Re: Official Royal Rumble PPV Discussion Thread
Now, I haven’t read any comments on this thread but judging by the reactions on Twitter and articles on sites such as Bleacher Report, this might be one of the most mixed reactions to a PPV I’ve ever seen. When I say that, I mean that one side of the spectrum loved the Royal Rumble last night and the other side despised it. Many criticize the predictability and the results, while others praise the surprises and the eagerly anticipated beginning to the ‘Road To Wrestlemania’. Without reading any more Twitter feeds and comments, I will just air out what I felt was one of the best Royal Rumble PPVs in years.
Disregarding the strong win by Cesaro over The Miz on the dark show, the PPV began with Big Show and Del Rio. It was a nice little pop to see Bret Hart in the back, giving a small pep talk to Del Rio. That kind of rub can go a long way for Del Rio in the eyes of skeptical fans; he really is one of the best wrestlers in the world. The match was pretty good; I didn’t mind it at all. A guy like Big Show is constantly criticized by the IWC for his boring matches and feuds, but not only has he been pretty interesting since turning monster heel (exactly like Mark Henry was), his matches have been pretty entertaining as a result. The feud with Sheamus sucked, but the matches weren’t bad at all. The Last Man Standing match on Smackdown with Del Rio was exciting and while this match lacked that excitement, it was still a decent match and the fact it opened the show was probably a good omen for fans that would’ve rather just gotten this match over with. Unfortunately, judging by the result of the duct tape feet to the ropes (handcuffs were probably way too big for his ankles), this feud will spill over to a rematch on Smackdown and the inevitable Elimination Chamber match.
The tag team match was surprising to me, I thought for sure that Daniel Bryan and Kane would drop the titles to Rhodes Scholars or it would at the very least end in a disqualification. The fact it was a submission finish almost certainly kills the feud under a regular premise, but this probably isn’t the last we will see these guys. I was really hoping that we wouldn’t see Daniel Bryan face Kane at Wrestlemania, but that’s what it looks like is going to happen. Daniel Bryan is easily the most over active guy in the company, he’s easily the most entertaining thing about WWE at the current moment and even the past few months, and he is easily the most wrestler on the roster. A win over Kane at Wrestlemania 29 will do very little for the future other than put him back in singles competition. Hopefully, they lose the titles on Raw as a result of another falling out and they have their blow-off match at the Elimination Chamber. I would prefer to see Bryan in a meaningful, big time match at Wrestlemania.
The Rumble match was probably one of the most fun matches I’ve seen in years. The past Rumbles have been pretty lackadaisical, especially last year’s disgrace and the 40-man debacle. The last Rumble I enjoyed this much was probably in 2008. The surprise returns of Jericho, Goldust, and Godfather had me marking out. Jericho’s return was completely out of left field, especially the fact that he has signed a short-term deal with the company for a full-time return through Wrestlemania. I’m excited to see where Jericho winds up on the card and who he winds up facing. Goldust and Cody was probably the last time we will see them in the ring together, although a Goldust vs. Cody match does have a small amount of intrigue, that would require them to break up Rhodes Scholars, who are probably the best tag team the company has. Godfather’s entrance, 4 second Royal Rumble appearance, and the fact that he landed on his feet and just proceeded to put back on his attire and dance toward the back all while his music never stopped playing was absolutely hilarious. It’s the little things like those surprises that really make buying the Rumble worth it. The big spot of the match was the pogo stick of JBL’s announce chair back toward the ring by Kofi Kingston. I had a small problem with that. Two years ago, John Morrison grabbed onto the barricade and jumped back onto the steps, going back into the ring. That was awesome. Last year, Kofi Kingston walked on his hands back to the steps to avoid elimination. That was amazing. Last night, he landed on Tensai and hopped onto the announce table. That was cool, but there is no real degree of difficulty in hopping on a chair to the apron. I could easily do that. The ending of that stunt was kind of a let down, especially because they only caught Bo Dallas’s debut entrance and didn’t get to see his initial impact hitting the ring. After Kofi’s stunt, Bo Dallas just blended in and while the announcer’s put over that he was there for a long period of time, I felt as though he never really showed up. It’s a small complaint, but he looked impressive inside the ring and hopefully, he winds up feuding with Barrett over the Intercontinental championship.
The final minutes of the Rumble really frustrated me. When you had Ryback, Sheamus, Orton and Cena, you already knew what was coming. The order of elimination was even predictable. That’s my only knock on the Rumble. The ending was horrible. Orton was going to dominate, make a crucial mistake and wind up eliminated. Sheamus was eliminated and then they had “the staredown”. They tried to make this stare down a big moment, but it fell flat on its face because nobody cares about Cena anymore. It’s even becoming boring to boo the guy. Ryback and Cena is not Hogan and Warrior, it is not Rock and Austin, it is not even Batista and Cena. We all knew what was going to happen. We all knew Cena would win, just as he always does. Sure, Cena lost a lot of matches last year but even the losses are predictable when the inevitable infereference comes along (minus the shocking, clean loss at Mania to Rock). The win by Cena is just utterly pointless. If you had Ryback win the Royal Rumble, that’s a huge push for the guy coming off big time losses. I understand needing to have both Rock and Cena look strong going into their seemingly guaranteed WM main event, but Ryback made more sense in both the short-term and the long-term. That was my issue with it. It took major points away from a simply awesome Royal Rumble match.
Now onto the main event, The Rock vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship. The ending was predictable, which is never fun, but I actually loved the match. I thought that people are making way too big a deal about The Rock looking dead and gasping for air. His cardiovascular training was much better this time around than it was for his match with Cena last April. I thought the match made Punk look strong, he was crisp and sharp with his move set. The Rock was also much better than he was against Cena in terms of ring rust. He seemingly made no mistakes and was just as crucial for the match as Punk was. The announce table botch was scary; I thought both of them really hurt themselves or at the very least had gotten a concussion. I remember at Summerslam 2000 when Kurt Angle had the botched Pedigree and got really fucked up from that. Luckily, they were both okay, and Punk taking a Rock Bottom on the floor was a big crowd pleaser. I had felt that a Maddox run-in and epic beat down by The Rock would’ve been cool, but it was not meant to be. Once The Rock was going for the People’s Elbow #1, I knew The Shield would strike and of course, they did it in the dark. It was clever, I enjoyed the move and Punk getting the win had me doubting for a quick second that Punk was going to be stripped and the belt would be on the line inside the Elimination Chamber. The Rock needed to win last night though, and when he did, I loved it. People will criticize The Rock for being a part-time superstar and not doing house shows as champion, they will go after whatever piece of criticism they can to take away the fact that he shouldn’t be champion. The fact is, outside of the house shows, he’s been back every Raw and will continue to be on every Raw and the occasional Smackdown as champion. In the eyes of wrestling fans, I mean the true wrestling fans who can appreciate it and step back and remember this is all scripted entertainment, The Rock is ALWAYS The Rock first, Dwayne second in our eyes. This is most likely the final run of one of the greatest WWE superstars of all-time. He’s still in his physical prime and will put on entertaining television for the next two months. If you hate the decision, that’s okay too. However, make sure your reasons are okay. Punk had built up an incredible reign and it needed to be ended by somebody bigger than Punk. That is either Cena or Rock.
This isn’t new, folks. This is simple good guy vs. bad guy with the good guy coming out on top. That’s why this feud was so much more entertaining than Rock-Cena. You had a good guy and a bad guy, and a solid story built from it. It was great TV and the go-home promo by The Rock was probably his best promo since his comeback promo in February ’11. While the idea of Rock-Cena II is not exactly what I would want to see, hopefully a story comes out of this. The Rumble, though, was pretty good with the bland spots I mentioned. 7.5/10. Hot crowd all night, great matches, just a little too predictable on the results end.