WWE - Royal Rumble 2008
World Wrestling Entertainment // Unrated // $24.95 // February 26, 2008
Review by John Crichton | posted April 14, 2008
Highly Recommended
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Up until Eric Bishoff created the "Elimination Chamber", the Royal Rumble was (hands down) my favorite gimmick match. It might be the unpredictability of opponents. Or it could be the novelty of wrestlers taking on opponents that were out of the ordinary. Whatever it is, I always mark out every time that damn :10 buzzer starts counting down. This year's Royal Rumble was significant because it contains something the WWE hasn't been able to successfully pull off for the longest time - a truly surprising moment (more on that later).

This year's Royal Rumble took place at Madison Square Garden in New York (did I really have to tell you where it's located?) on January 27, 2008. In addition to being the 21st Rumble and lasting 2 hrs 46min, it also holds the distinction of being the very first PPV broadcast in HD (more on that later). Here's the card:

  • Career Threatening Match [Ric Flair vs. MVP] - It's been two months since Vince threatened that Flair must win every singles match he participates in or else his career is over. Since then, he's taken on Orton, Umaga, Triple H and Vince himself, and has prevailed in every match. This time, he takes on Montel Vontavious Porter in a match that doesn't conclude like the majority of MVP's recent matches have.

  • Mr. McMahon Discusses the Rumble Match w/ Hornswoggle

  • Chris Jericho vs. John "Bradshaw" Layfield - Anyone who thought that Jericho was half-assing it since coming back to the WWE should check out this match - the one that mercifully ends this storyline with Layfield. After this, JBL gets himself embroiled in the whole Hornswaggle/McMahon son mess, while Jericho...well, that would be telling.

  • Ashley Tries To Talk With Maria - Ashley: "So, what do you think about the hypocrisy of us being "faces" as we strip off our clothes and get naked for the entire world to see, while the heels are the "prudes"?" Okay, so she didn't say that. But it makes you think...no?

  • World Heavyweight Championship Match [Edge vs. Rey Mysterio] - I like Edge. I like Rey. But I just was not feeling this match.

  • Ric Flair In His Locker Room - After encountering Mr. Kennedy, we're treated to a mini-Evolution reunion.

  • Maria's Kiss Cam - Maria's "Kiss Cam" segment comes to a sorry conclusion when Ashley enters the ring with news for Maria.

  • WWE Championship Match [Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy] - There've been one or two previous PPV reviews where i've lamented the fact that Hardy is so over with the fans and it's foolish for Vince not to capitalize on it. Well, I guess Vince knows more than I (or other WWE fans) know and Hardy has been suspended. It's a shame too, because he did practically all the work during this match against Randy Orton.
  • Royal Rumble Match - As always, if you don't know the outcome (or don't wish to know), please stop reading now. However, if you truly don't know the outcome, I suggest you crawl out of whatever cave you've been living in and rejoin humanity because this Royal Rumble contains a truly shocking moment that the WWE hasn't seen in a while. See, back in the day - on the occasions when RAW needed to be pretaped - Eric Bishoff would give away some of the results for Monday Night RAW during that evening's WCW Monday Nitro. Since then, the internet has taken up the slack for spoiling most "creative" elements of the WWE. In between infinite amounts of popups, popunders and other spy/malware, most wrestling websites are privy to upcoming WWE (and, to a lesser extent, TNA) events. Heck, if you know where to look (and believe rumours), you would've known there was a plan for Fair's eventual retirement. So, when John Cena was announced as the 30th entrant for the Rumble, I, like many wrestling fans i'm sure, marked out. Not because of a "OMG it'z John Cena!!!!111" kind of feeling, but because we were truly shocked by something the WWE did. Let's hope they keep it up. Or the internet crashes. Whichever happens first. Oh yeah, the rest of the Rumble was pretty good too. Though, I have to say...I love Piper and Snuka. Love, love, love 'em. But, please, guys...for the love of all that is holy, if Vince calls you up again to participate in a match, follow Foley's lead and put a shirt on!

    The following wrestlers are in the Royal Rumble match and the numbers in parenthesis are the position that they entered the ring:

        Raw Superstars

      • Shawn Michaels (1)
      • Santino Marella (3)
      • Hardcore Holly (5)
      • Cody Rhodes (13)
      • Umaga (14)
      • Snitsky (15)
      • Carlito (21)
      • Mr. Kennedy (23)
      • Triple H (29)
      • John Cena (30)

        SmackDown! Superstars

      • the Undertaker (2)
      • the Great Khali (4)
      • Batista (8)
      • Hornswoggle (9)
      • Chuck Palumbo (10)
      • Jamie Noble (11)
      • Kane (20)
      • Mark Henry (25)
      • Chavo Guerrero (26)
      • Finlay (27)

        ECW Superstars

      • John Morrison (6)
      • Tommy Dreamer (7)
      • CM Punk (12)
      • the Miz (16)
      • Shelton Benjamin (17)
      • Big Daddy V (24)
      • Elijah Burke (28)

        WWE Alumni

      • "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka (18)
      • "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (19)
      • Mick Foley (22)

In addition to the matches, we're also treated to the following extras:

  • Intercontinental Championship Match - RAW January 14, 2008 [Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton] [8m 55s] - Thankfully, this match from RAW begins without the lengthy entrances from Orton or Hardy. It's also the match that saw Hardy swonton off a two story scaffold onto Orton.

  • Home Video Exclusive: Triple H Talks To John Cena Post Royal Rumble Match [1m 29s]

Video: Royal Rumble's picture was slightly more colorful and vibrant than most WWE PPV's. This is probably due to the fact that the Rumble is the very first PPV after the WWE made the jump to HD. From what i've heard, while the picture was a vast improvement over SD, there was still some occasional macro-blocking during the pyro. So, even though the fact that this was sourced from HD made a slightly noticeable difference with the vibrancy of the picture, the usual macro-blocking still occasionally rears its ugly head. Oh yeah, in spite of it originally being presented in a widescreen format, we're still saddled with the WWE's standard full frame 1.33:1 ratio.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 was clear and enveloping - with JR, Lawler, Cole, Coach, Tazz and Styles primarily in the center channel, various crowd noise in the left and right fronts and some slight ambience in the rears.

Even though I didn't enjoy the Edge/Mysterio match, Royal Rumble 2008 was pretty damn entertaining. It's a shame there wasn't an HD release, but fans shouldn't let that deter them from picking up this Highly Recommended release.

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