10 Things We Learned From WWE Royal Rumble 2010

Edge's big beardy return...

For WWE fans, the current decade began nine years ago with the somewhat-eccentric "I am The One" campaign for the 2010 Royal Rumble. Stars of the then-modern roster stood before a white background, repeating the "I am The One" cliche, and various derivatives, over top the positive strains of Skillet's "Hero", underscoring the positive thought needed to stand tall above such a competitive field. It wasn't West Side Story-centric dance fighting like in the 2005 event campaign, but this did nicely.

The 2010 Royal Rumble is fondly remembered by many modern fans, for two pretty good reasons - an intriguing dream match for the World Heavyweight title pitting The Undertaker against Rey Mysterio, and a Royal Rumble match that never once got boring. On the weight of these two items, the event was considered a success and a great start to 2010. Then we got Elimination Chamber, Over the Limit, SummerSlam, and Bragging Rights, and then it was like, "maybe 2011 will be better."

While it's true that much of the rest of the undercard was a bit forgettable (Randy Orton vs. Sheamus and MVP vs. Miz were quintessential, "yep that was a match" types), the final two matches of the 2010 Royal Rumble delivered, and that was good enough.

10. E-C-Done


For the third year out of four, the ECW Championship was defended at the Royal Rumble, and for the second year in a row, the match saw a member of the "TLC Six" facing a goliath graduate from WWE developmental. This time, it was Christian defending the gold against Ezekiel Jackson, in what turned out to be a decent little match, ending with Christian managing to outmanoeuvre his beastly foe.

This match would mark the final time that the ECW title was defended on a pay-per-view. ECW held its final broadcast just 16 nights later, the brand dissolving in order to make way for the "game show" version of NXT on SyFy. Jackson ended up defeating Christian for the belt on the final ECW episode, a title change that's been lost to time.

9. Mickie's Revenge


Some weren't pleased with the idea of a women's storyline centering around one making fun of the other's weight, but that's what we got when Women's Champion Michelle McCool hounded Mickie James with the nickname "Piggie James". But McCool would get her comeuppance after a very brief match at the Rumble, when Mickie (with the help of some babyface divas) humiliated her and Layla en route to regaining the belt.

The match would mark the final time that the classic Women's title (that existed for more than 40 years, beginning in 1956) changed hands at a Big Four pay-per-view. Overall, the belt would change hands three more times before Layla unified it with the WWE Divas' title by beating Melina at Night of Champions 2010, ending the older belt's lineage.

8. Zombie Speed


The match may have only been 11 minutes long, but Undertaker and Rey Mysterio's World Heavyweight title match made for an interesting battle of disparate performers, unflinching power against dynamic agility. It was the equivalent of superheroes of two very different origins clashing to determine the stronger entity, and this time, it would be the beyond-the-grave fury of Undertaker that won out.

According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Undertaker was actually limited in what he could do physically, due to having arthroscopic knee surgery just a couple weeks before the event. Mysterio compensated with a spirited, highly-athletic performance (read: his normal match), and Undertaker never looked out of place or hampered in the slightest. Through smart work and design, as well as some inspired creativity, the two pulled off a pretty good "lost classic".

7. Ecstasy Of Gold


Keeping in line with the ECW and Women's title match facts, the Undertaker/Mysterio match provides us with yet another ending point in regards to championships. Three weeks after the Rumble, Undertaker lost the World Heavyweight title to Chris Jericho inside the Elimination Chamber, the ending setting up the Undertaker/Shawn Michaels "Streak vs. Career" match at WrestleMania 26.

Thus, the Rumble bout with Mysterio was the last time that Undertaker successfully defended any belt on pay-per-view. After that, outside of a feud with Kane for the same belt in the fall of 2010, Undertaker existed primarily as the defender of his WrestleMania streak, stowed away in some ominous stand-in of a Fortress of Solitude, before somebody with a death wish would come calling in time for 'Mania season. In other words, the days of a part-time Undertaker were drawing close.

6. Royal Regal


William Regal made an on-camera appearance at the 2010 Royal Rumble, seconding Jackson to the ring for his ECW title match, only to be ejected several minutes in by the referee. Initially, Regal was set to take part in the Royal Rumble match, and was even announced as a participant on TV and on WWE.com, but did not perform in the match as advertised.

It's not clear why Regal was pulled from the Rumble match. He didn't seem to be injured, as he wrestled on ECW five nights earlier, and in house show matches in and around the date. There were no outside "surprise entries" into the Rumble, and the only surprises (a returning Edge, as well as Beth Phoenix) were both in-house, so his absence is a mystery.

5. Extreme Minimum


In the 2009 Royal Rumble list of facts, it was noted that the ECW representation in the Rumble match had whittled down to a very small cell of wrestlers. John Morrison, The Miz, Finlay, and Mark Henry were the only wrestlers from the purported "extreme" brand taking part, which was still enough to outsize ECW's reps in the 2010 battle.

With ECW on its last legs, the brand was down to three Rumble entrants: Zack Ryder, Shelton Benjamin, and Yoshi Tatsu. While Morrison and Finlay had respectable tenures in the 2009 match, none of the three men here lasted a minute, as Ryder (32 seconds), Benjamin (48 seconds), and Tatsu (29 seconds) were all bounced quickly. But fear not, ECW - you weren't the only ones with short nights.

4. Don't Overstay Your Welcome


Part of the reason why the 2010 match is so fondly remembered was the accelerated pace - eliminations were as rapid-fire as a school of flying Cheep-Cheeps on Super Mario 3, where if you blink, you missed three eliminations (probably the ECW guys). Eventual winner Edge only lasted 7:37 in the match, and he posted the 10-longest duration.

There were 20 men who failed to beat that 7:37, 17 men who failed to reach five minutes, and only one of those 17 (R-Truth) passed four minutes. Of those 15 men who lasted under four minutes, eight of them didn't even reach one minute - the aforementioned ECW fodder, plus MVP, The Miz, Matt Hardy, JTG, and Chris Masters. Maybe the parking meters outside the arena expire every seven minutes.

3. Cut To The Chase


John Cena would end up being the match's iron man, logging more than 27 minutes of ring time from the number 19 position. His predecessor, Shawn Michaels, took the silver in sheer duration, putting up a shade under 26 minutes en route to a fourth-place finish. Only five other men made it past 10 minutes (none of whom breached 20), so that gives you an idea of how in-and-out much of the field was.

In fact, after Cena entered at number 19, none of the 11 entrants after him even made it past *eight* minutes. In order: Benjamin (:48), Tatsu (:29), Big Show (5:04), Mark Henry (3:09), Masters (:29), R-Truth (4:22), Jack Swagger (2:06), Kofi Kingston (3:09), Chris Jericho (2:24), Edge (7:37), and Batista (5:24). Maybe there *is* some credence to that parking meter theory.

2. Full Circle


Edge's entry at the number 29 draw came as a surprise to the majority, as "The Rated-R Superstar" hadn't been seen since early July 2009, when he ruptured his Achilles tendon at a live event. After seven months on the mend, Edge (looking a little paunchy, but that's certainly understandable, given the expected inactivity) survived the final sequence, tossing Cena out to advance to WrestleMania.

According to Chris Jericho (Edge's partner before the injury, and subsequent in-character critic post-injury), he pitched the idea of having Edge win the Rumble to McMahon. This would be in conjunction with Jericho getting the World title from Undertaker (freeing him up to face Shawn), so that Edge would definitively choose the ungrateful Jericho as his WrestleMania target. Prior to going with a returning Edge, the plan was for Batista to win the Rumble, who would choose to face Cena (who would win the WWE title back at Elimination Chamber).

1. Yet Another Time-Related Fact


This list has been loaded to the gills with facts concerning the brevity displayed throughout the Rumble match, so what's one more? By the time Edge stood tall, Alter Bridge echoing throughout the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, stopwatch checkers came to the realization that the Royal Rumble failed to hit the 50-minute mark, clocking in at a paltry 49:24.

That makes the 2010 Rumble the second-shortest 30+ person Rumble in history, behind only the 1995 match. Said match was infamous for utilizing one-minute intervals (largely due to a dearth of quality wrestlers in the match), and that went 38:41. The two Rumble matches are the only 30-man versions to be finished in under 50 minutes. The inaugural 1988 match went only 33 minutes, but that had only 20 entrants.

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.