I watched WWE’s Royal Rumble event at the Fox & Hound Sports Bar in Aurora, IL on Sunday. The room showcasing the Pay-Per-View was packed and the food was good. Being with a few buddies of mine as well as other surrounding wrestling fans always creates a fun environment to watch these shows. Going into the Royal Rumble I would speak among others about who we’d predict to win the Rumble and get the opportunity to go after one of the world titles. Many speculated the returning Chris Jericho, I predicted St. Louis’s hometown hero of Randy Orton, and many predicted a possible main event up-and-comer such as Wade Barrett or Cody Rhodes. In addition to speculating the Royal Rumble winner, we all speculated the surprise entrants, the champion match winners, and more. I will reveal each winner as I briefly review each match.
Match 1: Triple Threat World Heavyweight Title Match – Daniel Bryan © vs. The Big Show vs. Mark Henry: One of the most notable comedy moments of the competitors walking to the ring was The Big Show trying to give the little girl fan (who I was told was one of Randy Orton’s daughters) his bandana and the poor girl was dodging it and was crying. Poor girl. I know I may sound like a nitpicker here, but I personally do not like when the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Title match opens a show. I agree you do need a hot opener for a PPV, but the titles should be looked as high priorities. This aside, I think the three men put on a show to the best of their abilities given the little time they received. Mark Henry is injured and has been for sometime now so I could expect too much from him but he carried his end of the match. Henry and Big Show showcased their physical strength well by throwing Bryan around the ring into the steel cage and there was a very impressive superkick done by the Big Show onto Daniel Bryan. Bryan as I predicted did win the match by escaping but boy did the Big Show impress me with being able to climb and even hang on from a steel cage and held onto Daniel Bryan for awhile with one hand. Again while what they did do impressed me I think they would have really benefitted from more time to make an okay match a really good match. I also liked Daniel’s post victory “Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!!”
Segment: The promo of John Cena’s media appearances irks me because in my opinion it went on a lot longer then it needed to and I think that it took away time that could be used for other matches or even allow an extra promo from the wrestlers. I do understand it’s hype for WrestleMania 28 but I wish it wasn’t as long as it was.
Match 2: 4-on-4 Divas Tag-Team Match – Beth Phoenix/Natalya Neidhart/Bella Twins vs. Kelly Kelly/Eve Torres/Tamina/Alicia Fox: Many beautiful women (though I’m not wild about Tamina in terms of looks, no offense.) Unfortunately for the Divas Division in WWE, their matches are not very good. When I want women’s wrestling, I’ll watch Impact Wrestling on Thursday nights. Anyway, not much to note here, as it was your typical WWE Divas match. I will say that while I can’t consider Kelly Kelly one of the best women wrestlers, the girl does work hard. Her spot with her jumping off the top rope and taking down all the other divas outside of the ring was very impressive. Also, she does sell Beth Phoenix’s Glam Slam finisher well. All the positive stuff out of the way, the heel team wins, nothing else exciting. Next match please!
Segment: Zack Ryder is here to watch the PPV from his dressing room that looks like it is a prop set. Anyway, Ryder is in a wheel chair, has a back brace, and a couple casts. Lucky for him, he has the lovely Eve Torres (my top WWE Diva crush) as his caretaker for the night. If I could get her as a caretaker in exchange for what Kane did to him on Monday night, you bet I would! Eve bitches out John Laurinaitis for the way he treats Zack then wheels him inside the “dressing room.”
Match 3 - John Cena vs. Kane: Not much of a match was had but it was a decent back and forth brawl. For the most part, John Cena and Kane were about equal to one another terms of who had the upper hand. “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” chants took place and it appears that the crowd was definitely favoring Kane more as opposed to the hero John Cena. The match ends in a double count-out where John Cena and Kane brawl up the entrance way and to the backstage. Kane gets the upper hand on Cena, which leads him to Zack Ryder’s room where he would wheel Zack out to the ring and lay waste to him. John Cena would run in and try to save his buddy Zack but Kane takes him out for his troubles. Eve Torres runs out and begs and pleads towards Kane to stop but Kane doesn’t listen and hurt him some more. This results in Eve to cry and the paramedics to carry Zack Ryder out. I liked this as Kane had more of an upper hand on John Cena. Cena showed vulnerability and that he can’t always become “Super Cena!” Looks like the feud will continue.
Segment: Pretty much the same segment they did for John Cena only for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. My opinions for this are the same as the Cena one.
Match 4 – Brodus Clay vs. Drew McIntyre: Somebody call my momma! Drew McIntyre in on a PPV! Unfortunately Brodus Clay doesn’t let him have much offense and pummels him as bad if not worse that he’s already receiving from his previous weeks of jobbing. Not much I can say about this match other than it’s squash match but I currently find Brodus’s dancing routine hilarious. On the bright side for McIntyre, while he may have been squashed like a grape tonight, at least he’s on PPV. Right everyone? I’m waiting to hear “yes”. ;-)
Match 5: WWE Championship Featuring Special Guest Referee John Laurinaitis – Dolph Ziggler vs. CM Punk: Definite match of the night right here. In hindsight, yes CM Punk mostly dominated the match with several guaranteed pinfalls he would have gained had John Laurinaitis or the other referee had counted, but I thought both men put on an amazing match. My favorite spot of the match was Dolph Ziggler reversing CM Punk’s GTS finisher into a fame-asser (for a lack of a better move term.) Anyway, many close falls, lots of great back and forth action and in my opinion Dolph Ziggler continues to show that he can work with the top stars of the company. CM Punk retains which makes me happy and I am very confident in Dolph Ziggler’s future.
Main Event: 30-Man Royal Rumble Match: This is a long match and lots of description so I’m going to try and explain my thoughts of this in a nutshell. While I don’t consider this one of the best rumble matches in years, it was from a bad one. I’ll admit, it was a lot goofier than usual and it certainly did lack star power. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I think it could have benefitted from an appearance by John Cena! As predicted, neither world champion made an appearance but instead we did see the Pay-Per-View’s announce team of Jerry “The King” Lawler, Booker T, and even Michael Cole involved! We also saw surprise entrants such as The Great Khali, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Road Dogg Jesse James, and the return of Kharma. Those were all very entertaining. Alberto Del Rio’s music played, but instead, his assistant Ricardo Rodriguez showed up. I certainly was laughing at this moment.
Comedy and shock moments aside, the one problem I did have was that it did feel like it lacked the star power that usual Royal Rumbles have. Sure we had big names such as Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Sheamus, and The Big Show, but we also had a few wasted entries of stars such as Hunico, David Otunga, and Jey Uso. Stars such as The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, and Cody Rhodes held their own for a while but it felt like they were just randomly eliminating the weaker stars left and right without trouble until the more power stars such as Sheamus and Randy Orton arrived. I examined the list of participants and the WWE roster and I guess one problem with the lack of star power is that I noticed that superstars such as Christian (who is allegedly ready to return soon), Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, and Alberto Del Rio are currently on the injured list so they did use a bulk majority of the roster. I guess what I would do differently is to have the show go back to 40 participants like they did last year and/or add John Cena as well as Kane to the match as well. Maybe even make Brodus Clay a participant, it would have been better than less popular stars such as Jey Uso or Hunico. While I predicted hometown hero Randy Orton and a bulk majority of the Internet had predicted Chris Jericho to win, the final man standing ended up being Sheamus and for me I’m perfectly fine with it. I really enjoyed seeing Chris Jericho and Sheamus go at it when they were the last two participants. Very enjoyable, I really would like to see these two go at it in a singles match in the near future.
Final Thoughts: For wrestling, I prefer to give a letter grade and while this show had a few downsides, I would give it a B. Like I said before, the Royal Rumble match for the beginning half had somewhat of a humorous approach to it when we had the commentators become entrants and we saw a duel between hand socks with Mick Foley’s “Mr. Socko” vs. Santino Marella’s “Cobra”, although I found that bit hilarious. While the Rumble match wasn’t as great as other ones, I still found it very entertaining and was pleased to see Road Dogg Jesse James and Hacksaw Jim Duggan make their cameos.
For the previous matches, I really wish Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry had a lot more time. Because of the lack of time (and perhaps Mark Henry unfortunately being injured), the match wasn’t nearly as good as I had hoped for. The Divas match and The Funkusaurus vs. Drew McIntyre were time killers, while John Cena vs. Kane as a match was just okay. The real pay off for Cena-Kane was what happened after the match. CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler stole the show and without that match, I may have given the show a lower grade.
I hope you enjoyed this review of Royal Rumble, I hope to do a review each time I view a PPV. Next one is looking to be Wrestlemania 28 due to another commitment during Elimination Chamber. I’m also looking to attend WWE Extreme Rules at the All-State Arena, hopefully do a little video if I have my new camera by that time. Anyway if you enjoyed this article I encourage you to become a fan of STVO Universe onFacebook. Thank you for reading.