Date: January 27, 2006
Location: Bi-Lo Center, Greenville, South Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
It’s the go home show for the Royal Rumble and that means we should be in for very little of note, as most of the card is already set. The Rumble itself hasn’t gotten that much attention, but it’s not like the match is going to need that much help. Other than that, we’ll be seeing more from Mark Henry and Kurt Angle, which could be a good thing. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Mark Henry vs. Kurt Angle, with Daivari being revealed as Henry’s new manager.
Rey Mysterio vs. Mark Henry
Before the match, we see a clip of Rey dedicating his Royal Rumble to Eddie Guerrero. Daivari is on commentary as Rey hammers on Henry to start. Some dropkicks to the leg earn Rey a clothesline but Henry misses a sitdown splash. Henry is right back up and knocks him to the floor before dropping him onto the mat with a gorilla press. The splash doesn’t warrant a cover so he throws Rey outside to start the stalking.
Rey avoids a shot to the steps though and takes Mark back inside for some sliding dropkicks to the head. A moonsault gets one and Rey snaps him throat first across the top. There’s the 619 into the springboard seated senton, but Henry throws him off. Rey gets back up and charges into the World’s Strongest Slam for the pin.
Rating: C. This was the classic big man vs. little man formula and it was fine again. Henry is at his best when someone is bouncing off of him and he stands there to do power stuff. They were smart enough to not try anything too complicated here and in a situation like this, that was easily the best choice.
Matt Hardy is ready to win the Royal Rumble because he will not die.
Booker T. comes in to see Randy Orton before his match with Chris Benoit tonight. Orton is ready to win the Royal Rumble and Booker seems ready to return to the ring. They’re good for now, but Orton might be ready to take Booker up on that favor sooner or later.
Video on the Mexico tour.
Royal Rumble Qualifying Match: Mexicools vs. FBI vs. The Dicks
The winners get the final two Smackdown spots and we’re joined in progress after a break with Vito powering James up and bringing in Nunzio. The Mexicools low bridge Nunzio to the floor though and it’s Crazy coming in to clean house. James has to save Chad but Nunzio tags himself in to drag Psicosis into the corner. The double stomping sets up Vito’s camel clutch on Psicosis and it’s right back to Nunzio for an armbar. That’s broken up in a hurry and Psicosis gets over to Crazy to pick up the pace. Everything breaks down and a wheelbarrow slam/X Factor combination gives Psicosis the pin on Nunzio.
Rating: C-. They got in and out here fairly quickly and that is the best thing that they could have done. There was no need to do anything else here and at least they let the best choice win. The Dicks have gone nowhere since debuting and I can’t imagine that was ever in doubt. Finally you have the FBI, who are a fine midcard team and nothing more than that.
Classic Rumble moment: Chris Benoit wins.
Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit
No holds barred. They lock up to start and Benoit grabs a to wristlock, with Orton reversing into a headlock. Orton is smart enough to grab the rope before a German suplex and bails to the floor as we take a break. Back with Orton rolling away from the threat of a Crossface and uppercutting him outside. Orton sends him into various things and gets two on the floor, even though falls counting anywhere wasn’t mentioned at the beginning.
Back in and Orton grabs the chinlock before snapping off the dropkick to put Benoit on the floor again. The trashcan is pulled out but a drop toehold sends Orton into it face first instead. Benoit starts chopping away to put Orton onto the announcers’ table, where a thumb to the eye gets Orton out of trouble. Back in and Orton hits a rather aggressive chinlock but Benoit fights up for a failed Sharpshooter attempt.
A knee drop gives Orton two and it’s right back to the chinlock. This time it’s a northern lights suplex to get Benoit out and they head outside again. The chop off goes to Benoit and it’s back inside for Three Amigos to Orton. Benoit keeps it up with a top rope superplex and they’re both down. Orton rolls outside to pick up the trashcan and gets in a heck of a shot to Benoit’s head as we take a break.
Back with Orton holding ANOTHER chinlock, followed by the over the back neckbreaker. Orton takes him outside and peels the mat back, with Benoit backdropping him onto the concrete. They head inside again for the rolling German suplexes but the Swan Dive hits trashcan lid. Benoit isn’t having that so he blocks the RKO, smashes the trashcan lid over Orton’s head and Crossfaces him for the win.
Rating: B. Good brawl here and I liked that it was more about the two of them beating each other up instead of using weapons all the time. There were a few weapons shot here including the ending, but it wasn’t the focal point of the match and that’s a good way to go. Orton does need to lighten up on the chinlocks though, because we’ve covered those extensively enough.
Animal wants to win the Royal Rumble because it’s all he has left to accomplish.
Finlay vs. Funaki
Finlay knocks him down to start and kicks Funaki in the head. Funaki’s enziguri looks to set up the tornado DDT but Finlay throws him down but the yet to be named Celtic Cross (White Noise) finishes Funaki in a hurry.
Post match Finlay keeps up the beating so the referee reverses the decision. Finlay does not approve of this and doesn’t like Americans. He isn’t going away so get over it.
JBL tries to convince Jillian Hall that the Boogeyman is scared of him. Hall is having nightmares about the Boogeyman eating her beauty mark. She asks if JBL ever noticed it and JBL’s eyes panic in a funny bit.
Bobby Lashley is going to win the Rumble.
John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Scotty 2 Hotty
After looking under the ring for the Boogeyman, JBL sends Scotty into the corner but gets knocked down. The Worm is cut off by the Clothesline From JBL and here’s the Boogeyman…or at least his music. Scotty is gone and the worms (sounds like a secret alliance to me) fall from the ceiling, covering half of the mat. Now the Boogeyman pops up to scare JBL into the worms. JBL runs off as Boogeyman eats a bunch of worms, as usual.
Melina shows Teddy her taped up ankle and says he has done nothing about this. That’s strike two and he is officially on notice.
Daivari and Mark Henry say Angle loses on Sunday.
Royal Rumble rundown.
Kurt Angle vs. MNM
Non-title and Melina is here with MNM. We’re joined in progress with Mercury getting headlocked down and then taken down with ease. A shoulder puts Mercury on the floor so Nitro comes in instead. Angle armbars him without much trouble and then hammers away in the corner. A Melina distraction lets Nitro get in a knee and Mercury low bridges Angle to the floor.
Nitro pulls Mercury out of the way of a charging Angle to send him shoulder first into the post and there’s a running knee in the corner. The Snapshot is broken up with Mercury being sent outside, where Melina slips him something. Melina offers a distraction so Mercury can get in a loaded right hand for two. The Angle Slam drops Mercury and a suplex sends Nitro to the floor. Angle grabs Mercury’s ankle for the tap.
Rating: C. Match was fine but they really needed Angle to survive cheating and make one of the champs tap? They couldn’t have had some kind of shenanigan or had Henry come in for the DQ? Anyway, Angle has looked awesome as of late and they’ve done a great job of turning him face in a hurry, though it isn’t exactly hard to cheer the guy.
Post match here’s Henry, who is Angle Slammed in a hurry. The ankle lock is broken up with raw power and Angle is stunned to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. They did a little more for the Rumble itself but this was the Angle vs. Henry show. That isn’t the kind of match that should work on paper but the build they gave it here worked out pretty well. Benoit vs. Orton was a good, long match but it’s the only other thing of value on the whole show. Then again, with the Rumble on Sunday, everything is cranked up for Wrestlemania, meaning this is the most inconsequential show of the season.
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