That went well, right? In what is arguably WWE’s second biggest PPV of the year, the powers that be decided to give us shit on a plate and expected us to eat with a smile on our face. That wasn’t the case. As I’m sure you already know, the fans were not happy, and it wasn’t just the internet smarks who were complaining. All through out the evening the surprisingly raucous Pittsburgh crowd chanted for Daniel Bryan, and while he did put on an amazing twenty minute match with Bray Wyatt at the start off the show, that just wasn’t enough. While I could just go in to the disappointments of the Royal Rumble right now, I should probably start from the beginning so the positives have a chance to be talked about.
We started off the pre-show with a backstage segment with an assortment of mid-carders picking their number for the Rumble. Seeing as the Real Americans were surrounded by R-Truth, The Great Khali, Kofi Kingston, and another handful of minorities, I could only assume that they were a little uncomfortable. We then headed to the ring where the Middle Age Outlaws made their way to the ring in some new merch, and by new merch I mean that they were wearing crappy thrown together t-shirts with a filtered picture of them that was clearly taken in the nineties. The Brotherhood followed and the match started off pretty awesome. I’m starting to think that Goldust is actually just Hunico because the man has never looked better. Flying sentons to the outside, sunset powerbombs, diving frankensteiners. It’s hard to believe that it’s the same chubby guy who wore an ill-fitting black and silver rain jacket and snorted coke before his matches in TNA. Keep going strong, Goldy!
But Goldust wasn’t the only former alcoholic attitude era star who’s making a clean comeback who impressed, as the New Age Outlaws also put on one hell of a performance, a performance which would end with them hoisting the WWE Tag Team Championships above their heads. That’s right, the New Age Outlaws beat Goldust and his partner for the Tag Team Championships. It’s the nineties all over again! The match was great and really fast-paced, but the title change was completely stupid for a five minute match with almost no feud or build-up. You could have easily given it five or six more minutes and put in on the actual PPV. I’m assuming that the New Age Outlaws winning the belts is supposed to set up Goldust/Cody at ‘Mania and as a way to get the titles on the well-deserving Usos, but it would come off way better if there was a little more fanfare heading into the match instead of the usual “we beat the champs so we get a title shot” angle that the WWE reserves for all it’s mid-card championship PPV matches.
After the pre-show ended, we kicked off the night with what was easily the best WWE match of 2014, Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt. In an amazing showcase of in-ring psychology and storytelling, Wyatt and Bryan put on a clinic for the thunderous Pittsburgh crowd. Unfortunately, that would be the only time in the evening that we would get to see Daniel Bryan. The match featured some insane spots, including a diving tornado DDT and a clothesline that may have literally turned Daniel Bryan inside out. Bray Wyatt would end up picking up the surprising victory after catching Bryan with the Sister Abigail off a suicide dive. Just a bit of a side note, can we petition for Daniel Bryan to get a haircut? He doesn’t need to shave the beard or anything, but he’s really starting to look like a weird cross between a swamp troll and Jesus. Bray Wyatt, however, can keep his hair. He’s looks gloriously creepy. I wouldn’t mind seeing Bray do a shampoo commercial one day. “L’Oreal, because the devil made me do it”. Speaking of creeps, how come nobody has brought up Bray Wyatt vs. Boogeyman? The match writes itself! They could face off in a “Who’s the Biggest Creep” match. Anyways, it was an awesome match that will definitely make it on the best matches of 2014 list.
Well seeing we had just gotten half and hour or exciting wrestling, naturally it had to be balanced out by ten minutes of Brock Lesnar hitting Big Show breaking chairs on the Big Show. We was going through so many steel chairs I was half expecting him to pull out Big Show’s giant sized chair from TLC 2012. I’m not saying it didn’t get the point across that Brock Lesnar is a monster, but ten minutes? Seriously? The match itself only lasted two minutes. Whatever, the whole idea was to make Lesnar look strong headed into his planned WrestleMania match with Undertaker, which was successful. Well, it was successful other than the fact that we discovered that Brock Lesnar has a tramp stamp. Definitely not the most intimidating tattoo a man can have. But hey, I’m not going to go up to him and say that it’s stupid looking.
We headed backstage for a Shield promo about them winning the Rumble, and just like all their lady fans, the Shield were soaking wet. Seriously, do they just live in water or something? Anyways, we got some pretty entertaining bickering between the three about who was going to win the Royal Rumble, including a classic line from Ambrose “I have all the numbers!”. I honestly wouldn’t mind if every backstage segment for the rest of eternity was just Dean Ambrose talking. We get a video package hyping the next match, which is the Orton vs. Cena match. I love how the announcers try to hype it up as “the most anticipated World Championship rematch ever”. Judging by the crowd reaction the match got, I feel like they’re going to be calling it “the most anticipated World Championship rematch of 2014 in WWE in January” come Monday Night Raw. From the moment Orton and Cena (who’s new gear makes him look like a dancer from Step Up 2: The Streets) made their entrances, the crowd could not give a single shit. Over the course of the entire ten minute plus match, they chanted for everything but Orton and Cena. You know that nobody cares about a match when people are chanting for Divas and refunds. It’s somewhat unfortunate that the crowd didn’t care, because Orton and Cena actually had a pretty good match. If they had an invested crowd it would have been off the charts, but it’s fairly understandable that the crowd was fed up with having to watch Cena vs. Orton: Round 41.
The match was pout out of it’s misery by the Wyatt Family, who distracted Cena and allowed Orton to get the win. I’m pretty excited that WWE is putting Cena and Bray into a WrestleMania program, but not only does that give us a fresh feud that pits a fresh newcomer against an established star, but it also keeps Cena out of the ‘Mania main event. Too bad Cena’s being swapped out for Batista. I guess you can’t win them all, guys. After the match, the Family attacked Cena much to the utter delight of the crowd. I almost feel like Cena had no clue what was going on and just thought that a bunch of internet smarks jumped the barricade and attacked him. The internet fans are usually described as dirty fat bearded guys wearing fedoras and floral pattern shirts. We move onto some individual promos for the Royal Rumble, with each announced competitor talking about how they are going to win. The one that made me chuckle the most was Ryback’s, who said with a straight face that he has “unlimited energy”. By “unlimited energy”, I think he means “nine minutes of energy”. Remember when he was in the final two last year and was actually a front runner to win? Ya, me neither.
Now, I’m not going to go through every single entrant and elimination of the Rumble, so I’m just going to talk about some of the more interesting bits. CM Punk and Seth Rollins started the match off, with Sandow coming in at number three. He was eliminated almost immediately. Kane was number five and was wearing some dress pants. #CorporateKane. He was eliminated by CM Punk quickly. NXT star Alexander Rusev made his main roster debut at number six. Rusev was pretty impressive, but the Royal Rumble is not the place to debut new guys because they get absolutely no reaction. Losing their first match isn’t a good introduction either. After Rusev for eliminated, Kofi Kingston was thrown into him. Naturally, Rusev caught him and gently placed him on the barricade like a mother would to her baby. Kofi did his annual Kofi Rumble spot and jumped back to the ring. Dean Ambrose came in at number eleven, and looked really awkward coming from the actual entrance. Dolph Ziggler made his return from injury at number twelve, and was followed by everyone’s least favourite wrestler, R-Truth. At this point in the match, Jack Swagger had somehow lost on of his boots and was wrestling with one shoe on. I was actually a little worried that he might stub a toe or something. Fortunately for Swagger, there was no coffee tables in the ring. Coming at number fourteen was Kevin Nash, who ended up being the old school surprise. If you were wondering, no, he didn’t tear his quad. Coming in at number fifteen was the last member of the Shield, Roman Reigns. As expected, Roman cleaned house and eliminated everybody who clearly wasn’t going to win the Rumble. This would be the start of Roman’s eventual record breaking twelve eliminations.
Another expected moment came when Goldust eliminated his brother and tag team partner Cody Rhodes, but was in turn thrown out by Roman Reigns. Number seventeen saw the return of Sheamus, who may have actually gotten paler in his time away. Sheamus got a pretty big pop too, which was nice. Even though the internet doesn’t seem to like Sheamus, I still have a soft spot for him. Well, at least when he’s not beating Bryan in eighteen seconds. Number twenty was El Torito, who actually eliminated Fandango. He then faced off against CM Punk, who actually fell victim to the little bull’s luchadore skills. Number twenty one was Cesaro, who may swung Seth Rollins around so many times that Rollins might think he’s back in Ring of Honor. Coming in at number twenty four was JBL, who like every other announcer before him, got eliminated immediately. At least Lawler and Cole didn’t get in the ring again. Coming in at number twenty seven was Alberto Del Rio, which meant that there were four more people left. It was at this moment that we all realized that Daniel Bryan wasn’t in the Royal Rumble. “The Pitbull” Batista came in at number twenty eight to a chorus of boos. Maybe announcing when he was coming back and giving fans time to realize that they don’t really give a shit about Batista wasn’t the best idea. Coming in at the dreaded “Daniel Bryan is officially not in the Royal Rumble” number thirty spot was Rey Mysterio, who signalled the end of the crowd’s engagement.
From that point on, the fans booed EVERYTHING. The Undertaker’s gongs could have gone off and they would have booed. Just shows you how over Daniel Bryan is. After eliminating his Shield mates, Roman Reigns and Batista faced off as the final two. At this point, the crowd was actually cheering Roman because nobody wanted to see Batista to win. Well to bad for them, because Batista is the 2014 Royal Rumble winner and will go on to fight for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of WrestleMania XXX! The PPV ended with the most negative audience reaction any Royal Rumble winner had ever received. Batista didn’t take it to well, as after the show he flipped off some fans and did the “Yes” chant at the top of the ramp. What a classy guy. It’ll be interesting to see how WWE reacts to the horrible reaction that the Royal Rumble has gotten, because it’s not just smarks that are complaining. Mick Foley went on a huge rant on Facebook about how WWE doesn’t care about their fans and how he’s going to throw a brick through his TV. You know you fucked up when Mick Foley gets angry. I hate wrestling sometimes.
Agree? Disagree? Tell me why in the comments or on Twitter @SmarkInProgress.