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PPV REPORTS
CALDWELL'S WWE ROYAL RUMBLE PPV REPORT 1/31: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage Rumble match, Sheamus vs. Orton, Undertaker vs. Mysterio

Jan 31, 2010 - 9:50:53 PM
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WWE ROYAL RUMBLE PPV REPORT
January 31, 2010
Atlanta, Ga.
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor


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***

The WWE PPV started with a video package focusing on a desert road. Literally. The Road to WrestleMania in Arizona begins. They showed video highlights of the "brash, young champion" Sheamus and Rey Mysterio facing long odds for the World Title tonight. On the way to Univ. of Phoenix Stadium is the Royal Rumble match. Who will be the one?

Announcers: Michael Cole welcomed us to the show as they showed various crowd shots in the arena. The arena has a bit of a WrestleMania 25 feel to it with the blue & black lights and feel. Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker are on-commentary. A shot of the announcers revealed Chilli from the TLC group sitting behind the announce table.

In-ring: ECW champ Christian started the PPV coming to the ring for the opening of four title matches on the card. William Regal then led Ezekiel Jackson to the ring to challenge for the title. Christian and Jackson met in-ring with Regal doing some talking too. After the ECW Title belt picked up some camera time, the bell rang to start.

1 -- ECW champion CHRISTIAN vs. EZEKIEL JACKSON (w/William Regal)

After the bell sounded, they had a brief lock down with Jackson shoving Christian down. they locked up again and Jackson shoved Christian down before Jackson talked big trash. They're slowly telling the story here, which is a good decision. Christian then slapped Jackson across the face, trapped him on the outside, and hit splash from the turnbuckle to the floor to gain momentary control. Back in the ring, Christian landed another slap before Jackson slammed him to the mat. Jackson then sent Christian to the outside to the floor. William Regal walked over and barely put his hands on Christian before pulling away, which prompted the ref to give him the heave-ho. Jackson freaked and Regal expressed dissatisfaction as the crowd cheered for the decision.

The match then resumed with Jackson methodically taking Christian apart back in the ring. Jackson continued to dominate and scored a close nearfall that drew a gasp from the crowd. Christian then faked out Jackson to make a brief comeback before going up top and missing with a diving headbutt. Jackson then popped to his feet and nailed a huge clothesline for a two count. Jackson teased his uranage finisher, but Christian blocked with elbows. Jackson then blocked the Killswitch and hit a backbreaker for another two count. They battled to the corner where Christian blocked a power move and hit a Tornado DDT for a close two count. They had a counter exchange before Jackson caught Christian in the air for a running powerslam into the top turnbuckle. Jackson then lost control momentarily and Christian slipped down Jackson's back to hit the Killswitch in one motion for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Christian right at 12:00 to retain the ECW Title. Above-expectations, solid match. The house show work has paid off, as they put together a solid title match to start the show. The slow beginning allowed them to extend this to 12 minutes and have a showcase PPV match for the ECW brand. (**1/4)

Backstage: Smackdown GM Teddy Long was talking to ECW GM Tiffany about the match. Cryme Tyme then walked in and said there are two of them, but only one of them is in the Rumble. They suggested Teddy give them both spots, but Teddy wasn't having any of it. Cryme Tyme then called over Great Khali. Khali gives up his spot in the Rumble for a kiss with Tiffany. Ranjin Singh . They get their material from Family Matters. Khali then dated WWE 20 years doing an Urkel impression. Long turned to Cryme Tyme and said they're looking like fools with their pants on the ground. WWE dated themselves two weeks singing the unfortunate American Idol hit. Kinda catchy, though. The Miz then walked in and said no one is going to care about CT in five years while everyone is thinking about him headlining WWE. Long said there are no guest hosts here and he's in charge, so MVP is finally getting his U.S. Title match...tonight. And it's next. Miz then walked off and the eclectic group sang "Who Let the Dogs Out?" to date WWE ten years. One out of three recent pop culture references is an improvement for WWE.

Locker room: Randy Orton was focused and staring into space. Cody Rhodes then walked in and said they've done too much and gone too far for the group to slip away. Cody said they know Orton can beat Sheamus and win back the title. He said he'll be there for him. Cody then looked away and said he wishes he could say the same for Ted DiBiase. Cody said Ted hasn't been the same since his movie came out and all he talks about is winning the Rumble match and going on to Mania to beat Orton for the WWE Title. Cody told Orton he can count on him. He slapped Orton on the back and walked off to leave Orton with his thoughts.

In-ring: The Miz came out to defend the title looking quite unhappy. Striker said it's unfair to Miz having to re-focus on a match he wasn't scheduled for. MVP then came out smiling with a title match in his back pocket.

2 -- U.S. champion THE MIZ vs. MVP -- United States Title match

Miz and MVP started things with a quick pace as the announcers talked about the backgrounds of both wrestlers. Striker talked up Miz as a recognizable star in public, which is the right marketing for him. Lawler said Miz might be upset MVP hung out with "Sharon Shepherd" from The View. Cole and Striker called him on the slip. Sharon Shepherd is a realtor in California, according to Google. As for the action, Miz knocked MVP off the ring apron to the floor early on and used the outside to gain control back in the ring. Miz then went up top and took his time before nailing a double axehandle blow for a two count. Miz then grounded MVP on the mat and maintained a headlock, which led to MVP building a comeback back to their feet. Cole said MVP is looking to build Big Mo, which prompted Striker to make a Men on a Mission reference. MVP then hit the Ballin' Elbow followed by a Chono Boot mid-ring for a two count. MVP then missed with a boot in the corner and Miz teased the Skullcrushing Finale, but MVP rolled under for a victory roll pin and a two count. They had an exchange of pins before Miz rolled to the outside for a breather. MVP followed on the outside and threw him back into the ring. Miz then surprised MVP back in the ring with a small package for the pin and the win.

Post-match: Miz trash-talked in MVP's face, which led to MVP dropping him with the Playmaker to cheers. Lawler, the babyface color commentator, said it was poor sportsmanship. Lawler defended Miz's post-match actions that he didn't do anything physical. Lawler has been on Miz's side for several weeks on commentary, which, again, could be something or nothing.

WINNER: The Miz at 7:30 to retain the U.S. Title. Fine undercard title match. Not particularly memorable and could have been worth a TV main event in a two weeks with more build-up on TV instead of being added as a bonus match. Chemistry was good, though. It will be interesting to see where the program goes from here. (*1/2)

Backstage: Chris Jericho stopped Big Show in the hallway. The camera focused on Jericho's left eye before he turned his head to show a black right eye. Jericho wanted to know why Show is avoiding him. Show said he thinks Jericho might be upset after he said Miz might be a better tag partner. Jericho knocked Miz, then Show said he's a lot like Jericho. Jericho said he turned Show into a giant destroyer. Show said he already was. Jericho said if it comes down to the three of them, he knows Show will have his back. Show said he'll eliminate both of them because it's about him. In walked R-Truth, saying he'll eliminate Jericho if Show doesn't. Jericho said Big Show has his back. Show bailed, leaving Jericho to take Truth's catch phrase. Jericho got serious and said the truth is he's going to the main event of Mania. Jericho walked off

Backstage: Randy Orton was walking down the hallway, then Ted DiBiase walked up to him and said he has his back. DiBiase said he can't even talk to Cody right now. He said Cody's been talking about winning the Rumble and facing Sheamus at Mania, even counting Orton out. Orton had enough of their games and said he's going to win against Sheamus and he doesn't want their help.

In-ring: WWE champ Sheamus came to the ring to near-unanimous boos. Randy Orton then came out to a smattering of cheers, but mainly boos as Cole made sure Orton was presented as a heel too. Lawler said it's a battle of un-likeable wrestlers. Justin Roberts then handled the formal ring intros. Orton was about 90 percent cheered. He didn't acknowledge, though. Sheamus was the clear heel with the crowd.

3 -- WWE champion SHEAMUS vs. RANDY ORTON -- WWE Title match

The bell sounded and they faced off without locking up. A chant of "Randy, Randy" started the action before they came together and blocked each other's shoulder tackle attempts. Orton then hit a standing dropkick and teased the RKO before slithering backward from a defensive Sheamus. Orton then nailed a standing uppercut and Sheamus came right back with a big Polish hammer blow to the face. Sheamus knocked Orton to the floor with a shoulder attack and followed on the floor with uppercuts. Orton returned to the ring holding his shoulder before luring Sheamus into an attack on the left knee. Orton dissected Sheamus's leg and continued his attack with methodical work in the ring and on the ring apron. Striker explained to the audience the pro-Orton crowd by saying there is a certain respect and familiarity with Orton. Sheamus then found an opening in Orton's methodical attack to go back to working the left shoulder looking for a submission. They came to their feet and began an exchange of standing right hand blows. After they threw bombs, Sheamus caught Orton off the ropes for a big swinging backbreaker across his knee for a close two count.

Just before 10:00, Sheamus pounded his chest and measured Orton for his finishing move. Sheamus wanted the running Outsider's Edge, but Orton slipped out and kicked Sheamus out of the ring to the floor. Orton then grappled Sheamus back in the ring and held him across the middle rope for a spike DDT that the crowd popped for. Orton made a cover, but Sheamus grabbed the bottom rope for a two count. The crowd came to life as Orton stalked Sheamus before slowly backing away. He measured the champ for The Punt, but Sheamus rolled to the outside. Orton gave chase and landed a European uppercut. Sheamus then ran him into the ringpost, though, and smashed his shoulder into the post. Suddenly, Cody Rhodes jumped the security rail and blasted Sheamus from behind. The ref reprimanded Cody, but the match continued. Back in the ring, Orton hit the RKO on Sheamus. Ref Armstrong then casually walked over to the ring announcer and called for a DQ as Orton was making a cover.

Post-match: Sheamus was announced as the winner via DQ as Cody freaked out ringside afterhis mistake. Cody then entered the ring and tried to explain himself to Orton, who slowly, slowly, slowly absorbed the situation and stared down Cody. Orton then reached back and popped Cody in the face, which drew a crowd pop. Orton then punched Cody multiple times until Ted DiBiase stormed the ring. DiBiase tried to intervene, but Orton punched Ted down to the mat to another pop. Orton shouted, "You're done, you screwed it up!" at both of them. Orton then got up and the crowd was yelling as Sheamus stood in the background. Orton then turned around and ate a running bicycle kick to the head from Sheamus. Smack. Sheamus picked up his WWE Title belt and walked out of the ring as Cody and Ted simply looked at Orton from the corner. Orton was KO'ed in the ring as Ted and Cody walked out unsure what to do or how to handle the situation. After the announcers narrated replays, they showed Orton checking his jaw in pain on the mat.

WINNER: Sheamus via DQ at 12:27. That made for some very intriguing storyline developments, especially the tease of an Orton babyface turn without Orton having to actually change his character. I'm not buying a Legacy split until it actually happens, though, as WWE has teased this so many times, but it was the first time Orton was teased as a babyface in the situation. Good story to this match. I was even willing to take the slow points in the match, as the anticipation for how this would play out was good enough to fill the story. (**1/2 not necessarily for in-ring, but for complete story.)

Video replay: They recapped the long-running Mickie James vs. Michelle McCool feud on Smackdown to set up their Women's Title match tonight. This was quite the lengthy video package.

In-ring: Michelle McCool came to the ring first and cut a promo about Mickie James to set up their title match and get the crowd amped up. Mickie James's music then interrupted and out came fat Layla. She did Mickie's routine, then the real Mickie stormed the ring and blasted Layla on the floor.

4 -- Women's champion MICHELLE McCOOL vs. MICKIE JAMES -- WWE Women's Title match

Mickie entered the ring and Michelle tried to give her a big boot, but Mickie ducked and Layla ate the boot. Mickie then pinned McCool in the confusion and won the title in less than 20 seconds. WWE then had the babyface divas come to the ring with a cake and smash it over McCool and Layla for them to get their comeuppance. Everyone dance and celebrate.

WINNER: Mickie at 0:19 to capture the Women's Title. Well, WWE delivered the payoff in the form of a 20-second match and McCool & Layla the butt of the joke. Not much else to say. (n/a)

Elimination Chamber promo: They focused in Triple H being the centerpiece of the Chamber PPV in February.

Backstage: Rey Mysterio was shown walking down the hallway in anticipation of his World Tile match opportunity. WWE rolled footage of the Smackdown build-up getting us to this point of Taker vs. Rey with Batista looming in the background, even in the final images of the video package.

In-ring: Rey Mysterio came to the ring first sporting San Diego Chargers colors with his ring gear. Striker was heard saying "against all odds" during the video package and he repeated it during Rey's ring entrance to talk about Rey's chances vs. Taker. Small thing, but why reference TNA's next PPV? The Undertaker's music then hit and Rey froze in the ring while clutching his cross necklace. Taker then slowly made his way to the ring and stared down at Rey, who bounced around in the corner. The announcers talked up Taker's history of success on past Rumble PPVs after talking up Rey's history of success on past Rumbles when he came out. Tony Chimel handled the formal ring intros for the babyface vs. babyface match-up. Rey had a light round of applause with some boos. Taker had the clear crowd advantage with strong cheers.

5 -- World Hvt. champion THE UNDERTAKER vs. REY MYSTERIO -- World Title match

The bell sounded and Rey tried to dance around Taker, who was in his fighting stance. Rey ducked a first right hand and landed a few brief strikes before Taker grabbed him and chucked him clear over the top rope. Rey popped to his feet, though, and stared back into the ring at Taker. Rey then waited before returning to the ring and he caught Taker with rights before Taker blocked a springboard attempt with a right hand that KO'ed Rey to the floor. Taker followed with a running leg drop on the apron as Rey hung across the middle rope. Back in the ring, Taker teased the chokeslam, but Rey countered into a not-so-realistic huracanrana to send Taker to the middle rope. Rey then tried the 619, but Taker caught Rey and wanted the Tombstone, only to have Rey knee him in the face to escape. Taker tried a follow-up elbow, but Rey moved. Rey tried a turnaround splash, but Taker kicked him in the gut to end the sequence.

At 5:00, Taker missed with a kick on the floor and Rey followed by dropkicking Taker as he was wrapped up in the corner ringpost. Rey then tried to follow with a running splash off the ring apron, but Taker caught him in position for the Last Ride. Rey grabbed the ropes, though, and hit a moonsault to take Taker off his feet. Rey then re-entered the ring to break a ten count and tried a baseball slide kick, but Taker grabbed Rey and threw him into the guardrail. Taker was bleeding from the mouth at this point. "I can't believe I'm actually seeing blood...from The Undertaker," Lawler said with a big, noticeable pause before "from." Back in the ring, Taker was bleeding pretty good and he drove a forearm to Rey's nose. Taker then began a methodical attack as Striker used the blood to say Taker is mortal. This prompted a debate on whether he's human or not. Rey then made a comeback with a tilt-a-whirl fallaway inverted DDT. Rey followed with a kick strike off the ropes before hitting a springboard Drop the Dime leg drop for a two count.

At 10:00, Taker blasted Rey with a clothesline to cut off Rey again. Taker then teased the Last Ride powerbomb, but Rey slipped out and dropkicked Taker at the knees. Rey then hit the 619 and Taker came to this feet. Rey followed with a springboard dropkick to the other side of the ring and Rey hit a second 619. Rey then went for the West Coast Pop, but Taker caught him in mid-air for a huge Last Ride powerbomb center ring. Taker made the cover and scored the pin for the win. Post-match: The camera zoomed in tight on Taker's busted nose with blood covering his nose and lip. There's your blood for $44.95. Taker then gimped around the ring before giving some instructions to Rey and ref Chioda. The announcers sold Rey taking the fight to Taker before Rey disappeared and Taker celebrated center ring.

WINNER: Taker at 11:07 to retain the World Hvt. Title. Good match. It wasn't great, but they had two or three really strong sequences during the match. Taker's blood made this a novelty match and they told a good story with Rey finding ways to (sometimes unrealistically) extend the match with Taker expected to dominate based on size. (**1/2)

Backstage: They showed Shawn Michaels watching the monitor intently. Kane then walked in and said Michaels's obsession with his brother is unhealthy. He said whatever vision HBK has in his head, in the end, there is no light; only darkness. Kane then walked off and we got a shot of the Atlanta Hawks logo in the hallway. Triple H then walked in and said that probably wasn't a pep talk. Hunter wished HBK luck and Michaels said he's sorry for last week. He said he doesn't have any right to step on Hunter's dream of going on to WrestleMania and he hopes the best man wins tonight. Hunter said ditto. They shook hands, but Michaels pulled him back and said he's got to say him and Taker is meant to be. Hunter said he knows it is, so he knows Michaels will find another way. Hunter walked off.

Atlanta shots: They rolled footage of Atlanta's various city landmarks to set the stage for the road to WrestleMania in Phoenix. ... Cole then introduced the Stats & Figures Rumble video package to get the audience pumped for the main event.

In-ring: After Justin Roberts announced the rules for the Rumble, Dolph Ziggler and Evan Bourne came out as the first two participants. Interesting pairing. Bourne was sporting some soccer-style shin guards to give him a sleek comic book look.

6 -- ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH

Ziggler took control early on before Bourne teased an elimination trying to take out Ziggler, but ZIggler came back with a Zig-Zag. Bourne then came back with the Air Bourne splash that drew a pop from the crowd. At 2:00, C.M. Punk entered #3 with Serena coming down with him. Punk then eliminated both Bourne and Ziggler before taking the mic to cut a promo on saving the audience. JTG then came out #4 and Punk proceeded to eliminate him. Punk then cut another promo before Great Khali came out with Ranjin Singh. Punk still had the mic and he said he could save Khali. He said Khali needs to be saved. Khali raised his hand and gave Punk a chop to the head. Khali then slapped on the Vice as Beth Phoenix entered #6. The crowd popped as Beth came face-to-nipples with Khali, who wasn't sure what to do. Khali then picked her up and tried to dump her out, but Beth landed on the ring apron and planted a kiss that allowed her to, yes, drag Khali over the top rope for an elimination. That riled up the crowd. Phoenix then blasted Punk with a clothesline before Punk came back with the G2S center ring to take the crowd down from their high. Zack Ryder then came out #7. Punk told him he has potential, but then he dumped Ziggler out of the ring.

At now it's game on with Triple H's music hitting for #8. Hunter slowly walked out to the ring holding a water bottle as Punk shouted at Hunter to come get it. Hunter stared Punk down and slowly made his way into the ring. They went face-to-face, beard-to-beard before Hunter landed a right hand blow and another. Hunter followed with a spinebuster as Drew McIntyre's music hit to bring out McIntyre #9. McIntyre took his sweet, sweet time methodically walking to the ring as Hunter told him to hurry up. 1997 stared 2010 in the eyes and Hunter held the advantage. Hunter and Punk then traded finishing move teases before Hunter dumped Punk over the top rope at 12:13 to take out Punk, which drew a pop. Ted DiBiase then came out #10 and Hunter met him with a clothesline. DiBiase came back with a powerslam and the young heels ganged up on Hunter. DiBiase and McIntyre took their time with Hunter, then John Morrison entered #11. Morrison, McIntyre, Beth, and JTG have taken four of the five empty spots thus far. Morrison went after McIntyre to pick up their IC Title feud, but DiBiase took out both of them. Morrison then blasted DiBiase with a kick strike before hitting the Starship Pain on McIntyre in the corner. Out at #12 was Kane, who holds a Rumble entry record with Shawn Michaels, according to the announcers. Kane entered the Rumble by coming off the top with a clothesline on Hunter. Mo and Mac then took double clotheslines from Kane, who cleaned house here. Hunter then took a chokeslam before #13 was Cody Rhodes.

Cody immediately saved DiBiase from elimination at the hands of Kane before Legacy worked together on the other entrants. Morrison tried a springboard smash on Cody, but Cody met him in mid-air with a dropkick. Hunter then teased an elimination of Cody, but Cody held the top rope. MVP then came out #14, but Miz blasted him on the entranceway with the U.S. Title belt to KO MVP. Refs then took MVP to the back and he disappeared. Apparently he's out. Carlito then came out #15 and got his shine landing left hand blows followed by a springboard back elbow smash on Legacy. Kane and Carlito then had a bad-looking exchange before Carlito landed a running knee lift on Hunter followed by the backstabber on Hunter. That made his entire year right there. No more eliminations, then The Miz came out #16. Miz immediately dropped Carlito with the Skullcrushing Finale. MVP then stormed the ring and blasted Miz with right hands before eliminating Miz and himself simultaneously. Miz and MVP then brawled away from the ring to continue their feud.

Out at #17 was Matt Hardy to a strong reaction. Not 15 seconds later, Kane eliminated Hardy. Hunter then eliminated Kane right after that. Hunter proceeded to make his statement landing offense before McIntyre took Hunter out at the left knee. Carlito and Mac attacked Hunter before Shawn Michaels came out at #18 at 25:00. Michaels jogged to the ring and immediately dumped out Carlito. He then dumped out Cody Rhodes. Ted DiBiase was out next via HBK. Coming in hot. He then eliminated Morrison after that could have been an interesting exchange. It was down to HBK and Hunter vs. McIntyre and they double-teamed to eliminate McIntyre. So, it was HBK and Hunter. And wouldn't you know it, out at #19 was John Cena. What a coincidence. Cena stormed the ring and ducked a double-team clothesline before hitting flying shoulder tackles. Cena then dropped DX center ring and did a double You Can't See Me before dropping double Five Knuckle Shuffles. Creative spot. He then tried to eliminate HBK, but Hunter kicked Cena in the gut and hit the Pedigree. Michaels then waited for Hunter to turn around and he hit the superkick on Hunter to eliminate him. Crowd exploded as HBK looked down at Hunter with a blank expression.

Shelton Benjamin was out at #20 for the "everyone take a breather" portion. Shelton landed offense, but then Cena dumped out Shelton. So, we have Cena and HBK. Yoshi Tatsu then came out at #21. He missed with a spin kick and Cena dumped him out. Out next at #22 was Big Show, which caused Cena to go from confident to "oh no." Show stormed the ring and headbutted both Cena and HBK. They teased an HBK elimination with both Show and Cena. Cena then dumped HBK over the top rope, but HBK's feet didn't hit the floor. Everyone's safe after some good teases. Mark Henry then came out and came face to face with Show after WWE ran this on the Supershow house show last night. Cena then tried to get involved sending Show off the ropes into Henry's arms for a big powerslam. Cena, with the bad back, then tried to lift up Henry, but he couldn't execute the move. Chris Masters then came out #24. He tried the Masterlock on Show, but Show lifted him up and over the top rope at 35:00. Henry and HBK then teased eliminating Show before R-Truth came out #25. Truth immediately hit the ring and eliminated Henry and Big Show simultaneously. Nice spot for Truth. HBK, Cena, and Truth were left at this point. Truth tried to eliminate HBK as #26 came out as Jack Swagger. Swagger sprinted to the ring and clotheslined Truth to the mat before hitting a running Vader Bomb on Cena. Same for HBK. Striker gave a shout-out to Jim Ross as Swagger dominated folks. Swagger then hit a running powerslam into the turnbuckle before HBK picked a fight. Swagger then teased an elimination on HBK, but HBK held onto the top rope again. Out at #27 was Kofi Kingston to put five men in the ring. Striker said #27 has yielded more Rumble winners than anyone else. Kofi cleaned house and hit the Boom Drop on Swagger. Kofi then body-scissored Swagger over the top rope to score an elimination. Kofi then eliminated Truth just before Chris Jericho was out at #28.

At 40:00, it was HBK, Cena, Kofi, and Jericho. Jericho went after Cena and called a spot for Cena to reverse into the Attitude Adjustment. HBK then followed with a DDT on Cena. HBK followed with a top rope elbow on Jericho before starting to tune up the band. Kofi then stopped the tune with Trouble in Paradise, but Cena dumped Kofi over the top rope. Jericho then dropped Cena with the codebreaker. And here we go with #29...Edge. Edge was sporting a thick beard and the crowd exploded. He immediately went after Jericho and eliminated him to set up their possible WrestleMania match. And finally, #30 is Batista. Final Four is Cena, HBK, Batista, and Edge.

Batista went after everyone with spinebusters and clotheslines before turning around to take a spear from Edge. Cena then dropped Edge with the AA. All four men were down at this point selling the effects. HBK and Cena then came to their feet and had an exchange. HBK followed with a top rope elbow on Cena before hitting Batista with an enziguiri kick. HBK then went up top and hit an elbow on Batista. Flying elbows everywhere tonight. At 45:00, Michaels tuned up the band and dropped Cena with a superkick. Same fate for Batista. Edge then tried to clothesline HBK, but they both landed on the ring apron. HBK then hit a superkick that sent Edge back over the top rope. Batista suddenly followed with a clothesline that missed on HBK, only to follow with another punch that knocked HBK off the ring apron. The crowd was shocked with HBK eliminated. The camera focused on HBK about to have a nervous break down ringside. HBK then chucked the ref down and entered the ring, but ref Robinson told him he's got to leave. HBK then dropped the ref with a superkick as the crowd "oohed" before booing. HBK finally left the ring and the camera stayed with HBK all the way to the back with him about to snap from frustration.

So, it's Batista, Cena, and Edge on the reset. Cena teased the AA on Batista, then he pulled down the top rope and Batista was out. Cena stared down at Batista while Edge lurked in the background with a great camera shot. Cena then kicked Edge in the gut and charged him, but Edge dumped Cena over the top rope and Edge is your winner. Edge went down to both knees and celebrated the victory in classic Edge mode. The crowd was hot for the win as fireworks shot off and Edge looked to the WrestleMania 26 banner hanging in the arena. This was a quick Rumble, as they were 20 minutes before the top of the hour with Edge soaking in the moment to close the PPV.

WINNER: Edge at 49:25 to earn a WrestleMania title shot. Very interesting Rumble. It was short by Rumble standards not hitting the 50-minute mark, but they went with fewer "extended mid-match sequences" and focused more on the one-on-one match-ups to continue or advance storylines. The big moments were big, such as the mid-match HBK teases prior to his final elimination, Beth Phoenix's entry and moments, C.M. Punk's character-building promos and eliminations, HBK eliminating Triple H, and, of course, Edge's surprise return and victory. It sets up a very interesting scenario heading to WrestleMania with Edge vs. whoever comes out of the Elimination Chamber PPV as the champions. Overall, it wasn't a "great" Rumble, but it certainly had enough moments and spots to hit four stars. (****)

ORDER OF ENTRY
1 -- Dolph Ziggler
2 -- Evan Bourne
3 -- C.M. Punk
4 -- JTG
5 -- Great Khali
6 -- Beth Phoenix
7 -- Zack Ryder
8 -- Triple H
9 -- Drew McIntyre
10 -- Ted DiBiase
11 -- John Morrison
12 -- Kane
13 -- Cody Rhodes
14 -- MVP
15 -- Carlito
16 -- The Miz
17 -- Matt Hardy
18 -- Shawn Michaels
19 -- John Cena
20 -- Shelton Benjamin
21 -- Yoshi Tatsu
22 -- Big Show
23 -- Mark Henry
24 -- Chris Masters
25 -- R-Truth
26 -- Jack Swagger
27 -- Kofi Kingston
28 -- Chris Jericho
29 -- Edge
30 -- Batista

ORDER OF ELIMINATION
1 -- Bourne via Punk
2 -- Ziggler via Punk
3 -- JTG via Punk
4 -- Khali by Beth Phoenix
5 -- Phoenix via Punk
6 -- Ryder via Punk
7 -- Punk via Hunter
8 -- Miz via MVP
9 -- MVP via self-elimination with Miz
10 -- Matt Hardy via Kane
11 -- Kane via Hunter
12 -- Carlito via HBK
13 -- Rhodes via HBK
14 -- DiBiase via HBK
15 -- Morrison via HBK
16 -- McIntyre via HBK and Hunter
17 -- Hunter via HBK
18 -- Benjamin via Cena
19 -- Yoshi via Cena
20 -- Masters via Show
21 -- Henry via Truth
22 -- Show via Truth
23 -- Swagger via Kofi
24 -- Truth via Kofi
25 -- Kofi via Cena
26 -- Jericho via Edge
27 -- HBK via Batista
28 -- Batista via Cena
29 -- Cena via Edge

MOST ELIMINATIONS
Shawn Michaels (6)
C.M. Punk (5)
John Cena (4)
Triple H (3)
Edge (2)
Kofi Kingston (2)
R-Truth (2)

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