The Classic Pay-Per-View Review: Royal Rumble 2008

batistakaneKane is eliminated from the rumble match – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Thanks for checking out another edition of The Classic Pay-Per-View Review. The object of this feature is to take an in-depth look at a show from the past. They will usually be WWE shows, but can be from other promotions. They may be very old, or they may only be a few years old. I tend to find random shows that I don’t remember and watch them when I go to bed. If they really entertain me, I’ll write about them on here. They won’t all be considered classics, and they won’t all be that old school, but they all have some value in my eyes. Anyway, it’s been a while. I picked up another wrestling DVD the other day when I was in town, watched it yesterday, made some notes and here are my thoughts.

I’m going to try and make this one of my shorter PPV reviews, by just trying to give an overview of the match, and avoid giving a play-by-play, as hard as that may be. On the whole, it was an above average rumble. The rumble match itself was very good, the two title matches were solid and the opening matches were decent. I would recommend watching it at least.

Ric Flair v MVP This was one of the last ever pay-per-view matches from Flair in WWE. It was another career threatening match which MVP dominated for the most part. Flair took some serious bumps and crazy suplexes. How he did that and didn’t die is beyond me. He eventually got the classic comeback win with the figure four, much to the delight of myself and the crowd.

JBL v Chris Jericho These two veterans worked classic psychology in the early going to build tension in this match based around the most personal of feuds. It featured one of the most wicked blade jobs I’ve ever seen. Chris Jericho was literally pissing blood after being thrown into the turnbuckle. I guess it could have been accidental. If so, he is the most unlucky man in the world. Ironically, JBL won by disqualification after a chair shot from Jericho.

Edge(c) v Rey Mysterio (for the World Heavyweight Championship) This was a really great match. It was good to see these two working together again, after all the excellent matches they were involved in together, in both singles and tag team situations. This bout was high flying, fast paced and exhilarating. Set during the Edge/Vickie Guerrero era, the Ultimate Opportunist got the win after outside interference from the near ten man posse he had at ringside. Ah, those were the days!

Randy Orton(c) v Jeff Hardy (for the WWE Championship) The iconic Madison Square Garden crowd gave Jeff Hardy a heroes welcome as he made his way to the ring. JR and The King did a brilliant job reminded the viewers of all the great Hardy moments in the garden, and really hyping up his chances. The “Lets go Hardy” chants were deafening. These two guys played out this match to perfection, Hardy as the “ultimate risk taker” and Orton as the textbook heel. The best announce team in the history of the business gave us real hope for a Hardy win. We should have known better.

hardyortonRKO out of nowhere on Jeff Hardy – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

This was a really great technical match, with plenty of solid mat work and a galore of exciting, high flying antics. However, Orton was always just a bit too smart to get hit with the senton bomb, and continually rolled to his escape. The highlight for Hardy would be hitting an excellent moonsault off the top rope onto Orton while he was standing outside the ring. Unfortunately, because the smart heel was outside, he couldn’t be pinned. Moments later, when back in the ring, Hardy certainly could be and was pinned by Orton, after he reversed the Twist of Fate into an RKO out of nowhere. Excellent match!

The Royal Rumble Match It’s too hard to do a play-by-play for a rumble match, so I’m just going to mention the particularly memorable entrants, and try and give a basic overview of how this every good rumble played out. I always adore the ‘By the numbers’ vignette they play before the match. This time around we got an epic six man announce team which I thought may be too much of a cluster, but actually turned out to be pretty cool. The legendary Bruce Buffer greeted the crowd of the iconic garden to his classic and never more appropriate phrase: “Lets get ready to rumble!” Then the match could begin.

Dong. The number one entrant was none other than The Undertaker, who was closely followed by Shawn Michaels. What a historic rivalry to kick off the match. They were joined for a matter of seconds by Santino Marella, who’s “thing” seems to just be the guy who gets eliminated in a heartbeat every single time. When Khali arrived, he was jeered with really loud “You can’t wrestle” chants and quickly eliminated by Taker, to the joy of the crowd. Tommy Dreamer got a huge pop from his home town crowd, Batista made a huge impact and the old school CM Punk shot in to hit the high running knee on almost everyone in there, before hitting a bulldog on Michaels, who was bleeding.

A very young Cody Rhodes joined the mix, the legendary deceased Umaga made his presence known and Shelton Benjamin got involved. Legends of this arena, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper entered consecutively and faced off to one and other in a historic moment of deja vu. Kane made his annual appearance as the ever impressive monster who you know will sadly never actually win. Then my idol Mick Foley came out to get the biggest pop of the night, stuck around for a while and even revisited his historic MSG rivalry with Triple H.

Michaels and Taker were finally eliminated around the Number 25 area by Mr. Kennedy (Oh, how I miss this guy!) after having survived almost the entire match. Speaking of Triple H, he and Batista along with Entrant Number 30 John Cena battled it out in a triple threat at the end of this enthralling contest. Batista was gone shortly after and it was down to two. I don’t think the crowd would have been chuffed with either of these guys winning, but the hate for them both was far, far less five years ago. Cena hit the FU (Was it still called that?) sending Hunter over the top rope to be declared winner of the rumble match.

cenarumbleCena wins the Royal Rumble – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Overall, this match had it all. It had an incredible announce team, a bag full of big stars, some truly legendary surprise returns, suspense, tension and a really great final three. It was more than solid, and had all the ingredients to be a success in my eyes. As for the whole show, I’d say most of the remarks I just made can be used to describe the rest of the matches, minus the returning veterans. I’d give this a definite thumbs up. It was no Rumble 2000, but it was very entertaining.



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