Tonight, my worst fears for the Royal Rumble came to pass. And the sad thing is the event started off so well too. Cesaro and Miz had a good match in the pre-show, and Cesaro retained his title.
The PPV started with Alberto Del Rio defending his World Heavyweight Championship against Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match. Yes, we just saw this match a few weeks ago for free on Smackdown. The good news is Del Rio and Show was able to incorporate new stuff to make the match interesting, and even better. There was a cool spot where Big Show climbed up on the set and brought Del Rio with him, then tossed Del Rio off the beam through a table. Alberto kept it suspenseful by waiting until the nine count to get up before falling back over. The ending came when Alberto had Big Show in the armbar and Roberto duck taped Big Show’s feet to the bottom rope, making him unable to stand up. I guess Del Rio is taking up the Guerrero mantra of “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.” It was a good match.
Next, the Tag Team Championship was on the line and it was a pretty standard tag team match between these two teams (Team Hell No and Team Rhodes Scholars). I’m a big fan of both teams, but I was rooting for Team Rhodes Scholars. I don’t want to see either team break up, but I would like to see Bryan and Kane fighting to reclaim the titles. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen anytime soon since Team Hell Now retained the titles. Another good match, although it did feel like a match we’d see on free TV.
And then there was the Royal Rumble, which isn’t worthy of the main-event when The Rock is on the card. At this point, I really started to worry that the two things I didn’t want to see happen were going to happen.
I want to begin here by saying that the Rumble match itself was pretty good, although it certainly wasn’t close to being the best Rumble match. The two spoilers we posted that came from PWInsider weren’t in the match, which was disappointing since I’m a fan of both guys. Fortunately though, the Rumble match did have some big surprises, and none more than Chris Jericho who came in at number two. That was a great surprise and he lasted a long time, but thankfully he didn’t win it. In addition to Jericho, we also saw Goldust and The Godfather return (that’s three former Intercontinental Champions).
Bo Dallas, the NXT tournament winner, lasted over 10 minutes and looked good. He eliminated Wade Barrett, and of course WWE did what they do every year and had someone (Dallas in this case) be pulled over the top rope by someone has already been eliminated (Barrett). It’s beyond stupid that they do this every year; that kind of thing just shouldn’t count as an elimination.
Dolph Ziggler entered first and lasted until the final six. He looked great, but of course WWE again pulled the rug out from underneath him. Who is going to ever buy Ziggler as anything more than a joke when every time he guarantees victory right before a big match, he loses? I’m so tired of the way WWE treats him, and others, in favor of their golden boy John Cena. And I’m not even a Cena hater; I’ve defended Cena in the past. I’m way past that point though. There was no reason for Cena to win this Royal Rumble match.
WWE’s problem is that they are afraid to move past John Cena, despite the fact that he’s been the top guy for almost a decade. Super Cena can’t lose; not even the powerful Ryback (who came in from #30) can withstand the might of John Cena. Cena winning the Rumble match just totally ruined the whole thing for me (and yes, I was rooting for Ziggler but I would have been satisfied with anyone BUT John Cena). Unfortunately, it got even worse.
CM Punk, WWE Champion for 434 days, put his title on the line against The Rock in his first match since WrestleMania. I’m not taking anything away from the work of both men, as it was an entertaining match, but it had an absolutely horrible finish. The lights went out, and The Shield put The Rock through the announce table. Because the lights were out the entire time, the referee didn’t see it, and Punk went out there and brought Rock back in the ring and pinned him. Then McMahon came down and started to strip Punk of the title, but Rocky couldn’t have that. So the match was restarted, and just a couple of minutes later, Punk’s title reign came to an end courtesy of a People’s Elbow.
That’s right; the WWE Champion of 434 days couldn’t kick out of a standing elbow drop. What a disgrace. Rock is able to walk in off the street and take the WWE Championship from the longest reigning champion in over a quarter of a century. It’s so very nice of Vince McMahon to send the message to everyone that the current crop of WWE stars simply aren’t as good as those from the Attitude Era. Oh sure, it’s all so John Cena can finally get his win over Rock at WresteMania and become WWE Champion again… but so what?
This was a four match card, and unfortunately the last two matches (the bulk of the show) left a very bad taste in my mouth. My gut told me Cena and Rock would win, that we were destined for a WrestleMania rematch and everyone else be damned. I was excited though because I had a hope WWE would finally do the right thing. They didn’t. They did the absolute wrong thing, and this PPV suffers because of it. I’m honestly disappointed that I wasted $50 on this. Lesson learned, WWE. It won’t happen again.
The 2013 WWE Royal Rumble gets a two out of five: FORGETTABLE.