I am starting off the column by saying something I might come to regret later.
This was probably the worst Royal Rumble in recent memory. My memory hasn’t been that great lately, so there may have been some really bad ones like last year (oops) or in 2008. It began with an awesome match. The Pre-Show which saw The New Age Outlaws capture their sixth WWE Tag Team Championship from The Rhodes Brothers. I didn’t think they’d do it. But I was glad to have been proven wrong. This means the Outlaws are here to stay for a while, and it does seem the run of the Rhodes Brothers is coming to an end. I could be wrong again too, and maybe tomorrow night on RAW they will regain the titles, but, until then, I’ll enjoy seeing one of my favorite teams of a long gone era ride a wave of stardom once again. This match was worthy of being on the pay-per-view itself. Thanks to reader Michael Seidenfeld, who correctly pointed out the last time a title changed hands on a pay-per-view preshow was at WrestleMania 29, when The Miz defeated Wade Barrett for the then-cursed Intercontinental Championship.
The first and best match of the night, featured Bray Wyatt defeating Daniel Bryan. You read that right. The match lasted nearly 30 minutes and was absolutely incredible. Back and forth consistent in-ring drama kept this as one of the most compelling, and exciting matches. I was at a loss for words as how the two went back and forth, neither man dominating for too long, and kept the live crowd hot for the match. Not a single dull moment. The loss for Bryan was a surprise, as I assume this concludes the feud between Bryan and Bray. We did see later on, the Wyatts moving onto their next target, which I will talk about a bit later.
The next match brought down the PPV. Brock Lesnar’s win over the Big Show was one of the worst displays I have ever seen. It wasn’t a match. Brock just beat up Show prior to the bell ringing, smacking him repeatedly with chairs. Show got his KO punch in, but in moments Brock tossed Show with the F5 for the official win. Official win? Brock spent more time clobbering show before the match “officially” started. Post match beatdown was even longer. There was no point, it was a complete waste of time and didn’t do anything to strengthen Brock or weaken Show. Nothing. Just nothing. Is Brock injured or just an overpaid idiot?
Thanks to the timely interference by the Wyatts, Randy Orton struck down John Cena with an RKO to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The parts we did watch were terrible. It’s like you can see Orton and Cena pull out the script from their trunks and just wave it to the crowd like we’re all fools. Come on, Cena and Orton are supposed to be top guys in the company, and they can’t even put on a convincing championship contest?
The Royal Rumble match itself was mediocre, and the conclusion was one of the worst I had seen, since last year. The final four found CM Punk, Roman Reigns, Sheamus, and Batista. Kane returned to eliminate Punk, likely either orders from Triple H or in revenge for Punk eliminating him early on in the match. Thanks to sloppy camera work, you saw Kane sneaking around ringside during JBL’s entry. Yes. It’s true. The surprise entrants were a waste and the “big names” were primarily held until the end. The Shield all came in before the halfway mark, and lasted nearly the whole match until Dean Ambrose attempted to toss Reigns out. As Rollins challenged Ambrose, Reigns dumped them all out. Reigns had the most eliminations of the night, at 12, which now sets the new record for most eliminations in a single Rumble match.
I am so proud of my wife, as we get together with a few of my close friends every year for the PPV, during the match when Fandango and Miz were tangling with each other over the ropes, she says: “Fandango and The Miz are going to Who The F*** Cares each other out of the ring.” Laughter was had by all, and yes, you had to be there. She spoke the truth, because there were a lot of people in there, no one could give a crap about. Speaking of truth, R-Truth lasted less than a minute.
The surprise entries went to Alexander Rusev from NXT, Kevin Nash, JBL, Sheamus, and El Torito. El Torito. Are you kidding me? What a waste. Kofi Kingston’s “amazing save” came when he landed on a recently eliminated Alexander Rusev, who then placed Kofi on the crowd barrier, beat him up, and then left. Kofi then ran across the barrier and leaped onto the ring apron. Impressive, but could have been better. Wonder what would have happened if the fans just tripped him or shoved him off?
Crowd was livid after Rey Mysterio entered at #30. This confirmed no surprise entry by Daniel Bryan. From the moment Rey hit the entryway until the end of the match, the live crowd did nothing but boo. They booed, and jeered all the way until the end. Roman Reigns got a nice cheer, but please, at this point we all knew Batista would win based on the sudden focus of Batista confronting Orton.
Participants like Sandow, Ziggler, and Kane didn’t last long, while others lasted long than they should have. CM Punk and Seth Rollins earned the MVP as they drew #1 and #2, and lasted nearly through the whole match. Unfortunately, once Punk was out, see above, the crowd was ferociously pissed off. I wonder if Vince and the rest of the bigwigs at WWE heard the boos, or chose to ignore them.
During the Cena/Orton match the dominant chants were:
“You can’t wrestle” – directed at Orton
“This match sucks”
“YES! YES! YES!”
“We Want Bryan!
During the Brock/Show match:
“This is bulls***”
During the Bryan/Bray match:
“This is Awesome!”
During the final minutes of the Royal Rumble:
“Roman Reigns! Roman Reigns!”
“We Want Bryan!”
“NO! NO! NO!”
WWE has a habit of forcing the obvious down our throats. Last year when it came down to Cena and Ryback, did we really think Ryback would win? No. Of course not. The Rock was about to beat CM Punk for the WWE Championship, and everyone knew we were getting the “Once in a Lifetime” match, for the second time. They shoved Batista down our necks, the fact he’s in the Rumble, the fact he wants to face Orton for the title, so what, Sheamus would suddenly win? Jimmy Uso would win? Give me a break.
At least we now have to wonder what Elimination Chamber will start to look like. Most importantly, what will Daniel Bryan do now? Or will WWE pull a Ziggler on him and just bury him as punishment for being more popular than John Cena?