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Saturday, January 23, 2016

2770 - Royal Ramble: 2006


The 2006 Royal Rumble... fuck me... this is the one where Eddie-sploitation is in full swing, isn't it?

Well, that might be jumping the gun here, but for those who want context...

November 2005 saw the passing of beloved WWE wrestler and eventual Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero. WWE paid tribute by dedicating two shows to him. They then had an Eddie tribute match at a later WWE show which featured Randy Orton blowing up one of Eddie's lowriders with the Undertaker in the trunk. Then Rey Mysterio would dedicate himself to celebrating Eddie's memory by (spoiler alert) winning the Royal Rumble and eventually the World Heavyweight title at Wrestlemania 22. He would go on to have one of the worst reigns as World Champion in wrestling history. Even Vince Russo had a more dignified reign as WCW champion than Mysterio's stint as World champion.

But, again, that's jumping the gun here. Let's check out this rumble show.



Gregory (Shane) Helms defeated Cruiserweight Champion Kid Kash, Funaki, Jamie Noble, Nunzio (Little Guido in ECW), and Paul London when he pinned Funaki to retain the title. Pretty much standard cruiserweight fare with lots of quick spots and high-flying antics. Good way to open the show, I suppose, and a helpful reminder that Kid Kash (that guy from old ECW) had a cup of coffee in WWE.

Mickie James defeated Ashley Massaro to earn a WWE Women's Championship match at 'Mania... I guess. I wasn't really paying attention. I was distracted by designated ref Trish Stratus, who happened to be said champion. Eh... this was a thing that happened and I kinda regret watching it now. This was during Mickie's initial phase as a fantatical Trish fan, capped off by a Mania match where Mickie won her first Women's title shortly after grabbing Trish's crotch... yeah, that was a thing. Don't try to track down Wrestlemania 22 on the Network; they've since edited the bit out.

The Boogeyman defeated JBL in two minutes... MEH. Didn't care.

Rey Mysterio, coming at number 2, is your Royal Rumble winner... a Rumble win that was something of a nice surprise at the time since there was no sure thing here. Sure, Rey was a likely choice, but so was McSon-In-Law... maybe even Shawn Michaels despite his feuding with Vince. So there was a sense of uncertainty in this Rumble because there was no "sure thing" winner here and that made it interesting. That having been said, there are instances where I tuned out from watching the Rumble. In retrospect, however, placing the rumble match before the two World title matches was probably a sign that things weren't going to be rosy in the future. Rey, of course, would win the World title at 'Mania and be one of the worst-booked World champions in WWE history. Even David Arquette's brief reign as WCW champion was more viably credible than this.

John Cena defeated WWE Champion Edge to win the title. Edge had cashed in his Money In The Bank contract at a prior PPV event to win the title and celebrated the occasion with a "live sex" show on RAW... which was good for a laugh if nothing else. But yeah... this was a thing that happened. Cena and Edge would have better matches in the future, but this isn't one of them. If anything, the whole match - from Cena's catwalk entrance to everything else - made Edge seem more like a fluke champion and less like a threat.

World Champion Kurt Angle defeated Mark Henry to retain the title in a match that was entirely forgettable. To provide context, the match was supposed to be World champ Batista vs. Mark Henry for the title, but Big Dave hurt himself (I don't recall the injury to be honest) and the title was vacated. Kurt Angle then won the title in a battle royal on Smackdown and got the honor of defending against Mark Henry, who was far from being an interesting threat at this point.

Now before you start asking yourself why a match as thrown-together and worth nothing as this was the main-event, a gong sounds to answer that question for you. The show ends with Undertaker showing up (with horses and chariots and all that shit, which I thought was cool but pointless for a brief segment) and summoning lightning from the ceiling to collapse the ring, thus signalling his intention to challenge Kurt Angle for the title at the next PPV or something. It was a great little sketch that got the point across and made me completely forget about the match.

To be honest, the whole show was just... meh. Nothing stood out, nothing special, #CenaWinsLOL, that sort of thing... why did I watch this show again?

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