Over ten years ago we witnessed one of the greatest underdog stories in WWE history when Rey Mysterio survived 29 other men to win the 2006 Royal Rumble, dedicating his victory to his late friend Eddie Guerrero.
After the untimely death of Latino Heat the previous November, Mysterio overcame all odds not just by being the shortest superstar in the match but he also had to win it from the number two slot, surviving over an hour of gruelling competition to come out on top.
Mysterio kicked things off with number one entrant Triple H and it was the Biggest Little Man who had The Game reeling in the early goings and things went from bad to worse for Triple H when former manager Ric Flair returned to face his former friend at the number five slot.
However, Triple H overcame the challenge of the 16-time world champion eliminating him from the match but then he came face-to-face with rival Big Show, before Jonathan Coachman’s decision to go for Big Show proved costly with Show making Coach’s stint in the match a short one.
Bobby Lashley took the fight to the World’s Largest Athlete as he entered at number eight but his debut Royal Rumble came to an end when Kane teamed up with tag team partner Show to nail Lashley with a double chokeslam, before tossing him over the top rope.
However in the Royal Rumble match it is every man for himself and Big Show and Kane came to blows and as the two heavyweights teetered on the ropes, Triple H came from behind to eliminate both men.
The ring began to fill up with Carlito Rob Van Dam, MNM and surprise entrant Tatanka joining in the match but Booker T would not have been happy with his display, as he lasted just 18 seconds after being eliminated by Chris Benoit having entered at the unlucky 13 slot.
Rob Van Dam made his return as the number 20 entrant as he joined another ten superstars in the ring, while Chavo Guerrero paid homage to uncle Eddie with the three amigos but his decision to go up for a frog splash proved costly as Triple H sent him flying.
Business began to pick up with Shawn Michaels as the number 25 entrant as he came in with a fury of hits and eliminated Trevor Mudoch from the match, before HBK had to hang on for dear life at Carlito’s attempt to eliminate the two-time Royal Rumble winner.
Randy Orton made an instant impact in the lucky number 30 slot eliminating Chris Benoit and hit an RKO on Viscera. Carlito and Chris Masters then worked together to eliminated the 500 pounder Viscera but Carlito then tossed his tag team partner out of the Rumble.
Shawn Michaels eliminated both MNM members Joey Mercury and Jonny Nitro but then Vince McMahon came out to cost Michaels his place in the match with son Shane sneaking up from behind to cost Michaels his spot in the main event of WrestleMania.
RVD’s ended Carlito’s 38 minute stay in the match as he joined Mysterio, Triple H and Orton in the final four but Van Dam’s decision to go up top for the five-star frog splash cost him as The Game sent Mysterio into RVD knocking up off the top rope and to the floor.
Mysterio survived a double team from the former Evolution teammates hitting a double 619 and then Mysterio reversed Triple H’s spinebuster to send him over the ropes after one hour in the match as it came down to Orton and Mysterio to battle it out for the win.
An angry Triple H pulled Mysterio under the ropes and threw him into the steel steps but Orton’s cockiness would cost him, as Mysterio countered his attempt to eliminated him into a hurricanrana sending Orton crashing to the outside to pick up the biggest win of his career.
It was a great moment for Mysterio as he celebrated his emotional victory with chants of ‘Eddie’ echoing throughout the American Airlines Arena as Mysterio became just the second man to win the Royal Rumble from the number two slot.
It was unusual for the Royal Rumble match not to main event the show as Kurt Angle’s successful World Championship defence against Mark Henry closed the show and it was the events after the match made us realise why this was decided to close the show.
The match itself was no classic as Henry used his strength and size to take the fight to Angle and the champion also had to overcome outside interference from Henry’s manager Daivari to retain the title he won just a few weeks prior.
Angle managed to escape a bear hug and send Henry to the mat with a hip toss but Henry had the champion reeling when he powered out of an anklelock and the Angle Slam. Henry managed to escape the anklelock for a second time but this time he sent Angle crashing into the referee.
The Olympic gold medallist then used dirty tactics taking out Daivari with a chair and nailed Henry twice in the head but somehow the world’s strongest man kicked out.
However, the champion would not panic as he drop toehold Henry into an exposed turnbuckle and rolled him with in a school boy with a hand of the bottom rope to score the victory in a less than impressive main event.
However after the match, Undertaker marked his return signalling to Angle that he was coming for the title before he engulfed the ring with pyrotechnics forcing the ring to collapse as the champion looked on in fear of The Deadman.
John Cena became a two-time WWE Champion as he defeated Edge to reclaim the title he lost to the Rated R Superstar at New Year’s Revolution when Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank contract.
Edge wanted to proved that win was no fluke and he started off strong in the early goings as he sent Cena into the ring steps and a baseball slide sent Cena over the barricade, but the former champion just managed to beat the ten count to keep the match alive.
Edge continued to control Cena shutting down any attempt Cena got of building momentum with Cena’s attempt at an FU countered into a leverage roll up before Edge connected a big boot with Cena’s face.
Cena got the break he needed when he side stepped Edge’s spear sending the champion shoulder first into the turnbuckle but after he pinned Edge after the five knuckle shuffle, Lita distracted the referee by jumping onto the ring apron.
Cena grabbed hold of Lita but when Edge went for his opponent, Cena moved sending Edge to knock his own girlfriend off the apron and after hitting the FU, Edge had no choice but to submit to the STFU to crown a new champion.
Despite losing the match, Edge definitely proved he had what it takes to be a main event star eventually going on to win another ten world titles but this match won’t be remembered as one of either Cena or Edge’s greatest matches.
Cena was not the only new champion crowned at Royal Rumble 2006 as Gregory Helms over five other men to win the Cruiserweight Championship in a six-pack challenge to start the show,
This match was a slow burner but picked up pace in the later stages in a match with plenty of near falls and high-flying moves with Jamie Noble hitting a suicide dive on Nunzio before Paul London attempted his 450 onto four men on the outside but managed to miss them all.
Helms hit a swinging neckbreaker to London off the top rope but while that wasn’t his moment to clinch the gold, as he sealed the victory with a Shining Wizard to Funaki to win his second Crusierweight title.
Mickie James’ obsession with Trish Stratus saw her take on Ashley in singles action with Women’s Champion Trish as the guest referee as the wacky James picked up the win despite the reluctant count of Stratus.
Despite her quirks, James actually showcased a good range of wrestling moves against a very limited Ashley with James picking up the win when she tossed Ashley off the second rope in a powerbomb like move to pick up the win in another match that lacked quality.
However it was not the worst match of the night as that feat went to The Boogeyman’ short and pointless victory over JBL as the strange superstar picked up the win on his pay-per-view debut.
JBL retreated in fear and sent Jillian Hall to his path in the early goings but as the Boogeyman spat worms over Jillian, JBL attacked from behind but Boogeyman did not sell his moves and took theatrical bumps.
After JBL missed his Clothesline from Hell, The Boogeyman hit the pumphandle slam for the victory in less than two minutes and it is strange that after one minute and 54 seconds of a match that you were glad this one was over.
While the wrestling quality seriously lacked, this Royal Rumble will forever be remembered as the biggest night in the career of Rey Mysterio as he survived a record one hour two minutes and 12 seconds to win the Royal Rumble in memory of the lat great Eddie Guerrero.
Royal Rumble 2006
1. Gregory Helms df Kid Kash, Funaki, Jamie Noble, Nunzio, Paul London in a Six pack challenge to become new Cruiserweight Champion
2. Mickie James df Ashley with Trish Stratus as special guest referee
3. The Boogeyman df JBL
4. Rey Mysterio won the 2006 Royal Rumble match by last eliminating Randy Orton
5. John Cena df Edge to become new WWE Champion
6. Kurt Angle df Mark Henry to retain World Heavyweight Championship