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COMPLETE ROYAL RUMBLE COVERAGE: JOHN CENA MAKES SURPRISE RETURN TO THE RING, RIC FLAIR ISN'T RETIRED, EDGE VS. REY, HARDY VS. ORTON AND MORE

By Richard Trionfo on 2008-01-27 23:00:00
Match Number Five: Royal Rumble Match
Entrant Number One: Undertaker and Entrant Number Two: Shawn Michaels
Taker is ready to punch Michaels but Michaels moves and he chops Taker. Taker with an Irish whip and Michaels with the Michaels flip. Taker with a vertical choke of Michaels and Michaels is sent into the corner. Taker with punches and head butts in the corner. Taker Irish whips Michaels and Michaels lands on the top turnbuckle and Taker kicks him. Taker goes for a big boot into the corner but Michaels moves out of the way and Taker goes to the apron. Taker grabs a charging Michaels but the throat and returns to the ring. Taker with a big boot to Michaels.

Entrant Number Three: Santino Marella. Michaels with Sweet Chin Music from Michaels and then Taker eliminates Marella. Michaels tries to eliminate Taker but Taker stays in. Taker goes Old School but Michaels tosses Taker across the ring. Michaels with a reverse atomic drop and chops followed by another reverse atomic drop and chop. Michaels with a flying forearm and kip up. Entrant Number Four: Great Khali. Taker with a choke slam to Michaels. Taker punches Khali as Khali enters the ring. Khali with the chop to the top of the head. Khali slams Taker’s head into the corner and he connects with kicks in the corner. Khali punches Taker but Taker responds with punches of his own. Khali sets for a choke slam but Taker grabs Khali by the throat. Khali backs Taker against the ropes but misses the chop. Taker eliminates Khali and Michaels tries to eliminate Taker again. Michaels goes up in the corner but Taker tries for the Last Ride. Taker and Michaels go to the apron. Entrant Number Five: Bob Holly. Holly goes after Taker and Taker punches Holly and then works him over in the corner. Holly with punches to Taker but Taker with a big boot. Michaels tries to eliminate Taker again but Taker gets Michaels on his shoulders. Michaels holds on to the ropes and Holly kicks Taker. Michaels with chops to Holly and Holly responds with chops of his own. Entrant Number Six: John Morrison. Morrison goes after Taker, Michaels, and Holly. Morrison avoids Taker when his back is not turned. Michaels tries to eliminate Morrison but Morrison rolls back in. Michaels slams Morrison while Taker chokes Holly. Michaels goes up top for the elbow drop and then he sets up for Sweet Chin Music and Morrison blocks it. Entrant Number Seven: Tommy Dreamer.

Dreamer punches Michaels and then he goes after Taker. Dreamer clotheslines Morrison and then he runs into a boot from Taker. Michaels tries to suplex Morrison over the top rope to the floor and Morrison is on the apron but he is able to get back into the ring. Morrison with a European uppercut to Holly. Morrison tries to eliminate Holly and Morrison tries to get rid of Morrison as well. Entrant Number Eight: Batista. Batista with a spinebuster to Dreamer followed by clotheslines to Holly and Michaels. Batista with a back body drop to Morrison. Taker and Batista square off but Dreamer tries for a DDT on Batista but Batista eliminates Dreamer. Holly tries to eliminate Michaels but Michaels gets off the turnbuckle. Morrison gets speared by Batista. Taker with boots to Batista and then he chokes him in the corner. Michaels tries to get rid of Holly.

Entrant Number Nine: Hornswoggle. Hornswoggle sees Taker in the center of the ring and he freezes. Hornswoggle goes under the ring. Batista with a spear to Taker and then he tries to eliminate Taker. Holly chops Morrison while Taker works over Batista. Holly with a suplex to Morrison and Michaels chops Holly. Holly with a back body drop to Michaels and then he clotheslines Michaels to the apron and Michaels returns to the ring. Entrant Number Ten: Chuck Palumbo. Chuck goes after Batista with chops and punches. He punches Michaels and Holly as well. Palumbo punches and chops Michaels. Holly chokes Batista in the ropes. Morrison is able to save himself. Taker backs Palumbo into the corner and he head butts Palumbo. Michaels tries to eliminate Morrison in the corner but Morrison with a head scissors.

Entrant Number Eleven: Jamie Noble. Noble has his ribs taped and he goes after Palumbo. Noble with kicks and punches to Palumbo as he works over Palumbo in the corner. Palumbo sends Noble to the apron and then Palumbo with a boot to the ribs to eliminate Noble. Taker with a back elbow to Palumbo. Batista with shoulders to Holly in the corner. The medical staff checks on Noble outside the ring. Entrant Number Twelve: CM Punk. Punk with a running boot to Palumbo, Michaels and Morrison. Taker grabs Punk but the throat but Punk with kicks. Punk tries for a bulldog on Michaels but Taker with a clothesline to Punk. Palumbo tries to eliminate Punk but Punk sends Palumbo to the apron and Punk with a running knee to eliminate Palumbo. Michaels tires to suplex Punk to the floor but Punk blocks it. Entrant Number Thirteen: Cody Rhodes. Rhodes goes after Punk and sends him to the apron. Rhodes goes after Taker and punches him. Taker grabs Rhodes by the throat but Rhodes with a punch and drop kick. Batista with a back body drop to Michaels. Taker with an Irish whip to Rhodes. Entrant Number Fourteen: Umaga. Umaga with clotheslines to everyone but Holly who chops Umaga. Umaga sends Holly over the top rope to eliminate him. Umaga works over Batista in the corner. Umaga with a running butt splash into the corner. Rhodes tries to eliminate Michaels but Shawn returns to the ring from the apron. Morrison and Rhodes exchange punches, forearms, and chops. Entrant Number Fifteen: Gene Snitsky. Snitsky goes after Morrison and Punk before turning his attention to Michaels and Rhodes. Snitsky with a short arm clothesline to Rhodes and a punch to Morrison. Snitsky with boots to Morrison. Rhodes sends Snitsky over the top but he stays on the apron and Punk cannot help Rhodes. Morrison puts Michaels on the top rope but Michaels punches Morrison. Morrison punches Punk as the former ECW champions battle.

Entrant Number Sixteen: Mike Mizanin. Morrison and Mizanin work over Punk as Taker tries to eliminate Umaga. Entrant Number Seventeen: Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin jumps to the turnbuckle and tries to eliminate Mizanin and Morrison. Benjamin goes after Punk but then Michaels with Sweet Chin Music that eliminates Benjamin. Snitsky with a running clothesline into the corner. Entrant Number Eighteen: Jimmy Snuka Snuka with chops to Morrison and Punk followed by Michaels. Snuka with a head butt to Taker. Snuka with a chop to Snitsky and Mizanin. Snuka with a head butt to Mizanin. Snuka with a chop to Batista. Entrant Number Nineteen: Roddy Piper. Everyone waits for Piper to enter the ring and he wants a piece of Snuka. Piper punches Snuka but Snuka does not feel it. Snuka with a chop to Piper but Piper with a thumb to the eye. Snuka and Piper battle and everyone else returns to what they were doing. Entrant Number Twenty: Kane. Rhodes and Snitsky continue to battle. Kane eliminates Piper followed by Snuka. Kane with punches around and then he choke slams Mizanin. Kane works over Umaga with uppercuts and elbows in the corner. Rhodes with an elbow to the midsection of John Morrison. Taker sets for a choke slam on Kane but then he sees Michaels. Umaga hits Taker from behind. Entrant Number Twenty-One: Carlito. Carlito goes after Rhodes and then he works his way around the ring. Michaels rolls back in one more time. Carlito tries for a back elbow but Punk and Morrison catch him. Carlito uses the ropes. Carlito hits a lungblower on Punk but Rhodes with a bulldog on Carlito.

Entrant Number Twenty-Two: Mick Foley. Foley goes after Kane and Morrison as he enters the ring and then he works his way into everyone who comes after him. Foley with a DDT on Kane but Umaga with a Samoan drop on Taker. Snitsky with a boot to Taker followed by a side slam. Morrison with a jumping side kick to Foley. As the bodies are strewn on the mat, it is time for Entrant Number Twenty-Three: Ken Kennedy. Kennedy goes after Rhodes and he hits the running boot on Rhodes. Kennedy with a flatliner on Mizanin and Punk. Taker sits up and Kennedy with a kick. Kennedy stands over Taker and Taker grabs him by the throat and hits a choke slam on Kennedy. Taker sends Morrison into Snitsky and then he hits a splash in the corner on both of them. Taker with a chop to Morrison. Entrant Number Twenty-Four: Big Daddy V. Taker pushes Snitsky over the top rope and then Michaels eliminates Taker but Kennedy eliminates Michaels right after that. Taker and Snitsky fight outside the ring. Taker hits a leg drop on Snitsky on the announce table. Carlito sends Mizanin to the apron. Rhodes holds on and he tries to skin the cat but Kennedy tries to eliminate him again. Rhodes and Kennedy make it back in. Entrant Number Twenty-Five: Mark Henry. Big Daddy V with head butts to Punk. Kane and Henry battle in the ring and Henry with a shoulder block. Hornswoggle comes out from under the ring and he pulls Mizanin to the floor to eliminate him. Hornswoggle returns to his hiding place under the ring. Big Daddy V tries to eliminate Kennedy and Morrison. Entrant Number Twenty-Six: Chavo Guerrero. Chavo and Punk battle in the ring and they exchange punches. Morrison is eliminated by Kane. Carlito chops Rhodes but Umaga chops Carlito. Carlito is sent to the apron but he returns to the ring. Henry tries to eliminate Rhodes and Hornswoggle tries to eliminate Rhodes but Henry pulls Hornswoggle in. Henry and Big Daddy V surround Hornswoggle and Finlay comes out with the shillelagh to make the save. Finlay takes Hornswoggle to the back with him. Kane with a boot to Kennedy but Kennedy punches Kane while Henry holds him. Carlito goes to the apron but rolls back in. We are told that Finlay has been disqualified. Entrant Number Twenty-Eight: Elijah Burke. Burke goes after Chavo. Batista is on the floor but they do not know if he has been eliminated. Chavo is sent to the apron but Chavo eliminates Punk. Big Daddy V with a sit out power bomb on Kane. We see that Batista rolled under the bottom rope after a Samoan Spike. Entrant Number Twenty-Nine: Triple H. Hunter comes in and he eliminates Cody Rhodes.

Hunter with a jawbreaker to Big Daddy V and then he eliminates Big Daddy V. Hunter with a jawbreaker to Umaga and then he punches Foley. Hunter and Foley exchange punches and then Hunter eliminates Foley and Burke when Hunter sends Foley into Burke. Hunter slams Umaga into the turnbuckles and then he punches Umaga. Umaga misses a splash into the corner and then he sends Umaga into the top of the ring post. Hunter with a Pedigree to Umaga. Entrant Number Thirty: John Cena

Everyone in the ring is in shock that Cena is in the match. Cena has some words for Hunter. Henry attacks Hunter from behind. Foley has been eliminated. Cena with a flying shoulder tackle to Henry and then he eliminates Carlito, Chavo, and Henry. Hunter and Cena get ready for their meeting in the ring and they get nose to nose. Hunter punches Cena but Cena punches back. Cena with a kick to Hunter but Hunter with a spinebuster. Umaga with an uppercut to Hunter. Umaga sets for the Samoan Spike but Batista with a spear. Batista eliminates Kennedy. Batista eliminates Umaga with a clothesline. Kane grabs Batista and Hunter but they escape and eliminate Kane.

We are down to the final three and it is Triple H, John Cena, and Batista. Batista gives the thumbs down to Cena and Hunter. Cena says that he can’t see either of them. Hunter decides to give each of them a crotch chop. The battle is on as all three men battle. Batista with a back elbow to Cena and a clothesline to Hunter in the corner and another clothesline. Cena punches Batista and Hunter joins in. Batista with a double clothesline. Batista charges into a boot but Batista with a spinebuster to Cena. Batista with a spinebuster to Hunter. Batista tries for the Batista Bomb on Cena but Cena with a back body drop. Hunter eliminates Batista.

We are down to the final two and it is John Cena and Triple H. Hunter points to the Wrestlemania XXIV sign and so does Cena. Hunter with a kick and punch but Cena with punches of his own. Hunter punches and the crowd cheers while Cena punches and the crowd boos. Cena with a Blue Thunder Bomb and then it is time for the Five Knuckle Shuffle and he hits it. Cena sets for the FU and he gets Hunter up but Hunter gets out of the hold. Cena and Hunter each hit clotheslines and both men are down. Cena gets Hunter up for the FU and they are by the ropes. Hunter gets back to his feet and he hits a DDT on Cena. Hunter tries to eliminate Cena but Cena holds on to the top rope. Cena with another attempt for an FU. Hunter gets out of the hold but Cena eliminates Hunter with an FU to win the match.
Winner: John Cena

Lawler and Ross wonder which title Cena will go after at Wrestlemania as they go to credits.

I thought this was a good Royal Rumble match and went about 52 minutes. I did not expect to see Cena return. It was interesting to see who filled in the final spots (Elijah Burke, Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, John Cena, and Chavo Guerrero). If Chavo had won the match, could he challenge himself and not have to worry about an opponent at Mania? I think it was a good thing to have Cena’s return be a surprise because I think if the fans in the Garden knew he was coming out, it would have affected the reaction to his entrance and music. Someone in the chat room was talking about the return of Cena and if it will affect Hardy getting the title from Orton. I thought there were a number of interesting spots and while there was nothing that is going to be memorable for years, it was a solid match. I wish that it would have been Howard Finkel (with the old MSG microphones) instead of Michael Buffer

Overall Pay Per View Thoughts
I thought this was a decent pay per view. It will probably not be the best one of the year, but it will not be the worst one of the year. I thought there were a few spots during the show that would have looked better on HD because I saw some wrestlers punching off the screen on my non-HD television. The best match of the night (non-Rumble match) was Edge and Rey. I thought the weakest match of the night was the Bradshaw/Jericho match but it was because I had low expectations compared to the other three matches (non-Rumble). Flair/Porter would have been better if it was a longer match but it made me want to see them wrestle again on pay per view and be given twenty minutes. I thought the crowd at the Garden was great throughout the night and made a decent pay per view even better on television.

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