Wrestling History Lesson: The 2005 Royal Rumble Match | Smark Out Moment

Wrestling History Lesson: The 2005 Royal Rumble Match

Posted by Unknown Monday, January 20, 2014
Batista John Cena Royal Rumble 2005 Final Elimination Botch
The Royal Rumble is just a week away, and WWE's excitement for it is...minimal. They've been so focused on the Network, Batista's return, Warrior in the Hall of Fame, and putting Daniel Bryan back on track, that they've nearly forgotten they have a Rumble to go to. But at Smark Out Moment, we have not forgotten about the best gimmick match of the year, and I am going to celebrate it in style by looking back on a Rumble from wrestling history—modern wrestling history, at least. Get in the TARDIS, because I'm going to take you back to 2005; a pivotal time in WWE as John Cena and Batista ascended to the top of the card, JBL was deep into his run as WWE Champion, and Heidenreich was a thing.

The reasons I've chosen the 2005 Rumble are precisely twofold: One, Batista's win (not really a spoiler) coincides with his return to the WWE and the Rumble match next week. Two, this was the West Side Story Rumble, which is hilarious. Give the promo a watch;

This was a Royal Rumble full to the brim with big stars that will be remembered forever, as well as complete nobodies who are forgotten almost immediately, with only a few guys inbetween those extremes. It's a Rumble that featured an insane elimination, racial politics, a hell of a lot of knife-edge chops, fake nationalities and a dog. So whithout further ado, let's get ready to Rumble! Yeah, I said it.

Eddie Guerrero entrance Royal Rumble Latino Heat Lowrider 2005The first man out is Latino Heat—the lying, cheating and stealing Eddie Guerrero in his last Royal Rumble—with lowrider and all.

Howard Finkel is the announcer, with a reminder of just how awesome he was. If you saw Cesaro/Regal on the last NXT of 2013, you know the Fink is still awesome, and in my opinion the best announcer in WWE history.

Once Eddie's car has been reversed out by the valet, entrant #2 is out, and it's Chris Benoit Stevie Richards.

Stevie Richards Chris Benoit WrestleMania joke
Pictured: The winner of the WrestleMania XX main
event and the #2 entrant of this Royal Rumble
Guerrero and Benoit (Shall we just say Benoit? Yeah, let's call him what he was, this is a history lesson after all, and history is all about facts.) have a good period of technical wrestling, as you would expect from them, before #3 enters and distracts them just a little bit, by cutting an awful promo.

Daniel Puder is a name forgotten by history, so we will not dwell on him too much.

But this was a man who had pissed off the wrong people thanks to nearly legitimately breaking Kurt Angle's arm, and this Rumble appearance was to be his on-air punishment.

Once he gets into the ring, Guerrero and Benoit proceed to slap the shit out of Puder (and he is full of shit, clearly).

Daniel Puder Royal Rumble 2005 Elimination Tough Enough Kurt Angle
If you look closely, you can see a career ending here
Hardcore Holly entering at #4 does not feel sympathetic to Puder and joins in the chop-fest.

It's almost comical to see the three guys just bully Puder, while he just has to stand there and take it.

A note to all rookies; do not upstage Kurt Angle. Puder's chest here is all the motivation you need to avoid doing that.

As a final indignation, Puder is chucked over and out while the camera isn't even looking, instead it's panning up for entrant #5: The Hurricane.

The Hurricane Gregory Helms Royal Rumble knife edge chop
He picked the wrong day to go shirtless.
And just before Holly can get too pleased with himself, the Best Buddies chuck him over the top too, and await Hurricane, who quickly becomes the second victim of Chop-Fest '05.

However, he is saved by a breakdown in the Best Buddies, as Benoit decides Guerrero needs a good chopping himself. Hurricane does get tossed out eventually though, and lands on his behind for good measure. 'So he can fly!' Tazz quips. Entrant #6 is Kenzo Suzuki, another early 21st century also-ran. And yes, Chop-Fest continues with him.

Edge Eddie Guerrero Rey Mysterio Chris Benoit legends Royal Rumble RadicalsEntrant #7 is someone actually relevant though, and it's none other than Edge, at a time when he was beginning to hit his prime. He chops Benoit, creating Chopception. We need to go deeper.

#8 is Rey Mysterio, who eliminates Kenzo, giving us an excellent four of Edge, Guerrero, Rey and Benoit in the ring.

Seeing that shows just how tragic wrestling (and life in general) can be. Whoa, we got a bit serious there. Back to the comedy now.

#9 is 'the Intercontinental Champion' Shelton Benjamin. I quote Jim Ross's introduction of Benjamin here because it seemed like he was permanently IC Champion from 2004 to 2006. At least in my mind he was. No eliminations before Booker T enters at #10. Then, a wild Eric Bischoff appears for seemingly no reason. Presumably it's because he wants to cheer on the RAW superstars, but the idea of the brand split is so alien to me now, I can't remember how anyone could hold strong feelings for one show over the other, even the characters who appeared on them.

Chris Jericho Y2J Royal Rumble 2005 ugly face
Not his best picture.

And just as I was about to make a point about how much talent was around in 2005 WWE, out comes Chris Jericho at #11. Yeah, that's a good way of proving that point. JR points out that Jericho was born in Long Island.

Ah, there's something that was crap about 2005 WWE; the decision to make all their Canadians become American, billing Y2J from Florida, and Benoit from Georgia. There was a reason for this madness, and after the completely irrelevant Luther Reigns enters at #12, the reason is revealed to us: Muhammad Hassan.

Muhammad Hassan Daivari Royal Rumble 2005 America foreign heel
I know what you're thinking: Daivari was awesome.

Hassan was a talented wrestler who was going to be pushed as the first 'evil foreigner' post-9/11, and judging by the reaction he got from the crowd here, was probably going to do pretty well at it.

Just in case Jericho/Benoit/Christian/Trish Strautus had to feud with Hassan, WWE decided they had to be American to do so, so they all got migrated south of the border.

But then 7/7 (the British version) happened and his character got (rightfully) binned.


Anyway, everybody hates Hassan so all the peace-loving Americans (and Mexicans and Canadians) team up to throw Hassan out in a cool spot. Now Jericho can go back to being from Winnepeg, you idiot. #14 is Orlando Jordan, who comes out to what sounds like one of the generic themes in the video game that year. #15 is Scotty 2 Hotty, who actually looks better in 2014 than he did back then. Benjamin 2 Button continues his Royal Rumble tradition of getting attacked on the entrance ramp (Previously he'd been punched out by Kane in 2002) as Hassan takes out some of his anger on him, and getting even more boos from the crowd.

#16 is Charlie Haas, who still had the World's Greatest Tag Team theme at this point. You could tell who the Jannetty was there. Booker T chucks Reigns (Luther, not Roman) and Jordan (Orlando, not Michael), does a spin-a-roonie, and gets eliminated by Guerrero pulling the top rope down.

Apparently they were friends at this point, but I would have no idea. #17 is Renee Dupree, who makes the odd choice of bringing a dog to the Rumble. Again, in my old age I can't remember what the dog was called or why he had one, but there it is; a big ol' black poodle.

Rene Dupree La Resistance France 2005 Royal Rumble dog
An oiled-up man in shorts walking a poodle and waving the tricolore; a normal sight in Paris.

Simon Dean Royal Rumble 2005 Simon System jobber
Believe in the Simon System.
WGTT get a brief re-union as they team up on Dupree, before Edge pushes Shelton off the top rope and out. #18 is Simon Dean, someone I very vividly remember. Now there's a guy you wanted to see get a punch in the face. Did anyone ever try to buy the Simon System? Anyway, while Simon warms up with some squats, Guerrero is eliminated by Edge after he looks at Mr. Dean for just a little bit too long. Simon steps into the ring just in time to be greeted and eliminated by entrant #19; the one and only Shawn Michaels, who then mocks the power squats, as displayed on the right.

Kurt Angle Shawn Michaels HBK 2005 Royal Rumble WrestleMania XX matchTazz and JR then get confused between Haas and Dupree, leading to Ross awkwardly saying 'au revoir' to Haas when HBK dumps him over. I dunno, maybe they changed Haas' nationality too.

#20 is Kurt Angle, in his last Rumble, who proceeds to suplex everyone in the ring except for HBK, who manages to dump him over the top by reversing the Ankle Lock.

This would set up those two for an epic WrestleMania match, but that's another story for another time.

Moving along to Jonathan Coachman as entrant #21 for some reason. He predictably fails completely, but manages to survive by hanging onto the bottom rope for dear life, before entrant #22 Mark Jindrak enters. Jindrak is forgotton immediately is Angle plays the 'sore loser' card and dumps HBK from the ring, before hitting him with the steel steps and giving him a crimson mask. Ah, the days when WWE knew what matches they were going to put on at WrestleMania by the time of the Rumble...

John Cena Word Life US Champion spinner belt entrance Royal Rumble 2005
Yes, Ruck those Fules Cena.
#23 is the creepy as shit Viscera, and #24 is the awesome as shit Paul London. Shit is apparently awesome and creepy now. Anyway, Jericho chucks Dupree out, defending the honour of Canada America.

#25 is John Cena, still with the 'word life' theme and the US Championship spinner belt.

But make no mistake about it, he was very close to permanently entering the main event, despite still dressing up as a mid-carder for his entrance.

He then chucks Viscera over and out, showing off his emerging Super-Cena powers.

Paul London Snitsky Royal Rumble 2005 elimination insane bump
Have a nice trip Paul.
#26 is Snitsky, which means it's now time for the best Rumble elimination ever. Not in terms of significance, just in terms of the insanity of it. Paul London takes on Snitsky, but gets dumped onto the apron. He avoids one clothesline, but gets clobbered with a second, flipping 270 degrees and landing on his face. Holy Shit indeed. Paul London remains dead on the outside while Cena stands up to Snitsky, and Kane enters at #27. This was during the whole Kane and Lita wedding/baby angle, where Snitsky punted the baby into Row Z. I'm 100% sure it wasn't a real baby, but it looked cool anyway.

Batista Kane Batista Bomb 2005 Royal Rumble winnerWhile London is being stretchered away, Kane chokeslams everyone, and throws Jindrak out, because apparently he was still in there. #28 is the man himself, big Dave Batista, who gets the loudest pop of anyone so far. Good odds that he'll get the same kind of response next Sunday, but will Daniel Bryan get a louder one?

Batista destroys Snitsky and throws him out, before Batista Bomb-ing Kane and getting a huge response from the crowd. Drax the Destroyer was very over. He also presses Jericho over and out, showing off the strength.

Not to be outdone though, Cena picks up Kane for the FU (a far superior name to 'Attitude Adjustment') and eliminates him, before having a chat with Rey Mysterio. #29 is Christian, the only man in this Rumble with a woman singing on his entrance theme. There's a historical fact for you.

Batista 2005 Royal Rumble winner Ric Flair evolution breakup
And the award for 'Best Flabby Belly' goes to...
#30 is Ric Flair, and many Wooos are heard.

Batista lets Flair chuck Coachman out, before moving on to Christian and eliminating him, the second Canadian-but-not-billed-as-Canadian he's tossed out.

Benoit does Chop-Fest '05 one final time on the Nature Boy, but that only gets him eliminated by Batista as well, making it a trio of Fake Americans for Big Dave.

Flair tries and fails to eliminate Batista, and he gets chucked out by Edge soon afterwards.

We have our final four; Rey, Edge, Cena and Batista. Edge and Rey have an excellent sequence of near-eliminations, before Edge finally spears him out. He then attacks both Cena and Batista, which proves to be a poor choice, as he gets tossed out by both. Just Cena and Batista left, and only one man can go to WrestleMania! (Ignore the fact that both of them went to WrestleMania title matches that year...)

The pair trade a few punches before Batista gets Cena up for the Batista Bomb. Cena makes him fall backwards to the ropes, and then this happens...

Batista John Cena 2005 Royal Rumble finish double elimination botch
Batista John Cena 2005 Royal Rumble finish botch double eliminationYep, both guys fall out of the ring, and hit the ground at pretty much the exact same time. Wrestling Historians (of which I am one, of course) have discussed whether or not this was a planned spot, or whether Big Dave botched in epic fashion by not holding onto the ropes. Botch or no botch, it's an awesome moment, and a time when the brand split actually aided the story, as the RAW referees declare Batista the winner and the Smackdown ones raise John Cena's hand. The speed with which the refs do this 'spot' makes me think it was planned all along, but Batista himself has said that he messed up the finish, so this one is still open to interpretation.

Vince Mr. McMahon 2005 Royal Rumble Quad Tear botch finish
Well, this is awkward.
To sort this incredible mess out, Mr. McMahon himself comes charging down the ramp, throwing his jacket aside in a huge (possibly legitimate) rage. Vince runs into the ring, but can't stand up. In his mega rage, he's blown out his quad, and all he can do is sit down while Batista and Cena throw each other out again.

Eventually, Howard Finkel announces that the match will be re-started, with just Cena and Batista. If this was a botch, they covered for it incredibly well, and if this was planned, they ran it right up to the last second of PPV time.

Batista John Cena Royal Rumble 2005 finish botch final eliminationBecause there is literally 1 minute before WWE gets cut off, Cena and Batista hurry through pretty much the same finishing sequence, but with Batista simply tossing Cena over.

Anti-climax? Perhaps.But all that madness will be remembered in Rumble History forever.

The aftermath of this Rumble saw Batista go on to win the main event of WrestleMania 21, defeating Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship, while Cena also earned a WWE Championship match, ending the 9-month reign of JBL at Mania. Both guys would become huge stars, with Cena becoming 'The Guy', and Batista eventually becoming 'The Guy in that Marvel film'.

Batista will be back this week of course, ready to take a WrestleMania slot away from a mid-carder who has worked all year for it. And he will be in the Royal Rumble, of course. Can he repeat 2005 and win it all?

Batista 2005 Royal Rumble Winner return 2014
Is this image going to get an HD re-make come Sunday?

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