This is my favorite event of the year; it's so unique and usually action packed. There's a good formula to do the match right and a formula to do it poorly. It's a unique match to grade as well for several reasons: 1) it is so long, 2) it has so many different perfomers in it, and 3)You probably aren't going to see much psych involved, but the Rumble match itself can still be awesome. Let's see how '05 went down.
1 Shawn Michaels v. Edge- 5
2 Undertaker v. Heidenreich (Casket Match)- 3
3 JBL v. Kurt Angle v. Big Show- 4
4 HHH v. Randy Orton- 6
5 30 man Royal Rumble Match- 7
So, the Rumble was in Fresno, CA and the crowd was really hot. This opener went about 15 minutes or so and was pretty tame, like you could tell they were saving themselves for the Rumble match itself later on. Their pace kept picking up and dying and there were several miscues from both men; their chemistry was really off. Michaels punches looked as real as the Blair Witch; really telegraphed. Edge hit a couple of moves onto Michaels on the outside and JR made a point to say "those mats aren't very thick, King." Edge was using some of the ugliest rest holds I've ever seen; just laying on the mat and grabbing Shawn's chin anyway he could. The psych of this was way off; Michaels was face in peril for most of it, but no specific body part was worked or anything. Edge countering Sweet Chin into an electric chair drop was the spot of the match and the build towards the end was pretty hot except for the botched rollup with tights that capped this one off. Heidenreich is a complete joke; I mean, he does nothing well. His fake MMA gimmick is a joke; his punches look like he's using some dandelioins as punching bags. Taker did his best to sell them but it was quite useless. Snitsky and Kane interfered and it was applauded? Heidenreich messed up the 'Taker grabs your throat spot' in the casket so they did it over again minutes later; looked really bad. The one crazy spot in the match was when Heidenreich's top half of his body was in the casket and Taker shut the lid and dropped a massive legdrop on the whole thing. Usual tombstone finish and this feud is buried.
The 3 way was dominated by Big Show off the bat, throwing some really slow punches but, as always, some effective chops. Show's sells are so hard to fathom because he sells too much. This match was non-stop action throughout (I know, I was surprised too) with little to no psychology and no one really acting as if they had taken any damage except the 3 big spots: Show getting hit with a monitor and falling s----l-----o-----w------l----y through the announce table; Show tackling JBL through the ringside ring barrier and Angle passing out from steroid overusage, no he just took a sloppy Big show powerbomb or something that was supposed to resemble it. This was definitley not the route I expected them to take as the match never slowed down, it went from spot to spot but with no meaning behind it. Trips and Orton work a pretty well done match for the World Title. Orton comes in like a ball of fire and hits a dropkick with so much elevation Kareem would be jealous. He hits HHH with tons of offensive moves that the Game sells really well, especially the after-effects. Trips takes control and puts a raspberry on Orton's forehead then works his leg for most of the match with Orton selling everything exactly as it needed to be. They ended up playing a concussion angle where Orton took this really brutal clothesline and was never the same after it. Well done.
Now, the Rumble itself. We start out with Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit (sidenote: we had the usual skits in the back with guys drawing numbers; some pretty entertaining ones with Eddie getting #1 and Flair getting #30, so he steals his number...and his wallet, plus Cena battleraps Christian and embarrasses him). The rookie, Dan Puder, you know the guy who schooled Kurt Angle in wrestling, comes in and tries to get heel heat on the mic, then proceeds to get chopped TO DEATH. The next few guys come in and the whole match for the first 10 minutes is everyone exchanging chops. It's pretty fun to watch. Eddie is super over and Benoit is being so excruciatingly stiff in his run. Tons of names are involved in this one but you had several guys that are always really lazy. Rey Mysterio and Edge come to mind; after their initial entrance Edge lays around like he has heat exhaustion and Rey only appears when he's in a spot. Coach was in this too and garnered really no heat at all and simply got his face kicked in by Benoit late in the match. Michaels was pretty lackadasical as well, except for his really hot run with Kurt Angle, who lasted all of 30 seconds after destroying everyone. HBK prances around and throws really weak punches until Angle comes back in and they start the build for their Wrestlemania program.
Scotty 2 Hotty and Nunzio are two guys who never make it in the Rumble due to being bullied out of it or just plain beaten up. But, let's talk about eliminations: a very important part because they are so many, they are usually just relegated to falling out as simply as you can, but I think the eliminations are the funnest part. 3rd place goes to Booker T, who Harlem sidekicked all the way over the top. 2nd place to the Hurricane who landed ass first from way up high. And 1st place, and is the greatest elimination in Royal Rumble history goes to Paul London, who got clotheslined on the apron, did a shooting star press onto the outside arena floor. There have been plane crashes with less impact than that spill. Our Final 4 are our 2 lazy asses, Edge and Mysterio, then Cena and Batista who end up as the final two and they do the Bret-Luger spot of hitting at the same time but the way they go out had me losing it: Batista tries his Batista Bomb and they flip over the rope backwards catapulting both guys real high and falling really fucking hard on the outside. Great enjoyment out of that one. This also prompted another one of WWE's finest moments when Vince comes down to ringside to prove he's the big dick and blows out his knee trying to get in the ring! Beautiful, really hoped that was the end of his wrestling career. The actual end is pretty lame as they take turns throwing each other out until Vince "officially" says they can then Batista takes it home. Pretty entertaining Rumble, it's probably in the middle to high range of all time.