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The Royal Rumble 2009 Breakdown

February 2, 2009 | Posted by J.D. Dunn

Royal Rumble 2009
by J.D. Dunn

Thumbs up to whoever decided on “Let it Rock” for the PPV theme.

  • January 25, 2009
  • Live from Detroit, Mich.
  • Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Tazz, Todd Grisham and Matt Striker.

  • Opening Match, ECW Title: Jack Swagger vs. Matt Hardy.
    Holy shit! When did the WWE sign Biff Tannen? Hardy dazzles him with PUGILISTIC ENDEAVORS~! “Punching” for all you plebeians. Swagger tosses Matt and goes to work on his shoulder. Matt kicks him in the head and hits an elbow to come back. He stumbles into a belly-to-belly, though. ONE, TWO, TH-NO! Swagger puts him on top, but Hardy elbows out of it and hits a moonsault for two. Swagger posts Matt, though, and finishes with the Gutwrench Bomb at 10:27. Now make like a tree… and get outta here. Matt wrestles well from underneath, so Swagger looked dominant without making the match too one-sided. The shoulder psychology was surprisingly consistent for the WWE. **3/4

  • WWE Women’s Title: Beth Phoenix (w/Santino Marella) vs. Melina.
    Pretty standard Diva stuff until Melina tilt-o-whirls into an armbar but Beth just powers her up. Beth nearly drops her on her dome and hits a buttalanche. Heat with Umaga? Tune into the dirtsheets to find out. Beth bends Melina’s leg over and makes her kick the back of her own head with the foot. So in answer to who watches ROH other than me — Beth Phoenix. Beth tries to press her, though, and Melina botches a counter to a rollup. Beth picks her up again, and Melina counters to a sunset flip. The Hog Log misses, but Melina goes all Juventud on her and swings around a bodyscissors into a fluke rollup for the win at 5:57. Pretty sloppy, although Beth’s cruelty is perversely entertaining. *

  • In the back, Shawn Michaels is conflicted, but JBL promises to pay him off in full if Shawn helps him win the title. Great, now Shawn can invest in that alpaca farm that’s going to turn his life around. The Undertaker Batmans in out of nowhere and gives Shawn some sage advice: It’s hell getting into heaven… now where’s the shitter? Presumably, this leads to Shawn/Taker at Mania for Shawn’s soul. Or if Russo returns, soul on a pole.
  • Earlier, Randy Orton arrived, and people were all, “I can’t believe someone assaulted Vince McMahon! That’s unprecedented.”
  • World Heavyweight Title: John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield (w/Shawn Michaels).
    JBL takes it to the mat, but not in a good way. Cena fires back and hits the flipping neckbreaker formerly known as the Throwback, but apparently now known as “Look at that.” Cena chases after JBL but runs into Shawn’s general vicinity and stops to give him the stink-eye. That allows JBL to jump him from behind. Things get pretty boring in a hurry, so we cut away to Shawn’s thousand-yard stare several times. Cena comes back and hits the Cena Slice. JBL goes for the Clothesline from Hell even though Cena isn’t even on his feet. Well, that looked stupid. He tries again, so Cena counters to the STF. The ref admonishes Shawn for no reason, and Cena stares him down again. That allows JBL to hit the Clothesline from Hell for two. The ref gets bumped, so Shawn climbs in and hits Sweet Chin Music on JBL. Cena thinks everything is golden, but Shawn kicks him too. Funny because there were babyface pops for both, just from different segments of the crowd. Shawn drags JBL onto Cena and walks out. New ref. ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Cena recovers and hits the new Throwback at 15:28. Well, this was a big pile of nothing. The whole match was just a backdrop for Shawn’s “Will he or won’t he,” and everything else was just going through the motions. *3/4

  • Chris Jericho voices sympathy for Randall’s plight, but Orton is suspicious of his motives.
  • Recap of Jeff Hardy’s Bogus Journey. Does the police department normally release interview tapes of ongoing criminal investigations?
  • WWE Heavyweight Title: Jeff Hardy vs. Edge (w/Chavo Guerrero).
    Is Jeff’s make-up supposed to make him look like Cheetara? It’s like gay Paul Stanley. Before the match, Vickie Guerrero changes the match to “No DQ.” The fans chant “We want Christian,” thus negating that whole “the internet fans are only 10-percent” meme. Jeff attacks at the bell and uses his high-risk offense to stay on top. Chavo distracts him, allowing Edge to take over. So if it’s “No DQ,” why doesn’t Chavo just hop in there and turn into a two-on-one? Edge gets frustrated that he can’t put Jeff away and goes outside to get a chair. Jeff catches him with the pescado, though, and hits the Twist of Fate on the apron. Jeff pulls out a ladder, but Chavo interferes and gets knocked back. Well, that’s a little better. Jeff makes him pay by diving off and putting Chavo through one of the announce tables. No more Chavito. Back in, Jeff hits a crossbody for two. JR: Jeff Hardy has *literally* leveled the playing field. Yeah, he’s Groundskeeper Jeffy. Edge rips off the turnbuckle pad, but Jeff runs up and hits the Whisper in the Wind for two. The Twist of Fate is countered to the Edgecution, though. ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Edge comes off the second-rope, but Jeff shoves him back and catches him with the small package. That sets up a gourdbuster, but Edge runs away from the Swanton. Edge drags him into the exposed buckle and sets up for the spear. SPE-NO! Jeff reverses to the Twist of Fate. Vickie tries to block the Swanton, but Jeff shoves her away and hits it anyway. Vickie breaks up the count, though. Now, Matt Hardy runs down with a chair, and hands it to Jeff. Oh, but he wants to do a Conchairto on Edge, so he drags in another chair… and nails Jeff with it! Edge tentatively crawls over and covers for the win and the title at 19:25. Apparently, it was supposed to be Christian, but the WWE got antsy when everyone and their brother figured that out around Survivor Series time. Matt was getting stale anyway, so this kind of works out as long as they come up with a good explanation. Now, here’s the real question – when Christian comes back, are they going to remember that he and Edge were brothers? Anyhoo, the match was pretty good from a drama standpoint, and Jeff’s reign wasn’t bad from a creative standpoint. Hopefully, he sticks around near the top of the card. ***1/4

  • Royal Rumble Match:
    Rey Mysterio is #1. John Morrison is #2, which is good because they traditionally use one of the first two spots to showcase someone in anticipation of a big push. Morrison dumps Rey to the apron but can’t get him all the way to the floor. Rey does the same to Morrison. It’s like they’re having a contest to see how close they can come to elimination. Carlito is #3 and he spits apple in Morrison’s face. Carlito actually busts out the double-jump quebrada. MVP is #4, and he goes after everyone. Pretty good “MVP” chant from the crowd. The Great Khali is #5, and John Morrison’s reaction is fantastic! Khali destroys everything in sight and no-sells anything thrown at him.

    Vladimir Kozlov is #6. Kozlov headbutts Khali and boots him out (with Khali basically diving out to make it physically possible). Kozlov eliminates MVP to big boos. I give it four months before this guy is a wacky babyface. Carlito springboards in but gets caught and spinebustered. Kozlov tosses him. Triple H is #7, and we get the slugfest between HHH and Kozlov. It’s Triple H, though, so there goes Kozlov shortly thereafter. Randy Orton is #8. He hits HHH with the stretch backbreaker, but HHH blocks the RKO. Morrison and Mysterio get back in it and break up the fight with their own signature moves. Morrison eats the 619. JTG is #9 after winning a coin toss with Shad. Randy nearly sends Mysterio over and gets him to the apron. Ted Dibiase is #10, but he doesn’t help Randy, who is one the verge of going out. Morrison and JTG get dumped and kick at each other from the skin-the-cat position.

    Chris Jericho is #11. He goes after both members of the Legacy. Mike Knox is #12, and he goes after Mysterio. Knox would actually be cool in a Bruiser Brody-type role. Sadly, that role is taken by the Undertaker, and I don’t see Knox reaching that level any time soon. Orton and Dibiase finally team up and point out JTG. Gee, I wonder why they singled him out. The Miz is #13. Orton fires off RKOs to Morrison, Miz and JTG, but he runs right into HHH and the Pedigree. HHH eliminates both tag champs. Finlay is #14 as Rey gets tossed. He lands on Miz and skips over to Morrison and up to the apron again without touching the floor. Nice. Lot of laying around now. Cody Rhodes is #15. The Legacy team up to tripleteam various superstars. Rey springboards… right into the RKO.

    The Undertaker is #16, and everyone anticipates the carnage to follow. Bye bye, JTG. Goldust is #17. He goes after Dibiase but gets stopped by Cody. The brothers go face-to-face, and Goldust slaps him upside the head. I’m glad they’re finally doing that because it was a missed opportunity. Hell, they could do Cody and Ted against Dustin and Mike. Randy nails Goldust with the RKO and instructs Cody to eliminate him. Cody complies. CM Punk is #18. He goes right after the Legacy and gives running knees to Rey and Jericho. HHH goes after him with a Pedigree, but Punk counters to the Go2Sleep. Pumped up by that, he goes after the Undertaker, and Taker’s all, “Nah, we’re not doin’ that.” Mark Henry is #19. King: Who could ever throw him over the top rope? Um, let’s see. John Cena, Chris Benoit, Chyna, Faarooq & The Rock. More laying around. Shelton Benjamin is #20. He leaps up and hits a double super Flatliner on Jericho and Rey. There’s a leg whip for Henry.

    William Regal is #21, and he catches Punk on the top. Henry charges, but Rey yanks down the ropes, spilling Henry to the floor. Kofi Kingston is #22. He gets his flurry before things settle down. Taker tosses Benjamin, and no one cares. Kane is #23 as Rey teeters. Kane and Taker go toe-to-toe and then decide to team up. I guess it is an odd-numbered year, isn’t it? Punk eliminates Regal. R-Truth is #24. Nothin’ happening. Rob Van Dam is #25. Ah nuts. He goes after Kane with a flying kick. Dude, we were partners! HHH breaks up the frogsplash on R-Truth, though.

    THE Brian Kendrick is #26. He shoves Kofi out and prances right into HHH. HHH tosses him. Dolph Ziggler is #27. He introduces himself to Kane and gets tossed. Santino Marella is #28 and gets clotheslined right back out to break the Warlord’s record. And what’s up with the retconning on that? Sometimes it’s Bushwhacker Luke. Sometimes it’s Mo. I mean, clearly it was the Warlord, but that wasn’t always WWE canon. Jim Duggan is #29. Big Show is #30, and everyone gives him the Taker reaction… including the Undertaker. You know why this is a bad Rumble (comparatively)? Because nearly half of the guys are still in there. Taker tells everyone to clear out so they can go at it, but Kane suckerpunches him that guy did to McLovin. Hacksaw can’t pick up Show, so Show tosses him. Show presses Truth to the floor. Show tosses Punk twice, but Punk keeps slipping back in. Finally, Show just punches him off the apron. Rey and Knox both get tossed. Hornswoggle comes in and goes after Kane. Sadly, still more effective than Virgil was against Big Jon Studd. Still my personal favorite Rumble, btw. Van Dam splashes Orton but gets tossed by Jericho. Jericho gloats but turns around into the Undertaker. Jericho hits the Codebreaker but gets tossed anyway. The Legacy eliminates Kane. That leaves HHH, Taker, Show and the Legacy. Show goes after HHH, leaving the Legacy to go after Taker. Show and Taker come face-to-face again. I don’t think it impresses the crowd as much as they thought it would. Taker boots him over, but Show SKINS THE CAT! Okay, well, no. He does grab onto the top rope and pull himself back in, though. Show pulls Taker to the apron, but Randy pops up and RKOs Show to the floor. Show casually pulls Taker off, and they brawl out into the crowd.

    That leaves HHH, Orton, Rhodes and Dibiase. HHH fights back. Pfft! Who does HHH think he is – Shane McMahon? He backdrops Orton to the apron and Pedigrees Cody. There goes Ted. There goes Cody. Orton sneaks in and tosses HHH, though, to win the Rumble at around 59:00. Okay, so two things. One, this was a sucky Rumble as far as the minutia is concerned. It was storm the ring, hit all your moves, recede into the background or get tossed, wait for the next guy, repeat 28 times. Two, the whole match was designed around making Randy Orton the next bankable superstar heel, and it certainly did that. He looks like a cunning manipulator at points and a sadistic psychopath at others. He’s not above taking the cheap way out and, and this is important, he’s not a total idiot! It accomplished its main goal, but it wasn’t particularly fun to watch. ***

  • The 411: They seem to be betting the house on Orton becoming the next Triple H, so hopefully he can stay healthy enough to pay off for them. The rest doesn’t interest me quite as much. Jeff Hardy as champion is more interesting to me than Matt vs. Jeff. Presumably, Edge keeps the title warm for HHH, because everyone else has a full dance card. Shawn… well, who the hell knows. Call it a mild thumbs up because, hey, it’s the Rumble.

    Mild recommendation.

    NULL

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