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1/25 Twilling's WWE Royal Rumble Live Coverage: 30 man Royal Rumble match, Jeff Hardy vs. Edge for the WWE Championship, John Cena vs. JBL for the World Heavyweight Championship, two more title matches
Jan 25, 2009 - 10:01 PM

By Rich Twilling

Aired live on pay-per-view
Detroit, MI at the Joe Louis Arena

The show opened showing every Royal Rumble logo from present to past and various winners of the Rumble match over the years. Shots of the top stars were shown and when they came to Randy Orton, footage was shown of Orton kicking Vince McMahon’s head off last Monday on Raw. Orton’s theme music played ominously in the background of the footage...

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler opened the show by saying the McMahon family is staying silent about Vince’s condition. They said Orton would be reprimanded, but it was uncertain what his punishment would be at this time. The McMahon family stated the show must go on...

Twill’s Two Cents: Cool foreshadowing of Orton possibly winning tonight. I never liked the line blurred of real life tragedies and those like what happened to Vince, but they are really selling his “injuries.”

After the opening video, Cole and King welcomed us to the show. Matt Hardy made his ring entrance. Todd Grisham and Matt Striker took over the announcing duties for the ECW Title match...

1. Jack Swagger defeated Matt Hardy to retain the ECW Championship in 10:27. Striker pointed out that “real champions wear their title around their waste,” as Swagger made his entrance with the belt around his waist. I agree Matt. Very loud “Hardy” chants could be heard. Hardy attempted to brawl with Swagger early in the match. Swagger retreated to the floor to collect himself.

Swagger grounded Hardy and attempted to wrestle his way out but was unsuccessful. Once Hardy achieved separation, he scored the first nearfall of the night with a bulldog. Hardy went to the second rope and Swagger pushed him to the floor. Once back in the ring, Hardy fell prey to Swagger’s mat skills. Swagger hit a big boot for his first nearfall.

Swagger found success working on the arm and shoulder of Hardy and continued to do so. Hardy was able to fight out and score some nearfalls. Swagger regained the advantage with a belly to belly suplex. He then countered a vertical suplex attempt by Hardy into a single arm DDT. Striker said the last Carolinian to win a title in Michigan was Ricky Steamboat winning the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania III. Nice.

Hardy hit a moonsault for a long two count. He tried a Twist of Fate and a Side Effect, but Swagger whipped Hardy’s shoulder into the turnbuckle. Hardy was out. Swagger struggled to lift Hardy’s dead weight, but he was able to get him up for the gutwrench powerbomb and score the three count...

Twill’s Two Cents: Very good opening match. Hardy worked very hard and Swagger did a great job of focusing on one body part throughout the match. The nearfalls were well done and the announcers were on top of their game.

After the match, Hardy slowly exited the ring and sat dejectedly on the ring steps...

Footage was shown of Randy Orton arriving at the arena earlier in the evening. Various stars watched in awe as Orton stoically walked by...

2. Melina defeated Beth Phoenix (with Santino Marella) to win the WWE Women’s Championship in 5:57.. The crowd cheered for Santino at ringside. Beth had Melina up for an Electric Chair and flipped her backwards. Beth , with Melina on her front, bent Melina’s leg so far back that she kicked Melina in the head with her own leg.

Melina wiggled out of a gorilla press slam. She applied a sunset flip for a two count. Melina scored another nearfall with a hair pull face buster. Melina went for her finisher and Beth countered. However, Melina spun around Beth’s body into another sunset flip to score the three count...

Twill’s Two Cents: Decent match but there were some sloppy and slow parts. I am surprised Beth lost the title here and the title change did not seem as important as it should have.

Cole and King introduced footage of the situation with Shawn Michaels, JBL, and John Cena...

Shawn Michaels was shown backstage looking a mirror. JBL approached him and told Michaels if JBL won the title tonight, he would not only pay Michaels the money he owed him, he would pay him all the money he owed him tonight. If JBL won, Michaels would never have to work for JBL again. He also told him he would get a spot in the Rumble and the chance to go home to Texas to face the wrestling god.

JBL left. Michaels turned around and then looked back to find The Undertaker standing there. Taker stared Shawn down and said, “Sometimes it’s hell getting to heaven.” Michaels exited as Taker stood by...

Twill’s Two Cents: Michaels would be a fool to not do everything he could to help JBL win. Was that a foreshadowing of a HBK vs. Taker match at Wrestlemania?

3. John Cena defeated JBL (with Shawn Michaels) to retain the World Heavyweight Championship in 15:29. Cena came out with the title around his waist, much to the delight of Striker I am sure. Cena knocked JBL to the floor, who then whispered something to Michaels, who did not react at all.

JBL retreated to the floor again after a couple of nearfalls. Cena went after JBL and was distracted by Michaels, who simply looked at him. JBL gained the advantage and threw Cena back into the ring. A “Let’s go Cena, Cena sucks” chant broke out in the crowd. JBL hit a series of elbows for a two count.

The pace of the match slowed considerably with JBL on top. Michaels continued to have an emotionless stare at the action. JBL went for a superplex but Cena pushed him off. Cena then hit the leg drop to the back of JBL’s head for a two count. Cena hit his spots to a chorus of boos. After the five knuckle shuffle, JBL elbowed out of the Throwback.

JBL’s advantage was short lived as Cena locked in the STF. JBL reached to Michaels and Cena broke the hold and kicked air at Michaels. JBL kicked Cena through the ropes to the floor at Michaels’ feet. Back in the ring, JBL hit the Closeline from Hell and covered immediately, but Cena kicked out.

JBL stared at Michaels and Michaels stared back. Cena lifted JBL for the Throwback, but JBL fought out and attempted a big boot. Cena ducked and JBL knocked out the referee on accident. A double closeline left both men lying and Michaels entered the ring.

Both men stood up and Michaels hit Sweet Chin Music on JBL. The fans popped but that was not really the moment people were expecting. Michaels then hit SCM on Cena and the crowd popped more loudly for that one. Michaels draped JBL over Cena. Michaels then left the ring and walked to the back. Another referee came down and counted to two, but Cena kicked out.

JBL struggled to his feet and pulled Cena up with him. He tried a short arm closeline, but Cena lifted JBL up and hit the Throwback for the win...

Twill’s Two Cents: Is Michaels an idiot or what? He helped JBL, so everyone will still question his integrity, but Cena won anyway, so he did not do his job as he was instructed to do. The match was more about the storyline than the actual match, but it was an entertaining and intriguing fifteen minutes.

Footage aired of the WWE Legends of Wrestlemania game. It looks pretty sweet...

Given the fact there is only one more match and then the Rumble, they aired weeks worth of footage of the Jeff Hardy vs. Edge situation leading up to tonight’s match...

4. Edge (with Chavo Guerrero) defeated Jeff Hardy to win the WWE Championship in a no disqualification match in 19:24. Hardy made his entrance first and Jim Ross pointed out that the champion usually comes out last. Vickie Guerrero came out and annoying yelled, “Excuse me” at the crowd. Most people love that; it just annoys the shit out of me. She made the match a no disqualification match. She introduced Edge, who came out with Chavo Guerrero.

Hardy wore skeleton like white face paint with black and red on the sides. His hair was purple, green, and yellow. A “We want Christian” chant broke out but quickly stopped. Hardy grabbed a chair and tried to enter the ring with it, but Edge met him with a kick to the head. They traded offensive moves in the early portion of the match.

Hardy lured Edge to the floor and it was a good move at first, but a distraction by Chavo allowed Edge to kick Hardy in the face. Edge would not allow Hardy to get back into the ring. Edge ran Hardy around the ringside area and slammed Hardy’s face into all three announce tables. Todd Grisham was not in his seat, so he probably has backstage duty.

Back in the ring, Edge took care of Hardy for several minutes. Hardy turned the tides with a mule kick. He slowly went to the top but Edge met him. Hardy pushed him to the floor and tried a high cross body, but Edge hit a dropkick for a long two count. Edge came into the ring with two chairs, but while he was standing on the apron, Hardy hit a spear.

Hardy springboarded over the top rope onto Edge. With both men on the apron, Hardy hit a Twist of Fate. Both men ended up on the floor. Hardy cleared off the Smackdown announce table and set up a ladder. He positioned Edge on the table and climbed the ladder.

Chavo climbed the ladder and Edge was able to get himself off of the table. Jeff laid Chavo on the table, climbed the ladder, jumped/slipped off the top onto Chavo. Jeff was lucky here. He still got himself over the Edge and threw him back into the ring. He hit a frog splash high cross body for a two count.

Edge removed the top turnbuckle. Hardy countered and hit Whisper in the Wind for the two count. Hardy went for the Twist of Fate but Edge countered with the Impaler DDT for a long two count. Edge went to the top and Hardy applied an inside cradle for a two count. Hardy tried the hanging dropkick to Edge in the exposed corner and Edge lifted and dropped Hardy onto the steel for another nearfall.

Edge readied himself for the spear. Hardy countered it into a Twist of Fate. Hardy struggled to the top rope but Vickie tried to push him off. Hardy kicked Vickie and hit the Swanton Bomb. The referee counted to two and Vickie pulled him out.

Matt Hardy entered the ring with a chair. He bullied Vickie into a corner. He gave Jeff a chair and set up another one for a con-chair-to. He nailed Jeff with his chair and stared at him with a mean, blank stare. Edge covered Jeff and regained the WWE Championship. Matt left the ring with the same look on his face as the announcers sat in silence.

The announcers commented on the replay and JR called what happened one of the most shocking things he has ever seen. Edge and Vickie celebrated and JR said he was physically sick. The referees helped Jeff to the back as the crowd respectfully cheered for him...

Twill’s Two Cents: Yes! I was disappointed not to see Christian and I thought there would have been big money in doing this months down the road, but that look on Matt’s face showed more charisma and personality than he has shown in years of being a face. I hope this was the plan all along and that they did not go through with it because everyone assumed Christian was coming back. Nonetheless, the match was fantastic and the finish was well done.

Backstage, Todd Grisham interviewed Randy Orton and told him legal action would be taken against him tomorrow night on Raw. Orton said he had not heard anything and that he was still in the Rumble. Chris Jericho entered and told Orton he respected him for what he did to Vince McMahon. He said Orton did not kill Mr. McMahon because the real Mr. McMahon was already dead. He also told Randy he felt tonight was his last night as a WWE employee...

Twill’s Two Cents: Orton still looks remorseful so I hope he is fooling us.

The “Rumble by the numbers” video aired...

5. Randy Orton won the 30 man Royal Rumble match in 58:40. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are calling the Rumble.

Twill’s Two Cents: Great call (no pun intended).

#1: Rey Mysterio
#2: John Morrison

Morrison knocked Rey to the outside and I swear Rey’s grip almost slipped. He hit a springboard high cross body coming back into the ring. Morrison did the “nearly eliminated spot” too.

#3: Carlito

Carlito spit apple in Morrison’s face. He then looked impressive by springboarding from the top rope to the top rope into a moonsault on Morrison. Carlito looks invigorated so far.

#4: MVP

MVP powerslammed Morrison and played to the “MVP” chants. He hit a nice belly to belly overhead suplex on Mysterio.

#5: The Great Khali

Twill’s Two Cents: The action was very good up until now. Oh shit.

Khali took everyone out in slow motion. He did not eliminate anyone right away but he did lay everyone out. Carlito tried the Backstabber but could not hit it. JR said, “You can scratch the Backstabber.” Funny.

#6: Vladimir Kozlov

-Kozlov eliminated The Great Khali all by himself.
-Kozlov eliminated MVP.
-Kozlov eliminated Carlito.

#7: Triple H

H and Kozlov locked eyes and went toe to toe. Then Triple H eliminated him in a couple of seconds.

-Triple H eliminated Kozlov.

#8: Randy Orton

A shot over Triple H’s shoulder showed him looking at Orton’s Titantron video as he came to the ring. Orton and H went at it right away. Morrison intervened and hit the Chuck kick on Triple H. Mysterio then hit the 619 on Morrison.

#9: JTG

Both members of Cryme Tyme came out and JTG pulled out a coin to flip for the spot. JTG won the toss because he used a double sided coin.

#10: Ted DiBiase

The new Priceless music is terrible. I liked the old music. Triple H nearly eliminated Orton. DiBiase almost eliminated Morrison and JTG. He then almost went out with Mysterio. All five of them were close to elimination.

#11: Chris Jericho

Jericho went right after DiBiase and then tried to eliminate Orton. He had JTG teetering and then turned his attention to Triple H. He tried to lock in the Walls of Jericho but H powered out. He threw Jericho over the top but Jericho held on. Orton and DiBiase finally started to work together.

#12: Mike Knox

Knox went right after Mysterio and everyone remained in the match for the next entrant.

#13: The Miz

Miz went after JTG and DiBiase. He knocked Triple H to the ground and then teamed with Morrison against Orton. Orton then hit the RKO on Morrison, Miz, and JTG. Triple H then hit the Pedigree on Orton.

-Triple H eliminated The Miz.
-Triple H eliminated John Morrison.

#14: Finlay

Mysterio was thrown to the floor but he walked across the backs of Miz and Morrison to reenter the ring. Creative spot. Finlay went after everyone and tried to eliminate Jericho with Mysterio’s help. Finlay had DiBiase on the top rope but Orton helped out his protégé.

#15: Cody Rhodes

Did I mention how shitty that music is? All three members of Priceless worked together on various participants of the match. Mysterio tried a springboard off of the top rope, but Orton hit the RKO.

Twill’s Two Cents: That is logical and they should work together as long as all three of them are in the match.

#16: The Undertaker

I hope no one gets eliminated during his entrance.

-The Undertaker eliminated JTG.

#17: Goldust

Goldust and Rhodes went face to face and JR said, “Look at this! They’re brothers!” So much for that intrigue and mystery. Orton watched as Goldust and Rhodes went at it. He then hit and RKO on Goldust. He instructed Rhodes to eliminate his brother.

-Cody Rhodes eliminated Goldust.

#18: C.M. Punk

Punk came in like a house of fire and even hit the GTS on Triple H. Orton and Rhodes has Jericho hanging on the outside of the corner.

#19: Mark Henry

By the way, this crowd is hot tonight. DiBiase and Rhodes reluctantly went after Henry. Henry then went toe to toe with The Undertaker. Punk jumped at Henry from the middle rope and was nearly eliminated.

#20: Shelton Benjamin

By the way, my favorite reader is following along tonight, so I want to throw out a very special hello to her. Shelton pulled out the spot of the match when he base jumped to the top rope and hit DDTs on Jericho and DiBiase.

#21: William Regal

Regal went right after Mysterio. Henry charged at Mysterio and his momentum took him over the top.

-Rey Mysterio eliminated Mark Henry.

#22: Kofi Kingston

The ring is getting pretty full. Shelton went after Taker and paid for it.

-The Undertaker eliminated Shelton Benjamin.

#23: Kane

Kane knocked down Legacy, Knox, and Jericho upon entering the ring. JR wondered what would happen if Taker and Kane worked together. They locked eyes before hitting a double chokeslam on DiBiase. They then hit chokeslams on Kofi and Jericho respectively.

-CM Punk eliminated William Regal.

#24: R-Truth

Truth hit a phantom punch on Triple H that he sold anyway. Orton, Kofi, and Mysterio had Kane teetering on the top rope. Punk tried to suplex Finlay out of the ring but could not muster up the strength to do so.

#25: Rob Van Dam

Surprise! For those of you who did not read the site today, here is the surprise entrant of the night. RVD looked to be in great shape but it is unknown whether or not he failed a marijuana test. RVD came in and immediately kicked Kane. He looked like he was going to hit the Five Star on Truth, but Triple H distracted him.

#26: The Brian Kendrick

-The Brian Kendrick eliminated Kofi Kingston.
-Triple H eliminated The Brian Kendrick.

The fans continued to chant “RVD” as he and Punk fought in the corner.

#27: Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler came in and introduced himself to Kane. Kane promptly threw his ass out of the match.

-Kane eliminated Dolph Ziggler.

#28: Santino Marella

Santino entered and Kane immediately eliminated him. Santino said he wasn’t ready. Santino seems to have broken The Warlord’s record for shortest Rumble appearance. Not a bad way for Santino to earn his PPV bonus.

-Kane eliminated Santino Marella.

#29: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Duggan got one of the biggest pops of the night.

#30: Big Show

Well, it wasn’t as cool as Cena’s entrance at #30 last year. Kane socked Show in the mouth and then Duggan tried to eliminate him. Show quickly rid the match of him.

-Big Show eliminated Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Taker had Orton in the corner but Rhodes came to Orton’s aide. Show pressed Truth up over his head and threw him to the floor.

-Big Show eliminated R-Truth.

Show kept throwing Punk over the top but Punk kept avoiding elimination. Finally, Punk was knocked out by a Big Show right hand. He fell to the floor and was eliminated.

-Big Show eliminated CM Punk.

-Big Show eliminated Mike Knox and Rey Mysterio.

Mysterio lasted 49 minutes. Hornswoggle made an appearance and tried to assist his dad against Kane. Kane backdropped Finlay over the top.

-Kane eliminated Finlay.

Orton hit a DDT on Triple H with H’s feet on the second rope. Taker and Show exchanged right hands. RVD hit the Five Star Frog Splash on Orton, but when he sold it, Jericho threw him over the top rope.

-Chris Jericho eliminated Rob Van Dam.

The Undertaker stood behind Jericho. Jericho actually hit the Codebreaker on Taker and knocked him back. He charged at him but Taker sidestepped him and Jericho went over the top.

-The Undertaker eliminated Chris Jericho.

-Legacy eliminated Kane.

Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, Big Show, Undertaker, and Triple H remained in the match. Show chokeslammed Triple H. Undertaker chokeslammed all three members of Legacy. Show and Taker once again went face to face.

Undertaker knocked Show over the top but Show held on to the top rope. That was the new spot of the night. With both men on the apron, Orton hit an RKO on Show to eliminate him.

-Randy Orton eliminated Big Show.

Show then pulled Taker down from the outside.

-Big Show eliminated The Undertaker.

The final four are Orton, Rhodes, DiBiase, and Triple H. H was beat down in a three on one. Orton tried a RKO, but H pushed him into the corner. H hit the Pedigree on Rhodes. DiBiase charged at him, but H threw DiBiase out of the match.

-Triple H eliminated Ted DiBiase.

He then threw Rhodes out of the ring.

-Triple H eliminated Cody Rhodes.

Immediately after H eliminated Cody, Orton eliminated Triple H from behind.

-Randy Orton eliminated Triple H to win the Royal Rumble.

After the match, Orton pulled Rhodes and DiBiase back into the ring and the three of them raised their arms in triumph. They then left Orton alone in the ring to celebrate. Orton celebrated on the ropes while he pointed at the Wrestlemania 25 logo in the rafters and fireworks exploded around him...

Twill’s Two Cents: The entire Rumble was pretty predictable although it was nice to see RVD for a night. I am glad they went with Orton and not Triple H. H made sure to make himself look super strong by eliminating a lot of people and having it take three to get him out. Orton winning with his job status up in the air will be a nice hook going into tomorrow’s Raw. Stay tuned as Jason and I record an audio recap of the show.

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