WWE: Royal Rumble 2008

What with last year's Royal Rumble match considered one of the very best in company history, the 2008 version had a lot to live up to.

But there was a good feeling going in to the first WWE pay-per-view event of the year, with not only the battle royal, but with the feeling that it might just be the time for the ultra-popular Jeff Hardy to take the next step up, and take the WWE title from Randy Orton.

Adding to the special nature of the event was the fact that it was held at the mecca of pro wrestling, Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Royal Rumble was held on 27th January 2008.

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Video is presented in 4:3 fullscreen PAL, and is excellent for a DVD of this genre. This was the first WWE pay-per-view broadcast in high definition, using the company's new multi-million dollar setup, but there's no evidence of that here on this standard release. That said, this is still an excellent transfer, with few noticeable digital artefacts.

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Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, and is also very good. UK fans are now becoming accustomed to these surround mixes, which do provide a little more warmth than their 2.0 counterparts, with all but the commentary appearing in the rear channels.

There are Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks also available in Italian, Spanish, French, and German, with subtitles in Dutch, Portuguese, and Greek.

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A couple of interesting extras are available here, the first being the Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy match/angle, which played out on the 14th January edition of Raw. If you are into spectacular stunts, you are going to want to see this.

Also, in what is described as a "home video exclusive", John Cena and Triple-H meet backstage after the Royal Rumble match. There's nothing to the segment, but to build for a future feud sometime in 2008

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Emotion was high in the first contest of the evening, as Ric Flair made what was likely his last foray into the Madison Square Garden ring, as he faced U.S champion MVP, in a non-title match. It was a reasonable match, but was something you'd expect more from free television, not pay-per-view.

This match set the standard for the evening, in fact, as JBL vs. Chris Jericho, Edge vs. Rey Mysterio (for the World Heavyweight Title), and Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy (for the WWE Title), were all matches from which fans could have expected more on pay-per-view. Not that any were particularly bad, although the former did have its moments, but there's no question that the big seller was the Royal Rumble match itself.

Just as well, then, that it was an excellent match, with one of the greatest surprise endings in many a time. It was certainly an equal of the excellent bout in 2007, though perhaps just a notch below the greatest Rumble match of all-time, held in Albany, New York in 1992.

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Overall, with much of the company's star power locked up in the Royal Rumble match, perhaps it is a harsh complaint that the undercard was a little below standard.

But in any case, with the sway so heavily on the main event, there are unlikely to be many buying this DVD of the back of anything but that contest.

That being the case, this is a very good WWE disc, and is highly recommended.

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