Date: January 18, 2008
Location: Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, Birmingham, Alabama
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jonathan Coachman
We are less than two weeks away from the Royal Rumble and odds are we are going to get some focus on that show this week. With Edge vs. Rey Mysterio for the Smackdown World Title all set up, it is time to build on the rest of the card, which is mainly going to focus on the Royal Rumble itself. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the end of last year’s Royal Rumble, with Undertaker beating Shawn Michaels in a classic final five minutes.
Here is Undertaker to get thing going. Undertaker says it is not often that he has a microphone in his hand because he doesn’t have much to say. He doesn’t talk about taking souls because he just does it. In nine days, he is entering the Royal Rumble, which he won last year. This is a warning to the other 29 men: if you stand before him, you will fall before him and Rest In Peace. Cue Matt Striker and Big Daddy V, because this is still a feud they’re trying to push. Undertaker stares V down and the fight is on, with V being sent into the steps. That’s enough for Striker to get him out of here after another nothing brawl between them.
We recap the issues between Rey Mysterio, Vickie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero and Edge. As tends to be the case, this resulted in Rey being beaten down to end the show.
Finlay vs. Great Khali
Hornswoggle and Runjin Singh are here and get in a chase on the floor at the bell. We take a break less than thirty seconds in and come back with Khali stomping Finlay down in the corner. A right hand drops Finlay again and they head outside until Khali misses a chop. Finlay kicks away but Finlay gets chopped right back.
We hit the nerve hold (of course) before Khali hits a slam to keep Finlay in trouble. Hornswoggle offers a distraction though and Finlay gets in a low blow but it’s time to beat up Singh. That’s enough of a distraction for Khali to hit the chokebomb and the Vice Grip finishes Finlay off.
Rating: D+. You know what you’re going to get from Khali and you know what you’re going to get from this match as it has already happened more than once. The good thing is that they gave Khali a win to get some of his momentum back. You can only have him taken out by the shillelagh so many times before it stops mattering so this was the right way to go. It wasn’t a good match of course, but it did its job.
Edge tells Vickie Guerrero that he will always be here for her. They mean everything they have said to each other, with Vickie suggesting they have a kid. The camera pans over to Teddy Long, who reminds them that he’s still here. Vickie sends him on a food run but Chavo Guerrero interrupts to say he was wrong about the two of them. Chavo says Edge is a good guy and Vickie takes both of their hands.
Jimmy Wang Yang/Shannon Moore vs. Deuce N Domino
Cherry is here with the entrance-less Deuce N Domino. Jimmy and Deuce start things off with Jimmy taking him to the mat without much effort. Cherry offers a distraction so Jimmy can be sent outside and it’s Moore coming in, only to be taken down in a hurry. Domino grabs the chinlock, which goes as well as the average chinlock, meaning Moore fights up and brings Yang back in. Everything breaks down and a missile dropkick gets two on Domino. The moonsault press finishes for Jimmy.
Rating: C. Again: take two guys who have nothing else going on and put them into a team. It isn’t the best way to go and it isn’t going to light the company on fire, but Yang and Moore are having fun matches and adding the slightest bit of depth to the division. If WWE can do it with them, why can’t they do it with even more people?
Vince McMahon comes into the dressing room to yell at Finlay for letting Great Khali hurt Hornswoggle. Next week it’s Finlay vs. Great Khali in a Belfast Brawl.
Batista vs. Mark Henry
After a clip of Batista winning the 2005 Royal Rumble, they fight over a lockup with neither being able to get very far. A running shoulder doesn’t get Batista anywhere so it’s time to yell at each other instead. Henry is knocked outside so Batista follows and sends him into the barricade. That earns him a knockdown and a whip into the steps before the beating heads back inside. Henry’s Vader Bomb hits raised knees and a spear gives Batista two. The Batista Bomb is broken up so Batista goes with the spinebuster for the pin.
Rating: C-. Yeah you know what you’re getting here, as once Batista has beaten him one time, there is no real reason to be interested in seeing it happen again. We know he can’t hit the Batista Bomb so it was either going to be the spear or the spinebuster. Batista still feels like he gets a bit of a rub, but that isn’t exactly a big deal from Henry.
We look at Edge helping Chavo Guerrero become #1 contender to the ECW World Title.
It’s time for the VIP Lounge with Ric Flair as this week’s guest. Flair talks about wanting to dance all night long in a lounge like this and says he closed VIP lounges before MVP was born. MVP talks about how he beat Flair last year and promises to do it again. Flair lists off some legends he has beaten and says he likes MVP a lot. He reminds Flair of himself but knows that MVP is nothing like him. MVP says he’s better and Flair is ready to fight but we’ll save that for the Royal Rumble. After hitting the catchphrases, MVP gets punched out to the floor.
Michelle McCool vs. Layla
McCool grabs some headlock takeovers to start and shoulders her down for a basement dropkick. Back up and Layla goes after the knee to take over. That doesn’t last long as Michelle is up with some kicks, setting up a double underhook facebuster (Christopher Daniels’ Angel’s Wings) for the pin.
Rating: C-. They’re both trying and this was far from an embarrassing match, but you can only get so far with these women fighting over whatever catty issue they have. There isn’t room for a Women’s Title around here, but they have come a long way since the dark days. Michelle is getting more and more polished in the ring and that is nice to see as the effort is working out.
Video on Eve Torres.
Jamie Noble checks on Michelle McCool when a delivery man has flowers for her. They’re not from Jamie, but rather Chuck Palumbo, who apologizes profusely. Michelle accepts his apology but Noble doesn’t buy any of this. She tells them to get along for her sake. Sure.
Royal Rumble rundown.
Vickie Guerrero wishes Rey Mysterio good luck in the main event but he doesn’t buy it.
Edge/Chavo Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio/CM Punk
Punk works on Chavo’s arm to start and then shoulders him down. Rey comes in with a springboard seated senton for something like a Hart Attack to Chavo, meaning it’s off to Edge. Everything breaks down and the villains are sent outside for stereo dives as we take a break.
Back with Punk whipping Edge into the corner and raining down some right hands. A Chavo distraction lets Edge take over though and it’s the villains taking turns on Punk. Edge slides Punk shoulder first into the post and Chavo grabs an armbar. A backbreaker gives Chavo two but Punk kicks him down for a much needed breather. It’s still too early for the hot tag as Edge comes back in, only to miss a charge into the buckle. Rey comes back in to clean house but Edge chairs Rey down to break up the 619 and draw the DQ.
Rating: C+. Lame ending aside, this is a case where the talent alone is going to carry things. There were four good wrestlers in there and they got to do a completely passable story during their match. Good enough for a main event here as we barrel towards a pair of title matches next week.
Post match the brawl stays on the Edgeheads come in and help with the beatdown on Punk and Rey to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. As has been the case for a few weeks now, there is only so much that can be done for the Royal Rumble build. The World Title match is set, meaning this was more about setting up the ECW World Title match on next week’s TV rather than anything for the pay per view. Not a bad show, but the Rumble needs to get here already.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with 30 different cheap wrestling books at: