Written By Ilario Finis

Hide and Seek is the number 1 film at the box office, Marco’s “let me love you” is the number 1 song the billboard 100, Iraq is having its first multi party democratic elections in 50 years and the Patriots and the Eagles are preparing for Super bowl XXXIX which is 7 days away.  The date is January 30th and the year is 2000. Not only was this happening in the world at the time, but that night was also the night of the Royal Rumble. The 2005 Royal Rumble put a lot of things in motion for the WWE for the following years to come. Some for the better, some for the worse. Lets have a look back at the Royal Rumble.
Let’s travel back to 2005 in WWE when there was a brand split. Raw and Smackdown both had their own announcers, their own commentators, their own General managers, their own belts, their own talent and even their own PPV’s with only their brands talent on it. However for the “big 4” they would jointly promote and talent share for the event. WWE was still TV 14 and still allowed head shots with weapons and wrestlers to cut themselves to draw blood. The 2005 Royal Rumble came from a sold out crowd of 12,000 people at the Save Mart Centre in Fresno, California and is brought to you by SmackDown and Raw. The commentators are Michael Cole and Tazz for SmackDown and Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler for Raw.

The opening match is Shawn Michaels vs Edge. Edge at this point is still yet to win his first title, he is yet to of won money in the bank and he is yet to be that hated heel that he would come to be in following years. Edge is at this point hungry for success and his gimmick is very much of one where he had a massive chip on his shoulder and he was going out there with something to prove. The feud had started at Taboo Tuesday the previous year when the fans pick Shawn to have a world title shot and not Edge, which has sent Edge into a craze state. Edge had claimed Shawn took his title shot and he was going to beat him to prove why he should have been given the title shot. The match itself for the first 5-10 minutes was methodical and it was kept that way by Edge who had the upper hand in the early going, Shawn started to fight back build momentum and the pace started to quicken. It looks like Shawn’s experience is going to carry him though but Edge raises his game and shows he can hang with the main event star  after a couple false finishes from Edge it does look like Shawn is about to hit sweet chin music and put another tic in his win column when Edge hooks Shawn in a Roll up and grabs the middle rope while the referee counted 3 and picks up the win.

Winner – Edge in what was a good opening match to the card. Rating -3.5/5

Next we go backstage where Raw General manager Eric Bischoff, SmackDown Teddy Long are standing by the a bingo tumbler machine is Christy Hemme who representing Raw and Torrie Wilson  is representing SmackDown. Ric Flair and Eddie Guerrero walk in to draw their entry number for the Rumble. Ric goes first and is very happy with the number he drew, Eddie on the other hand is rather disappointed with the number he drew. Eddie gives Ric congratulations and gives him a hug and then Eddie leaves, everyone else then ask Ric to show them the number he drew Ric has problem and shows them. Everyone looks at the number shocked and ask Ric if is really happy with that number Ric says of course to which they tell him to re-look at the number he drew and is now in shock at what he is looking at which is when Flair realizes that Guerrero has stolen his entry number and leaves quickly to find him.

The following match is a casket match between the Undertaker and Heidenreich. The events leading up to the match is that Heidenreich had cost the Undertaker the WWE title twice in the last few months. General Manager Teddy Long aloud Undertaker to choose the stipulation for the match in which he chose the casket match. The match opened with more traditional wrestling moves and Undertaker well and truly has the upper hand for the opening 5 minutes however when it looks like the Undertaker will simply roll Heidenreich in the casket for the easy win Snitsky comes out and starts beating on the Undertaker. With the momentum swung into Heidenreich’s favor they start taking their kicks on Undertaker and after a while Heidenreich decides that Undertaker is beaten enough to beat and starts rolling him with Snitsky to the casket. The casket open to reveal Kane to be laying in wait inside the casket. Kane comes out of the casket and starts beating on Snitsky and beats him to the backstage area. Heidenreich continues to beat on Undertaker and rolls him into the casket however Undertaker stops the lid being shut and starts beating on Heidenreich, hits him with the chokeslam and the tombstone and then rolls Heidenreich into the casket and pick up the win.

Winner – Undertaker in a good match. Rating – 3/5.

Backstage Teddy Long has caught up with Guerrero and tells him to give Flair’s number back when Evolution storms into the room and tells Eddie to give Ric his number back. Reluctantly Eddie give Ric his number back, Teddy then looks at Eddie and says come on give it up, Eddie ask “What?” to which long insists and Eddie pulls out Flairs wallet and leaves Flair flabbergasted. After a quick video package we come back to the Rumble number drawing section when Christian and Tomko walk in and so does John Cena. Christian first looks at Long and says ha! I just signed a petition to have him removed as General manager of SmackDown, he then looks at Cena and calls him a joke and says he can rap as rapping is easy. Cena tells him to throw down, Christian then proceeds to rap and fail miserably but it is rather funny.

Next up is a triple threat match for the WWE title between JBL, Big Show and Kurt Angle. JBL had been keeping the WWE title by hook or by crook and was now 7 months into his title reign. Big Show had been booked in the title match and the SmackDown prior to the Rumble Angle had won a match to put himself into the match. The match is on the go from the start and all 3 are going all out attacking each other, the pace of the match is at a fairly good tempo for the whole match. There is a good mix of wrestling and weapon spots in the match Big Show goes through the table and it is also the first time in WWE with the black protected barricades that someone is put through it when Big Show spears JBL the barricade. The Cabinet comes out to look after JBL while at the time Angle kicks up his intensity and starts trying to take control, Angle hits Show with a chair and when he goes for a second shot Show reverses and makes Angle land face first on the chair. Show goes for the win however Mark Jindrak pulls the referee out and stops the count. Jindrak, Reigns and the Basham twins start fighting with Big Show on the outside. While this is happening Orlando Jordan helps JBL back into the ring just as Angle is coming to his feet JBL hits the clothesline from hell and steals yet another win and retains his title.

Winner – JBL in a match that was far better than I thought or remembered it being also Big Show was very good in this match. Rating – 4/5.

Backstage Batista ran into Carlito who ask him to sign his petition to get rid of Long, Batista refused and Carlito took out his apple. While chewing it Batista asked him if he had seen what he did on Raw, Carlito said yes and then spat out the apple. Batista then walking into the room to draw his number while doing this JBL and the Cabinet come in celebrating the victory in which Teddy Long said at the next PPV JBL would defend his title against the Big Show in WWE first ever Barbedwire Cage match. Eric Bischoff said there would be nothing like that happen in his title match and bared Evolution from ringside for the upcoming World title match.

The fourth match was between Triple H and Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight title. Orton had control at the start of the match until Triple H countered an RKO attempt by throwing Orton out of the ring. Triple H kept the advantage and targeted Orton’s left knee until Orton kicked him into an announce table. Orton kept the advantage until he suffered a concussion (kayfabe) from missing a DDT, I felt this hurt the match and while it was an ok match it could have been far better. Triple H knocked both Orton and the referee down with a clothesline and took out a  sledgehammer from beneath the ring. He tried to hit Orton with it, but Orton pulled him into the ring post. Triple H performed another clothesline and a Pedigree to win and retain the title

Winner – Triple H the match was passable but there is so much more they could have done and I also felt Triple H was off his game and should have carried the match more also I felt the match went to long for the story they were telling for me it was the worst match of the night. Rating – 2.5/5

Backstage we see Nunzio walking along throwing his number in its ball up and down and saying he is pumped for the rumble when Kurt Angle comes along and steals his number from him, there is a bit of a stare off before Nunzio decides to back down and let Kurt have the rumble spot.

The Royal Rumble match itself is the last match on the card and a new entrant will be in every 90 seconds Tazz and JR commentates this match. It starts off with Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit who wrestled for a little bit before entrant 3 comes out who is Daniel Puder the then tough enough winner who gets on the mic and says he will be the first tough enough winner to go on to win the rumble. Puder enters the ring and Benoit and Guerrero then proceeds the chop Puder to high heavens, Hardcore Holly comes out at 4 and joins in the party, He also comes in and chops Puder who has done nothing but taking a whipping since he entered the match. Puder is eliminated by Holly who is then promptly eliminated by Eddie in Benoit. Entries 5,6,7,8 are Hurricane, Kenzo Suzuki, Edge and Rey Mysterio and by this point Tazz is going crazy any time someone comes out  who is on the SmackDown roster. Rey gets rid of Suzuki and then 9 Shelton Benjamin and 10 Booker T come out next. Once Booker comes out Eric Bischoff comes to ringside and starts acting like a coach of the raw guys, Jericho comes out at 11 and then Teddy Long now comes out and starts doing the same for the SmackDown guys. Entrant 12 who is Luther Reigns comes and joins the party and once he does the 4 SmackDown guys go to one side of the ring and 4 Raw guys go to one side of the ring and square off with each other. After a stare off they start all fight with each other than number 13 comes out who is Muhammad Hassan, everyone in the ring stops fighting and waits for Hassan to come into the ring. Hassan stands in the ring and points to the heavens and then he looks around and realizes that he now surrounded by all the other wrestlers who started beating on Hassan, after everyone finished beaten him up they pick him up and through him out of the ring. Orlando Jordan is in at number 14 and at number 15 is Scotty 2 Hotty who is attacked by Hassan on his way to the ring and eliminates Scotty before he gets into the ring.

At number 16 is Charlie Haas, Booker T then eliminates Luther and Orlando and then does a spin a rooney and once he finish it Guerrero throws out Booker T. 17 comes out who Rene Dupree while this is going on Benjamin is eliminated by Edge. Simon Dean comes out at 18 and starts doing squats and push up on the outside, at 19 Shawn Michaels comes in who finds Simon doing squats in the ring now and proceeds to super kick him out of the ring and then eliminates Haas. We find out that Nunzios number was 20 as Kurt Angle hits the ring and starts suplexing and Angle slamming everyone in the ring except for HBK who then super kicks Kurt out of the ring and ends his dream of going to Wrestlemania for the title. 21 and 22 is Jonathan Coachman and Mark Jindrak, Angle by this point has re-entered the ring and throws out HBK and proceeds to bloody up Shawn and put him in the ankle lock, 23 and 24 are Paul London and Viscera and Dupree is eliminated by Jericho. John Cena comes out at number 25 and gets a huge pop and straight away dumps Viscera out at number 26 it wasn’t his fault comes out and Snitsky eliminates Paul London with a huge clothesline to London who is on the apron and caused him to inside flip to the floor. At 27 the big red machine Kane comes out and chokeslams everyone in the ring as people come to their feet Cena FU’s (yes he still called it that) Jindrak to the outside, number 28 is Batista and straight away eliminates Snitsky and Jericho. The peep show Christian comes out at number 29 and before he hits the ring Cena gets rid of Kane the final person comes out at 30 and we find out why Eddie tried to steal his number earlier it is Ric Flair. Flair his the ring and gets rid of Coach and Benoit. Batista eliminates Christian  and Edge then sends the nature boy packing, We are down to final 4 who Edge, Cena, Rey and Batista they fight for a little way till Edge eliminates Rey and then Cena and Batista gets rid of Edge to leave them the last two standing. Cena and Batista fight for a while till they both throw each other and both land on the ground at the same time it leads to confusion as ref’s are trying to declare either one as the winner. It leads to Vince McMahon coming to ring who is looking rather upset he goes to slide in the ring and then can’t stand up, we learn later on that Vince managed to pull both his quads at the same time. He tells the ref to restart the match as there must be a winner the match restarts and it leads to Batista throwing Cena out and winning the rumble and a title match at Wrestlemania.

Winner – Batista. This was a good rumble and it didn’t need any old times to come into the match. It didn’t tail off too much at anyone point. The one problem I had is Tazz was way too over the top in his support of the SmackDown wrestlers. Rating – 4/5.

This PPV did good to  help build WWE for the following years. Star like Edge, Cena and Batista started making their marks and starting raising up to the main event level. This lead into the matches for Wrestlemania 21 nicely. Sadly however it is Eddie Guerrero last Royal Rumble as he would pass on later in 2005. I really enjoyed this rumble and it was far better than I remembered it being and a couple of the undercard matches especially the WWE title match was a lot better than I thought it would have been or what I remembered it being.
Overall PPV rating 4/5

I hope you enjoyed this look back at the 2005 Royal Rumble.

Ilario, along with Greg, can be heard every Saturday night at 10:05pm EST On PWpop.com.