Welcome back to the series! This is a detailed WWE Royal Rumble 2009 match review. The concept of the Rumble is unique, and I’ve had alotta fun reliving the classics.
WWE Royal Rumble 2009 – Joe Louis Arena
Again, I decided not to watch the undercard as it didn’t interest me to. The main things we need to know are:
- Jack Swagger retained the ECW Championship against Matt Hardy. This ended their feud as Matt was drafted to SmackDown shortly after.
- Melina won her third Women’s Championship by rolling up Beth Phoenix.
- Despite interference from JBL’s employee Shawn Michaels, John Cena managed to defend his World Heavyweight Championship.
- Due to Chavo & Vickie Guerrero, plus a heel turn by his brother Matt, Jeff Hardy lost the WWE Championship to Edge in a No Disqualification match.
- The heel turn in the WWE Championship match was originally scheduled for Christian after returning from his stint in TNA Wrestling. He was sent to ECW instead, while officials felt a brother vs. brother feud would be better for the SmackDown brand.
- Triple H lost a handicap match to Vladmir Kozlov and Big Show with the stipulation that he would start the Royal Rumble at the #1 position, but WWE decided to scrap it entirely and ignore the stipulation.
- With 15 superstars representing Raw, 10 representing SmackDown, and only 4 appearing for ECW, it’s safe to say the third brand was not in a good place in 2009.
- Rey Mysterio’s spot of stepping over bodies to not be eliminated in the Rumble had been done a year earlier on the WrestleMania pre-show.
- According to the Wrestling Observer, Rob Van Dam was contacted to appear less than 48 hours before the event.
- For the first time in history, the final four wrestlers entered the Royal Rumble in the first half.
Usually I can find a video showing the match somewhere, but the 2009 Royal Rumble is not an easy find. So the only three ways you can see this is either: 1) WWE Network, 2) Watch on YouTube (but it’s not full screen), or download it from somewhere else. As I go through this, I’d like to leave notes regarding the changes of careers for some superstars; seeing as it’s been a little over a decade since this took place.
Royal Rumble 2009 Roundup (#1-5)
Justin Roberts (now with AEW) kicks us off with the introductory explanation of the rules. Rey Mysterio sure likes to start early, as he’s there starting the Rumble instead of Triple H. Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler are on commentary, and the two couldn’t be any further away from rekindling their on-screen partnership in 2019. John Morrison is here (he left Impact not long ago and is rumoured to be returning to WWE after many years away) to give Rey someone to work.
Liking the intensity between these guys. Rey almost gets eliminated early, but the referees say he isn’t. Mysterio returns the favour and almost gets rid of Morrison before the next entrant.. who is so cool he goes by the name Carlito. He hits a “scintillating swinging neckbreaker” on Rey, and John is quick to notice and go for the elimination. Carlito hits a beautiful springboard moonsault.. wow. MVP is out next, and yeah, he’s pretty much retired these days. Some MVP chants too, but his time is numbered. Enjoying the fun action here in the early going. As Mysterio throws MVP around by his legs, business picks up when The Great Khali slowly walks to the ring.
As predicted, ‘Punjabi Playboy” chops and headbutts his way through the competition. He lays everyone out in time for the next entrant.. Vladimir Kozlov (went on to act, do stunts, and be the vice president of a production company) joins the fray, and who better to take on Khali? It takes him hardly any time at all to clothesline the bigger man over the top rope the floor. MVP tries stopping the undefeated Russian, but is dumped unceremoniously out of the match; and the crowd doesn’t appreciate it. Carlito is next to be eliminated, leaving only Kozlov, Mysterio and Morrison before #7 joins us.. it’s The Game! Triple H. JR references the handicap match, but doesn’t say anything about HHH having to start #1.
A slugfest ensues, and Kozlov used his head like a battering ram. Triple H tells Kozlov to “Suck It!” before eliminating him. Business is picking up though, as Legacy leader Randy Orton (still with WWE after teasing a run with AEW) is primed to strike. The two go at it, and HHH almost pedigrees Orton.. but Morrison intervenes with a springboard dropkick. Mysterio gets involved to by taking it to Randy. We’re back to the original two, and Rey hits the 619 on Morrison! Next entrant.. Yo! It’s CrymeTyme! The man who took a WWE paycheck for years while being used less than Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins combined is up.. you guessed it, it’s JTG. Bless him, he tries stamping his authority on things.. but Triple H is in there.
“Oh baby I’m Priceless!” Ted DiBiase Jr is here to help his leader Randy (he left WWE in 2013 to apparently spend more time with his family, and has rarely wrestled since). The ring is slowly starting to fill up. Brawling continues while we wait for #11, Chris Jericho (AEW’s Le Champion). He gets in to it with Triple H and gets close to hitting him with the Lionsault and Walls of Jericho. #12 is Mike Knox, a monster of a man. He goes straight for Mysterio, just because? Legacy are conspiring and picking targets to double team. Knox is taking it to everyone, even Triple H. We get only our second ECW entrant thus far with The Miz; the tag team champion partner of Morrison.
Orton hits Morrison with the RKO! RKO to Miz too! And one for JTG! HHH stops him with a Pedigree! The Game eliminates both Morrison & Miz at the same time! Here comes Finlay #14. Mysterio gets knocked to the floor, but stands on Miz & Morrison like stepping-stones and finds his way back to the ring steps to avoid elimination! Finlay’s hitting everything that moves and takes over proceedings while #15 heads out. Current AEW Executive VP Cody Rhodes is here to complete The Legacy. Speaking of which, they immediately team up and take over the match. Only been six eliminations so far. Oh oh.. it’s The Undertaker! The crowd pops as he walks down the ramp. Everyone in the ring stops and awaits The Deadman.
The Undertaker fires rapid strikes at everyone who comes at him! See ya later JTG. The crowd is chanting for The Undertaker as he boots Cody Rhodes in the face. *heavy inhale* Goldust makes it out as #17. And he’s not a fan of Legacy, as he punches DiBiase down to the mat. Cody is quick to turn Goldust around for a stare down, but he isn’t interested wasting time and throws right hands at his little brother. Randy watches on, patiently waiting his turn. When Goldust is finished with Cody and Ted.. RKO! Randy gets in Cody’s ear and tells him to eliminate his brother; and he obliges. Cody & Randy shake hands as CM Punk enters with his Killswitch Engage theme @ #18.
Big CM Punk chants as he kicks and knees all he sees. Bulldog on Jericho. Naturally, Triple H wants to bury him right away with a Pedigree.. but he gets put to sleep with the GTS! 3 .. 2 .. 1, here comes the Strongest Man In The World Mark Henry. Huge headbutts finding their mark. He stands on CM Punk in the corner til Triple H saves him. The ring is pretty full at the moment, eliminations have been sporadic. “Gold Standard” Shelton Benjamin might just get away without being eliminated by Shawn Michaels this year; he and Henry are the freshest at the moment. William Regal is #21 and after CM Punk; the man he lost the Intercontinental title to. Exploder suplex! He’s really pissed with Punk. While that’s going on, Mysterio & Triple H team up to eliminate Henry.
The future WWE Champion Kofi Kingston is here with his Jamaican gimmick.After a good start, Jericho stops Kofi’s momentum with a strong clothesline. There goes Benjamin, courtesy of The Undertaker. Big Red Machine Kane holds the record for most eliminations, and there’s plenty of bodies awaiting him. Undertaker seems to be bleeding from the forehead. The Brothers Of Destruction’s eyes meet in the middle of the ring.. they team up and double chokeslam DiBiase! Kofi gets a chokeslam from Kane, while ‘Taker deals with Y2J. Regal’s bad luck against Punk continues as he’s eliminated by his rival. “What’s up!” R-Truth hasn’t changed much the last ten years. The only Free Agent in the match is here.. the returning Rob Van Dam!
The superstars can’t believe it. Kicks everywhere.. kicks everywhere. Mike Knox tries to ground him but gets a kick to the temple. #26 is THE Brian Kendrick swinging his arms around. He gets rid of Kofi, which could be the only time he’s eliminated anyone? Kendrick celebrates too much for Triple H’s liking, and is aggressively tossed out after botching the initial elimination. There’s still so many guys in the ring at this stage, and the fans are mainly behind RVD. Dolph Ziggler is here.. and like R-Truth, hasn’t changed much at all. He lasts only 21 seconds before Kane launches him back to the locker room. Santino Marella makes history here.. as he breaks The Warlord’s previous record of quickest elimination ever (by Kane) with a time of only 1 second.
The legend enters, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan! “USA!” chants erupt as he delivers punches to anyone in range; even flooring The Undertaker and Kane! The last entrant is Big Show, but there’s so many guys waiting. Show & Taker stare each other down til Kane sends a message. Duggan tries picking up Show for elimination, but is asking too much and is eliminated for his effort. R-Truth is the next victim, as Show picks him up over his head and drops him out. CM Punk is next to go after fighting valiantly to stay alive. Show is on a role as he eliminates Mike Knox & Rey Mysterio at the same time. Hornswoggle’s in the ring biting Kane’s hand. Finlay saves him but eats a chokeslam and elimination for caring. Jericho stops Kane’s surge with a codebreaker.
Show & Taker are back to looking at each other, before they slug it out in the middle of the ring. RVD flies and hits Orton with the 5-Star Frog Splash! But he’s winded and Jericho throws him out. A classic visual of Jericho grinning while oblivious to the bemused Undertaker staring him down. Jericho hits the codebreaker, but is eliminated after he runs at the sidestepping Deadman. Legacy triple team to force Kane out. Show goes after HHH while Legacy square off against Undertaker. Show chokeslams The Game. Taker chokeslams Legacy. Show & Taker again.. and while they fight on the apron, Orton tries the RKO on Undertaker but is swatted away. Instead, he goes for the RKO on Show and eliminates him! While Taker is fighting on the apron, Show grabs his leg and eliminates him!
We’re down to Triple H and the three Legacy members. Essentially a 3-on-1, it’s asking a lot of The Game. Orton directs traffic at Priceless. HHH wills his way back in to it and pedigrees Cody. DiBiase’s eliminated! Cody also! Ohh! Ortion eliminates Triple H! Just like that, all he needed was two other guys to provide a distraction to give him his first Royal Rumble victory. He picks up his Legacy buddies and holds their arms up high; the biggest spotlight Cody & Ted have enjoyed at this point of their careers. The Viper is going to WrestleMania 25, as he copies what Cena did from the previous year by pointing at the WM sign. After the third point, fireworks erupt to close this show.
I gotta’ say that I really enjoyed this Rumble. Putting my feelings of this time period aside (I’d turned to TNA by this point, as I was tired of Cena/Orton/Batista/HHH winning everything), I cannot deny that everyone did a great job. There’s always action going on, and with sporadic eliminations there’s no quiet periods to speak of. There were also no wasted entries, as even Jim Duggan contributed much to this. The ECW brand was poorly represented, but it makes sense given its condition.
The overall event was well-received by critics, as they enjoyed Matt Hardy’s heel turn and the story WWE set up between Legacy and Triple H (although the choice of winner was predictable). If I have to nitpick, then you may sit through this wondering why the superstars are smart enough to realize the threat of an Undertaker, a Big Show or a Great Khali.. but they never see Legacy as the main threat. Big Show is way too interested in fighting Undertaker; even though you’d rather face him one-on-one than Legacy three-on-one.
There’s not much else I can say about this, other than it was more enjoyable than some of those which preceded it. The winner was the predictable, yet logical choice; but did it end up making the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania any good? You can find out in my old, yet freshly edited WrestleMania XXV review in the link below. Thank you for reading! And see you again next time for Royal Rumble 2010. – WrestleMania XXV