The Royal Rumble is considered in the WWE universe as the start of the road to Wrestlemania, the most exciting time in any wrestling fans calendar and one which is jammed pack with excitement and unpredictability. It is also the first Pay Per view of the year and a good indication as to what fans can be looking forward to in the coming twelve months. Unfortunately this year’s event offered neither excitement or unpredictability with lazy booking and predictable outcomes letting down what would have otherwise been a fantastic event. Here’s my in depth look at what went down this past Sunday night…
The show opened well enough, an entertaining last man standing match which saw Alberto Del Rio defeat The Big Show to retain his World Heavyweight Championship got the crowd heated up for the rest of the night. The match had some nice little spots, Big Show chucking Del Rio through a table from a part of the stage was a particularly memorable moment and the finish was rather innovative. With Big Show trapped in Alberto’s Cross arm breaker Ricardo Rodriguez took the opportunity to gaffer tape the Big Show’s feet to the bottom rope, preventing him from being able to make the ten count. Many people saw this as a cheap ending but personally I enjoyed it, managers don’t play enough of a role in matches for my liking and it made a change to see one help their superstar to a win. The crowd seemed genuinely behind Del Rio and its about time, after many failed title pushes it looks as though they are finally starting to warm to him as a face, either that or they are just overjoyed Big Show didn’t walk out with the belt back around his waist.
Next up was the tag team title match and the most surprising result of the night (say’s it all) as Team Hell No successfully defended their tag team titles against Team Rhode’s Scholars. The match was entertaining enough, Daniel Bryan has a fantastic chemistry with both Rhodes and Sandow and he really needs to get back into single matches when Team Hell No drop the tag titles. I fully expect this feud to continue and I don’t think it will be very long before we see Rhode’s Scholars with the belts around their waists.
Next up was The Royal Rumble match itself. Having The Royal Rumble not headline the show is always a bad move in my opinion, though I think they did make clear attempts to deal with this. Ziggler made his way down to the ring and called out entrant number two and in one of the biggest moments of the night Chris Jericho made his grand return. The crowd popped big time for the return of Y2J and this worked effectively in getting people into the match despite its position on the card. Following this there was only two other surprise entrants into The Rumble, Goldust entering quite early on and lasted for quite some time and then The Godfather in the latter half of the event who was eliminated immediately.
This year’s Rumble had the potential to be one of the greatest of all time; instead it ended up being one of the most boring. Kofi Kingston had a clever little spot with the announce table and JBL’s chair whilst Team Hell No provided some comedy to the match but other than that there was very little of note. Two positives to come from the match were the debut of Bo Dallas, who having lasted a considerable amount of time ended up eliminating Wade Barrett only for the Intercontinental Champion to come back and chuck him out, potentially setting up a feud between the pair. The other being the performance of Dolph Ziggler who having entered at number one lasted nearly an hour, making the final four in the process.
This was my biggest issue with the match. Having put in an incredible shift Ziggler was quickly cast aside to leave Sheamus, Cena and Ryback left in the ring, 3 superstars who have been forced down our throats for the last 12 months. Once it came down to these three all interest was lost, I failed to see any real positive from any of these superstars winning,none of the three really needed a rumble win to help their careers. So after a few minutes of back and forth action Super Cena eliminated Ryback and walked out of the Royal Rumble the victor, never have I heard such a flat reaction from a crowd come the end of a rumble match.
The outcome of the Rumble left me feeling very deflated as the main event began, primarily because I now knew exactly who was going to be leaving the show with the WWE title. Punk and Rock put on a fantastic match right until the last 10 minutes, with The Rock ready to hit the peoples elbow the lights went out and The Rock was put through one of the announce tables. Punk then dragged him back into the ring and picked up the win, as I was jumping for joy around my living room I realised there was still a good 10 minutes of the show remaining at which point it become obvious that this wasn’t the end of the match. Lo and behold Vince Mcmahon made his grand surprising entrance and restarted the match due to the interference. Cue a comeback from The Rock, one spinebuster and a people’s elbow later and we have ourselves a new WWE champion. What a horrible way to not only end the show, but also one of the finest WWE title runs of the modern era. The only thing that was missing was a Cena Rock stare down with the Wrestlemania sign hanging in the background but don’t worry there is plenty of time for that.
Overall The Rumble could have been a much better show than it was, the matches were all solid and there was some memorable moments but the show was let down by lazy booking. As I’ve mentioned before I don’t believe the WWE title needs to be involved in the Rock-Cena match for it to sell and I feel as though CM punk was deserving of his big match at Mania this year. Hopefully we might still get to see a Punk-Taker match but I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t the case. Rock and Punk could have been an early match of the year candidate had it not had such a bizarre ending and the rumble match itself was also let down by its finish. The World Heavyweight Title match was impressive but I’m struggling to see who is going to be in the title picture come Mania, its never looked so worrying.
Did you agree with my thoughts on The Royal Rumble? Let me know…
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This article was first posted on January 29, 2013