To continue our build to this year’s Royal Rumble, it seemed as good a way to hype as any to take in some older bouts from the event’s history. Today we go back a decade and take in the 30-minute battle royal that took place at the 2007 edition of the annual spectacle.
Your hosts for the Rumble, taking place at the AT&T Center in San Antonio Texas, are Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.
As for the card itself: The Hardy Boyz defeated MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro), Bobby Lashley retained the ECW World Championship after a countout victory over Test, World Heavyweight Champion Batista defeated Mr. Kennedy and WWE Champion John Cena retained against Umaga in a last man standing match.
Number 1: Ric Flair is out first, a man with a decent record entering the Rumble early on, after his 1992 success, as Michael Cole alludes to in his intro remarks. He’s joined for the first 90 seconds by Finlay, who makes his Rumble debut. Some combined age here, of 107.
Finlay brawls to start but the crowd comes to life after chops from ‘The Nature Boy’. An early elimination attempt is foiled when Flair rakes the eyes.
Kenny Dykstra is out, aged just 20. He’d been feuding with Flair at this point and has 3 wins over him. Finlay and Dykstra initially team up until Finlay tries to eliminate his younger opponent. Matt Hardy, still intact at this point, is out next and goes straight for Dykstra. They split and Hardy tackles with Finlay as Flair chops at Dykstra.
Here’s Edge and spears Flair and Finlay but Hardy dodges and drops his former TLC rival with a Twist of Fate. Flair is on the outside and is scouring under the ring for several steel chairs but is foiled by Dykstra and Edge before the Rated R superstar eliminates Flair and Dykstra in quick succession.
ECW’s Tommy Dreamer is number six and goes straight after Edge before being felled by Finlay. It’s a fast-paced Rumble and here comes another ECW original in Sabu, who goes straight for a table without even entering the match. The two ECW superstars start battling before Sabu turns his attention to Hardy before returning to Dreamer.
Gregory Helms, the then-Cruiserweight champion, is out next. At the previous year’s event, Helms won the title and has held it since. Helms nearly has Hardy eliminated before Sabu makes the save. Number 9 is Shelton Benjamin, who has pretty much spent every Rumble since leaving the WWE being linked with a return… Hardy is again nearly eliminated, this time by Benjamin, but holds on. For those interested, when Sabu made his way out he placed a table at ringside that you have to pass as you make your way down the aisle – expect us to come back to this later in the match.
Number 10 is Kane, his ninth consecutive Rumble as Cole and JBL discuss his record eliminations in the 2001 Rumble match. He beats on everyone before hitting Edge with a chokeslam and then tossing out Dreamer. Sabu attempts to eliminate him against the ropes but is caught by Kane and chokeslammed through the table and that’s all she wrote for Sabu…
Another ECW roster member, CM Punk, is out next as JBL calls him “boring” for his straight edge lifestyle. Edge and Punk battle it out, a fight between the stars featured in two of my favourite WWE documentary releases. It’s King Booker next as Lawler says you can’t have a Rumble without royalty. He goes straight for Helms and tosses the Cruiserweight champion over the top in quick fashion.
Super Crazy is 13th, unlucky for some. JBL continues his woeful commentary by suggesting Crazy used to be his doorman. A “joke” that doesn’t really make much sense. The ring has become quite crowded so expect some eliminations soon. Two WCW alumni, in King Booker and Finlay, battle it out as Jeff Hardy, the Intercontinental Champion, makes his way to the ring.
The Hardy’s team up on Finlay then Edge, a throwback to the Attitude Era’s TLC matches. The Hardy’s attempt to eliminate Kane but are caught in a chokeslam but manage to fight back and double team the Big Red Machine.
Number fifteen marks the halfway point and here is The Sandman who makes his typical entrance through the crowd before being quickly eliminated by Booker T. He spent more time in the crowd than he did in the ring, easy pay cheque though.
Jeff Hardy is nearly gone but skins the cat and Randy Orton is next in, he’s one-half of the tag team champions with Edge at this point and he and his tag team partner eliminate Super Crazy. They then eliminate both the Hardy’s.
Here’s Chris Benoit, the United States champion. He heads straight for Finlay before unleashing on Orton and Edge. Cole recalls Benoit’s Rumble win from first place, something that we can rule out happening this year… Benjamin nearly has Punk out before Finlay and Benjamin eat German Suplexes from Benoit.
JBL channels Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine but saying it takes Benoit 30-minutes to warm up, such is the cardio machine that he is. Here’s number 18 and it is Rob Van Dam. This is a stacked Rumble and, currently, boasts six former world champions. That doesn’t last long, though, as Kane eliminates King Booker. Booker, though, returns to the ring and attacks Kane before eliminating him.
The ‘World’s Largest Love Machine’ Viscera is number 19. He is wearing the world’s biggest white shellsuit – a reference anyone outside of Scotland might not understand. The countdown is on to references to how many men it will take to eliminate Viscera. Oh, there we are. Cole says it took seven in Viscera’s Rumble debut as JBL ponders how many men he will eat… Yup.
Johnny Nitro, the former John Morrison and current Johnny Mundo, is out next. We’re two-thirds the way through this and, impressively, Finlay is still out there. Although largely watching others fight, including Viscera squashing Punk in the corner.
ECW’s Kevin Thorn is out just as Benjamin barely holds on, despite the attention of Benoit. Viscera and Nitro attempt to eliminate RVD before Van Dam tries to toss out his 500+ pound foe before running into a huge clothesline.
Number 22 is Hardcore Holly, a sixth Rumble for the hard-hitting Alabamian. He’s also representing ECW at this point and he and Viscera go at it. Was just thinking we’ve not had an elimination for a while as Michael Cole says the exact same thing. The ring is looking crowded as Edge, Orton, Finlay, Benjamin, Nitro, Benoit, Thorn and Punk attempt to eliminate Viscera.
Shawn Michaels is out next to one of the largest pops of the night, unsurprisingly considering it’s his home town, and he eliminates Finlay before superkicking Viscera, who is then gang eliminated by all the others sin the ring. Benjamin is gone next, also tossed out by Michaels.
It’s Chris Master’s that has drawn number 24 and he has his sights set on Benoit. The tag team champions double-team HBK as Johnny Nitro is eliminated by Benoit after attempting a top rope attack – how many times must announcers warn of the dangers of going up top? Chavo Guerrero is out next and hits the ring just as Kevin Thorn is eliminated by Chris Benoit.
Number 26 is M.V.P. The commentators announce he’s fresh of an inferno match with Kane on Smackdown and suffering from burns. No one has told M.V.P to sell them, though… Masters is gone, at the hands of RVD. Orton nearly has Punk eliminated but he desperately hangs on.
Carlito bombs to the ring as Cole says it’s the lucky number in the Rumble – boasting four victors. Eleven men in the ring at the moment, although Michaels is teetering on the brink.
The Great Khali makes his way out as Cole, unsurprisingly, wonders who could possibly eliminate him. Orton, Holly, Benoit, Edge, M.V.P, Michaels, RVD and Carlito all deserve credit for making his woeful headbutts and chops looks impressive. Khali tosses Holly out just as The Miz hits the ringbut is tossed straight out and we see that Benoit was eliminated, in the meantime, by Khali who then tosses out Punk, Carlito and Holly. Oh, Chavo is next. He poses to jeers from the crowd. Michaels is back on his feet and chops the big man. Khali grabs him by his throat and tosses him to the ground.
It’s number 30 and those keeping count aren’t surprised when The Undertaker’s music hits, as the commentators who wonder, right on cue, who can stop Khali. Taker dodges a punch and drives shots to Khali’s face. The shots appear to barely phase Khali but a few more have him on the ropes before a running clothesline sends him out.
M.V.P, Orton and Edge all attack Taker, with limited success. He goes old school on M.V.P before eliminating. The final four is: The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Edge and Randy Orton. Edge eats a huge clothesline as M.V.P. returns to the ring with a chair. Orton grabs the chair and fells the Deadman.
With Orton occupied by The Undertaker, Edge attempts a spear but is caught by his tag team partner. In the meantime, both The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are back on their feet but HBK eats a RKO.
Edge and Orton reason with each other and attack the Undertaker, who is busted open as a result of the steel chair shot to the face. He is able to mount a comeback before a double chokeslam is foiled but he also counters a double-team move with a big clothesline. Edge takes a snake eyes before a chokeslam on Orton is set up but Edge catches him with a spear. Edge then drives the chair into his face. The tag champs set up a con-chair-to on their opponent as Michaels makes his way into the ring and eliminates both Orton and Edge.
We’re down to the final two of Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, who are both lying prone on the mat. Taker sits up and Michaels nips-up and we’re all set to find out who will win the 2007 Royal Rumble. Michaels punches in the corner but I swatted away before Taker drives a series of blows onto the two-time former Rumble winner, who teeters, once again, on the brink of elimination.
Shawn Michaels is spun inside out in the corner and is again nearly gone before he dodges a big boot and it’s The Undertaker’s turn to be on the brink of elimination before an elbow shot fells his opponent. The two men trade blows in the middle of the ring as the crowd chant for their hometown hero before a big boot from the Undertaker silences them.
The two battle onto the top rope as the commentators go into hyperbole overload. HBK sends Taker tumbling back into the middle of the ring before climbing to the top and driving an elbow into his chest. The crowd is almost delirious at this mount as he tunes up the band… The Undertaker catches him and drops him with a chokeslam. We then get a close-up of the Undertaker’s busted open face as he attempts a Tombstone. HBK wriggles free and fells Taker with Sweet Chin Music.
Michaels attempts another superkick but is caught by The Undertaker and dropped over the top rope and is heading to WrestleMania after his first Royal Rumble match victory.
Overall: This was a very good Rumble match. It really would have struggled to be anything but considering the wealth of talent the WWE had one their hands at the time. A strong mix of legends and future hall of famers made up the thirty men taking part here – with the right mix of mid-card talent too. The final sequence was very strong, as you’d expect with HBK and The Undertaker.