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WWE Royal Rumble 2006

by Scrooge McSuck

- Originally broadcasted on Pay-Per-View on January 29th, 2006 from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL. This era of WWE marks the rapid decline of my interest in the product, as we will find out later in the show one of the main contributors to that decision. Joey Styles and Jerry Lawler are calling everything from Raw, and Michael Cole and Tazz are working on the Smackdown side of things. Cole and Lawler call the Rumble, a change from the J.R. and Tazz team that did a respectable job for two guys who've rarely done commentary together.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Open Challenge:
Kid Kash © vs. Funaki vs. Jamie Noble vs. Nunzio vs. Paul London vs. Gregory Helms:

Woah, Kid Kash actually held the belt? When did that happen? All I recall of his WWE run was a short-lived team with Jamie Noble as the Pitbulls. It's an open challenge to all former Cruiserweight Champions (still employed). I honestly don't recall Nunzio's reign, but Cole reminds me he held it over the past (2005) Summer. Helms technically should be forced to work as The Hurricane, since it was under that gimmick he held the belt. Helms is a Raw performer, but what's rules if they aren't broken? We get a handful of roll up attempts at the opening bell. The Smackdown Cruiserweights gang up on Helms, because it seemed like a good idea at the time. London works in his Drop-Sault on Helms and Noble for a two count. Some decent, unremarkable action peppered into random punching. Noble hits a suicide dive on a pile of Superstars, leaving Kash and Funaki. Funaki to the top, and he gets pushed onto the pile, too. London super-kicks Kash to the floor and comes off the top with a Shooting Star Press! Where's Billy Kidman to sue? Helms with a super-sized Neckbreaker from the top rope on London. Kash with the Brain Buster, but the cover is broken up. Noble lays into Funaki with chops and hits an awesome Stomach Buster. Dragon Sleeper applied, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard, and covers Funaki for the Cruiserweight Title at 7:40. ** Pointless spot-fest to get the crowd pumped. There wasn't much story to it, but it had it's moments. The poor WWE Cruiserweight Division was always screwed over, whether a lack of focus or incredibly short-changed on time when featured on PPV.

Mickie James vs. Ashley:

Trish Stratus is YOUR Special Referee of Supreme Hotness. Part of the simmering plot that (the recently-ish debuted) Mickie James might be a little crazy and might have a thing for Trish, who also happens to be the Women's Champion. Mickie with a pre-match kiss to really hammer home that she might be making Trish a bit uncomfortable. Ashley is Useless Diva Search Winner #2. Poser might be one word to describe her, Shitty another word to describe her in-ring abilities. They work a lock-up to the floor, then back in the ring with Mickie working the arm. Ashley with the slow-motion version of La Majistral, but at least it was done right. Ashley with the first poor-sport moment, kicking Mickie off the apron, yet she's supposed to be the face. Ashley with punches worse than RVD, so Mickie lays her out for it. Mickie casually takes it to the floor and slams Ashley stomach first into the post. Can we call that The Abortion? ... Okay, that might be offensive. Mickie with a Perfect-Plex for two. Mickie with a slam and a crappy bow-and-arrow. Ashley mounts a comeback, highlighted by some lousy punches and kicks. I've seen episodes of WOW with more properly trained female "wrestlers." Ashley with a crucifix for two. The action continues to fall apart as the crowd completely turns on the match. Mickie powerbombs Ashley out of the corner, and gets the reluctant three count at 7:44. This stinker got more time than the Cruiserweights? 1/2* For a couple of decent spots. Mickie celebrates with some from-behind, double-cup groping on Trish. Almost tempted to bump up the rating for that.

The Boogeyman vs. John Bradshaw Layfield (w/ Jillian Hall):

Holy Demotion, Batman! JBL went from headlining every PPV for roughly a year to being in a filler match with a comedy gimmick that was hard-pressed to work matches longer than 5-minutes. Jillian Hall recently had her disgusting growth eaten off her face courtesy of the Boogeyman. THANKFULLY, we don't get a replay of the moment. As stupid and worthless as the Boogeyman was, it was something different, and was kind of enjoyable or being so terrible. Where was this guy in the Mid 90's? Oh wait, Papa Shango didn't get over. JBL uses Jillian as a shield, allowing Boogeyman to try and feed worms to her like a momma bird. JBL attacks from behind, pounding away with rights. They take it to the floor, with Boogeyman no-selling everything, then over-selling a big boot. JBL with choking and more rights. Boogeyman ducks the Clothesline from Hell and puts JBL away with the Pumphandle Slam at 1:54. DUD Not worth rating, but I'm a bit shocked JBL was doing a pinfall job in under two minutes.

30-Man Royal Rumble Match:

We know what the winner gets. Triple H draws #1, and Rey Mysterio draws #2. Rey has already gone on record to say he's going to win this for his late-friend, Eddie Guerrero. He even drives a low-rider to the ring. Yup. That's this Rumble, and that's this year. The year WWE took Eddie's name and legacy, butt-humped it, set it on fire, pissed on it to put it out, and buried it upside down with a WWE flag jammed deep inside for the world to know that this is what Eddie "would've wanted". I feel so dirty just remembering this stuff.

Anyway, yeah, HHH and Rey start. Spoiler: Rey probably wins. For Eddie. Triple H isn't the largest man in the world, but even he looks ridiculous trying to straight up wrestle Rey. There's too much size difference to make it look good and still suspend disbelief. Rey goes for 619, but Hunter ducks and connects with a clothesline. Simon Dean is #3, coming to the ring on a scooter. Remember his protege's, Gymini? Me neither. Dean goes after Rey, but gets punked out by Hunter and they work together to toss Dean at 2:38. Psicosis is #4 and goes after Rey to remind fans of better days. Rey fights out of a Razor's Edge, and sends Psicosis over and out with a head-scissors at 4:53. Ric Flair is #5, and he still has bad blood with Triple H. Flair dominates until a face-buster turns the tide, and Flair's night is over pretty quickly at 6:30. Big Show is #6, and I guess he has issues with Triple H, too. Doesn't everybody? At least Hunter is selling for someone for longer than 3-seconds. Jonathon Coachman is #7, having qualified for the match with a victory over Lawler, with the help of the recently debuted Spirit Squad. He goes after Show and gets thrown out at 9:38. Show-Slam on Hunter as the undefeated Bobby Lashley enters at #8. One year later, it's your ECW Main Event. Go ahead and cry. Show with the big punch, but it's not a KO punch, yet. Kane is #9, and I forgot he was Co-Tag Team Champion with the Big Show. He has a half-hearted slugfest with Lashley. Lashley with the Dominator on Kane, but he doesn't bother to try and eliminate anyone. #10 is Sylvan, and it took me 10-seconds to figure out who the hell it was. His run as a fashion designer (or whatever) was very short-lived. Lashley no-sells his offense and throws him into the front row at 14:55. Show and Kane with a Double Chokeslam on Lashley, and he's gone at 15:17. Kane and Show duke it out for the hell of it, 'cause it's every man, giant, and monster for himself. They continue to battle near the ropes, so Hunter tosses both of them out at 16:23.

#11 is Carlito, and I don't even know if he's a babyface or heel. He goes after Rey, so maybe he's a heel. He hits Rey with the Back-Stabber, before the move had a name. Hunter thumbs the eyes, Ric Flair-style. #12 is Chris Benoit, and he was smart enough not to guarantee victory for Eddie Guerrero. He lays into everyone with chops and throws Rey half-way across the ring with a German suplex. Carlito counters, only to walk into the Crossface. He fights with Triple H over a suplex on the apron until getting crotched along the top rope. Benoit fights him down with headbutts and comes down with the Swandive Headbutt! #13 is Booker T, wearing long tights and reigning U.S. Champion. All of this stuff is a big blur to me. Benoit tosses Booker at 21:40, because I guess they had issues, and maybe Booker is still nursing an injury? #14 is Joey Mercury, one-half of the Tag Team Champions (of Smackdown). He randomly goes after Carlito. He hits his half of the Snap-Shot on Benoit, but again, there's no pinfalls, so why bother? I know, to pop the crowd. #15 is Tatanka... I forgot all about that comeback. The crowd cheers/taunts him with the Braves chant. Ugh, I hate that f*cking chant. #16 is Johnny Nitro, which means one member of MNM is getting eliminated. #17 is Trevor Murdoch. Nobody cares for him, either. Lots of nothing going on. #18 is Eugene, only about a year removed from when people gave a shit about him. His training video with Regal still stands as a moment of awesome. He Hulks Up™ on Murdoch and gives him an Airplane Spin. #19 is Road Warrior Animal with neon-green shoulder pads. He plows through MNM with a double clothesline and takes Hunter down with a powerslam. There's too much dead weight in this and no ring clearing in site. #20 is Rob Van Dam, making his "return" after a lengthy absence due to injury. He hits everyone but no elimination attempts. Correction, he eliminates Animal at 35:10. Still too many people in there.

#21 is Orlando Jordan, with even worse music and even less a reaction than in 2005. There's too much and too little going on, if that makes sense. #22 is Chavo Guerrero... he probably wants to win it for Eddie, but he sucks for going after Rey. He rips off Eddie's taunt and the Three Amigos, because it's the only way for him to pop the crowd. Hunter pushes him off the top to eliminate him at 37:18, sparing us of the Frog Splash. #23 is Matt Hardy. I didn't even know he was still in WWE. MNM with the Snap-Shot on Tatanka, but the camera misses it. Tatanka gets tossed at 40:11. #24 is Super Crazy. I wonder how far back Juventud was cut for being a crazy bastard. #25 is Shawn Michaels, with pyro. ELIMINATE SOMEONE! Murdoch is gone at 41:58. #26 is Chris Masters, about four years before he started not-sucking in the ring. #27 is Viscera, the World's Largest Love Machine. Ugh. He dry humps Matt Hardy as some kind of insane inside joke, I'm sure. Cole makes a smart-ass remark about seeing Viscera in these colors (purple and gold) before... I guess on TV, since Mabel was LONG GONE by the time Cole was even hired by WWE. He tosses Matt at 45:38. #28 is Shelton Benjamin, along with Mama Benjamin. My God, what a terrible period for the creative team. Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:19. Shelton works in his roundhouse heel kick on Hunter to little reaction since you can't see anything. #29 is Goldust, making yet another return, I guess. This crowd sucks, but they have every right to be: this show has sucked. Randy Orton is #30 to round things out. He tosses Benoit out at 49:13 to annoy me, leaving a field of about 12 people still in this. Too many for this late in the match, too many for any point in a Rumble Match.

Orton with an RKO on Viscera, allowing Masters and Carlito to pair up and dump the big guy out at 49:52. Carlito instantly turns on his on-again/off-again partner and dumps him at 49:58. Goldust pounds away on Carlito and gives him Shattered Dreams to the biggest pop of the match. RVD with a heel kick on Goldust, and the poor guy practically throws himself out at 50:38. Jordan gets tossed by Orton at 50:55. Michaels and Hunter have a mini-showdown for (not quite) old times sake. MNM go for the Snapshot on Michaels, but he fights them off, dumps Mercury at 52:20, and Nitro at 52:24. Michaels Superkicks Benjamin off the apron and out at 53:00 in the most over-sold Elimination of the Night™. Mr. McMahon comes out to distract Shawn Michaels, allowing SHANE to sneak in and toss Shawn out at 54:04. I totally forgot about this. Sore-Loser Michaels hits Hunter with Sweet Chin Music and chases down the McMahons, because we're building to WrestleMania 22. RVD knocks Carlito out at 55:20, leaving a Final Four of Triple H, Rey Mysterio, Rob Van Dam, and Randy Orton. RVD and Rey work together on the former Evolution buddies, but Triple H comes back to life and uses face miscommunication to eliminate RVD at 56:54. Now to eliminate Orton... Rey survives the 2-on-1, but that darn Hunter just won't stay down. Orton goes for the RKO, but Hunter blocks and counters with a Spinebuster. He tries dumping Rey, but he hangs on, and Triple H is gone at 59:58. Okay, I didn't see that coming. I guess he holds the record for longest duration in a match and losing. Sore-Loser Helmsley pulls Rey to the floor and sends him into the steps. Orton takes his sweet time finishing Rey off, and SURPRISE, SURPRISE, Rey holds on, and eliminates Orton at 1:02:00 to earn a Championship Match at WrestleMania 22. He did it for Eddie! **1/2 With the exception of the finish and a very occasional spot from the first half of the match, one of the most boring Rumble matches I can recall. Not nearly the worst, but there was a total lack of effort into doing anything fun with this one.

WWE Championship Match:
Edge © (w/ Lita) vs. John Cena:

For those who forgot, Edge cashed in the very first Money in the Bank Briefcase at New Years Revolution, easily defeating John Cena following a grueling Elimination Chamber match. I definitely remember having Edge pegged to retain here. HA! FOOLISH I! Cena quickly sends Edge to the floor following a clothesline. Back inside, a side suplex gets two. Whip, and Edge to the floor, again. Edge uses Litas a shield and Spears Cena into the ring steps. Edge with a baseball slide, knocking Cena into the first row. Edge with knees across the chest and a "You Can't See Me" gesture. Cena offers a comeback, but a spinning heel kick puts him back down. Edge sends Cena back to the floor, and another trip into the steel steps. Edge to the top rope, connecting with a missile dropkick for two. Whip to the ropes and Edge with a diving clothesline. Cena counters a Super-Plex attempt, but misses the Alabama Jam. Whip to the corner, Cena goes for an FU, but Edge counters with a roll-up for two. Edge to the top again, but Cena rolls through the body press. Whip to the ropes and Edge grabs a Sleeper. Cena escapes and takes Edge down with a DDT. Cena with a shoulder tackle and pair of clotheslines. Back suplex and the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita distracts the referee. Edge hits her off the apron by mistake, and the FU and STFU finishes Edge at 14:04. ** This was pretty much Edge dominating 95% of the match and losing on one big comeback. Way to make those stars, WWE! Don't cry, though, Edge went on to win another 356 World/WWE Championships before his forced retirement in 2011.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Kurt Angle © vs. Mark Henry (w/ Daivari):

Wow, the Rumble took place before TWO matches? So much for the spirit of Eddie Guerrero: It knocked the Rumble down solidly in the Midcard. I could've sworn Angle was managed by Daivari for a time, but who knows anymore. He won the title in a Battle Royale, due to Batista being forced to vacate it due to injury. Rumors around the net speculated Henry had a guaranteed Main Event in his contract originally signed in 1996 (a 10-year deal that's extended into 18 as of this writing). Angle tries a takedown, but Henry is TOO STRONG AND/OR FAT. Henry tries to corner Angle, but Henry is TOO SLOW. Sorry, I'll stop now. The crowd doesn't even care anymore. Henry drops Angle across the top rope, to the floor. Angle grabs a front facelock and again gets hung up across the ropes. Henry with a splash for two. I feel like we're just having a match to fill time and end this turkey of a PPV. BEARHUG! Angle gets an arm in and hip throws Henry to escape. Angle tries a body press from the second rope, but Henry catches him. Angle slips out and slaps on the Ankle Lock, but HENRY IS TOO STRONG. OK, I lied. Angle-Slam fails. German Suplex doesn't. Angle-Slam connects, but only gets two. Ankle-Lock applied, and we get a ref' bump. Angle grabs a chair, but Daivari interrupts. Angle lays him out, and now it's Henry's turn to block the chair shot. Angle goes low and uses the chair to KO Henry, but it only gets two. I guess it's not a KO, after all. Angle slams Henry face-first into an exposed turnbuckle and rolls him up for the three count at 9:30. As soon as the announcement is made, the lights go out, and the Undertaker is back from another vacation/injury to scare people and use the powers of the Sith to make the ring collapse. OK. So... is Angle a heel, too? * The definition of a filler match, which unfortunately was also labeled as one of the Main Events of the evening.

Final Thoughts: As much as I stand by my comment that the 1997 Royal Rumble was the worst, uninteresting Rumble PPV in history, this one does a damn good job of challenging for that Title. It's better, barely, but it has the same problems, just with a different cast: Title matches that does nothing but cut someone off at the knees and push an angle nobody cared for, a Rumble with so many uninteresting and filler participants, that it turned out to be 60-minutes of waiting for the inevitable Rey Mysterio victory, and a poorly put together undercard. When Mickie James' lesbian crush on Trish Stratus is the best, most thought-out angle featured on the card, you have some serious problems. Seriously recommended to avoid.

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