ECW on Sci-Fi #45 04/24/2007

Welp, I was wrong. Backlash is THIS Sunday so instead of Lashley/Vince we start with a recap of CM Punk ”accidentally” throwing a chair into the ring to help Rob Van Dam knacker Elijah Burke. Punk apologises to The New Breed individually before leaving Burke hanging. Punk comes back smiling, saying he’s just teasing. Burke scowls because he’s seen Transformers and hates Starscream.

We’re in London, England and the main event is announced straight away as ECW Originals vs. The New Breed in an elimination tag match.

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ECW on Sci-Fi #44 04/17/2007

ECW hails from Milan, Italy in front of a very loud crowd compared to previous weeks. Show starts with The New Breed in the ring and Elijah Burke (the only one who can talk) on the mic. Crowd boos and whistles the hell out of him so this is going to be a good show. Burke introduces the newest member of their group, CM Punk. Tazz thinks it was the best thing for ”this blue chipper”, Styles is pissed at a good guy like Punk joining a group that frequently cheat to win. Crowd is as conflicted as the commentators, with boos and CM Punk chants. Burke asks Punk why he joined:

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ECW on Sci-Fi #43 04/03/2007

This is the episode after Wrestlemania 23 so let’s have a quick look at the relevant bits: ECW on Sci-Fi’s CM Punk was involved in the Money In The Bank opener but ended up being the guy Ken Kennedy bashed off a ladder to win the briefcase. Some stuff happened with Kennedy’s MITB, but he’s not in ECW so fuck him.

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ECW on Sci-Fi #42 03/27/2007

It’s the ECW on Sci-Fi before Wrestlemania! On Raw, Vince McMahon pinned the ECW Champion Lashley after interference from half the locker room so the two of them are having an EXTREEEME debate tonight.

Notice the happy, smiling Lashley in the ECW graphic, WWE’s way of telling us we need to cheer him. Worked for Diesel, Luger…

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ECW on Sci-Fi #41 03/20/2007

Dramatic recap of Bobby Lashley becoming the first person to break Chris Masters’ Masterlock, something that went unbroken for two years as Operation: Get Lashley The Fuck Over continues. Masters isn’t happy so he’s wrestling Lashley in a real match tonight, right here in Cleveland, Ohio.

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ECW on Sci-Fi #40 03/13/2007

Show starts with Edge talking to some women and Randy Orton attacking him with exposition. ”We were tag champs and we’re wrestling at Wrestlemania maaan!” Edge assures Randy he can trust him and Orton shrugs away. No explanation given for them being on ECW, even in 2007 WWE expected you to put away 56 hours a week to watching their product.

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ECW on Sci-Fi #39 03/06/2007

We’re in Tuscon, Arizona and we start with a recap of last week. Well last week in ECW as there wasn’t a review last Sunday because it was Christmas so unless you wanted a recap of Muppets Christmas Carol and Eton Mess I couldn’t help you. On Raw, Vince picked Umaga and Trump picked Lashley for The Battle Of The Billionaires. On ECW, Vince put Lashley in a cage match against Hardcore Holly which Lashley won and dove through the cage onto Umaga. On Smackdown, Vince tries to out-bid Trump but Bobby tells him ”NO!” and gets slapped by Vince. You can tell they’re going all-in on Lashley when he’s on three times a week.

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ECW on Sci-Fi #38 02/27/2007

Recap of Vince picking Umaga for the Battle of The Billionaires and Trump choosing Lashley. It made sense from a storyline perspective as Vince was messing with ECW, even though Vince’s issue was with the old guys from the original company. So I guess what I’m trying to say is Trump should have chosen The Sandman.

Tonight it’s OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE Lashley vs. Holly again. Lashley’s beaten him three consecutive times but he gets another title shot. Oh and it’s in a Steel Cage because adding Ranch to stale bread makes it edible.

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ECW on Sci-Fi #37 02/20/2007

Show sadly starts with a In Memory Of Mike Awesome. Awesome had a mullet and wasn’t a great talker but was able to live up to his surname every night by being The Heavyweight That Flew Like A Cruiserweight in FMW and ECW where not being the total package wasn’t an issue. Paul Heyman made sure Awesome wasn’t cutting soliloquies and made sure to was pair him with super-bumpers like Masato Tanaka and Spike Dudley so he looked like money (that ECW wasn’t paying him). The teased mega-feud between him, Rob Van Dam and Sabu in early 2000 sadly never happened after RVD got injured and ECW parted ways with Awesome and Sabu. Sadly neither WCW or WWF had Heyman’s ability to cover a wrestler’s weaknesses (something that still hurts WWE today) and Awesome took on humiliating gimmicks and became a Heat regular. Awesome was able to turn back the clock at One Night Stand 2005 and stole the show against preferred rival Tanaka in what would be his final match. To me and many others, it didn’t matter that Heyman presented him as an evil traitor or WCW decided he should be That Seventies Guy, he’ll always be remembered as Mike Fucking Awesome.

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ECW on Sci-Fi #31 01/09/2007

Last week, RVD got his fan-voted title shot against champ Lashley. The match went to a no-contest after RVD decided to kill himself and his opponent with a huge dive like Holmes and Moriarty. Because of that, it’s the re-match tonight under…er normal rules.

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ECW on Sci-Fi #29 12/26/2006 & #30 01/07/2007

It’s the last ECW of 2006 and…it’s a Best Of. Oh. Styles and Tazz present highlights of Cena vs. RVD, RVD vs. Show, Extreme Strip Poker (what?), Extreme Elimination Chamber, Lashley winning the title and the three-way from last week. At the end, Tazz gives Joey a Christmas present.

Styles: ”Are you sure? It says ”Michael Cole” on the label…and it’s ticking?”

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WWE in 2007


I'm with you in that I have no idea what the hell happened in the lower card, but all I remember is that Cena was on the hot streak of a f'n lifetime for the first half of the year – the two great matches with Umaga, WM v Shawn, the Raw 45-minute match with Shawn, and then the Backlash 4-way.

Shit, I think there's even Khali's best match sprinkled in there somewhere too, even though that's damning with faint praise.

(I *think* that was the year where Cena got hurt and they had the three title switches in one night?)

Yeah, I forgot about those awesome matches he had with Umaga, actually.  And the Shawn match at WM23 was easily one of Cena's best ever, probably only behind the Punk and Brock matches.  And I think I reviewed one of the Khali matches and it was pretty good for Khali.

So I think this Cena guy might have a future on top.  

Assorted April PPV Countdown: Backlash 2007

(2012 Scott sez:  Here’s where we wrap it up for another month, as I never did get around to watching Backlash 2006, and the show has traditionally become a skip for me since 2007 because I’m generally sick of WWE again after Wrestlemania.  Caliber Winfield offered me the chance to do a Scott sez job on his reviews of the missing shows, but I thought that it not only went against the spirit of the gimmick in the first place, but also would be cheating since I haven’t actually seen any of the shows outside whatever one had the six-man where Orton won the title from HHH and Cena put Edge through a giant spotlight like they were in a 50s Batman comic.  Update on the laptop situation!  After weeks of my full-size Toshiba laptop blue-screening on me, which I attributed to the hard drive dying, I switched back to the netbook.  You may have noticed my rants and mailbag answers getting suddenly very concise because for us people with big hands it’s somewhat torturous to touchtype on a tiny keyboard like that.  And then the NETBOOK started randomly freezing up on me (apparently Acers have that issue, which would have been nice to know before I bought it), so I was like “fuck it, I’d rather have an unreliable shitbox with a full-sized keyboard on it”.  However, just for fun, I pulled the RAM out of the Toshiba laptop on the off-chance that it was faulty and causing my issues, and replaced it with 2GB of the seemingly millions of memory sticks I have scattered in my office, and BOOM, perfectly functional again.  You will note that I have typed two paragraphs on the subject without my fingers cramping up on me.  Hallelujah.)  The SmarK Rant for WWE Backlash 2007 – Figured I might as well get this one done. – Live from Atlanta City, New Georgia – Your hosts are the usual gang of idiots. RAW World tag titles: The Hardy Boyz v. The Cow Boyz Matt starts with Lance Cade and takes him down with a headlock, as they work off that for a bit until Cade elbows him down. Matt takes them both down with hiptosses and goes back to his headlock, but gets pounded in the redneck corner for a bit. Over to Murdoch, but he gets slammed and double-teamed by the Hardyz, as Jeff dropkicks in for two. Double-team elbow gets two for two. Another double-team gets two for Jeff. Sadly, Jeff has stopped wearing hankies in his back pocket, thus robbing me of perfectly good material. The Hardyz clean house and Jeff hits the challengers with a tope con hilo, but Matt is busy updating his MySpace and doesn’t add his own highspot. (I believe it was actually shortly after this that Matt, myself, and everyone else in the Western hemisphere abandoned Myspace for Facebook and never looked back.)  Back in, the yodelling elbowdrop gets two on Murdoch. Blind charge misses, however, and Murdoch gets a clothesline from behind and Matt is YOUR face-in-peril. Cade & Murdoch whip him into the corner and Cade goes for a powerbomb to follow up, but Matt gets Jeff back in, and he promptly lands on his head while trying a baseball slide. And NOW we have someone in peril. Into the ring, Cade gets a uranage into a powerbomb for two. Over to Murdoch who adds a sarcastic Matt yell before dropping a leg on Jeff for two. He blocks Jeff’s attempt at a jawbreaker and kicks him down for two. Cade pounds him down and a short clothesline gets two. Murdoch with a suplex, but Jeff blocks into a small package for two, so Murdoch boots him down for two. Some double-teaming in the corner allows Murdoch to drop an elbow and Cade to hit the chinlock. Jeff quickly escapes with the jawbreaker, but Murdoch cuts off the tag. Backdrop suplex gets two. They take turns beating on Jeff’s back, but he kicks out of it and tries for the tag…only to have Murdoch take out Matt and thus cut it off. Murdoch goes up and hits Jeff’s foot, but no-sells it (ha! Good, I hate that spot), but Jeff gets the hot tag anyway. Bulldog for Murdoch gets two for Matt. The heels can’t get their shit together and Matt gets the Side Effect for two, but Cade drops out of the heavens with a rather impressive flying elbow to break it up. Murdoch gets two off that. Had that been the Midnight Express, it would’ve been over. Sunset flip gets two. Matt comes back with the Twist of Fate, and Jeff sneaks in for the swanton, and that’s all they need. (The Hardy Boyz d. Cade & Murdoch, Matt pin Murdoch, 15:20, ***) The Hardyz are like pizza — even when it’s mediocre, it’s generally pretty good. Unless Jeff is feeling REALLY unmotivated on a given night, the formula is pretty darn simple and they pull it off every time. Jeff’s moveset and look are really showing their age, however, unlike Matt who freshened up his whole image with the heel turn.  (And then they reversed THAT again with their current TNA run, where Jeff still looks like a contender and Matt looked like a homeless guy dating a stripper.)  Meanwhile, Shane gives Umaga a pep talk. Vince pledges to make Shane the ECW World champion tonight, but he won’t hear of it. WWE Women’s title: Melina v. Mickie James. Mickie takes her down with a fireman’s carry and they trade wristlocks, but Mickie gets a monkey-flip for two. Mickie starts working a headlock and they reverse out of that, so we start again. Melina goes to the headlock this time and Melina reverses out, then fakes a lost contact and attacks from behind. That’s the spirit! (Ah, the old lost contact lens spot, just like Gotch and Hackenschmidt used to do.)  Mickie monkey-flips her out of the corner for two and then pounds her down for two. Mickie decides to go up and Melina dumps her to the floor as a result. Gravity: Not just a good idea, it’s the law. Back in, Melina gets the hairtoss for two. A nicely melodramatic choke on the ropes gets two. And then Melina really brings the goods by putting Mickie into a full-nelson…using her legs! Damn, I don’t know why anyone didn’t think of that before now. The leg power should be better and the leverage is a huge advantage. Mickie makes the ropes, and gets a cradle for two, but Melina chkes her out in the corner. Mickie slugs back, so Melina takes her down with a senton while ramming her head into the mat. That gets two. Mickie comes back and tries a high kick, but falls into the splits, so Melina tries kicking her and also does the splits. Yet another unique spot. They slug it out and Mickie gets two, but makes the comeback. Clotheslines and a hairtoss into a neckbreaker get two. Mickie goes up and a high cross gets two. Melina backs into the corner and catches her with a high kick, and an inverted DDT finishes. (Melina d. Mickie James, inverted DDT — pin, 9:02, ***) Holy cow, this was GOOD. Legitimately, not just the sliding pity scale I usually use for these matches. Lots of hard work and unique offense here. Good on ya, ladies, keep up the good work.  (This would have been mostly Mickie.  Although I’m sure it couldn’t top Alicia Fox v. Melina, but then what could?)  Meanwhile, Mr Kennedy interrupts an Edge interview backstage and plants the seed of doubt into his mind about what might happen if he wins. Meanwhile, Steve Austin apparently has a movie out. Could have fooled me. This special look actually makes the movie less appealing than the trailer did. US title: Chris Benoit v. MVP They fight for the lockup to start and MVP gives him a clean break, but shoots in for a leg anyway. Benoit takes him down with a facelock and they trade positions until Benoit powers him down and goes for the crossface. MVP makes the ropes and bails to escape. Back in, MVP takes him down with a headlock and they trade shots until Benoit reverses to a headscissors, and from there into the bridge and backslide for two from Benoit. Benoit keeps taking him down and tries the Sharpshooter, and MVP is caught in the middle of the ring. He makes the ropes before Benoit can sit down on it, however. Benoit pounds on him in the corner, but MVP comes back with a high kick to the back of the head for two. MVP goes to a neckvice, but Benoit ducks the kick this time, so MVP counters with an overhead belly to belly for two. Back to the neck hold, and he throws elbows to work on it, but Benoit has had ENOUGH and fires off the rolling germans. He goes for the top, but MVP quite smartly grabs onto his leg to keep him from heading up there. Benoit suplexes him as punishment, but it kept him from his goal, which is interesting. Because really it’s much smarter to prevent someone from getting up there than it is to try to counter them once they’re there. MVP manages a stungun for two. Benoit comes back with a crossface, but they’re too close to the ropes again. Really, however, you’re supposed to be IN the ropes, not reaching for them. Tommy Young would have totally kicked his arm away. (Referees today, am I right?)  MVP hooks Benoit in a crucifix submission, but gets caught using the ropes, so he switches to a high kick for two. Another try is countered to the german suplexes, and this time he’s not stopping at three. We get five of them and Benoit goes for the top again, this time making sure that MVP can’t stop him, but this time MVP counters with the knees. MVP uses a half-crab to follow up, but Benoit makes the ropes. He tries a suplex, but Benoit tries to counter to the crossface, and when MVP shifts his weight to block it, Benoit counters again to a small package to finish. Ha, he got Dean Malenko with that one 10 years ago, I think. (Chris Benoit d. MVP, inside cradle — pin, 13:09, ***1/2) They got time to tell their story, and it worked well. The announcers did a great job of telling that story, too, with MVP trying to counter Benoit’s offense and finally getting beaten at his own game. Better than Wrestlemania, with a better finish to boot.   (This was such a strange feud, as we were all so sure that MVP was getting the title and he just kept losing the title matches before finally winning the damn thing.  Although they sure didn’t have much of a window of opportunity to get that belt off Benoit.  Had they changed their mind again and stuck with him as champion until June, you would not be seeing that US title today, I’m betting) Meanwhile, John Cena insinuates that Randy Orton may be a homosexual. Orton doesn’t say much to help his case. Walking punchline Ron Simmons is luckily there to finish. ECW “World” title: Bobby Lashley v. Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & Umaga Shane decides to start for Team McMahon, and quickly gets pounded in the corner as a result. Spinebuster and Shane bails as the announcers note that Shane is a former European and Hardcore champion, as though those titles ever meant anything.  (I would like to once again rage about Shane never getting his comeuppance for the Euro title win in 1999.  He never even had to lose it in the ring, he just forgot about the belt and eventually gave it to Mideon as an offhand thing.)  Umaga comes in to try and Lashley hammers on him as well, but Umaga fires back and stomps him down. Lashley jumps over him in the corner, however, and clotheslines him to the floor. He gets rid of Shane as well and you can cut the tension with a knife, as everyone (except those watching the show and those in the arena) want to see Vince v. Lashley! Shane comes back in and gets suplexed and Lashley continues slugging on Umaga, but Shane trips him up and out of the ring. Umaga sends him into the post and we head back in, as Umaga uses the BACKRAKES OF DEATH. Shane goes to work on the arm with a Fujiwara armbar and a kind of half-assed cross-armbreaker. Lashley powers out of that and gets two. Back to Umaga, who goes to a bearhug and then into a samoan drop. The strategy is kind of all over the place here. Shane drops an elbow and now goes to the back, and it’s a camel clutch to use up more time. Comeback time for Lashley, who backdrops Shane and gets a torture rack into a backbreaker for two. Powerslam gets two, but Vince breaks it up and it’s the epic showdown we’ve all been waiting for! And now finally the heels get smart and triple-team Lashley, as Shane hits him with the belt while Vince distracts the ref. And then Vince tags himself in and gets two. Lashley rolls him up for two. Back to Umaga, who adds a flying splash, and Vince tags back in again and gets two again. So Umaga gets sent up again and hits another flying splash, and that one is enough. (Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & Umaga d. Bobby Lashley, Vince pin Lashley, 15:44, **) Not actively bad the way that the Lashley-Umaga singles matches had been, but just overly long and lacking the anarchic goofiness that Vince’s best work has. I’m sure Shane Douglas is rolling over in his grave at Vince winning the ECW title, but to the rest of the world it’s really not that big of a deal. Meanwhile, the new champion and his son go taunt the ECW Originals, who all stand around like shmucks.  (What a stupid storyline this whole thing was.)  Smackdown World title, Last Man Standing: The Undertaker v. Batista Taker charges in with a boot and an elbow to start, but Batista catches him with an elbow and slugs away. Taker gets the flying clothesline and goes old school, but Batista catches him with a sloppy powerslam for the first count attempt. Taker is up, so Batista chases him to the floor and they brawl out there. Taker smartly throws a kick at the taped leg of Batista, and when that works quite well he stays on it. Batista gets to the apron, where Taker kicks him in the head and then guillotines him, and Batista is up at 8. Batista sends him into the stairs and they head back in, but Batista tries to go up and gets caught as a result. Taker brings him down with a superplex, and there’s something you don’t see from him every match. Both guys are up at 7, but Batista less so. They exchange punches and Batista catches him with a clothesline, but Taker is up at 8. Another clothesline, and Taker is up at 4. Slam and legdrop from Batista is a 6. Taker tosses him to break up the momentum and gets the announce table ready, but Batista manages to whip him into the railing. That gets 6. Batista wants the powerslam, but Taker reverses to a backbreaker and now Batista is forced to take the 7 count. Stairs to the head for some blood and a 5. UT pounds on the cut and finally gets back to that table, putting him through it with a legdrop. That only gets 9, however. Taker is none too happy with this, and they head back into the ring again. Corner clotheslines from Taker and Snake Eyes, but Batista has a rush and spears him instead of selling it. That gets a 7, and Batista hits him with a spinebuster right away. Taker gets up, so he gives him another one, then picks him up for a third. That’s good for a 9. Demon bomb, but Taker powers him into the corner to break and chokeslams him. Both guys are down, and it’s 9. Taker slugs away in the corner, but with a touch of irony gets powerbombed, mimicking all the times he’s done that to opponents. Taker is up at 9 after the crowd freaks out a little bit, so Batista grabs a chair and simply hits him with it. Well, that works. No count, as he follows with another try at the powerbomb, but it backfires as Taker backdrops out of it. Tombstone follows, but while it’s good for a pin in a normal match, it doesn’t keep Batista down for 10. He exits stage right to buy some time and they brawl up the ramp and slug it out on the entranceway. Batista spears him through the crash pad and the stage falls over, and both guys are counted down and out as a result. (Undertaker draw Batista, double countout, 20:24, ****) Silly finish, to be sure, but the match was super-intense and instead of the boring standing around that plagues most matches of this type, it had the guys hitting power moves and then recovering quickly for another one. How Scott books the finish: Batista powerbombs Undertaker, but Undertaker hits him in the head with a chair on the way down, and there’s your double countout. RAW World title: John Cena v. Edge v. Randy Orton v. Shawn Michaels Four-way trashtalk to start and the faces clean house, but Shawn immediately turns on Cena and throws chops in the corner. Cena comes back with a fisherman’s suplex for two, but Shawn gets a neckbreaker and Team RKO storms back in and dumps them. Edge and Orton slug it out, and Orton dropkicks him to the floor, where Cena adds a cheapshot and sends him back in. Edge gets tripped up by Shawn, but Cena comes over for the brawl and Edge baseball slides everyone. Shawn slams him on the floor and heads up for a moonsault onto the rest of the gang. Back in, it’s Edge and Shawn, who clothesline each other. Cena also comes back in, via the top, with a legdrop onto both of them in a neat spot. That gets two. Orton catches Cena with a lariat and stomps on everyone, then gets rid of Edge and Shawn and goes after Cena. Backbreaker gets two. Garvin Stomp and kneedrop get two. Cena comes back and slugs away in the corner, but charges and hits the post and he’s out again. This brings Shawn back in, and he throws chops at Orton and gets the flying forearm, only to walk into a leg lariat from Edge that gets two. Orton rolls Shawn up for two. Edge and Orton decide to stop and collaborate, whipping Shawn into the corner and stomping away on him. Cena crawls up and they launch him into the table to get rid of him again for a while. Rated RKO take turns on Shawn in the corner and get a double backdrop, and it’s a double boston crab. Not sure how that would work if Shawn decided to tap. Cena breaks it up and starts throwing shoulderblocks, and that gets rid of Shawn. Backdrop suplex for Edge and the five knuckle shuffle follows, but now Shawn and Orton team up and pull Cena out of the ring and into the post. Shawn sends Orton into the post too, just because you can’t trust him. He tries to piledrive Orton through the table, but Edge saves with a chair, and then turns on his own partner as well. Treachery RULES. Back in, Edge charges with the chair, but gets caught in the STFU as a result. It’d be really great if Cena could actually learn that move someday. (2012 Scott sez:  Nope, he still sucks at it.)  Edge makes the ropes, so Cena catches the returning Orton instead. Shawn saves and cradles Cena for two, then gets the forearm and makes the comeback with atomic drops on everyone. Edge and Orton get the heave-ho, and Shawn goes up, but has to stop and take out Edge. Flying elbow for Edge instead, and another one for Orton seems likely to follow, but Cena follows him up and tries an FU off the top. Edge and Orton team up to bring them both down and it’s a four-way car wreck. Edge tries the FU on Edge, but Shawn breaks it up, so Orton hits Shawn with the RKO. Edge DDTs Cena for two. Edge tries to spear Cena, but runs into Orton, and Cena FU’s Edge, but Shawn superkicks Cena…who falls onto Orton to finish. Whew. Now THAT was a finish. (John Cena d. Edge, Randy Orton & Shawn Michaels, Cena pin Orton, 19:16, ****1/4) I would have preferred to see a four-corners format so we could have done away with the silly “One guy gets tossed to the floor and lays there for four minutes” thing, but all the different little stories told and the reversal sequences made for a tremendously entertaining match that I almost wanted to stop recapping and watch a lot of times, which is a good sign.  (Why didn’t they just do Rated RKO v. Cena & Michaels, though?  They were the wacky feuding tag team champs at this point, weren’t they?)  The Pulse: Best top-to-bottom PPV from the WWE in a LONG time, with only one bad match and a whole lot of good-to-great ones. Strongly recommended.  (Can’t really remember this one.  Sounds pretty good.  I’ll take this guy’s word for it, I guess) 

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.)