Ruthless Aggression #14: Royal Rumble – January 28, 2007.
The Ruthless Aggression Era was a time when the WWE roster was so huge and so varied that they had no way of continuing storylines each week on their two main shows – RAW and Smackdown – and so they created the draft where wrestlers and announcers would be drafted onto either one of the two shows. Smackdown wrestlers would not (usually) be able to appear on Raw or interact with Raw wrestlers and vice versa.
Ten years ago, on January 28, 2007, twentieth Royal Rumble aired. It was a WWE PPV with superstars from its Raw, Smackdown and ECW brands, the first of its kind since Survivor Series in November 2006. Personally, the PPV came at a time where I had grown weary with professional wrestling, confused by the sheer number of wrestlers and unwilling to spend so much time per week watching hours of footage and trawling through shows, replays, promos and matches. I simply watched the PPVs. Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after a decade as well as my original thoughts as a younger man watching it at the time.
Royal Rumble 2007
No tagline this time either, though the poster did show lots of WWE superstars photoshopped in doing all their different finishing manoeuvres and hulking up for the camera.
The opening shows a bit of a flashback of the last twenty years of Rumbles, with big winners like Rock, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels and Trrrrriple H. The announcers remind us that the winner of the Rumble goes to headline Wrasslemania. We see all the competitors having a bit of a fight. Kennedy vs Batista is involved, as well as… Bobby Lashley vs. Test? In what universe would anyone want to watch that? And Cena vs. Umaga for a Last Man Standing match? Didn’t Cena just beat Umaga at New Year’s Revolution? Where could this feud possibly go from here? And who cares? Oh, we saw Umaga beatdown Cena with the help of two other men. So that’s why it’s happening, because Umaga mercilessly hit Cena when he was down.
(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring JTG (with his Cryme Tyme ally, Shad Gaspard defeat Lance Cade (who was with his partner, Trevor Murdoch). Very exciting.)
Bad CGI’d road to show that it is the Road to Wrasslemania. Big pyro goes off and the arena fills with smoke and signs. Jumpin’ Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler invite us to the AT&T Centre in San Antonio, Texas. Ten years previous, the Royal Rumble was in the Alamodome for Rumble ’96 (and they will return there this year – tomorrow night, in fact – for the Royal Rumble 2017. We have 13,500 people in attendance tonight (less than the 16,000 the year previous) and 491,000 PPV buys at home (less than the 550,000 the year previous). Jerry can’t wait but I can because Moustache Michael Cole and Cunt JBL are infroduced as the announcers for Smackdown and Tazz and Joey Styles announce for ECW. Tazz says, “Notwithstanding that,” and wears sunglasses inside because he is an idiot. We don’t get introduced to any foreign announcers because fuck ‘em.
The red carpet! The fur coats! The exposed cleavage! It’s MNM, showing Joey Mercury’s face from the attack at Armageddon, back in December 2006. Melina enters and shows her bottom. They reshow the attack that bust open Joey’s face in super sexy slow motion and-
Wait. Is Joey wearing a tongue piercing? You idiot! Keep all the things that can hurt your face away from your face!
Matt and Jeff enter and we see that Johnny Nitro took down Matt Hardy after he won a match against Joey. Absolute bastards, the lot of them. JR tells us that this match is unique because Matt and Joey are on Smackdown while Jeff and Johnny are on Raw so this is an inter-brand tag team match.
The Hardy Boyz def MNM (w/ Melina) via pin in 15:27.
No titles on the line here and both teams aren’t even in the ring before the bell goes. Woah woah woah, WWE, calm the beans, brother. The crowd bay for the Hardys and Matt and Joey attempt to enter but Johnny jumps in first before tagging in Joey. Matt apparently dislocated his jaw back at the attack on Smackdown, which is dumb of him to come into the ring then, huh? But then again, the Hardys aren’t the smartest boys. MNM work over Matt for a bit but he takes over for a second and tags in Jeffrey who does a little dropkick and attempts a pin from it. Joey knocks him into the corner and Johnny tags in. Jeff does an atomic drop followed by a double leg drop and attempts another pin. Calm down. Jeff tags in Matt.
Double clothesline and JR gets Jeff and Matt mixed up. Matt hits a lovely suplex to Joey and Johnny gets his head bounced off the turnbuckle followed by a swinging neckbreaker from Matthew. Johnny escapes, punches Matt who sells the jaw and tags in Joey. Joey looks great in that mask, better than normal anyways. Joey punches Matt, hurts his hand, tags himself out and Johnny works over Matt with weak and safe offence. Johnny attempts the pin and gets only a two. Johnny and Matt have a chat for a moment as we see a replay of Joey kicking Matt in the head. Joey is tagged back in and hit a double knee-shot as Melina screeches. Another pin attempt, another fail followed by a second of each. Joey beats mercilessly on Matt and follows it up with a clothesline that Joey sells as Matt’s jaw actually hurt him. I like that. Chinlock city for a while. Melina is squinting and needs glasses.
Mercury goes for a Bret’s rope elbow but fails and Jeff jumps in as Nitro follows and the pace speeds up. Hardy hits a lovely top-rope Whisper in the Wind and Joey breaks it up. Matt pops in, hitting a lovely suplex on Joey and a double suplex on Johnny. Both men go for the stereo top-rope attack with Johnny lifting his knees to foil Jeff’s splash, but takes Matt’s leg drop on the throat. Joey is tagged in and Jeff is hurt. A pin attempt fails mid-ring as Joey elbows him and JR gets Nitro and Mercury mixed up! C’mon, bro, get your names right!
Nitro and Jeff are in now, and Joey is tagged in as they do a double leg drop on Jeff. Melina tries to get them going and the crowd chant to raise Jeff to his knees and he goes for a lovely inside cradle, getting only a two but Mercury is angry about it and you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. MNM hit the double gut-buster and Matt jumps in for some reason. Nitro and Jeff have some rest mid-ring as Johnny hits the scissors on Jeff to allow both men to relax and take some air in. The pair get into a scrum as Jeff aims for Matt, building up to the hot tag. Jeff gives Johnny a back body drop and tags Matt in but the ref doesn’t see it. MNM jump in when the ref is distracted and beat on him in their corner. JR reminds us of the rules, “Break on four, disqualified on five.”
Tag has been made but Jeff fights back, causing MNM to hit each other. Hot tag to Fat Matt who cleans house, lovely back body drop on Nitro and Matt bulldog-clotheslines the pair of them. Close pin attempt and Matt goes to Bret’s rope for a weak elbow. Two count. Jeff intervenes and the pair his Poetry in Motion twice. The second time, Nitro escapes and rolls up Matt for a close two-count. Matt hits the Side Effect, Twist of Fate on Nitro, Mercury runs Matt out but on the way through the ropes, he tags Jeff who hits the Swanton Bomb and gets the win by pin in 15:27.
Once again, a fantastic curtain jerker by MNM and the Hardys.
Not enough blood this time around, boys. Also, Nitro looks like Batman.
Cut to Teddy Long and The Coach as they pick numbers for the Rumble. Edge comes in, meets Kelly Kelly who tries to rock her way through her six lines. Edge slags her off, asking if her parents named her twice so she wouldn’t forget. Randy Orton comes in, Edge’s Rated-RKO teammate, who says he will not hesitate to toss Edge over the top rope. They draw their numbers and Edge says he will show Randy his if Randy will show Edge his. Booker T comes in and asks if they actually said that. No laughs.
Tazz and Styles introduce the next match: Test versus Bobby.
Cut to promo for the match where Test looks like every inch the Roidy Magoo that he is. He struts about with his big roidy belly and kicks people in the face for a bit and says he’s better than Lashley and RVD and all the rest. He see Lashley his arse and win a match, winning a title, though Test steals the belt because apparently that’s how championships are won in ECW. Fuck the rules, wha?
Back in the Arena, Test comes out, looking awful. C’mon, man. At least try to hide your illegal drugs. Even Jeff did a better job than that.
Bobby’s music hits and here is a man who hides his anabolics. Big pyro hits with Bobby in the middle of it. Isn’t that cute? He thinks that he’s the Undertaker. He is not. And he does a vertical jump. Christ, he thinks that he’s the Brock Lesnar too. Very cute. Big dude with an afro in the front row on the hard cam, by the way. Looks great, big man. Fair play.
ECW World Championship match: Bobby Lashley (c) def Test via pin in 7:18.
Test and Bobby lock up and go for a wee walk around the ring. Test pins bobby into the corner, slaps at him and Bobby spears him in return. Test grabs the ropes and drops Bobby, laying into him and dealing elbows in the corner. Bobby hits Test with a great T-bone suplex and follows it up with a stalling suplex, throwing Test down so hard he needs to have a wee lie down outside the ring. Tazz tells us that, “It is well documented that Test always has something underneath his sleeve,” and that “something” is “throwing Bobby into the turnbuckle from the apron.” Pin attempt and fail.
Test and Bobby have a wee sit down and Test is super gassed. He tells Bobby to shut up. Lashley is fighting to his feet and gets Test in the shoulder but Roidy Magoo fights back and stunners Bobby’s arm in response. Tazz says, “rotator cuff,” like a dope. Test works the shoulder. More sitting. Armbar City over here. Lashley finally breaks out, charges Test, gets an elbow, gives the Canuch a huge back-body drop and charges him in the corner over and over. Lashley gives Test a gorilla press but drops him because of damage to his arm. Test hits the big boot, fails to get a pin and huffs. Test lifts Lashley up for the Fireman Slam but is tossed out. Test then takes the countout to big boos, walking away from Lashley. The bell rings.
Poor Test. He’s not long for this world.
The crowd chant “ECW!” as Bobby pulls Test back in, beats him up and raises his hands in the air. Boo, the pair of yis.
We see a replay of what caused the countout – a clothesline. Depressing. Sign Guy is there, though, so that’s nice, I suppose. Bobby is pissing with sweat.
On the Card will return on February 4 2017 with the second part of Royal Rumble 2007.