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Royal Rumble 2008 results, live retro blog: AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA!

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In October 2007, John Cena tore his pectoral muscle. He tore it in the early moments of this match right here. The tear ended the longest WWE Championship reign since the height of Hulkamania. He was supposed to be out for at least six months. Maybe even a year.

John was back in less than four months.

Relive that night for this week's edition of the Live Retro Blog, the 2008 Royal Rumble, taking place on January 27, 2008 from Madison Square Garden in New York City in front of 20,798 members of the WWE Universe.

In addition to the annual exercise that is the 30-man Royal Rumble match, Randy Orton will defend the WWE Championship against Jeff Hardy. Edge will defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Rey Mysterio, and Ric Flair will look to hold on to his career for one more day as he takes on MVP.

Showtime for the Live Retro Blog is 8pm ET Saturday. That's 7pm CT, 5pm Pacific, 3pm Hawaiian, and 1am in Britain. Everywhere else, I trust you can figure it out.

WWE Network subscription is required, as we'll be following along with that version of the show. If you have a DVD of the show, that's cool. Any other version, and you're pretty much just taking your chances. If you don't have WWE Network, you can subscribe here (just in time for this year's Royal Rumble, no less) or pick up a WWE Network gift card at any 7-Eleven, Gamestop, Walmart, or wherever they are sold.

Let's get ready to Rumble!

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Royal Rumble 2008 Intro by Mixed-Tv

Rated TV-14 DLV.

Highlights and logos of past Royal Rumbles and a look at some of this year's entrants interspersed with the Royal Rumble 2008 ad set to the theme for the Rumble, "Stand Up For Rock 'n Roll" by Airborne.

PYRO AND BALLYHOO!

It's the 21st annual Royal Rumble from the sold out Madison Square Garden in New York City. 20,798 WWE fans as we set out on the road to Wrestlemania XXIVOoh... a first! The Royal Rumble in HIGH DEFINITION! Your commentators are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Jonathan Coachman, Joey Styles, and Tazz. Yes, all of them. They'll commentate their brand's match as the show progresses, and they'll all be on the call for the Rumble.

They're using the side entrance. Nice.

Before the opening contest, Ric Flair gives his goodbye speech, you know, just in case. Flair's first match in MSG was in 1976. Before he could finish his thanks, he's interrupted by his opponent, WWE United States Champion, Montel Vontavious Porter, aka MVP.

Match 1: Ric Flair defeated MVP via submission in 7:48. MVP's United States Championship was not at stake. MVP had it wrapped up, but Flair got his foot on the bottom rope. MVP never recovered psychologically, and had his Playmaker countered into the Figure Four.

Backstage, Mr. McMahon talks with Hornswoggle McMahon and there's a whole discussion about trust and such before Finlay interrupts.

Shot of outside the Penn Station entrance in Madison Square Garden. Another first! Mike Adamle! MIKE ADAMLE! The guy from American Gladiators! This was his WWE debut. Adamle segues into footage of the Chris Jericho-JBL feud, which brings us to the following contest.

Match 2: JBL defeated Chris Jericho via disqualification in 9:23. Jericho killed JBL dead with that chairshot. Well, that's what you get for calling Chris Jericho a coward in front of the man's kids, JBL. You kinda had it coming. Winning was tertiary at best for Jericho behind beating JBL's ass and killing JBL.

Backstage, former Playboy centerfold Ashley Massaro wanted to talk with Maria about posing for said magazine, but the unibrow Santino Marella is having none of it (FUTURE EDDIE MAC ALERT: Maria's the last WWE diva to pose for the magazine. WWE went PG later in the year.)

Wrestlemania XXIV countdown! 63 days! Royal Rumble theme plug!

A recap of the Edge/Rey Mysterio feud brings us to the following contest.

Match 2: JBL defeated Chris Jericho via disqualification in 9:23. Jericho killed JBL dead with that chairshot. Well, that's what you get for calling Chris Jericho a coward in front of the man's kids, JBL. You kinda had it coming. Winning was tertiary at best for Jericho behind beating JBL's ass and killing JBL.

Backstage, former Playboy centerfold Ashley Massaro wanted to talk with Maria about posing for said magazine, but the unibrow Santino Marella is having none of it (FUTURE EDDIE MAC ALERT: Maria's the last WWE diva to pose for the magazine. WWE went PG later in the year.)

Wrestlemania XXIV countdown! 63 days! Royal Rumble theme plug!

A recap of the Edge/Rey Mysterio feud brings us to the following contest.

Match 3: Edge defeated Rey Mysterio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship in 12:34. Vickie Guerrero took the match-ending 619 for Edge, allowing him to recover just long enough to spear Mysterio from midair as he tried for the San Diego Splash (that's what I call that springboard splash thing). But again, it took the Familia for Edge to hang on. Also, Rey's compassion may have costed him there. Z-Pak it, Vickie. You'll be alright.

Backstage, Ric Flair runs into Mr. Kennedy. Kennedy. Kennedy seems impressed by Flair's win tonight. Shawn Michaels enters. He does the whole "I'm watching you watching me" thing and chats with Ric. Hey! Here's Dave Bautista. Hey! Here's Triple H! They talk the Rumble and such. And Shawn shills his shirt.

Royal Rumble billboard!

Maria Kannellis appears in a shiny gold number, and it's WWE Kiss Cam time! I think one guy tried to feel up a boob or something. Ashley Massaro appears, and she pitches the Playboy offer again. Out comes the unibrow again, Santino Marella. He runs down all the New York teams, including the New York Giants (who I believe would go on to win the Super Bowl a week later). Santino says nobody wants to see Maria naked, but since NYC wants to see boobies, he has some substitute boobies: Big Dick Johnson. Ashley runs him off with rubber chickens.

FUTURE EDDIE ALERT: By the way, Big Dick: that's the guy that co-executive produces Lucha Underground.

Baywatch-style ad for Wrestlemania XXIV featuring Kelly Kelly and Mae Young.

Mike Adamle returns and he makes his most famous gaffe, "Jeff Harvey" (the gaffe is edited off the Network and DVD versions. So here it is. Thanks Internet!). Highlight package of Randy Orton and Jeff Harvey Hardy's careers brings us to the following contest. Another first: Jeff Hardy's first PPV main event (FUTURE EDDIE ALERT: It quickly fell apart for Brother Nero. He would miss Wrestlemania XXIV after he failed a Wellness test about three weeks before Mania, and it killed his push for a while).

Oh, since the Network version dubs in music for Jeff Hardy's portion of the promo, here it is. It's one of my favorites of the "PG era".

Match 4: Randy Orton defeated Jeff Hardy to retain the WWE Championship in 14:03. Jeff Hardy's Intercontinental title was not at stake in the bout. Give it to JR and the King (and even Adamle earlier) for selling the dream, but no way Jeff was gonna win the WWE title in his first main event. Twist of Fate reversed into an RKO in one of the more beautiful finishes I can remember. That building DIED in a heartbeat after that sudden RKO. Jeff gets the slow standing ovation, but yeah. That crowd was stunned into silence.

Another first: the Royal Rumble by the Numbers video. And they actually kept in the NFL Films music for the Network version.

Match 5: John Cena last eliminates Triple H to win the Royal Rumble match and a world championship match of his choosing at Wrestlemania XXIV in 51:26.

Ok, twelve things you need to know about the Rumble:

  1. The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, the last two men in the 2007 Rumble, open the 2008 Rumble. If I'm not mistaken, it's the only time that's happened.

  2. The Undertaker continues to be the dumbest ass.

  3. Shawn and Undertaker's face when Santino Marella comes in, though.

  4. A precipitous fall for The Great Khali, who cannot wrestle. Six months prior, he was a world champion. Think about that.

  5. New York loves CM Punk.

  6. SNUKA! PIPER! OLD MEN BRAWLING! If they only had Hulk Hogan, we would have had the Wrestlemania I trilogy.

  7. MICK FOLEY!

  8. Number of men it took to eliminate Big Daddy V in 2007: eight. Number of men it took to eliminate Big Daddy V in 2008: one.

  9. So... show of hands if you had Batista as your Rumble Ironman in 2008. Not bad for a guy who had a guy who had a torn pectoral muscle a year prior. Speaking of which..

  10. That pop for John Cena though. Still stunned that WWE managed to keep that one under wraps.

  11. Almost forgot: Finlay got disqualified. That's... a first.

  12. Oh, and in a parallel universe, the 2009 Rumble is still in progress. Hornswoggle was never eliminated.

Cain A. Knight did a breakdown of survival times and entrance times and such last year, and it's worth a read if you got five minutes to kill. BTW: Cena was in for all of eight and a half minutes, making it one of the shorter Rumble wins ever.

EDDIE MAC'S QUICK REVIEW

I remember the reaction back in 2008 around the Interwebs that the surprise of John Cena pretty much ended all pretense of who would win the Rumble match. I get that. John Cena ruins everything, blah blah blah.

That said, without the return of John Cena, this is probably one of the more forgotten Rumbles in WWE history. The event as a whole was remarkably average. It wasn't a bad show, but it wasn't a great show either. It was inoffensively okay. This is a Big Four show. You have to do better than inoffensively okay. I'll split the middle leaning up with a 6 out of 10.

Back next week with one of the memorably bad Rumbles of all time.