Welcome to the special ROYAL RUMBLE edition of the Wrath of Tito. I'm fresh off viewing the Pay Per View, as it was one of the best WWE Pay Per Views in a while, and I'm here to write a column about it. Yeah, my PPV review columns are scarce, but the brand-PPVs are no longer worth watching the night of the show. The Royal Rumble pay per views have been my favorite show for a long time now, as I mark for battle Royals. I'll cut the chit-chat short and get right into the review:

ROYAL RUMBLE is TITO

The event started off with Shawn Michaels vs. Edge as the hot opener. Pretty solid match but it had too abrupt of an ending, as Edge held the ropes while the blind referee counted 1, 2, 3. Great win for Edge in what I thought was a pretty good bout. With HBK vs. Edge, I feel they could tear the house down with a few more tries, as this was the case for Angle vs. Edge a few years back.

Great stuff backstage, all night, with the drawing. It had Teddy Long and Eric Bischoff bickering all night long, with Christy Hemme and Torrie Wilson playing with balls... The first segment had Eddie Guerrero and Ric Flair picking, as Flair drew #30 and Guerrero drew #1. Wow, that's rather odd with them selecting the first and last numbers... Eddie somehow pulled the switch on the numbers, and a furious Flair left the room looking for Eddie. Nice segment.

Backstage, Heidenreich was reading a poem or talking nonsense when Gene Snitsky arrived. Uh oh, I was smelling a tag team match for Wrestlemania (which rumors beforehand were now suggesting).

Undertaker vs. Heidenreich in a Casket Match was better than I thought it would be, but mind you, I was predicting a total disaster. Gene Snitsky would make his way down to the ring a few minutes into the match, but as Heidenreich/Snitsky opened the casket, Kane sat up out of the coffin. Yikes, Kane/Undertaker vs. Snitsky/Heidenreich at Wrestlemania. Didn't the WWE learn with Kane/Undertaker vs. Kronic last year? Mind you, too, that Undertaker and Kane were feuding this time last year after Kane helped Vince McMahon defeat the Undertaker in a buried alive match. Oh wait, they are going to be friends again! Kane's the same guy who not only helped someone bury the Undertaker alive, but he's also the one who set a coffin with the Undertaker in it on fire! But whatever, as Vince McMahon needs his bigman jackoff fest. Eventually, Undertaker tombstoned Heidenreich for the win. Again, better match than expected, but I wasn't expecting jack-shit.

More funny stuff backstage as Teddy Long and Evolution (all 3 members) confronted Eddie Guerrero about stealing Ric Flair's number. Eddie not only stole Flair's number, but his wallet too. Funny stuff. Later in the segment, "Captain Charisma" informed Teddy Long that he just signed a petition to get Long fired and then drew #29 in the Rumble. Then, John Cena would arrive and he had a freestyle rap contest with Christian. Christian had a good little rap, but John Cena finally went R-rated (now on Pay Per View) and ripped Christian a new one. Man, the WWE is really on point with the RAW-Smackdown collisions.

I liked the John "Bradshaw" Layfield vs. Big Show vs. Kurt Angle match. Good spots with destroying stuff at ringside, for a change, and not too repetitive. Big Show tried to chokeslam JBL onto a table off of the ringsteps, but Angle thwarted that plan and drilled Big Show with a monitor, enabling Show to fall backward on the table. That one looked really good. Then, JBL and Big Show destroyed a section of the barricade. Well timed and well thought out. The ending saw lots of interference with a knocked out referee, though, and saw what was thought to be an injured Bradshaw sneaking up on Kurt Angle for the Clothesline from Hell while the Big Show was distracted. Big Show, once again, wasn't able to beat Bradshaw. Later, Teddy Long, watching the no-interference ruling by Eric Bischoff about Evolution during the Orton vs. HHH match (which Batista gladly told HHH, as relayed from Bischoff), decided to have Big Show vs. JBL in a barbed wire cage match at No Way Out. Bradshaw better be ready to bleed that match...

Great stuff with Batista intimidating Carlito. Carlito offered Batista to sign the petition to eliminate Teddy Long as Smackdown GM, which Batista didn't want to sign. So, Carlito tried to do his apple spitting gig, but Batista reminded Carlito of the flag post up the arse of La Resistance on RAW. Carlito then proceeded to swallow his apple instead of spitting it at Batista. Funny segment and I'm still amazed that the WWE hasn't ruined Batista's push yet.

Yet another disappointing bout between Triple H and Randy Orton. They have zero chemistry together and Orton's lack of in-ring charisma/intensity was heavily exposed here. Stupid stuff with Orton acting like he had a concussion, which eventually led to HHH beating Orton cleanly in the end. The WWE was trying to implant the fact that Orton only lost because of a concussion. Now, depush Randy Orton and DO NOT put him into the Batista vs. HHH match at Wrestlemania. Don't do it, WWE! Don't be stupid... Orton wasn't over with the crowd and only some of the nearfalls drew pops.

I really liked the Royal Rumble match this year, with the exception of the clusterfucked ending. They recycled the old 1994 Royal Rumble finish with two guys landing at the same time. Didn't an episode of RAW or Smackdown just recently recycle that ending? Stupid, stupid, stupid. The Smackdown referees declared John Cena the winner, while the RAW referees declared Batista the winner. Eventually, a pissed off Vince McMahon ran down and actually hurt his right knee or leg when trying to enter the ring. Somehow, they communicated with a sitting down Vince to restart the match, which Batista eventually won and is now your #1 contender to the World Title at Wrestlemania. Yeah baby! John Cena was crazy over, though, as it may be time to pull the trigger on his main event push, too. EXCELLENT Rumble until the ending. Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit were first and both lasted long to provide some good action. Daniel Puder (sp?), the Tough Enough 4 winner, took a MASSIVE beating at the hands of Bob Holly, Guerrero, and Benoit, taking the sickest chops and very stiff offense from Holly. Damn, this was making everyone in the room wince and it's a pretty shitty public welcome into the WWE. Benoit and Guerrero, for a while, were operating as a team and eliminated anybody in their path. For a while, the likes of Benoit, Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Edge, Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, and Booker T were tearing it up together. I REALLY liked the RAW vs. Smackdown showdown 8 guys did and it really pumped the crowd up.

Shawn Michaels entered the frey and then Kurt Angle, who stole Nunzio's spot, entered. Angle cleaned house but had instant problems with Michaels, who after a handful of counters, superkicked Angle out of the ring! Then, later on in the Rumble, Kurt Angle ran in and eliminated Shawn Michaels and beat him senseless! YES!!!!!!!! The WWE has answered all of our prayers of getting Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 21!!!!!!!! Whoooooooooo!!! There IS a God, ladies and gentlemen! Kudos to Paul London for taking the SICK flipping bump at the hands of Gene Snitsky to get eliminated. Very well done and fans will remember it! Ric Flair was #30 and acted like he was teaming with Batista until Flair tried to eliminate Batista. That should play out on RAW tomorrow, along with Batista's overall win. The Final 4 was Rey Mysterio, Edge, John Cena, and Batista. Edge and Mysterio didn't last long and Cena/Batista squared off and Batista won the controversial ending to the Rumble. I'm guessing that Cena will use his controversial exit to win over a title match on the Smackdown brand?

LAST WORD: Man, I'm still gitty from seeing the best WWE Pay Per View since Wrestlemania 20. What a show, what a show. The endings, yes, need to be worked on and I believe it may have hurt the overall match quality. BUT, this show set the table for Wrestlemania 21 and disregarding the endings, I was thoroughly entertained and am now seriously pumped to see Wrestlemania this year. PUMPED, I tell you! Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle is a dream come true... I'll give this show an [ A- ], and would have went higher if only for better endings to matches. Bravo, WWE!

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