Thanks for joining me while I dissect another 5 Things in Wrestling. A series of articles where I look at 5 good things in wrestling, 5 bad things in wrestling, or sometimes a bit of both! This time: Royal Rumble moments.
Just like many people, the Royal Rumble Pay-per-view is the one I look forward to the most each year. Featuring a run-in every minute or two, it’s akin to a crossover of Shakespeare and live-action anime unfolding in front of my very eyes…which is generally how I like my wrestling to feel. Sadly, WWE often chooses not to try hard with regards to their storytelling.
Some of these are not the most talked about, nor will all feature in a list of everyone’s favourites, but here’s a list of 5 memorable Royal Rumble moments that stand out to me.
1. John Cena Returns & Wins (2008)
I’ll get this one out of the way first. Like I just said in the intro, these are memorable moments and John Cena’s return certainly shocked and branded a memory in my brain.
Despite being bored with his character and the end result of the show, this speedy recovery was proof that he is some evolutionary bio-machine and that he absolutely loves what he does!
2. Matt Hardy Has Moore Lives (2003)
Matt Hardy is one of my all-time favourites, without a doubt! #MyStupidExHuman suffers the fandom a little more as he even got a V1 tattoo on his 21st birthday and still loves it to death.
In 2003, The Sensei of Mattitude, Matt Hardy had Shannon Moore in tow and managed to survive near-incidents and eliminations on numerous occasions. I know this wasn’t the first time someone had outside assistance in a Royal Rumble match, but for me, it was very enjoyable.
Ultimately, Hardy would be eliminated after Brock Lesnar launched him over the top rope via an F5, but the spirit of his effort would live on.
Future Royal Rumble matches would see this emulated and played to death by the likes of Kofi Kingston, Naomi and John Morrison. Don’t get me wrong, these spots were gob-smackingly magnificent, but overuse lessened their impact quickly. When I’ve gone back and watched the 2003 event, I’ve noticed that Hardy’s miraculous extra-life or two don’t seem as impressive when you’ve seen Kofi’s handstand-walk, or him hopping around on an office chair.
3. CM Punk Tries to Recruit Between Eliminations (2010)
During 2010 I wasn’t watching WWE on a full-time basis. I’d reduced my intake to joining friends in watching the big four and more often than not, that was a bit too much for me. There was a moment in the 2010 Royal Rumble that left me momentarily optimistic…you know…until I was refamiliarised with shovel-time and all that.
CM Punk started the Rumble and cut Straight Edge Society promos in between beating up mid-carders and Beth Phoenix. This went on until Triple H arrived and unplugged his microphone, figuratively.
I had hoped this would have gone on a little more and top talent would have been able to shine for a bit longer, but that’s not how WWE wanted to play it.
It seemed to me that CM Punk would have had the ironman role covered and he was more than capable of carrying this out for the duration, but an unwelcome tear-in-time spawned Triple H (a 40-something acting like a 20-something acting like a 14-year old) who decided he had this and tossed Punk to the outside.
I’m not surprised I didn’t watch this dog-shit regularly at this time.
4. Stone Cold Steve Austin Eliminates People Twice (2002)
You can often see a Royal Rumble rampage approaching from a mile away. The ring begins to fill with lower mid-carders, often people who are more than likely not there to win. This sets up for a monster/star to head on down to clear house and demonstrate just how dominant they are. During one particular Royal Rumble moment however, the ring wasn’t as loaded as it could have been, so improvisations were made.
In 2002 Christian, Chuck Palumbo and Perry Saturn were brawling in the ring before Stone Cold Steve Austin’s glass shattered and he marched down the aisle. It wasn’t long before Austin was serving up fists, mudholes and stunners; leaving him the only man left in the ring and looking at his imaginary watch wondering what to do with his time.
The answer was simple. Christian and Palumbo hadn’t strayed too far from where they landed outside and Stone Cold decided to bring Christian back in the ring, hit him with another Stone Cold Stunner and then eliminate him a second time. Palumbo attempted to flee the scene of the crime but was met with the same fate. This gave Stone Cold the visual of throwing five guys out of the match in a minute or so.
5. RIP Vince’s Quads (2005)
I know I shouldn’t laugh…honestly. I’ve torn just a single Achilles tendon before and that hurt like hell. I can only imagine what ripping both quads at the same time felt like. No thanks!
I mentioned in my Vince McMahon Vs. Bob Hare piece that one of Vince’s more admirable qualities is that he’s one double-tough bastard! He may deserve a poke in the eye from time to time, but just look at him no-selling TWO TORN QUADRACEPS!
There was already plenty to absorb during the botched ending of the 2005 Royal Rumble. John Cena and Batista each had a referee saying they’d won the match, which brought Vince out. After screaming, waddling and flailing every limb on his way down the aisle, Vince tried to slide into the ring to sort the mess out, but anger must have gotten the best of him and he ruined both his legs in one fell swoop.
The poor bastard just had to sit on his arse and direct traffic from there, gutted!