Actually, it's just the one. Tomorrow marks the return of the Royal Rumble, and the annual Road To Wrestlemania. I'll be giving you a breakdown of the matches on the card, followed by my take on the Rumble match itself. [Smackdown matches in blue, RAW in red]
JBL vs. The Boogeyman
I could complain about the overall absurdity of this match, but I have to give the WWE credit for having a feud develop over more than one week. The Boogeyman was intended to be some sort of malevolent demon in the vein of The Undertaker, but then was recast as a character forced upon Smackdown by UPN executives. For some reason, The Boogeyman and his worm/cancer eating have clicked with the fans. I see JBL taking this match, due to a Flavor Flav run-in where he attacks The Boogeyman for ripping off his big clock gimmick.
Mickie James vs. Ashley - Trish Stratus as special referee
I have high expectations for this match, even though it's just a placeholder for the inevitable Mickie/Trish match at Wrestlemania. Their relationship has taken some nicely creepy turns, with Mickie descending from admiration to dangerous obsession. WWE did make a false step trying to gild the lily with some lesbian overtones, but they seemed to catch on quickly. Diva Search winner Ashley seems to be the odd woman out here, but I'm sure she'll wear something to keep the fan's attention. Mickie cheats to win, but Trish catches her and awards the pin to Ashley. Mickie is enraged and destroys both of them.
Open Invitational Match for the Cruiserweight Championship
As of this writing, there is little info about the details of this match. In fact, it's unknown if there will be more than one opponent. I expect that the match details will depend on the rest of the show. Last year's Rumble almost ran over the three-hour mark, so I see this match acting as a safety valve. No matter what the match turns out to be, I see Kid and his almost infringing theme music retaining the belt.
World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle vs. Mark Henry
Necessity is the mother of invention, and so is this match. WWE was planning on Batista headlining Wrestlemania, but a pair of injuries have put him on the shelf for the near future. This left Smackdown without a champion. WWE's solution to this problem was found in Kurt Angle, who jumped from RAW to claim the Big Gold Belt. In an odd twist, Angle's opponent is the same person who quite possibly caused Batista's injury, Mark Henry [brought in by MNM manager Melina as a bodyguard during their sexual harassment angle]. Mark's actually been under WWE contract for 10 years, but injuries and various failed gimmicks have kept him off of the air. The end result? Angle gets to headline another Wrestlemania, and Henry gets carried to a quality match as he spends the rest of his contract back in Silsbee, TX.
WWE Champion Edge vs. John Cena
After surviving the Elimination Chamber at New Years Revolution, John Cena seemed sure to take the WWE Title to the Rumble and eventually, Wrestlemania. However, Edge seized the opportunity and cashed in his Money in the Bank title shot[won at last year's Wrestlemania]. After two spears, Edge claimed the WWE championship. In the weeks afterward, Edge has proven to be more than a 'placeholder' champ, though I would feel better if he got a new belt, rather than Cena's spinning 'bling belt'. Speaking of which, Edge's popularity could be bad news for Cena, whose 'Chain Gang/Thuganomics' persona is becoming less popular with the live crowds. Edge retains to headline Wrestlemania, which leads us to...
The Royal Rumble Match
The rules are simple. Two wrestlers start out in the ring and at regular intervals, another wrestler enters until all 30 have been called. A wrestler must leave the ring over the top rope and have both feet touch the floor to be eliminated. The last man standing wins the Rumble, and a title shot at Wrestlemania.
On the RAW side we have:
1) ROB VAN DAM - Making his return after almost a year on the shelf due to injury
2) BIG SHOW - Always a formidible opponent in the Rumble
3) KANE - My personal dark horse winning pick
4) SHAWN MICHAELS - Will get screwed by Mr. Mcmahon; furthering their angle
5) TRIPLE H - Never underestimate his ability to turn the spotlight back on himself
6) CHRIS MASTERS - Fortune Brands sues Chris for trademark infringement, forcing him to quit wrestling forever
7) CARLITO - Eats an apple, gets destroyed by Kane
8) TREVOR MURDOCH - Is it too late for him to reunite with Lance Cade in a Brokeback Mountain gimmick? It worked so well for Billy and Chuck
9) SHELTON BENJAMIN - Miscues with his mama lead to early elimination, and in a dramatic scene, we see tempers flare between pretend Mother and Son
10) VISCERA - If he makes it through the entire match without humping anything, it's a victory for everyone.
11) CHAVO GUERRERO - his performance will prove whether he or I profitted more off of the death of his uncle Eddie.
12) JONATHAN COACHMAN - Will suck
13) RIC FLAIR - If you never got to see your grandfather prance about in a feathered sparkly robe and subsequently get beaten to a bloody pulp, here's your chance
SMACKDOWN gives us:
1) CHRIS BENOIT - One of the greatest wrestlers ever. Sadly will not win, but will make a good showing
2) REY MYSTERIO - Rumors are swirling about a title shot and possibly a title run. Would be strange to have a World Champ that couldn't ride most roller coasters
3) RANDY ORTON - Calls in his favor to Booker T who refuses, leading to a match at the next Smackdown PPV
4) MATT HARDY - Gets eliminated early due to his trying to figure out where he went wrong in life
5) ORLANDO JORDAN - With a bisexual angle heading his way, Orlando tries to distract himself by staring at a copy of his credit card statement
6) LASHLEY - Makes the final five, but his Small Voice renders him unable to intimidate the other wrestlers, leading to his elimination
7) SYLVAN - He's still French, right?
8) ROAD WARRIOR ANIMAL - A great wrestler back in the day, his roly-polyness proves to be his downfall
9) JOHNNY NITRO - Discovers to his horror that HE'S Joey Mercury, which causes a complete breakdown
10) JOEY MERCURY - Vice Versa
11) SIMON DEAN - Half-heartedly competes, all the while remembering his time as Nova. Also questions why WWE gave him a Segway replica, instead of the real thing
12) BOOKER T - See Randy Orton
13) SUPER CRAZY - Thanks his lucky stars he cut ties with Juventud
14) PSICOSIS - Ditto
Note that there are still 3 spots unaccounted for, which leaves the door open for a surprise celebrity entrant, a returning wrestler, or a debut. Also, Vince McMahon will draw the entry numbers himself on the PPV, rather than before the show. This may affect the betting line, so be forewarned.