Release Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2016
~MATCH #1: Royal Rumble, 1.24.88~
Jim Duggan defeats B. Brian Blair, Boris Zhukov, Bret Hart, Butch Reed, Danny Davis, Dino Bravo, Don Muraco, Hillbilly Jim, Jake Roberts, Jim Brunzell, Jim Neidhart, Junkyard Dog, King Harley Race, Nikolai Volkoff, One Man Gang, Ron Bass, Sam Houston, Tito Santana, and Ultimate Warrior at 33:25 in the Royal Rumble Match.
Bret “Hit Man” Hart drew #1, while Tito Santana drew #2. They go back and forth a bit and “The Natural” Butch Reed is #3. Reed goes right after Santana, and Hart joins him for some double-teaming. Next up is Hart’s partner Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart at #4! That does not bode well for Santana at all. He gets triple-teamed until Jake “The Snake” Roberts makes his way out at #5, and he immediately eliminates Reed. The crowd is in love with Roberts. Next up is #6, Harley Race. The heels team up on the babyfaces until “Jumping” Jim Brunzell comes out at #7 to a big pop. Sam Houston is #8 and he gets a big pop too. I love 1980s WWF crowds. The Hart Foundation teams up to toss Santana to the floor. “Dangerous” Danny Davis is next up at #9. We’re halfway home with Boris Zhukov at #10. Next up is “The Rock” Don Muraco at #11, and Nikolai Volkoff tries to run out there with him. Muraco will have none of that, slugging Volkoff before even getting in the ring. Roberts and Brunzell eliminate Zhukov. Time runs out and now Volkoff, #12, can join the fray. Muraco eliminates Race. Lucky #13 is “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. “Outlaw” Ron Bass comes out at #14. Volkoff eliminates Brunzell. Next is B. Brian Blair, #15. Hillbilly Jim is #16, and he immediately throws Neidhart out. Next is #17, Dino Bravo, who earlier set the world bench press record, according to Ventura at least. Bass eliminates Houston. Ultimate Warrior is entrant #18. Muraco finally eliminates Hart. The enormous One Man Gang is #19. He quickly eliminates Blair and Roberts. The last entrant, #20, is Junkyard Dog. Duggan eliminates Volkoff. Gang eliminates Hillbilly Jim. Davis is next to go via a Duggan clothesline. Next out is the Warrior courtesy of the Outlaw. Bravo eliminates the JYD. Muraco dumps Bass out. The final four is Muraco, Duggan, Bravo, and Gang. Bravo and Gang work together to eliminate Muraco. Gang accidentally clotheslines Bravo to the floor, and we’re down to two. Duggan looks to be in trouble but when Gang charges at him he drops down and Gang sails over the top rope to give Duggan the win at 33:26. For a first effort that was quite good; they obviously would work out the kinks over the years but this on its own is a fun match.
~MATCH #2: Royal Rumble, 1.19.91~
The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) defeat The Orient Express (Kato & Tanaka, w/ Mr. Fuji) at 19:13. This is the Kato and Tanaka version of the Orient Express, and they’re accompanied by Mr. Fuji. Tanaka knocks Jannetty to the floor to start the match right away. The Express tries to go to work on Michaels but they don’t get too far before Jannetty comes back in and the Rockers send them scurrying to the floor and then wipe them out with suicide dives. The match settles down a bit and they trade control back and forth a couple of times, and the pace is very quick, especially for 1991 WWE. Michaels busts out a Moonsault. You know, he might be the first guy I ever saw do that. The Express tries to regroup on the floor but Michaels and Jannetty take them out with simultaneous cross body blocks off opposite turnbuckles. Back in the ring Kato and Tanaka use some chicanery to take over on Michaels. Fuji even gets a couple of cheap shots in behind the referee’s back. After several minutes of abuse Michaels makes the hot tag. Jannetty is on fire and so is the crowd. The Rockers try a Rocket Launcher but Tanaka breaks it up. The Express seems to be in control until Jannetty surprises Tanaka with a sunset flip to get the pin from out of nowhere. That was a HELL of an opener and one of the Rockers’ best matches ever, which is saying something.
~MATCH #3: Royal Rumble, 1.19.91~
Sgt. Slaughter (w/ Gen. Adnan) defeated WWF World Heavyweight Champion The Ultimate Warrior at 12:44 to win the title. Warrior has been the Champion since 4.1.90, and this is his sixth major defense. He comes in a house afire as usual, clotheslining both Slaughter and Gen. Adnan to the floor, and then breaking the Iraqi flagpole over his knee and ripping up the flag. To say the crowd is in support of the Warrior would be an understatement. With Warrior firmly in control, Queen Sherri makes her way out to ringside to try and fire Slaughter up. Sherri grabs Warrior’s leg and baits him to chase her down the aisle. From out of nowhere the Macho King Randy Savage levels the Champ with a clothesline and then hits him with a piece of equipment. Slaughter makes sure Warrior doesn’t get counted out, and goes to work on him back in the ring. After a few minutes Warrior makes the big comeback and Slaughter is in trouble. Sherri makes her way back out to distract the champion again, and he pulls her into the ring. Warrior picks Sherri up and throws her onto Savage, who had made his way back out, and they’re both down. Slaughter drives a knee into Warrior’s back and then distracts the referee, allowing Savage to blast Warrior in the face with his scepter! That gives Slaughter carte blanche to hit an elbow drop and cover for the pin and the title. The crowd was hot for Warrior but the match was pretty dull. It set up for a great match at WrestleMania VII though, so at least some good came out of it.
~MATCH #4: Royal Rumble, 1.22.94~
Bret Hart and Lex Luger defeat Adam Bomb, Bam Bam Bigelow, Bart Gunn, Billy Gunn, Bob Backlund, Crush, Diesel, Doink, Fatu, The Great Kabuki, Greg Valentine, Jeff Jarrett, Kwang, Mabel, Marty Jannetty, Mo, Owen Hart, Randy Savage, Rick Martel, Rick Steiner, Samu, Scott Steiner, Shawn Michaels, Tatanka, Tenryu, Thurman Sparky Plugg, and Virgil at 55:04 in the Royal Rumble Match.
Scott Steiner drew #1, and Samu is #2. The intervals are going to be 90 seconds this year. Scott and Samu brawl for a bit and then Rick Steiner comes in at #3. That doesn’t go well for Samu, who quickly gets eliminated. Kwang (a replacement for Ludvig Borga) is #4, and he spits green mist into Rick’s eyes. Scott comes to the rescue and beats on Kwang in between checking on his brother. Owen Hart is #5 and he goes right after the weakened Rick and eliminates him. Bart Gunn comes out at #6. Not much happens and then Diesel makes his way out with lucky #7. Diesel tosses Bart and then Scott. Owen is next to go, and then Diesel tosses Kwang to have the ring all to himself. The crowd is going nuts, and the term “Diesel Push” is born. The veteran Bob Backlund is #8. Backlund tries to go after the legs but Diesel quickly dumps him out. Billy Gunn is the #9 entrant and he goes right after the big man. Diesel will have none of that and hurls Billy right out. Backstage, Lex Luger is attacked by Tenryu and Kabuki, leaving his status in question. Next up at #10 is Virgil (a replacement for Kamala), and Diesel makes short work of him for his seventh straight elimination. Finally some real competition comes out as Randy “Macho Man” Savage is #11. They fight back and forth and neither man can eliminate the other. Jeff Jarrett is the #12 entrant, and he attacks Savage rather than Diesel. Jarrett thinks he eliminated Savage, but the Macho Man skins the cat and dumps Jarrett to the floor. Next up at #13 is Crush, the mortal enemy of Randy Savage. After surviving Savage’s initial onslaught, Crush and Diesel work together on the former WWE and Intercontinental Champion. Doink the Clown is out next at #14. Crush eliminates Savage just before Doink gets to the ring. Doink is content to watch Diesel and Crush fight each other. The big men take exception and Doink attacks them with shenanigans. That doesn’t last too long, and Bam Bam Bigelow brings us to the halfway point at #15. Bigelow quickly press slams Doink to the floor. The three big men brawl for a bit but can’t eliminate anyone.
We start the second half with Mabel at #16. Mabel cleans house. Sparky Plugg (replacing The 1-2-3 Kid) is #17, and I believe this is his debut. Shawn Michaels is the #18 entrant. Michaels’ bodyguard Diesel looks like he’s going to go after him, but they shake hands instead. That allows Mabel, Bigelow, Crush, Plugg, and even Michaels to eliminate the juggernaut, who gets a huge ovation on his way to the back. Next up at #19 is Mabel’s partner Mo. Men on a Mission try work together, which can be a helpful strategy. Michaels is so good that he makes it believable that Mo could possibly eliminate him. Former Intercontinental and World Tag Team Champion Greg “The Hammer” Valentine is #20. Not much happens until Tatanka comes out at #21 and goes right after Michaels. The Great Kabuki is #22, and the ring is looking full now. It takes Valentine, Tatanka, Kabuki, Crush, Bigelow, Plugg, and Michaels (everyone in the ring except Mo) to eliminate Mabel. Lex Luger comes charging out at #23 and he is a house afire! Luger immediately throws Kabuki to the floor and then turns his attention to Crush. Next up is Tenryu at #24, and he will be operating without his partner Kabuki. The buzzer rings for #25 and nobody comes out. McMahon speculates that this was Bret Hart’s spot but he is too injured to compete. Rick “The Model” Martel is #26. He has had some success in past Royal Rumbles. The crowd explodes as Bret Hart is #27! Hart gimps his way to the ring and that injured knee has a huge bullseye on it. Headshrinker Fatu is #28 and the ring is really full now. Luger, Plugg, and Bret team up to eliminate Crush. Marty Jannetty is #29 and he goes right at his former partner Michaels, hitting him with a superkick. The final entrant at #30 is Adam Bomb, and McMahon declares that he will be the winner. Bret and Michaels eliminate Plugg. McMahon notes that Bastion Booger was feeling “a little sick” so he did not come out in the twenty-fifth slot. Martel eliminates Valentine and Tatanka eliminates Martel. Luger dumps Bomb to the floor and Bigelow gets rid of Tatanka. Next to go is Bigelow, courtesy of Luger. Michaels gets the better of Jannetty yet again and eliminates him. Luger and Bret eliminate Tenryu, and we’re down to the Final Four!
Bret and Michaels pair off while Luger and Fatu do battle. Michaels and Fatu look a little fresher and they take control, even working together to try and eliminate Luger. That doesn’t work just yet and Luger gets all fired up. Michaels and Fatu both get whipped toward a corner and get simultaneously eliminated by Bret and Luger, who are now the final two. They slug at each other briefly and Luger picks Bret up, but Bret uses momentum to send them both tumbling to the floor at the same time. No bell rang, but they hit the floor at about 55:05. The referees are confused about who hit the floor first. Referee Joey Marella declares Luger the winner, but Earl Hebner disagrees and declares Bret the winner. WWF President Jack Tunney makes his way out to sort it out, as McMahon and DiBiase look at the instant replays. To me it looks like Bret hit the floor first, but they did a good job of making it look close. After much hemming and hawing, Howard Finkel announces that both Hart and Luger are the winners, putting the WrestleMania X title shot up in the air. At any rate, this was a really fun Rumble with lots of great talent. They had a great story with Luger and especially Bret overcoming the odds to make it to the end, and the co-winners is not that bad of an idea.
~MATCH #5: Royal Rumble, 1.19.97~
Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) defeats WWF World Heavyweight Champion Sycho Sid at 13:49 to win the title. Sid has been the Champion since 11.17.96, and this is his third defense. The Champion shows off his power in the early going. Michaels fights back with his speed and tenacity. Sid focuses on the back and just abuses Michaels in inhumane ways. This goes on for quite some time, and whenever Michaels tries to make the comeback Sid cuts him off. Eventually Michaels finally does make the comeback, bodyslamming Sid and following with a flying forearm. Michaels goes up top and hits Hail to the King. The band tunes up but Sid catches it and dumps Michaels to the floor. Sid follows him out and delivers a Powerbomb on the floor! Jose Lothario and his kid try to get involved but Sid will have none of it. Back in the ring Michaels fights back right away and the referee gets bumped. Sid hits a huge Chokeslam but there is no referee to count. A second referee comes out but can only get to two. Sid strikes the second official just for fun. Jose gets up on the ring apron to distract Sid, allowing Michaels to use one of the ringside cameras as a weapon. That’s called a receipt, kids. The original referee crawls over to make the cover but Sid kicks out! Moments later Michaels hits Sweet Chin Music to get the pin and regain the title at 13:49. Shawn was legitimately battling the flu during this match so it felt substandard and not to the level of their Survivor Series match. It was a decent David versus Goliath match with a foregone conclusion for a finish, but 1997 Shawn is still amazing so there is fun to be had in watching this.
~MATCH #6: Royal Rumble, 1.23.00~
Tazz defeats Kurt Angle at 3:16. Angle didn’t know who he was facing until the music hit, and the crowd pops huge for the former ECW Champion. Both men are adept at suplexes so this should be a fun match. Tazz wins the suplex battle and locks Angle in the Tazzmission, choking him out for the win. What a fantastic debut for Tazz, and he would never be booked this strong again.
~MATCH #7: Royal Rumble, 1.21.01~
Steve Austin (#27) won the Royal Rumble Match at 51:48 over (listed in order of entry): Jeff Hardy, Bull Buchanan, Matt Hardy, Faarooq, Drew Carey, Kane, Raven, Al Snow, Perry Saturn (w/ Terri), Steve Blackman, Grand Master Sexay, Honky Tonk Man, The Rock, The Goodfather, Tazz, Bradshaw, Prince Albert, Hardcore Holly, K-Kwik, Val Venis, William Regal, Test, Big Show, Crash Holly, Undertaker, Scotty 2 Hotty, Billy Gunn, Haku and Rikishi. Carey is in the Lo Down spot, so neither D’Lo Brown nor Chaz will be participating in this.
The Hardys work together to toss Buchanan out to get the ball rolling on eliminations. They also toss Faarooq out. Drew Carey is #5 as the Hardys eliminate each other, leaving him alone in the ring. Carey gets a few moments to himself, and then #6 sounds off and it’s Kane. Carey avoids getting destroyed, and Raven comes out to give Kane someone to actually fight. Snow joins the Rumble and it turns into a hardcore match, with weapons littering the ring. Saturn is next to continue the hardcore theme, and Blackman fits that bill as well. Sexay is next out and Kane makes short work of him. Kane eliminates Blackman, Snow, Raven, and Saturn in pretty quick succession. The longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all-time, the Honky Tonk Man, is next. Honky tries to sing but Kane takes his guitar and breaks it over his head! Kane tosses Honky out. Lucky #13 is The Rock! Kane’s dominance ends, and Goodfather is the next man out and Rock eliminates him in about five seconds. Tazz is #15, representing the halfway point. He lasts about 10 seconds before getting tossed.
Bradshaw kicks off the second half. Albert is next, followed by Hardcore Holly. The crowd is getting a little restless waiting for another main event guy to show up. K-Kwik makes his Rumble debut, followed by Val Venis. European Champion William Regal is next, and his rival Test comes out next and quickly dumps him to the floor. The next entrant is the surprise return of the Big Show! He hasn’t been seen since August. Show easily dumps Test and K-Kwik. Show Chokeslams everyone in sight, but when he gets to The Rock he takes a kick in the nuts. Rock is able to knock Show to the floor, and everyone else is down. Show is angry and he pulls Rock to the floor as Crash Holly makes his way out. The furious Show Chokeslams Rock through the announce table, and Undertaker makes his way out to help his brother Kane clear the ring. The Brothers of Destruction don’t fight each other, and wait for the next entrant, who turns out to be Scotty 2 Hotty. Obviously, Scotty gets eliminated in short order. The glass breaks and the crowd loses their collective mind as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is here! But before Austin can get to the ring, he’s attacked from behind by Triple H! Meanwhile, Rock gets back in the ring but is facing pretty heavy odds. HHH beats on Austin so badly that he busts him open. Billy Gunn comes out and manages to not get eliminated. Next up is a surprise entrant, the WCW Hardcore Champion Haku! We know that Rikishi is #30, and when he makes it out the remaining men in the match are himself, Haku, Undertaker, Kane, Billy Gunn, The Rock, and Steve Austin.
Rikishi is in no hurry, and Austin meets him in the aisle to start the fight! Austin finally gets in the ring and quickly eliminates Haku. Rikishi blasts Undertaker with a superkick to eliminate him. He goes for a Banzai Drop but Rock delivers a low blow and dumps him to the floor. That leaves Austin, Rock, Gunn, and Kane as the final four. Austin gets rid of Gunn while Rock and Kane do battle. Rock and Austin end up face to face, and the crowd goes nuts when they start fighting. While that’s going on, Kane sneaks up behind them and tries to eliminate them both but Austin is able to hang on! Kane and Austin are the last two left. The Big Red Monster brings a chair in the ring and tries to use it, but Austin thwarts him and hits a Stone Cold Stunner! Austin levels Kane with the chair three times and then clotheslines Kane to the floor to win the Rumble! This is another great Rumble, with an awesome early sequence, a relatively hot middle thanks to Kane and Rock, and a tremendous finishing sequence. The added surprise of Big Show, and the interference from Triple H both helped give this match legs. I love this Rumble.
~MATCH #8: Royal Rumble, 1.28.07~
Undertaker defeats Carlito, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Chris Masters, CM Punk, Edge, Finlay, The Great Khali, Gregory Helms, Hardcore Holly, Jeff Hardy, Johnny Nitro, Kane, Kenny Dykstra, Kevin Thorn, King Booker, Matt Hardy, The Miz, MVP, Randy Orton, Ric Flair, Rob Van Dam, Sabu, The Sandman, Shawn Michaels, Shelton Benjamin,Super Crazy, Tommy Dreamer, and Viscera to win the Royal Rumble Match at 56:21.
Ric Flair is #1, and Finlay is #2. This should be fun. They do battle for 90 seconds, and then Flair’s rival Kenny Dykstra is #3. Matt Hardy follows at #4, pulling double duty. The first potential winner is World Tag Team Champion Edge at #5. Edge eliminates Flair and Dykstra. Tommy Dreamer is #6. He manages to get to the ring without shedding any tears. Sabu is #7, and he immediately sets up a table on the floor. Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms is #8. Still just one man eliminated as Shelton Benjamin comes out at #9. Eliminations record-holder Kane is #10. He gets rid of Dreamer and Sabu. CM Punk is #11, and King Booker is #12. Booker immediately tosses Helms out. Lucky #13 is Super Crazy. Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy is #14, so both Hardys are in the ring together now. We reach the halfway point with The Sandman at #15.
Sandman brings his kendo stick and gets in a couple of shots, but Booker throws him out with urgency. World Tag Team Champion Randy Orton is #16. Edge and Orton work together to eliminate Crazy and both Hardys. The crowd goes wild for United States Champion Chris Benoit at #17. Big names keep coming out, as Rob Van Dam is #18. Kane eliminates Booker, who doesn’t take kindly to that. Booker gets back in and throws Kane over the top rope. They brawl on the floor to set up a feud that literally not one person cared about. LITERALLY. Viscera is #19. The ring is pretty full with not much happening. Johnny Nitro, another one pulling double-duty, is #20. Kevin Thorn (no Ariel, bullcrap) is #21. Rumble veteran Hardcore Holly is #22. Still nothing happens but the crowd explodes when Shawn Michaels comes out at #23. Michaels throws Finlay out, and then hits Viscera with Sweet Chin Music. Everyone bands together to dump Viscera, and Michaels tosses Benjamin. Chris Masters is #24. Benoit eliminates Nitro. Chavo Guerrero is #25. Benoit eliminates Thorn. MVP is #26. RVD dropkicks Masters to the floor. The venerable #27 is Carlito. The Great Khali saunters out at #28, and he eliminates Holly and Benoit. Rookie The Miz is #29, and he gets dumped out by Khali in nearly record time. RVD, Punk, Carlito, and Chavo all get eliminated at Khali’s hands as well. We reach the end with the Undertaker at #30. Undertaker eliminates Khali all on his own, and we’re down to the final five. Undertaker tosses MVP, leaving us with Undertaker/HBK and Orton/Edge. Michaels gets taken out with an RKO, and the Tag Champs work together on Undertaker after some initial dissension. Orton and Edge set Undertaker up for a ConChairTo, but Michaels sneaks back in and backdrops Orton out, and then hits Sweet Chin Music to eliminate Edge! We’re down to two, and both are down. Undertaker sits up, and Michaels kips up! This rules. Both men take it to each other and tease multiple eliminations. Michaels tees up a Sweet Chin Music but Undertaker ducks and dumps Michaels to the floor! Undertaker becomes the first guy to win from the #30 spot. Most of this match was instantly forgettable, but the final four was easily one of the best final four and especially final two sequences in Rumble history. That gives this a pretty generous overall rating.
~MATCH #9: Royal Rumble, 1.27.13~
The Rock defeats WWE Heavyweight Champion CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) at 23:17 to win the title. Punk has been the Champion since 11.20.11, and this is his twenty-first defense. Rock starts off full of fire but Punk is equally fired up. The challenger goes for an early Rock Bottom but Punk avoids it. Punk can’t avoid being clotheslined to the floor though, and Rock follows him out. Momentum shifts back and forth, and Heyman is able to interfere to give Punk the advantage. Punk takes Rock back to the ring and begins wearing him down. Every time Rock tries to fight up Punk is able to cut him off, which makes sense given how much ring rust Rock must have. Punk knocks Rock to the floor and follows him out with a flying forearm off the top rope. Unfortunately for Punk he may have injured his knee on the way down. Back in the ring Rock tries to attack the injured limb but Punk kicks him right back to the floor. Punk then wipes Rock out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Punk goes for a flying clothesline off the top rope but Rock avoids it and Punk crashes down hard on the knee. Rock smells blood in the water and goes after the knee with gusto. He goes for the Rock Bottom again but Punk avoids it and tries Go 2 Sleep, but Rock catches the knee and goes for the Sharpshooter, and Punk reverses that to the Anaconda Vise. Rock turns that into a cover for two, and then drops Punk with a DDT. He again goes for the Rock Bottom but Punk counters it again. Rock counters the counter and locks on a pretty good looking Sharpshooter. Punk reaches the ropes. Back on the floor Rock slams Punk down. Rock clears off the Spanish Announce Table and they take the fight up there. Punk tries to hit Go 2 Sleep but Rock counters with a Rock Bottom. Unfortunately the table gave way before he could actually hit the move. Rock instead delivers the Rock Bottom right on the floor. Ouch. Back in the ring Rock covers for two. Both men make it back to their feet and Punk levels Rock with a roundhouse kick. Once again both men are down. They get back to their feet and trade bombs. Rock takes Punk off his feet with a big clothesline, and then flattens him with a spinebuster. He goes for the People’s Elbow, but before he can hit it, the lights go out. Apparently The Shield is out and they hit Rock with the triple powerbomb through the announce table. Punk brings Rock back in the ring and gets the pin! Well that was certainly unexpected.
But wait! Mr. McMahon makes his way out. McMahon reminds Punk that he said if The Shield interfered, Punk would be stripped of the title. But before McMahon can complete the title transaction, Rock objects. Rock doesn’t want it to end that way, and demands the match be restarted. McMahon agrees and here we go. Punk is furious and lays waste to Rock in the corner. He hits the running knee in the corner and takes Rock down with a clothesline. Punk goes up top and hits Hail to the King for a two-count. He tries go 2 Sleep but Rock slips out and hits a spinebuster! Rock hits the People’s Elbow to get the pin and win the title at 1:52 (23:16 total match time). People gave that match a lot of crap, but wrestling fans come up with weird reasons to hate everything. This was certainly no classic, but it was good stuff with a hot crowd. The re-start actually worked in this case because it helped add some drama to an otherwise foregone conclusion. Rock and Punk had good chemistry together, both in promos and in the ring.
~MATCH #10: Royal Rumble, 1.24.16~
Divas Champion Charlotte (w/ Ric Flair) defeats Becky Lynch at 11:40 to retain the title. Charlotte has been the Champion since 9.20.15, and this is her sixth defense. Lynch appears to have Charlotte’s number in the early going, and she focuses on the arm. It takes interference from father Ric to get the momentum in Charlotte’s favor. Momentum shifts back and forth, with both women trying to set up their signature and finishing moves. When Lynch locks on the Dis-Arm-Her, Ric gets up on the apron and throws his jacket over her head. The distraction is enough for Charlotte to deliver a Spear and that gets the pin. This was a bit of a step down from their SmackDown match, and the finish came off really silly. As usual though with these two, the bulk of the match was good.
~BONUS MATCH: Free For All, 1.21.96~
Duke Droese defeats Hunter Heart Helmsleyby DQ at 6:26. The winner here gets to be #30, and the loser will be #1. I’m surprised they haven’t used this gimmick more often. Droese starts off hot but Helmsley quickly cuts him off and keeps the larger Droese on the mat. Momentum swings back to Droese and he uses his power, but it backfires when he accidentally hits the referee with an elbow. Helmsley takes the opportunity to nail Droese with a foreign object and that gets the pin. But wait! WWF President Gorilla Monsoon comes out and shows the referee the foreign object, and the decision is reversed! Droese wins by DQ. Not much to the match, just standard TV stuff, but it’s a cool gimmick.
~BONUS MATCH: SmackDown, 1.29.04~
Eddie Guerrero defeats A-Train, Big Show, Billy Gunn, Bradshaw, Charlie Haas, Ernest Miller, Hardcore Holly, John Cena, Kurt Angle, Nunzio, Rhyno, Rikishi, Shelton Benjamin, and Tajiri at 37:06 in the SmackDown Rumble.
Angle is #1, and Rhyno is #2. Haas is #3 and Benjamin is #4, which is bad news for Angle, their former mentor. Not too much happens though, and Bradshaw comes out at #5. They take a commercial break, and we missed The Cat coming in the ring and cleaning house then dancing. Cat got distracted with himself though and Angle tossed him out. Tajiri is next at #7. Billy Gunn is #7 and he does well for himself. Big Show is #9, and everyone in the ring looks worried but ready to join forces to get rid of him. That doesn’t work, and Show gets rid of Tajiri, and then Bradshaw. John Cena gets a huge pop at #10. After another commercial we comeback and looks like A-Train and Nunzio had entered the match, and Nunzio was eliminated. Eddie Guerrero is #13 and he eliminates A-Train right away. Rikishi is #14 and he throws his weight around. Hardcore Holly completes the field at #15.
Show eliminates Cena, and then Cena helps everyone left in the ring send Show to the floor. Eddie eliminates Haas and Angle gets rid of Benjamin. Angle tosses Holly, and the final four is Angle, Eddie, Rikishi, and Billy Gunn. Eddie managers to eliminate Billy and keep himself in the ring. Angle and Eddie join forces to get rid of Rikishi, and then realize the only two left are each other. They take it to each other with gusto, and trade some near-eliminations. It’s basically a bonus singles match between Angle and Eddie, which is never a bad thing. Angle tries to suplex Eddie to the floor, but Eddie reverses it and drops Angle to the floor to win the SmackDown Rumble! What a great TV segment, and a very good match (particularly when it came down to the final two). Angle and Eddie were so good together, and this was a great way for Eddie to earn his title shot against Brock Lesnar.
~BONUS MATCH: Monday Night RAW, 1.31.11~
Jerry Lawler defeats CM Punk, John Cena, John Morrison, King Sheamus, Randy Orton, and R-Truth at 18:15 to win the RAW Rumble Match. Winner here goes on to face The Miz for the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber.
John Morrison is #1, and King Sheamus is #2. They go back and forth until John Cena comes out at #3. Cena is fired up and takes it right to the King, and then changes his focus to Morrison. Punk is #4, and he goes after everyone. R-Truth is #5 and he’s all fired up. Lawler is #6 and I don’t recall what he did to earn a shot at the WWE Title. Randy Orton completes the field at #7 and he goes right after Punk to continue their feud. He clotheslines Punk out, and then Truth sneaks up and eliminates Orton. After a commercial break Cena eliminates Truth. Sheamus finally eliminates Morrison with a Brogue Kick. He then gets Cena on the apron, and whips Lawler into him to eliminate Cena! We’re down to Sheamus and Lawler, and Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick and misses, and Cena pulls the top rope down to help Lawler get the win. That was a fun mini-Rumble, and it did a good job continuing the Orton/Punk and Morrison/Sheamus feuds. Also, Lawler won with some help but wasn’t completely helpless, and they struck the right balance there.
The match selection here is a bit all over the place, but the quality is mostly good. The only match on the main feature that falls below 2.5 stars is the Warrior/Slaughter title match, and that at least has significance. The bonus matches are great additions and help make this an easy recommendation for purchase.