Royal Rumble 2006

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Eddie Guerrero’s death was one of the most shocking and sad days in wrestling history. He was found dead in his hotel room on November 13, 2005. His death scrambled up WWE’s creative plans, as his longterm storyline with Batista and his planned Wrestlemania match with Shawn Michaels were unable to proceed.

But in wrestling the show always goes on, and in Eddie’s place his good friend and former tag team partner Rey Mysterio would rise to the top of the card. This storyline would end up being terrible, the so-called “Eddiesploitation.” But for one night in Miami, it was absolute magic.

The Rest of the Card:

-Gregory Helms defeated Kid Kash, Funaki, Jamie Noble, Nunzio, and Paul London in a Six Pack Challenge to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.

-Mickie James defeated Ashley

-The Boogeyman defeated John “Bradshaw” Layfield

-John Cena defeated Edge to win the WWE Championship

-Kurt Angle defeated Mark Henry to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

The Match

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are on commentary.

Changing of the guard here: Lillian Garcia is our ring announcer. Believe that’s the first time anyone other than Howard Finkel had done it.

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Triple H is the #1 entrant. Obviously he’s not pleased with that development. #2 is Rey Mysterio in an Eddie Guerrero lowrider. They probably could have been more subtle with this. Would have worked better if it didn’t feel so much like pandering. Rey is a step ahead in the early going. #3 is Simon Dean. Can you believe he doesn’t last long? He’s out in 45 seconds. #4 is Psicosis of the Mexicools. No riding lawnmower here. He’s gone in a minute or so.

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#5 is Ric Flair. He comes in hot after Triple H but ends up getting eliminated in barely a minute. #6 is Big Show as Triple H’s nightmare continues. Jonathan Coachman is #7. He’s an idiot and goes after Big Show, that predictably ends in an elimination. Bobby Lashley is #8. Lashley manages to Back Drop Show in an impressive feat of strength. #9 is Kane. He gets into it with Lashley ends up on the wrong side of a Dominator.

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#10 is Sylvan, in some sort of fashion model gimmick. He’s gone in about ten seconds courtesy of Lashley. Kane and Big Show team up to Double Chokeslam and eliminate Lashley. I feel like Rey has been knocked out for about ten minutes now. Kane and Big Show get into it and as they’re struggling on the ropes Triple H sneaks in to eliminate them both. Carlito is #11. Chris Benoit is #12. He dominates and hits a Flying Headbutt on Triple H. #13 is Booker T. He’s in pants, which is an unusual look for this stage of his career. He was coming off a groin injury, which is probably why.

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Joey Mercury, one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions, is #14. #15 is Tatanka making a surprise return. Johnny Nitro is #16. Trevor Murdoch, a guy I was always a fan of, is #17. #18 is Eugene to a pretty good reaction. He had been gone for a couple months after a drug suspension. Road Warrior Animal is #19. Rob Van Dam is #20. This is his return after being gone for a year with a torn ACL. He tosses Animal. Orlando Jordan is #21. He enters to complete silence. Chavo Guerrero is #22. He breaks out Eddie’s signature Three Amigos rolling Suplexes. He then goes to the top and gets shoved off by Triple H.

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Matt Hardy, now a big babyface after the Edge/Lita affair, is #23. Mercury eliminates Tatanka. #24 is Super Crazy. Shawn Michaels is #25 and business is picking up. He tosses Murdoch. #26 is “The Masterpiece” Chris Masters. #27 is Viscera, now the “World’s Largest Love Machine.” He eliminates Matt Hardy after blocking a Twist of Fate. #28 is Shelton Benjamin along with Momma Benjamin. Benoit dumps Eugene. #29 is Goldust, making a surprise return. He might hold the record for most surprise returns over the years. Randy Orton is #30.

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There are about 15 guys in the ring. That’s a the most I’ve ever seen for this stage of the match. Orton eliminates Benoit. Masters manages to dump Viscera, but is double-crossed by Carlito and eliminated. Shawn tosses both members of MNM and then skins the cat back in. Shelton Benjamin is gone next after a Sweet Chin Music. Now Vince McMahon’s music comes on and the Chairman makes his way down the aisle. That distracts Shawn, allowing Shane McMahon to sneak into the ring and dump him. Shawn goes after Shane, gets cut off by Triple H, who he proceeds to level with Sweet Chin Music.

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RVD eliminates Carlito and we’re down to four: Van Dam, Orton, Triple H, and Mysterio. Van Dam goes to the top and is knocked off by Mysterio. RVD is gone. Orton and Triple H proceed to gang up on him. Mysterio comes back and tees up a 619 on both men. Triple H hits a Spinebuster on Orton. HHH tries to dump Mysterio, but is eliminated with a Hurricanrana. Amazing run by The Game, lasted an hour.

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We’re down to Mysterio and Orton and the crowd is rabid. They go at it and Mysterio eliminates Orton with a Head Scissor. New record for longest Rumble run which still stands today.

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Rating: ***¼. Didn’t love this one. Lot of dead time. The initial part with Triple H getting his ass kicked was fun and there were some nice spots, but on the whole this was just missing something. Probably big star power. No Cena, Undertaker, or Angle. Rey and Triple H both had impressive runs, Triple H more so than Rey. But other than that, not much about this one stuck out.

The Aftermath

There were shenanigans. Randy Orton was mad he didn’t win the match, so he proceeded to interrupt Rey’s victory celebration to insult him and Eddie Guerrero. This goaded Mysterio into agreeing to a match at No Way Out to determine the #1 contender for Wrestlemania. Orton won the match and the title shot. Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long proceeded to take pity on Rey because Orton had cheated and added Mysterio to the title match to make it a Triple Threat. Mysterio won the match to become the World Heavyweight Champion.

On Raw, a tournament was held to determine the #1 contender for Wrestlemania. It came down to a Triple Threat Match (it was a strange tournament) between Triple H, Rob Van Dam, and Big Show. Triple H won the match to receive the right to face John Cena at Wrestlemania 22. Cena defeated The Game by submission to retain the WWE Championship.

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