Judge Daryl Loomis goes to work in a royal rumble seat.
The road to Wrestlemania begins…
In lead up to the silver anniversary of Wrestlemania, World Wrestling Entertainment presents their twenty-second annual Royal Rumble, from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI. By the end of the night, we will know one participant in the main event of the biggest stage in wrestling but, before that, let's have a look at the preliminary matches.
• Jack Swagger vs. Matt Hardy (ECW Championship):
• Beth Phoenix vs. Melina (Women's Championship):
• John Cena vs. JBL (World Heavyweight Championship):
• Jeff Hardy vs. Edge (WWE Championship):
The rules of the Royal Rumble are simple. Two men enter and the match begins. Every ninety seconds, another wrestler (chosen at random, supposedly) enters the ring. This goes on until all thirty participants have come down the aisle. To be eliminated, a wrestler must go over the top rope and have both feet touch the floor. The last wrestler in the ring is the winner and is guaranteed a title shot of his choice at Wrestlemania (except for about a third of the time, when they take the slot away for some storyline reason). Traditionally, the Royal Rumble is my favorite event of the year because it allows us to see nearly the entire roster on the card. This gives the second and third tier wrestlers a pay-per-view payday they wouldn't ordinarily get and allows them the chance to shine, even if it's just a little bit, on a big stage. This year's event has only three people who could, reasonably, be called surprises, and really only one of those is truly unexpected. This Rumble doesn't have the same kind of excitement that past years' events had, but the storylines they write at this moment aren't too compelling, either. It is a well-constructed Royal Rumble. Not their best, but far from their worst. More than other WWE events, the Rumble is especially good years down the line, when you can sit back and try to remember the name of the blonde guy who got a cup of coffee in the organization.
As usual, WWE has presented a very good release for one of their top shows of the year. The image looks great, nearly as good as the HD PPV broadcasts though, since they film their programming in Hi-Def, I wonder why they haven't entered the Blu-ray market. The transfer is perfect with brilliant, glistening clarity and realistic flesh tones. The surround mix is good and, again, much like the original broadcast. Most of the spoken sound comes from the center speaker, while the crowd noise fills out the surround channels. WWE DVDs are generally light on extras and this is no exception. We do, however, have an interview with that aforementioned surprise Rumble entrant, which is about as good as you would expect from this particular wrestler, and the following night's Raw segment with Randy Orton and Stephanie McMahon. As always, a solid release from WWE. If only they could put this kind of effort into writing, they might have something.
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