Last night was the 2012 Royal Rumble. The Rumble is one of my favorite shows of the year. It’s almost clichéd now that it begins the “Road to Wrestlemania” but it’s also true. This is the event where they really start the build towards their biggest show of the year, even when they have to make that pitstop at the Elimination Chamber. These three months at the beginning of the year are when I really can’t help but pay super close attention to WWE and it’s generally the time of the year the best programming is being produced.
Let’s take a look at last night’s card.
Triple Threat Cage Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Big Show vs Mark Henry vs Daniel Bryan (c)
I gotta say, I LOVE Daniel Bryan’s heel persona. And watching a guy his size getting in Big Show’s face the way he does I think is actually kinda refreshing. Sure when push comes to shove he’ll take the cowardly way out, as a heel is supposed to. But it’s nice to see a smaller guy who’s not afraid, necessarily, of the bigger guys.
As for this match though, I gotta say I was underwhelmed by it. Not to say that the participants did a BAD job. But I feel the idea of a double-stipulation match like this just kinda put it over the top for me. A Triple threat would have been all right. A cage match, sure. But to lump the gimmicks together just made it silly for me. It also bothers me to see the World title match as the first match of the card. That placing for me ALWAYS solidifies that the World title is not as important as the WWE title, and those chasing it are only doing so because they’re not good enough for the WWE title.
I was, pleasantly, surprised to see Bryan retain. When he won the title last month I was certain they’d take it off him at Rumble. Of course, the way he’s been booked with it, having only retained it for the month by running away, even in this match by escaping the cage instead of beating Show or Henry, that he’ll lose it at Chamber, where he can’t run away. I could be way off on how WWE thinks of Bryan, but I don’t think they’ll have him in a World title match at Wrestlemania.
8 Diva Tag Match
Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Brie Bella and Nikki Bella
Kelly Kelly, Eve, Alicia Fox and Tamina
What can I really say about this match? It’s the same thing they do on all the big PPVs that drives me nuts. They cram as many girls in the ring as they can, have them wiggle around, eventually everything breaks loose and they all catfight around the arena until someone manages to pin someone else.
My first thought was, why are Beth and Nattie teaming with the Bellas? In their quest to eliminate all the Barbie Doll model types in WWE, why would they team with two of them? Of course that last tag where Beth almost knocked Thing 1’s shoulder out of place, I guess, showed that she didn’t like teaming with them either.
Beth’s team got the win, but in the end, because of how they’ve all been booked, it doesn’t make any difference. This is a big problem, I feel. Are all the girls in WWE great workers? No. Some of them are downright awful. But you’d never know who was good and who was bad because WWE doesn’t give ANY of them enough time to show what they can, or can’t do. That hurts the entire division and where the division stands in the eyes of the viewers.
Kane vs John Cena
I’m gonna start this off by saying I HATE new Kane. I hate his stupid wig. I hate his crappy new mask. I hate his weird one-piece black body condom with the random red stitching and the clipart flames on his leg. I hate that we were given no reason for why he’s remasked and has hair again. I hate that fans, even SMART fans, have bought in to the idea that he’s suddenly cool again with the mask and that he’s not the fat, bald, idiots that’s done nothing for the last decade. When Kane had the mask, there was a mystery there. All of that was stripped away. The mask being back doesn’t suddenly make him mysterious again. It doesn’t make him cool again. It makes him a fat, bald guy with a stupid wig and a crappy mask!
The story going into the match did nothing for me. Even when I tried to push out of my mind all the things I despise about this new Kane, his stalking Zack Ryder and Eve in an attempt to get John Cena to start being a heel was all idiotic to me. Couple it with the terrible acting of Zack trying to change a tire and Eve sobbing at every moment and it just falls terribly flat. It didn’t help that in the first few minutes of the match John Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment and couldn’t lift Kane. We’ve seen him lift Big Show! We’ve seen him lift Big Show with another guy ON TOP of Big Show. And that was after he’d already had a full match and was tired. At the beginning of the match he can’t lift Kane? That killed whatever interest I had in the match until that point. Then we have a lame double DQ finish. And Kane proceeds to redestroy Zack Ryder and leave he, and Cena lying in the ring while Eve cries.
So we’ll get to see more of the See no Evil vs The Marine crossover film. Oh goodie.
Drew McIntyre vs Brodus Clay
I have to wonder why this match was on PPV? Drew is still losing. Brodus is still dancing. OK. Why are people paying $45 on the thing that’s been happening on free TV for the last month?
I said my piece on Brodus already. I still like him, but the squashes are getting a little old. It’s time to get him in a feud with someone.
I don’t like this losing streak angle with McIntyre. I even like McIntyre! I think he’s a decent worker. It’s not his fault. It’s the writers’ fault. Losing streak angles don’t ever have a decent payoff. The guy either starts winning again, in which case he’s lost so much that people don’t care about him finally winning and he gets fired. Or, people stop caring about him continuously losing and he gets fired. Either way he gets fired.
I know there was heat on Drew for the blowup he and Tiffany, his wife at the time, had over Summerslam weekend that got them arrested, her suspended and ultimately fired and really put him in the doghouse in the company. But that was a while ago. I’m sure most people have forgotten about it by now, at least those outside of WWE. It’s time to start treating Drew good again. He was the ‘Chosen One’ at one point. Let’s get back to that.
Dolph Ziggler vs CM Punk (c)
If this angle didn’t have John Lauranitis in it, I think it’d be one of the best feuds WWE has had going in a long time. Ziggler and Punk work really well together and I love watching their matches. That is, until they need to disrupt a good match with the storyline and Johnny Ace has to get involved.
This match was no different. Ziggler and Punk were awesome. Then they let the storyline screw with what was an otherwise really good match. I don’t care that John Lauranitis couldn’t screw Punk like he wanted because he’s going to be under review from Triple H the next night. When Johnny said he was removing himself as referee, he sould have done just that, and gone to the back and let Ziggler and Punk tear the house down.
Again a surprising finish Unlike with Bryan though, it’s not that I don’t think they ave faith in Punk. Right now, even though Vince probably hates it, they know Punk is money. But I figured they would have thought there was more money in Punk chasing the belt into Wrestlemania rather than go in as champion. Of course his status as champion could change around Elimination Chamber.
The Royal Rumble
There’re so many things to talk about in the match. I’ll just hit some bullet-point thoughts I had throughout the match.
I like that they made Miz #1 and then had people who he’d wronged in the last few years in Alex Reilly and R-Truth be the first two he had to deal with.
Cody Rhodes was the star of the Rumble in the context of being the guy with the most eliminations. I think that’s something they need to add to his character in the coming months. Cody Rhodes is one of the best guys in WWE and I think it’s only a matter of time before he’s winning Rumbles and main eventing Wrestlemanias.
I was surprised to see Mick Foley in the match as, just a few weeks ago, they said he wasn’t going to be in it. But I was glad he was because we got to see the showdown of Mr Socko vs The Cobra.
The inclusions of Jerry Lawler and Booker T were a nice surprise, but I actually really liked Michael Cole’s involvement in the Rumble. Quick bursts of Cole getting in the ring and getting knocked out, I think, is the best way to use Cole if they feel the need to get him in the ring at all. I don’t think he should be in the ring at all. But they’re not going to listen to me there. So maybe they can leave his involvement to short bursts.
I was so glad to see Kharma return and actually do some damage. After having to take a long hiatus due to being pregnant, I’m looking forward to seeing her mix it up with some of the girls in the Divas division and hopefully attempt to bring a little credibility back to the division. And, while I guess it was best to keep her involvement a surprise for the Rumble, I couldn’t help but wonder why she wouldn’t get involved in the earlier Diva’s match.
Kofi Kingston’s handstand spot. Kinda “Nuff’ said” about that. But I remember a guy who did a cool acrobatic stunt in last year’s Rumble who’s no longer in the company. I hope that doesn’t happen with Kofi.
Jericho and Sheamus were a great final two to have in with a lot of close calls to the finish. I was, as were others, absolutely certain that Jericho was going to win and was SHOCKED when Sheamus won. I read later that WWE changed the finish to Sheamus because everyone thought Jericho was going to win. That’s not a good reason to book a different finish. Apparently they actually have some faith in Sheamus as a top face of the company, but if the finish was for Jericho to win, he should have won. And since he didn’t, now there are just more unanswered questions surrounding him. Which feels like they’re just further wasting him. Hopefully we get some answers at Raw.
This isn’t saying I was mad about Sheamus winning. I like Sheamus and look forward to seeing who he faces at Wrestlemania.
It wasn’t a perfect show, as WWE hasn’t been in a while with the writers doing illogical stuff to throw off the internet or just overproducing everything. I felt there was a lot to dislike about this show, but I felt there was also a LOT to enjoy. More stuff to enjoy than dislike which made it a fun show overall. It definitely has me looking forward to Elimination Chamber, and more importantly Wrestlemania!