(2012 Scott sez: I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later. So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.) The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this. (2012 Scott sez: On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.) Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez: That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez: That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.) Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them. (2012 Scott sez: That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.) They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez: Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez: Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.) Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice. (2012 Scott sez: If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.) Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez: Allegedly.) Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez: You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT. Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez: Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.) FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month. (2012 Scott sez: I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.) The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.