Royal Rumble Count-Up – 2010: SWERVE!

Royal Rumble 2010
Date: January 31, 2010
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 16,697
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Matt Striker

We’re getting close to the end of the run here with only three shows left. Tonight we’ve got the Rumble of course along with Undertaker defending against Mysterio and Sheamus defending against Orton. I remember really liking this one as the new generation had arrived and was rising up the card. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is about the Road to Wrestlemania is beginning and how it determines what happens for months to come. This is called the most star studded Rumble ever, which is a tagline that has been used before.

ECW Title: Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson

Christian is defending and man that ECW ring announcer has an annoying voice. Regal is with Jackson here. According to Striker, Jackson went to Columbia Law School. Now there’s a factoid that fell through the cracks. Jackson shoves Christian into the corner and then does it again into the ropes so the champion slaps him in the face. After a brief chase, Christian dropkicks Jackson out to the floor.

The springboard plancha takes Jackson out and we head back in. Christian finally gets caught in the corner and pounded on before having the Killswitch easily blocked. Instead Christian chokes away on the ropes and hits another shot to the face. Jackson throws Christian to the floor where Regal tries to throw him back in, earning himself an ejection. Off to a neck crank back inside which Jackson picks up into a kind of cobra clutch slam for two.

A vertical suplex gets two for Big Zeke and it’s time for more choking. A sunset flip is easily blocked by Jackson and it’s back to the chinlock. Striker tries to figure out what a peep is, as he knows it as a something made of chocolate. Some shots to the face get Christian out of trouble for awhile, or at least until a clothesline to the back of the head gets two.

Jackson hooks both of Christian’s arms back for another hold before putting the champion on top. The superplex is blocked and Christian hits a top rope back elbow for two (LOVE that move). Jackson’s big clothesline misses and a middle rope dropkick gets two for the champion. A spinwheel kick gets two on Jackson but a swan dive misses and gives Zeke a near fall as does a backbreaker.

The tornado DDT gets ANOTHER two for Christian so Jackson takes his head off with a clothesline. Off to a sleeper from Christian when the Killswitch doesn’t work but Jackson counters into a powerslam position to ram Christian’s back into the buckle. Christian slides down Jackson’s back and grabs the Killswitch out of nowhere to retain.

Rating: C+. Trim two minutes out of this and it goes WAY up in quality. The period of near falls went on too long without getting any significant heat from the crowd. Jackson would get the title in a little over two weeks on the final episode of ECW because if there’s one man that should be the final ECW Champion, it’s a musclehead that could barely get through a five minute match most of the time.

Cryme Tyme come in to try to get a second spot in the Rumble from Teddy and Tiffany. Khali says “no dice homeslice” to selling their spot because he’s keeping it real. Apparently he’s learned his English from Family Matters (Singh’s words, not mine). Ok then. Anyway US Champion the Miz comes in and laughs which causes him to have to defend against MVP.

Orton is in the back when Cody Rhodes comes in. He’s there for Randy in the title match tonight but that’s not all. Apparently DiBiase isn’t in on this because his mind is on winning the Rumble and taking the title from Orton.

US Title: The Miz vs. MVP

A quick clothesline gets two for MVP and he works on the champ’s ribs to start. Miz gets a boot up in the corner to slow him down but MVP comes right back with a belly to back suplex for two. They head to the floor for this gem from Striker: “Miz is one of the most recognizable faces on this planet.” I don’t think Miz is one of the most recognizable faces in this match.

Back in and Miz sends MVP to the apron and gets kicked into the table on the floor. Not that this is treated like anything of note because the announcers are laughing about Sherri Shepard from The View. Miz sends shoulders into MVP’s ribs in the corner followed by the running corner clothesline. A top rope double ax gets two for Miz and we hit the chinlock.

After that eats up some time, MVP pounds away with all of his usual stuff. Ballin hits and a running boot to the side of the head gets two for the challenger. A big shoulder block gets the same for MVP but he misses a running boot in the corner. MVP grabs three straight quick near falls but gets caught in a small package for the pin to keep the title on Miz.

Rating: D+. If there was a reason for this to be on PPV other than the show was running short, I don’t know what it was. Miz didn’t look like anything special out there but somehow he would be world champion a year later. MVP on the other hand would be out of the WWE but he did well enough in Japan. Nothing to see here other than a filler match.

Post match MVP hits the Playmaker on Miz and gets booed LOUDLY. He lost completely clean so the booing is deserved.

Show and Jericho, the former tag team champions, run into each other. Show accuses him of being jealous of the chemistry Show and Miz have but Jericho brushes it off. He calls the crowd gelatinous worms before pointing out all of the similarities he and Miz have. Show says he’ll throw both Miz and Jericho out to win the Rumble. R-Truth pops up and says he’ll do the same. Show leaves Jericho standing there much to Jericho’s chagrin.

DiBiase wishes Orton luck and says he’s got Randy’s back. Orton asks where Cody is but DiBiase doesn’t know. This was during the time when Legacy was about to die and both members were trying to get on Randy’s best side. DiBiase claims that Rhodes only wants to win the Rumble but Orton has heard enough. He doesn’t want anyone’s help and gets a clear face pop in response.

The National Guard is here.

Raw World Title: Sheamus vs. Randy Orton

Sheamus won the title in a shocker last month at TLC and is heel here. He’s also still not that good and wouldn’t really hit his stride for about a year and a half. They stare at each other to start and my goodness is Sheamus pale. A dropkick puts the champion down but he comes right back with a running ax handle. Sheamus gets in a shot to the arm and we head to the floor where said arm is sent into the steps.

Back in and Orton goes for the knee and things slow down a bit. Orton wouldn’t really pick up the pace of his offense until about the following year which made his matches pretty hard to sit through. Sheamus comes back by sending Orton’s shoulder into the post twice and hitting some shoulder blocks in the corner. That gets him nowhere though as Orton takes out the knee again and knocks Sheamus to the floor.

They head inside again and yet AGAIN momentum shifts back to Sheamus as he hits a DDT on the arm for two. Off to an armbar for a bit before they slug it out to the boo/yay chants. Orton wins the slugout but walks into the Irish Curse for two. The High Cross is escaped and Orton kicks Sheamus in the head to send him to the outside. Orton gets ready for the RKO but Rhodes jumps the guardrail and blasts Sheamus in the back before running away. The referee sees it though and despite Orton hitting the RKO, he’s disqualified and Sheamus keeps the title. Lame ending to a pretty lame match.

Rating: D+. Like I said, Sheamus just wasn’t very good yet. He was still this big imposing brawler who pounded on people and that’s about it. There was indeed a story in the match but it wasn’t a very entertaining one as they just kept beating on each other’s limbs but when there’s no difference because of the beating, the story doesn’t work. The ending didn’t help either but it did set up something in the future.

Post match Orton snaps on Cody as DiBiase comes down to save his partner. While Orton yells at Cody in the corner, Sheamus comes back in and lays out Randy with a Brogue Kick.

We recap Mickie vs. McCool. This was an awkward feud as Mickie won the title shot in a triple threat and then Laycool made fun of Mickie for being fat. This is of course odd as Mickie is a professional athlete and gorgeous and would only be called fat by a crazy person. It’s also pretty disturbing when you consider how WWE pushes the Divas as role models. The final bit of it was a segment where Mickie got beaten down and covered in food.

Women’s Title: Michelle McCool vs. Mickie James

Pre match Michelle runs her mouth about how fat Mickie is and accuses her of skipping out on the match. Michelle offers cake and here’s Layla in a Mickie Pig costume. The real Mickie sprints to the ring and hits a Thesz Press on Layla on the floor. She heads inside, sends Michelle into Layla and hits the MickieDT for the pin and the title in 20 seconds.

Post match the other Divas bring out a cake and smash it into Laycool’s faces.

We recap Mysterio vs. Undertaker. Rey won the shot by slamming a cage door onto Batista’s head to escape because that’s what heroes do. Taker said he’ll show no mercy on Mysterio so Rey uses the same line everyone does on Taker: he isn’t afraid. Batista beat up Mysterio as well, claiming that Undertaker and the world title was his.

Smackdown World Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Undertaker

Mysterio, in the deep south, comes out wearing a white hood. Striker talks about Lawler being in the ring with Kamala and Lord Humongous (Sid) because he thinks it makes him sound interesting. He’s trying to make a comparison to being in the ring with Undertaker, but if he was as smart as he thinks he is, he would ask Jerry what it’s like to be in the ring with Undertaker himself, which would save a lot of headaches.

Rey fires off some shots in the corner before Taker grabs him by the neck and throws him up and over the top and out to the floor. That looked awesome. Back to the apron and Rey fires off strikes to the face, only to get punched right back down to the floor by a single shot. Taker misses the legdrop on the apron but hits it the second time before heading back in. Rey counters a chokeslam into the 619 but Taker easily grabs the legs. Tombstone is countered and Taker misses an elbow drop.

Rey tries a springboard cross body but jumps into a boot to the chest. We head to the floor again and there’s another big boot to the head to take Rey down. A third big boot keeps Rey down but the fourth misses and Taker sends his leg around the post. Rey hits a baseball slide to send the leg into said post and Taker is in trouble. The seated senton off the apron is caught and Taker puts him back on the apron, only to be caught by an Asai Moonsault to put both guys down.

Taker grabs Rey by the throat and slams him into the barricade. The champion’s nose is busted a bit. Taker does that lifting wristlock of his to crank on the arm a bit before punching Rey down in the corner for a bit. A big side slam gets two for the guy who would use a side slam in this match as Striker goes into this big speech about how the blood shows that undertaker is mortal. Seriously, it’s a BLOODY NOSE. Watch the freaking Lesnar match in the Cell when the blood is literally dripping from Taker’s head and down onto Lesnar’s body.

Rey starts firing off some punches but a single shot from Taker is enough to put him back down. A jawbreaker finally staggers the big man and they do a kind of cross body, although Taker counters into something like Langston’s Big Ending, so it’s hard to say which hurt worse. Taker sits up so Rey kicks him in the face. Why has no one done that before? Rey drops the dime (springboard legdrop) for two but Taker kills him with a big clothesline. The Last Ride is countered and the 619 hits as does a second one, but the West Coast Pop is countered into the Last Ride to retain the title.

Rating: B. This was solid stuff for the most part for a few reasons. First of all, they didn’t make Taker look ridiculous to get into position for Rey’s moves. That’s my biggest issue with most of Rey’s battles against giants: how stupid the big men look. The other good thing here is that Taker wasn’t knocked silly after just a few moves. Rey only hit maybe a dozen offensive moves here other than basic strikes and it wouldn’t have made sense to have Taker in major trouble. Finally, Rey can bump like crazy when he’s trying to. The only issues here are the lack of a threat to Taker and Striker’s commentary. Chill out already man.

Shawn is watching in the back when Kane comes in and says Shawn’s obsession with Taker is unhealthy. This is KANE calling something unhealthy. He warns Shawn to cool it with Taker because it won’t end well. Kane leaves and HHH comes in. Shawn apologizes for whatever happened on Raw which apparently isn’t important enough to specify. HHH agrees Shawn vs. Taker is meant to be, but it won’t be by wining the Rumble.

Rumble by the Numbers time:

23 Winners

627 entrants eliminated

36 eliminations by Austin

11 eliminations by Kane in 2001

2002 was the last Rumble in Atlanta

62:12 Rey was in the Rumble in 2006

2 seconds was the record for 20 years until Santino broke it last year

3 wins for Austin

2 win for #1, the same as #30

70% of the winners win at Mania

Royal Rumble

Dolph Ziggler is #1 and Evan Bourne is #2. Bourne snaps off a headscissors to start and follows up with a spinwheel kick to take Dolph down. Ziggler comes back with the Zig Zag but can’t throw Evan out. Bourne decks Ziggler and hits Air Bourne as CM Punk of the Straightedge Society is #3. He slams the other two guys’ heads together and dumps them out one after the other. Punk gets a mic and says that tonight is the greatest night in the history of the Straightedge Society. These two are just the first of 29 men who will challenge him, but they can be saved.

The clock starts running down, so Punk gives us the line of the night: “Excuse me, it’s clobberin time.” JTG is #4 and after a few clotheslines, he poses like an idiot in the corner and gets dumped. Punk gets the mic again and says that not everyone can be saved because they don’t have his dedication. Great Khali is #5 and Punk immediately says he can make Khali greater by saving him. He asks Khali to raise his hand for the Straightedge Pledge but Khali lowers the hand onto Punk’s head for the chop.

There’s the Khali Vice and in less than 90 seconds, Beth Phoenix of all people is #6. She stares down Khali and gets picked up and placed on the apron. Beth kisses Khali but in the process pulls him over the top to eliminate him. Phoenix gets back in and BEATS UP PUNK, only to get caught in a GTS to the chest. Would that really knock her out? Before she’s dumped out, here’s Zack Ryder at #7.

As Ryder gets in, Punk grabs the mic and says Zack has potential. PREACH IT BROTHER! Punk starts offering him a spot but his Ryder with the mic before he gets done with it. The fans are going nuts for Punk now and there goes Ryder. Punk talks about how great he is and wants to know who is next, but whoever it is, they’re inferior to Punk. In at #8 is HHH as we enter the second segment of the Rumble.

They stare each other down and HHH starts punching. The facebuster has Punk staggered and a spinebuster puts him down as Drew McIntyre is #9. That gives us a tag champion in HHH and the IC Champion in Drew at the moment. HHH is looking a bit flabby here. He hits the high knee on McIntyre and escapes the GTS to eliminate Punk. DiBiase is #10 as we’re flying through this.

HHH gets double teamed down in the corner until John Morrison, the guy that lost the title to McIntyre, is #11. He takes both heels down and pounds away on them before hitting a jumping DDT on Drew. Starship Pain almost completely misses Drew and HHH clotheslines John down. Kane is #12 and comes in with the top rope clothesline to HHH. There’s a double chokeslam to McIntyre and Morrison before Kane tries to dump DiBiase.

Rhodes is #13 and saves Ted as he comes in. Morrison is sent to the apron and springboards back in, only to get dropkicked out of the air. Legacy goes after Kane but HHH saves him for no apparent reason. Cody saves himself from being eliminated and MVP is #14. Miz runs up behind him though and blasts MVP with the US Title. Morrison hits the Moonlight Drive on McIntyre to break up the Future Shock on Kane. HHH is in trouble in the corner and MVP is carried to the back.

Carlito is #15 and the ring is starting to get full. There’s a Backstabber to HHH and one for Drew and Ted as well. Miz is #16 and hits a quick Finale on Carlito. Cue MVP to clothesline Miz out and eliminate himself in the process. Matt Hardy is #17 and lasts about 20 seconds before Kane puts him out. HHH immediately dumps Kane too and the ring is a lot more empty all of a sudden.

HHH starts laying out everyone and Shawn is #18. Carlito is backdropped out, Rhodes and DiBiase are tossed, Morrison gets dumped, and DX puts out McIntyre to get us down to DX. Before anything can happen though, Cena is #19 to get us to the final third of the match. Cena cleans house and hits a double Shuffle before getting caught in the Pedigree. Out of nowhere Shawn superkicks HHH out to pop the crowd BIG.

Shelton Benjamin in that stupid gold period is #20. He hits Paydirt on both guys but gets dumped by Cena in less than 50 seconds. Yoshi Tatsu is #21 and doesn’t even make it 30 seconds. Big Show is #22 and Cena is shaken. Big Show RUNS down to the ring and house is cleaned. Shawn and Cena try to eliminate each other but Show pulls Shawn back in for some reason. What’s up with that tonight?

Mark Henry is #23 and we get a quick battle of the giant. Who would think those two would have a world title feud a year and a half later and be REALLY popular? Henry slams Show and falls on Cena as he tries an AA. Show spears Henry down and Chris Masters is #24. Masters tries the Masterlock on Show and gets dumped for his efforts. Now Henry goes after Show but Shawn breaks it up for some reason. R-Truth is #25 and actually dumps BOTH big guys. There’s something you wouldn’t expect.

Truth hits a Stroke on Cena and Jack Swagger is #26. All three guys get Vader Bombs and Swagger goes old school with a very slow Oklahoma Stampede. Jack knocks Michaels to the apron but can’t get the elimination. Kingston is #27 and cleans house on Swagger, hitting the Boom Drop and dumping him out with a nice leverage move. Truth puts Kofi on the apron but gets pulled out by a reverse headscissors.

Jericho is #28 but after cleaning about half the house, Cena grabs an AA to put him down. Shawn adds the top rope elbow and tunes up the band but Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise to take him out. Cena dumps Kofi but walks into a Codebreaker. Everyone is down and EDGE makes his big return at #29. That’s rather brilliant instead of waiting for the big surprise at #30, we get a SWERVE that actually makes sense.

Everyone gets a spear and Jericho is out. Edge is back about six months early and it’s Edge-O-Matics all around. Batista is #30, giving us a final four of Shawn, Cena, Edge and Batista. Not bad at all. It’s power all around but Edge spears him down. Everyone is down now Shawn gets up first and hits the forearm on Cena followed by the nipup.

Shawn slams every American in sight and drops the top rope elbow on Cena. Batista takes one too as Edge is still down in the corner. Sweet Chin Music hits Cena and there’s one for Batista as well. Edge clotheslines Shawn to the apron and Michaels superkicks Edge back in, only to get knocked out by Batista. The crowd gasps HUGE at that and Shawn is about to cry. Shawn gets back in and superkicks the referee to vent some frustration. Shawn FINALLY leaves and Cena escapes the Batista Bomb before dumping Batista out. Edge misses the spear but throws out Cena a second later to go to Wrestlemania.

Rating: A-. This is kind of a hard one to grade. They definitely followed the three act structure which helped a lot and the match was VERY fast paced. I mean, the longest anyone was in there was Cena and he barely broke 20 minutes. The problem with that is it doesn’t give anything time to develop. The main story was Shawn which is fine and he would get to Mania at the end of the day anyway. It’s a really fun Rumble but not one of the best ever.

Overall Rating: B. The Rumble is very solid and the rest has nothing terrible so we’ll call it a good show overall. Things would get a lot more interesting soon after this with the rise of the Nexus and a very solid Wrestlemania. This was also a time of transition for the company as a lot of the guys in this show would be gone by the end of the year. Anyway good show here and worth checking out.

Ratings Comparison

Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson

Original: C+

Redo: C+

Miz vs. MVP

Original: B-

Redo: D+

Sheamus vs. Randy Orton

Original: B

Redo: D+

Mickie James vs. Michelle McCool

Original: N/A

Redo: N/A

Undertaker vs. Rey Mysterio

Original: C-

Redo: B

Royal Rumble

Original: A

Redo: A-

Overall Rating

Original: A-

Redo: B

Dang I liked Sheamus a lot more than I thought I did.

Here’s the original review if you’re interested:

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