Royal Rumble 2008
Date: January 27, 2008
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Commentators: Tazz, Jonathan Coachman, Joey Styles, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Jim Ross
You think that’s enough commentators??? Anyway, this is kind of a forgotten show other than the ending, which to be fair was completely awesome and shocking to say the least. Cena is out with an injury here and likely is going to miss everything until Mania, which sucks but that’s the way it goes. I was just starting to get into WZ around this time so that should give you an idea of what was going on back then.
Anyway, other than that we have Edge vs. Rey and Orton vs. Jeff Hardy, as he begins his year long quest for the title that truly was awesome on a lot of levels. The Rumble and the fact that this is in MSG of course are the reasons to watch the show, so let’s get to it.
The intro is as standard as you could possibly imagine, with the guys getting on a New York subway and then all of the Rumbles being mentioned, especially the big ones. Except for 04 because Benoit doesn’t exist.
Ric Flair vs. MVP
This is a career threatening match, as Flair’s next loss would be his last. This means that it’s about as obvious as the fact that Becca has balloons under her shirt that Flair isn’t losing here. Since we’re in MSG tonight, we have the altered entrance ramp. Also, we have an annoying theme as with every time the name of a guy is shown on screen, it looks like a subway going down the tracks, complete with loud sound effects.
Because you know, that’s what I need over Flair’s music: train sounds. Flair says it’s an honor to wrestle many times in MSG and that he debuted here 32 years ago. That’s just freaking scary. MVP’s music cuts him off. He’s US Champion here. Fans are clearly all over MVP. The age difference here is insane. Flair’s chops are always great for some reason. It makes me smile watching him for some reason.
To put Flair in perspective, when he first won the US Title, MVP was four years old. Flair had debuted before MVP was ALIVE. Think about that. MVP is 37 years old and 35 here, and Flair has been wrestling since before that. That’s insane. MVP actually busts out a crossface chickenwing as I’m happy already. Flair goes for the legs, which if nothing else is the one thing he’s never changed over the years.
MVP gets the Drive By and the easy pin. Wait what? Yeah he got the three, but Flair’s feet were on the ropes. You could hear the crowd just go silent in a split second which was awesome. Flair goes for a quick rollup but gets two. It amazes me that a man in his 60s has this kind of charisma.
It really is impressive. Flair counters the Playmaker into the figure four for the tap out. That’s the thing here: Flair beat MVP clean, which makes MVP, a champion, look weak. That’s not good at all, but I get that Flair’s career ending is FAR bigger than his title reign.
Rating: B-. This was a fine match but like I said I don’t like the booking here. A DQ or count out would have been fine, not a clean submission though. This was really a basic match but it worked fine. It’s nice to see someone get a clean win for once after a decent back and forth match. WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE THIS ONE THOUGH? Ok so I shouldn’t be that mad, but it’s still annoying.
Vince and Horny are in the back where Vince is explaining the history their family has at MSG. He says Horny has to win as Finlay comes in. Horny gets really excited. Back up an erase that. It’s fairly obvious where this was going.
Chris Jericho vs. JBL
JBL had cost Jericho the title at Armageddon because Jericho had bumped into him. That started the feud that led to this. It included an instance where JBL more or less tried to lynch Jericho and hurt his neck and throat badly meaning Jericho couldn’t talk for awhile. This is clearly a long time ago as Jericho has only won the IC Title seven times here. JBL is freshly out of his short retirement where he was a commentator.
Jericho looks odd as heck with the long tights now which is weird as he wore those for the majority of his career. JBL had called out Jericho’s kids and said their dad was a coward to make this personal. Jericho keeps spearing JBL but the punches he throws are pathetic. Jericho works on the back which makes sense here as JBL retired earlier because of a bad back. After a brief skirmish on the floor we go back in and JBL hits the best looking Hot Shot that I’ve ever seen.
JBL has lost a lot of weight at this point and looks a lot better. The fans are rapidly getting on him though. Jericho hits the post on the floor and he’s bleeding but not terribly. This match isn’t that good. It’s like they’re trying to find a story out there and it’s just not working at all.
We’re back on the floor again and Jericho is in control now. As JBL tries to set up a table, Jericho just blasts the tar out of him with a chair to get the DQ. That was an awesome shot. Jericho pulls out a rope and gets back at JBL for trying to hang him. Bradshaw is down for awhile after it. The beating got a great reaction for Jericho though.
Rating: D+. This just wasn’t very good at all and it was a mess most of the time. I get the part about trying to beat up JBL from Jericho’s point of view, but this was just all over the place and didn’t work well period. The ending made a lot of sense as Jericho didn’t care about the win but just hurting JBL, so I’m fine with that, but this just wasn’t very good at all.
Ashley, who is in need of a cheeseburger or something like that is looking for Maria but Santino cuts her off and says she’s not doing Playboy. Yeah she is.
Smackdown World Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Edge
Rey got this shot just by winning a Beat the Clock challenge. I’m really getting tired of people getting shots over things like qualifying matches. There are no personal feuds anymore. Orton vs. HHH got close I suppose but Orton had the title match anyway. Edge is with Vickie here and oddly enough comes out first. This was around the time when there was an attempt at having a stable called La Familia and it just failed completely.
Nothing came of it and it bombed completely. Granted that could be because it was Edge, Hawkins and Ryder, Chavo and Bam Neely with Vickie Guerrero. That’s not exactly Flair, Blanchard and the Andersons. Heck that’s not Flair, Windham, Anderson and Roma. Rey is seen just standing there waiting on his entrance which hurts things a lot. Rey’s mask looks like that of a Trojan. Where does he find these things at?
His Mania masks and outfits could work wonders as a drug education program. “Kids, do drugs and you might wind up as a short Mexican wrestler with tattoos who dresses up like the Joker.” The idea of X hearing that as a kid would explain so much. The roles are messed up here as Rey is booed out of the building and Edge gets a great pop. We hear Edge’s very impressive resume to start us off. Rey botches the heck out of rana and gets booed out of the building again as a result.
Oh man the heat on Rey is great. Actually isn’t that bad? I’m not sure. The referee catches Hawkins and Ryder about to cheat and throws them out. If nothing else Ryder can go and listen to his radio. He needs an education on how to be a lackey so maybe it taught him everything it knows. It’s 315am and I’m tired. Give me a break.
Rey’s leg is hurt. It’s so weird to hear these references to recent events and hear things that you remember. This was almost two years ago. That blows my mind. Edge starts working the knee which again makes sense here so you can’t argue that at least. The referee is good here as he checks on Rey a lot but never gets in the way. That’s a nice little touch in there.
Rey’s quick stuff is just completely insane. Also he’s selling quite well here so I’m rather pleased with him here. In a nice touch, Rey kicks Edge in the face but uses his good leg. That’s very smart as he has enough to stand on the bad one, which while a bit of a stretch is believable, but he gets offense in and stronger offense than he would by using the weak leg. That’s not bad at all.
And there goes the intelligence as he goes up top and does a double stomp. Rey, your lack of intelligence disturbs me. In a cool spot he makes up for it though in a unique spot. With Edge on the floor, Rey gets a hobbling start but slides face forward so his arms go first and grabs Edge by the head for a tornado DDT. That’s very smart because he protects the leg. That my friends is psychology.
Rey hits a splash from the top after the 619 but Vickie pulls the referee out after jumping out of her wheelchair. Rey goes for another 619 but Vickie jumps onto the apron and he kicks her. This of course would put her in the wheelchair for months. Rey stops for a second to go oh crap and when he hits a springboard, Edge hits a great spear for the pin. Vickie gets the big sympathy thing from Edge as she is wheeled out.
Rating: A-. I really liked Rey here and for the life of me I don’t get the crowd. To be fair though, New York is the mother of the smark towns so that is your likely answer. This wasn’t bad at all for a token title defense. It came off pretty well with the knee being a great point to work with. Rey impressed me a lot here with some of his innovations to protect his leg. This came out very well and I liked it a lot, Vickie aside.
Flair comes out of the shower and Kennedy is waiting on him. He says he would love to beat Flair. Shawn makes the unneeded save with a great line of “kids these days”. Shawn makes fun of himself which is always great stuff. Batista shows up as does HHH and it’s awkward. I know this because they tell us it’s awkward. Shawn of course pushes his new shirt.
Orton and Hardy are getting ready.
Maria, looking mostly hot comes out for the first ever HD Kiss Cam. This goes on for like 90 seconds and is just annoying. Ashley comes out for no apparent reason. Good night she’s disturbing looking and gets no reaction. The mention of Maria in Playboy draws out Santino in a JEALOUS RAGE!!! He has someone under a cover too. There’s a jobber joke there somewhere.
I love how Santino makes fun of the New York teams here but earlier this year he did the decent jersey bit. He says the Giants will choke in the Super Bowl. Considering what happened, that’s just hilarious. I’ll give him this: he can draw cheap heat like no one not named Mick Foley. Under the sheet is of course Big Dick Johnson in Patriots apparel. In other news, X is defecting to the Jets. Ashley looks like the pole she belongs on.
Mike Adamle does the intro for the video package, famously calling him Jeff Harvey. We go to the video package, and easily this is one of the best ones the company has ever put together. Instead of just highlighting the three weeks leading up to the match (it was 6-7 here so that helped a lot) they show miniature bios of Jeff and Randy and their roads to getting here, with Jeff’s set to Rooftops by the Lost Prophets and since that’s one of my favorite songs it helps a lot.
They then have a thing where they jump back and forth between two segments on Raw: Randy punting Matt while Jeff is in the ring and Jeff’s INSANE dive onto Orton off the Raw set that was a legit scary thing. The problem was simple though. As Norcal put it after that, “Man, is Jeff gonna jump off the roof at the Rumble?” That summed it up right there: how could Jeff top this? Either way, this has me way into the match that I know the ending to and took place nearly two years ago. That’s very impressive.
Raw World Title: Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
The key to this whole match is simple: Jeff could win. That was the whole thing anyone could talk about on WZ leading up to this: Jeff could win. Jeff is IC Champion here. Orton doesn’t hear voices yet. We get the big match intros which work well here. There’s no crowd confusion here which is a plus. They do the stupid bell ringing twice thing so in other words the match isn’t going on right now but whatever.
It’s a really basic thing to start but Orton is playing to the crowd really well now that he’s in control. Jeff gets a great baseball slide and Orton hits the barrier and his head looks like it’s not attached. That looks awesome. Ross is WAY too excited over this match. Orton tries to leave with the belt as he draws great heel heat. He’s a lot better here than he usually is.
In an unintentional great visual, the belt is on the ground and Jeff is down stretching his arms out and he can’t reach it. I don’t think he knew it was there but it looked great. Orton busts out the Orton Stomp just to piss me off a bit. It’s an old Ronnie Garvin move so no wonder it annoys me.Orton’s offense has been kind of all over the place and there’s been very little flow to this.
It’s been more or less a long brawl, although to be fair we’re 8 minutes in which from what I’ve seen is about half of the match so there’s time left. And just as I say that Jeff makes a comeback and we hit the floor again. Back in the ring, Jeff takes a GREAT shoulder post shot. That might have been the best I’ve ever seen as he freaking dives for it. This just isn’t that interesting of a match.
I think the problem simply is that the buildup was so awesome and then at the end of the day, it’s going to be a Randy Orton match which means it’s likely not going to be that good. Jeff comes back with an awesome looking Whisper in the Wind, which is my favorite Hardy move. It more or less ended with his leg slamming into Orton’s head so it almost looked like it ended with a Fameasser or a leg drop.
Granted it was completely by accident but whatever. Orton gets out of the way of the Swanton a bit later but gets sent to the floor. Jeff completely misses a top rope moonsault that at least they cover up with a quick camera cut.
Jeff more or less landed next to Orton which they of course show on a replay because the camera people are freaking stupid at times. And we go back in and Orton counters a Twist of Fate into the RKO to end it. I get that the move is supposed to come out of nowhere, but that ending came out of nowhere and not in the cool exciting way but in the that felt like it was bad way.
Rating: C-. The problem here like I said earlier is the hype. The hype here was off the charts and they simply weren’t going to be able to live up to it no matter what. That’s where this match lost it and that can’t be blamed on Orton and Hardy. That being said, this just was kind of a mess.
It’s not awful, but it’s a letdown and just not very good. Hardy wasn’t ready yet, but this was a good test for him. He would chase the title all year (minus the three month suspension for being an idiot and getting high) before winning it in a SHOCKER at Armageddon.
They actually have Michael Buffer doing the ring announcing. That’s awesome. He just sounds right doing this to say the least. Taker is number one and Michaels is number two, because it’s completely realistic to think that two guys that were numbers the last two last year would be numbers one and two this year. Buffer messes up his name though. He says it right but he sounds like there should be something coming after it.
They say a few people have come in at number one and won the match but they don’t say who, obviously due to the suckitude of Rey’s win. That’s all it could be right? We’re into minute number three of Taker’s entrance at this point. BIG old pop for Shawn. Well we know they’re not going out first. Did I mention all 6 guys are calling the Rumble this year? Yes because we need two guys to scream about everything, two analysts that aren’t that good and two idiots.
Santino is number three because two Hall of Famers aren’t good enough and we need comedy. Shawn kicks him in the face and Taker dumps him out. Well at least it was the right decision. Intervals are 90 seconds this year. Shawn counters Old School because no one has ever done that before. Khali is number four to a groan. Taker jumps him as the announcers point out how he used to knock Taker around, yet neglects to mention that Taker put him out with relative ease last year.
The smart crowd of course goes into the You Can’t Wrestle chant. Taker puts him out in about a minute for the second year in a row. Hardcore Holly, who is a tag champion here along with Cody Rhodes, is number five. It’s an even numbered year so it’s time to push him again. John Morrison, just starting to get over as a tag wrestler here, is number 6. Shawn and Morrison need to be given 20 minutes one day to just tear the house down.
Dreamer, who asked for his release today, is number 7. These intervals are WAY shorter than 90 seconds. Batista is in maybe a minute later. Taker and Batista have the big showdown that lasts just a few seconds before Dreamer goes after Batista and gets thrown out. They reference the clocks going fast as Horny is 9th. Oh screw it. He goes under the ring as Batista spears Taker.
We’ve got Holly, Horny, Morrison, Shawn, Batista and Taker in there. Ok, that might have been 45 seconds this time. Chuck the stupid biker Palumbo is 10th. It was another vain attempt to make him mean a thing and it failed completely. He’s just turned heel and no one cared in the slightest. He was feuding with Noble of all people and couldn’t beat him. That’s saying a lot.
Taker throws Morrison but he makes a nice save to stay in. Amazingly, Noble is 11th, just after his rival Palumbo. He’s gone in about thirty seconds thanks to Chucky. Punk, who would win the world title in the summer, is number 12. He just lost the ECW Title a few weeks before this to Chavo but would win MITB at Mania. He puts Palumbo out just before Rhodes is 13th. Umaga is 14th and nothing at all is going on here.
He’s got the incredibly bright red tights on here and he puts Holly out after shouting a lot. This is just terribly boring. Snitsky, amazingly still with a job, is number 15. Rhodes and Punk almost gets him out but that fails of course as Rhodes isn’t over yet. Morrison and Punk go at it renewing the real rivalry as Miz is number 16.
Taker and Umaga, who were supposed to feud about a dozen times but never did for whatever reason, fight for awhile until the minute passes and Shelton comes in at 17. Michaels kicks him out with ease. Well ok then. After about 30 seconds, Jimmy Snuka is 18th. Seriously? That’s the best you can come up with? He looks AWFUL. This is what I don’t like about WWE.
Shelton, a young guy with talent is in there for 15 seconds and Snuka gets a few minutes. What’s the point in that? Taz says that Snuka and Miz live two complete lives. He then throws in different, which helps because I thought they were the same person there for a bit. Nice job clearing that up there buddy. In at number 19 is Roddy Piper of all people. WHY?? To be fair he gets a great pop and looks decent.
Oh good night he took his shirt off. He needs to keep that freaking thing on. Old worlds collide as Piper and Snuka fight with everyone else stopping to watch them fight. Ok, the clock might have made it 30 seconds there as this is ridiculous. Piper is awesome but not in the ring in 2008. Kane comes in at 20 and I think you know the drill. He puts Piper and Snuka out to thankfully clear out the WAY to crowded ring a bit.
It’s still way too full but that’s a lot better. We get a big mess with Shawn, Taker, Snitsky and Umaga as Carlito is 21st. Shawn might have a broken nose. 22 is…Mick Foley? Well, I guess it makes more sense than Snuka and Piper. He gets a HUGE pop. He and Horny qualified together a few weeks before this. They’re chanting his name so I can actually accept this one to an extent.
At the moment we have Taker, Shawn, Morrison, Batista, Horny (under the ring), Punk, Rhodes, Umaga, Snitsky, Miz, Kane, Carlito and Foley. See what I mean about it being too full? To be fair though, that’s an awesome list of people for the most part. Kennedy is 23rd to a freaking ROAR. If he could have stayed healthy and been used right, he could have been a huge deal. Ok no he wouldn’t have been but when he was hot he was very hot.
Freaking Big Daddy V brings the combined talent in the ring down about 1000% though at 24. Snitsky is put out by Taker but he turns around into Sweet Chin Music to eliminate him but before Shawn can turn around Kennedy dumps him. That was fast paced if nothing else. Taker beats on Snitsky because he’s pissed off. Kane beats on BDV who isn’t wearing a shirt and is therefore disturbing. Rhodes is thrown over but skins the cat to stay alive.
WHO CAME UP WITH THAT NAME??? Did wrestling promoters like to skin cats or something? Just a freaking weird choice for a name. Mark Henry is 25th. Miz is in trouble and Horny pops out to pull him out. Punk takes a double headbutt from Henry and V. That can’t hurt that bad as both are hollow.
And here we have the proof that the ECW Title means nothing as Chavo is number 26. He’s a world champion and can have any title shot he wants if he wins. So, could he fight himself? Edge and Orton aren’t in here, yet he is. There’s all the proof you need that the ECW Title means nothing. Kane puts Morrison out. Horny tries to do the same thing to Henry that he did to Miz and he gets pulled back in.
The two big black men try to decide who gets to eat him but Finlay jumps the gun to save him. He uses that club and gets disqualified for it which is nonsense and Horny leaves with him, as both are gone. Elijah “Deangelo Dinero” Burke, who I swear to you has talent and potential even though I’ve never seen it but everyone says he does so it HAS to be true right? Chavo puts out Punk. Don’t worry Punk fans as he would have a much better year in the future.
Batista goes under the bottom rope to the floor. HHH is 29th and so it begins, as everyone starts wondering who number 30 is. There goes Rhodes. Big Daddy V follows. He puts out Foley which is still an awesome sight. This has been way over 90 seconds as to the next entrant. Burke is gone. Umaga takes a Pedigree and there’s the clock.
In easily the biggest Rumble shocker of the all time and arguably one of the biggest shockers in wrestling history, JOHN CENA IS NUMBER THIRTY! He had gotten hurt on October 1st and it was said he would be out until Mania at the least. This was easily the best kept secret in the company probably ever as NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE saw this coming. The LD more or less exploded at the time and with good reason.
This was EPIC. MSG has goes silent and then erupts in about 4 seconds as even New York is stunned. Everyone stops dead in the ring as I wonder who actually knew about this. Oh before I forget the final group is Batista, Umaga, Kane, Carlito, Kennedy, Henry, Chavo, HHH and now Cena. Carlito and Chavo are out in seconds thanks to Cena as the winner is about as obvious as possible now. Henry is out now and there’s your showdown as he walks into HHH.
As they fight you can see Chavo running to the back which is very odd. Batista spears the heck out of Umaga as Kennedy is put out by Batista and then he does the same to Umaga, to make the final four Batista, HHH, Cena and Kane who is put out to get us to three. The IWC was about to commit mass suicide at this point based on these three being the finalists. All three do their taunts to each other and it’s on.
Batista is put out and we’re down to two. And there it is, as Cena becomes the most hated man in New York City in less than ten seconds. Well he is from Boston I guess. In the most predictable elimination in Rumble history, Cena FUs HHH out to end it and go to Mania, even though he would lose in a triple threat that really should have just been HHH vs. Cena. Posing closes the show.
Rating: C-. And most of that is for Cena. This just wasn’t that good of a Rumble as there were too many spots near and after the middle that were just boring beyond belief with nothing of note happening. It was ok, but nothing great at all. Cena’s return is absolutely awesome though and makes the match on all kinds of levels. It’s ok, but there are far better Rumbles.
Overall Rating: C+. I liked it. It’s not a terrible show by any sense of the word, but at the same time, it’s certainly not great. There’s no truly great match on the card but it’s fine for what it is. Cena returning turned the company upside down and more or less reset the whole road to Wrestlemania.
Hardy and Orton is ok but not great at all. There’s decent stuff here, but with just five matches it’s a bit hard to get behind. Check it out for Cena’s return and that’s about all, but don’t avoid it if that makes sense.