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For the past couple of months, the WWE was fun again. Edge and Undertaker were coming back from injuries, while injuries to Bobby Lashley and John Cena spared me from watching them in the main event. Cenas injury left a space for someone to step up and fill, and that someone was Jeff Hardy. Hardy had paid his dues since returning in 2006 and was rewarded by receiving a title shot against Randy Orton in this years Royal Rumble.
The Rumble opened up with MVP facing off against Ric Flair in a career threatening match. Flairs been around for what seems like a thousand years and for a guy whos nearly sixty, he can still be very entertaining. MVP is the future of the WWE in my opinion. Hes good in the ring and just oozes the charisma that is lacking in a lot of the main eventers today. The match itself was solid, as MVP did a good job making Flair look desperate and overwhelmed to get the win. Flair picked up the win by making MVP tap with the figure four leglock.
The second match on the card pitted Chris Jericho against John Bradshaw Layfield. To be honest with you, I was really not sold on the rivalry between Chris and JBL. Bradshaw, who had been commentating for Smackdown, was upset that Jericho pushed him out of the way in one of his matches at Armageddon resulting in him costing Chris the title. The two would square off on Raw where JBL started brutally attacking Chris and dragging him by the neck with television cables. The match itself wasnt anything too special. The problem with putting Jericho in this type of feud is that hes not really a brawler and he wasnt selling a lot of his punches that well. One highlight of the match was the sick blade job that Jericho did on himself. By the end of the match Jericho was completely drenched in his own blood, which made for quite a sight. Another funny point of the match was when Jericho botched a facebust and the crowd booed him mercilessly. Overall the match wasnt that bad.
One match that I was looking forward to was Rey Mysterio going against Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship. Edge had been involved with a romantic angle with Vickie Guererro, the widow of Eddie Guererro, which people either find genius or repulsing. One thing that shocked the hell out of me was the reception that Mysterio got from the Madison Square Garden as he was booed out of the building. I get why people boo Cena, but it really surprised me that the usually popular Mysterio got such treatment. The match wasnt as good as expected as Rey looked a little bit sloppy at times but I loved the finish. As Rey was about to finish off Edge with the 619, Vickie got out her wheelchair and wrapped herself around Edge thus taking the blow. In my opinion it added a lot of heat and credibility to the relationship angle.
In between matches, the trashy Ashley Massaro came out with Maria and asked her if she wanted to pose in Playboy. The segment looked like it was going to be god awful until the great Santino Marella came out and got some great heat insulting the New York crowd and their sports teams. I got to be honest with you, Santino is one of the reasons I look forward to watching Raw as the guy is hilarious.
Jeff Hardy facing Randy Orton was the only reason I ordered the PPV in the first place as Jeff has been my favorite wrestler since I was 12 and I have been dying to see him be made a World Champion. In the weeks leading up to the Rumble we saw Jeff doing some of his most extreme moves yet like hitting the Whisper in the Wind off the top of the cage and executing the Swanton Bomb off a nearly thirty foot scaffold. Vince was pushing Jeff to the moon and it looked like Sunday would be his night.
Im not saying this because Im a Hardy fan, but Jeff really carried the match against Orton. He executed all the high spots during the match and save for a few rest holds, Orton really didnt get any offense in. Jeff looked like to be on top of his game throughout the whole match
only for Orton to reverse his finisher and hit the RKO for the win. This infuriated me. First of all, the match was only fourteen minutes long! Most good title matches go over the twenty minute mark but that was not the case here. The second problem was that they used the exact same finish to the match a few months earlier when Orton and Jeff faced off against each other in a beat the clock challenge. It was a disappointed finish to a match that had all the hype in the world.
The actual Rumble itself was saved for last and if you thought I was disappointed before the match started
In case you arent familiar with the rules of the Rumble, its quite simple. The only way you can be eliminated from the match is if you are thrown over the top rope. The favorites to win this match were guys like Triple H, Batista, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. I personally didnt want to see any of them win simply because three of them were in the Wrestlemania main events last year. I kind of wanted to see a guy Mr. Kennedy or John Morrison win it, just to make things a little bit different. Some surprises during the match were veterans like Jimmy Snuka and Rowdy Roddy Piper participate in the match, and seeing Undertaker and Michaels getting eliminated relatively early. One thing that was really confusing was that Hornswaggle apparently eliminated himself despite never going over the top rope. Whatever.
The biggest surprise of the Rumble was when John Cena returned from injury to be the last man to enter in. Cena had been shelved with an injury that looked like it was going to keep him out for a good portion of the year, but it looked like the WWE was just making it out to be worse than it was. Cena and Triple H were the last two men in the Rumble and it ended with Cena coming out on top, which means hell main event Wrestlemania. Again.
I wont lie to you, I was pretty depressed to see Cena back. Its not that I hate the man, its just that I know what his return means. You see, before he got injured and had to relinquish the title, Cena had held the belt for over a year and just about every main eventer in the locker room had to job to him. If it means that I wont see Jeff Hardy in the main event again so they can make way for another match between Cena and Orton or Cena and Triple H, Ill be pretty upset.
So that was it for the Royal Rumble. A very disappointing night for yours truly who wishes he could have his forty dollars back.
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