisle while making sure no one else is going to pop out, and he whips UT into the stairs. He drives the casket into Undertaker, although it clearly misses by a lot, and they head back into the ring, where Heidenreich struggles to get a SLEEPER on Undertaker. Yes, he couldn’t remember how to do a sleeper. He rolls Taker into the casket, but that only makes him mad. Taker sandwiches Heidenreich in the casket and drops a leg on it, which was a nice spot if nothing else. Taker tries a bulldog (?!?) and Heidenreich counters to a Bossman slam, then tries a pin. Heidenreich smartens up and rolls him into the casket instead, but again it doesn’t work. They slug it out, with Heidenreich looking like he’s stoned while he flails away, and Taker gets a bad-looking DDT to set up a worse-looking chokeslam, and the tombstone thankfully finishes things at 13:19. Watchable, but not much more. * (2012 Scott sez: I still feel ripped off that we didn’t get Kane & Undertaker v. Snitsky & Heidenreich at Wrestlemania.) – Meanwhile, Teddy Long wants Flair’s number back from Eddie. And the wallet. (2012 Scott sez: The number was probably worth more than the wallet at that point.) – Meanwhile, John Cena’s number picking is interrupted by Christian, who wants a RAP OFF. “Tomko, give me a beat.” “No.” (2012 Scott sez: TOMKO~! This of course was a legendary segment.) Christian’s rap is both fresh and phat, but Cena wins due to politics. – Smackdown World title: JBL v. Big Show v. Kurt Angle. Bradshaw goes after Show to start, and that doesn’t prove smart. Show smacks him around in the corner, but runs into a boot in the corner. JBL tries to follow with a high cross, but Show catches him and drops a leg for two. That brings Angle into things, and he gets pounded by Show, too. Show suplexes JBL and boots Angle down, then clotheslines both of them out of the ring. They fight on the floor and JBL eats post, while Show moves furniture around. He tries to chokeslam JBL through the table, but Angle saves with a low blow and a monitor to the head that sends Show crashing through the table. So with Show detained for a while, Angle beats on JBL and chases him into the ring, taking him down with an armdrag. JBL tries a big boot, but Angle takes him down with an armbar and tries to stay on that. Bradshaw takes over with a corner clothesline, but falls victim to a german suplex. He tries to counter with the Clothesline from New York, but Angle ducks (what a counter!) and gets another german. Angle Slam is countered with a boot to the face, which gets two. Show wanders back into the match and clotheslines them both a bunch of times, then slams Angle onto JBL. Into the corner for a butt splash on both, and another double clothesline sets up a double chokeslam. Angle and JBL team up for Total Elimination, but then Angle turns on JBL and suplexes him, then gets two on Show. Angle Slam on Show follows, and JBL gets two from that. Show comes back with a chokeslam for two. JBL bails, so Show charges him and puts him through the railing! Now there’s a spot you don’t see every day. Meanwhile Angle sneaks around and sets up a chair in the ring. Show flapjacks him on his own chair, but Mark Jindrak and Luther Reigns attack Show. JBL’s flunkies help him out on the floor while Show beats up Angle’s crew, and OJ throws JBL into the ring, where he clotheslines Angle for the pin at 12:04. I know this will probably shock people, but I think this was too SHORT, because I was actually enjoying the hell out of it and liking the inventive spots before the abrupt finish. The overbooked finish kind of hurt it a bit, too. ***1/4 (2012 Scott sez: Talking point: Who had the worse crew of flunkies at this point, Angle or JBL?) – RAW World title: HHH v. Randy Orton. Orton slugs him down to start and gets a backslide for two. He pounds HHH into the corner and backdrops him out, but a kick RKO attempt is foiled by HHH. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: Steve Austin RARELY had the stunner countered or averted, and ditto DDP with the Diamond Cutter. That’s why it was such a great finish. When it happened, it was over, period. Anyway, HHH fights back and pounds away in the corner, but Orton drops him on the top rope and tries ANOTHER RKO, and fails AGAIN, as HHH dumps him out of the ring. Orton’s like a horny teenager going for a girl’s boob with that thing. HHH sends him into the stairs and slugs away, but charges and hits boot. Orton fights back as the crowd starts to turn on him, and HHH clips the knee and wraps it around the post. Back in, HHH clips him and drops an elbow on the knee. He keeps working on it, but Orton gets a cradle for two. HHH goes right back to it, and it’s figure-four time. After a couple of minutes of that, Orton reverses to escape, so HHH goes right back to the knee. Orton kicks him out of the ring, and fights back with a backbreaker as HHH comes back in. And suddenly the knee injury is miraculously healed and forgotten about. Neckbreaker gets two. Another one gets two. Powerslam gets two. HHH comes back with an atomic drop out of the corner and goes up, but gets slammed off. Orton goes up with a high cross for two. HHH comes back with a Pedigree attempt, which gets countered into a catapult. HHH counters the RKO again and follows with a high knee for two. Another Pedigree is countered with a clothesline, which gets two. They fight outside and Orton sends him into the stairs, and back in Orton slugs away in the corner. He tries a DDT, but HHH blocks and Orton seems to have knocked himself out. Orton takes a breather and gets checked out by the ref, who is promptly bumped by HHH. HHH beats Orton down like his bitch and then grabs the sledgehammer, but Orton manages to fight him off. Back in, Orton goes for the hammer, but gets owned by HHH. And that’s all she wrote for Orton, as KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finishes things at 21:28. Weird match, with a ref bump that didn’t even give Orton any offense, and a total destruction at the end by HHH. Oh well. **3/4 (2012 Scott sez: Not much to say here. That was the end of Orton’s big babyface run at the top, and it took him another couple of years to really find his way as a top level guy.) – Royal Rumble: Eddie Guerrero draws #1, and Chris Benoit is #2. They fight in the corner to start and Benoit takes him down with an armdrag, but so does Eddie. Eddie takes him down in a headlock and overpowers him, as Daniel Puder is #3. He stops to cut a promo, talking smack against Benoit and Guerrero, and somehow I’m sensing that’s a bad idea. They team up and kick his ass in the corner, holding a chop competition on him. Double suplex and then Benoit drops him on his head with a backdrop suplex. Guerrero gets the rolling verticals and Hardcore Holly is #4. He calls of Benoit and Guerrero, because he’s got this one. This sets up another chop contest on Puder, as they just tee off on the poor kid. Eh, who am I kidding, for $1,000,000 they can rape him in the middle of the ring and he shouldn’t be bitching. (2012 Scott sez: How DARE someone get over on their own. I don’t think Puder is even doing MMA these days, though.) Holly gives him the Alabama Slam and Hurricane is #5, as Puder is out at 6:00. My boys turn on Holly and dump him at 6:15. Hurricane is their next victim, as they redden up his chest before Eddie betrays Benoit and they go back to fighting with each other again. Hurricane hits Eddie with the Blockbuster, but gets killed by Benoit’s chops again. Eddie dumps him at 7:24. Kenzo Suzuki is #6, and he takes the beating from the Radicalz. Benoit suplexes him and they pound him in the corner, then Eddie gets a backdrop suplex before Benoit tosses him…to the apron. Oooh. Eddie hangs on as Edge is #7. He’s all about Edge, to quote JR, as he goes after everyone without prejudice, and tries to dump Eddie. Doesn’t work, though. Kenzo hooks up with Benoit as Rey Mysterio is #8. He goes after everyone and bulldogs Edge, then dropkicks Benoit in the corner. Kenzo tries to dump him, but Rey hangs on and headscissors him out at 11:28. Eddie hits him with a backbreaker, however, and goes back to Benoit. Shelton Benjamin is #9 as the workrate really starts to flow. He goes after Edge with an elbow and backdrops Eddie as Benoit fights with Rey on the ropes. No one goes out, though. Rey does a nice headscissors on Shelton, and Booker T is #10. He pounds Edge down and gets a leg lariat, and Uncle Eric joins us at ringside for some reason. Rey springboards in from the apron to break up Benoit’s boston crab, and Jericho is #11. He elbows Benjamin down and starts chopping Edge, and now Teddy Long is out. Lots of punching and stuff as Luther Reigns is #12. Suddenly, all the RAW and Smackdown guys separate and team up. Big brawl erupts, which the crowd likes, and Hassan is #13. Now the brand differences are cleared up and everyone teams up to get rid of him at 20:15. Crowd likes that one too. (2012 Scott sez: I feel like Hassan as the outsider who just took things too far was an interesting gimmick idea, and I had no real problem with the subject matter as far as being tasteless or whatever, but he just couldn’t get over as a worker OR a talker, and that’s what killed him.) Orlando Jordan is #14 as things settle back in the previous rhythm again. I think that the three black guys in the Rumble at the same time is coming close to setting some sort of record. Maybe during the Nation’s glory years there might have been four, but I can’t think of any other time there would be close to that many. The brothers should have teamed up to fight off whitey, but I can’t see that dynamic working as well with the crowd. Scotty 2 Hotty is #15, but Hassan lays him out before he even gets to the ring. Oh, sure, big man beating up a jobber. Scotty never enters the match, and thus is the winner and will presumably wrestle HHH at Wrestlemania. Charlie Haas is #16, as we’re halfway through now, and Booker kicks him in the face on the way in. Booker dumps Reigns at 24:24, and Jordan at 24:25, but Eddie dumps him at 24:42 after a Spinarooni that was ill-advised. Didn’t Ernest Miller’s dancing faux pas last year teach anyone anything? (2012 Scott sez: Never stop for a dance-off in a Royal Rumble, no matter how funky you may be. Brodus Clay would be well advised to remember that advice this year.) Nice moment sees Haas & Benjamin reunited to beat on Eddie, and Rene Dupree is #17. He goes after Rey and chokes him down in the corner, but Haas hotshots him and double-teams him with Benjamin. Rey breaks up the WGTT love with a leg lariat, and Shelton goes up like a moron and gets shoved out by Edge at 26:36. How stupid do you have to be to try THAT? Speaking of stupid, Simon Dean is #18, and he takes his time getting in. (2012 Scott sez: I feel bad for Nova getting that loser gimmick.) Edge dumps Eddie at 28:18, drawing HUGE heel heat. They keep burying him and he keeps being the most over babyface on the roster. (2012 Scott sez: I guess the burial remark ended up being ill-timed there.) HBK is #19 as Dean finally gets into the ring, and he goes right for Edge. And Dean is gone at 29:11, via Shawn. Shawn goes after everyone and gets slugged down by Haas. Rey plays hide and seek with Edge as Shawn dumps Haas at 30:23, and JR confuses him with Dupree. Kurt Angle is #20, and he goes right for Benoit with a german suplex. It’s Angle Slams for everyone! Well, everyone but Shawn, who blocks and superkicks him out at 31:16. (2012 Scott sez: Thus setting up one of the greatest WM matches of all-time!) Coach is #21, and I’m not giving him much in the way of odds to last longer than Angle. Benoit elbows Rey down, and then turns his attention to Coach. Jericho and Rey fight on the ropes, but neither can get the other out. Mark Jindrak is #22, as Angle returns and dumps Shawn at 34:00. He beats on him outside and anklelocks him, which pretty much eats up that whole segment. Viscera is #23, as we’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel now. Jindrak tosses Rey, but he hangs on. You’d think everyone would stop and get rid of Vis at this point. Paul London is #24, and quite enthused about it. Dupree beats him down, and Jericho dumps Dupree mid-dance at 37:40. (2012 Scott sez: What did I JUST SAY about dance-offs in a Rumble?) Everyone fights on the ropes and John Cena is #25. He goes nuts and hits everyone, then does us a favor and gets rid of Vis at 39:02. The intervals shorten a bit, as Snitsky is #25. He clobbers quite a few people until London tries a sleeper on him. Snitsky puts him on the apron and then clotheslines him off, resulting in London taking the somersault bump of the YEAR off the apron to go out at 40:20. Snitsky boots Cena down and Kane is #26, much to Snitsky’s chagrin. Gene goes after him and gets clotheslined, and Kane chokeslams some people for fun. Jindrak is out at 42:08. Coach commits suicide by attacking him, but Snitsky saves him. The COAT HANGER on Kane follows, and Batista is #27, to a MONSTER face pop. It’s for real, folks. (2012 Scott sez: Well, duh. Hard to believe people would think otherwise at the time given what a huge star Batista turned into.) Snitsky goes bye at 43:10. He faces off with Kane and the crowd knows who it wants to win that one. Demon bomb on Kane! Jericho charges and goes for a ride at 43:57. He can’t get Edge out, however. Christian is #29 and he of course wants John Cena to avenge the rap battle. Cena FUs Kane out at 45:16, and Rey wants an alliance. Flair is of course #30, and we’ve got our field for the finish. Ric and Dave give Coach a ride at 46:32. Next up: Christian, who goes home at 46:57. Benoit goes after Flair with some chops, but Batista clobbers him with a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. He goes back to Atlanta at 47:33. Flair tries to turn on Batista, and that proves to be unwise, but Rey and Edge save him. Edge spears Flair and tosses him at 48:06, and we have the last four. Final Four: Edge, Rey Mysterio, Batista and John Cena. (2012 Scott sez: There’d be a hell of a tag match right there, and you could a few different combos of it effectively) Batista goes after Edge, but gets speared, as does Cena. Edge goes for Rey, but misses, and Rey follows with the 619. But that puts him on the apron, and Edge spears him off at 49:20. Edge goes for our heroes and gets dumped by them at 49:41. So it’s the obvious finish, with Cena and Batista. Slugfest and Cena goes for the FU, but can’t get him out. Batista tries the demon bomb, but both tumble out and it’s a tie. The RAW refs declare Batista the winner, and the Smackdown refs call Cena the winner, but Vince runs out to settle it. Sadly, he trips and blows out his knee on the way in, suffering the worst injury of the whole show. That’s pretty funny, actually. (2012 Scott sez: Of course, it wasn’t just his knee, he actually tore BOTH quads, and was still back by Wrestlemania! You can’t say he doesn’t set an example.) Batista and Cena toss each other to no avail, and the match restarts. Cena goes for the FU, but Batista gets the spinebuster and tosses him for real at 53:54 to win the Rumble and go to Wrestlemania. Finish was really silly and messed up, but the rest was about as good as could be expected. **** The Pulse: The Rumble is always a fun show, even if this year was a bit of a foregone conclusion with either Cena or Batista having to win, although I’m not sure if the Rumble match was good enough to warrant a recommendation on its own given the weak undercard. Still, it was pretty darn good, so thumbs mildly up.