Date: January 19, 2007
Location: Alltel Arena, Little Rock, Arkansas
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
We’re less than two weeks away from the Royal Rumble and that means it is time to put the finishing touches on the card. This year’s show has taken things in a slightly different direction by just having the majority of the field announced without much in the way of talking about it on screen. Other than that, Batista is getting ready to defend against Mr. Kennedy. Let’s get to it.
Here is Mr. Kennedy for a chat after becoming #1 contender last week. There were sixteen men trying to beat the clock but Kennedy was the only person who could pull it off. He beat Chris Benoit in five minutes and Miz of all people lasted that long against the Undertaker. People accuse him of cheating but who wouldn’t have done what he did?
After beating six World Champions, it is time for him to win the title, but here is Teddy Long to interrupt. Long congratulates Kennedy for his win last week, but tonight is a little different. Tonight, Kennedy is going one on one with the Undertaker, and if Undertaker wins, we’ll make the Royal Rumble a triple threat match.
Maryse welcomes us back.
We look at Matt Hardy accidentally blowing up Joey Mercury’s face at Armageddon, followed by Mercury jumping Hardy for some revenge.
Matt Hardy vs. Joey Mercury
Mercury starts fast with a cheap shot so Hardy goes for the bad face, sending Mercury running into the corner. Hardy is patient enough to hit a clothesline but it’s too early for the Side Effect (you never go with the signature that soon). They head outside with Mercury sending him into the steps to take over, followed by some choking in the corner. A snapmare sets up a chinlock but Hardy is right back out with a jawbreaker. Now the Side Effect connects and the middle rope elbow to the head connects. The Twist of Fate is countered into a tiger driver which is countered into a rollup to give Hardy the fast pin.
Rating: C. These two worked well together and there is a personal story to give them a reason to fight. This is a good example of taking something that happened and letting them fight each other because it makes sense. That is the kind of thing you don’t see enough of these days and it worked just fine here.
Post match here’s Johnny Nitro to jump Hardy, setting up a Snapshot on exposed concrete. That’s what you call escalating quickly.
Post break, here’s exactly what we saw before the break.
Miz is bragging to Layla and Ashley about what he did to Undertaker and knows he could have won with more time. Kane pops up and running ensues.
Kristal tries asks Vickie Guerrero about the feud between Chavo Guerrero and Chris Benoit but Vickie wants to talk alone in the locker room. Ok then.
Video on Chavo Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit.
MVP/Dave Taylor/William Regal vs. Paul London/Brian Kendrick/Vito
This could be different. Ashley is here with the latter and MVP is still taped up. It’s a big brawl to start until we settle down to London monkey flipping Regal. Vito comes in but gets kicked in the ribs, allowing MVP to come in and send him into the buckle. Back up and Vito is fine enough to hit a slam onto the banged up back but Taylor comes in to hammer away.
Regal and MVP take turns on Vito until he manages a rollup for two on Regal. Choking puts Vito back down in the corner as JBL refers to Vito as “her”. MVP has to cut off a hot tag attempt but a jawbreaker allows the hot tag off to Kendrick to clean house. Everything breaks down and London dives onto Taylor. Kendrick loads up Sliced Bread on Regal but MVP catches him in an Emerald Flosion for the pin.
Rating: C+. This is the kind of match I can go for most of the time: take some people and put them into a combination you don’t see too often, as it will give you something fresh for a change. You don’t get to see MVP vs. London or Kendrick very often so mixing it up a bit can do some good. Nice little match too, with talented people doing their thing.
US Title: Chris Benoit vs. Chavo Guerrero
Benoit is defending and this is No DQ. Chavo starts smart by kicking Benoit low and snapping off a Saito suplex. With Benoit down, Guerrero unhooks the top and middle buckle pad but gets dropped onto the top rope for taking too long. Benoit tries the Crossface but Chavo rolls outside, only to get Crossfaced out there anyway. That’s broken up and Chavo’s chair shot hits the post.
Back in and the Crossface goes on again with Chavo having to roll out again. Another chair shot is cut off by a backdrop but Chavo whips him chest first into the exposed buckle for two. Now the chair shots can connect, including Chavo driving the chair into Benoit’s neck. A flying armbar onto the open chair gets two but Benoit is right back up to send him outside.
Benoit hits a dropkick through the ropes and sends Chavo hard into the barricade. Chavo staggers over to the timekeeper and nails Benoit with the belt though and it’s time for Three Amigos, including suplexes onto the belt and the chair. The frog splash only hits chair though and Benoit gets two. Now it’s Benoit suplexing Chavo onto the belt but he misses the Swan Dive, banging up his shoulder again in the process. Chavo grabs the chair but gets pulled into the Sharpshooter for the tap to retain the title.
Rating: B-. The matches have been pretty good but it is time to wrap this one up. Chavo has now lost to Benoit several times now and Benoit needs a fresh challenger. They did something with the stipulation here so it did make sense in the situation. Hopefully we get to see something new for both of them now, as their rather nice feud should be over.
Batista is excited for the main event and is going to be ringside.
Mr. Kennedy complains about the main event so Jillian Hall suggests that she go talk to Long.
Deuce And Domino vs. ???/???
So now we get a new team in the form of Deuce And Domino, a pair of greasers who come out in an old car with a woman named Cherry, who blows bubblegum and wears roller skates. You know, for all of those people in 2007 who were nostalgic for the 1970s version of the 50s.
Before the match, the team introduces themselves, thankfully not talking like Fonzie to match the looks. Domino mentions that Cherry is his sister and Cole mentions that she is dating Deuce. The other team gets jumped before the bell with Deuce kicking away. A running kick to the seated head finishes for Deuce in a hurry. Total squash but it’s kind of hard to get your head around the gimmick, which I think I like.
Mr. Kennedy yells at Teddy Long, who just recaps the idea of the main event. I’m assuming they just needed to fill in a minute with anything here.
Maryse welcomes us back.
Kane vs. Miz
Kane unloads with shots to the face to start but the big boot misses. That doesn’t really matter as Kane is right back with a backbreaker, followed by some knees to the back in the corner. The logical bearhug goes on but Miz fights his way out and goes up, only to dive into a boot to the face. The chokeslam is good for the easy pin.
Rating: C-. Total squash and that’s all it needed to be. There is no reason to believe that Miz is going to be a threat to Kane and it isn’t going to hut him to take a loss here. They didn’t do anything beyond what they should have done here and it was an effective use of about four minutes. Kane can move on to the Rumble and Miz can annoy someone else, as he should.
King Booker interrupts Krystal talking to Teddy Long. He isn’t happy about not getting a title shot but he’ll win the Royal Rumble and get it back at Wrestlemania. Long is fine with that, and puts Booker in a six man Over The Top challenge next week.
Royal Rumble rundown.
Mr. Kennedy vs. Undertaker
Batista is on commentary and if Undertaker wins, the Royal Rumble match is a triple threat. Undertaker suplexes his way out of a headlock to start and sends Kennedy head first into the buckle. Old School connects early and Undertaker is annoyed by a kickout. Kennedy avoids a charge and hammers away but gets sent outside. A bit of pummeling ensues and we take a break.
Back with Undertaker hitting a headbutt but Kennedy fights his way out of a superplex attempt. Undertaker sits up though and it’s time to stalk Kennedy on the floor. Back in again and Kennedy gets smart by dropkicking the knee. Kennedy cranks on the leg but Undertaker uses the good leg to kick his way to freedom. They head outside again with Undertaker being sent knees first into the steps.
The knees are fine enough to send Kennedy back first into the post and there’s the apron legdrop for two. The Last Ride is broken up and Kennedy goes right back to the knee. Undertaker’s knee is fine enough to hit Snake Eyes into the big boot to knock Kennedy outside, where he shoves Batista. Back in and the chokeslam is loaded up….but Batista charges in to spear Kennedy for the DQ because Kennedy is smart.
Rating: C. The match was just kind of there but the ending was really smart with Kennedy understanding that he can’t beat Undertaker on his own but he can avoid him being in the title match. That’s the kind of thinking you don’t see often enough and it worked really well here. Good, smart ending as we’re not ready for Undertaker vs. Batista just yet.
Undertaker glares down at Batista to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. Given that the show had very little to do with changing up the Royal Rumble, this was still pretty good with the smart ending and Deuce And Domino debuting. Other than that, we had a show that was mainly a placeholder as we move towards the pay per view. Enough stuff happened here and that is often enough to make a show work out.
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