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WWE ROYAL RUMBLE FLASHBACK REPORT - 3 yrs. ago (01-27-08): Cena surprise Rumble win at MSG, Orton vs. Hardy, MVP vs. Flair, Who's in WWE & TNA in 2011?

Jan 27, 2011 - 3:20:41 PM
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WWE Royal Rumble Flashback
January 27, 2008 - 3 yrs. ago
Top Ten Things To Know

CenaJohnArt2_130GG_74.jpg

(1) Top Story: John Cena made a surprise return from injury to win the Rumble and advance to WrestleMania 24.

(2) WrestleMania Follow-up: Randy Orton beat Cena and Triple H in a three-way match to retain the WWE Title.

(3) Big WWE Title Match: Randy Orton beat Jeff Hardy to retain the WWE Title after much clamoring for Hardy to win his first title.

(4) Rumble Final Four: Cena, Batista, Triple H, and Kane.

(5) Rumble PPV Opener: Ric Flair over MVP.

(6) Wrestlers In Non-Rumble Matches Still In WWE: Edge, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton.

(7) Wrestlers in Non-Rumble Matches Now In TNA: Jeff Hardy, Ric Flair.

(8) Zack Ryder's Glory Days?: Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, then "Edgeheads," accompanied Edge to the ring for his successful World Title defense against Rey Mysterio.

(9) 2008 Rumble PPV Buys: 533,000 buys.

(10) 2010 Rumble PPV Buys: 462,000 buys.

***

Royal Rumble PPV Flashback Report - 2008
January 27, 2008
New York City
Report by Wade Keller, Torch editor


-Michael Cole and Coach introduced the show. The touted the HD broadcast as the first-ever for the Royal Rumble.

1 -- RIC FLAIR vs. MVP

Flair dreamed that his potential final match ever would be an opening match with Coach and Cole calling his match. The MSG part is okay, of course. He said, "I had my first match here in March of 1976, long before most of you were born. The level of respect you have paid me all of these years is unbelievable. I want you all know..." MVP's intro music interrupted. Of course, Little Naitch, Charles Robinson, is the referee. A minute in MVP gave Flair a disrespectful slap across the face, and that caused Flair to snap and unleash a flurry of chops. MVP a minute later executed a neckbreaker and made a cover. The crowd chanted "MVP sucks." Cole said since MVP is younger, Flair needs to end the match early. Coach said, "Flair definitely has the edge in experience." Gee, thanks. Good thing Coach is around to provide such insight. I'd also like to note, on behalf of Coach, that Flair has blond hair. MVP nailed Flair with a running boot to the face for a three count, but the ref discovered Flair foot was draped over the bottom rope and waved off the three count immediately. MVP dominated offense for a while. Flair showed signs of life at 8:00 with a comeback tease. Both men went down after some Flair chops. Coach said, "As they say, everything must come to an end at some point." Flair small packaged MVP for a near fall, followed by a backslide for a near fall. Flair took a punch to the jaw followed by a knee to the jaw. When MVP went for a Playmaker, Flair turned it into a figure-four leglock in center ring. The crowd popped and MVP tapped. Flair began tearing up afterward, having probably his last match ever in New York City. After Coach said MSG is the world's most famous arena, Cole said Flair is the world's best known sports entertainer. Cole will get scolded for that comment.

WINNER: Flair in 9:00.

STAR RATING: *1/2 -- It was okay. Good energy from each and it told a story within the 9 minute timeframe.

-Vince McMahon chatted with Hornswoggle backstage. He said it looks like Flair's luck continues. He talked to his "son" about the family legacy at MSG. He called Hornswoggle "my only bastard son." Finlay walked in. Vince told him he can't trust anybody. He told Finlay that he can't trust anyone in the Rumble, either.

-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler talked about the publicity the Royal Rumble received in the Daily News. Ross introduced the newest member of the WWE broadcast team, a former XFL broadcaster, Mike Adamle. He stood at ringside and said he saw his very first match in MSG in 1976. He said he was pinching himself to see if he was really there. He introduced a video package on the JBL-Chris Jericho feud.

2 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. JBL

Jericho had that serious look on his face before the bell and kept it as it began. Jericho pounded on JBL's face, then kicked him in the ribs with a running start twice. JBL came back with a kick to the gut and a clothesline attempt, but Jericho ducked and went for a Boston Crab. JBL grabbed the bottom rope to force a break. Jericho took it to JBL at ringside after a slidekick. JBL blocked a suplex attempt. JBL took over for several minutes, dropping Jericho across the top rope throat-first and holding him on the mat wit a sleeper. At 7:00 JBL gave Jericho a big boot off the ropes, then threw him head-first into the ringpost. Jericho came up bleeding heavily. JBL pounded away at him at ringside. At 9:00 Jericho made a comeback with a forearm out of the corner and a badly botched kneelift that JBL sold despite Jericho missing badly. The MSG crowd booed loudly. Jericho hit the harmless looking Lionsault followed by a hard clothesline over the top rope. Jericho's face and chest was covered in blood. JBL threw Jericho into the announce table, then he began disassemble it. Jericho turned and nailed him with a chairshot, prompting the ref to DQ him. Jericho continued the beating after the bell. He grabbed a cable at ringside and choked JBL with it. Jericho tried to hang JBL with it by pulling it from the other side of the top rope while standing on the announce table. That didn't work all that well. A super-bloody Jericho finally returned to the back as JBL tried to recover on his back in the ring.

WINNER: JBL via DQ in 10:00.

STAR RATING: **1/4 -- Good intensity and a finish that made sense given the storyline. That botched kneelift was like stumbling over a line while doing stand-up; it's tough to cover from and make the joke work.

-Ashley knocked on Maria's locker room. Santino Marella answered. He said she couldn't answer her knock because she was preparing for her first-ever high-definition Kiss Cam. He said he didn't understand why anyone would want to see these ugly New Yorkers kissing. He said that's what's great about Maria; whatever you ask her to do, she does. He told Ashley to leave her alone because she's not interested in her or her "boobie magazine." He said he wishes he could vote her out just like they did on Survivor.

-A video packaged aired on the Edge vs. Rey Mysterio storyline on Smackdown.

3 -- EDGE vs. REY MYSTERIO (w/Zach Ryder, Curt Hawkins) - WWE Hvt. Title match

Rey wore an outer mask over his regular mask that looked like a Star Trek prop. Should be at a merchandise stand near you soon, I assume. At 2:00 after Edge knocked Rey to ringside, Edge distracted the ref as Hawkins and Ryder moved toward Rey. The ref saw them near him and sent them to the back. Vickie Guerrero at ringside yelled, "Come on, ref!" Rey went for a 619, but Edged jumped to the floor. He flew over the top rope onto Edge instead. At 5:00 Edge kicked Rey in the knee and then used matwork to damage Rey's knee for several minutes. Rey made a comeback and, according to Cole, he used his "good leg" to kick Edge (anyone with any knowledge of throwing kicks knows the support leg is more important than the contact leg for an effective kick, so he'd have wanted to use his "good leg" as his support leg. Rey hit Edge with a double stomp on the ribs at 11:00. At 12:00 Edge came back with a boot to the face of a charging Rey. Edge went for a spear, but Rey moved and then nailed Edge with the 619. Vickie screamed at ringside with concern, then hit a big splash. As the ref began to count, Vickie yanked the ref away. She yelled at Rey. Rey turned and leapfrogged a charging Edge. He then went for another 619, but Vickie dove in the path and took the brunt of it. Edge then caught Rey with a spear as Rey flew at him for a DDT and scored the pin. Vickie needed help to get into her wheelchair at ringside.

WINNER: Edge in 14:00 to retain the World Hvt. Title.

STAR RATING: ***1/4

-As Flair stepped out of the shower with a towel around his waist in the locker room, Mr. Kennedy began applauding him. He said after he wins the Rumble tonight, he's going to have so much time on his hands, he'd love nothing more than to... Shawn Michaels walked up and told him to keep talking. Kennedy said no, he'd tell him later. He walked away. Michaels turned to Flair and said, "Can you believe that? A loud-mouth, obnoxious trash-talker with platinum hair. Kids these days. That gimmick will never work." Flair told Michaels he knows that tonight no one can beat him in his quest. Batista walked up and hugged Flair. Then so did Triple H. To be true to life, they should have shown Flair telling Michaels, Batista, and Hunter all separately that he thinks they're unbeatable. It was a cool near-complete Evolution reunion. Hunter said the best man will win. Michaels said the winner will be the best man and he'll be wearing the new HBK t-shirt. Hunter said he hates shilling. Get it? Because he always shills himself, it was meant to be ironic and funny. These attempts to humorously hawk merchandise while pretending they're in on the shamelessness of it so it makes it entertaining and wacky just doesn't work. But if anybody needs a little extra merch money even if it gets in the way of their characters and cheeses up the show, it's Michaels and Hunter.

-Ross and Lawler talked about the Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy match. They showed on a split screen each warming up. Ross said it's one of the most anticipated title matches in a long time.

-Maria came out and did a minute of the Kiss Cam. Ashley walked out and said she got a call from Hugh Heffner. He wanted to know if she wanted to pose for Playboy. Maria laughed, but before she could answer, Santino came out and said the answer is no. "Nobody wants to see Maria with no clothes on," he said. He said those fans are of course going to cheer because the have nothing else to cheer. "Mets, Yankees, chokers," he said. "Ohhh, a mosquito, I'm scared. Let's lose the playoffs! Knicks, Rangers, not even good enough to be called chokers. In fact, the only thing you have to cheer for is a footbal team from New Jersey." He went on to make fun of Eli and other teammates, saying they look more like hairdressers than football players. He asked Maria to follow him out of the ring. Ashley grabbed the mic and said to wait a second. The crowd drowned her out with a "Let's go Giant!" chants. Ashley said the decision is Maria's, not his. She said, "I don't know. Do you guys really want to see me pose for Playboy?" The crowd cheered, but they didn't go mad crazy like you might expect. It doesn't seem like the PPV crowd is mic'd all that well tonight, though. Santino said since the fans like to see "the boobies," here they go. Out from under a big tarp came Big Dick Johnson in bikini briefs and a Brady Patriots jersey. Ashley spanked him out of the ring.

-Mike Adamle introduced a video feature on Orton vs. Hardy.

4 -- RANDY ORTON vs. JEFF HARDY

Hardy came out to a nice ovation, although again the crowd doesn't seem all that well mic'd. Lawler said he just has a feeling that the high-definition era could mark a new beginning for WWE, so what a way to mark it but with a Hardy title win. After an intnese test of strength, Orton dominated with matwork early. Hardy came back at 3:00 with a clothesline over the top and then a slidekick, sending the back of Orton's head into the security barrier. Orton and Hardy brawled at ringside briefly. As Hardy tried to springboard into the ring, Orton nailed him with a dropkick. Orton suplexed Hardy on the floor, beat on him inside the ring for a couple minutes, then took it to the floor again. Hardy nailed Orton with a leap off the ring apron to stop Orton. Both men were down and slow to get up. Back in the ring, Orton ducked a charging Hardy who went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Orton settled into a leg grapevine chinlock in center ring, then shifted into a standard chinlock, quieting the crowd as Hardy winced for breath. At 12:00 Hardy came back with two clotheslines and a Whisper in the Wind flip off the top rope onto Orton for a near fall. Hardy slidekicked Orton in the corner, then climbed to the top rope. Orton saw Hardy and rolled to the ring apron. Hardy, though, leaped off the top rope and dropkicked Orton off the ring apron to the floor. Hardy then climbed to the top rope and backflipped toward Orton, knocking him down. Back in the ring at 15:00, Hardy set up a Twist of Fate, but Orton countered immediately with an RKO for the clean win.

WINNER: Orton in 16:00.

STAR RATING: ***3/4 -- Very good match. Nothing wrong with it, but not a match of the year contender. Could have used a few more minutes and a few more near falls to elevate the star rating, but the finish out of nowhere is not bad to throw into a big match now and then as it makes all future near falls out of nowhere in other big matches seem like possible finishes.

-They went to A.J. Styles and Tazz at ringside. They threw to a video package on the Royal Rumble.

-Michael Buffer introduced the Royal Rumble in his long-winded fashion. The crowd was moderately patient with him.

5 -- 30 MAN ROYAL RUMBLE

PHASE ONE: Undertaker came out first, followed by Shawn Michaels. Ross noted it is a tough of Rumble irony to have the final two entrants last year be the first two to enter this year. They usually do skits involving wrestlers drawing their spots for the Rumble ahead of time, but they didn't do that this year. Taker outpowered Michaels early and pounded him in the corner. All three announcing teams shared announcing duties, which has to be unpleasant for everyone involved. Taker had Michaels by the throat as the fans counted down the final ten seconds. Michaels escaped, but Taker gave him a big boot. Santino came out third. Michaels superkicked Santino as he flexed his arms. Taker picked him and easily tossed him. Michaels then tried to eliminate Taker, but Taker froze and then elbowed MIchaels. Santino staggered to the back. Taker climbed to the top rope with a grip on Michaels's hand. Michaels yank-flipped him to the mat, then front atomic dropped him. Taker came back with a chokeslam as Khali walked out. Taker met Khali as he entered the ring, but Khali chopped him hard to the mat. The crowd loudly chanted at Khali, "You can't wrestle! You can't wrestle!" That's hardly the point of his gimmick, or WWE a lot of the time for that matter. Taker ducked a Khali chop, and then eliminated him. The crowd popped for that. Michaels again snuck up behind Taker, but when he mounted Taker in the corner, Taker lifted him and almost dumped him over the top. Michaels tried to head scissors Taker over the top. Both landed on the ring apron. Hardcore Holly the came out and went after both. Holly went after Taker as Michaels recovered in the corner of the ring. Michaels came up behind Taker and tried to eliminate him, but Taker lifted him and tried to dump him over the top. Michaels held onto Taker. Holly kicked at Taker, so Taker dropped Michaels. Michaels chopped at Holly; Holly reversed Michaels into the corner and chopped him back.

1 - Undertaker
2 - Shawn Michaels
3 - Santino Marella
(Santino eliminated by Taker)
4 - The Great Khali
(Khali eliminated by Taker)
5 - Hardcore Holly

STILL IN: Undertaker, Michaels, Holly.

PHASE TWO: John Morrison came out sixth. Michaels beat down Morrison and hit a top rope elbowdrop as Taker battled Holly in the corner. Morrison came back with a leaping roundkick. Tommy Dreamer entered seventh and showed a flurry of energy, including flipping Morrison with a running clothesline. The crowd chanted "Tommy Dreamer, Tommy Dreamer." By "crowd," I meant several hundred loud fans of the original ECW. Next came Batista, who ran to the ring and spinebustered Dreamer, clotheslined Michaels, and backdropped Morrison. Batista tossed Dreamer over the top, drawing more boos than cheers. Hornswoggle came out and hid under the ring. Palumbo came out next. Taker threw Morrison over the top rope, but Morrison held onto the top rope and pulled himself back into the ring.

6 - John Morrison
7 - Tommy Dreamer
8 - Batista
(Dreamer eliminated by Batista)
9 - Hornswoggle
10 - Chuck Palumbo

STILL IN: Undertaker, Michaels, Holly, Morrison, Batista, Hornswoggle, Chuck Palumbo.

PHASE THREE: Jamie Noble entered 11th. He went right after Palumbo. The crowd chanted "Jamie Noble." Palumbo kicked Noble out of the ring to eliminate him quickly with a kick to the ribs. Punk went after Taker in the corner with a flying knee, then he hit Michaels in another corner, and Morrison in a third. He gave Michaels another knee, but as he went for a running bulldog, Taker clotheslined him mid-ring. Punk attempted to eliminate MIchaels, and the director cut away for some reason, but Michaels apparently landed on the ring apron to stay alive. Punk tossed Palumbo, but he held on. Punk knocked him off the apron to eliminate him with a running knee. Cody concentrated on Taker. He managed to take him down with a dropkick, then turned to Morrison. Taker went after Cody seconds later, flattening him with a clothesline. Out next was Umaga, who chopped away at Holly and then eliminated him over the top with a hard open hand to the chest. Coach said Umaga is so fresh compared to some of the others who entered early. Umaga butt-splashed Batista. Cody almost eliminated Michaels, but he landed on the ring apron - a larger theme in this Rumble than any I remember. Ross said Morrison reminds him of a young Michaels.

11 - Jamie Noble
(Noble eliminated by Palumbo)
12 - C.M. Punk
(Palumbo eliminated by Punk)
13 - Cody Rhodes
14 - Umaga
(Holly eliminated by Umaga)
15 - Snitsky

STILL IN: Umaga, Undertaker, Michaels, Morrison, Batista, Hornswoggle, Snitsky, Punk, Rhodes.

PHASE FOUR: The Miz entered no. 16. Styles said that should give an advantage to Morrison and Miz who can work together. They went after Punk together immediately. Taker tried to dump Umaga to the floor, but he held onto the ring apron. Taker lay on the mat and kicked Umaga, trying to knock him to the floor. Shelton Benjamin came out next. Morrison and Miz were standing on the top rope working over Punk. Shelton leaped up to the top rope and knocked them both down throat-first over the top rope. Shelton then drove Punk's face into the mat, but Michaels blindsided him with a superkick to eliminate him. Styles said apparently there is a way to stop him. Next in was a surprise entrant, Jimmy Snuka. He headbutted Punk, the chopped and headbutted Michaels. Wen he headbutted Taker, Taker staggered backward. He went after Snitsky, then Miz, then Batista. Roddy Piper made a surprise entrance next, getting one of the bigger pops of the night. He ripped of his shirt and revealed an unsightly expanded stomach, but at least he's not shy about it. He went after Snuka. Everyone else stood back and just watched those two go at it. Ross said, "It's as if time stood still for a few minutes." Kane entered 20th and dmped both Snuka and Piper to a round of boos. Taker signalled for a chokeslam on Kane, but shifted to grab Michaels instead. 

16 - The Miz
17 - Shelton Benjamin
(Benjamin eliminated via Michaels)
18 - "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka
19 - Roddy Piper
20 - Kane
(Piper eliminated by Kane)
(Snuka eliminated by Kane)

STILL IN: Umaga, Undertaker, Michaels, Morrison, Batista, Hornswoggle, Snitsky, Punk, Rhodes, Miz, Kane.

PHASE FIVE: Carlito entered next and went right after Cody with a mouthful of apple. Carlito gave Punk his Backstabber. Cod hit Carlito with a bulldog from behind. Mick Foley entered next to a nice pop. The crowd loudly chanted "Foley, Foley." Foley DDT'd Kane. Umaga gave Taker a Samoan drop. Ross touted the star power in the ring at this moment in the match. Lawler said Undertaker is starting to show serious fatigue. Kennedy went after a few wrestlers, including Miz, Punk, and Taker. Taker came back with a chokeslam on Kennedy. Taker eliminated Snitsky. Michaels then kicked Taker over the top to eliminate him. As Michaels shrugged down at Taker, Kennedy tossed Michaels over the top.Taker took out his anger by legdropping Snitsky on the announce table. The director totally missed it and they didn't get around to replaying it for about three minutes. Were they training in an intern on this show? Kennedy tried to eliminate Cody, but Cody hung on and head scissored Kennedy over the top. Kennedy landed on the ring apron and rolled back into the ring. Mark Henry came out next. As Miz dangled on the top rope, Hornswoggle yanked him to the floor. Ross said that will be tough for Miz to live down. Hornswoggle hid back under the ring. 

21 - Carlito
22 - Mick Foley
23 - Mr. Kennedy
24 - Big Daddy V
(Snitsky eliminated by Taker)
(Undertaker eliminated by Michaels)
(Michaels eliminated by Kennedy
25 - Mark Henry
(Miz eliminated by Hornswoggle)

STILL IN: Umaga, Morrison, Batista, Hornswoggle, Punk, Rhodes, Miz, Kane, Foley, Carlito, Kennedy, Big Daddy V, Henry.

PHASE SIX: Chavo and Punk fought as soon as Chavo entered the ring. Batista went after Henry. Lawler said this might be the most superstars ever in the Rumble at once. Hornswoggle tried to yank Henry out of the ring, but instead Henry lifted him into the ring. Henry and Big Daddy V grabbed Hornswoggle, but before they could toss him, Finlay ran to the ring and attacked Henry and Daddy V with his shillelagh. The announcers didn't know if Finlay was legally in the match or not. Finlay led Hornswoggle to the back to protect him. Coach wondered if Hornswoggle was still legally in the match. Ross said Finlay was disqualified for using the shillelagh. Ross noted Batista was now in the ring for 35 minutes. Umaga gave Batista a Samoa Spike. Batista rolled under the bottom rope to the floor. Chavo eliminated Punk. Triple H came out to a nice pop and went to work on a crowd of wrestlers. He tossed Big Daddy V over the sagging top rope. Foley and Triple H then went at eac other. Hunter eliminated Foley, who also took Burke with him. Hunter sent Umaga head-first into the ringpost, then gave him a Pedigree. Cena came out as number 30 to a huge pop. Hunter stood in center-ring with his hands on his hips. Cena played to the crowd. Boos soon emerged.

26 - Chavo Guerrero
(Morrison eliminated by Kane)
27 - Finlay (* - he came out early)
(Finlay via DQ)
28 - Elijah Burke
(Punk eliminated by Chavo)
29 - Triple H
(Big Daddy V eliminated by Triple H)
(Foley eliminated by Triple H)
(Burke eliminated by Triple H)
30 - John Cena

PHASE SEVEN: Cena went crazy and eliminated Carlito, then Chavo, then Henry,. Cena and Hunter squared of. Ross said this was all about who would main event WrestleMania. Hunter gave Cena a spinebuster and got a pop from the fans. Umaga got up and went after Hunter. Batista intervened with a spear and eliminated Kennedy immediately with a clothesline and eliminated Kennedy and Umaga in rapid-fire. Batista and Hunter then eliminated Kane together, leaving three in the ring - Cena, Batista, and Triple H. The announcers went goofy with excitement. After a long staredown, they all went at it. Batista knocked Cena down with an elbow, then Batista took Hunter down with a clothesline. Batista gave Cena a spinebuster, then Hunter set up a Pedigree on Batista. Batista escaped and gave Hunter a spinebuster. Cena backdropped out of a Spinebuster attempt, then Hunter clotheslined Batista over the top rope. (He practically bumped backwards over the top rope early before Hunter touched him). Hunter and Cena then squared off. Hunter pointed up at the WrestleMania 24 sign in lights at the top of the arena. After a dramatic pause, Hunter kicked Cena in the gut. Cena made a comeback with punches. The crowd booed every Cena punch and cheered every Triple H punch. Of all arenas for Cena to make his comeback. Ross called Cena a lightning rod. Cena took Hunter down and did the You Can't See Me sequence into the fistdrop. Cena then set up Hunter for an FU. Hunter escaped and set up a Pedigree. Cena escaped. Both men collided mid-ring with a clothesline of one another. Hunter managed to get up and give Cena a DDT. Cena came back and lifted Hunter into the FU position and dumped him over the top rope for the win. Ross said that's the last man he thought would headline WrestleMania because he didn't think he was physically ready to return in time, but he's way ahead of schedule.

(Carlito eliminated by Cena)
(Chavo eliminated by Cena)
(Henry eliminated by Cena)
(Kennedy eliminated by Batista)
(Umaga eliminated by Batista)
(Kane eliminated by Triple H and Batista)

WINNER: John Cena.

STAR RATING: ****1/4 -- A typically very good 30-man Rumble with a big surprise with Cena and some fun moments. Nothing on the level of the classic Michaels-Taker stretch last year, but a satisfying version of the match with a nice set-up for a frustrated Triple H to obsess about winning the WWE Title from Randy Orton before WrestleMania.

[Torch art credit Grant Gould (c) PWTorch.com]


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PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.

Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.

The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...

-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars.


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