The biggest Superstars of RAW and SmackDown! clash at Royal Rumble to determine who will go to WrestleMania 21 as the heavyweight contender. The Road to WrestleMania begins as RAW and SmackDown! present WWE Royal Rumble.
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Match 1: Jack Swagger (c) vs Matt Hardy for the ECW Championship - A pretty great opening match. Swagger has all the tools to be a pretty good main eventer for the ECW brand. Hardy really was on the top of his game as well in this one. This was the second time the ECW title was defended at Royal Rumble and frankly it was better than the Bobby Lashley vs Test title match at Royal Rumble 2007. In the end Swagger hits his gut-wrench power bomb to retain the title. He has a bright future on ECW.
Match 2: Beth Phoenix (c) vs Melina - This was pretty good for a Women's title match. They built Melina like she had Beth's number after several wins on Raw and in the end she truly did have her number. Santino as always was just at ringside for comic relief. The wrestling was very good and truly better than some of the other pay per view battles that these two have had. In the end Melina catches Beth into a roll up to become a four time Women's Champion.
Match 3: John Cena (c) vs JBL (w/Shawn Michaels) for the World Heavyweight Championship - JBL secured the No. 1 Contender position by winning a Four Way Elimination match contesting himself, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton and his employee Shawn Michaels. At Armageddon JBL informed us that Shawn Michaels was working for him, which to me was probably just a cheap way to get him into Wrestlemania easily. The match was pretty basic, nothing really spectacular from Cena or JBL. Michaels hit JBL with a superkick, making you think he was turning face once again. But following that he superkicked Cena as well and laid JBL on top of him. Michaels exited, pretty much leaving everyone to believe that JBL would become champion, but at two Cena kicked out and came back all fired up. After an Attitude Adjustment Cena covered JBL for the three and retained the title. Predictable pay per view title match.
Match 4: Jeff Hardy (c) vs Edge (w/Chavo Guerrero) in a No Disqualification Match for the WWE Championship - Jeff Hardy really road a wave of momentum after winning the WWE Championship from Edge at Armageddon. He earned two big main event wins on SmackDown, then his career turned horrible. He was in a hit and run accident and had a pyrotechnics accident occur once he returned. The stipulation for this one was turned to NoDQ, which really helped it out a lot. The whole theme for the night was basically brining someone out with you, JBL brought out Shawn Michaels with him, Beth Phoenix brought out Santino with her and wouldn't you know it that Edge brought out Chavo Guerrero with him. Chavo was taken care of early with a nice dive off a ladder through the announce table by Hardy. Jeff really took control of the match and this match really proved as a match of the night candidate. In the end Matt Hardy came out looking to be helping his brother, but instead clocking him with a chair and enabling Edge to win the WWE Championship again. I feel bad for Jeff that after all that work he got only a month long title reign, but the Hardy/Hardy feud will totally be interesting.
Match 5: The Royal Rumble Match - We start off with some pretty good highflyers, Rey Mysterio and John Morrison. Then some other dominant competitors like The Great Khali and Vladimir Kozlov enter. All in all Randy Orton and his Legacy (Rhodes & DiBiase) took control of the entire match. Triple H also stayed in with them throughout the entire 58 minutes of the match. Great surprises from this one, like Rob Van Dam showing up to compete. Even though a lot of great wrestlers got eliminated, the finish was all to predictable. Triple H fought off both Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, but then Orton comes from behind and eliminates him for the Rumble win. Kind of predictable being that Orton was completely hated by the lockeroom earlier in the night.
All in all a decent show, 9/10
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