Written By: Alexander Settee
Royal Rumble 2007, January 28, 2007, AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Announcers: The teams of: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole & John “Bradshaw” Layfield, and Joey Styles & Tazz
Here’s one more classic Rumble review before this year’s version takes place later on today. This time it’s a short trip back to 2007.
Opening Match: MNM (w/Melina) vs. The Hardy Boyz
These teams have faced each other a few times, but the big issue is that Joey Mercury is out for revenge after suffering a broken nose thanks to a wayward ladder spot last month at Armageddon. He continues to wear a face protector here as a result of that injury, of which they show multiple replays prior to the match, and it is indeed pretty brutal. Matt and Nitro start, with Nitro quickly gaining control. Tag to Mercury and he beats down Matt in the corner and hits a facebuster. MNM gets a couple more tags as they work Matt over, but Matt finally escapes and makes the tag to Jeff. Jeff gets a slingshot dropkick on the way in on Mercury for 2, but then gets backed to the MNM corner. Tag to Nitro, who takes an atomic drop from Jeff and then gets legdropped for 2. Matt gets the tag and the Hardyz hit a double team elbow. He hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2, but then Nitro escapes and makes the tag. Now Matt gets worked over in the corner for a bit, and choked on the ropes by Nitro. Mercury adds a kick from the apron for 2, then gets the tag and they hit a double facebuster for 2. Short clothesline gets another 2 for Mercury. He goes to the 2nd rope, but misses and Matt makes the tag to Jeff, as Nitro also gets the tag. Jeff gets a reverse suplex for 2, followed by Whisper in the Wind for another 2 with Mercury saving. Matt takes him out and then the Hardyz hit a double suplex. They go up for the splash/legdrop combo with Matt hitting, but Nitro gets the knees up on Jeff, and since he’s legal, he must stay in. Tag to Mercury, who hits a knee for 2. He then tags Nitro who hits a running knee for another 2. Mercury is tagged again and drops a leg for 2 again, but Jeff then comes back and rolls him up for 2 of his own. MNM hits a double gutbuster, which draws Matt in for the save. Nitro holds Jeff in a front facelock, with Jeff inching gradually to the corner. Jeff finally backdrops out, but Mercury distracts the ref and he doesn’t see the tag. As the ref puts Matt out, MNM drags Jeff back to their corner where they work on him for a bit longer. Finally, on an attempted double team, Jeff shoves them into each other and is able to get over and make the hot tag to Matt. Matt runs wild, taking out both guys with ease. He bulldogs Nitro for 2, and then drops a 2nd rope elbow for another 2. All four guys end up in the ring which leads to Poetry in Motion on Mercury. Nitro avoids his though and cradles Matt for 2. Matt is right back up with the Side Effect and Twist of Fate. Mercury tackles him through the ropes, but as he’s going through, he tags Jeff, who connects with the Swanton and that gets the 3 count at 15:28. This way a pretty good and hot little opener that I have no problems with. ***
So just like the 2005 show, we go to the office for the drawing with Jonathan Coachman from Raw and Teddy Long from Smackdown debating whose side will win. Kelly Kelly gets to supervise the drawing this year, and she is immediately mocked by Edge as he draws. Randy Orton is in next and even though he and Edge are Tag Team Champions, Orton notes he’ll throw Edge out if necessary. Edge wants to see Orton’s number, which leads into some gay innuendo just as King Booker walks in so he can ask to be told they didn’t just say that.
ECW Championship Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Test
Lashley won the Title last month at the infamous December to Dismember show, and his first defense was a three way against Test and Rob Van Dam. He pinned RVD to retain, but afterwards Test laid him out so here we are. Test slaps him off a lockup, so Lashley spears him and starts pounding away. Test makes the ropes, but when Lashley lets up, he drops him on the ropes. He works Lashley over, with his corner whip then being reversed, but he gets the elbow up. He comes out of the corner, but runs right into a t-bone suplex. Delayed vertical suplex follows and Test bails. Lashley gets him back in, but Test shoulders him on the apron, and then runs his shoulder into the post. Back in the ring, he covers for 2. Test starts working the shoulder now, and then nails a big boot for 2. Test goes to an armbar, with Lashley firing out, but he runs into an elbow. Test, in turn, charges into a backdrop, and Lashley then clotheslines him in the corner. He tries a press slam, but the arm gives out and Test boots him again for 2. Test gets Lashley on his shoulders, but Lashley escapes and hits a belly to belly suplex and a clothesline to send Test to the floor. He makes it to his feet, but won’t get back in and is counted out at 7:10. How lame. Lashley then proceeds to beat him up some more, including putting him down with a running powerslam. So why the need to protect Test here? If it was going somewhere, maybe, but checking the results, Lashley just goes on to beat him clean two days later on ECW, so again, why? The match was nothing special before the weak finish either. ½*
Backstage, John Cena, still selling injuries from this week’s Raw where Umaga splashed him through a table, is getting checked out by the doctor for the match tonight. Vince McMahon walks in and lets him know that he in fact can’t see him. He can’t see him as the Last Man Standing that is.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Dave Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy
They’re playing up that in the past year, Kennedy holds victories over six former World Champions to shot that he belongs. He also had to win a Beat The Clock challenge to get the match here. Kennedy gets shoved out of a couple of lockups, but on the third one he gets in a cheapshot to the knee, which may or may not have been injured coming in here. If it was, the announcers didn’t really make that clear. He rolls Batista up for 1, but then gets caught in the corner. He goes to the eyes, but then comes off the ropes and runs into a boot. Batista gets a suplex for 2, and Kennedy bails. Batista follows and rams him to the barrier, but Kennedy then sends his knee to the steps and Batista starts selling it big. Back in the ring, Batista maintains control, but Kennedy soon gets a dropkick to the knee to take over. He works it over for a bit, including using an inverted figure four, but the ref makes him break it after getting caught using the ropes. Next, he hits a running knee in the corner for 2 and goes to a half crab. Kennedy pulls him back to the middle, so Batista kicks him off and gets a small package for 2. Batista sets up a powerslam, but Kennedy slips out and clips him. Kennedy comes off, but charges into a spinebuster. Batista can’t follow up though. They make it to their feet and Kennedy wins a slugfest, but Batista just no sells and nails a couple of clotheslines. He then gets a backdrop and another clothesline in the corner. He sets up the Batista Bomb, but Kennedy nails him in the leg and shoves him back into the ref. Kennedy then nails a low blow and a neckbreaker, and then goes for the cover, but the ref isn’t there. Kennedy revives him and connects with a DDT, but Batista kicks out at 2. JBL is losing his mind at the idea of Kennedy being screwed here. Kennedy then goes to the 2nd rope, but comes down into a clothesline. Batista then sets up the Batista Bomb, which hits and he gets the 3 count to retain at 10:30. This was a decent match, and there’s really nothing wrong with it, but it felt more like a TV main event then a major PPV match. **
So then it’s back to the office as Kevin Thorn draws his number and freaks Coach out in the process. Hornswoggle then draws (for Fit Finlay I presume) leading to a short joke by Coach who then gets attacked. Great Khali comes in and scares Hornswoggle away before drawing three numbers. Coach lets him know he can only have one, so he drops the other two on the floor. Of course that’s all to setup a joke where Kelly picks them up and calls them the biggest balls she’s ever handled. “Damn”, says Ron Simmons.
WWE Championship, Last Man Standing Match: John Cena vs. Umaga (w/Armando Alejandro Estrada)
Back at New Year’s Revolution, Cena defended against Umaga, and pinned him with a quick rollup. Somehow this resulted in Umaga being granted a rematch with Estrada being able to pick the stipulation, and he picked Last Man Standing where a cheap rollup does no one any good. Cena is all taped up from the attack last week on Raw as noted earlier. They start with a slugfest, then Cena escapes a slam and hits a jawjacker. Umaga recovers and gets the shot to the midsection, which Cena sells huge, rolling to the floor and writhing in pain. Umaga whips him to the steps for a 5 count and then beats him up some more when he makes his feet. In the ring, he hits some shoulders in the corner, and then charges, but Cena gets the boot up. Cena in turn charges right into a clothesline that puts him down for a 7 count. Umaga slams him and then throws the top part of the steps into the ring. As he gets back in though, Cena drops him on the ropes, and then picks up the steps and throws them at Umaga on the floor. That puts the challenger down for 6. Cena attacks, but soon runs into a spin kick. Umaga hooks a bearhug, and then drops him with a belly to belly suplex for 8. He’s not screwing around though, because as that count was going on, he grabbed the bottom of the steps and set them up in the corner. He lays Cena against them and charges, but Cena moves. Cena then nails him with the steps for a 7 count. He then goes up, but gets caught and dropped with a side slam. Umaga stomps away and hits a buttdrop, but when he goes for a second one Cena gets the knees up. He slams Umaga on the steps and hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Then he sets up the FU, but can’t hold Umaga up. He falls down and smacks his head on the steps in the process, which looked good the way they shot it. Cena makes it to his feet at 8, but is now busted wide open. Umaga pounds him down for another 8, but then Cena starts Cenaing Up. That doesn’t last long though as he soon charges right into a Samoan drop. Samoan spike is blocked, but Cena leaves himself open for a headbutt, which connects. Umaga sets Cena in the Tree of Woe, but Cena sits up to avoid Umaga charging in with the elbow. Cena then goes up and hits the legdrop, followed by sending Umaga to the post. Estrada has pulled a monitor off the announce table, but Cena nails him and grabs it away. Umaga is still sitting prone from being posted, so Cena drills him with the monitor. The WWE camera crew and TV director deserve a lot of credit for how good things like this look. They nearly always manage to get the perfect shot where it looks like the guy gets killed even though the monitor probably didn’t even touch him. This puts Umaga down for an 8 count. Cena then knocks him to the floor, but gets caught coming off the apron and run to the post. Umaga puts him on one of the announce tables, and them runs across the other two for a splash, but Cena moves and Umaga goes crashing down for a 9 count. Meanwhile, Estrada is disassembling the top rope. Umaga takes back control in the ring, and Estrada hands him the turnbuckle to use as a weapon. However, as he goes to use it, Cena catches him with the FU. Cena then nails him with the buckle and wraps the rope around his throat. Umaga appears to be out, so Cena lets so, but then when he sees Umaga stirring, he wraps the rope around him again. This time Umaga isn’t going anywhere and fails to answer the 10 count at 23:12, so Cena retains. This was some pretty good stuff, although the finish felt a little anti-climactic to me. ***1/4
One more skit in the office now as Sandman picks his number and cracks a beer. Ric Flair then gets the last one and it breaks down into a party with women dancing everywhere.
Main Event: 2007 Royal Rumble Match
The intervals this year are announced as being 90 seconds, and for the announce team they’ve decided to go with Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler. As it turns out, Ric Flair got #1, while #2 is Fit Finlay. They do nothing of note which makes me wonder why the hell they were picked to start. #3 is Kenny Dykstra, who had some sort of issue going with Flair at this point so they go at it. #4 is Matt Hardy, and there’s not much going on here. #5 is Edge who’s in with spears for everyone until Matt avoids it and hits a Twist of Fate. Flair grabs a couple of chairs, hoping to get revenge on Edge for a recent Conchairto, but nothing ends up coming of it. Dykstra and Edge then team up to toss Flair. Dykstra struts, but Edge takes advantage and tosses him too. Tommy Dreamer is #6, followed by Sabu at #7. Sabu sets up a table on the way in. #8 is Gregory Helms, who goes for Matt Hardy. They’re teasing putting people through Sabu’s table. #9 is Shelton Benjamin, and he does nothing. #10 is Kane, so Dreamer is gone about five seconds later. He then backdrops Sabu to the apron and chokeslams him through the table to eliminate him. #11 is CM Punk, followed by King Booker at #12. Booker eliminates Helms. Super Crazy is #13, while Jeff Hardy is #14. The Hardyz gang up for some double teams, including a Poetry in Motion on Kane. Sandman is #15, coming in through the crowd with cane shots for everyone. He is then promptly tossed by Booker. Randy Orton is #16 and he immediately joins forces with Edge to get rid of Super Crazy and both Hardy Boyz. Chris Benoit is #17, followed by Rob Van Dam at #18. Kane eliminates Booker, who jumps right back in and attacks him. Booker then throws him out, which apparently counts this year as well, and continues the beating as Viscera comes out at #19. This must have ended up as a great feud. Johnny Nitro is #20, while #21 is Kevin Thorn. There’s not much happening as Hardcore Holly is #22, and then hometown hero Shawn Michaels is #23. He finally gets something going by clotheslining Finlay out. He then Superkicks Viscera, and everyone else then gangs up and eliminates him. Shawn continues the rampage by backdropping Shelton out. #24 is Chris Masters. Benoit eliminates Nitro by knocking him off the middle rope. #25 is Chavo Guerrero as Benoit also eliminates Thorn. MVP is #26. RVD dropkicks Masters out in this segment. Carlito gets lucky #27, but I doubt it’ll make a difference. #28 is Great Khali and he has some headbutts for everyone. #29 is The Miz. Khali then goes on a rampage, eliminating in succession Holly, Benoit, Miz, RVD, Punk, Carlito, and Chavo. Shawn tries with him and gets chokeslammed, although he’s spared elimination. The last entry at #30 is Undertaker, entering at 42:34 so the average interval was 1:31, putting them nearly bang on. The finalists tonight are: Edge (#5), Orton (#16), Shawn (#23), MVP (#26), Khali (#28), and Undertaker (#30). Taker goes right for Khali and ends up clotheslining him out. MVP then takes Old School and is eliminated. He passes a chair to Orton on the way out, and Orton nails Taker with it. Dissention is teased between Rated RKO as Edge is seemingly about to spear Orton, but stops short when Orton turns. Orton then hits the RKO on Shawn. They get back on the same page and double team Taker. Taker comes back with a double clothesline. He gets Edge with Snake Eyes and sets up a chokeslam on Orton, but Edge save with a spear. They setup a Conchairto, but Shawn is now back in. Orton charges at him and gets backdropped out. Shawn then kicks Edge as well, although Edge does get the Ironman Award for the evening. So now Taker sits up, and Shawn kips up for the big showdown. Shawn comes tight at him, but keeps getting thrown off. Taker comes with a boot, but misses and goes to the apron. Shawn just can’t get him down though. Back in, Shawn gets a swinging neckbreaker. He comes off the ropes, but runs into a boot. Taker tries to toss him, but Shawn hangs on and fights back. They end up on the top rope and fight up there with Shawn knocking Taker back down into the ring. He then drops the elbow and sets up Sweet Chin Music, but Taker catches it and hits a chokeslam. He sets up the Tombstone, with Shawn escaping that and hitting SCM. Both guys are down now. Shawn is up first and he goes for it again, but Taker blocks it once more and dumps him to win it at 56:34. For the first forty minutes or so, this Rumble pretty much sucked. Once we got to the end though, it really redeemed itself with the extended finishing sequence between Shawn and Taker being probably one of the best endings in Rumble history. ***1/2
Overall, this wasn’t a bad show, but with the exception of the finish to the Rumble match, nothing here stands out as being that great either. The opener and the Last Man Standing match are both pretty good, and the Rumble always has some value to it. The only real low point here is the ECW Title match, for being a complete waste of time that ends up going nowhere. I’ll call the show a Thumbs in the Middle, but there’s no recommendation to watch it again for any reason except maybe the Shawn/Undertaker thing at the end.