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Royal Rumble



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Sunday, January 25th in Philadelphia, PA

The Rumble telecast began with a video package on the top Rumble matches. A first-class presentation previewing the feuds.

1 — RIC FLAIR & BATISTA vs. BUBBA RAY & D-VON DUDLEY – World Tag Team Champions

Batista had a house mic with him as they walked to the ring. He told the Dudleys they are the biggest losers since the Philadelphia Eagles. The Dudleys, obviously hating being compared to the Eagles apparently, attacked Flair and Batista in the aisle. They brawled at ringside. The crowd got into the “whoos” early. Bubba grabbed a table from under the ring and slid it into the ring. The Dudleys set up the table and suplexed Flair toward it, but Batista moved the table out of the way first. The Dudleys then doubled on Batista. D-Von clotheslined Batista over the top rope to the floor. Flair then went after Bubba, chopping him into the table in the corner. Bubba fought back and rammed Flair’s head into the table. Ross said the PPV would be seen in over 150 countries. At 4:00 Flair went to the top rope, but Bubba tossed him to the mat. Coach then got up and went to ringside. When he jumped on the ring apron to distract the Dudleys, The Dudleys yanked him into the ring and ripped off his shirt revealing taped ribs. The Dudleys signalled for the D-Von headbutt, but Flair threw D-Von out of the way. D-Von flew at Flair with a clothesline, barely grazing his head. Batista then slammed D-Von through the table for the win. Pat McNeill was right in his “McNeill’s Take” previewing the Rumble – the Dudleys never win tables matches.
WINNERS: Flair & Batista at 5:29 to retain the World Tag Team Titles.

-Josh Matthews interviewed John Cena. Rob Van Dam interrupted and said he was winning. Cena said RVD could suck his candy cane.
-Ross reminded viewers that Steve Austin ordered Mick Foley to be at the event. Lawler said he has given up on Foley and called him a coward. Coach’s stay at the broadcast table seems to have been cut short.

2 — REY MYSTERIO vs. JAMIE NOBLE — Cruiserweight Title match

Michael Cole and Tazz took over announcing from ringside. Noble controlled the early minutes with some kicks and stomps, then went into a sitting abdominal stretch. Rey escaped a hit a spinning head scissors at 2:00. Rey went for a springboard crossbody, but Noble caught him with a knee. Nidia interfered by grabbing Noble’s leg coming off the ropes, thinking it was Rey. Rey then hit Noble with the 19 and a springboard legdrop for the win. I’m assuming that Nidia recently regained her sight and intentionally cost Noble the match. Either that or it’s about time one of her friends who watches Smackdown filled her on Noble’s abuse of her recently
WINNER: Rey at 3:06 to retain the Cruiserweight Title.

3 — EDDIE GUERRERO vs. CHAVO GUERRERO JR. (w/Chavo Sr.)

When Cole started talking about the history of Chavo Sr. blaming Eddie for Chavo Jr.’s antics, Tazz told Cole to cry him a river and pay attention to the match. The action started slowly, with a sense they were pacing themselves for a longer match. They have plenty of time after the short length of the previous two matches. Chavo headscissored Eddie over the top rope. At ringside Chavo Sr. hit Eddie. Back in the ring Eddie reversed Chavo on the mat and applied an armbar. Chavo escaped and back suplexed Eddie for a two count. Chavo made it look like he was lifting Eddie’s shoulders at three, although I don’t think that was his intent. Eddie hit Chavo with a series of three unreleased vertical suplexes. Eddie followed up with a top rope frog splash for three count. After the match Eddie, who had controlled himself all match, went after Chavo Sr. and Jr. He tied Sr. to the bottom rope by his neck tie and then went after Chavo, who was bleeding from the forehead from the post-match attack. Eddie continued to pound on Chavo in the corner. Not a lot of crowd heat since the attack seemed a bit anticlimactic coming after the pinfall.
WINNER: Eddie Guerrero at 8:02.

-Matthews interviewed Chris Benoit about the Royal Rumble. It was too much to expect Benoit to be given more than two seconds to talk – he’s given less time than Goldberg before someone interrupts him. Flair, Batista, and Randy Orton interrupted. Not a bad trio to interrupt. Flair got in Benoit’s face and told Benoit he reaches for the “big brass ring” (quoting Vince McMahon from the wrestlers’ meetings earlier this month) and always come up short. Flair shook up champaign and sprayed in his own face, then whoo’d. Tazz concurred that Benoit is the greatest in the ring, but “he cannot win the big one.” Strong set up for either a Benoit win or a heartbreaking almost-win.

4 — BROCK LESNAR vs. HARDCORE HOLLY — WWE Hvt. Title match

The two went right at it at ringside before the bell, then quickly entered the ring. They fought at ringside again at 1:00 with Brock on offense, then returned to center ring with Lesnar applying a mat bearhug on Holly. He followed up by stomping away at Holly and then giving him a fisherman’s suplex. As James Guttman, Pat McNeill, and I discussed in our VIP Audio “Royal Rumble Preview” this weekend, if there is a candidate for a match to get a bit stiff and out of hand, this is it considering the temperament and history of these two. So far, it’s looked like a stiff but professionally worked match. Lesnar went to another bearhug on the mat,t hen shifted to a chinlock and body scissors. This is “New Style WWE” on display, and the crowd wasn’t thrilled with it as there were scattered boos and boring chants. Holly fought back at 4:45 with a clothesline and his dropkick followed by his Alabama Slam. Holly then went for his Full Nelson. he applied it after a little struggle by Brock, then fell backwards. Brock rolled out of the ring, but Holly rolled with him and wouldn’t relinquish the hold. With Holly inside the ring and Brock on the ring apron, Brock broke the Full Nelson by jumping to the floor to snap Holly’s neck over the top rope. Brock then followed up with the F5 for the clean win.
WINNERS: Lesnar at 6:22 to retain the WWE Hvt. Title.

-A video package aired on Michaels and Hunter. Obviously their match and the Rumble are each going a long time.

5 — TRIPLE H vs. SHAWN MICHAELS — World Hvt. Title match

I know it’s just a coincidence, but the placement of this match after Lesnar vs. Holly does set up the Raw title and Triple H as seeming more important than the Smackdown title and Lesnar. Ross did a nice job setting up the match with a big-fight feel with references to the histories of both wrestlers at the Royal Rumble in title matches. They opened the match with a big-fight-worthy staredown. One hour into the three-hour PPV, the bell ran to start the match. They opened with some nice exchanges including the Flair-Steamboat bridge into a backslide combination. Michaels locked on a figure-four at 3:30. Hunter screamed in pain. Ross pointed out that Hunter couldn’t tap out because the match can only end by a countdown. Michaels released the hold and let the ref count Hunter down. Hunter rose before the ten count. Michaels dove at Hunter, but Hunter dropped down and yanked on the top rope, so Michaels crashed to the floor. Lawler said perhaps Michaels’s back is much worse off than he’s been letting on. Hunter went after Michaels at ringside, tearing up the Smackdown announcers’ table. Tazz and Cole got up. If Tazz and Cole aren’t given the assignment of calling the Rumble, they sure didn’t have much to call during this PPV. Michaels fought back while he and Hunter were both standing on the announcers’ table. When Hunter avoided crashing through the Spanish table, the crowd booed. Ross and Lawler acknowledged the crowd’s disappointment. Michaels threw Hunter back into the ring at 7:00. Hunter set up a Pedigree, but Michaels backdropped him over the top rope to the floor. Michaels went for a springboard crossbody block off the ropes and Hunter sidestepped him, so Michaels crashed onto and through the Spanish announcers’ table. Michaels came up bleeding heavily. The ref began counting Michaels down at ringside. Michaels got up and returned to the ring. Hunter went after him with a series of punches. Michaels fought back, but Hunter was able to regain control over the heavily bleeding Michaels. Ross observed, “Michaels’s heart is still beating.” Hunter nailed Michaels with a chairshot. This is a nicely booked match so far, setting up Michaels as a huge underdog at the 13:00 given his physical state. Ross said he hoped Michaels didn’t get up because it would stop the beating. The ref counted to nine before Michaels got himself up with help from the ropes, but as Rod Trongard would say, “he was on Rubber Leg Street.” Hunter set up a Pedigree attempt on a chair, but Michaels counter and dropped Hunter on the chair, then catapulted Hunter awkwardly over the top turnbuckle into the ringpost. Michaels nailed Hunter with a stiff chairshot, seemingly giving up his last reserve of energy. The chair had a huge splatter of blood on it. Hunter came up bleeding at 15:00. Michaels, still on Rubber Leg Street, threw some punches at Hunter. Hunter came back with a kick to the gut. Michaels nailed Hunter with a flying forearm. As the ref counted toward ten on both men, Michaels nipped up for a nice crowd pop. Ross and Lawler were amazed. Ross said Michaels was on “spaghetti legs” as he mounted the top rope and flew off with a big elbow drop. Ross asked, “Are we seeing a miracle here.” Good drama from Ross. Michaels then stomped the mat to set up Sweet Chin Music. Hunter countered Michaels with a punch between the legs to stop the superkick at 17:15. The two bloodied wrestlers exchanged punches, then Hunter gave Michaels a DDT. Both men were down as the ref began yet another count toward ten. Michaels flipped into the corner turnbuckle on a whip by Hunter, then countered a Hunter suplex. Once again both men were down. Hunter hit a Pedigree, but didn’t have the energy to get up right away. Hunter did rise first with help from the top rope, then the ref counted to nine on Michaels before he was up. Michaels shocked Hunter with a Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere for a really nice crowd pop at 22:15. The ref counted both men down at 23:05. The crowd wasn’t happy with the dual countdown finish. The ref called for help from the back. Michaels was stretchered out of the ring, but once they got to the ramp, he refused to be rolled out and got up and walked to the back with help from referees.
WINNER: No decision, so Triple H retains the title at 23:05.

-Eric Bischoff walked out to the ring and said he is the dominant G.M. in WWE. He said Smackdown’s Paul Heyman may be the favorite of some fans in the Philadelphia arena because he used to run small shows in a bingo hall. He said he is the more respected figure for what he has done in wrestling. I’d say Bischoff’s mistakes cost the wrestling industry a lot more than Heyman’s did, although both also greatly contributed to the boom period, too, before things went south for them. Heyman came out and looked like he was going to return fire with some words of his own, but instead he jumped Bischoff and attacked him. Sheriff Austin rode to the ring on his ATV. Heyman and Bischoff stood up and began shouting at Austin, pointing at each other for starting the whole ruckus. Austin said both were in the ring in a clear violation of the law. He asked, “Who started it it.” Heyman blamed Bischoff. Austin gave Bischoff a Stunner. Then he called for beers and began drinking. Austin even gave Heyman a beer. Heyman was thrilled to get Austin’s approval. Austin, then, of course, gave Heyman a Stunner. Nice skit that gave the fans a taste of Austin and gave the G.M.s some humiliating TV time on this major PPV.
-Terri interviewed Goldberg backstage. She asked him how it felt to be no. 30. Breaking Benoit’s record for how quickly it took for someone to interrupt him, Brock Lesnar entered the picture before Goldberg could say even one word. Brock said who cares what number he is. Brock mentioned the last time they crossed paths at a PPV. Goldberg said he is going to win the Rumble and regain his title, adding, “ain’t that right, Hardcore,” looking over Brock’s shoulder. Brock jumped and turned to see if Hardcore was behind him. He wasn’t. Goldberg said, “Some people have the nerve to call Mick Foley a coward. I don’t think so.” Good teaser for WrestleMania (presumably).
-The Rumble is going to be called by the two A-announcers, Jim Ross (the best play-by-play guy, no offense to the solid Cole), and Tazz (the best color commentator, no offense to the better-lately Lawler). Tazz said Foley had yet to show up, so that proves he’s a coward. Ross said the show isn’t over yet. Ross said if he doesn’t show up, he’s a coward, “and it hurts me to say it.” Tazz said he feels better.

6 — THE ROYAL RUMBLE

–(1) Chris Benoit vs. (2) Randy Orton to start. The match began at 9:40, just over half way into the entire three-hour show. They’re going with 90 second intervals between entrants. Nice opening match-up between two different brands. Benoit threw a series of rapid-fire kicks and a quick snap suplex. Orton fought back with a series of kicks at Benoit in the corner. When he tried to lift Benoit, Benoit applied a crossface, then a knee off into the gut off the ropes.
—(3) Mark Henry (w/Teddy Long) entered next. Henry methodically went after Orton, then Benoit. Not a great 90 second period, but they are sticking closely to accurate time thus far.
—(4) Tajiri came out next and went after Orton right away with a nice handspring elbow. Benoit gave Tajiri two consecutive German suplexes. Orton had Henry cornered, meanwhile, and tossed him over the top rope. Orton, though, caught himself and returned to the ring, hitting Henry from behind. Meanwhile, Tajiri and Benoit struggled in a corner.
—(5) Bradshaw came out next and nailed Orton, Henry, and Tajiri with a his clothesline from hell. He went for one on Benoit, but Benoit avoided it and turned it into a Crippler Crossface in a nice exchange. Bradshaw lifted Benoit and tossed him over the top rope, but Benoit landed on the ring apron and tossed out Bradshaw (***ELIMINATION #1***).
—(6) Rhyno came out next. He went after Orton from behind in the ring, then attacked Benoit. Meanwhile, Tajiri put the Tarantula on Henry. Rhyno gave Benoit a Spinebuster. Rhyno went for a Gore on Benoit, but Benoit moved and ran into Henry. Tajiri was then eliminated (***ELIMINATION #2***) when Rhyno bumped into him, followed by Benoit tossing Henry (***ELIMINATION #3).
—(7) Matt Hardy came out next. No Matt Fact for the Rumble. I was waiting for “Matt’s Lucky Number is 7.” Benoit quickly tossed Hardy over the top rope, but Henry landed on the apron. Rhyno had Hardy on the top rope, but Hardy stayed in the ring.
—(8) Scott Steiner came out next and clotheslined everyone in the ring. He gave Orton a t-bone suplex, an old Tazz specialty. He gave Benoit a belly-to-belly. Benoit fired back with two German suplexes on Steiner. Hardy and Orton battled in the corner. Ross said for the first time in the history of the Rumble, there are no former Rumble winners in the match. Hardy came close to eliminating Orton, but Benoit attacked Hardy to save Orton.
—(9) Matt Morgan came out, and Ross referred to him as a blue chipper. He sitdown powerbombed Benoit and then gave Hardy a big boot to the face. Some nondescript fighting took place for a minute.
—(10) Hurricane came out next and with his cape on, nailed Hardy with a crossbody. He then went to work on Morgan, who no-sold his punches. Hurricane gave him an eye poke, then dove at him. Morgan caught him and tossed him over the top rope at 13:37, drawing boos from the crowd (***ELIMINATION #4). Ross said Hurricane may have hurt his leg on the landing. Morgan tossed Hardy over the top rope, but Hardy just barely held on and avoided hitting the floor. Benoit chopped Rhyno as Steiner wrestled with Orton and Morgan fought with Hardy.
—(11) Booker T came out next, and Ross called him one of the favorites to win. He went after Steiner at the start. He then turned to Orton and gave him his scissors kick. They were filling the ring for someone to have the honor of being the first to do a major clearing.
—(12) Kane came out, and speaking of the wrestler likely to be the first to have the honor of multiple eliminations. Ross said he has the record for the most eliminations of a match.Booker eliminated Steiner off-camera as Kane came out, but they replayed it (***ELIMINATION #5). Morton went for a powerbomb on Kane, but Kane escaped and chokeslammed him. Rhyno charged Kane, but Kane gave him a big boot. Orton went after Kane, but Kane chokeslammed him. Kane stood in center ring as Ross called him the “bull of the woods.”
—Undertaker’s music played and Kane shook his head and screamed, “no, no.” Booker then attacked a distracted Kane from behind to eliminate him (***ELIMINATION #6***).
—(13) Spike Dudley then came out as the real 13th entrant. Kane chokeslammed him on the ramp before he could get to the ring. At the 20:00 mark, there were six in the ring, six eliminated, and Spike KO’d on the rampway. (***ELIMINATION #7***)
—(14) Rikishi came out next to no pop. Benoit backdropped a charging Rhyno to eliminate him. (***ELIMINATION #8***). Rikishi knocked his body into Hardy and then gave Morgan his Rumble initiation with a Stink Face for a small pop. Benoit then eliminated Henry (***ELIMINATION #9).
—(15) Rene Dupree came out next and did his silly French dance on the stage. He went after Hardy, but Hardy quickly went for his Twist of Fate. Dupree blocked it. Hardy went for a suplex, but Dupree dropped him stomach first over the top rope. Dupree then dropkicked Hardy off the ring apron (***ELIMINATION #10***). Not really a glamorous elimination for Hardy. Rikishi then sidekicked Dupree to eliminate him (***ELIMINATION #11***).
—(16) A-Train was the first to run to the ring at full speed and we went after Rikishi in what I said in the VIP Audio Roundtable yesterday previewing the Rumble was my “dream match.” I wasn’t serious, but ask and you shall receive. Benoit eliminated Morgan at 23:45 (***ELIMINATION #12***). Orton eliminated Rikishi (***ELIMINATION #13***) and then backdropped Booker over the top rope (***ELIMINATION #14***). That left Benoit, Orton, and Train as the only three in the ring.
—(17) Shelton Benjamin came out next, while Benoit eliminated A-Train (***ELIMINATION #15***). Benjamin went for a kick, but Orton eliminated him (***ELIMINATION #16***). That left just Benoit and Orton in the ring, the original two entrants. Nice booking, setting up the drama of which of the two first entrants would last the longest. The two bumped into each other and fell to the mat and lay flat on their backs.
—(18) Ernest “The Cat” Miller came out next, after an introduction from Lamont. He did a dance while Benoit and Orton attempted to regain their energy on the mat. Benoit threw out Lamont as Orton eliminated The Cat for one of the biggest pops of the night (***ELIMINATION #17***). Orton then went to work on Benoit. He showed a little too much energy considering he had just been lying on the mat for a minute exhausted from being in the match over 25 minutes.
—(19) Kurt Angle came out next, at which point Tazz reminded viewers that Angle promised he’d win and dedicated it to the troops. Benoit and Angle went at it, perhaps for the final time in a long time if Benoit indeed jumps to Raw. Orton sat in the corner recovering as Angle attempted to toss Benoit over the top rope. Orton then attacked Angle from behind.
—(20) Rico (w/Jackie) ran out next. Taz said, “Can you imagine if this guy won?” Answer: No. Orton took Rico down right away. Ross recited Rico’s resume as a former Las Vegas cop and martial artist. Rico fought back against Orton and gave him a climbing roundhouse kick in the corner. Benoit began a series of three unreleased German suplexes on Angle. Angle didn’t seem to be taking it easy on his neck on those bumps. Orton backdropped Rico over the top at 31:00 (***ELIMINATION #17***).
—Test’s music played, but he didn’t walk out. Spike Dudley, by the way, never made it to the ring, so we’re declaring him officially eliminated. They went backstage and showed Test on his back in the locker room. Austin ordered a new person to head to the ring right away as no. 21. Ross wondered who Austin was talking to.
—(21) Mick Foley’s music played and he charged to the ring and went after a frightened Orton. He did the “bang bang” and then eliminated Orton and himself with a diving clothesline over the top rope (***ELIMINATIONS #18 AND #19***). Foley choked Orton with camera cables at ringside.
—(22) Christian came out next to face the remaining two in the match – Benoit and Angle. Foley lifted ringside stairs, but ended up mistakenly hitting agent Fit Finlay. Orton then went after Foley with a bunch of forearms at ringside. He then brawled onto the rampway and yanked Foley onto the ramp. He then wound up for a chairshot, but Foley punched Orton first and clotheslined him to the mat. He then pulled out Mr. Socko.
–(23) Nunzio walked out, and Foley turned and put Mr. Socko on him for a pop. Orton then kicked Foley from behind, then retreated to the back. In the ring, Christian and Benoit were attempting to eliminate Angle. Nunzio was on his butt at ringside and didn’t enter the ring. Angle gave Christian and Benoit back suplexes as Nunzio continued to just sit at ringside. Tazz said that is one of his keys to victory – not entering the match.
—(24) Big Show came out next, at 38:30. Ross pointed out that big guys who get late entrants tend to win, pointing out that Yokozuna and John Studd won in the past as no. 27 entrants.
—(25) Chris Jericho came out next to a nice pop. He went right after Angle. Show knocked the heads of Christian and Jericho together. Then he headbutted Jericho as soon as Jericho tried to fight back. He threw a big chop on Jericho in the corner. Christian attacked Show from behind with a choke. Angle, Benoit, Jericho, and Christian all tried to eliminate Show. They weren’t able to.
—(26) Charlie Haas came out, and Ross pointed out he is an All-American from Seton Hall University. Jericho and Christian worked together to suplex Haas. Nunzio remained at ringside on his ass, not budging. Jericho eliminated Christian at 42:45 (***ELIMINATION #20***). Not the most dramatic angle they could have come up with to add tension to the Christian-Jericho situation.
—(27) Bill Gunn ran out and gave the Famasser to Jericho and Angle, then punched away at Show and Haas. Tazz asked Ross, “Have you ever been married to a guy?” It’s not what he said, it’s how he said it, as if he thought Ross just may have been at one point. Funny. Gunn, Haas, Angle, Jericho, Benoit, and Show were in the ring at this point with Nunzio still legal at ringside.
—(28) John Cena came out next and showed great energy and fire on his way to the ring. He noticed Nunzio at ringside and stopped to check on him. Nunzio asked Cena to be quiet and just go into the ring. Cena instead rolled Nunzio into the ring and attacked him. With Show’s help, Nunzio stomped away at Cena. Show then chopped Cena in the chest and ripped off his shirt. Nunzio attempted to eliminate Show, but didn’t move Show an inch. Cena fired back with punches at Show. He tried to eliminate Show as Nunzio attempted to eliminate Benoit.
—(29) Rob Van Dam had the “second luckiest draw” of the match. He rolled into the ring and went after Show with a series of punches and a jump reverse sidekick. He then attempted to lift show. Jericho attacked RVD. RVD fired back with a jump spin wheel kick on Jericho. Nunzio attempted to eliminate RVD as Haas and Nunzio battled, Gunn and Show battled, and Angle and Cena battled. Cena gave Angle for an FU.
—(30) Goldberg entered next, as designated beforehand. He gave a Spear to Show, then Gunn to start the match. Goldberg punched Angle, then Jericho, then RVD, then Cena, then Haas. Nunzio jumped on Goldberg’s back. Goldberg shoved Haas over the top rope with Nunzio on his back (***ELIMINATION #21***). RVD kicked Goldberg. Goldberg speared Nunzio, then clotheslined Gunn over the top rope (***ELIMINATION #22***). Goldberg pressed Nunzio and tossed him to the floor (***ELIMINATION #23***). Goldberg set up Show for a Jackhammer, but Brock entered the ring illegally and gave him an F5. Then he bailed out with a look of satisfaction on his face. That left Goldberg, Benoit, Angle, Cena, Show, RVD, and Jericho in the ring. Goldberg called him a “son of a bitch.” When he got up, Angle eliminated Goldberg (***ELIMINATION #24***). Angle battled Jericho, Cena battled Show, and RVD battled Benoit in various corners. All five went after Show and tried to lift him over the top rope. Show shoved them all down. They all bumped for him Dusty Rhodes style. Show lifted Cena, but Angle clipped Show from behind. RVD then gave Show a sliding legdrop. RVD then hit a five-Star Frogsplash on Show. Cena did a first drop. Benoit did a top rope headbutt. Then they all tried to lift Show. Ross suggested a forklift would be necessary. Tazz said he was deadweight. They couldn’t get a grip on the sweaty Show. I hope that wasn’t the plan. He shoved them all off again. Show then eliminated Cena who then reached for his knee immediately (***ELIMINATION #25***). RVD went for a monkey flip on Show, but Show tossed him over the top rope (***ELIMINATION #26***).
It was down to Jericho, Show, Angle, and Benoit. Show threw Jericho over the top rope, but Jericho skinned the cat back in. Jericho then threw a forearm on Show. Trainers came to ringside to check on Cena. Show backdropped Jericho over the top rope at 54:00, but once again Jericho landed on the ring apron. Jericho put Show in the Walls of Jericho. Show tapped out, but it didn’t matter. Angle went after Jericho. Show lifted Jericho with one arm and threw him over the top rope. No comments from announcers about how that dashed Jericho’s dream of headlining WrestleMania again. There wasn’t enough talk by Ross and Tazz about the ramifications of the match. Show chokeslammed Benoit in center ring. Angle then set up Show for a back suplex, but Show escaped. Angle did manage to give Show an Angle Slam, sending a message that his neck feels all right (well, at least until tomorrow morning). Angle then gave Benoit an Angle Slam. Angle dropped his strap and asked the crowd which of the two fallen foes he should go after. Show went for a chokeslam, but Angle escaped and rolled into an Anklelock. Show tapped out frantically, but it didn’t mean a thing. Benoit was facedown on the mat and not moving at this point. Show managed to eliminate Angle by flipping out of the Anklelock. Angle threw a small tantrum at ringside. Show ended up over the top rope, but on the ring apron. Benoit went to the top rope and came off with a forearm to the back of Show’s neck, sending Show flipping back into the ring at 58:33. Show went for a chokeslam, but Benoit escaped and went into a Crossface. Ross said the record for longest stint in the Rumble is 64 minutes from Flair in 1992. Benoit ended up outside the ring on the apron with a crossface on Show. He dragged Show over the top rope with him. Show flipped over and landed with a thus at 1:01:38. Really nice finish, especially after having firmly established during the match how difficult it was for even five or six men to eliminate Show. Benoit celebrated as the show ended and Ross sold it as “Benoit is headed to WrestleMania.” No specifics on which champion he’d be facing.
WINNER: Benoit at 1:01:38.

source: Wade Keller

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