Rumble Games

Scott,
Can I suggest a thread for variations of Royal Rumble pools? Here’s one our group has used the past couple years:
(Based on five people)
Draw Nos. 1 through 20, four each
Draw Nos. 21 through 30, two each – guaranteeing everyone two of the final 10 evens it out and keeps everyone happy.
First wrestler thrown out – 1 point
Second wrestler out – 2 points
29th wrestler out – 29th points, etc.
Player whose six wrestlers’ points add up to the most wins. This version of the game is less labor-intensive than keeping track of who throws out who. You just have to root for your guy to stay in the match.

Do people still do that kind of thing?  Also, the challenge this year is that we are a week out of the show and still have zero idea who’s even entered into the thing.  We know Sheamus, Barrett, R-Truth and Miz and maybe Foley, but that’s it.  Once again I will stress that whoever draws Orton is the guy who will be happiest.

Rumble Games

Scott,
Can I suggest a thread for variations of Royal Rumble pools? Here’s one our group has used the past couple years:
(Based on five people)
Draw Nos. 1 through 20, four each
Draw Nos. 21 through 30, two each – guaranteeing everyone two of the final 10 evens it out and keeps everyone happy.
First wrestler thrown out – 1 point
Second wrestler out – 2 points
29th wrestler out – 29th points, etc.
Player whose six wrestlers’ points add up to the most wins. This version of the game is less labor-intensive than keeping track of who throws out who. You just have to root for your guy to stay in the match.

Do people still do that kind of thing?  Also, the challenge this year is that we are a week out of the show and still have zero idea who’s even entered into the thing.  We know Sheamus, Barrett, R-Truth and Miz and maybe Foley, but that’s it.  Once again I will stress that whoever draws Orton is the guy who will be happiest.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2006

(2012 Scott sez:  I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later.  So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this.  (2012 Scott sez:  On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.)  Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez:  That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez:  That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.)  Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them.  (2012 Scott sez:  That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.)  They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez:  Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez:  Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.)  Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice.  (2012 Scott sez:  If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.)  Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez:  Allegedly.)  Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez:  You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT.  Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez:  Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.)  FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month.  (2012 Scott sez:  I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.)  The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2006

(2012 Scott sez:  I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later.  So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this.  (2012 Scott sez:  On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.)  Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez:  That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez:  That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.)  Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them.  (2012 Scott sez:  That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.)  They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez:  Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez:  Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.)  Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice.  (2012 Scott sez:  If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.)  Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez:  Allegedly.)  Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez:  You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT.  Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez:  Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.)  FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month.  (2012 Scott sez:  I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.)  The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2006

(2012 Scott sez:  I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later.  So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this.  (2012 Scott sez:  On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.)  Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez:  That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez:  That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.)  Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them.  (2012 Scott sez:  That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.)  They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez:  Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez:  Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.)  Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice.  (2012 Scott sez:  If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.)  Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez:  Allegedly.)  Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez:  You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT.  Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez:  Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.)  FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month.  (2012 Scott sez:  I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.)  The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2006

(2012 Scott sez:  I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later.  So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this.  (2012 Scott sez:  On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.)  Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez:  That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez:  That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.)  Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them.  (2012 Scott sez:  That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.)  They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez:  Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez:  Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.)  Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice.  (2012 Scott sez:  If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.)  Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez:  Allegedly.)  Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez:  You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT.  Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez:  Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.)  FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month.  (2012 Scott sez:  I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.)  The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2006

(2012 Scott sez:  I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later.  So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this.  (2012 Scott sez:  On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.)  Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez:  That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez:  That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.)  Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them.  (2012 Scott sez:  That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.)  They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez:  Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez:  Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.)  Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice.  (2012 Scott sez:  If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.)  Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez:  Allegedly.)  Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez:  You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT.  Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez:  Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.)  FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month.  (2012 Scott sez:  I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.)  The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.

Stone Cold DVD Review

The Cobra Kai Reviews: Stone Cold Steve Austin – The Bottom Line On The Most Popular Superstar of All Time – By Marion Cobretti I started watching wrestling in 1995, I didn’t miss one single Raw until the Raw where The Radicalz debuted. I know this because I remember being pissed that I missed a Raw where something major happened. Anyways, so I was there from Stone Cold’s genesis [I remember Ted Dibiase watching a TV, and saying he’d found the ultimate protege] up until he retired. Now, I was along for the full ride, and saw how he was on everything, and how people at school who use to make fun of me for watching wrestling were now running up to me on Tuesday mornings to ask if I’d seen whomever Stone Cold stunnered the night before. Basically, what I’m trying to say is even though I saw all that, I still can’t say he’s the most popular superstar of all time. Hulk Hogan was officially noted as the most recognizable face on the planet in 1987. That’s a big freaking deal. He’s the only wrestler to ever be featured on Sports Illustrated. He literally changed the business. He became bigger than life. So, in my opinion, Hulk is the most popular of all time. I mean, he set TV records that to this day I don’t believe have been beaten. How say you guys?The documentary portion is fantastic. I’d been waiting for a Stone Cold documentary for a while, and this one really delivers. I don’t like to review’em blow by blow, as some do, simply because you probably don’t care about the breakdown, and just want to know if it’s worthwhile as a whole, and I can say that it definitely is. DISC 2 Steve Austin vs Chris Adams – May 1990
A really short match from his USWA days. No real reason to include this than to just go the full spectrum on Steve’s career. On a related note, he was voted Rookie of the Year by the WON.
Austin with the pin at 4:20
* Stunning Steve Austin & Ric Flair vs Sting & Ricky Steamboat – WCW Saturday Night – 7/30/1994
Are you KIDDING ME? Man, this is just ridiculous the level of talent that’s in this match, I can’t believe I’d never even heard of it before hand. Needless to say, this is a remarkable, incredible match that almost goes for a full half n hour. Something completely worthy of being on PPV, if Hulk Hogan weren’t amidst his first championship run, and needing Ric Flair to make the numbers work. It’s a real shame that Hogan was running amok during this time, because Flair still had plenty of gas in the tank, and should have been used for various degrees of awesome like this.
Austin with the pin on Steamboat at 24:17
****1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts – KOTR Finals [1996]
We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his “reborn” gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn’t include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
** Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart – Submission Match – Wrestlemania 13 – 3/23/1997
What can I say about this match that everyone hasn’t already said? Me personally, I can’t give it 5 stars, because I don’t think it keeps up with time as well. After seeing matches like Foley vs Orton at Backlash, or HHH vs Batista Hell in a Cell, the hardcore match, when it’s an absolute war between two guys has really had the bar risen, and I just don’t think this one matches up. I find that it’s just a bit too slow in the hardcore aspect, and isn’t as technically kick ass as say Bret’s match against Piper, or Bulldog, also I think Stone Cold bleeds too late in the match, and I tend to really hate crowd brawling. Stone Cold does his own commentary on this, along with JR, and it’s great. It’s really something he should have done for every match. One thing they mention that I’m curious about, perhaps you guys can help, is when they’re brawling in the crowd, JR mentions an nWo shirt, and says that the t-shirt police would have been all over that today. What’s he referring to?
Bret Hart causes Stone Cold to pass out at 22:02
****1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs The Rock – Intercontinental Title Match – IYH: DX – 12/06/97
Stone Cold was still on the mend from the Owen Hart neck incident, so that’s why this match is what it is. I remember watching this match live on the PPV, and running around screaming with joy in my Stone Cold shirt and hat. The people I was with were routing for The Rock, but I was in full blown mark mode, and Stone Cold was my guy since the night after IYH: Final Four. As a mark, I couldn’t have asked for any more from this match. Stone Cold driving a truck, giving a stunner to D-Lo on top of it, whipping people into it, and still managing to beat the Rock, it was great. These days, as a smark, it’s an entertaining match still, and one that everyone should see, but not a show-stealer by any means.
Austin hits the stunner and the pin at 5:42
*** Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels [C] – WrestleMania 14 – 3/29/98
Honestly, this was my peak as a wrestling fan as a mark. You know how when you’re young, and you can really get into a wrestler without being pathetic? This show is pretty bad if I recall, but I had so much fun. I couldn’t wait for the main event, and I even had my Stone Cold figure on hand. At the time, I thought it was one of the best matches ever, and still had that memory of it even after Stone Cold & Shawn both said they didn’t really like it. Well, seeing it again, me being a mark definitely put a shine on this, because it isn’t as great as it could have been. They botch quite a few things, and never really seem to click. Although, knowing what a complete prick Shawn was at the time, I can take delight in seeing him wince in pain. It’s worth the inclusion though, as it’s a decent enough match, and pretty landmark. Plus, it contains what is easily Stone Cold’s greatest stunner. Hell, they even had this stunner available in No Mercy’s CAW.
Stone Cold hits the stunner and the pin at 20:00
***1/2
DISC 3 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. Dude Love – WWE Heavyweight Title Match – 5/31/1998
This was a great feud, with Dude Love being the Corporation’s head figure. This match is also on Mick’s DVD, and although a great one, I feel their match at Unforgiven the month before was the better one. This was a great bout with them going all over the place, and Mick once again doing his absolute best to make who ever he’s with look like a million bucks. I do think all the over-book hurt this one though, to be honest. I didn’t need Brisco, Patterson, Vince, and The Undertaker all taking part. Still great though.
Stone Cold hits the stunner and the pin at 22:25
****1/4 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. The Undertaker – WWE Heavyweight Title Match – SummerSlam – 8/30/1998
This match had an incredible build, and I recall every wrestling fan I knew going out and buying AC/DC’s Highway To Hell. I myself heard the damn song so many times via WWE, that to this day I still don’t want to hear it, but that’s also because I’m not an AC/DC fan. The match is damn fine, and I would have liked to see what they could have done had Steve not been knocked at near the beginning of the match.
The stunner. The pin. 20:52
***1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. Big Show – WWE Heavyweight Title – Raw 3/22/1999
I have no idea why this match is on here. Basically just showing off that they spent a ton of money to bring in Paul Wight, then jobbed him out a little while later. Oh well, at least he got to go on that bike ride with Undertaker and eat a scorpion.
Stunner. Pin. 9:28
*1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock [C] – WWE Heavyweight Title – WrestleMania – 3/28/1999
I know this match doesn’t get a lot of fan fare, but I think it’s great. Sure, Rock hadn’t completely hit his stride yet, but as close as you could get without being there. The reason Stone Cold comes out in a t-shirt, and not his vest, is because he forgot back home. It’s not a big deal, but does make it seem like less of a an event without the vest. To me, they just seem to be throwing all they have at each other, and it truly feels like a war.
Stunner. Pin. 16:52
****1/4 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock [C] – WWE Heavyweight Title – WrestleMania – 4/01/2001
Another match that everyone has said everything under the sun about, so I won’t go on too much about it. I use to not like this match much, but I recently watched it two times for this review, so I could get myself a solid rating for it, and I’ve turned the tide. It’s great. One of the things is the interview with Stone Cold & Rock, where they’re in the locker room with JR, and at one point Steve says that he HAS to win this title, it’s all he has, and then proves it with this match. He goes over the top with his intentsity, and his frustration grows & grows as it proves almost impossible to put The Rock down. The Hogan v Andre of The Attitude Era, that’s for sure. I’d give it the full monty if it weren’t for Rock’s ridiculous selling of the stunner, and Vince’s involvement. However, Rock’s facial expression and utterance of “motherfucker” when he realizes it was Vince who stopped the pin, damn near gets it the 5 stars.
27 chair shots, Stone Cold get’s the pin in 33:06
****3/4 4TH DISC The 4th disc is nothing but interviews, vignettes, and segments all through out Stone Cold’s career. It’s an awesome disc that gives you absolutely every classic Austin moment that didn’t take place in the ring. From Monday Nyquil, to buying cowboy hats for Vince & Angle. It’s a fantastic cap on a fantastic set, and shows you all the reasons why Stone Cold became thee man. Last Word: Stone Cold has probably set the record for most releases for a WWE superstar, and it’s with good reason. If you have The Legacy of Stone Cold, you may feel that you don’t need this set, but I beg to differ. The documentary is a fantastic strong point, as we hadn’t really had one about Stone Cold before. It’s great to hear his views over his entire career. The match listing leaves some things desired, but gives you the greatest of the greatest hits and you didn’t get from Legacy. The 4th disc wraps up this entire set and puts a bow on it with an amazing collection of the previously mentioned interviews, vignettes, & segments. Definitely a set worth having, with a final rating of ****3/4
This is Marion Cobretti, letting you know that here, in the streets, in competition, a man faces you, he is the enemy, and the enemy deserves no mercy.

Stone Cold DVD Review

The Cobra Kai Reviews: Stone Cold Steve Austin – The Bottom Line On The Most Popular Superstar of All Time – By Marion Cobretti I started watching wrestling in 1995, I didn’t miss one single Raw until the Raw where The Radicalz debuted. I know this because I remember being pissed that I missed a Raw where something major happened. Anyways, so I was there from Stone Cold’s genesis [I remember Ted Dibiase watching a TV, and saying he’d found the ultimate protege] up until he retired. Now, I was along for the full ride, and saw how he was on everything, and how people at school who use to make fun of me for watching wrestling were now running up to me on Tuesday mornings to ask if I’d seen whomever Stone Cold stunnered the night before. Basically, what I’m trying to say is even though I saw all that, I still can’t say he’s the most popular superstar of all time. Hulk Hogan was officially noted as the most recognizable face on the planet in 1987. That’s a big freaking deal. He’s the only wrestler to ever be featured on Sports Illustrated. He literally changed the business. He became bigger than life. So, in my opinion, Hulk is the most popular of all time. I mean, he set TV records that to this day I don’t believe have been beaten. How say you guys?The documentary portion is fantastic. I’d been waiting for a Stone Cold documentary for a while, and this one really delivers. I don’t like to review’em blow by blow, as some do, simply because you probably don’t care about the breakdown, and just want to know if it’s worthwhile as a whole, and I can say that it definitely is. DISC 2 Steve Austin vs Chris Adams – May 1990
A really short match from his USWA days. No real reason to include this than to just go the full spectrum on Steve’s career. On a related note, he was voted Rookie of the Year by the WON.
Austin with the pin at 4:20
* Stunning Steve Austin & Ric Flair vs Sting & Ricky Steamboat – WCW Saturday Night – 7/30/1994
Are you KIDDING ME? Man, this is just ridiculous the level of talent that’s in this match, I can’t believe I’d never even heard of it before hand. Needless to say, this is a remarkable, incredible match that almost goes for a full half n hour. Something completely worthy of being on PPV, if Hulk Hogan weren’t amidst his first championship run, and needing Ric Flair to make the numbers work. It’s a real shame that Hogan was running amok during this time, because Flair still had plenty of gas in the tank, and should have been used for various degrees of awesome like this.
Austin with the pin on Steamboat at 24:17
****1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts – KOTR Finals [1996]
We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his “reborn” gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn’t include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
** Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart – Submission Match – Wrestlemania 13 – 3/23/1997
What can I say about this match that everyone hasn’t already said? Me personally, I can’t give it 5 stars, because I don’t think it keeps up with time as well. After seeing matches like Foley vs Orton at Backlash, or HHH vs Batista Hell in a Cell, the hardcore match, when it’s an absolute war between two guys has really had the bar risen, and I just don’t think this one matches up. I find that it’s just a bit too slow in the hardcore aspect, and isn’t as technically kick ass as say Bret’s match against Piper, or Bulldog, also I think Stone Cold bleeds too late in the match, and I tend to really hate crowd brawling. Stone Cold does his own commentary on this, along with JR, and it’s great. It’s really something he should have done for every match. One thing they mention that I’m curious about, perhaps you guys can help, is when they’re brawling in the crowd, JR mentions an nWo shirt, and says that the t-shirt police would have been all over that today. What’s he referring to?
Bret Hart causes Stone Cold to pass out at 22:02
****1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs The Rock – Intercontinental Title Match – IYH: DX – 12/06/97
Stone Cold was still on the mend from the Owen Hart neck incident, so that’s why this match is what it is. I remember watching this match live on the PPV, and running around screaming with joy in my Stone Cold shirt and hat. The people I was with were routing for The Rock, but I was in full blown mark mode, and Stone Cold was my guy since the night after IYH: Final Four. As a mark, I couldn’t have asked for any more from this match. Stone Cold driving a truck, giving a stunner to D-Lo on top of it, whipping people into it, and still managing to beat the Rock, it was great. These days, as a smark, it’s an entertaining match still, and one that everyone should see, but not a show-stealer by any means.
Austin hits the stunner and the pin at 5:42
*** Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels [C] – WrestleMania 14 – 3/29/98
Honestly, this was my peak as a wrestling fan as a mark. You know how when you’re young, and you can really get into a wrestler without being pathetic? This show is pretty bad if I recall, but I had so much fun. I couldn’t wait for the main event, and I even had my Stone Cold figure on hand. At the time, I thought it was one of the best matches ever, and still had that memory of it even after Stone Cold & Shawn both said they didn’t really like it. Well, seeing it again, me being a mark definitely put a shine on this, because it isn’t as great as it could have been. They botch quite a few things, and never really seem to click. Although, knowing what a complete prick Shawn was at the time, I can take delight in seeing him wince in pain. It’s worth the inclusion though, as it’s a decent enough match, and pretty landmark. Plus, it contains what is easily Stone Cold’s greatest stunner. Hell, they even had this stunner available in No Mercy’s CAW.
Stone Cold hits the stunner and the pin at 20:00
***1/2
DISC 3 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. Dude Love – WWE Heavyweight Title Match – 5/31/1998
This was a great feud, with Dude Love being the Corporation’s head figure. This match is also on Mick’s DVD, and although a great one, I feel their match at Unforgiven the month before was the better one. This was a great bout with them going all over the place, and Mick once again doing his absolute best to make who ever he’s with look like a million bucks. I do think all the over-book hurt this one though, to be honest. I didn’t need Brisco, Patterson, Vince, and The Undertaker all taking part. Still great though.
Stone Cold hits the stunner and the pin at 22:25
****1/4 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. The Undertaker – WWE Heavyweight Title Match – SummerSlam – 8/30/1998
This match had an incredible build, and I recall every wrestling fan I knew going out and buying AC/DC’s Highway To Hell. I myself heard the damn song so many times via WWE, that to this day I still don’t want to hear it, but that’s also because I’m not an AC/DC fan. The match is damn fine, and I would have liked to see what they could have done had Steve not been knocked at near the beginning of the match.
The stunner. The pin. 20:52
***1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. Big Show – WWE Heavyweight Title – Raw 3/22/1999
I have no idea why this match is on here. Basically just showing off that they spent a ton of money to bring in Paul Wight, then jobbed him out a little while later. Oh well, at least he got to go on that bike ride with Undertaker and eat a scorpion.
Stunner. Pin. 9:28
*1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock [C] – WWE Heavyweight Title – WrestleMania – 3/28/1999
I know this match doesn’t get a lot of fan fare, but I think it’s great. Sure, Rock hadn’t completely hit his stride yet, but as close as you could get without being there. The reason Stone Cold comes out in a t-shirt, and not his vest, is because he forgot back home. It’s not a big deal, but does make it seem like less of a an event without the vest. To me, they just seem to be throwing all they have at each other, and it truly feels like a war.
Stunner. Pin. 16:52
****1/4 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock [C] – WWE Heavyweight Title – WrestleMania – 4/01/2001
Another match that everyone has said everything under the sun about, so I won’t go on too much about it. I use to not like this match much, but I recently watched it two times for this review, so I could get myself a solid rating for it, and I’ve turned the tide. It’s great. One of the things is the interview with Stone Cold & Rock, where they’re in the locker room with JR, and at one point Steve says that he HAS to win this title, it’s all he has, and then proves it with this match. He goes over the top with his intentsity, and his frustration grows & grows as it proves almost impossible to put The Rock down. The Hogan v Andre of The Attitude Era, that’s for sure. I’d give it the full monty if it weren’t for Rock’s ridiculous selling of the stunner, and Vince’s involvement. However, Rock’s facial expression and utterance of “motherfucker” when he realizes it was Vince who stopped the pin, damn near gets it the 5 stars.
27 chair shots, Stone Cold get’s the pin in 33:06
****3/4 4TH DISC The 4th disc is nothing but interviews, vignettes, and segments all through out Stone Cold’s career. It’s an awesome disc that gives you absolutely every classic Austin moment that didn’t take place in the ring. From Monday Nyquil, to buying cowboy hats for Vince & Angle. It’s a fantastic cap on a fantastic set, and shows you all the reasons why Stone Cold became thee man. Last Word: Stone Cold has probably set the record for most releases for a WWE superstar, and it’s with good reason. If you have The Legacy of Stone Cold, you may feel that you don’t need this set, but I beg to differ. The documentary is a fantastic strong point, as we hadn’t really had one about Stone Cold before. It’s great to hear his views over his entire career. The match listing leaves some things desired, but gives you the greatest of the greatest hits and you didn’t get from Legacy. The 4th disc wraps up this entire set and puts a bow on it with an amazing collection of the previously mentioned interviews, vignettes, & segments. Definitely a set worth having, with a final rating of ****3/4
This is Marion Cobretti, letting you know that here, in the streets, in competition, a man faces you, he is the enemy, and the enemy deserves no mercy.

Stone Cold DVD Review

The Cobra Kai Reviews: Stone Cold Steve Austin – The Bottom Line On The Most Popular Superstar of All Time – By Marion Cobretti I started watching wrestling in 1995, I didn’t miss one single Raw until the Raw where The Radicalz debuted. I know this because I remember being pissed that I missed a Raw where something major happened. Anyways, so I was there from Stone Cold’s genesis [I remember Ted Dibiase watching a TV, and saying he’d found the ultimate protege] up until he retired. Now, I was along for the full ride, and saw how he was on everything, and how people at school who use to make fun of me for watching wrestling were now running up to me on Tuesday mornings to ask if I’d seen whomever Stone Cold stunnered the night before. Basically, what I’m trying to say is even though I saw all that, I still can’t say he’s the most popular superstar of all time. Hulk Hogan was officially noted as the most recognizable face on the planet in 1987. That’s a big freaking deal. He’s the only wrestler to ever be featured on Sports Illustrated. He literally changed the business. He became bigger than life. So, in my opinion, Hulk is the most popular of all time. I mean, he set TV records that to this day I don’t believe have been beaten. How say you guys?The documentary portion is fantastic. I’d been waiting for a Stone Cold documentary for a while, and this one really delivers. I don’t like to review’em blow by blow, as some do, simply because you probably don’t care about the breakdown, and just want to know if it’s worthwhile as a whole, and I can say that it definitely is. DISC 2 Steve Austin vs Chris Adams – May 1990
A really short match from his USWA days. No real reason to include this than to just go the full spectrum on Steve’s career. On a related note, he was voted Rookie of the Year by the WON.
Austin with the pin at 4:20
* Stunning Steve Austin & Ric Flair vs Sting & Ricky Steamboat – WCW Saturday Night – 7/30/1994
Are you KIDDING ME? Man, this is just ridiculous the level of talent that’s in this match, I can’t believe I’d never even heard of it before hand. Needless to say, this is a remarkable, incredible match that almost goes for a full half n hour. Something completely worthy of being on PPV, if Hulk Hogan weren’t amidst his first championship run, and needing Ric Flair to make the numbers work. It’s a real shame that Hogan was running amok during this time, because Flair still had plenty of gas in the tank, and should have been used for various degrees of awesome like this.
Austin with the pin on Steamboat at 24:17
****1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts – KOTR Finals [1996]
We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his “reborn” gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn’t include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
** Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart – Submission Match – Wrestlemania 13 – 3/23/1997
What can I say about this match that everyone hasn’t already said? Me personally, I can’t give it 5 stars, because I don’t think it keeps up with time as well. After seeing matches like Foley vs Orton at Backlash, or HHH vs Batista Hell in a Cell, the hardcore match, when it’s an absolute war between two guys has really had the bar risen, and I just don’t think this one matches up. I find that it’s just a bit too slow in the hardcore aspect, and isn’t as technically kick ass as say Bret’s match against Piper, or Bulldog, also I think Stone Cold bleeds too late in the match, and I tend to really hate crowd brawling. Stone Cold does his own commentary on this, along with JR, and it’s great. It’s really something he should have done for every match. One thing they mention that I’m curious about, perhaps you guys can help, is when they’re brawling in the crowd, JR mentions an nWo shirt, and says that the t-shirt police would have been all over that today. What’s he referring to?
Bret Hart causes Stone Cold to pass out at 22:02
****1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs The Rock – Intercontinental Title Match – IYH: DX – 12/06/97
Stone Cold was still on the mend from the Owen Hart neck incident, so that’s why this match is what it is. I remember watching this match live on the PPV, and running around screaming with joy in my Stone Cold shirt and hat. The people I was with were routing for The Rock, but I was in full blown mark mode, and Stone Cold was my guy since the night after IYH: Final Four. As a mark, I couldn’t have asked for any more from this match. Stone Cold driving a truck, giving a stunner to D-Lo on top of it, whipping people into it, and still managing to beat the Rock, it was great. These days, as a smark, it’s an entertaining match still, and one that everyone should see, but not a show-stealer by any means.
Austin hits the stunner and the pin at 5:42
*** Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels [C] – WrestleMania 14 – 3/29/98
Honestly, this was my peak as a wrestling fan as a mark. You know how when you’re young, and you can really get into a wrestler without being pathetic? This show is pretty bad if I recall, but I had so much fun. I couldn’t wait for the main event, and I even had my Stone Cold figure on hand. At the time, I thought it was one of the best matches ever, and still had that memory of it even after Stone Cold & Shawn both said they didn’t really like it. Well, seeing it again, me being a mark definitely put a shine on this, because it isn’t as great as it could have been. They botch quite a few things, and never really seem to click. Although, knowing what a complete prick Shawn was at the time, I can take delight in seeing him wince in pain. It’s worth the inclusion though, as it’s a decent enough match, and pretty landmark. Plus, it contains what is easily Stone Cold’s greatest stunner. Hell, they even had this stunner available in No Mercy’s CAW.
Stone Cold hits the stunner and the pin at 20:00
***1/2
DISC 3 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. Dude Love – WWE Heavyweight Title Match – 5/31/1998
This was a great feud, with Dude Love being the Corporation’s head figure. This match is also on Mick’s DVD, and although a great one, I feel their match at Unforgiven the month before was the better one. This was a great bout with them going all over the place, and Mick once again doing his absolute best to make who ever he’s with look like a million bucks. I do think all the over-book hurt this one though, to be honest. I didn’t need Brisco, Patterson, Vince, and The Undertaker all taking part. Still great though.
Stone Cold hits the stunner and the pin at 22:25
****1/4 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. The Undertaker – WWE Heavyweight Title Match – SummerSlam – 8/30/1998
This match had an incredible build, and I recall every wrestling fan I knew going out and buying AC/DC’s Highway To Hell. I myself heard the damn song so many times via WWE, that to this day I still don’t want to hear it, but that’s also because I’m not an AC/DC fan. The match is damn fine, and I would have liked to see what they could have done had Steve not been knocked at near the beginning of the match.
The stunner. The pin. 20:52
***1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. Big Show – WWE Heavyweight Title – Raw 3/22/1999
I have no idea why this match is on here. Basically just showing off that they spent a ton of money to bring in Paul Wight, then jobbed him out a little while later. Oh well, at least he got to go on that bike ride with Undertaker and eat a scorpion.
Stunner. Pin. 9:28
*1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock [C] – WWE Heavyweight Title – WrestleMania – 3/28/1999
I know this match doesn’t get a lot of fan fare, but I think it’s great. Sure, Rock hadn’t completely hit his stride yet, but as close as you could get without being there. The reason Stone Cold comes out in a t-shirt, and not his vest, is because he forgot back home. It’s not a big deal, but does make it seem like less of a an event without the vest. To me, they just seem to be throwing all they have at each other, and it truly feels like a war.
Stunner. Pin. 16:52
****1/4 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock [C] – WWE Heavyweight Title – WrestleMania – 4/01/2001
Another match that everyone has said everything under the sun about, so I won’t go on too much about it. I use to not like this match much, but I recently watched it two times for this review, so I could get myself a solid rating for it, and I’ve turned the tide. It’s great. One of the things is the interview with Stone Cold & Rock, where they’re in the locker room with JR, and at one point Steve says that he HAS to win this title, it’s all he has, and then proves it with this match. He goes over the top with his intentsity, and his frustration grows & grows as it proves almost impossible to put The Rock down. The Hogan v Andre of The Attitude Era, that’s for sure. I’d give it the full monty if it weren’t for Rock’s ridiculous selling of the stunner, and Vince’s involvement. However, Rock’s facial expression and utterance of “motherfucker” when he realizes it was Vince who stopped the pin, damn near gets it the 5 stars.
27 chair shots, Stone Cold get’s the pin in 33:06
****3/4 4TH DISC The 4th disc is nothing but interviews, vignettes, and segments all through out Stone Cold’s career. It’s an awesome disc that gives you absolutely every classic Austin moment that didn’t take place in the ring. From Monday Nyquil, to buying cowboy hats for Vince & Angle. It’s a fantastic cap on a fantastic set, and shows you all the reasons why Stone Cold became thee man. Last Word: Stone Cold has probably set the record for most releases for a WWE superstar, and it’s with good reason. If you have The Legacy of Stone Cold, you may feel that you don’t need this set, but I beg to differ. The documentary is a fantastic strong point, as we hadn’t really had one about Stone Cold before. It’s great to hear his views over his entire career. The match listing leaves some things desired, but gives you the greatest of the greatest hits and you didn’t get from Legacy. The 4th disc wraps up this entire set and puts a bow on it with an amazing collection of the previously mentioned interviews, vignettes, & segments. Definitely a set worth having, with a final rating of ****3/4
This is Marion Cobretti, letting you know that here, in the streets, in competition, a man faces you, he is the enemy, and the enemy deserves no mercy.

Stone Cold DVD Review

The Cobra Kai Reviews: Stone Cold Steve Austin – The Bottom Line On The Most Popular Superstar of All Time – By Marion Cobretti I started watching wrestling in 1995, I didn’t miss one single Raw until the Raw where The Radicalz debuted. I know this because I remember being pissed that I missed a Raw where something major happened. Anyways, so I was there from Stone Cold’s genesis [I remember Ted Dibiase watching a TV, and saying he’d found the ultimate protege] up until he retired. Now, I was along for the full ride, and saw how he was on everything, and how people at school who use to make fun of me for watching wrestling were now running up to me on Tuesday mornings to ask if I’d seen whomever Stone Cold stunnered the night before. Basically, what I’m trying to say is even though I saw all that, I still can’t say he’s the most popular superstar of all time. Hulk Hogan was officially noted as the most recognizable face on the planet in 1987. That’s a big freaking deal. He’s the only wrestler to ever be featured on Sports Illustrated. He literally changed the business. He became bigger than life. So, in my opinion, Hulk is the most popular of all time. I mean, he set TV records that to this day I don’t believe have been beaten. How say you guys?The documentary portion is fantastic. I’d been waiting for a Stone Cold documentary for a while, and this one really delivers. I don’t like to review’em blow by blow, as some do, simply because you probably don’t care about the breakdown, and just want to know if it’s worthwhile as a whole, and I can say that it definitely is. DISC 2 Steve Austin vs Chris Adams – May 1990
A really short match from his USWA days. No real reason to include this than to just go the full spectrum on Steve’s career. On a related note, he was voted Rookie of the Year by the WON.
Austin with the pin at 4:20
* Stunning Steve Austin & Ric Flair vs Sting & Ricky Steamboat – WCW Saturday Night – 7/30/1994
Are you KIDDING ME? Man, this is just ridiculous the level of talent that’s in this match, I can’t believe I’d never even heard of it before hand. Needless to say, this is a remarkable, incredible match that almost goes for a full half n hour. Something completely worthy of being on PPV, if Hulk Hogan weren’t amidst his first championship run, and needing Ric Flair to make the numbers work. It’s a real shame that Hogan was running amok during this time, because Flair still had plenty of gas in the tank, and should have been used for various degrees of awesome like this.
Austin with the pin on Steamboat at 24:17
****1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts – KOTR Finals [1996]
We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his “reborn” gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn’t include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
** Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart – Submission Match – Wrestlemania 13 – 3/23/1997
What can I say about this match that everyone hasn’t already said? Me personally, I can’t give it 5 stars, because I don’t think it keeps up with time as well. After seeing matches like Foley vs Orton at Backlash, or HHH vs Batista Hell in a Cell, the hardcore match, when it’s an absolute war between two guys has really had the bar risen, and I just don’t think this one matches up. I find that it’s just a bit too slow in the hardcore aspect, and isn’t as technically kick ass as say Bret’s match against Piper, or Bulldog, also I think Stone Cold bleeds too late in the match, and I tend to really hate crowd brawling. Stone Cold does his own commentary on this, along with JR, and it’s great. It’s really something he should have done for every match. One thing they mention that I’m curious about, perhaps you guys can help, is when they’re brawling in the crowd, JR mentions an nWo shirt, and says that the t-shirt police would have been all over that today. What’s he referring to?
Bret Hart causes Stone Cold to pass out at 22:02
****1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs The Rock – Intercontinental Title Match – IYH: DX – 12/06/97
Stone Cold was still on the mend from the Owen Hart neck incident, so that’s why this match is what it is. I remember watching this match live on the PPV, and running around screaming with joy in my Stone Cold shirt and hat. The people I was with were routing for The Rock, but I was in full blown mark mode, and Stone Cold was my guy since the night after IYH: Final Four. As a mark, I couldn’t have asked for any more from this match. Stone Cold driving a truck, giving a stunner to D-Lo on top of it, whipping people into it, and still managing to beat the Rock, it was great. These days, as a smark, it’s an entertaining match still, and one that everyone should see, but not a show-stealer by any means.
Austin hits the stunner and the pin at 5:42
*** Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels [C] – WrestleMania 14 – 3/29/98
Honestly, this was my peak as a wrestling fan as a mark. You know how when you’re young, and you can really get into a wrestler without being pathetic? This show is pretty bad if I recall, but I had so much fun. I couldn’t wait for the main event, and I even had my Stone Cold figure on hand. At the time, I thought it was one of the best matches ever, and still had that memory of it even after Stone Cold & Shawn both said they didn’t really like it. Well, seeing it again, me being a mark definitely put a shine on this, because it isn’t as great as it could have been. They botch quite a few things, and never really seem to click. Although, knowing what a complete prick Shawn was at the time, I can take delight in seeing him wince in pain. It’s worth the inclusion though, as it’s a decent enough match, and pretty landmark. Plus, it contains what is easily Stone Cold’s greatest stunner. Hell, they even had this stunner available in No Mercy’s CAW.
Stone Cold hits the stunner and the pin at 20:00
***1/2
DISC 3 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. Dude Love – WWE Heavyweight Title Match – 5/31/1998
This was a great feud, with Dude Love being the Corporation’s head figure. This match is also on Mick’s DVD, and although a great one, I feel their match at Unforgiven the month before was the better one. This was a great bout with them going all over the place, and Mick once again doing his absolute best to make who ever he’s with look like a million bucks. I do think all the over-book hurt this one though, to be honest. I didn’t need Brisco, Patterson, Vince, and The Undertaker all taking part. Still great though.
Stone Cold hits the stunner and the pin at 22:25
****1/4 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. The Undertaker – WWE Heavyweight Title Match – SummerSlam – 8/30/1998
This match had an incredible build, and I recall every wrestling fan I knew going out and buying AC/DC’s Highway To Hell. I myself heard the damn song so many times via WWE, that to this day I still don’t want to hear it, but that’s also because I’m not an AC/DC fan. The match is damn fine, and I would have liked to see what they could have done had Steve not been knocked at near the beginning of the match.
The stunner. The pin. 20:52
***1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. Big Show – WWE Heavyweight Title – Raw 3/22/1999
I have no idea why this match is on here. Basically just showing off that they spent a ton of money to bring in Paul Wight, then jobbed him out a little while later. Oh well, at least he got to go on that bike ride with Undertaker and eat a scorpion.
Stunner. Pin. 9:28
*1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock [C] – WWE Heavyweight Title – WrestleMania – 3/28/1999
I know this match doesn’t get a lot of fan fare, but I think it’s great. Sure, Rock hadn’t completely hit his stride yet, but as close as you could get without being there. The reason Stone Cold comes out in a t-shirt, and not his vest, is because he forgot back home. It’s not a big deal, but does make it seem like less of a an event without the vest. To me, they just seem to be throwing all they have at each other, and it truly feels like a war.
Stunner. Pin. 16:52
****1/4 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock [C] – WWE Heavyweight Title – WrestleMania – 4/01/2001
Another match that everyone has said everything under the sun about, so I won’t go on too much about it. I use to not like this match much, but I recently watched it two times for this review, so I could get myself a solid rating for it, and I’ve turned the tide. It’s great. One of the things is the interview with Stone Cold & Rock, where they’re in the locker room with JR, and at one point Steve says that he HAS to win this title, it’s all he has, and then proves it with this match. He goes over the top with his intentsity, and his frustration grows & grows as it proves almost impossible to put The Rock down. The Hogan v Andre of The Attitude Era, that’s for sure. I’d give it the full monty if it weren’t for Rock’s ridiculous selling of the stunner, and Vince’s involvement. However, Rock’s facial expression and utterance of “motherfucker” when he realizes it was Vince who stopped the pin, damn near gets it the 5 stars.
27 chair shots, Stone Cold get’s the pin in 33:06
****3/4 4TH DISC The 4th disc is nothing but interviews, vignettes, and segments all through out Stone Cold’s career. It’s an awesome disc that gives you absolutely every classic Austin moment that didn’t take place in the ring. From Monday Nyquil, to buying cowboy hats for Vince & Angle. It’s a fantastic cap on a fantastic set, and shows you all the reasons why Stone Cold became thee man. Last Word: Stone Cold has probably set the record for most releases for a WWE superstar, and it’s with good reason. If you have The Legacy of Stone Cold, you may feel that you don’t need this set, but I beg to differ. The documentary is a fantastic strong point, as we hadn’t really had one about Stone Cold before. It’s great to hear his views over his entire career. The match listing leaves some things desired, but gives you the greatest of the greatest hits and you didn’t get from Legacy. The 4th disc wraps up this entire set and puts a bow on it with an amazing collection of the previously mentioned interviews, vignettes, & segments. Definitely a set worth having, with a final rating of ****3/4
This is Marion Cobretti, letting you know that here, in the streets, in competition, a man faces you, he is the enemy, and the enemy deserves no mercy.

Stone Cold DVD Review

The Cobra Kai Reviews: Stone Cold Steve Austin – The Bottom Line On The Most Popular Superstar of All Time – By Marion Cobretti I started watching wrestling in 1995, I didn’t miss one single Raw until the Raw where The Radicalz debuted. I know this because I remember being pissed that I missed a Raw where something major happened. Anyways, so I was there from Stone Cold’s genesis [I remember Ted Dibiase watching a TV, and saying he’d found the ultimate protege] up until he retired. Now, I was along for the full ride, and saw how he was on everything, and how people at school who use to make fun of me for watching wrestling were now running up to me on Tuesday mornings to ask if I’d seen whomever Stone Cold stunnered the night before. Basically, what I’m trying to say is even though I saw all that, I still can’t say he’s the most popular superstar of all time. Hulk Hogan was officially noted as the most recognizable face on the planet in 1987. That’s a big freaking deal. He’s the only wrestler to ever be featured on Sports Illustrated. He literally changed the business. He became bigger than life. So, in my opinion, Hulk is the most popular of all time. I mean, he set TV records that to this day I don’t believe have been beaten. How say you guys?The documentary portion is fantastic. I’d been waiting for a Stone Cold documentary for a while, and this one really delivers. I don’t like to review’em blow by blow, as some do, simply because you probably don’t care about the breakdown, and just want to know if it’s worthwhile as a whole, and I can say that it definitely is. DISC 2 Steve Austin vs Chris Adams – May 1990
A really short match from his USWA days. No real reason to include this than to just go the full spectrum on Steve’s career. On a related note, he was voted Rookie of the Year by the WON.
Austin with the pin at 4:20
* Stunning Steve Austin & Ric Flair vs Sting & Ricky Steamboat – WCW Saturday Night – 7/30/1994
Are you KIDDING ME? Man, this is just ridiculous the level of talent that’s in this match, I can’t believe I’d never even heard of it before hand. Needless to say, this is a remarkable, incredible match that almost goes for a full half n hour. Something completely worthy of being on PPV, if Hulk Hogan weren’t amidst his first championship run, and needing Ric Flair to make the numbers work. It’s a real shame that Hogan was running amok during this time, because Flair still had plenty of gas in the tank, and should have been used for various degrees of awesome like this.
Austin with the pin on Steamboat at 24:17
****1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts – KOTR Finals [1996]
We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his “reborn” gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn’t include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
** Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart – Submission Match – Wrestlemania 13 – 3/23/1997
What can I say about this match that everyone hasn’t already said? Me personally, I can’t give it 5 stars, because I don’t think it keeps up with time as well. After seeing matches like Foley vs Orton at Backlash, or HHH vs Batista Hell in a Cell, the hardcore match, when it’s an absolute war between two guys has really had the bar risen, and I just don’t think this one matches up. I find that it’s just a bit too slow in the hardcore aspect, and isn’t as technically kick ass as say Bret’s match against Piper, or Bulldog, also I think Stone Cold bleeds too late in the match, and I tend to really hate crowd brawling. Stone Cold does his own commentary on this, along with JR, and it’s great. It’s really something he should have done for every match. One thing they mention that I’m curious about, perhaps you guys can help, is when they’re brawling in the crowd, JR mentions an nWo shirt, and says that the t-shirt police would have been all over that today. What’s he referring to?
Bret Hart causes Stone Cold to pass out at 22:02
****1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs The Rock – Intercontinental Title Match – IYH: DX – 12/06/97
Stone Cold was still on the mend from the Owen Hart neck incident, so that’s why this match is what it is. I remember watching this match live on the PPV, and running around screaming with joy in my Stone Cold shirt and hat. The people I was with were routing for The Rock, but I was in full blown mark mode, and Stone Cold was my guy since the night after IYH: Final Four. As a mark, I couldn’t have asked for any more from this match. Stone Cold driving a truck, giving a stunner to D-Lo on top of it, whipping people into it, and still managing to beat the Rock, it was great. These days, as a smark, it’s an entertaining match still, and one that everyone should see, but not a show-stealer by any means.
Austin hits the stunner and the pin at 5:42
*** Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels [C] – WrestleMania 14 – 3/29/98
Honestly, this was my peak as a wrestling fan as a mark. You know how when you’re young, and you can really get into a wrestler without being pathetic? This show is pretty bad if I recall, but I had so much fun. I couldn’t wait for the main event, and I even had my Stone Cold figure on hand. At the time, I thought it was one of the best matches ever, and still had that memory of it even after Stone Cold & Shawn both said they didn’t really like it. Well, seeing it again, me being a mark definitely put a shine on this, because it isn’t as great as it could have been. They botch quite a few things, and never really seem to click. Although, knowing what a complete prick Shawn was at the time, I can take delight in seeing him wince in pain. It’s worth the inclusion though, as it’s a decent enough match, and pretty landmark. Plus, it contains what is easily Stone Cold’s greatest stunner. Hell, they even had this stunner available in No Mercy’s CAW.
Stone Cold hits the stunner and the pin at 20:00
***1/2
DISC 3 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. Dude Love – WWE Heavyweight Title Match – 5/31/1998
This was a great feud, with Dude Love being the Corporation’s head figure. This match is also on Mick’s DVD, and although a great one, I feel their match at Unforgiven the month before was the better one. This was a great bout with them going all over the place, and Mick once again doing his absolute best to make who ever he’s with look like a million bucks. I do think all the over-book hurt this one though, to be honest. I didn’t need Brisco, Patterson, Vince, and The Undertaker all taking part. Still great though.
Stone Cold hits the stunner and the pin at 22:25
****1/4 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. The Undertaker – WWE Heavyweight Title Match – SummerSlam – 8/30/1998
This match had an incredible build, and I recall every wrestling fan I knew going out and buying AC/DC’s Highway To Hell. I myself heard the damn song so many times via WWE, that to this day I still don’t want to hear it, but that’s also because I’m not an AC/DC fan. The match is damn fine, and I would have liked to see what they could have done had Steve not been knocked at near the beginning of the match.
The stunner. The pin. 20:52
***1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [C] vs. Big Show – WWE Heavyweight Title – Raw 3/22/1999
I have no idea why this match is on here. Basically just showing off that they spent a ton of money to bring in Paul Wight, then jobbed him out a little while later. Oh well, at least he got to go on that bike ride with Undertaker and eat a scorpion.
Stunner. Pin. 9:28
*1/2 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock [C] – WWE Heavyweight Title – WrestleMania – 3/28/1999
I know this match doesn’t get a lot of fan fare, but I think it’s great. Sure, Rock hadn’t completely hit his stride yet, but as close as you could get without being there. The reason Stone Cold comes out in a t-shirt, and not his vest, is because he forgot back home. It’s not a big deal, but does make it seem like less of a an event without the vest. To me, they just seem to be throwing all they have at each other, and it truly feels like a war.
Stunner. Pin. 16:52
****1/4 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock [C] – WWE Heavyweight Title – WrestleMania – 4/01/2001
Another match that everyone has said everything under the sun about, so I won’t go on too much about it. I use to not like this match much, but I recently watched it two times for this review, so I could get myself a solid rating for it, and I’ve turned the tide. It’s great. One of the things is the interview with Stone Cold & Rock, where they’re in the locker room with JR, and at one point Steve says that he HAS to win this title, it’s all he has, and then proves it with this match. He goes over the top with his intentsity, and his frustration grows & grows as it proves almost impossible to put The Rock down. The Hogan v Andre of The Attitude Era, that’s for sure. I’d give it the full monty if it weren’t for Rock’s ridiculous selling of the stunner, and Vince’s involvement. However, Rock’s facial expression and utterance of “motherfucker” when he realizes it was Vince who stopped the pin, damn near gets it the 5 stars.
27 chair shots, Stone Cold get’s the pin in 33:06
****3/4 4TH DISC The 4th disc is nothing but interviews, vignettes, and segments all through out Stone Cold’s career. It’s an awesome disc that gives you absolutely every classic Austin moment that didn’t take place in the ring. From Monday Nyquil, to buying cowboy hats for Vince & Angle. It’s a fantastic cap on a fantastic set, and shows you all the reasons why Stone Cold became thee man. Last Word: Stone Cold has probably set the record for most releases for a WWE superstar, and it’s with good reason. If you have The Legacy of Stone Cold, you may feel that you don’t need this set, but I beg to differ. The documentary is a fantastic strong point, as we hadn’t really had one about Stone Cold before. It’s great to hear his views over his entire career. The match listing leaves some things desired, but gives you the greatest of the greatest hits and you didn’t get from Legacy. The 4th disc wraps up this entire set and puts a bow on it with an amazing collection of the previously mentioned interviews, vignettes, & segments. Definitely a set worth having, with a final rating of ****3/4
This is Marion Cobretti, letting you know that here, in the streets, in competition, a man faces you, he is the enemy, and the enemy deserves no mercy.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2005

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

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2005

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

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2005

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

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2005

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

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2005

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

RSPW Awards Plug

Hey Scott, This is the final voting weekend for the RSPW Awards Resurrection, and with 22 ballots currently in, we’re a real threat to break 2009 levels of participation! That said, I’m hoping for a late push with these, as the voting’s been rather interesting in some cases. If you could do me a solid and promote this to the readership, this would make for a more applicable snapshot for 2011. Voting ends Sunday night/Monday morning at midnight EST, unless I choose to extend it. Results should be made available by Thursday at the latest, if there’s no extension. http://justinsport.webs.com/2011awards Thanks!

Get out there and do your civic duty, people!

RSPW Awards Plug

Hey Scott, This is the final voting weekend for the RSPW Awards Resurrection, and with 22 ballots currently in, we’re a real threat to break 2009 levels of participation! That said, I’m hoping for a late push with these, as the voting’s been rather interesting in some cases. If you could do me a solid and promote this to the readership, this would make for a more applicable snapshot for 2011. Voting ends Sunday night/Monday morning at midnight EST, unless I choose to extend it. Results should be made available by Thursday at the latest, if there’s no extension. http://justinsport.webs.com/2011awards Thanks!

Get out there and do your civic duty, people!

RSPW Awards Plug

Hey Scott, This is the final voting weekend for the RSPW Awards Resurrection, and with 22 ballots currently in, we’re a real threat to break 2009 levels of participation! That said, I’m hoping for a late push with these, as the voting’s been rather interesting in some cases. If you could do me a solid and promote this to the readership, this would make for a more applicable snapshot for 2011. Voting ends Sunday night/Monday morning at midnight EST, unless I choose to extend it. Results should be made available by Thursday at the latest, if there’s no extension. http://justinsport.webs.com/2011awards Thanks!

Get out there and do your civic duty, people!