The twenty-third annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view event took place in Atlanta, Georgia on January 31st, 2010 and while it doesn't really deviate much from the formula that the WWE has been employing for most of their pay-per-view specials, it does deliver a couple of strong matches in between a bit of filler here and there.
Without further ado (and without venturing into spoiler territory for those who haven't seen it), here's a look at who goes up against who:
ECW Championship: Christian Versus Ezekiel Jackson - With the ECW brand on its last legs (which is a very sad thing, considering how great it was in its prime), hopes were pretty low for this opening bout but Christian and Ezekiel both brought enough spirit to this match to make it work. It's not one for the record books for anything but it is a good, solid match with both parties showing some good skill in the ring. Audience reaction is about average, but it is at least a decent opener before we move on to the rest of the night.
United States Championship: The Miz Versus MVP - This was a slightly better match than the one that preceded it with The Miz bringing his typically arrogant ways into the ring as he is apt to do. MVP dominates most of the match and there are spots where Miz really seems to be struggling but it's a solid fight through and through. The audience is more into this one than the first match which always help to generate a bit more excitement both for those in the ring and those observing.
WWE Championship: Sheamus Versus Randy Orton - The crowd definitely favors Orton from the moment he steps foot into the ring against his obnoxious 'Irish' opponent. Randy seems to feed off of their energy a bit and spends a fair bit of time pacing and giving Sheamus that evil eye of his before they get down to it. The match builds slowly but soon comes to a pretty good boiling point And the ending solidifies it nicely.
Women's Championship: Michelle McCool Versus Mickie James - Like a lot of the ladies' matches, this one seems like a throwaway. TNA seems to be doing a much better job with their women's wrestling than the WWE does these days. Regardless, the feud between these two that lead up to this match was interesting and did a good job of setting the stage for the fight itself, but it all ends so quickly that it feels rushed and very, very predetermined (even by WWE standards).
World Heavyweight Championship: Rey Mysterio Versus The Undertaker - This is the best match of the night and it's just flat out wild to see Rey standing up against someone so much bigger and far more powerful than he is. You know how it's going to end but getting there is still pretty solid. Mysterio does a really solid job of holding his own against The Phenom but once The Undertaker gets his hands on him you just know some serious damage is going to get done to the biggest little man. It drags a little bit in the middle but it starts off strong and ends really well and both parties should be commended for giving one hundred percent in this one. Two of the WWE's best do a fine job in this match.
30 Man Over the Top Royal Rumble Match - The main event featured Dolph Ziggler
Evan Bourne, CM Punk, JTG, The Great Khali, Beth Phoenix, Zack Ryder, Triple H, Drew McIntyre, Ted DiBiase, John Morrison, Kane, Cody Rhodes, Montel Vontavious Porter, Carlito, The Miz, Matt Hardy, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Shelton Benjamin, Yoshi Tatsu, The Big Show, Mark Henry, Chris Masters, R-Truth, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Chris Jericho, Edge, and Batista. Like most Royal Rumble matches, it starts off a little slow and builds fairly quickly to a really solid conclusion. We won't talk about the results here but there are a few interesting twists and turns here, many of which revolve around Shawn Michaels. Beth Phoenix shows up, marking the first time a female wrestler has competed since Chyna got in the ring ten years ago, and as far as the timing of the match goes, there was a really welcome air of unpredictability and excitement in the air. A few feuds are built upon here and the results of the match had some implications on what would happen in the next few months in the WWE universe and the much anticipated return of Edge definitely help here as well. All in all, a solid way to end the night and a very good Royal Rumble match by any standard.
So the bulk of the night is average to above average, but the last two matches really do stand out and make this worth watching. Obviously the WWE wanted to save the best for last and they did just that, meaning that casual fans may not have as much of an interest in the first four events but anyone who enjoys wrestling should definitely appreciate the last two. Better than a few of the other recent WWE pay-per-view specials, this one is actually pretty decent.
This pay-per-view event was broadcast in anamorphic 1.78.1 widescreen and that's how it's presented on this DVD, even if the picture is interlaced. The quality is pretty decent, not showing any annoying compression artifacts during any of the matches and only showing some minor shimmering in some scenes. Color reproduction looks alright and skin tones are fine but the black levels can sometimes be a little less than perfectly defined. The WWEHD logo is in the top left corner of the screen for the duration of the event.
WWE Royal Rumble 2010 has a strong Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. There are no alternate language subtitles or closed captioning options though a Spanish 2.0 Stereo mix has also been included on the DVD. The audio here is fine, there aren't any obvious problems to report. The dialogue is always easy enough to understand and there are no issues with hiss or distortion worth complaining about. The 5.1 track sounds nice and full, with some nice crowd noise coming from the rear channels but it remains front heavy for the most part. There's nothing reference quality here, but the sound is good.
As seems to be typical with WWE releases, extras are slim. Aside from some promos and PSAs that play before you get to the menu screen, which also offers match selection, the only extra on this disc is a clip from the episode of WWE RAW from February, 2010 where Bret 'The Hitman' Hart gets tough with Vince McMahon. It's amusing enough, but it doesn't add a w hole lot to the disc.
WWE Royal Rumble 2010 offers up mostly just average matches but the Mysterio/Undertaker bout and the actual main event itself make it worth checking out. As is the norm with WWE discs, there aren't any extras of substance but the audio and video presentation isn't half bad. Recommended for diehard fans and completists, a solid rental for everyone else.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.