WWE Royal Rumble 2011
January 30th, 2011
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
January 30th, 2011
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
The build for this Rumble has been very good with the WWE continuing their effort to push young talent through 2010 and into the new year of 2011. For the first time ever the Royal Rumble has been expanded to 40 participants instead of the usual 30, and both World titles are on the line tonight.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Matt Striker
WWE World Heavyweight Title Match
Edge (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler won a number one contender's match against Cena a few weeks back leading us to this title match tonight which many inside the company see as Ziggler's big chance. If he excels here he could be destined for the main event on a more permanent basis, but if he flops it's back to the midcard. Vickie comes out first to remind Edge that if he uses the spear or gets disqualified he will lose the title to Ziggler. The crowd can only be described as electric tonight. Quick lockup to start off as they begin feeling each other out, exchanging blows in the corner. Edge tosses Ziggler hard into the turnbuckle and nails Ziggler with knees to the abdomen. Gutbuster on Zigger by Edge, a move you don't really see too often anymore. Another near fall for Edge. Outside the ring Edge tosses Dolph into the barricade a few times before tossing Ziggler back in. Big kick from Ziggler before Edge can make it back into the ring and a suspension neckbreaker for two. Ziggler goes to work now, kicking away at Edge's midsection and laying in elbows. Ziggler chokes Edge with the ropes and tries another pin attempt but doesn't even get a two. Crowd is fired up now, chanting "Let's Go Edge!" while Ziggler slaps on a chinlock on the Rated R Superstar. Ziggler gets catapulted headfirst into the turnbuckle for a two count but he recovers quickly with another neckbreaker for a near fall. Ziggler keeps wearing Edge down with the chinlock but the crowd is still completely into it because of just how excited everyone seems to be tonight. Elbow to the heart gets another two count for Ziggler. Edge gets tossed into the barricade again but is only down for a two count back in the ring. Back to the headlock for Dolph. Edge eventually breaks out of it and they collide in mid-air from attempted cross-body blocks. Ziggler gets pancaked in the corner and both men are out for the count again. Edge tries a comeback but Ziggler delivers a jaw-jacker to him instead. He goes for the Rocker Drop but Edge catches him in a sitout powerbomb for a close two count! Edge and Ziggler fight on the top rope for awhile before Edge attempts a splash that Ziggler rolls through for another close 2 count that everyone in attendance and at home totally bought as a finish. Small "Let's go Ziggler!" chants break out as he hits a dropkick for a quick near fall. Edge catches Ziggler in a bit of a modified sharpshooter briefly until Dolph gets the ropes. Ziggler then is able to hit the Rocker Drop on Edge for another close two count, another finish the fans buy into. Vickie is screaming outside while both men are spent inside the ring. Big boot from Edge, Edge thinks about the Spear which gives Ziggler the chance to try to lock on his deadly sleeper hold, only Edge reverses THAT into a big Impaler DDT! Edge is pulling out old moves he hasn't used in years, trying to beat Ziggler. Vickie breaks up a pin attempt but Kelly Kelly of all people comes down to ringside and lays her out. While Edge is distracted by this Ziggler runs up behind him and hits the Zig-Zag! 1-2---NOOO!!!, everyone including Michael Cole and myself just totally bought into that finish there, I legit thought that was a 3 there now. Ziggler locks on the sleeper-hold now, wearing Edge down again, his constant gameplan throughout the match. Edge wildly flails around with Ziggler on his back and knocks out the ref. Edge hits a bit jaw-jacker on Ziggler and with everybody laid out Edge sees the opportunity to give Ziggler the SPEAR, and then lays down beside Ziggler luring him in and then finishing him with the Killswitch Engage/Unprettier, the finisher of his longtime kayfabe brother/partner Christian at 20:47!. This was one HELL of an opener as the crowd was red-hot and Edge and Ziggler pulled every trick out of their bag trying to put the other one away, Edge was bumping all over the place like it was 1999 and Ziggler brought everything he had and what we got was an incredible world title match that still made Ziggler look like a million bucks even in the loss. This has to be considered one of the first true Match of the Year candidates for 2011 thus far. ****¼
WWE Title Match
The Miz (C) vs. Randy Orton
Orton is hugely over as this crowd is still red hot from the brilliant opening match. Good luck following THAT guys. Miz makes a cheap shot at Tom Brady for some delicious cheap and intense heat. Cole, as per usual, verbally fellates Miz for awhile before the bell rings and the match is finally off. Orton takes the quick advantage laying in forearms and uppercuts. He tosses the Miz around for a bit into different corners, laying in shots all the while. Alex Riley is getting antsy outside and rings Orton's neck over the top rope while the Miz distracts the referee. Miz tries to take advantage but Orton hits him with a big clothesline. Orton hits the steel post and The Miz takes the upper hand, running into the corner with a big clothesline for a two count. Riley interferes again and gives a high five to Michael Cole afterwards. Some nice heat from the crowd here because of the whole Cole association. Miz slaps on a headlock for a bit and then hits a kneedrop for only a one count. Forearm to the face gets a two. Cole and Lawler bitch about The Apprentice for some reason while Orton tries to comeback, only to eat another elbow from Miz. Orton eats a knee with his head draped over the side of the ring for another two count. And back to the sleeper from Miz. Miz doesn't exactly seem motivated here. Orton gets out of it with a back suplex. BIG boot to Orton's face for another two count that Cole buys into. The Miz goes to the top but Orton catches him and delivers a huge superplex from the top rope! Orton hits a series of clotheslines on Miz and then hits his trademark backbreaker. Miz tries to escape and Orton goes for his second-rope DDT, only to have Miz backdrop him all the way to the outside and take a cheapshot from Riley outside the ring. Back in thering Miz gets a 2 count and follows it up with a double axe-handle off the top rope for another two count. Orton gets tossed the outside and Miz follows, catapulting him into one of the steel ringposts for his efforts. Back in the ring Orton hits another clothesline and a quick powerslam. The crowd comes alive after a neckbreaker and a near fall for Orton. Orton goes for the RKO, but it's blocked and Orton reverses that with a back suplex for a two count. Miz has had enough and bails outside the ring, grabs his belt and is promptly clotheslined by Orton for even attempting this. Orton rolls him back into the ring but Miz gets a cheap shot for two. Orton gets a rollup for a near fall, then catches Miz in the ropes with his signature suspension DDT. Orton goes into his whole Viper routine, pounding the mat waiting for Miz to rise. Suddenly the new Nexus comes out to distract Randy Orton,who avoids Riley's interference again and delivers an RKO, throwing him out of the ring and onto Nexus, sending them all tumbling. Out of nowhere CM Punk slides into the ring and delivers the GTS to Orton, and the Miz gets the cheap win at 19:50 Very good match here as they had to follow up the excellent opener on the show and put on a damn fine world title match with a hot ending and a creative finish. ***½
Promo for next month's Elimination Chamber PPV.
Backstage Todd Grisham reads a letter from Cody Rhodes who is apparently in hiding because of his broken nose and vanity.
We get clips of them getting Royal Rumble predictions from a plethora of fans in Boston. A simple but nice little touch in building up for the Rumble later.
WWE Diva's Title Match
Natalya (C) vs. Eve Mendes vs. Michelle McCool vs. Layla
Before the match can even begin the lights flicker and we get the inbox sound as Michael Cole has recieved an email from the anonymous Raw GM. He says that instead of a tag team match, it's going to be a fatal fourway with them and......Eve Mendes! Eve Mendes? Really? Everyone, myself included, thought that was about to be Awesome Kong's debut for the company. I almost marked out there. Almost. LayCool quickly take advantage of Eve with double team moves before Natalya starts handing out clotheslines and catapults Layla into Michelle. Laycool tumble outside where Layla clotheslines Natalya. LayCool tease wrestling eachother as the only two in the ring for a bit until Natalya and eve return. Natalya puts the sharpshooter on both Layla and Eve at the same time! Michelle breaks that up pretty quickly and hits modified Michinoku driver. though and tosses Eve to the outside. Natalya dominates Laycool for a bit until Eve returns and sends her out of the ring. Eve climbs to the top rope and hits a moonsault on Layla while McCool rolls up Natalya and the ref counts only Eve's pin for the 3 at 5:14. Wow, pretty good women's match here actually, not too long and they had a few nice spots. **½
Backstage Daniel Bryan (with Gail Kim) gets interviewed by Josh Matthews but they're interrupted by the Bella Twins who initially try to apologize to Bryan but instead end up in a fistfight with Gail Kim, screaming "GET AWAY FROM HIM!". Damn, Daniel Bryan is booked like he's god damn Shaft with the women.
Very good little promo for Wrestlemania, followed by the same Royal Rumble numbers breakdown promo they've been playing all week, but is still great.
40 Man Royal Rumble Match
First out is CM Punk, who gets a strange mixture of heat and adulation. Number two is Ezekiel Jackson apparently, but the entire Corre group come out with him and surround the ring around Punk. Inside the ring they all hammer away on Punk briefly until the rest of Punk's New Nexus run to the ring and we've got a good old-fashioned 1950s Outsiders kind of rumble. But of course the lights flicker to interrupt this great start with the GM's email saying that all of both the Corre and Nexus must go backstage and leave Punk alone in the ring. Number two? Daniel Bryan. Oh yeah, now we're talking. They start the Rumble off strong with some solid wrestling, exchanging lariats. Bryan hits a big missle dropkick but misses the Shining Wizard in the corner. Justin Gabriel is number three and quickly starts to brawl with Punk in the ring. Gabriel goes for the 450 splash but Punk rolls out of theway and Daniel Bryan eliminates Gabriel with a back suplex out of the ring. Bryan Danielson marks everywhere are going wild right now (myself included). Zach Ryder is next out and gets some nice heat from the hot Boston crowd. He attacks the already hurt CM Punk momentarily and then Daniel Bryan eliminates Ryder with a backdrop. Next out is William Regal who gets a nice reaction from the crowd and quickly hits a few variations of suplexes on CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, which the crowd loves. European uppercuts to Daniel Bryan as we've got a battle of the master and trainer as Regal was integral in training Bryan. Bryan takes both Regal and Punk down with stiff kicks. Next out is Ted DiBiase who comes in fired up and heads straight for CM Punk. Bryan superkicks Regal on one side of the ring as DiBiase nearly goes over. Next out is John Morrison, to a big pop. He jumps right in and takesout everyone with a slew ofdropkicks and springboard kicks. He hits the Spanish Fly on CM Punk! Regal gets tossed out and it appears so does Morrison, but Morrison lands ontop of the barricade! He's not TECHNICALLY out, his feet haven't touched the floor! That's utterly brilliant, really. He walks the barricade around and leaps back to the steel steps and climbs back into the ring, never having set a single foot on the ground. Next out is Yoshi Tatsu who quickly gets taken out Punk. They brawl for a bit until Husky Harris comes out. Husky protects Punk for a bit and takes the punishment from the other wrestlers in his place. Next out is Chavo Guerrero who goes right for CM Punk. They trade counters and suplexes for a bit, putting on a mini-match in the middle of the ring. Punk interrupts the 3 Amigoes suplex only to have his 3 Amigoes interrupted....suddenly 3 Amigos Suplexes EVERYWHERE. Literally, everyone in the ring including Daniel Bryan deliverst the move while the crowd goes apeshit for CHAVO GUERRERO of all people.
Next out is Mark Henry, who quickly eliminates Chavo with ease. Yoshi, who has teamed with Henry in the past, tries to chop the big man down but gets eliminated himself by Henry instead. Entry number twelve is JTG, you know, that guy who is just kind of there. King tries to speak ebonics and a single tear of laughter is shed on my part. Morrison and DiBiase start going at it with DiBiase teetering on the top of the turnbuckle. #13 is Michael McGillicutty, another member of Punk's Nexus group who comes in fired up. JTG is quickly eliminated and McGillicitty goes after Morrison. Daniel Bryan meanwhile delivers a very stiff dropkick to Punk's face. DiBiase gets eliminated and next out is Chris Masters who locks the full-nelson on CM Punk and threatens to eliminate him briefly until Nexus makes the save. Next out is David Otunga meanwhile Daniel Bryan gets eliminated after about 20 minutes, which the crowd boos. Masters is out next and after a valiant effort so is Morrison. Now it's just Nexus versus Mark Henry and they eliminate him quickly. Who comes out now you say? To face off against the entire Nexus?
Why...TYLER REKS of course!(?!) Who is quickly beaten down and tossed out in no amount of time. Next out is Vladimir Kozlov who tries to fight them off and then falls to the mat, where Husky hits him with a senton. Punk throws Kozlov out with ease as ifhe were garbage and gets HUGE heel heat from the Boston crowd as he raises his fist for Nexus. He sits down indian-style in the middle of the ring like a true guru and next out is R-Truth. Just like the others they beat down on R-Truth for a bit and then Punk calmly eliminates him. Crowd is all over Punk who just soaks it in. Next out is....The Great Khali! Would it be appropriate to make a joke about the shooting he and his bodyguard were involved in weeks ago in India at this time? Khali tosses out Husky Harris and next out is Mason Ryan, a guy who got his job entirely because he looks so much like Batsita. He quickly eliminates Khali and it's the waiting game again. Next out...CAN YOU DIG IT...SUCKA?! Booker T returns! Crowd pops huge and everyones marking out, including Striker who literally tells us he's "marking out". Booker T hits the ring and hits his signature scissor kick, followed by a Book-End. Crowd is flipping out for Booker T and so is Striker as we see the first SPINAROONIE in many years in a WWE ring and Striker sounds like he just jizzed himself from marking out. After a few more signature spots Mason Ryan eliminates Booker T, pissing the crowd off big time. No need to worry though because next out is John Cena! He sprints to the ring and makes short work of Nexus, eliminating everyone besides Punk. Next out is...Hornswoggle? What the shit? The fun doesn't last long though as Punk kicks Hornswoggle's face off in the ring. Punk tries to dump Cena out but John ends up slamming him over his shoudlers, over the tope rope and eliminating CM Punk! Cena helps Hornswoggle up and they wait for the next entrant, and it's Tyson Kidd who gets stuck in between Cena and Hornswoggle and suffer a tilt-a-whirl slam and then AN FU! No, really, Hornswoggle just gave Tyson Kidd the FU and he sold it and everything. That was just funny. Heath Slater is next out and he doesn't long either as Hornswoggle gives him a STUNNER and then a tadpole splash, leaving Cena to eliminate Slater. Good lord, this Cena/Hornswoggle team is actually working! Next out is the Intercontinental Champion, Kofi Kingston who has a nice showdown with Cena briefly until Swagger comes out and starts delivering slams to everyone. Kingston flies off the top to take out Swagger and hits the BoomDrop with Hornswoggle as a step-ladder of sorts. Next out is Sheamus who takes it right to Swagger and then takes down Cena with a backbreaker. Sheamus shoves Hornswoggle down but Hornswoggle starts doing the HBK foot stomp "turning up the band" move, and delivers Sweet SHIN Music! Somewhere Mick Foley is marking out. Sheamus finally eliminates the little guy with a big boot just as Rey Mysterio comes out at number 29.
Rey's a house of fire in the ring, hitting his spots on everyone in the ring before being taken down by a lariat from Sheamus. Out of nowhere Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise on Swagger, who then eats the 619 from Rey and is eliminated. Next out is Wade Barrett, the leader of the Corre. Barrett goes for the Wasteland on Kofi but Cena interrupts and they go at it. Out next is number 31, Dolph Ziggler out for the second time tonight after the incredible match with Edge earlier in the night. Out next is...DIESEL! Yes, you heard right, fucking DIESEL! Kevin Nash with his beard dyed and all came out to the music and Diesel ring gear. Crowd erupts in a giant collective mark-gasm. Nostalgia for all! Alex Riley is next out which gives Miz the chance to jump on commentary. Drew McIntyre follows but is eliminated within minutes as Diesel gets eliminated and has a staredown with the Big Show in the aisle. Ezekiel Jackson comes out next and he quickly eliminates the Big Show! Next out is Santino who manages to last more than one second like years before. Cena starts trying to work on Ezekiel's mid-section but he's too strong. Entry number 38 is Alberto Del Rio who arrives with his trademark car and Ricardo Rodriguez doing his announcements. Lots of stall time basically for Del Rio here. Eventually he makes it to the ring just as number 39 comes in, and it's Randy Orton. He delivers a few RKOs and quickly eliminates both Kofi Kingston and Sheamus, leaving it down to Orton and Cena as the only two standing. At number #40 we get Kane, who is known for his elimination records in the Rumble and they've been hyping it for weeks. Kane dominates Orton in the corner for a bit until Ezekiel Jackson gets inbetween them. Kane pulls the ropes down and eliminates Ezekiel. Rey and Kane square off and Mysterio manages to eliminate him just long enough for Wade Barrett to eliminate Mysterio. We are down to the final Four now with Cena, Orton, Barrett, and Del Rio! Cena teases being eliminated but comes back with a sidewalk slam on Barrett. Cena and Orton start going at for a bit and Cena almost eliminates Orton but Barrett breaks it up. Del Rio takes the Attitude Adjustment from Cena but then Riley comes out to distract Cena while The Miz comes into the ring and eliminates Cena himself! Orton, Barrett, and Del Rio remain. One...no, two of these are not like the other. Barrett and Del Rio double team Orton in the corner but Orton fights back and hits backbreakers on both men, going into Viper mode and he eliminates Barrett, but Del Rio eliminates Orton! Del Rio has won! The crowd is in total shock...but wait! Santino was never officially eliminated before and returns to the ring where he's promptly eliminated by Del Rio to end the match at 69:55. Unbelievable, nobody could have predicted the winner of this year's Rumble, nobody. The match itself was absolutely brilliant from start to finish with several stories, feuds, and surprises, this was flat out one of the best Rumbles ever in my book. The Diesel and Booker T cameos were awesome moments, and we got great performances in the match from a wide variety of great workers like Daniel Bryan, John Morrison, CM Punk, and William Regal. This was a fantastic Rumble match and even managed to somehow one-up last year's stellar Rumble match. ****¼
Bottom Line: This was a great show, simply put. Ziggler and Edge had a serious Match of the Year candidate to open things up, Miz and Orton had a fine match, and even the divas showed a bit of effort. This had to be the best Rumble in years as the match itself delivered a huge surprise winner in Alberto Del Rio and they were able to integrate several angles and feuds into the match to set up the road to Wrestlemania. WWE definitely delivers big time with their first PPV of 2011, easy Thumbs Up.