Royal Rumble 2007
Date: January 28, 2007
Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Tazz, Michael Cole, Joey Styles, John Bradshaw Layfield
This one has had an interesting build with the Royal Rumble itself only getting a quick build a the end. That being said, this is the kind of show that doesn’t really need to have anything set up for the main event to work, so it actually works for a change. We also have Batista defending the Smackdown Title against Mr. Kennedy and John Cena defending the Raw World Title against Umaga in a Last Man Standing match. Let’s get to it.
The opening video looks at the history of the Rumble itself, including some classic winners. This year’s card gets some attention of its own.
Hardys vs. MNM
Melina is here with MNM (hence why it isn’t NM or MN) and this is about revenge after Matt Hardy destroyed Joey Mercury’s nose at Armageddon. An early Mercury distraction lets Nitro get in a cheap shot on Matt and the alternating beatdown is on in the corner. Matt isn’t having any of that and comes back to bring Jeff in. Nitro kicks him down as well but it’s an atomic drop into the legdrop between the legs to give Jeff two.
Mercury tries to come in but gets suplexed down but Nitro gets in a right hand to Matt’s jaw to take over. The cravats holds Matt in place and Mercury adds a shot to the face for two. We hit the chinlock from Mercury but he misses a middle rope elbow. That’s enough to bring Jeff back in to pick up the pace, including the Whisper in the Wind for two on Nitro. A double suplex puts Nitro down to set up the legdrop/splash combo, but the raised knees put Jeff in trouble.
The waistlock holds Jeff down and a double gutbuster makes it even worse. Nitro grabs a bodyscissors with a chinlock before switching to a front facelock. Jeff manages to fight over, but, of course, the referee doesn’t see the tag (it’s amazing how consistently inconsistent these referees can be). Back up and Jeff manages the mule kick to bring Matt in for the real house cleaning. A middle rope elbow to the back of the head gets two on Nitro as everything breaks down. The Twist of Fate hits Nitro and, with Matt driving Mercury outside, the Swanton gives Jeff the pin.
Rating: B. Pretty solid tag match here and that shouldn’t be a surprise given who was in there. They didn’t do anything overly complicated or flashy here but what mattered was they did things well enough to make it work.
Teddy Long and Jonathan Coachman are in the back to keep an eye on the Royal Rumble drawings with Kelly Kelly there to turn the tumbler. Edge comes in to mock her a bit but here’s Randy Orton to say he tossed Edge over the top last week. They both draw and Orton says “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” King Booker comes in to tell Orton to say he didn’t just say that. Eh kind of funny.
Video on Test, who lost to Bobby Lashley on ECW in a non-title match.
ECW World Title: Test vs. Bobby Lashley
Lashley is defending and this doesn’t make sense after watching ECW either. Test powers him into the corner to start so Lashley hits a spear, sending Test straight to the ropes for some safety. A t-bone suplex sends Test outside where he manages to post Lashley to take over. Back in and we hit the chickenwing, followed by an armbar to stay on the bad arm. Lashley tries to fight up for the comeback but the arm gives out on the gorilla press attempt. The TKO is countered though and an overhead belly to belly suplex sends Test flying. It’s enough to make Test walk out for the countout.
Rating: D. I’ve seen worse power matches but we just went from Lashley beating him clean on ECW to winning via countout here. I’m not sure what is next for Lashley, but this was quite the waste of time. They really can’t have Lashley pin Test twice in a week? Test has to be even remotely protected on this stage?
Lashley beats Test up again post match.
John Cena is banged up when Vince McMahon comes in to mock him for having an abdominal injury. Cena won’t vacate the title, but Vince can’t see him….as champion after tonight.
We recap Mr. Kennedy vs. Batista for the Smackdown World Title. Kennedy won a Beat The Clock Challenge to win the title shot, but he has also made Undertaker want to kill him. Kennedy has beaten a bunch of World Champions so now it’s time to become one himself.
Smackdown World Title: Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy
Kennedy is challenging and gets thrown down a few times to start. That’s broken up in a hurry as Kennedy grabs a rollup for two. Batista’s suplex gets two and it’s already time to head outside. Kennedy sends him back first into the steps but Batista is right back inside with some shots to the face. We go intelligent with Kennedy attacking the knee to slow Batista down. There’s a cannonball down onto the knee for two, setting up something like a reverse Figure Four.
The rope is grabbed and Kennedy’s nose was busted open somewhere in there. Another kick to the leg gets two and Kennedy grabs a half crab. Batista powers out and snaps off the spinebuster, only to bang up the knee even more. The Batista Bomb is countered with another shot to the knee, causing Batista to bump the referee. Kennedy hits a DDT a delayed two so frustration sets in. That’s enough for Kennedy to go up, only to get clotheslined out of the air. Now the Batista Bomb can retain the title.
Rating: C. This felt like a house show main event and that isn’t the worst thing. Kennedy is someone who is going to steal most of the wins he gets and it would be a bit much to believe that he is going to beat Batista in a straight match. The leg thing was fine and the match wasn’t bad, but it was the definition of the Royal Rumble throwaway title shot.
Batista poses for a good bit.
Ariel and Kevin Thorn think their Royal Rumble number is in the cards. The Leprechaun comes in and growls a lot while picking. Coach hopes it isn’t a small number and gets bitten n the ear. Then the Leprechaun meets Great Khali and runs off, leaving Khali to draw three numbers. Kelly picks up the two that Khali drops and Ron Simmons comes in for the joke.
We recap John Cena vs. Umaga. Cena gave him his first loss in a miracle win at New Year’s Revolution so now it’s a Last Man Standing match so Cena can’t escape with a win. Umaga crushed Cena’s ribs on Raw so Cena is very banged up coming in.
Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Umaga
Umaga, with Armando Alejandro Estrada, is challenging and this is Last Man Standing. They stare each other down to start and Cena slugs away to little avail. Instead it’s a shot to the bad ribs to put Cena down on the floor as the beating begins. Cena is sent hard into the steps and Umaga shrugs off being rammed face first into the apron. Back in and Umaga hits him with a heck of a clothesline and it’s time to bring in the steps as Cena pulls himself up.
Somehow Cena manages to pick the tosses them down onto Umaga for a nasty/scary crash. A bearhug into a belly to belly lets Umaga grab more steps, which are stood up in the corner. The running Umaga attack only hits steps though and Cena hits him in the face with the steps for a seven. Cena’s high crossbody is countered into the spinning release Rock Bottom and Umaga goes simple by sitting on his chest.
Another attempt is countered with some raised knees though and Cena plants him onto the steps for a breather. The Shuffle, with Umaga still on the steps, connects but an FU attempt collapses with both of them landing on the steps. Cena is busted open so Umaga hammers away, triggering whatever Cena calls Hulking Up. Since Umaga isn’t an 80s monster, he grabs a Samoan drop to plant Cena again. The Samoan Spike is blocked so Umaga ties him in the Tree of Woe.
The running headbutt misses though and Cena hits the top rope Fameasser. One heck of a TV monitor shot to the head gives Cena eight so he knocks Umaga outside. That’s fine with Umaga, who posts Cena hard. With Cena laid down on the ECW announcers’ table, Umaga gets a running start and splashes….well only the table actually. Umaga is back up at nine and runs Cena over again as Estrada unhooks the top rope. A charging turnbuckle shot gets countered into an FU and Cena grabs the STFU with the rope wrapped around Umaga’s throat to put him out and retain.
Rating: A-. This is a heck of a fight and an underrated Cena classic. These guys beat the fire out of each other and it was a mixture of Cena fighting with power, surviving until he had an opening and then getting smart. I liked this a lot and it’s definitely worth a look if you want to see two big, strong men fighting each other for a long time in one of the better Last Man Standing matches.
Sandman has a beer and picks one of the last two numbers. Ric Flair comes in, picks the last number, and gets hit on by Kelly Kelly. The rest of Extreme Expose comes in and dances with Flair…who leaves so the three of them can dance by themselves.
History package on the Royal Rumble.
90 second intervals with Ric Flair in at #1 (Flair was in five Rumbles and entered #1 twice, #3, #5 and #30. That is downright amazing luck) and Finlay in at #2 for a match which would only happen once in a singles match. Finlay shoulders him down to start and shrugs off some shots to the face to set up a backdrop. It’s too early to toss Flair out so he strikes away until Kenny Dykstra is in at #3. That means a double teaming on Flair but the alliance lasts all of five seconds (a long time in the Rumble) and everyone brawls again.
Matt Hardy is in at #4 to go after Dykstra before switching off to Finlay. Edge is in at #5 to pick up the pace but gets taken down in a hurry. Flair goes for some chairs for the sake of revenge but gets tossed out by Edge. Dykstra is out as well and it’s Tommy Dreamer in at #6. Matt can’t get rid of Edge and Dreamer can’t get rid of Finlay either. Sabu is in at #7 and goes for a table instead of getting inside. He finally does get in for a springboard tornado DDT to Dreamer as Gregory Helms (and his song says so) is in at #8. Helms almost eliminates Hardy and it’s Shelton Benjamin in at #9 as the ring is starting to fill up.
Hardy has to avoid being sent through the table at ringside before trying to do the same to Benjamin. Kane is in at #10 and gets rid of Dreamer and Sabu, the latter being chokeslammed through a table. With the two of them gone, we have Finlay, Hardy, Edge, Helms, Benjamin and Kane. CM Punk is in at #11 and goes after Edge to little avail thanks to a save from Finlay. King Booker is in at #12 and Helms is tossed out in a hurry. Brawling ensues and it’s Super Crazy in at #13.
Kane starts cleaning house again and Booker teases throwing Finlay out, with Finlay circling back to the middle of the ring in a smart move. Jeff Hardy is in at #14 so the Hardys get together for some shots on various people. Poetry In Motion hits Kane and it’s the Sandman in at #15. The entrance takes a good while and the cane shots about….until Booker tosses him in less than fifteen seconds. Randy Orton is in at #16 and I think we have a focal point of the match.
Rated-RKO get rid of Crazy and then toss the Hardys without much trouble. Chris Benoit is in at #17 and it’s time to German suplex a bunch of people. Rob Van Dam is in at #18 as the star power is pretty high at the moment. Van Dam kicks Booker in the face and Kane tosses him out, only to have Booker come back in and toss Kane as well. Cole: “THIS IS RIDICULOUS!” Speaking of ridiculous, Viscera is in at #19 as JBL and Cole argue about Booker coming back in to toss Kane.
Johnny Nitro is in at #20, giving us Finlay, Edge, Benjamin, Punk, Orton, Benoit, Van Dam, Viscera and Nitro. Benoit gets Benjamin about as close to out as you can but he hangs on by just part of one foot. Kevin Thorn is in at #21 and it’s more mindless brawling. Hardcore Holly is in at #22 as the ring is way too full. Everyone goes after Viscera and Shawn Michaels (the hometown boy) is in at #23 to knock Finlay out.
Everyone gets together to toss Viscera and Shawn dumps Benjamin as well. Chris Masters is in at #24 and Benoit knocks Nitro out. Chavo Guerrero is in at #25 as Benoit gets rid of Thorn. Van Dam goes up, looks around for someone to kick, and then gets back down. MVP is in at #26 and is promptly double teamed by Benoit and Michaels. Van Dam dropkicks Masters out and it’s Carlito in at #27, with Cole explaining the lucky history.
Some double teaming can’t get rid of Shawn and it’s Great Khali in at #28. Everyone gets ready for him and they are all knocked down, with only Holly being tossed. Miz is in at #29 (JBL: “Don’t worry King, I hate him too.”) and is out in about three seconds. Khali gets rid of Van Dam and Punk too, followed by Carlito and Guerrero. Shawn gets up to try Khali and is double chokeslammed down. Khali is the only one standing….and it’s the Undertaker in at #30 as the fans are WAY into it again. That leaves us with Edge, Orton, Michaels, MVP, Khali and Undertaker.
The showdown is on with Undertaker winning a slugout and clotheslining Khali out to get us down to five. Old School (one of the dumbest things you can do in the Rumble) hits MVP and he is gone too, but he hands Orton a chair to blast Undertaker. Edge teases a spear to Orton but the chair scares him off. An RKO to Shawn puts him underneath the bottom rope so it’s time to double team the busted open Undertaker. That doesn’t last long as Undertaker hits the running corner clotheslines and it’s Snake Eyes into the big boot to Edge.
Orton gets caught in the chokeslam with Edge breaking it up with a spear. Another chair shot to the head cuts Undertaker down so it’s time for the Conchairto. Shawn is back up though and backdrops Orton out, followed by a superkick to Edge to get us down to two. They’re both down so Undertaker sits up and Shawn nips up for an awesome visual as you can feel this one. Shawn hammers away in the corner but gets shoved away twice. Now it’s Undertaker’s turn to unload in the corner, setting up the upside down whip into the corner.
The big boot misses and Undertaker falls to the apron. Shawn’s running charge is cut off by an elbow and Undertaker gets back in, where Shawn catches him with a swinging neckbreaker. Cole calls them perhaps the two biggest stars in the history of WWE and I’ll ignore that one because this is pretty awesome. Undertaker lifts him out to the apron but Shawn goes up top, only to get punched in the face.
For some reason Undertaker goes up with him until Shawn knocks him back down. The top rope elbow hits Undertaker again but Sweet Chin Music is countered into a chokeslam. Shawn slips off the shoulder though and now Sweet Chin Music can connect to put both of them down. Another Sweet Chin Music is loaded up (ala how Shawn eliminated Diesel in 1996) but Undertaker ducks him to toss Shawn and win, making him the first #30 entrant to pull it off.
Rating: B-. The ending alone is enough to make this worth seeing as it’s probably the best ending ever to a Rumble. Other than that, you had a feeling where a lot of people could win and that’s one of the keys to a good Rumble. What isn’t a key to a good one is having that many people in the ring at once, which was the case multiple times here. The problem is getting to the ending, but that is some straight magic between two people who knew how to crank up the drama. You could go back and forth on the winner, but I’m a sucker for that final pairing.
Shawn looks crushed (and the fans seem to be as well) as Undertaker poses a lot to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. Much like the Rumble itself, the last part of the show (in this case the last two matches) are enough to make the show work, plus a rather good tag match and a watchable Kennedy vs. Batista match. The one part lacking is Lashley vs. Test, with all seven minutes of it being pretty bad. This was a rather good show, with a Cena vs. Umaga being an underrated classic.
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