I can’t believe it took so long for the Undertaker to win a Royal Rumble! I mean I know it didn’t happen as I’ve written about them all so far, but it seems as though Taker should have won the Royal Rumble well before this point as he’d been in the WWE since 1990! There were only two Royal Rumble’s before Taker joined the WWE, it’s impressive that he’s going as strong as he is in the company. Taker has always been one of my favorites. When I was in college we didn’t have cable, so I was unable to watch much wrestling, but I got up every Sunday morning and watched the recap show. My roommate used to open one eye and glare at me as I turned on the TV in hopes that I’d get to see Taker. For me to get up before noon on the weekend in college was big, and all for Taker.
The Royal Rumble was presented on January 28th at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The dark match was JTG, with Shad, defeating Lance Cade, with Trevor Murdoch. The PPV started with the Hardy Boyz defeating MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro) with Melina. Bobby Lashley defeated Test by countout to retain his ECW World Championship. Batista defeated Mr. Kennedy to retain his World Heavyweight Championship. Cena defeated Umaga, with Armando Alejandro Estrada, to retain his WWE Championship in a Last Man Standing Match.
The Royal Rumble Match started with Flair and Finlay as entrants number one and two. Flair was first eliminated, by Edge. Kane entered at #10. this was his 11th appearance in the Royal Rumble, breaking his own and Rikishi’s record of 10 Royal Rumbles. This was also Kane’s 9th Royal Rumble Matches in a row. Viscera entered at #19. HBK came in at #23 and hit sweet chin music on Viscera, then it took eight people to eliminate him. This broke his previous record of the seven people it took to eliminate Mabel (Viscera) in 1994. Great Khali came in at #28 and did a decent job of cleaning house. Miz came in at #29 and lasted seven seconds. Taker entered at #30 and eliminated Khali, then MVP. The final four were Edge, Orton, Taker and HBK. Edge tried to attack Orton and they fought, but then they made up and went after Taker. HBK was outside, he came back in and eliminated both Edge and Orton. Down to HBK and Taker; chokeslam, sweet chin music and they continued to fight. HBK went for another superkick, but Taker avoided it and eliminated HBK. Taker was the first to win from spot #30, even though it’s the most fought over spot in the match.
Taker spent time on all three brands to try to choose which Title to go after – as if he’d actually go after the ECW World Title! Taker finally decided to go after Batista’s World Heavyweight Championship and sealed the start of their feud with a chokeslam! At WM23 Taker defeated Batista after a well fought back and forth match, ending Batista’s reign after 126 days. Of course this was just another notch in Taker’s WrestleMania streak. They had a rematch at Backlash in the form of a Last Man Standing Match, but it ended in a draw as neither man could answer the count, so Taker retained. I’ve read that this was a breathtaking match, so I will have to go back and refresh my memory. Then, on the May 11th episode of Smackdown they faced off in a Steel Cage Match, but that went to a draw as both of their feet touched the floor at the same time. After the match was over Mark Henry returned from major injury – he had completely torn the patella tendon off the bone and split the patella in two. After Henry’s attack on Taker, Edge took the advantage and used the opportunity to cash in his Money In The Bank contract. Edge won the World Heavyweight Championship. Take was laid out in the ring. His druids surrounded the ring, then carried Taker out.
Taker was out for a while due to injury, but he returned at Unforgiven to defeat Henry. A few weeks later on Smackdown, Taker defeated Henry again. Taker then renewed his feud with Batista who had regained the World Heavyweight Championship a Unforgiven. They went into Cyber Sunday not knowing who the Special Guest Ref for their match would be – Foley, JBL or Austin. Of course Austin ended up being the ref and stunned both Foley and JBL who got into a fight after the winner of the poll was revealed. Taker wasn’t able to defeated Batista on that night. They went to Survivor Series and fought in a Hell In A Cell Match, but again Batista came out on top when Edge returned and helped Batista win. Taker’s answer to this was to hit a tombstone on Vickie who was the Smackdown GM at that point, but also in a relationship with Edge. In response to this Teddy Long announced a Triple Threat Match for Edge, Taker and Batista for Armageddon. Edge won the World Heavyweight Championship.
At No Way Out Taker came out the Elimination Chamber as the winner and #1 contender. Taker went on to defeat Edge for the WHC at WMXXIV, just as Taker should at WrestleMania!
I went a little further than just 2007 with this one, but it was Taker and we all know he wins at WrestleMania. While this was a solid year for Taker, he’s had a long and storied career that should be celebrated. This didn’t do Taker justice, but I plan on writing a series about Taker’s streak, but that’s for another day.