Royal Rumble Feedback
Yeah, I’m late to the party, but better late than never, right? Right?
The opening video package was done beautifully, really summing up what the night is all about with the destiny of the winner being WrestleMania. The commentary to go with it was very nice too, hyping up your card well.
One of the two midcard title matches were going to be the opener here, and while I think Doane/Jeff is a more exciting style of contest that is suited to the opening position, I guess you want to alternate between the brands with the title matches. Nice way to add some excitement to the start of the match with the Cripple Crossface attempt as both me trade the advantage a bit, although I think Benoit hitting the triple Germans on Test this early seems a bit wrong. It’s just one of those moves that Test should be able to resist so early in the match, and in my mind, it should be a good set up for a nearfall, rather than a bit of a throwaway move early in the match. I have to say that I liked the switch in momentum that followed though with Test sending Benoit flying into the crowd barrier. The extended period of Test dominance was good to see, and I was glad to see some focus on the ribs, providing some simple yet effective psychology, with some nice little cheap tactics like the use of the ropes in the abdominal stretch being brought in. The Benoit comebacks were teased often enough to keep the crowd interested too, with my only complaint perhaps being that the big boot from Test was used far too early imo, as I feel that, like the trio of Germans from Benoit, it can be used as a nearfall, or for Test, even as a finisher. Still, the Benoit comeback was built to well, and the counters started well with the chaos surrounding the attempt at the diving headbutt from Benoit, even if this is where the Germans should have started to come in as impact moves imo. The big boot being used as a nearfall here after already seeing it happen made it far less impacting too, tbh. The same goes with the Germans being used, even if countered, although the ending was exciting, even if Test is made to look a little weak when he’s all about his power and yet his finisher isn’t able to put Benoit down. Still, this builds Benoit momentum, and you get the feeling that this is what the feud was all about, so that’s a positive. A pretty good way to start the show here.
I’m really glad to see you following up on what happened to close RAW with a promo here, even if it’s just a backstage segment to show the pain Mr. McMahon is going through. Introducing Shane here and announcing him as being on RAW already adds an exciting touch to the show, while the uneasiness between Coach and Shane is certainly interesting. I’m not sure if it’ll lead anywhere, but for now it’s adding some entertainment.
Ah, the Royal Rumble tumbler tradition. The tension between Edge and Orton was okay, although I thought the arrogance of Edge was maybe even too overdone, as it just seemed like he was talking about himself a little more than necessary. Still, the way it was followed up on with almost a playful tension between the two was done well, while the interaction with the interrupting Kennedy was good too, especially with the way you played up Kennedy’s disgust at the number he picked. Nice segment.
I didn’t read too much into it originally, but I liked the way you really played up the attack on Jeff Hardy from RAW, and showed some real arrogance on the part of Dykstra by having him show the footage of RAW again, before declaring himself the new champion by forfeit, only for Jeff to arrive at the last moment. Clever little lead in to the match.
Good way to kickstart the match with Dykstra jumping Jeff as he climbs through the ropes, showing both Kenny’s frustration at Jeff showing up and his newfound mean streak well. Like in the last match, I thought the Hardyac Arrest may have come early, but the way you had Hardy sell it was fantastic, really using it to show the pain that Jeff is going through after the one man con-chair-to on RAW. The brawling on the outside was good too, with Kenny continuing the focus on the head of Hardy, while having Jeff resist the fight of Kenny and hit some of his own moves, making them big on the outside with the suplex slam was good, keeping it nice and exciting early up until the neckbreaker from Kenny. The hope spots throughout the Kenny offense, like in the first match, were done well, keeping Jeff looking like he could just come back with attempts at moves like the whisper in the wind, although I loved how you also kept Kenny’s offense as big and exciting too with the clothesline and the flying elbow, building up to Hardy’s comeback thanks to some arrogance from Kenny well. The ref bump was an interesting way to go, and at first I wasn’t sure it was entirely necessary, as the match isn’t a particularly long one, and the nearfalls were building well regardless with the kick out from the Twist of Fate, but the way you used it to have Kenny again utilize the steel chair made for a very good ending, playing on Hardy’s head injuries hugely. The post-match stuff was done well too, showing Dykstra’s arrogance really well, while the run in from Matt to check on his brother opens up an interesting possibility of a feud between him and Kenny. Another pretty impressive match here to follow up on the first, incorporating some solid psychology into it.
Nice to see Danielson getting hype on your Pay-Per-Views and not just on the weekly SmackDown!. I’ve got some high hopes for him, so hopefully you use him as a major part of the cruiserweight division.
Nice way to use the authority figures to give Dykstra and Danielson both that little bit more hype, which does wonders for them. The transition into Flair coming in was done well too, and the way you used Flair’s old friendship with Triple H to build H’s business with Michaels was done really well. You’ve built the attitude of Trips well here, especially when talking about it being every man for himself in the Rumble, and with the way this thing is building, I can’t wait for the payoff of Triple H snapping.
A small thing, but the effort put into compiling the video package for the World Heavyweight Title match was great. Finlay showing arrogance to start with, only for Batista to stand up was a nice way to start the match, showing the respective attitudes of both men, especially with Finlay trying to go after the arm only for Batista to start strongly. The use of the outside for Finlay to get the advantage and go after the arm makes sense here too, with the arm being the focus, although in three matches we’ve now seen the momentum swap on the outside in some way, which is becoming a little bit repetitive. The hope spots, like before, were done well, with Batista continually getting a good peak in to get keep the crowd excited, although as I said before, the outside is perhaps being overused, with the slams out there not seeming as big when they’re done so often. Still, you built to the Batista comeback well, with the nearfalls beginning in a nice way courtesy of the low blow from Finlay. I have to say, I was glad to see you continue to focus on the arm late in the match too, with the submission spot with the armbar being great to see. The Batista Bomb counter to the Celtic Cross not long after was a little surprising, as I thought a more surprising move like a spear would have been more appropriate, as it seemed like a time for a quick big move from Batista, rather than the Batista Bomb, which takes a bit of time. Still, the Little Bastard was used well to create a distraction and set up the big ending with the shillelagh, which makes major sense in that Batista got the ultimate revenge on Finlay by using the shillelagh for the win himself. Another pretty good match here, about on the same level as the previous two.
Looking forward to ‘Mania.
Nice promo from Cena, playing well off what RVD said in the big contract signing last show to really build up what this match is all about for Cena with some very good intensity. A basic promo, but a good one.
Like you seem to have done all show, the way these promos have flowed with the guys backstage has been great. Transitioning from the Cena promo to having Lashley enter the set, with both connected with McMahon was really good. I’m not so sure about how much Lashley had to say, as he gets less intimidating with the more he talks, but it was good to see him standing up to Vinnie Mac. Estrada coming in and really suck up to McMahon, before the face-off between Lashley and Umaga is interesting. I doubt you’ll go with the match at WrestleMania because we saw it irl, but Lashley not backing down and really getting in Umaga’s face makes a confrontation in the ring between these two all the more tantalizing. Good segment.
Like before with the World Heavyweight Title match, a nice video package to sum up what has brought us to this match. While you never like to see a match being too lovey dovey, I quite liked the beginning of this match, with both men showing respect to the other man and his ability, showing some evenness in the early going. Like I said with the other matches, the outside has maybe been utilized a bit much, but with RVD having some offense centering around it, I guess it’s fine in this instance. The offense from here was good, keeping it pretty fast paced and allowing both men to really trade some offense, doing a face vs. face match as it should be done with neither man really in a position to get booed by the crowd, instead both keeping them excited. Not so sure on the match going back to the outside, nor on the Five Star Frog Splash counter of Cena rolling further away, as we’ve seen before that RVD can jump across three quarters of the ring to hit the move, meaning rolling away as a counter doesn’t make too much sense, although I’m glad you’re innovating. The way you picked the pace off with Cena’s offense was good, and I liked the counter wrestling we got until Cena locked in the STFU, before also transitioning into the nice spot of Cena going up to the top rope in desperation, thinking he had to do something huge to beat Van Dam. I guess the Five Star Frog Splash from Van Dam to Cena through the table is a huge spot too, and again it shows his desperation, but I’m sort of 50/50 on it. To me, this isn’t quite a big enough match feel for something like that, as it’s more a move you’d expect in a match that is more extreme, but I like that you’re building this up as a match where both men will do anything they can to win. The inside cradle from Cena was another nice nearfall, as was the FU, with you really building both men as being equal well, and after seeing what they’ve been through, I think the F-U not being enough to put RVD down is appropriate, making for a great logical nearfall. From there the counters were done nicely, with both men bringing all of their offense, up to the ending that I thought was a fine way to finish things, with RVD surely having damaged himself enough from getting struck in the ribs when going for the Five Star, weakening him enough for the FU and the three. Nice match to have both men appear as even as can be, trading offense throughout the match up until the very ending, making for a very nice title match, and giving Cena that big win over Van Dam that should have him rolling to ‘Mania. Good stuff. The handshake at the ending was just a nice touch to top it all off.
Hmm, a very different way to hype the Rumble by showing some superstars backstage preparing. I would have thought that you should have maybe had the usual Rumble hype video in order to give time to maybe clear Cena and Van Dam out from ringside, but this was a nice way to hype things.
@ KK with the “shut your pie hole, Garcia” line. Honestly, I think you should either have a big confrontation or two exciting midcarders to start things off in the Rumble every time, and this fits the bill of that perfectly. The action early was good as you’d expect it to be, with both men looking to attack early, while I loved that you had Kennedy look for an early elimination. The action that followed was all good up until the first elimination, and I thought you did a really good job allowing everyone who entered to look good, while also keeping things exciting with spots like the tower of doom, the Green Bay Plunge and the GTS sprinkled in with the attempted eliminations. Sabu being the first elimination makes sense as he’s far from a top of the card prospect and doesn’t need to last too long like the youngsters to get a rub, while I like that Kennedy got to play up how opportunistic he is by taking advantage of Nitro’s work to get the elimination. Things continued along fine, even if I thought the ring might have been getting a little too full, although I liked some of the psychology in there, in particular with Helms heading right for Chavo after they had the stare down following Chavo’s win on SmackDown!. The use of The Undertaker and Michaels’ to clear out the ring a bit was smart, while I loved the little finisher fest we got in amongst there from Kendrick, Booker and Michaels. Having Undertaker eliminate Booker is especially good to see, as you’ve also furthered their program along well with a simple elimination after Booker tried to sneak attack The Undertaker in a clever spot. (Sidenote: It was Rey Mysterio that ended JBL’s career on the same night that JBL lost the United States Title to Lashley when JBL put his career on the line for a world title match against Rey .
) I’m not so sure about Lashley coming out right after ‘Taker, because to me, Lashley should get the same kind of reaction that Undertaker did, with the others in awe of his power to really put him over as an unstoppable force. Instead, despite the elimination of Dreamer, Lashley didn’t get that. I do find it interesting that Lashley continues to seem to delve down into heel territory though, using the elimination of Dreamer to garner him some more boos. The elimination for Helms was an impressive one for the power of Lashley though, and I’m glad to see him making an impact with two eliminations already after the way he’s been built up in this thread. The confrontation between Lashley and Undertaker was also great, but I think it was wrong that it suddenly disappeared into thin air once MVP entered. MVP having quite the impact was good though, and again, I enjoyed seeing Kennedy make an opportunistic elimination. The little exchange between Michaels and Undertaker was good to see too, while I also liked seeing Lashley continue to pull out some big moves and Punk just surviving. Trips’ entrance being a big deal was great to see, making several eliminations, but more importantly capturing the attention of Michaels, which is a little thing that adds a lot of interest, both when Trips was entering and when they finally had their exchange, which was pretty great. I have to say, I also like the job you did with CM Punk, who despite the elimination at the hands of Triple H, got the chance to look great. The continued focus on Triple H/Michaels with H again going for the elimination was good to see, while I liked how you kept things exciting, especially with Orton coming in and dominating with the RKO, as we’ve seen before irl. Very interesting spot with Michaels AGAIN almost being eliminated by H, only to go through the ropes. An innovative spot, and one that no doubt goes a long way to further frustrating Trips, making for clever booking. Umaga, meanwhile, coming out and instantly hitting Michaels with the Samoan Spike, before going on an elimination spree was great to see. The KK/Flair thing was great too – a very easy way to set up a feud for WrestleMania, and one which should be great as well. The continued DX teases were, again, good, while Kane taking out MVP continues that issue along strongly as well. Having Kane go after Umaga is another smart move, showing the actions of the match are all making some kind of sense. I have to say though, once things settled down, I thought you once again had too many men in the ring, with twelve in once Edge had entered perhaps being too many to try to keep track of in such a match, despite you making a good fist of it. The eliminations coming pretty soon after was good to see, and while I don’t mind a few youngsters being in there, I like you making sure you’ve got your bigger names in there in the end with the eliminations of Masters, Murdoch and Miz. The pace of the action stayed great throughout this stage too, making sure there’s always some big spots going on, which keeps things very exciting, such as having The Brothers of Destruction working together for a bit and facing off with Rated-RKO, turning it cleverly into a bit of a big star tag team affair. The way it ended with Edge not helping Orton, leaving him to be eliminated was very interesting, perhaps hinting at the two breaking apart in the future. The elimination of Umaga, meanwhile, by every other man except Edge who was remaining in the match was done well, as was Edge making an opportunistic elimination after that on Lashley, which surprised me as I had him penciled him in to win. The brawl afterwards between Umaga and Lashley was good to see though, and a nice way to capitalise on their earlier face-off, doing a fine job of setting a feud up between the two monsters, even if it would seem weird when Lashley’s in the midst of a heel turn, or so it seems. Edge playing the heelish smart after this was a nice spot, and I liked the way it led to the elimination of Kane, with Edge also using some of his actual ability in order to look good. Hardy being the next elimination was fine too, because you well and truly set him up as a big star here in the future of this thread, while Edge again gets another elimination, seemingly racking them up now. The action that followed was great, with some really reversals, especially in getting Michaels out to the apron by Edge after both he and Michaels avoided elimination. Triple H now eliminating Michaels accidentally after trying to do it on purpose earlier in the match is very interesting too, and while I thought Michaels eliminating Triple H would have built H’s frustrations better, this is certainly interesting. The action between Triple H and Undertaker was tremendous, with both men going all out before the elimination from The Undertaker, while the surprise final elimination from Edge was a good heelish way for him to take out the match. Honestly, the ending shocked me, but Edge winning is good in that it cements his spot at the top of the card. With the implosion of his relationship with Randy Orton, I’d rather see him head off to SmackDown! now for WrestleMania, as you’ve already got enough going on at the top of the RAW card and Edge/Cena is already played out. With that said, Edge winning is a fine result, and a fitting conclusion to a tremendous match. Good stuff.
Overall I thought this was a great effort for a first Pay-Per-View. While the first three matches weren’t anything special and just did their job, RVD/Cena was exciting, and the Royal Rumble was as good as you would want it to be, having a real special feel. You’ve now well and truly got yourself set up for WrestleMania 23, and I can’t wait to see you get there. Great stuff, my man.
PS: Sorry once again for being so late.