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Reviewing The Rumbles: 2007

January 19, 2017 | Posted by Rob Stewart
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Reviewing The Rumbles: 2007  

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2007: The Phenom

Luckily, the 2007 Royal Rumble filled me with much less vitriol than the 2006 edition. WWE was still fully in the Brand Split era here (and ECW had been toothlessly brought back to give the company a third Brand). By this point, Randy Orton, Batista, and John Cena had firmly entrenched themselves in the main event of their respective brands. And the rest of the field was wide open for someone to join them.

The Participants

1. Ric Flair
2. Fit Finlay
3. Kenny Dykstra (the Spirit Squad guy who was SUPPOSED to make it)
4. Matt Hardy
5. Edge
6. Tommy Dreamer
7. Sabu
8. Gregory Helms (no longer a superhero, now successful)
9. Shelton Benjamin
10. Kane
11. CM Punk
12. King Booker (Booker probably used the KotR gimmick better than anyone else for my money.)
13. Super Crazy
14. Jeff Hardy
15. The Sandman
16. Randy Orton
17. Chris Benoit
18. Rob Van Dam
19. Viscera (God, this guy DEBUTED 13 years prior to this and never accomplished anything!)
20. Johnny Nitro
21. Kevin Thorn (A wussified Gangrel)
22. Hardcore Holly
23. Shawn Michaels
24. Chris Masters
25. Chavo Guerrero
26. Montel Vontavious Porter (I really dug this guy, and I wish he’d achieved more in WWE)
27. Carlito
28. The Great Khali
29. The Miz
30. The Undertaker

The Final Four

4th – Randy Orton (eliminated by HBK)
3rd – Edge (eliminated by HBK)
2nd – Shawn Michaels (eliminated by Undertaker)
WINNER – The Undertaker

Notes/Thoughts

-JBL is on commentary here, which struck me as odd because he wouldn’t be retiring for two years yet at this point. I had actually forgotten he had a tenure as an announcer near the end of his in-ring career.

-ECW was a brand with its own show here, allowing some noteworthy ECW alums (Sandman and Sabu) to have a Rumble appearance before their WWE careers came to a close.

-The pre-match build-up focuses on several guys, and this is one of the more “up-in-the-air” Royal Rumbles of all time. I actually remember being shocked when I read the results online because I had just the night before conveyed the idea that that Undertaker had settled into a role of just having feuds to build heat rather than needing any real title runs.

-Some of the announcers are hesitant to use “suicidal” to describe Sabu. King says “He’s homicidal, genocidal, ….um…. Sabu!”, and Cole doesn’t say anything, either. Finally, JBL just says the whole thing without pause like the other two are afraid of summoning Candyman or something.

-Anyway, Sabu immediately sets up a table outside the ring when he is announced, and it sits there for a few entrances with several eliminations teased over it, but the trigger not being pulled. Finally, it is–of course–Sabu who eats the table after Kane chokeslams him through it.

-It’s funny… this is the first Rumble after I had started watching regularly again after about 6 years (I stopped when I went to college in 2000 because I didn’t have cable, and then ironically started again in 2006 after I moved to a new apartment and again didn’t have cable. But my bunny ears picked up three channels, and the one Smackdown was on was one of them). But even with that said… there’s a lot of stuff I don’t remember at all here. Gregory Helms and Matt Hardy were locked in a hated rivalry? Huh. If you say so, commentary. It just doesn’t ring a bell.

-I forgot that the ECW wrestlers did not get to be “superstars”; they were “extremists”. Raw and Smackdown had Superstars; ECW just got to have Extremists.

-Sandman enters, cracks some skulls with his cane (including a particularly nasty shot to Edge that would linger all match), but is quickly pitched by King Booker. The fans do not like this one iota and boo the elimination. Seems like Sandman should have gotten at least a few minutes for his only Rumble appearance ever, and the crowd agreed.

-When Rated RKO unites at #16, they get into it with the Hardyz. Before I can really get my hopes up for a de facto tornado tag team match, Edge and Orton throw out both brothers. Kind of disappointing; not going to lie. I guess in Rumbles they don’t tend to like to get into long, involved sub-matches because it can detract from what everyone else is doing, but still… this barely felt like a tease.

-By #18, there are several former world champions in the match, which is nice to see from a Rumble this “early on”. We’ve got Edge, Orton, Booker T, Chris Benoit, Kane, and Rob Van Dam. Pretty much no sooner do I make note of this than Kane dumps Booker, who then revenge-eliminates Kane. They brawl a bit, but–and maybe this is one of those things I have since forgotten about because apparently WWE in 2007 is a blur–no angle or feud comes of it.

-Finlay (FINLAY!) gets the Iron Man rub this match, lasting from the opening until after #22 enters.

-The Texas crowd LOVES Shawn Michaels, and there is a boisterous “HBK” chant upon his entry.

-Benoit was the US Champ here (and say what you will about what becomes of Benoit or how this title was at its WWE peak around this era, but I always find a sad when a former World Title guy is reduced to fighting for secondary belts), and MVP goes right after him after his number is up. These two would go on to have just a remarkable feud, and for my money, they stole Wrestlemania 23 in their US title match.

-Also, Sami Zayn stole the Helluva Kick for MVP (who, I’m sure, stole it from someone else). Just saying.

-Khali was still a new monster here. First we emphasize the MONSTER bit of that, and he destroys the status quo of the match, quickly getting rid of Holly, Miz, Benoit, RVD, Punk, Carlito, and Chavo. Wow, that is a lot of guys. Then we emphasize the NEW bit, as a laid-out Shawn Michaels has to not-really-subtly direct him as to wear to stand and face so the camera can catch him looking beastly.

-This is a fantastic Final Four, and perhaps the very best F4 ever (from the time it comes down to the final four to the end of the match, it’s a solid 10-15 minutes). Orton chairshots ‘Taker, and Edge teases a spear on his partner, but Randy catches him. Some drama builds between them, but is put aside so they can continue working over Undertaker for a bit. Eventually, Shawn gets them both out.

-The Texas crowd goes APES for Shawn and ‘Taker as the last two standing.

-Shawn and Taker go on A WHILE, and they have what has to still stand as the best ultimate “match” to a Rumble ever. Obviously we didn’t know this was but a harbinger of a pair of golden WrestleMania matches ahead. Undertaker eventually wins, and, like I said, that was a properly surprising finish, which I dug.

Rankings

1. 2001 (Austin III) – 10/10

2. 2004 (Benoit) – 9/10
3. 1992 (Flair) – 9/10

4. 2007 (The Undertaker) – 8/10
5. 1997 (Austin I) – 8/10
6. 1998 (Austin II) – 8/10

7. 2002 (HHH I) – 7/10

8. 2005 (Batista I) – 6/10

9. 2003 (Lesnar) -5/10
10. 1989 (Studd) – 5/10
11. 1996 (Michaels II) – 5/10
12. 1999 (McMahon) 5/10

13. 1993 (Yokozuna) – 4/10
14. 1990 (Hogan I) – 4/10
15. 1994 (Hart/Luger) – 4/10

16. 1991 (Hogan II) – 3/10
17. 2006 (Misterio) – 3/10
18. 2000 (The Rock) – 3/10

19. 1995 (Michaels I) – 2/10
20. 1988 (Duggan) – 2/10

8.0
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
This Rumble was great for the Final Four alone. It's a real shame that nothing else of note or import happens, because the last 15 minutes is so damn good that I feel like this should be really highly rated. As it stands, it Ii, but it is balanced at the very fringe of Top 5 ever territory...
legend