Brett Mix’s- WWE Royal Rumble 2008 Review:
“It`s John Cenaaaaaaaaaaa!” -Jim Ross
-WWE Royal Rumble 2008 took place on Sunday, January The 27th, 2008 LIVE ON PPV from the Sold Out “World’s Most Famous Arena” at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. It was also the first WWE pay-per-view broadcast in high definition. The official theme song was[B][U] “Stand Up For Rock ‘N’ Roll” [/U][/B]by Airbourne. As apart of a new tradition, the winner of the Royal Rumble match receives a match at WrestleMania for his choice of either the WWE Championship (RAW TITLE), World Heavyweight Championship (SD Title), or ECW Championship. (ECW World Title)
-This was the 21st Annual Royal Rumble event.
-This marked the 2nd year in a row where the person who won the Rumble match was the 30th entrant to the match. (Before 2007 this has never been done)
-Long time ring announcer who was usually used by WCW in the Wrestling world, Michael Buffer did the Royal Rumble match.
-The broadcasters for this show were Raw’s Jim Ross and The King, SD’s Cole and Coach, and ECW’s Styles and Tazz. All of them did the Rumble match for the first time ever which was unique and hardly any interuptions was well done and quite surprising.
-Mike Adamle made an appearance on this show as a new member of the Broadcast team.
-Heading into the event, the main feud on the RAW BRAND was between the Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton, with the two feuding over the latter’s WWE Championship. Orton retained the WWE Championship at Armageddon against the returning Chris Jericho after being disqualified, when the then-SmackDown! broadcaster JBL ran-in, and booted Jericho in the head starting up a feud with him. Orton retained the championship as titles do not change hands on disqualifications obvioussly. On the same night earlier, Jeff Hardy had defeated Triple H to earn the opportunity to face Orton at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship. The following night, on the December 17th, 2007 edition of Raw, Hardy teamed up with Shawn Michaels to take on Orton and Mr. Kennedy. Hardy gained the advantage over Orton, and pinned the champion after a Swanton Bomb to earn the victory for himself and Michaels. Jeff would go on to meet Randy Orton at the event while HBK was registered in ANOTHER Royal Rumble match.
-The main feud on the SmackDown! brand was between Rey Mysterio and Edge with the two feuding over the latter’s World Heavyweight Championship. Mysterio won a Beat the Clock Challenge on the January 4th, 2008 edition of SmackDown! defeating Edge with 90 seconds to go, and securing an opportunity for the World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV.
-The event had 533,000 buys, up on the Royal Rumble 2007 figure of 491,000 buys
-Here are some of the complete Qualification Matches for the Rumble Match:
Umaga defeated Jim Duggan – on Raw, December 29th (but aired December 31st 07)
Snitsky defeated Drew McIntyre – Raw house show, January 4th
Hardcore Holly defeated Trevor Murdoch – Raw house show, January 5th
John Morrison and The Miz defeated Jimmy Wang Yang and Shannon Moore – SmackDown!/ECW house show, January 6th Hornswoggle and Mick Foley defeated The Highlanders (Robbie and Rory McAllister) – on Monday Night Raw, January 7th
Jamie Noble defeated Chuck Palumbo – SmackDown!, January 8th (but aired January 11th on a Friday obvioussly because its Smackdown!)
Cody Rhodes defeated William Regal – Raw house show, January 11th. (Kind of a travesty if you ask me.)
Carlito and Santino Marella defeated two unknown opponents in a tag team match at a Raw house show, January 12th. (Hmm this was a tough one to pick I imagine, wonder what the odds were gong in? I could be rich)
HBK Shawn Michaels defeated Trevor Murdoch – Raw, January 14th. (As if there any doubt)
Triple H defeated Snitsky, Mark Henry, and William Regal in a Over the Top Rope Gauntlet Match – Raw, January 21st to enter the Rumble and he was likely the favourite to win it all.
CM Punk defeated Chavo Guerrero – WWE supershow, January 26th. CM Punk was a long shot but a favourite of many, sort of like RVD in 2002 when he was very over but people weren’t sure if he could pull off the win.
-There was a Kiss Cam segment in the middle of the show with Maria, and eventually Ashley and Santino Marella which basically was used for killing time and promoting Maria in playboy.
-In a Dark Match before the event Shannon Moore and Jimmy Wang Yang defeated Deuce ‘N Domino at 6:10.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs Montel Vontavious Porter in a Career Threatening match
MSG gets excited as the Rumble event is about to get underway and what better way then to kick it off with a career threatening match even though it was extremely unrealistic Flair was going to lose this.
I actually liked the chemistry between the two.
Could of been done a bit better overall though and it could of been given a lot more time but I guess that might be nitpicking. It was still special seeing Naitch in his last match in Madison Square Garden when he had a match there early in his career in the 70’s with the federation which you can see on his first three disc set. Who would of thought three decades later, amazing. He made his pro debut in 1972 and 35 years later Cole asked if it would come to an end on this night.
MVP cut off Flair who was adressing MSG and got a ton of good heel heat for it. MVP’s mission here was simple, it was to end Flair’s career.
Ric Flair circled around MVP and then slicked his hair back to play mind games. MVP with a side headlock to start things off and pushed Flair to the corner before with a pose of his own. MVP cornered Flair and then did a basketball taunt while the fans booed and Flair looked in on apparent disgust. Flair with a go-behind and grabbed the left arm for MVP. Flair got slapped by MVP which he thought was disrespect so he chopped the hell out of him in the corner and then when pushed to the ropes hit a shoulder block on MVP but on the second try MVP took him down with a drop toehold. MVP with a kick to the side of the head of Flair. MVP with a swinging neck breaker and the first cover of the match is barely a two count and The Nature boy got out of that one. MVP got chopped by Flair but MVP shoved him to the mat and hit a rear chinlock to Flair while the fans chanted “MVP sucks”. Flair got out of it eventually and then hit a high elbow to MVP and shot his forearm to the knee of MVP to weaken the legs for the figure four leglock but mVP got out of it. Ric Flair hit MVP with an atomic drop and then went for the Figure Four but MVP wisely rolled an older Flair into a small package but only got a two count on the roll-up pinning combination. MVP shoved Flair into the corner and delivered some shots to Naitch. MVP irishwhipped Flair to the corner and then hit a back body drop to Ric Flair. MVP charged towards Flair in the corner with a kick to the jaw and Flair did the famous flop and it scored MVP the victory but Flair’s leg was on the rope.
That was a brilliant kick and some fans were shocked.
From behind The Nature Boy hit a roll-up but only got a two and MVP got back in control not long after that. MVP with a great suplex hooking the arms of Flair and scored a nearfall. Ric Flair set up on the top turnbuckle by MVP and then went for a superplex and hit it on The Nature Boy but somehow he managed to kick out to save his career. MVP with another slap to Flair and lifted him up but Flair fell back and chopped MVP and then both men got knocked down as they collided in awkward fashion in the corner after Ric Flair shoved MVP into the turnbuckle. Flair kicked MVP in the corner low and hit yet another roll-up but MVP kicked out. Flair hit a backslide and then a chop to MVP followed by a right hand. Flair with another chop and started to feel it by Wooing and then Flair caught a shot by MVP who followed it up by a bulldog. MVP then went for the playmaker but Ric Flair countered it into a Figure Four Leglock! MSG pops and MVP taps out.
So in the end Flair forced MVP to submit with the Figure Four Leglock at 7:49 to win the match and “STAY ALIVE”. Before the match Flair cut a promo about how he loves the respect he gets when he comes to the building. MVP got great heel heat when his clock ticking music interupted Flair’s promo at the start from NYC, some solid booking there.
MSG gave Flair a great ovation as he left probably knowing it’d be his last match or big one in the Garden.
Very decent and well done all things considered.
I enjoyed this match, Flair went back to basics here and it worked well, solid opener.
2) John “Bradshaw” Layfield vs Y2J Chris Jericho
We get a relatively fun brawl in parts, though mostly dissapointing for some considering it’s a big PPV like the Rumble and the talent in the match. Chris Jericho was a bit rusty though as he had just came back so all is forgiven and understandable.
Even still the crowd cared and there was decent action, but ONCE AGAIN at another event here in 2008 the match is pretty short to get emotionally involved, Jericho deserved better at the time and the ending sucked. MSG wasn’t happy. Plus there was a noticeable botch you can even see on youtube in this match.
Still an OK brawl for the most part because it was partly entertaining. Some alright moves here, pretty decent but nothing more. It actually felt shorter then it was.
Never really understood why this feud would start either, I always thought Jericho should work his way back to a title shot rather then have it straight away, get screwed and THEN go back to mid-card hell.
Either way Chris recieved a nice reaction from the MSG faithful just like he did eight years before from this venue at this event in a much popular time for the company, arguably there peak.
Chris Jericho and JBL both were not entered into the Royal Rumble match which is too bad because they could of helped the star power to that match. JBL gained great heat as he entered MSG of course and the two didn’t wait long to get this one going.
Chris Jericho tied up with Bradshaw in the corner but he was told to back off despite Jericho obvioussly being furious with JBL at this point. JBL gave him a smirk but Jericho cornered him with a ton of rage and John pushed him off while the official told him to back off.
Y2J and JBL stared each other down and tied up yet again and this time JBL went for the ropes rather then the corner and for the third time in a row the ref asked for a break. Bradshaw gave Jericho some hard shots, right hands and then an irish whip to the ropes but Jericho opened up with a flying forearm and right hands before taking down JBL. JBL tossed Jericho to the outside though and Y2J came right back in the ring and took down JBL again. Bradshaw back to his feet missed a clothesline and Jericho locked in the Walls of Jericho but JBL grabbed onto the ropes and then went for a walk.
Chris hit a baseball slide catching JBL on the outside the ring from under the bottom rope. Jericho hit him with shots on the barricade, rammed him back first into the apron and threw him into the steel steps. Jericho rolled JBL back into the ring and was elevated up by JBL when he charged towards him near the ropes and Chris Jericho landed throat first on the top rope. Jericho had some neck problems so nice strategic thinking by JBL. John Bradshaw Layfield gave Chris Jericho a kick and then a hard forerarm shot when he got up near him. JBL choked Jericho on the bottom rope focusing on the injured neck to follow up. All of the sudden with Jericho’s head resting over the bottom rope, JBL inside the ring grabbed both of Chris Jericho’s legs and leaned backwards hitting him throat first in the middle of the rope. Awesome move.
Jericho now had a difficult time breathing and that was the story here as JBL tried to make this brawl somewhat methodical by slowing things down.
JBL more of a power wrestler but still can show a lot of psychology. Jericho chopped back but ran into a sleeper hold from Bradshaw off the side ropes and this weared down Chris Jericho some more, JBL of course has the size advantage. Good stuff by JBL and MSG chanted for Y2J.
Jericho though powered out of it eventually and fired back with a clothesline of his own. Jericho followed it up with some big right hands and then he ran into a big boot by JBL. Bradshaw then threw Chris Jericho shoulder first into the steel ring post by JBL who spotted Jericho drowsy and he took advantage. JBL was beating on Jericho outside the ring and by this point Jericho had been busted open.
Jericho was bloody and JBL kept kicking at the head of him as he became relentless in the attack. He targetted the neck and now after ramming Jericho’s shoulder into the post he kicked away at a bloody Chris Jericho inside the ring as he placed him back in there, and then kicked at him in the corner. Bradshaw with hard right hands, but a bloodied Jericho out of desperation came charging out of the corner with a hard right hand and a forearm.
The botch in this match was editted out of the DVD but the boo’s are left on.
Jericho kicked at JBL on the outside until JBL grabbed Chris Jericho and slammed his bloodied head into the announce table, removed the monitor’s but Jericho cracked JBL with a massive chairshot and the ref rang the bell.
So in the end it was Jericho who was disqualified after hitting JBL with a steel chair at 9:24.
You’ve gotta control those emotions Chris.
I liked JBL’s strategic wrestling here, I could of gone higher but I didn’t like the finish and the match was rather slow, but overall there was still some fairly good material here.
3) Edge (c) (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship
You’ve just got to love SMARK crowds when they go for HEELS. (Of course if its deserved anyway) NYC, Philly, Chicago, LA and other cities in Canada have been known to cheer a lot of the heels. It’s just great television or in this case PPV because of the atmosphere it generates. It’s not that Mysterio’s a bad worker its just Edge can be likeable but he’s also very hateable which makes him such a great heel. Edge wants you to boo him, make no mistake about it but the crowd will go for who is more interesting at the time. That was Edge, make no mistake about it. Blame creative if anyone for Rey’s reaction.
A pretty amazing pace in this one and there were very noticeable “Lets Go Edge” chants before the two even stared down.
I hate Vickie’s whole involvment during this time period as I`ve elluded to in other reviews but that wont factor in on my view on this paticular match and rightfully so.
“Lets go Edge” chanted by MSG.
Edge shoved Rey Mysterio off and then twisted the left arm of Rey bringing the much smaller man down to his knees as Edge used the size and power advantage similar to JBL in the match previous as he bended the fingers back. Rey fought back with shots to Edge, shot from the corner and flipped Edge over. Rey Mysterio had taken Edge down and he needed a moment to re-group. Edge tied up with Rey Mysterio in the middle and Edge with a side headlock takedown and then bounced off the ropes but Rey Mysterio with a droptoe hold. Rey with a hiplock and a nearfall, and Cole just now points out that MSG is cheering for Edge, or most were. Edge looking surprised at Rey Mysterio’s quickness even though it’s as clear as day, perhaps some scouting by Edge beforehand would of been good.
Edge hit some forearm shots into the back of Rey, irishwhipped him but Rey ducked and came off and recieved a kick to the gut by Edge and he threw him under the bottom rope to the outside. Edge with a baseball slide to Rey on the outside. With the referee distracted Hawkins and Ryder aka Edge’s boys went to Rey and before they intended on hurting Rey Mysterio, the ref spotted it. Rey came back ont he apron and this bought him some time, he flipped Edge to the second rope, went for the 619 but it didn’t go through as Edge moved, Rey Mysterio still hit a springboard splash to the outside on top of Edge. Rey Mysterio threw Edge back inside the ring and came off the top with a senton and then got a two as Vickie Guerrero looked worried for Edge. Rey Mysterio hit Edge some chops and then from the corner charged to Edge but he elevated him up, Rey Mysterio with great balance landed on the top but Edge kicked Rey’s legs from the top and Edge hurt his serigcally repaired knee. Awesome psychology by the Rated R Superstar there.
It’s also smart because if Edge takes out Rey’s leg then not only does it point to his injury but it takes away Rey’s quickness. Rey with all his high risk offense is actually a pretty good seller all things considered, not many could pull that off so well.
Rey Mysterio got kicked at by Edge on the outside where he focused on the leg and then he went right back to work on the knee in the middle of the ring. Edge with a halfcrab in the middle of the ring which put more pressure to the injured knee and Rey Mysterio refused to quit here.
Rey kicked off the hold from Edge with his good leg. Rey eventually hit a spinning heel kick to Edge which took a lot out of Rey and Edge landed on the middle rope in hillarious fashion setting up Rey Mysterio for a 619 attempt but Edge bounced off the middle rope and countered with a powerslam which got some cheered and the Champion got a two. Edge did everything he could to twist and bend the knee of Rey and he went back into the halfcrab on Rey Mysterio’s sergically repaired knee and twisted back. A lot of pressure by the Champion to Rey Mysterio and this brought a smile to the face of Vickie Guerrero. Rey battled back and kicked Edge off with his good leg once more and then from the corner was still in a considerable amount of pain layed by the bottom turnbuckle pad on his back. Edge with a kick and then dragged Rey Mysterio to the middle of the ring before posing in front of MSG.
Edge went back to the injured knee, he went to expose it but Rey flipped over and kicked at Edge with his good leg for the third time in the bout and then bounced off Edge and hit a bulldog face first to Edge off the side ropes. This bought Rey Mysterio some time to re-group. Both men got to there feet slowly and then Rey hit a forearm shot and a chop to Edge against the ropes. Rey Mysterio irishwhipped Edge and Edge hit a sunset flip but Rey rolled through and he used his GOOD leg to give Edge a huge shot to the head, a great kick which scored the challenger a nearfall. Edge back to his feet though and sent Rey to the buckle and Rey put his boot up to catch Edge in the face while he was charging towards him, Rey came to Edge rolled up from a powerbomb attempt from Edge and landed on him and got another nearfall, Rey limped on his bad left leg and became frustrated. Rey went up for a high risk move but Edge caught him with a hard shot from the top. Rey hit Edge off and Rey Mysterio with a high risk move now with a bad leg and stomped on his gut with both feet but Edge kicked out after taking all that pressure from the bodyweight of Rey Mysterio. Rey Mysterio hit a hurricanrauna to Edge which brang Edge threw the 2nd rope to the outside. Rey then went to slide outside the ring, using his arms and his upperbody hit a unique DDT to Edge who landed head first on the mat on the outside. Great stuff.
Awesome match thus far.
Rey went for yet another cover but Edge kicked out, yet again. Edge though stopped Rey Mysterio in his tracks and kicked at hit him with a boot to the face. Edge went for a spear, Rey Mysterio ducked out of the way and sent Edge to the middle rope with a hurricanrauna and a 619. Rey splashed with a West Coast Pop and while Rey was going for the three Vickie Guerrero pulled him off and Rey went for the 619 again and hit both Vickie and Edge with it as she tried to interfere. Rey springboarded off the top rope and Edge speared him in mid-air, awesome.
Such a great pace, fast action all the time it was almost hard to keep up at times. Mysterio hit his moves few and far between as he was about to get injured and Edge looked more superior as booked. He’s had a lot of credibility in the past few years, I’ll say it again….Turning heel was the best thing for his career.
In the end of this awesome match, Edge pinned Rey Mysterio after a Spear in mid-air at 12:34 after distraction from Vickie just before this. Great ending as Edge retains the world title as most people pop.
Great match, nothing but quality here.
This was the match of the night in my estimation.
I really enjoyed the innovative feel of a lot of the offense, (DDT on the floor from Rey to Edge, spear in mid-air from Edge to Rey) the crowd interaction, the finish spot with Vickie and the leg work from Edge to Rey was all well done.
4) Randy Orton (c) vs Jeff Hardy for the WWE Championship
I don’t know if many people actually thought Jeff Hardy was actually going to become WWE champion at the time, I didn’t. It would help Orton to have a successful title defense and that is what he had until he lost the title eventually to Triple H at Backlash 08.
Jeff has his own personal problems I wont get into that might be holding him back and he has been accused of being a spotmonkey at times and while that was usually the case, but it seems since his come back he’s been pretty impressive in the ring. As of this writing (early 2009) he has won the WWE Title on the Smackdown brand and that was a little shocking to see.
Jeff worked a great match here with Randy Orton. They had a lot of time to work with as it was the last match before the Royal Rumble and usually that match gets a decent amount of time to put on a great match before it because there were so few matches on this card.
Back and forth action here, Jeff takes his high risk moves while Orton does a lot of counters and rest holds and tries to wear down Jeff to stop his high flying attack. Was logical and something that had been done before on the night in the last match in paticular.
The first match between the IC Champion and a WWE Champion at the Royal Rumble. I can’t believe Jim Ross actually pointed out in this match that The Ultimate Warrior was one of only two men to hold both straps at the same time, HHH was the other. Jeff had the chance to be the third person on this night.
Orton had a bit of fans on the night as well as Edge did in the match before but most in attendance were marks for Hardy.
Jeff Hardy stood toe to toe with Orton and the Hardy chants were out and loud.
Both men tied up and the Lets go Hardy chants switched with Lets go Hardy in the crowd.
Orton got Hardy to the side ropes and choked him out. Jeff slapped Orton, hit a side headlock and a shoulder block into a side headlock takedown. Jeff with a nearfall on top of Orton and stuck the headlock on Randy Orton which was different from his usual fast pace but this was a feeling out stage. Orton though countered it into a head scissors catching Jeff’s head, both men roll out, Hardy caught Orton with an inverted atmoic drop and a quick baseball slide which got him a nearfall. Orton grabbed Jeff by the hair and slammed him head first into the top turnbuckle. Orton all of the sudden was confident yelling “how’s your boy now!?” to the MSG faithful. Jeff Hardy sprung off the ropes and hit Orton with a clothesline taking him over the top rope.
Jeff Hardy then hit a dropkick to Orton which sent him head first to the security wall. Fans chanted for Jeff Hardy. Amazing that Randy’s head seemed alright afterwards, it really was a big bump. Jeff Hardy slingshotted over the top rope and fell on Orton with suicide like offense according to JR. Throwing caution to the wind is Jeff Hardy’s gameplan, Orton took his title belt but Jeff Hardy caught him with right hands and slammed him head first on the table and threw him back in the ring. Jeff Hardy went to go back inside the ring and Orton countered with a high risk move of his own and caught him with an amazing dropkick in mid-air as Jeff was spring boarding up at the same time Orton had kicked him to the outside off the apron. Orton then walked around confident after surviving the crash into the security wall and then dropkicked Jeff in unique fashion.
Randy Orton then with a Suplex outside of the ring, rolled Jeff Hardy back inside the ring and scored a nearfall. Orton stomped on the knee of Jeff Hardy and then slapped his hands as if to say his work here was just a matter of time. Orton stomped on Hardy as he held his mid-section, the crowd meanwhile kept up with the “Lets go Hardy” chants. Randy Orton drove his knee into Jeff’s face. Orton with a lateral press and then Hardy kicked out and tried to reach for the ropes as Orton walked slowly around the ring as if he was Jason from Friday the Thirteenth chasing a teenaged girl. Hmmm, by the looks of Hardy we’re not far off there.
Jeff Hardy eventually was able to throw Orton by the head over the top rope after a sequence of him sling shotting off both ends of the ropes. Jeff with another high risk move and leaped off the apron with a clothesline. Jeff had apparently hurt his shoulder a bit with that leap and he threw Orton back inside the ring. Jeff covered Orton and got a two count, Jeff sent Orton to the corner turnbuckle and when Jeff Hardy went for a spear he caught the steel ring post hurting the shoulder some more. Orton grabbed Jeff and then went for a nearfall out of instinct but was surprised to find out he only got a two count. Orton put Jeff in a grapevine and kept the chokehold onto Jeff Hardy with a reverse chinlock while in the grapevine.
MSG continued to be red-hot for this match which helped its presentation. Orton then to his feet with a side headlock as Jeff elbowed Orton off of him, Jeff went off the ropes for leverage but Orton countered it with a powerslam and Jeff kicked out at two. Orton back into the chinlock by Orton to wear the speedy Hardy down.
Jeff elbowed out of the move and then hit a clothesline on Orton and now both men were down, this spot bought Jeff Hardy some time. Jeff Hardy tried to quicken the pace and then hit a corkscrew moonsault from the top, a whisper in the wind which got him a long two count according to Ross.
Jeff Hardy with a big kick, and both feet to the sternum of Orton in the corner. Jeff went to the top and attempted his Swanton Bomb but Orton rolled the outside ring apron. Jeff Hardy flew off the top with a dropkick to Orton who bounced off the apron into the barricade. Jeff Hardy then off the top turnbuckle hit a moonsault to Randy Orton, yet another high risk move in this match. Jeff threw Orton back in the ring with the count just at eight. Jeff Hardy asked MSG for support as he was about to hit Randy Orton with something as Orton slowly made it to his feet. Jeff Hardy went for a Twist of Fate and Orton countered with an RKO out of no where! Awesome.
So in the end Orton pinned Hardy after reversing a Twist of Fate attempt into an RKO at 14:06 to retain the WWE Title. Orton usually wins matches in an in interesting way that I fan of.
Very good wrestling match here, entertaining stuff! Just not quite as good as the WHC match on the night.
High risk move, after high risk move with some solid action inbetween, a great match.
5) Main Event- The 2008 WWE Royal Rumble Match
The Royal Rumble.
It`s traditionally one of my favourite matches ever, well ACTUALLY it IS my favourite match ever, can you beat a RR match? It’s always one of the top contenders for match of the year unless its say 1993, 1995 or 1999, ugh.
First off lets take a look at this years roster in order of the entry they came in.
01 The Undertaker
02 Shawn Michaels
03 Santino Marella
04 The Great Khali
05 Hardcore Holly
06 John Morrison
07 Tommy Dreamer
10 Chuck Palumbo
11 Jamie Noble
12 CM Punk
13 Cody Rhodes
16 Miz The Miz
17 Shelton Benjamin
18 Jimmy Snuka
19 Roddy Piper
22 Mick Foley
23 Mr. Kennedy
24 Big Daddy V
25 Mark Henry
26 Chavo Guerrero
28 Elijah Burke
29 Triple H
30 John Cena (surprise entrant)
Just so were clear, Hornswoggle spent most of the match under the ring. After he entered the ring, Big Daddy V and Henry started to double team him. Finlay, who was the next scheduled entrant, came out early, attacked them both with his shillelagh and was immediately disqualified. He left the ring with Hornswoggle, who left through the ropes and never returned.
Onto the Rumble and Buffer making it seem pretty HUGE which was a great move by Vince and company to bring him in.
We start this edition in interesting fashion with the two top stars in the company (arguably) and these two had the big climax at the last year so this was a great way to kick off the 08 Rumble from the Garden. The Undertaker’s gong went off and hearing Buffer say “The Undertaaaaaakkeeeerrrrrr” while he’s walking to the ring is a little strange but it works. What didn’t work was Buffer saying “The Heartbreaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak Kidddddd”. Anyway, unique WWE irony Ross says as Shawn and Taker start this Rumble match out after having a classic climax to the Rumble match years previous.
This is the third time Shawn Michaels has started a Rumble match (95, 03, 08) and both guys got it on with Shawn hitting chops on The Undertaker in the corner and then he irishwhipped Shawn to the corner and he flipped up, ran right into Taker and then he grabbed him by the throat. Taker with a series of solid righthands to Shawn Michaels in the corner of the ring. Undertaker irishwhipped HBK to the corner again and this was smart seeing as Shawn bounced up whenever he did this, making it easy for Taker to elevate Shawn up and over. Michaels avoided contact from Taker and then got him to the apron, as he bounced off the ropes and attempted to go into Taker he grabbed him by the throat and then inside the ring hit him with a big boot.
Santino Marella was the third entrant. They usually do a cocky heel in this THIRD spot through the years I’ve noticed. Santino posed a bit and walked right into a Sweet Chin Music from HBK and The Undertaker threw him over the top and out, Shawn then tried to throw out Taker from behind when he wasn’t looking but The Undertaker got Shawn with an elbow shot. The Undertaker twisted the arm of Michaels and then went to the top for OLD SCHOOL but Shawn reversed it with a veteran like move to use The Undertaker’s own momentum against him and grabbed a hold of his arm to toss Taker from the top to the canvas. Michaels hit some chops to The Undertaker before an atmoic drop and a clothesline.
The Great Khali came out now. Undertaker chokeslammed Shawn on the mat. Khali was actually a former World Champion at this point. Taker unloaded with hard shots on the Punjabi Nightmare, Taker actually threw him out the year before. Khali slammed The Undertaker’s head into the top turnbuckle. “You can’t Wrestle” chanted at Khali as Taker struck back with a couple of right hands. Khali caught Undertaker by the throat off the ropes and Taker grabbed him back. Khali is gigantic, it goes without saying. You really need to see him in person to appreciate it. Khali fell out after Taker pushed him off and he had eliminated him for the second straight year. Taker back on the mat working on HBK the only man left in with him.
Hardcore Holly came out at #5 and Taker sent him to the corner and hit him with a hard clothesline. The Undertaker got some right hands by Holly and then HBK tried to throw out Undertaker, but The Undertaker reversed it and almost had Shawn out but he just hung onto the rope. Holly kicked at Taker stopping him, Shawn came back in the ring and chopped at HBK in the corner.
John Morrison came out to a pretty good ovation and then knocked down Holly. John Morrison went for a guy he is often compared to in Shawn Michaels in the corner of the ring, eventually Shawn got up and threw Morrison over the top but he hung on similar to how Shawn did a decade and a half before this match. Undertaker stomped on Holly in the corner of the ring. Shawn went to the top and landed an elbow to Morrison. Taker worked on Holly in one side of the ring while Shawn tuned up the band but Morrison countered the Sweet Chin Music with a spinning heel kick.
Tommy Dreamer came out to a huge pop for this day in age. Dreamer unloaded rights to Shawn and Taker and clotheslined Morrison. John Morrison got hit by Holly as he slammed his head right into Dreamer’s. Tommy Dreamer’s name was chanted which is very nice to see, often underrated in the wrestling world for what he is willing to do. John Morrison stomped on Holly while Dreamer tried to throw out Taker. Shawn Michaels then tied up with Taker in the corner while Dreamer and Holly tried to throw out John Morrison.
#8 was Batista who obviously came to a huge pop. Batista was a former Rumble Winner and World Champion hit a Spinebuster to Dreamer and a backdrop to Morrison. Batista and Undertaker were about to go at it then Dreamer breaks that off and ends up getting thrown out by Batista, something MSG didn’t like either of. Dave Batista speared John Morrison.
Out next was Hornswoggle. The wrestlers in the ring looked confused and then he hid under the ring, see above for more on that. Holly hit a nice suplex on John Morrison while Taker tried to throw Batista out. Morrison down and Holly backdropped HBK.
Number Ten was Chuck Palumbo. Just before Palumbo came out Shawn almost was thrown out by John Morrison. Palumbo gave Shawn some chops. Undertaker almost threw out John Morrison and he hung on, JR elluded to John Morrison doing this a few times due to his greast agility and flexibility. Hardcore Holly tried to throw out Batista in the corner of the ring and Morrison had a head scissors on HBK on the top rope in unique fashion.
Jamie Noble came out now to go for Palumbo who he was feuding with at the time. Noble kicked on Palumbo in the corner of the ring. Jamie Noble even got his name chanted and Palumbo kicked him in the abdomen which was taped up and the kick did him in and he was gone from the ring now which got some boo’s from the crowd.
Six men in the ring, the seventh was under the ring in Hornswoggle and out comes #12 who is none other then CM Punk who gets a great reaction. He was a favourite in this match as well but still a bit of a long shot, his presence got a great ovation. John Morrison again held on before he had entered. CM Punk had an interaction with Taker and then Morrison. Morrison almost threw out Shawn, the two went back and forth with this type of deal in this Rumble match. John Morrison set up CM Punk for a back breaker but CM Punk reversed it. CM Punk threw out Palumbo who irignally held on but eventually got him out. CM Punk choked out Shawn Michaels on the bottom rope.
Cody Rhodes made his Rumble debut and almost had thrown out CM Punk which would not have sat well with MSG to say the least. Rhodes had Morrison up on the top but couldn’t throw him out. CM Punk had Morrison on the top turnbuckle but couldn’t throw him out. Rhodes hit a dropkick to The Undertaker. Michaels and Taker both reaching near the twenty minute mark of the match. Batista, HBK, Taker, CM Punk werre the big names in the Rumble right now while John Morrison was having a good run.
Out came a big name in Umaga. Umaga hit a Samoan Spike to Holly and he was thrown out. Batista attacked Umaga in the corner previewing there dissapointing Wrestlemania 24 match.
The halfway entrant at #15 was Snitsky. Just don’t blame him for drawing this number, it’s not his fault. Bad joke but lets not forget Snitsky had arguably and what I consider to be the greatest elimination in Rumble history on Paul London in 2005. He’s fired now but Snitsky was the babykiller (by far his best gimmick) when he had earlier eliminated London that year. Ross said he’d like to see Snitsky hook up with Umaga ; I wouldn’t no matter how you take that. Snitsky almost thrown out by Rhodes.
Miz who was John Morrison’s partner came out to help his partner as they both double teamed CM Punk. Snitsky worked on Cody Rhodes in the corner. Shawn Michaels and Batista went at it in another side of the ring. Undertaker almost threw out Umaga but he hung on.
Shelton Benjamin came to the ring and with Miz and Morrison both on the top rope he jumped up and and in an awesome spot locked both Morrison and Miz after a vertical leap. HBK hit a superkick on Shelton which had eliminated him. Joey Styles with one of his best lines ever. “Well, I guess there is some Stoppin Shelton Benjamin now!”
Rumble seemed to drag a bit here but out comes the Superfly who has a long history in this company and this building especially. Snuka gave shots to Shawn and it was only believable because of how long he had been in the ring for to this point.
The Hot Rod came out which is one of my favourite moments of this Rumble match if not my very favourite. HBK came in after Taker, Noble came in after Palumbo and now Piper came in after Snuka, who’s drawing these RANDOM numbers? Piper went right for Snuka in the middle of the ring and the action stopped in the ring, at least in the middle of it so they could have the spotlight for a bit. Piper’s Pit 2008.
#20 was Kane. Kane made short work of Piper and Snuka as he threw them both out. Kane with an uppercut to Michaels and then he chokeslammed Miz. Kane has been in every Rumble since 1999, he should of been in the 1998 Rumble it would of made that match better, there was no reason for him NOT TO really. Miz and CM Punk went at it. Taker went for a potential chokeslam to Kane but he changed it at the last second and caught HBK and got a bad one off on Michaels. I think Michaels thought, “Hey if the camera’s aren’t on me I’m not taking the bump” as the buzzer went off just as Taker was about to hit the chokeslam.
Carlito out next and countered a double team attempt and hit a backstabber on CM Punk. Cody Rhodes hit a running bulldog on Carlito, two 2nd generations stars in that exchange as the Rumble was starting to fill up.
Mick Foley came out to an amazing ovation. Well in this building so he should, just eight years earlier he had one of the best matches of all time with HHH in this venue at this very event as Cactus Jack. Loud “Foley” chants. Mick Foley only appeared in two Royal Rumble’s after 1998 when he appeared three times as three different characters, in 2004 when he went straight for Orton and this one here in 2008. Time will tell if he’ll ever be in another but it is unlikely now I would think.
Kennedy came out to a pretty good ovation and now with the Rumble filled up pretty good Kennedy just added to the environment. Kennedy stomped on Rhodes in the corner and drove his boot straight to his face. Kennedy planted Miz face first then CM Punk. Taker and Michaels just passed the thirty minute mark in the Rumble match. Carlito stomped on HBK in the corner. Taker caught Kennedy by the throat as he sat up and hit a powerful chokeslam on the Deadman in the ring! Taker hit a big splash to Snitsky and Umaga in the corner and then delivered a shot to CM Punk.
Big Vis out. Taker just shoved Snitsky out of the ring, and HBK out of no where superkicked Taker out. Michaels looked at Taker almost to say “Hey, it’s payback” and with his back turned Kennedy eliminated him straight after. Two shockers there, but the biggest shock of the night was yet to come. Taker planted Snitsky threw a table on the outside. Cody Rhodes and Kennedy almost eliminated each other on the apron.
Mark Henry came out at #25. Hornswoggle came from under the ring to help eliminate the Miz and he went back under the ring. Big Daddy V almost tried to get out Kennedy and John Morrison who was the most impressive to this point.
Chavo Guerrero the reigning ECW champion came out now and went straight for CM Punk in the center of the ring. Carlito hit an elbow to Henry. Kane with a big boot to Morrison off the apron and he was finally out, and John Morrison stayed in the ring since #6. Good stuff by him in this one, it seems every year there is at least one. Kane hit a boot to Kennedy. Hornswoggle came up into the ring and was inbetween Henry and Big Daddy V.
Finlay ran before the buzzer rung and protected Hornswoggle by hitting Henry and Big Daddy V. Finlay had to then leave to the back as he was taken out of the Rumble match. Big Daddy V held Kane back while Kennedy went for him. Foley recieved shots from Umaga.
Elijah Burke came out and gavbe Chavo a big right hand. Batista was the longest person in the ring at this point now that Shawn, Taker and John Morrison were gone. A Samoan Spike temporarily had Batista by the ring on the outside but he went under the ropes.
#29 was Triple H who was a huge favourite to win at the time. HHH threw out Cody Rhodes. Hunter gave Vis some shots. HHH with a facebuster to Vis. HHH then threw out Big Daddy V, then hit Umaga with a facebuster. The fans popped when Foley and HHH went at it as MSG has a good memory. HHH then threw out both Mick Foley and Shelton Benjamin, I guess nothing changes. Now we only had one last entrant but the WWE did a good job at building the eventual winner as either being Batista or Triple H with the backstage segment earlier in the night, and the build up going in and especially now since Taker and Shawn weren’t in it. CM Punk was there as well but most felt Batista or HHH would of been a safer bet at this point. Triple H went right back for Umaga now that Foley was gone and he slammed his head into the top buckle. Kennedy, Kane, Henry, Umaga, Carlito, Chavo, HHH were left in the ring. HHH hit a Pedigree on Umaga in the center of the ring.
But wait, there’s a surprise entrant at #30 that would be pretty groundbreaking, especially for today. It was rumored Cena wouldn’t be back until much later but MSG was in for a shocker.
It’s JOHN CENA!
Like him or hate him it was a good shock for today when hardly anything is considered shocking.
Cena hit Henry with a shoulder block and threw out Carlito, Chavo and then Henry. Pretty impressive for a guy off the injured list.
HHH hit a spinebuster to Cena after a series of shots back and forth between the two and then Umaga hit a slap to HHH. Batista came in and speared Umaga, eliminated Kennedy and then Umaga. Kane grabbed Batista and Kane by the throat and then Tista and HHH threw out Kane.
Down to three.
Batista, Cena, Triple H.
Cena went for Batista but then Tista knocked down Triple H. Cena and HHH irishwhipped Batista but he bounced off the ropes with a double clothesline. Batista spinebustered Cena and then walked into a pedigree attempt and he countered it into a Spinebuster slam! Batista had both Hunter and Cena both on the canvas and measured them as they got to there feet. Batista went for a Batista Bomb to Cena but he backdropped him.
HHH hit a running clothesline to Batista! Down to the final two. HHH and Cena and the place exploded.
Triple H pointed to the Wrestlemania sign. Everyone goes to Wrestlemania anyway (which ultimately takes the Prestige away from the Rumble match) but the winner is gauranteed I guess, so that`s what the two were fighting for.
HHH the favourite before the Rumble, once Cena`s music hit then people thought Cena was the favourite. The “Boo-Yeah“ exchange went back and forth between Cena and HHH. Cena hit the sidewalk slam and the five knuckle shuffle unfortunately.
Double impact when the two run into each other with a double clothesline.
It seems like the WWE is going for a longer climax in Rumble matches. Cena got HHH up in an F-U attempt over the top but HHH countered by placing his boots back on the mat and hitting a DDT to John Cena. Triple H got up and grabbed a hold of Cena and lifted him up trying to throw him out and Cena grabbed onto the top rope. Cena bounced back and then picked up HHH for an F-U but HHH counteres into a Pedigree attempt, Cena counters BACK into an F-U and throws him out!
Buffer announced Cena as the winner, and Cena eventually won by reversing a Pedigree attempt into an FU over the top rope at 51:38 to win the Rumble
I found bits of the match slower but this was a petty decent Rumble Match overall, better then I remembered it on this viewing, it isn’t one of the worst but it definitely wasn’t one of the best.
Still had its moments thanks to some nostalgia, a big return and the performance of Morrison.
Not BAD for a Rumble match. Obvioussly I could see this match being one of those different strokes for different folks type deal but this one outside a few things never clicked for me.
Pretty enjoyable and nothing more, hard to screw up the Rumble match, they didn`t do that here but they didn`t exactly go out of there way to make it absolutely AMAZING either. It was good for what it was.
Final Rating for WWE Royal Rumble 2008 = 7/10
This show might not have been so good if it wasn`t from Madison Square Garden. The way they reacted in the Edge-Rey match, how energetic they were through Orton-Hardy, the Flair stuff in the beginning, and there chants and reactions during the Rumble match were great with Foley and HHH`s interaction it definitely wouldn`t of been as special if it wasn`t from the same venue.
So by saying all that it`s clear they booked the show well for where they were. Three matches at three stars or over, an event as fun as the Rumble, and two other matches over two stars /makes this Rumble at least a 7 out of 10 meaning. Pick it up if you can, its borderline GREAT.
Every match on this card was of a high standard. 1 or 2 slow moments on the whole show, but every PPV has that. John Cena’s surprise return made the royal rumble match just that little bit more exciting.
The best rumble event since 2001