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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
Welcome to the first pay per view from the WWE for the year 2008 as they present the Royal Rumble. This year’s event comes to you from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tonight, we will find out who will earn a spot in the main event at Wrestlemania 24, which will come to you from Orlando, Florida. We might also be witnessing the final WWE wrestling match for Ric Flair because of Vince McMahon’s ‘Win or you are fired’ edict? Will Edge continue to dominate the Smackdown brand with the help of his ‘girlfriend’ Vickie Guerrero, ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero, and his protégés Zach Ryder and Curt Hawkins or will Rey Mysterio win the World Title? Will Jeff Hardy get revenge on Randy Orton for what Orton did to Matt Hardy and win the WWE Title? Who will be the first two in the Royal Rumble match? Who will be the final man to enter with the ‘lucky’ number 30?

Make sure to check out all of the coverage on PWInsider.com including the audio shows about the past Royal Rumbles, the Royal Rumble Tip Sheet, and the numerous audio shows recapping tonight’s pay per view on the site.

The matches announced for tonight’s show:
Royal Rumble Match featuring:
The Undertaker
Triple H
Ken Kennedy
Shawn Michaels
Batista
Tommy Dreamer
Hornswoggle
Shelton Benjamin
Santino Marella
Mick Foley
Umaga
Snitsky
Kane
Finlay
Jamie Noble
Chuck Palumbo
Cody Rhodes
Great Khali
John Morrison
The Miz
Hardcore Holly
Carlito
Mark Henry
Big Daddy V
CM Punk

WWE Title Match: Randy Orton versus Jeff Hardy
World Heavyweight Title Match: Edge versus Rey Mysterio
Career Threatening Match: Ric Flair versus Montel Vontavious Porter
Chris Jericho versus John Bradshaw Layfield

Tonight’s coverage starts with the Royal Rumble commercial. Jack Korpela hosts the Free For All for the Royal Rumble. Jack mentions the Royal Rumble match and what is on the line in the match. We then see the video packages that aired for Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy in the last few weeks. We see a video package for the Chris Jericho/John Bradshaw Layfield match. We next saw the excellent buildup for the Montel Vontavious Porter/Ric Flair match. It was then time to take a look at the final non-Rumble match announced for the pay per view, Edge versus Rey Mysterio. We then see the excellent video package that aired this week about the history of the Royal Rumble match by the numbers.

The pay per view begins with the start of the Royal Rumble subway commercial that has aired for the last few weeks and then we see a montage of the Royal Rumble graphics. We see a video package of the winners of the Royal Rumble match.

Michael Cole welcomes us to the Royal Rumble in HD and talks about how we are starting on the Road to Wrestlemania XXIV.

On the way to the ring, Michael Cole mentions Ric Flair’s first match over thirty-five years ago as he walks to the ring.

Ric Flair gets on the mic before the match and he says that it has been an honor to wrestle all of these years in Madison Square Garden. There is no place like it in the world and he agrees with everyone who says that. His first match in MSG was in March 1976 before most of the people in the building were born. The level of respect that the fans have paid him over the years is unbelievable. As Flair continues to talk, he is interrupted by Montel Vontavious Porter’s music and Porter comes to the ring.

Match Number One: Ric Flair versus Montel Vontavious Porter in a Career Threatening Match
Your referee is “Little Naytch” Charles Robinson. Before they lock up Flair struts and woooos for the crowd. Porter with a side head lock and shoulder tackle. Flair woooos at Porter. They lock up again and Porter backs Flair into the corner and he gives a clean break but continues to show little respect for Flair. Flair with an arm bar and hammer lock and Porter makes it to the corner. Porter slaps Flair but Flair chops and punches Porter around the ring. Flair with a shoulder tackle but Porter with a drop toe hold and then he sets for the boot to the head and he connects. Porter with a swinging neck breaker for a near fall. Porter with punches to Flair’s head. Flair with a chop but Porter with a punch and snap mare into an arm bar. Porter with an Irish whip but he charges into an elbow and Porter is clipped by Flair. Flair with more chops but Porter with a side head lock and Flair with an atomic drop. Porter with an elbow and punches in the corner. Flair with a chop but Porter with punches. Porter with a running boot into the corner and Porter thinks he got the three count but the referee says that he did not get the three count because Flair had his foot on the ropes. While Porter argues with the referee, Flair with a near fall with a rollup. Porter with a butterfly suplex for a near fall.

Porter puts Flair on the top turnbuckle and he hits a superplex for a near fall. Flair with more chops and then he Irish whips Porter into the corner but they bump heads and both men are down. The referee starts to count out both men but they each get back to their feet. Flair with a kick and chop. Flair with an inside cradle for a two count. Flair then gets another two count with a backslide. Flair with chops and punches to Porter. Porter with a jawbreaker and then he tries for the Playmaker but Flair gets out of the hold and he puts Porter in the Figure Four Leg lock and Porter taps out.
Winner: Ric Flair

After the match, Montel Vontavious Porter follows the referee to the back and argues with him while Flair celebrates in the ring. Flair lets out a woooo for the fans.

I thought this was a good match, but I wish they would have gotten a little more time. I think they can have a better match while it was definitely a good opening match. I liked the false finish. I wonder if Porter will bring up the whole Charles Robinson/Ric Flair situation and demand a rematch.

Vince is in his office with Hornswoggle and Vince talks about how Flair appears to be lucky. Vince talks about the luck of the Irish and his grandfather and father. Vince talks about his entire family, and his bastard son. Vince reminds Hornswoggle that it is every man for themselves and that Hornswoggle cannot even trust Finlay. Vince tells Hornswoggle that he is expected to win.

Finlay enters the office and Vince tells Finlay what he said to Hornswoggle about not trusting anyone. Vince tells Finlay that he cannot trust Hornswoggle either. Hornswoggle hugs Finlay and then they leave the office together.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler talk about the media coverage in New York for the Royal Rumble. Jim Ross introduces the newest member of the announce team and Jim Ross mentions the XFL. We go to Mike Adamle.

Mike is at ringside and he says that he was here for Flair’s first match in Madison Square Garden in 1976. Mike talks about the electricity and then he segues into the issues between Chris Jericho and John Bradshaw Layfield. We go to the video package.

Match Number Two: Chris Jericho versus John Bradshaw Layfield
Jericho and Bradshaw stare each other down before locking up and Jericho backs Bradshaw into the corner and he gives a clean break but the referee holds him back. They lock up again and Jericho is forced into a clean break by the referee. Bradshaw backs into the ropes and the referee pulls Jericho away again. Bradshaw with punches to Jericho while Jericho is preoccupied. Jericho with a flying forearm and take down followed by punches. Bradshaw sends Jericho to the floor but Jericho returns and he punches Bradshaw followed by a series of kicks to the midsection. Bradshaw misses a clothesline and Jericho applies the Walls of Jericho but Bradshaw gets to the ropes immediately and then goes to the floor. Jericho with a baseball slide that takes Bradshaw down outside the ring. Jericho slams Bradshaw’s head into the exposed ringside barrier. Jericho tries for a suplex but Bradshaw blocks it. Jericho sends Bradshaw into the ring apron and then the ring steps as he works on Bradshaw’s back. Bradshaw with a hot shot to a charging Jericho and both men are down.

Bradshaw is the first man to return to his feet and then he connects with a short arm clothesline. Bradshaw hits another short arm clothesline and then he chokes Jericho on the bottom rope. Bradshaw catapults Jericho’s throat into the middle rope. Bradshaw continues to use the ropes as he chokes Jericho with them. Bradshaw with punches in the corner as Jericho slumps in the corner. Jericho fights back with punches of his own but Bradshaw applies the sleeper as he takes Jericho down to the mat. Jericho gets out of the hold and he clotheslines Bradshaw. Bradshaw with a big boot to Jericho and then he sends Jericho shoulder first into the ring post.

Jericho goes to the floor and Jericho is bleeding as Bradshaw kicks Jericho in the head and then he punches Jericho. They return to the ring and Bradshaw maintains control as he peppers Jericho with kicks and punches. The referee tries to pull Bradshaw out of the way but Bradshaw continues to punch Jericho. Jericho with a forearm and shoulder tackle to Bradshaw. Jericho with a bulldog and drop kick followed by an elbow drop. Jericho with the Lionsault. Jericho clotheslines Bradshaw over the top rope to the floor and the battle continues on the floor. Bradshaw sends Jericho into the ECW announce table and then Jericho rearranges the announce table. Jericho hits Bradshaw in the head with a steel chair and the referee calls for the bell.
Winner: John Bradshaw Layfield by disqualification

After the match, Jericho throws the chair at Bradshaw and then he punches Bradshaw. Jericho gets a cable to return the favor on Bradshaw and he chokes Bradshaw and then uses the ring ropes for more leverage. Jericho gets on the ECW announce table and then he lets go but then he goes for the cable one more time before heading to the back.

Lillian Garcia announces the result of the match and the crowd shows their disapproval.

I thought this match was okay but the problem is that the one image that I will remember was the bulldog that did not connect and Bradshaw going down anyway. I don’t know if I want to see another match between the two, but this was one of Jericho’s better performances during his return.

Ashley Massaro is walking in the back and she knocks on Maria’s locker room door. Santino comes out says that Maria cannot talk now because she is getting ready for the first High Definition Kiss Cam. Santino says that Maria cannot say no to anything or anyone. Ashley suggests that is the reason why Maria is still with Santino. Santino tells Ashley that Maria is not interested in her or the ‘Boobie Magazine.’ Santino then says that he wishes that he could vote her out of the WWE just like they did on Survivor.

I have not been the biggest fan of Santino Marella, but when he can take shots at Ashley Massaro, I like him more every day.

We return to Cole and Coach and we are now 63 days from Wrestlemania. It is time for the Rey Mysterio/Edge match and we go to the video package.

Continued on next page


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