Event: Royal Rumble 2005
Date: January 30, 2005
Location: Save Mart Center in Fresno, California
Last Eliminated: John Cena
Iron Man: Chris Benoit
Quickest Out: Simon Dean
Most Eliminations: Batista
With the benefit of hindsight, the start of this Rumble is uncomfortable to watch, at least for me. Eddie Guerrero is entrant one and Chris Benoit is entrant two. They do their thing until Daniel Puder comes out at number three.
It's at this point that it gets uncomfortable.
Puder was basically a rookie and with the culture of pro wrestling being what it is, and Benoit and Guerrero playing into it with a seriousness that bordered on psychotic at times, he was hazed in the form of a chopping contest. Then, Hardcore Holly came in at number four. Holly, one of the biggest douche bags in wrestling history because he's a bully who delights in tormenting those who are weaker or in a position under him, worked stiff as hell and continued chopping Puder's chest until it was raw.
Benoit and Guerrero encouraged all this until finally Holly tossed Puder from the ring. It was brutal and senseless and dumb and everything that can be wrong with pro wrestling.
As it turns out, though, this Rumble featured many of the smaller guys who weren't considered top level draws lasting a long time with good showings in the match. Guerrero went for 28 minutes, Benoit went for 47 as the match's Iron Man, Edge went for 40, Rey Mysterio went for 38, and Chris Jericho went for 28.
It was a good night for vanilla midgets.
In the end, though, it came down to the two most muscle bound meatheads in the match, Batista and John Cena. And WWE went with a smoz finish, electing to have both men eliminate each other at the same time, just like Lex Luger and Bret Hart did back in 1994. But instead of declaring the two co-winners as they had done 11 years earlier, Vince McMahon famously rushed to the ring in anger and restarted the match.
You'll remember, this is the event that McMahon tore not one but both of his quadriceps when he jumped into the ring and exploded his legs on it. It was a total fluke injury aided by a few things we need not even mention. Just know how rare something like this is for someone in his position.
Anyway, the match restarted, Batista emerged victorious and went on to become a big star at WrestleMania that year thanks to Triple H putting him over at consecutive pay-per-views. Cena would be okay too, as he would go on to win the WWE championship on the SmackDown brand from JBL, also at WrestleMania.