Royal Rumble 2007
Date: January 28, 2007
Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Commentators: JBL, Michael Cole, Tazz, Jerry Lawler, Joey Styles, Jim Ross
Well, there are two main differences here. First off is ECW is back. They’re still complete and utter crap as they tried to be a legit place and not AAA, so take that for what it’s worth. The other thing is Angle is gone, having went to TNA where he still is today in a SHOCKER. That’s not hyperbole either as it legitimately was a stunning turn of events. This was the first real step for TNA to show that they were legit and it’s still an awesome moment to this day.
As for the people still on Vince’s payroll, we have Batista vs. Kennedy and Cena vs. Umaga in a last man standing match, both of which are of course for the titles. If nothing else these are perfect Rumble title matches so let’s get to this show. Also, something historic happens here which I’ll get to later on.
The intro is the standard thing about the title matches and the Rumble, with the main focus being on the Rumble and Cena. That’s fine. They do however mess up and say that the Road to Mania has been around for 20 years now. No it hasn’t, as the Mania tie in didn’t become official until 93. Look back at the first two shows: Duggan won, and wound up losing in the first round of the tournament.
In 89 Studd won and was a guest referee at Mania. This may be relatively common knowledge, but just in case someone here hasn’t noticed, Vince likes to rewrite history every now and then. This is being billed as the most star studded Rumble in history. I haven’t looked at the entrants but I’m guessing that’s not true given some of the shows I’ve seen. Oh and the ECW guys are Extremists here.
Hardys vs. MNM
Melina is amazing looking to say the least. I know I often say that there’s no real point to this feud, but in this case there really isn’t much of one. MNM had broken up as the Hardys had reunited but rather than as a team they’re more like two singles guys teaming, which I usually hate but the history together makes it ok.
The Hardys were on a Survivor Series team together so they restarted the team and for the awful December 2 Dismember show (we’ll get to that someday) they threw out an open challenge which MNM accepted. This was supposed to be a one night reunion so the next month when they teamed up again in a 4 team TLC match, Mercury took one of the sickest bumps ever which was completely by accident.
Paul London did the seesaw thing with a ladder where he jumped on one side to launch the other up and the corner slammed into Mercury’s face and completely shattered his nose and part of his eye. It looked awful and he’s still got a protective mask on. Jeff is the IC Champion here. Oh and they’re the Hardys, not the Hardy Boys. You can really see the strides Nitro (Morrison) has made here and it’s impressive. Apparently Matt has a dislocated jaw.
They actually bring up a decent point here as they say that since Matt has a bad jaw, he hasn’t been able to eat solid food and might not have his peak energy. For once, that works. Jeff’s pop is epic. The beauty of the way the Hardys fight is that even if they botch the heck out of most of what they do, it fits their style and it could be believable that they meant to do that. Melina is letting loose those screams which I actually like.
Ross says he hasn’t made a lot of women scream. I’ll leave that one up to you guys. Jeff is so spotty that it’s insane. I usually don’t notice it, but DANG he’s bad here. This match feels like they were told to go out there and have an epic tag match rather than just having one and that’s not a good thing. MNM is ok, but at the same time this match is just sloppy and that’s hurting it a lot.
The crowd is about half into this but at the same time they’re not into it if that makes sense. Ross mentions that this is a one fall match to open the show. Why don’t they have more 2/3 falls matches? Those can be fun when they’re done right but you never see them again.
Matt gets the hot tag to start completely dominating the match. The usual double finisher ends it which was really quite lackluster. Oh and apparently Matt is on Smackdown and Jeff is on Raw, completely going against the theory of the freaking brand split as it comes closer and closer to dying every year.
Rating: B-. This just wasn’t that good. I like that they were trying to have a big time tag match, but these teams just weren’t clicking. It was FAR better at December 2 Dismember, but I think here that they were trying to top that match which was just a bad idea. This match was all kinds of sloppy and the ending wasn’t anything special. This was ok at its best and too long at its worst.
We go to the back where Teddy Long and Coach are running the drawing and Kelly is there barely dressed. Edge shows up, leading to him calling Coach Coacher and Coach calling Edge Edger. Take me now. Kelly was still an exhibitionist at the time and loved to tell everyone that. Rated RKO were the tag champions here so Orton shows up. Let the gay jokes begin. King Booker shows up to make fun of them as this is just rather stupid and unfunny.
Ad for the All Grown Up Wrestlemania, which was a campaign I actually liked for a change.
Thanks to a band we’ve never heard of for a song that has no bearing on the show and won’t be heard again.
We recap Test vs. Lashley, which more or less consisted of Test “dominating” ECW and wanting a title match because of it. There was a triple threat with RVD in there somewhere too that meant nothing at all. Test is apparently an impact player.
ECW Title: Test vs. Bobby Lashley
Take a wild guess as to how this is going to go. Just take a guess. Test was a guy that Vince kept trying to push but it never worked. That might have had something to do with Test having all the momentum in the world and Vince pushing Big Show instead back in 99 when Austin left. Oh yeah Big Show is gone now too. Lashley was another guy that Vince was seemingly ready to pull the trigger on but never got to do so which kind of sucks.
Lashley does the Lesnar entrance where he jumps to the apron and the pyro goes off. That would be more impressive if X-Pac wasn’t the first guy to do it often. There’s no big match feeling here at all. This is as basic of a match as you could imagine. It’s like they were reading a book about how to have a power vs. power match.
Lashley dominates for awhile, Test sends him into the post, Lashley gets a short comeback, Test hits the big boot and Lashley kicks out, so Test walks out. Seriously, that’s the entire 8 minute match.
Rating: D-. What in the heck was the point of this? What was the point of ECW as a whole back then? When did we reach the point where ECW had a back then? Anyway, this was really weak as there was just no point to this whatsoever and the match completely failed. Lashley wasn’t that solid yet and Test didn’t help matters in the slightest. This didn’t go well at all and it showed badly here. Horrible match with a stupid finish.
Cena is in the back getting looked at by the doctor. Umaga injured his ribs the Monday before. Vince comes in and says that Cena won’t be able to forfeit as Cena can’t see him. I really hate Vince at times.
No Way Out promo. My goodness that was an AWFUL show.
We recap Kennedy vs. Batista. The idea here is that Kennedy has beaten 6 world champions in a year, so he’s getting a title shot here. Kennedy won a Beat the Clock Sprint to get the shot. I’ve always liked that idea, at least to an extent. I think Kennedy stole Norcal’s shirt.
Smackdown World Title: Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy
Kennedy cuts a promo before the match saying exactly what you would expect him to say. Kennedy had no official move yet so he’s unlikely to win. I think it was a neckbreaker or a DDT or something like that but he changed it every week. JBL keeps trying to offer analysis and keeps yelling at Cole for interrupting him which gets funny. At least it’s not Joey Styles because he would have a black eye from it.
Kennedy uses a weird looking leg lock. Imagine a figure four, but with the guy that’s in it on his stomach. It looked rather awesome. A knee to the leg causes JBL to declare that’s how you win a world title. I thought it was by getting a pin or a submission on a world champion in a title match but what do I know? This is mainly Kennedy working on the knee, which is smart but it’s the safe way to go.
With Kennedy being allegedly the future of the company, shouldn’t he do something that’s a bit more interesting or fresh? Batista makes his comeback, actually selling the knee (PAY ATTENTION TAKER!) and goes for the Bomb. It doesn’t work though as Kennedy shoves him into the referee.
He gets a low blow and the neckbreaker but we have no referee. There’s a very loud and very noticeable Kennedy chant, which thankfully was listened to this year as he would win MITB. However, due to about 1000 injuries nothing would come of it. Batista hits the Batista Bomb for the easy win. JBL freaking out over it is kind of funny.
Rating: B-. This was pretty good for what it was I thought. It wasn’t supposed to be a classic showdown but rather a token title defense for Batista so that he could manage to get something else under his belt and get Kennedy the title shot that he had earned. There’s nothing at all wrong with that and it worked. The match itself wasn’t that great, but the point here wasn’t to have a great match but to make Batista and Kennedy look good and that’s what happened.
Hornswoggle shows up to pick his number. He beats up Coach after getting one. Oh looks it’s Khali and Horny because that joke never gets old. He takes three of them and leaves two, allowing Kelly to make a balls joke and Ron Simmons to show up to validate his existence.
The Marine is on DVD.
Mania promo, set to Ladies and Gentlemen by Saliva. They actually mention that at their concerts. Saliva is in the crowd.
So Umaga had been an unbeatable monster that challenged Cena for the title at New Year’s Revolution but lost so naturally he gets another title match at the Rumble. The idea is that Cena could barely keep Umaga down for three so ten is impossible. Umaga crushed Cena with a splash through a table at Raw. You know, I wonder how you can have more than one last man standing match. Wouldn’t that mean there have been more than one last men standing, which is impossible?
Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Umaga
The end of the video package sounded like Taker’s music for some reason. Ok I’m back now, as Lillian with her hair pulled back and more or less wearing a swimsuit as it’s a top that ties behind her neck and one of those nearly invisible skirts she wears. Lawler says that Umaga reminds him of King Kong. You know, the guy that lost in the end. The start is of course, Cena getting his teeth kicked in by Umaga because he’s injured and can’t breathe.
And you know, because Umaga is a monster and Cena is the second coming of Hogan so naturally he has to be beaten down to get us to the big comeback at the end of the match. This was around three months into Cena’s year long reign that made him the most hated man in wrestling. On a completely unrelated note, Lee, Ricky and I joined the forums about three weeks before this show. Umaga puts the steps into the ring but when Cena lifts them, it’s an amazing feat of strength.
He throws them at the Samoan, but here it looks awful as the camera shows perfectly the Umaga takes it on his hands. When Kane did the same spot a few months ago, it looked and sounded great. This looked like them trying to replicate it and failing miserably. We get a bearhug, which at least makes sense here. The fans want tables. I could go for a nice lawn chair actually.
The steps are put up in the corner and Umaga does the hip ramming but misses which would actually hurt. That and a step shot gets a 7. The announcers are completely pro Cena here and aren’t even trying to be diplomatic. The formula here is Cena gets beaten up, Umaga dominates, Cena hits a big move to draw even then Umaga puts him down again. The genius that is Cena figures that the Five Knuckle Shuffle is better than slamming Umaga on the steps.
He goes for an FU but in a SICK looking spot, Umaga falls forward and Cena’s head apparently slams into the steps being crushed by Umaga’s fatness. That’s just as painful looking. On a second look it might have landed on the part of the steps with nothing there but still it looked great. That gets 9 and also a LOUD Cena sucks chant. After taking another beating, Cena hulks up but takes a Samoan Drop to put him back down. I really hate the Spike.
It was just freaking stupid on so many levels that it’s unreal. Seriously, look at Umaga and the stuff he does, and then his finishing move is a thumb to the neck. That’s just freaking DUMB. Ross calls Umaga Youmaga, so maybe that’s where Regal got that from. He hits the post so Cena nails him with a monitor as Umaga decides to take a nap there I guess.
Cena is bleeding from the step crushing by the way. We hit the floor so Cena hits post. The no selling by Umaga is getting a bit annoying but it’s quite bearable. At least they have their stereotypes right here as nothing is hurting his head. With Cena draped over the announce tables, Umaga gets a running start and runs down the tables to go for a splash on Cena which of course misses.
I’m glad as if Cena had gotten up from that it would have been completely ridiculous. That gets a LONG 9 which the fans boo the heck out of. For some reason Lawler thinks you have to be in the ring to answer the ten, which is just stupid but it’s Lawler so it’s expected. Estrada gets some metal thing and takes the ring apart to hand Umaga the turnbuckle, as in the part that hooks up to the post. Of course Cena ducks and hits an FU.
Thankfully he’s up before the referee starts counting as it would have been ridiculous if he stayed down. However it gets dumber as after a metal shot puts him down, Cena puts the STFU on Umaga using the ropes to choke him out.
For some reason Umaga completely no sells the first attempt and is up almost immediately after Cena lets go but Cena does it again to keep him down for ten in what I would assume was miscommunication. That’s your lesson for the day kids: it’s ok to take a rope and tie it around a guy’s neck for about 20 seconds until he stops moving and breathing, as long as you keep your title!
Rating: C. This was about as much of a textbook example of a last man standing match as you could have asked for. What I mean by that is that it was about as safe of one as you were going to get. I don’t think anyone bought that Umaga was a legit threat to the belt so take that for what it’s worth.
The match is certainly ok, but it’s little more than that, which I guess is to be expected in something like this. It ended this rivalry though and gave Cena another successful title defense so that makes up for some stuff I suppose. Not bad, but not great at all.
Commercial for Mania.
Flair draws his number.
Lillian is amazing, period. Flair is first, continuing his horrific run of luck for Rumble draws as this is the 3rd time that I can think of where he draws in the first 3 spots. Finlay is number two which is certainly an odd pairing. History is altered again as Flair has now not made it an hour in 1992, despite according to Monsoon making it about 70 minutes that year. We have 90 second intervals here in case you were wondering.
Cole makes it sound like this is for the title. It’s not, which is why it’s a bad idea. Kenny Dykstra, who allegedly was a great talent which I never saw, is 3rd. He and Flair were feuding I think. He was a year old when the first Rumble happened. That’s just scary as Flair was like a 5 time world champion back then. Finlay is heel here in case you were wondering. Matt Hardy is 4th. Lawler, JBL and Cole are doing the commentary here.
Since there’s no JR they can actually get words in edgewise. JBL says this is the closest thing in wrestling to an endurance contest. Other than you know, the iron man match which is an endurance contest. Edge is 5th. The first five have been Raw Smackdown Raw Smackdown Raw. That’s rather odd. Flair goes through the ropes and goes to get a chair. He and Edge have been feuding for awhile too. Does no one like Flair?
Flair goes out and then Dykstra follows him as Dreamer is 6th. You know what the chant is already. Finlay knocks everyone down and oddly enough is dominating. JBL says Lawler hid for 30 minutes in 1996 because he thought there was a young woman under the ring. That actually made me laugh. Sabu of all people is 7th. Naturally he gets a table which Cole says he’s made a career out of.
That’s either a thinly veiled insult or a general observation. Given that it’s Cole, I’d say it’s the later as I don’t think he’s intelligent enough to know how to thinly veil something. He makes up for it by knowing all of Sabu’s attributes which is actually impressive. Helms is Gregory Helms, still the Cruiserweight Champion that he became last year. We have Finlay, Hardy, Edge, Dreamer, Sabu and Helms at the moment.
We get our second Sabu chant in less than three minutes which makes me shake my head very hard. Helms has been wanting to stop being a cruiserweight at the time. In other words he wants to have a career. Shelton is 9th. They tease about 4 people going through the table but no one goes through it. Lawler points out that if used right it could save someone, which is actually true.
Kane gets us to double digits and of course we hear about all of his records, including most consecutive rumbles and 11 guys thrown out. And yet he can’t get a 4 week world title reign. Dreamer and Sabu are tossed easily, with Sabu being chokeslammed through the table. Well at least they made it quick. CM PUNK is 11th. Good night I hate how far they’ve depushed him lately.
He was supposed to have a twenty minute war with Lashley to end the Elimination Chamber at December 2 Dismember so that both guys would be made at once. Heyman thought that up. Punk was also supposed to make Show tap out in that match in about 5 minutes. Show, who was losing the title to Lashley anyway, had no problem with that and since he would be leaving in two days anyway had no problem putting Punk over really strong on his way out.
Vince of course HATED this and had RVD pin him first, leaving the likes of Test and Hardcore Holly, you know, REAL MAIN EVENT GUYS to battle it out instead. Naturally the fans HATED this as Punk was incredibly over and no one wanted to see Holly and Test in a main event. Vince of course blamed Heyman and he was fired as a result.
Punk would get the ECW Title in October and begin the biggest launch in company history, breaking the record for fastest time to win the Triple Crown, with the ECW title thrown in as a bonus. He has since tapped to Cena in 2 minutes at the Slammies and who knows what else as we’re 9 days from Christmas when this is being written and you’ll read it in about 5 weeks.
King Booker is 12th, about ten months before jumping to TNA. He puts Helms out in about 4 seconds. Super Crazy is 13th. Nothing happens. Jeff Hardy is 14th and hopefully something happens here. The Hardys of course work together and hook a move called the Spin Cycle on Crazy before fighting Kane which I like for some reason that I don’t understand.
Sandman, to a song that sounds nothing like Metallica is 15th. He gets a great cane shot to Jeff and a few others but Booker puts him out in about 15 seconds. Thanks for that. Orton is 16th. He and Edge, the tag champions, put out Crazy and the Hardys inside of a minute. In at 17 is Benoit, in his final Rumble. He’s US Champion here because that’s all he’s ever done. The announcers talk about Punk like he’s a jobber or something.
Oh I forgot he was on ECW at the time. RVD is 18th, just about to be gone from the company. He would be gone I think in June. Kane puts Booker out so he goes back in and puts Kane out. They fought at No Way Out and that was the end of it. They fight for awhile until Viscera comes out at 19th. He’s wearing white pajamas so there we are. Nitro is 20th. Nothing of note is going on here.
More or less it’s just a lot of guys making sure that they get close to being thrown out without actually doing so. Kevin Thorn, the guy that just never got pushed is 21st. Shelton gets insanely close and keeps off the floor which is indeed impressive. Oh for the love of heck Hardcore Holly is 22nd. Still, nothing of note is happening with far too many people in the ring at the moment.
Shawn Michaels, still of DX, is 23rd to blow the roof off the place. With EVERYONE else trying to get Viscera out, Shawn puts Finlay out. A superkick to Viscera allows everyone else to put him out. He puts Shelton out too. They actually imply that Holly could win as Masters is 24th. I’ve actually liked his face turn recently, and not just because I find him attractive. Nitro is out thanks to Benoit.
Oh yeah HHH is out with an injury again and wouldn’t be back until Summerslam. Chavo is 25th as this is somehow only his 3rd Rumble ever. Benoit puts Thorn out. I’ve spelled his name wrong both times I’ve mentioned him in here. MVP is 26th and he’s not quite a medium sized deal yet. He and Kennedy had been feuding with Kane and Taker. Masters is out. Every time Van Dam has been in the Rumble, he’s made the final 6. That’s not bad at all.
Carlito is 27th which is where 4 men have won from which is rather impressive. Shawn hangs on like someone that hangs on rather impressively. Khali is 28th and he’ll likely get rid of a bunch of people. Yep, there goes Benoit and Holly. He would win the world title in July once Edge got hurt…again. He chops the tar out of everyone and Miz is 29th. Good night did he ever come a LONG way since then. He has the same music too. Yeah he’s gone in 5 seconds.
Van Dam is out. Punk is the 5th in a row for him. Carlito is number 6. Chavo makes 7. They say that no one can beat Khali as Shawn beats on him to no avail. I think it’s about as obvious as possible who 30th is here, but it’s going to be awesome no matter what. Cole: “no one can stop Khali.” JBL: “we have our Wrestlemania main event.” Lawler: “if I were number 30 I’d have second thoughts. GONG! All three: “OH YES!” Taker power walks to the ring and it’s on.
Final group: Khali, Taker, Shawn, Orton, Edge, MVP.They slug it out and after a bad clothesline, Khali is out. Somehow Taker looks small next to him, and that’s just scary. Since Khali wiped everyone out, we have 5 people left: MVP, never mind he’s gone so the final four are Shawn, Taker, Edge and Orton. They really are getting good at this final four thing.
Orton pops Taker with a chair and Rated RKO double team him. Edge of course goes for the double cross and this somehow allows Shawn to take an RKO. Taker is bleeding. We get a mini handicap match with quite a few chair shots in there. Ok it’s more like two but whatever. They go for a conchairto but Shawn comes in for the save and the double elimination to set up the old school explosion.
Both guys are down though, and you know what’s coming. Taker sits up, and then Shawn nips up a few seconds later. Lawler says he isn’t sure if this has ever happened before. Oh I give up. We get my favorite Taker spot as he throws Shawn into the corner. The fans are way into this. This turns into of course a great one on one match. They fight on the apron with Taker showing off by barely hanging on much like Shawn would do.
They go back and forth with some great stuff as neither guy can keep the advantage. Shawn gets ahead for awhile but Chine Music is blocked to set up a chokeslam. Tombstone doesn’t work though and Taker gets kicked in the face. He goes for a second one, but Taker moves and puts Shawn out, to become the first guy from the 30th spot to win the thing.
That’s not great odds for the luckiest spot in the match. Taker poses for a LONG time to end the show, which is fine. The fans are uh, not thrilled with Taker putting out Shawn when he was that close to winning, and Shawn was in the main event of Mania anyway so it makes even less sense.
Rating: B. The ending makes this whole thing as they let the old guys go out there and prove that old school is better than the young guys. Having the two mini matches at the end was a nice little touch. There were far too many dead spots in there though which screwed things up.
The lineup ws good though and it was nice to see the ECW guys not really do much as they didn’t need to, other than Punk. This was fine though and the ending was great so that helps a lot. It could have been better, but I liked it.
Overall Rating: B. While nothing here is great, there’s only one bad match in the ECW Title match which at least is short. This kind of sums up the company as a whole around this time: not bad at all but nothing that jumps off the page that’s great. Taker would go on to win his second world title at Mania, ending the run there against Evolution by beating Batista.
When you think about it, you realize how freaking insane the Streak really is. Anyway, this was a pretty good show but not great. If you like the modern WWE you’ll like it and vice versa, so there you go.