Retro column: Review of the 2005 WWE Royal Rumble PPV

The following column was published by Joe Pritchett on in January of 2005…

Joe Pritchett’s Real Talk: Royal Thoughts

With the WWE’s holiday season now in full swing, the Royal Rumble is behind us. But what a Rumble it was. After witnessing what I consider one of the best pay-per-views since Wrestlemania XX, we are in a much better position to see what lies ahead. Yet before I look at that a little more in depth, I’d like to look at the Royal Rumble itself.

Before going into the matches themselves, I’d first like to say that I thought the backstage segments at the Royal Rumble were highly enjoyable. From Eddie stealing Flair’s entry number, to Cena pulling off one of his better promos in quite a while, it was quality all around. I also enjoyed JBL’s post win celebration and Angle stealing Nunzio’s Rumble spot.

The show opened with Edge versus Shawn Michaels. I thought the over all quality of the match was high, and it was good to see Michael’s put Edge over. With Edge holding the ropes for the pin, Michaels loses none of his credibility while giving Edge a major victory to propel him to the next level. While the match was more of a brawl and not quite the usual Shawn Michael’s style in most cases, it was still exciting. Seeing Shawn kick out of both the spear (after previously being speared just moments before on the outside) and the electric chair kept the match interesting. I’m looking forward to see where this match takes Edge in the two months leading up to Wrestlemania.

Next we got to see The Undertaker versus Heidenreich in a Casket Match. While I thought this match had a good build-up, I was skeptical about how it would turn out. I must say that I was fairly impressed by it. I thought that the addition of Snitsky into the mix, along with Kane coming out of the casket, made for a nice surprise and I’m interested in seeing how that feud will continue in the future. While Heidenreich and the Undertaker didn’t deliver to us any sort of revolution, I thought they told a good story in the ring, and the match was worthy of its build up.

Once this was taken care of, the title matches were ready to begin. The first was the WWE Championship, as JBL took on Kurt Angle and The Big Show. I thought, all things considered, this was a very good triple threat match. The mix of wrestling in and outside of the ring worked well for all three. It was great to see the Big Show stumble and fall through the Smackdown announce table. He didn’t need anyone to throw him through, he’s just that big! And we can’t forget JBL being rammed through the guard rail by the Big Show. It was an excellent spot that really got the crowd, and myself, going. Eventually Angle and JBL’s stables got involved, which in my mind was predictable, and allowed JBL to pick up another win. It was later announced that JBL would take on the man he didn’t pin, the Big Show, in a barbed wire cage match at No Way Out.

The last match before the Royal Rumble itself was Triple H versus Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship. Again, I liked the match. It wasn’t the best championship match I’ve seen by a long shot, and it was typical Orton fare, but it served its purpose. I liked how Triple H methodically attacked Orton’s knee, and then later his head, as it sold his injuries in the ring. Triple H defeated Orton cleanly in the middle of the ring, which, in my mind, was quite the statement. It seemed to me that the WWE has for months been pushing Orton and Triple H toward Wrestlemania’s main event. When the fans wouldn’t get behind Orton, as was seen at the Rumble with many “Orton Sucks” chants, they went ahead with the match early. I’m hoping this will be an end to their feud for the time period. I hope Orton doesn’t get involved in the World title match at ‘Mania. I said in my last column that I didn’t think their feud would end until Orton beat Triple H, but after the clean and resounding victory by Triple H at the Royal Rumble, I may very well be wrong.

The Royal Rumble match itself was truly the highlight of the night. This was one of the best Royal Rumble matches I have witnessed in quite a while. I’m always a big fan of the match, and I love seeing Smackdown and RAW mix it up, this one certainly didn’t disappoint. It was great to see Benoit and Eddie start out the match. The Rumble then continued with some great moments, but my favorite had to be the interaction between Angle and Shawn Michaels.

This has been a dream match of mine for quite a while, and I just hope that we will get to see it. Angle stole Nunzio’s number earlier in the show, and came in and cleared house. He reversed HBK’s Sweet Chin Music into an Ankle Lock, but HBK quickly got out and connected the second time with his Sweet Chin Music, sending Angle over the top rope. This allowed for Angle to retaliate, with Angle coming back into the ring and sending HBK over the top rope, and then simply destroying him with the ring steps. I can’t wait to see this feud mature.

Another highlight of the match for me was to see Batista. He has really come into a league of his own and matured into quite the force. When he power bombed Kane, my jaw dropped. Ric Flair attempting to eliminate him was also classic, and should lead to some interesting consequences later on RAW. The match eventually came down to Cena and Batista, with them both sailing over the top rope and hitting the floor at the same time. I was happy to see the match restarted by Vince McMahon, as it would have been a big disappointment for the match to end in a draw. Batista eventually picked up the win as the match was restarted. I think these events have both boosted Batista to superstardom and given Cena something to build on at Smackdown as well. Overall, it was a great match and a great Royal Rumble.