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The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2010

(In the interest of speeding things up, I’ll just repost the 2010 show as-is because there’s not much to say anyway other than I overrated the Rumble match and probably the Mysterio-UT match as well, but it was a fun show regardless.  And no, I don’t have time to do the 2011 rant, sorry.  Maybe some other time.) 

The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2010

- Live from Atlanta, GA.

- Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker.

ECW World title: Christian v. Ezekiel Jackson

Apparently Jackson won a battle royale to earn a title shot. How original. Really, isn't it time to put a bullet in this belt and be done with it? Jackson overpowers Christian to start, but he gets dumped and Christian hits him with a springboard dive. Back in, Jackson pounds away as Striker notes that the match screeches to a halt when he's on offense. I think he was trying to be positive about it, but I dunno. Christian escapes from a press slam and chokes away on the ropes, but goes up and gets yanked down rudely. William Regal tries to get involved and gets sent back to the dressing room, thus robbing us of much of the potential entertainment value here. Zeke throws Christian into the stairs, and back in for two. And we go to the neck vice, which Jackson turns into a chokeslam for two. Delayed suplex gets two. Jackson pounds on the back and blocks a sunset flip with a tree slam for two. And we're back to the chinlock, but Christian fights out, only to get slugged down for two. Jackson's Klingon howl of outrage at every two count is a bit annoying. To the top, as Christian fights off a superplex attempt and hits a flying elbow instead. Jackson no-sells it, but misses a blind charge and walks into a missile dropkick. That gets two for Christian. Killswitch is blocked, so Christian goes up again, only to miss a flying splash. Jackson hits a lariat for two off that. Christian escapes a uranage, but Jackson gets a backbreaker for two. Jackson misses another charge and Christian gets the tornado DDT for two. Jackson with another lariat for two. Jackson escapes the Killswitch and runs Christian into the corner with an Oklahoma Stampede, but Killswitch finishes him for good at 12:00. Jackson is fucking awful, so they'll probably bump him to RAW and make him World champion by September. Watchable big v. little match thanks to Christian, albeit about 4 minutes too long. **1/2

Meanwhile, Cryme Tyme bargains with Teddy Long for an extra spot in the Rumble, because only one of them is entered for some reason. They try to talk Great Khali into giving up his spot, but he apparently says "No dice, homeslice." The Miz thinks the whole thing is pretty stupid (I'm with Miz) so Teddy punishes him by forcing him to defend against MVP.

Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes just wants Randy Orton to know that he's got his back. Haven't they broken up YET?

US title: The Miz v. MVP

MVP wins a slugfest and puts Miz down with a clothesline for two. Floatover suplex gets two. Backdrop out of the corner and a backdrop suplex gets two, as Striker relates a story about how Miz REFUSED TO SHAKE HANDS with Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk. Oh shit, that's like first degree murder in wrestling terms. If he ever forgets to wear a suit at the airport he might as well pack his bags and go to TNA. Miz dumps MVP off the apron and into the table, and back in he works on the back and gets a corner clothesline. Double axehandle off the top gets two. Miz hits the chinlock as Striker notes that, to him as a child, Wrestlemania meant not having to wear a jacket outside anymore. Obviously he didn't come from the Canadian Prairies. MVP comes back with a faceplant and facecrusher, which sets up the Ballin Elbow. I'm impressed he got that over. Yakuza kick gets two. Miz fights back with a necksnap on the top rope, but MVP gets a Pounce for two. Whatever happened to Monty Brown, anyway? Running kick misses, but MVP manages a rollup for two. Backslide gets two. Jackknife rollup gets two. Miz bails to escape and gets tossed right back in, but he catches MVP with a small package on the way in at 7:30 to retain. Sneaky! The crowd respected that so much that when MVP lays him out afterwards, the crowd BOOS THE SHIT OUT OF HIM. I agree with the crowd, Miz won that one fair and square and MVP is a sore loser. Basic RAW match. **1/4

Meanwhile, Big Show and Jericho have an awkward moment backstage.

RAW World title: Sheamus v. Randy Orton

Orton gets a monster babyface pop for his entrance, because he's the star and Sheamus is not. To fix that you'd put Sheamus over and make him the star, but I sense that’s not how they'll play it. Orton wins a lockup and puts Sheamus down with a dropkick, but slithers away. He's obviously been studying his Jake Roberts tapes again. They slug it out on the ropes and Sheamus puts him down, so Orton bails to regroup. Orton's arm is apparently hurt, so Sheamus goes to work on it. Orton responds with a chop block and starts on the knee to take over. Sheamus goes back to the arm as the crowd totally dies with no one playing babyface. If they have the balls to try Sheamus v. HHH at Wrestlemania as rumored, it's gonna be DEATH. Epic death. And now Orton works the knee again as this thing has screeched to a halt like a teenaged boy getting cut off at second base. They slug it out with Orton getting the babyface reaction, but Sheamus gets a backbreaker for two. Sheamus tries the unnamed Razor's Edge, but Orton escapes and dumps Sheamus, for another out-of-proportion babyface pop. He drags Sheamus back in with the DDT for two. Orton sets up for the punt, but Sheamus rolls out to escape, then sends Orton into the post. This allows Cody Rhodes to run in and lay out Sheamus for the DQ at 12:25. Orton gets the RKO in the meantime, so he's probably upset at Rhodes. Hopefully he'll do something about it sometime this year. This was a total bore, with Orton showing none of his usual charisma and Sheamus showing nothing, period. *1/2 And FINALLY, Orton turns on Legacy and beats them both down after months of teases. And then Sheamus puts Orton out with a big boot. So is this Orton's face turn, I'm assuming?

Women's title: Michelle McCool v. Mickie James

Michelle cuts a lengthy promo about how Mickie forfeits, before she even gets a chance to make her entrance, and the announcers act all surprised when James shows up after all. James hits the DDT right away and wins the title at 0:20. DUD So there we go, the heels get what they deserve, including their own cake thrown on them. I think that will dissipate the heat over the "Piggy James" crap.

Smackdown World title: Undertaker v. Rey Mysterio

They've got some time to play with here. You know, looking at the number of kids at ringside wearing Mysterio masks and the coin that Rey now brings in from merchandise makes it all the more astonishing that someone in WCW thought it would be a tremendous idea to unmask the luchadores. You can sell Rey Mysterio masks until the Earth falls into the Sun. It's like a license to print money. Rey slugs away in the corner, but gets tossed to the floor WITH AUTHORITY. Now there's one time where the cliché is apt. Rey fights up to the apron and gets soup-boned back to the floor again. Clearly we're going full monty Sting v. Vader formula here. Rey dodges the guillotine legdrop and Undertaker gets all cranky and pulls him back into place for another one. Back in, Rey reverses the chokeslam into a 619 attempt, but Taker catches him and nearly gets a tombstone. Awesome. Rey kicks out of it, barely, and boots Taker down, but tries a springboard crossbody and hits UT's boot. Taker beats on him outside, but misses a baseball slide and hits the post. Rey tries to follow with a senton, but Taker catches him with a Last Ride. Rey hops onto the apron to escape and hits Taker with a moonsault to the floor, however. Rey tries a baseball slide and misses, and UT just destroys him with a shot to the railing. Back in, that gets two. Back in, UT's REALLY pissed now, what with bleeding from the mouth and nose and all, so he beats Rey down in the corner and hits a sideslam for two. Hey, our first blood of 2010! Rey fights back and gets beaten down again for his troubles, but manages to put Taker down with an inverted DDT and Drops the Dime for two. Rey slugs away again and gets clotheslined, and Taker has had ENOUGH of this shit. Last Ride, but Rey escapes and dropkicks Taker into the 619. He's still standing, so Rey does it again and goes for the West Coast Pop to finish, but it's Last Ride and good night at 11:08. This? Was AWESOME. I'm a hardcore sucker for guys going out and beating the hell out of each other because they want the belt so much. And yeah, this was Sting v. Vader to the letter, with the plucky babyface throwing everything he has at the monster heel, but just not being good enough that night. LOVED IT. ****

Meanwhile, Kane lectures Shawn Michaels about being obsessed with Undertaker. Well, he'd know. HHH and Shawn settle their differences about who should win…but Shawn REALLY feels he's going to get that shot at Undertaker. They have to do HHH v. Shawn at the end now.

Royal Rumble:

Dolph Ziggler is #1 and Evan Bourne is #2. It's truly the most star-studded Rumble ever! Bourne snaps off a rana and a leg lariat, but Ziggler pounds away in the corner and nearly dropkicks Bourne out. Bourne comes back with another rana that almost puts Ziggler out, but he hangs on. Dolph with the Zig Zag and he still can't get Bourne out, and Evan gets the shooting star press as CM Punk is #3, looking more like Billy Jack Haynes every day. Well, in body hair, not in steroid use or paranoid batshit craziness, obviously. He tosses both guys at 2:29 and now it's PROMO TIME. "Excuse me, it's clobbering time". JTG is #4 as this clock is already all over the place. JTG pounds away in the corner and gets dumped like a MORON at 4:04. And he CUTS ANOTHER PROMO. Epic. Great Khali is #5 and Punk can save him, by making him Greater, apparently. Khali chops him down in response and gives him the head vice. Beth Phoenix is #6. Sure, why not. Khali rather politely puts her on the ring apron, but Beth kisses him and pulls him out at 7:08. As comedy spots go, that's pretty awesome. Beth goes after Punk as well and does pretty good, but she Goes To Sleep at 8:00 as Zack Ryder is #7. Punk barely even gets to cut a promo before laying out Ryder and tossing him at 8:43. HHH is #8 and I'm thinking his promo time is done.

HHH slugs Punk down and gets the facecrusher, but Punk comes back with the knee in the corner. HHH hits the spinebuster as we're already at Drew McIntyre at #9. Seriously, how hard is it to time 90 seconds? HHH lays out Drew and trades finisher attempts with Punk, then tosses him at 12:12. BOOO! I want more Punk! Drew pounds away on HHH in the corner and it's Ted Dibiase at #10. He'll likely get a long run. He powerslams HHH and the heels double-team HHH in the corner. John Morrison is #11 and he saves HHH, then attacks McIntyre. Dibiase lays him out before he can get Starship Pain, but really top rope moves are a bad idea anyway. But no, he fights Dibiase off and hits it anyway. Kane is #12 and he immediately cleans house, but doesn't eliminate anyone yet. Cody Rhodes is #13 and saves Dibiase from Kane, and Legacy goes to work on him. Striker wonders what will happen if one of the "young guns" wins the Rumble. Does he still believe in Santa Claus, too? Legacy tries to get Kane out and HHH saves. Why? MVP is #14, but Miz blasts him with the US title as a receipt for earlier in the night and puts him out of the match. Good bit of booking there. More dullness in the corners as the ring fills up, and Carlito is #15. Truly this is star-studded. He gets his 5 seconds of offense, including the backstabber on everyone, but gets laid out as Miz is #16. And now MVP comes into the match and puts both Miz and himself out at 22:36. Matt Hardy is #17, so expect him to run away if anything gets too dangerous. And indeed the gas station incident must have been on the mind of Vince, because Kane dumps him at 24:03 before his music can even finish, but HHH puts Kane out at 24:10 as well. HHH lays out the field, but Shawn Michaels is #18. Carlito is done at 25:19. Cody is out at 25:28. Dibiase at 25:30. Morrison at 25:59. Can anyone stop the path of Jesus? Drew is alone with DX, and you can guess how that goes. Drew is done at 26:30.

DX looks ready to throw down, but John Cena is #19. He takes on both DX members and neither one can see him. HHH saves Shawn from elimination and it's KICK WHAM PEDIGREE…but Shawn superkicks him out at 28:19! FUCK YEAH! Shelton Benjamin is #20 and he goes wild on Shawn and Cena, hitting the Paydirt on both of them, but Cena dumps him at 29:18. Yoshi Tatsu is #21. I don't know who he is. And yeah, Cena dumps him at 30:28, giving us Cena v. Shawn again. I dunno, I'm definitely cheering for Shawn to win his first one in 16 years, but the story is better if he loses and has to fight for it next month. Big Show is #22 and he wants to put Shawn out, but Shawn does the Benoit choke to stop him. Cena dumps Shawn, but he skins the cat and Show yanks him back in. They've got the crowd by the short hairs here with the Shawn teases, as everyone wants him to win and they know it. Mark Henry is #23 and he slugs it out with Big Show. Cena and Henry combine forces and Henry slams Show, and Chris Masters is #24. STAR STUDDED! He goes after Show and gets dumped at 34:53. Henry and Show lay on the ropes and Shawn tries to help, but he's got nothing. Truth is #25, and HE puts both of Show and Henry out at 35:41! Wow. He cleans house on Shawn and Cena and Jack Swagger is #26. Pump splashes for everyone and he clotheslines Shawn out…but Shawn hangs on again. Kofi Kingston is #27, and he might have an outside chance. Plus he's got the best spot. He puts Swagger out at 39:01. He pounds on Truth in the corner and nearly gets dumped as a result, but hangs on and takes Truth out at 39:46. Chris Jericho is #28 and he goes after Cena, but walks into the FU. Shawn goes up with the flying elbow (which is actually a place where "Vintage Michaels" would apply), but Kofi cuts off the superkick. Cena dumps Kofi at 41:26, but Jericho hits the Codebreaker on Cena. Edge returns at #29 with his beard back again, and he spears everyone to a giant face pop. Jericho is gone at 42:23. Striker says to call your friends, but really it's late to order the show now. And finally, Batista is #30.

Final Four: Batista, Edge, Shawn and Cena.

They all trade finishers and everyone is out. Edge and Shawn fight on the apron…and Batista knocks Shawn off at 46:03. The crowd is crushed by that one. So is Shawn, because he superkicks Charles Robinson! Great bump from the ref. So back to the match, as Cena dodges Batista to put him out at 48:48, leaving us Edge v. Cena. Cena dodges the spear, but Edge tosses Cena at 49:24 to win the Royal Rumble! I figured him for returning, but not winning the thing. And this may have been the best Rumble I've ever seen, with several great storylines going, no logjam periods, a great pace, and a big surprise entrant and winner. *****

The Pulse:

The Rumble is a hard match to screw up, and in fact this time they got it exactly right. Big thumbs up!