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WWE Royal Rumble - January 25, 2009
by SamoaRowe

-The show is originating from Detroit, Michigan. The commentators are sad because Vince McMahon got hospitalized due to Orton’s punt to the head of death. A lot has changed since the days of Jim Ross marking out because Stone Cold sent Vince to the hospital, eh? Anyhow, our hosts are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler for Raw, Jim Ross and Tazz for Smackdown, and Matt Striker and Todd Grisham for ECW.

ECW Championship:
Jack Swagger © vs. Matt Hardy

They lock up for a shoving contest. Hardy connects with some shots, sending Swagger to ringside to recollect. Hardy pursues, directing Swagger to the ring for a clothesline. Swagger retreats to the floor again. Swagger returns and takes Hardy down, applying his amateur wrestling skills. Hardy reverses a wrist lock, but gets taken down again. Swagger is focusing on the arm. Hardy drop-kicks the face and nails a bulldog. Cover by Hardy gets 2. Hardy goes top rope, but Swagger pushes him to the floor. Back to the ring, Swagger returns to working on the arm. Swagger blocks a clothesline and nails a big boot for 2. More arm work from Swagger. Another desperate clothesline by Hardy gives him an opportunity to build momentum. Another bulldog by Hardy gets a cover for 2. Hardy goes drives an elbow off the second rope and gets another near fall. Belly to belly suplex by Swagger gets a cover for 2. They reverse suplexes, but it’s Swagger who nails a DDT. Swagger plants Hardy on the top rope but his superplex is blocked. Hardy hits a moonsault for 2.9! Well, it was a sloppy moonsault, so I can’t say I blame him. Twist of Fate and Side Effect are blocked. Swagger delivers a hard fought Gut Wrench Bomb for the win at 10:29. Nothing too exciting, but Swagger looked credible here, **˝.
Winner and still ECW Champion: Jack Swagger

-Earlier tonight, Randy Orton arrived at the arena. All the superstars shoot disgusted looks at him.

Women’s Championship:
Beth Phoenix © (with Santino Marella) vs. Melina

They target the head in the early going before Beth grabs the waist and thrashes Melina around. The crowd is more interested in chanting for Santino at ringside. Beth knocks Melina several times before getting caught in an elaborately set up arm lock. Beth lifts Melina over her shoulder and drops her on the turnbuckle. Melina perches on the shoulders but gets dropped hard. Beth drags Melina to the ring center and stretches the leg. Beth hits Melina in the head with her own leg, which is simply excellent. Melina connects with a kick but runs into a side slam for a near fall. Melina escapes a press slam but momentarily botches her revenge shot. Melina slides under the legs and gets a sunset flip for a near fall. Drop toe hold into the ropes by Melina, who drives her knees into Beth’s back. Beth kicks out but runs into Melina’s boots. Senton off the ropes by Melina. Beth ducks a kick but gets rolled up, giving the win to Melina at 5:59. The match was sloppy as hell, but Beth is awesomely brutal, *˝.
Winner and new Women’s Champion: Melina

-Backstage The Undertaker confronts Shawn Michaels and offers some hard advice.

World Heavyweight Championship:
John Cena © vs. John Bradshaw Layfield (with Shawn Michaels)

Cena connects with a side headlock takedown. JBL reverses. Side tackle by JBL but Cena rebounds for a near fall. JBL retreats to ringside and talks strategy with Michaels. Back to the ring, JBL pummels Cena into the corner. Bulldog by Cena gets 2. Throwback by Cena also gets 2. JBL pouts at ringside. Cena chases and misses a clothesline, almost hitting Michaels. The distraction lets JBL get a cheap shot and slam Cena into the steps. Back to the ring, JBL gets a near fall. Standing clothesline by JBL gets 2. Series of elbow drops gets another cover for 2. Crossface variation by JBL. Side slam by Bradshaw gets another near fall. Cena is pushed off the apron, selling as if he’s in the final minutes of an Iron Man match. JBL sends Cena crashing into the ring steps. Back to the ring, JBL forces another near fall. Lots of punching by Bradshaw. Cena blocks a superplex and hits the leg drop to the back of the neck. Long awaited cover by Cena gets 2. JBL sets up the clothesline from Hell, but Cena is fired up and quickens the pace. Five Knuckle Shuffle by Cena but JBL blocks the Attitude Adjustment (formerly known as the F-U). Cena locks on the STF (minus the U). Cena breaks to kick HBK’s arm off the ropes, which allows JBL to kick Cena to ringside. Back to the ring, Cena barely manages to kick out after taking a Clothesline from Hell. JBL blocks the Attitude Adjustment but accidentally wipes out the ref with a missed big boot. Michaels enters the ring and looks conflicted on who to super kick. HBK nails Sweet Chin Music on JBL! Cena is pleased but he eats a Sweet Chin Music as well! Michaels drapes JBL over Cena and walks away. A new referee runs in and JBL gets a 2.9 off the cover! Cena reverses the Clothesline from Hell into the Attitude Adjustment and gets the win at 15:30. This was the usual Cena/JBL borefest until things got interesting when the “what will Michaels do” story kicked in, **.
Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena

-Chris Jericho supports Randy Orton, but can’t help but feel a tad bit suspicious.

WWE Championship:
Jeff Hardy © vs. Edge (with Chavo Guerrero)

Right before the match, Vickie Guerrero makes this a no disqualifications match. Hardy blames Edge for all the shady attacks on him recently so he aggressively attacks the challenger from the early going. The crowd is chanting “We want Christian” so you know that’s not happening. Hardy chases Edge around ringside, grabs a chair, but Edge cuts him off returning to the ring. Clothesline by Hardy and a drop-kick to the head gets a cover. Hardy gets Edge to chase him around the ring apron and dives off the apron onto the challenger. A distraction from Chavo gives Edge an opening to kick Hardy during a springboard move. Baseball slide by Edge gives him the upper hand in the ringside fight. Back to the ring, Edge arrogantly shows off and tries to win with an elbow drop. Edge dominates, spearing Hardy into the turnbuckles. Sunset flip by Hardy almost finishes it, but Edge regains control with a waist lock. Hardy fights out and goes top rope. Edge drop-kicks Hardy in mid-air! Cover by Edge gets 2. Edge brings some chairs to the apron, but Hardy spears him off! Jeff wipes Edge out and follows up with a Twist of Fate on the ring apron! Hardy sets up a ladder at ringside and plants Edge on the announce table. Jeff climbs up but so does Chavo, foiling the attack. Hardy fights off Chavo, setting him up on the table instead. Jeff dives off the ladder, wiping out Chavo on the table! Back to the ring, a flying cross body on Edge gets a near fall for Jeff. Edge exposes a turnbuckle but eats a Whisper in the Wind for 2.5. DDT by Edge gets 2.5. Hardy counters with a small package for 2.5. Edge counters the corner drop-kick by dropping Hardy head-first into the exposed turnbuckle. Jeff counters the spear with a Twist of Fate! Vickie tries to block Jeff going top rope but gets kicked off. Swanton bomb on Edge connects but Vickie pulls the referee out of counting the cover. Matt Hardy runs in to dispatch Vickie. Matt hands a chair to Jeff but grabs another one for a con-chair-to. Instead, Matt turns on Jeff, cracking the chair over his brother’s skull. This would have been much cooler (and logical) had that been Christian, but I digress. Edge makes the cover and wins the title at 19:22. This was a dramatic battle, Edge and Jeff were both on tonight, ***˝.
Winner and new WWE Champion: Edge

Royal Rumble:
You know the rules by now. 30 superstars compete for the prize of a world title match at Wrestlemania. Two wrestlers start and are joined by a newcomer every 90 seconds. You are eliminated when you are thrown over the top rope and both feet hit the ground. 2006 winner Rey Mysterio is #1 and former ECW Champion John Morrison is #2. They fight back and forth, with both men coming extremely close to eliminating the other. Carlito is #3 and brings the fight to Mysterio and Morrison. Carlito shows off by spring boarding off the ropes to wipe out Morrison. MVP is #4 and receives a fan-favorite reaction from the crowd. MVP fights off Rey and to lay a beating on Morrison and Carlito. Springboard kick by Morrison misses MVP and takes down Carlito. Rey cleans house. #5 is The Great Khali and it would seem the real house cleaning is about to start. Khali knocks everyone down and poses. Carlito attempts a backstabber but absolutely fails, eating a Punjabi Plunge.

#6 is Vladimir Kozlov. Oh joy. Kozlov charges Khali and sloppily eliminates him! MVP misses a drive by kick and gets eliminated by Kozlov. Carlito is tossed but lands on the apron. Carlito springboards into a messy Spinebuster from my favorite Russian. Carlito is gone, courtesy of Kozlov. Triple H is #7 and he goes right into a slugfest with Kozlov. Kozlov misses a head butt, allowing Triple H to beat him down and eliminate him. Morrison goes after Triple H. Randy Orton is #8. Orton and Triple H slug it out. They block each other’s finishers, but Morrison and Rey intervene. Morrison gets hit with 619. JTG of Cryme Tyme is #9. Cryme Tyme flipped a coin to decide which one would go in first. Shad discovers afterwards that JTG used a double headed coin. Oh, the hilarity. JTG dives in over his head, going after Triple H. Ted Dibiase (Jr.) is #10, and immediately goes after anyone not named Randy Orton. Dibiase tosses JTG and Morrison, who hang on and find time to kick each other in the process. Rey fights dirty, sliding into Dibiase’s groin.

#11 is Chris Jericho! Y2J immediately tries to eliminate Orton. When that doesn’t work, Jericho mixes it up with Triple H, missing a lionsault but blocking a Pedigree with the Walls. HHH blocks and tries to eliminate Jericho. Mike Knox is #12. Knox wastes no time kicking Mysterio in the head. Meanwhile, Orton and Dibiase talk strategy and both go after JTG. Triple H targets Knox. The Miz is #13. The ring is full of superstars punching each other, but Miz finds Morrison and they go to work as a team. Orton goes on an RKO spree before walking into a Pedigree. Triple H eliminates both Miz and Morrison. Finlay is #14. Mysterio is tossed, but lands on Miz and climbs back into the ring on Morrison as if they were stepping stones! That was really cool. Meanwhile, Finlay gets some nice shots in on Triple H and tries to eliminate Jericho. Orton saves Dibiase from Finlay. Cody Rhodes is #15. He finds Dibiase and Orton and they triple team anyone who crosses their path.

The Undertaker is #16 and maybe he can do something about the cluttered mess in the ring. Everyone stops to focus on the Dead Man. Taker cleans house, eliminating JTG in the process. Goldust is #17. In a nice touch, Goldust and Cody Rhodes square off. Jim Ross actually acknowledges that they are brothers. Orton catches Goldust with an RKO and instructs Cody to make the elimination, which he does. CM Punk is #18. Punk runs in and dishes out his move set to whoever stands in his way. Punk hits the Go To Sleep on Triple H! That made me happy in ways you’ll never begin to understand. Mark Henry is #19, so somebody is about to get their ass kicked. Henry is a big guy so he gets to clean house. There haven’t been many eliminations, so the ring is full. Shelton Benjamin is #20. Benjamin quickly gets lost in the shuffle while CM Punk and Jericho fight it out on a top rope. Benjamin jumps up and DDTs both men off the top!

William Regal is #21. Regal is still upset over his Intercontinental title loss and goes right after Punk. Mark Henry got eliminated off camera. Turns out Rey pulls the ropes down, sending Henry crashing. The Legacy guys almost dump HHH, but he hangs on. Kofi Kingston is #22. The Rumble has become quite monotonous at this point, as Kingston gets to momentarily clean house just like almost everyone before him. Undertaker dumps Benjamin to the floor. Meanwhile Rey has wrapped himself around the ring post to avoid an elimination from Jericho. Kane is #23. Kane hits the ring and, you guessed it, cleans house. Kane and Undertaker meet up and start working as a team. CM Punk manages to eliminate Regal. R-Truth is #24. Surprisingly, Truth doesn’t get to clean house, but does get a nice spinning tackle on Triple H. Rob Van Dam is #25! RVD enters the match to a giant pop! The crowd wakes up and eats up everything RVD does, as he dominates the match temporarily. RVD does a weird miss off the ropes.

The Brian Kendrick is #26. Kendrick pushes Kingston to the floor. Triple H then grabs Kendrick and eliminates him already. Damn. Dolph Ziggler is #27. Ziggler introduces himself to the Rumble participants quickly, but backs into Kane, who introduces him to the floor. The ring is filled with guys who have been in this thing for a long time. Santino Marella is #28. Santino breaks the “fastest elimination” record when Kane clotheslines him to the floor as soon as he enters. Santino protests that he wasn’t ready, which is just wonderful. Hacksaw Jim Duggan is #29. Duggan won the first Rumble, so why not? Duggan gets to clean house for a bit, even knocking down the Undertaker. #30 is known other than the Big Show. Everyone braces themselves for Show, but it’s Undertaker who steps up. Kane jumps in and slugs it out with Show.

Duggan tries to eliminate Show but gets dumped out himself. Show press slams R-Truth to the floor. Punk repeatedly saves himself until Show finally knocks him out. Mike Knox and Rey Mysterio both hit the floor after a group effort. Hornswoggle enters the ring to help his dad, but Kane eliminates Finlay. Big Show and Undertaker slug it out. Jericho tosses RVD to the floor right after a Five Star Frog Splash. Codebreaker on Taker, but Taker rebounds by eliminating Jericho! Legacy triple teams to eliminate Kane. We’re down to Legacy, Undertaker, Big Show, and Triple H. Chokeslam on Triple H by Big Show while Legacy triple teams Undertaker. Taker fights off Legacy, chokeslamming all three members. Taker and Show slug it out again. Show gets tossed but hangs on to the ropes. Taker blocks an RKO but Show pulls him to the apron. Orton RKO’s Show over the ropes and eliminates him. Show pulls Undertaker to the floor with him and they brawl into the crowd.

The final four are Triple H, Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted Dibiase. Orton calls the shots as they pummel HHH to the corner. HHH counters the RKO, nails a face buster on Rhodes and a Spinebuster on Dibiase. Orton almost gets dumped while HHH Pedigrees Rhodes and eliminates Dibiase. Triple H tosses Rhodes, but Orton immediately sends him crashing to the floor after him. Randy Orton wins the Rumble at 58:37. That finishing sequences was great stuff. It’s hard to screw up the Royal Rumble, and they didn’t, but this was dull for a while as no one was being eliminated and everyone who entered got to clean house for a bit, ***.
Winner: Randy Orton

Final Thoughts: Orton was the right guy to get the win at the Rumble. I liked that Orton entered at #8 since it meant that he had to really fight to get to the finals, even with Rhodes and Dibiase helping him. And since the other Legacy members were so vital in his victory at the very end, Orton still maintains his heel momentum since he probably couldn’t have finished Triple H without them. The undercard matches were alright, with some big events in Matt turning on Jeff, and Michaels teasing a turn against JBL. Nothing sucked, though nothing was great, but I’d recommend just because a lot of what’s happening on television now stemmed from this. I’m glad to see that the pay-per-views are finally returning to being this relevant.

Mild thumbs up.

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