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1/25 Powell's WWE Royal Rumble PPV Live Coverage: Jeff Hardy vs. Edge for the WWE Title, John Cena vs. JBL for the World Hvt. Championship, Jack Swagger vs. Matt Hardy for the ECW Title, Royal Rumble match
Jan 25, 2009 - 10:00 PM


By Jason Powell

Aired live on pay-per-view
Detroit, Mich. at Joe Louis Arena


The show opened with a lengthy recap of the Randy Orton and Vince McMahon angle from Monday night... Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler said the family is keeping the details regarding Vince's health quiet. They said Randy will face retribution, perhaps even termination. However, the family has decided that the show will go on despite Vince's injuries...

Powell's POV: Well, I'm happy they didn't cancel the show because of Vince injuries. How funny is that? By the way, for those of you who haven't checked the main page in the last few minutes, there's a big update on the Mickey Rourke story I posted on the Dot Net Members' site available on the main page.

1. Jack Swagger pinned Matt Hardy for the ECW Title in 10:30. Todd Grisham and Matt Striker on commentary. Striker praised Swagger for being a true champion and wearing the title belt around his waist while on his way to the ring. In-ring introductions for the title match.

Hardy took early control of the offense, but Swagger caught him on the second rope at 4:00 and shoved him to the floor. At 9:35, Hardy and Swagger were fighting while standing on the second rope. Hardy knocked Swagger off the rope and then followed up with a top rope moonsault. Hardy landed hard on Swagger. Ouch. A short time later, Swagger hit his gutwrench powerbomb and scored the clean pin to retain the title. Hardy sat down on the ring steps in obvious frustration after the match...

Powell's POV: Great opening match. Very entertaining with a good, fast pace.

Video footage aired of Randy Orton arriving at the building earlier in the day. Various wrestlers backstage stopped in their tracks when they saw him to put over the tension.

2. Melina pinned Beth Phoenix (w/Santino Marella) to win the WWE Women's Championship in 6:00. It's a title match, but the ladies didn't get the in-ring introductions. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler on commentary. There was a loud "Santino" chant to open the match. Two minutes in, Beth had Melina on her shoulders and dumped her hard on her face and shoulders in Doomsday Device style, which drew oohs from the crowd.

At 3:30, Beth had Melina lying face down on the mat. She grabbed Melina's leg and slammed it into Melina's own head repeatedly. Yes, Melina is that flexible. At 4:15, Beth pressed Melina over her head for several seconds, but Melina slipped out and missed whatever move she was going for.

At 5:40, Melina went for her finisher, but Beth avoided it. A short time later, Melina used a cool roll up to score the surprise pin. After the match, Beth sat on the mat and clenched her fists while staring at the mat. Santino knelt behind Beth and consoled her, but he slipped out of the ring when she broke out of her trance...

Powell's POV: No sign of Rosa Mendez. Sloppy match in spots. It looked like they were going at a faster pace than they needed to. Had they slowed down, they may have executed some of those moves.

A video recapped the JBL, Shawn Michaels, and John Cena saga aired...

Backstage, JBL told Shawn there's no reason to be conflicted. He said that if he wins the Rumble, he will pay Shawn all the money he owes him tonight. He also said that if he wins, he'll get a spot in the Royal Rumble. He said it could be JBL vs. HBK at WrestleMania 25.

Shawn turned around and thought about what JBL said. When he turned around, Undertaker was staring at him. Taker said sometimes it's hell getting into heaven...

Powell's POV: Nice last minute addition with the possibility of Shawn getting a Rumble spot. I mentioned weeks ago that they could turn this into Taker collecting HBK's soul for selling out to JBL. Maybe we'll get HBK vs. Taker at WrestleMania after all. Either way, great last minute angle.

3. John Cena defeated JBL (w/Shawn Michaels) to retain the World Hvt. Championship in 15:35. JBL took an early powder to ringside and whispered something in Shawn's ear before heading back inside the ring. Lawler noted that Cena went for an early cover, but HBK didn't move a muscle at ringside.

At 5:45, JBL threw Cena to ringside. The ref was counting out Cena, so JBL broke it up and attacked Cena at ringside. He whipped him into the steps and then rolled him back into the ring for a nearfall. Slow paced action with a quiet live crowd. Michaels remained expressionless in the corner.

At 9:15, Cena did the "You Can't See Me" bit and went for the FU/Throwback finisher, but JBL slipped out. A short time later, Cena locked in the STF (now minus the U). Shawn lifted his own arms into the air to tease getting involved. Cena broke the hold and took a swing at HBK with his foot. At 11:00, JBL hit the Clothesline From Hell for a great nearfall.

After Cena kicked out, JBL glared at Shawn, who stared back at him with the same expression he had the entire match. JBL went for a big boot on Cena, but ended up nailing the referee with it instead. JBL and Cena went for simultaneous clotheslines and ended up on the mat.

Shawn entered the ring and tuned up for Sweet Chin Music while looking at Cena. Rather, he nailed JBL with Sweet Chin Music instead. Cena flashed a look of surprise and then smiled proudly. Michaels nailed Cena with Sweet Chin Music. Shawn hesitated, but eventually dragged JBL onto Cena. He walked toward the ropes to leave, hesitated, and eventually walked out. The referee was still down.

A second referee ran in to make the count, but Cena kicked out. "So what now?" Lawler asked. JBL went for the Clothesline From Hell, but Cena ducked and hit the FU/Throwback. Cena covered JBL and the referee counted 1-2-3...

Powell's POV: Very cool twists with HBK hitting both guys with Sweet Chin Music. The crowd was quiet for the bulk of what Cena and JBL did. It wasn't lousy work, but they were clearly waiting for Shawn to make his move.

A Legends of WrestleMania video game commercial aired... At ringside, Jim Ross and Tazz checked in. Ross compared the video game to baseball fans being able to find out what would happen if Nolan Ryan pitched to Babe Ruth...

A video recapped the Jeff Hardy vs. Edge feud and all the drama with the hit-and-run, and the pyro accident...

Powell's POV: Looks like they're saving the Rumble match for last. Normally, I want title matches last, but I'll make an exception for the Rumble match. Fun first hour and the best is yet to come.

4. Edge (w/Chavo Guerrero) defeated Jeff Hardy in a No DQ match to win the WWE Title in 19:30. Ross and Tazz on commentary, just as they better be for the Rumble match. Jeff came out wearing full face paint. After Hardy was introduced, Vickie Guerrero came out with a new hairstyle and said Jeff shouldn't even think about getting himself DQ'd to save his title because the match is now a No DQ match. Chavo Guerrero came out with Edge.

A loud "We Want Christian" chant broke out. After some back and forth action, Hardy went for a top rope move, but Edge caught him with a dropkick to the chest. A short time later, they fought on the ring apron and Hardy hit the Twist of Fate. They tumbled to the floor. Jeff pulled a huge ladder out from underneath the ring. Chavo climbed the other side and distracted Jeff long enough to prevent him from hitting a move.

Jeff fought with Chavo and placed him on the Raw announcers' desk. Hardy climbed the ladder and hit a big splash that drove Chavo through the table. Big pop for the splash. Edge took one of the turnbuckle pads off. Jeff hit a Whisper in the Wind for a nearfall. Edge came back with a DDT for a nearfall of his own around 15:00.

At 17:15, Edge charged for the spear, but Hardy saw it coming and hit the Twist of Fate. Jeff climbed up top. Vickie ran out and tried to stop him, but Jeff kicked her aside and hit the Swanton. Hardy went for the cover, but Vickie reached in and broke up the referee's count.

Matt Hardy ran out with a chair. He shoved Vickie in the ring and offered his chair to Jeff. He stopped him from hitting Edge long enough to get his own chair from ringside. Ross said it was shades of TLC as they teased the Conchairto. Jeff placed his chair under Edge's head. Suddenly, Matt slammed the chair over Jeff's head. Edge recovered and got the pin while Matt glared down at his brother.

Matt left the ring to boos. After a long pause, Jim Ross said, "I'm absolutely shocked. Jeff Hardy was living his dream and now it's become a family nightmare." Edge and Vickie celebrated in the ring and eventually backed up the ramp together. Ross said it made him sick to see one brother do that to another brother. Jeff was eventually helped backstage by some referees...

Powell's POV: Christian was the favorite (as the live crowd let them know), but I've been saying all along that Matt Hardy was my dark horse pick for the person who would cost his brother the title. Interesting development. The wait for Christian's return to WWE continues.

An ad aired for the Elimination Chamber and No Way Out. The ad noted that the WWE and World Titles would both be defended...

Backstage, Todd Grisham asked Randy Orton about the possibility that legal action will be taken against him on Raw over the attack on Vince McMahon last week. Orton said that as far as he knows, he's still in the Rumble match. Chris Jericho entered the picture and said Jericho didn't take out Mr. McMahon, "the real Mr. McMahon was already dead." He said the McMahons are vengeful people and he believes this is Randy's last night as an employee of World Wrestling Entertainment...

Powell's POV: Um, independent contract, Chris. By the way, it's not a "Lost" storyline. Jericho said the real Mr. McMahon was dead because he was no longer the old Mr. McMahon.

The Royal Rumble by the numbers video aired...

5. Randy Orton won the 30-man Royal Rumble match in 58:40. Rey Mysterio and John Morrison were introduced No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. My buddy Pooch, the world's biggest Miz and Morrison fan, is a couple spots down on the couch crying his eyes out. Good action with Rey hitting some flashy offense and Morrison barely hanging on when the next entrant came out.

Powell's POV: They scrapped the angle with Hunter being the first entrant. It was announced at the Smackdown tapings that his loss to Big Show and Vladimir Kozlov made him the No. 1 entrant in the Rumble, but they cut that footage from Friday's Smackdown broadcast.

Carlito was the No. 3 entrant. He spat an apple at Morrison, but fought with both wrestlers. MVP was No. 4. There was a nice "MVP" chant. Morrison hit the Chuck kick on Carlito, but MVP followed up with a Drive By kick on Morrison. Cool. The No. 5 entrant was Great Khali, who came out to his new music. They should have waited until after the Rumble to debut that music because no one in the crowd recognized it.

Khali cleaned house. Vladimir Kozlov was the No. 6 entrant. He eliminated Khali, then tossed MVP over the top a short time later. Kozlov eliminated Carlito next. The lucky No. 7 entrant was Triple H. Kozlov stopped beating on Rey and directed his attention to Hunter, while Morrison was lying in the corner. After a brief back and forth exchange, Hunter did the DX chop and tossed Kozlov over the top rope.

The No. 8 entrant was Randy Orton. Hunter stopped beating on Morrison and glared at Orton as he came out. They traded punches in the ring. Orton took the advantage and went for the RKO, but Hunter slipped out and went for the Pedigree, but Morrison hit the Chuck Kick on Hunter. Rey roughed up Morrison.

The No. 9 entrant was, um, Cryme Tyme. They both came out. Shad was heading to the ring when JTG stopped him. They flipped a coin. JTG won the toss and headed to the ring. Shad showed the cameras that it was a gimmick coin with the same symbol on the both sides.

Powell's POV: The only way the coin toss bit makes sense is if Cryme Tyme only had one entry.

The No. 10 entrant was Ted DiBiase Jr. He was greeted early on with a sliding kick to the nuts from Rey, who should face the same criminal punishment as Orton for that one. The No. 11 entrant was Chris Jericho. The No. 12 entrant was Mike Knox. He focussed on Mysterio. The Miz was the No. 13 entry. He didn't last long. Hunter threw Morrison into Miz and they both tumbled over the top rope. Pooch quickly pointed out that Morrison's feet landed before Miz's feet touched.

The No. 14 entrant was Finlay. As he came out, someone tossed Rey over the top rope. However, Rey landed on Morrison, hopped onto Miz, and got back in the ring without his feet touching the mat. Cool spot, too bad the cameras missed the beginning of it. The No. 15 entrant was Cody Rhodes, meaning all three Legacy members are in the ring.

The Legacy members ganged up on Triple H, then Finlay, then Mike Knox. Mysterio springboarded off the middle of the top rope, but jumped right into the RKO from Orton.

Undertaker was the No. 16 entrant. Everyone stopped in their tracks. Once Taker was in the ring, Orton shoved Rhodes and DiBiase at him. Funny. Taker eliminated JTG. The No. 17 entrant was Goldust, who attacked Ted DiBiase. Cody attacked his brother from behind, but Goldust turned around and punched him. Orton hit the RKO on Goldust and then ordered Cody to eliminate his brother. Cody complied.

C.M. Punk was the No. 18 entrant. He hit the safest looking GTS in history on Hunter even though more than one person at my party was yelling for Punk to slip and break Hunter's nose. Cold! The No. 19 entrant was Mark Henry. The No. 20 entrant was Shelton Benjamin. He caught Jericho and Punk on the top rope and hit a Double Paydirt off the top. Jerry Lawler said it looked like a double DDT "only the wrong way."

Powell's POV: Jerry Lawler doesn't watch WWE programming unless he's calling it in person. Sad call.

William Regal was the No. 21 entrant. Taker caught Henry with a big boot and he stumbled toward the ropes. Rey pulled the ropes down and Henry fell to the ground. The No. 22 entrant was Kofi Kingston. Taker eliminated Shelton Benjamin. The No. 23 entrant was Kane.

Kane and Undertaker stared at one another. They teamed up and hit a double chokeslam on DiBiase. Punk eliminated William Regal. The No. 24 entrant was R-Truth.

The No. 25 entrant was Rob Van Dam! Big pop from the home state crowd. The No. 26 entrant was The Brian Kendrick, who quickly eliminated Kofi Kingston. Seconds later, Hunter eliminated Kendrick. The live crowd chanted "RVD." The No. 27 entrant was Dolph Ziggler. He ran in and threw some punches. He tried to introduce himself to Kane, who eliminated Ziggler from match.

The No. 28 entrant was Santino Marella. He ran down and entered the ring and was immediately clotheslined out by Kane. Shelton was eliminated before Santino, but everyone at my party missed it. The No. 29 entrant is Hacksaw Duggan, who won the first Rumble.

Powell's POV: Not was funny as Bushwhacker Luke, but it will go down as the fastest elimination in Rumble history. Looks like they have to make a new Rumble by the numbers video.

The No. 30 entrant was Big Show. There were still 15 wrestlers in the match when the final man was introduced. Big Show eliminated Hacksaw Duggan. At 48:22, Show pressed R-Truth over his head and dropped him to the floor at ringside to eliminate him. A short time later, Show hit Punk with a big knockout punch to knock him off the ring apron and eliminate him.

There was a big pile of wrestlers in the corner. Show pushed it over, causing Knox and Mysterio to fall out. A short time later, Hornswoggle ended up in the ring out of nowhere. Kane teased chokeslamming him. Finlay ran toward Kane to save Horny, only to be backdropped over the top rope for his elimination.

RVD hit the Frogsplash. He stood up and celebrated, only to be eliminated by Jericho, who taunted him with a smile. A short time later, Taker eliminated Jericho. The Legacy members ganged up to eliminate Kane.

The final six wrestlers were Taker, Show, Hunter, Orton, Cody, and DiBiase.

Taker chokeslammed each member of Legacy. He squared off with Big Show and pulled the shoulder straps from his tights down. Taker got the better of the exchange by knocking Show to the ground with a clothesline. Taker hit a big boot and Show skinned the cat. Orton went for the RKO on Taker, but Taker avoided it.

Taker and Show went for a simultaneous chokeslam on the ring apron. Orton eliminated Show by using the top rope as a clothesline. Taker had both members of Priceless when Show reached up and pulled Taker down to eliminate him.

The Final Four competitors are Triple H, Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted DiBiase.

The Legacy ganged up on Hunter, but he fought them off and eliminated DiBiase. Hunter also tossed Cody over the top, but Orton was right behind Hunter and dumped him over the top rope to win the Rumble.

After the match, Orton brought Rhodes and DiBiase back in the ring for a moment. After the left, he pointed at the WrestleMania 25 sign that was hanging in the rafters. Fireworks went off around the sign while Orton continued to at it to close the show...

Powell's POV: I like the outcome, but that was not a great Rumble match. There were too many wrestlers left after the No. 30 entrant was introduced, and very few moments stood out. The RVD surprise was fun, but I was disappointed that they didn't really elevate anyone by booking memorable eliminations. I'll have more to say about the show in Dot Net Member Exclusive Audio later tonight, and in the WWE Royal Rumble Hitlist on Monday.
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