Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Royal Rumble 2014

WWE Royal Rumble 2014

Coming live from the Consol Energy Centre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania live on Pay Per View on Sunday January 26th, would WWE's Royal Rumble create new beginnings on the Road To Wrestlemania? Would it be able to set matches in place for the big one on April 5th this coming year? Will it reward old favourites or younger talent with strong options to develop its future roles? Let's find out...

It's all about the numbers. Tonight's Royal Rumble voiceover was notably different. The sexy voice over lady was not booked this year.

Beginning the show was the opening battle.

Daniel Bryan Vs Bray Wyatt

Bryan's joining of the Wyatt family two weeks earlier was a letdown after turning his back on them into the fans hero for tonight. With a short stint the pair were set to battle one another once again. "Everything that happens from now on is your fault." Bray Wyatt yelled as acknowledged by commentary.

The pair began with a strong lock up. Wyatt began gaining an early lead. The Wyatt Brothers were sent back to avoid any possible interference by the match official. "I don't need you to fight this war for me" Bray adds as Bryan then drops from the turnbuckle to the outside on Bray taking control.  

Outside apron battling, Bray knocks Bryan's arm down. "He just keeps coming. I dont know whats coming next but its going to be bad." Jerry Lawler mentions of Wyatt.

Bryan was back outside. Running jump double leg drop outside was good followed by clean work. Strong catch and slam derailing Bryan from Bray changed pace. The crab was summoned to pound Bryan further. The crowd laughed and found it "creepy" which means it works.

"It's like you never know wants coming" continued the announce desk.

Bryan regained with a toe drop hold into slamming Bray's head into the corner pad. Turnbuckle with hurricanrana on Wyatt took a swift two fall. "This is Awesome" the crowd say. Bryan was quickly nailed by a running back elbow of Wyatt as Bryan charged for an attack. Running charge into Wyatt with tornado spinning DDT on the outside kept Bryan strong after. Back inside, Bryan unleashes the YES! kicks. A two fall was taken. "This Bray Wyatt is unstoppable." - Lawler mentions. 

Another running dropkick then charged hard at Bryan somersaulting him in the air from a running clothesline. Forehead kiss, reverse, roll up two fall for Daniel Bryan in quick succession into the YES! Lock. Wyatt bit Bryan's hand to force a break. "He will do absolutely anything" commentary note as Michael Cole explains "for his cause." 

After some back and forth compact action, the show reached it's climax.

Bray Wyatt later hits the kiss again and floors Daniel Bryan with the named kiss, Sister Abigail, to cover for a three fall victory. After discussing the absence of the Family by his side JBL finished up with "Bray said he didn't need 'em, he didn't. He leads by example. A phenomenal example" addressing Bray's work ethic and mentality to obnoxious behaviour of others he offers to support often disregarded with lack of respect or dignity. 

Big Show Vs Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman

The match replay of 2002 was here. This was different though. There was no advance to Rumble itself for the winner, only a clear fight.

Many fans fianlly got their wish for a short Big Show match, though it wasn't WWE's plan. WWE planned to have a longer match for Show however, the Bigster injured himself the night before the PPV forcing a short battle. 

Brock Lesnar instantly ambushed Show and battered Big Show with multiple chair attacks. The bell, however, had not sounded. This meant Show was pummelled by Lesnar and worn down with chair smashes. Then the bell began, causing beasty Brock to destroy Show with numerous cracks to the spine with the foreign object. Show was allowed a brief comeback hitting Brock in the face with a clubby fist. Michael Cole excitedly jumped up and down adding Brock was Knocked Out. (KO'ed)

Lawler rightfully corrected Cole "I don't know if he was KO'ed but he was whacked!" 

Show was soon caught into the F5. A quick slam and swift three fall followed as Brock Lesnar destroyed Big Show. If he wasn't injured it would have been a thirty minute bore instead. Though with an injury the match was a letdown. WWE could consider making Show's matches shorter were appropriate. This would work in his favour to building repertoire instead. Having not been what WWE had anticipated they did however turn it around to work an angle instead.

This would usually be the John Cena save moment if he wasn't pre-occupied, assaulting Show around the ring with chair slams. After such devoted time Big Show no sold by walking up to the back and rather too easily. Though WWE saw it as protecting Show's character, it ruined him further with a no sell and infeasible storyline. How can someone walk when they have been brutally bashed to the ground with such back pain which also broke the chairs in half? Fans are not as stupid as people would have them believe. 

The Shield gave a backstage promo where all three gave strong detail. Seth Rollins was given the last line which made him continue to be the glue holding an arguing Ambrose and Rollins together. Roman and Dean chose not to reveal each others numbers to one another after asking each other. 

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Randy Orton (c) Vs John Cena

John Cena sported the new clothing range, looking like a ninja turtle, with a mild dash of pink in his green tee. Before the start fans chanted for Daniel Bryan. Cena was knocked down quick. The crowd did their best attempt at mimicking the London crowd post Wrestlemania last year doing another 'Fandango night' cheering allsorts to entertain themselves, but kept it going too long that it made the scene diluted. WWE simply wont respect it with enough seriousness. Cena began his backdrops into a five knuckle shuffle to loud boos. Orton scoop slams Cena. There was a notable bird in the arena with a whistle blowing fan. This is vividly entertaining. Toot Toot. 

Cena made an utterly disgraceful error once more. He missed the leg drop on Orton in comical fashion with another botch far away from Orton's head on the comedown. This wasn't as bad as the classic Miz/Cena Wrestlemania two years ago when Cena missed the drop by half way across the ring. These choices are what ruin the audience and cause further incense to Cena for failing to respect or bother to apply himself to the industry.

Orton caught Cena for a DDT outside. "Finish it Randy" a fan yelled. "We love you Randy" another added. Soon after the winner of the 2013 Wrestling Wonders Hotty and Maxilicious awards touched his ear to the crowd who first cheered then booed Randy as a villainous gentleman. 

Cena's no hold STF was then locked on with no connection adding another huge gap in the lock. It is embarrassing. Counter by Orton. Fans began chanting "this is crap." Oh no! A ref bump happened (as they often do in Cena matches) as Cena puts a no pressure STF on again.

Cena was smashed by Orton with a belt as Cena could not let the belt anywhere near him. Fans had enough. "This is awful" they chanted. Cena lands a backbreaker and jumps down to the mat comically. An RKO was dropped into a two fall. "We want Divas" the crowd added as Orton poses. Then he calls a spot to Cena who needs guidance badly to try to keep the match in place. Orton locks in the STF with severe pressure on to teach Cena how to do his own move. He still won't learn, Cena never does. The Attitude Adjustement by Randy was put to Cena for a two count only. As predicted, Cena landed an RKO on Orton. 

Cena sat Orton atop the turnbuckle and then feigned pain lifting Orton horribly. Orton was then locked in another tawdry submission hold maybe tapping soon. The Wyatt family music quickly blared with lights out as the Wyatt's appear on apron. Randy Orton slams the RKO onto John Cena and retains the WWE World Heavyweight title with a three fall victory.

Even in defeat, it was all about Cena once again. Orton, as champion, was resigned to a background character, celebrating victory outside from afar. The Wyatt's appraoch a flat out Cena and gets a boot in the face by Luke Harper. Erick Rowan smashes Cena into the corner. Cena was held by the pair as Wyatt kisses Cena's forehead. "Behold the creators of the new world!" Bray yells as Cena, planted in the mat, heard cheers for the Wyatt's from the crowd. This might be the sixman set up at Wrestlemania laid down.

Having won the Tag Team Champiosnhips from the Rhodes Brothers Goldust and Cody Rhodes on the kick-off show, the new tag champs the New Age Outlaws gave an interview to Renee Young. Looking fine in a leather jacket, Renee was not invited to celebrate the victory with the boys Road Dogg and Mr.Ass. Road Dogg was decent on the mic but became repetative. The win was met with indecision. The fans did not understand why the 'Old' Age Outlaws were crowned champs when neither of them have a real need to be on WWE TV nor gain a title. It is clear. D-Generation X will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for 2014. Mr. Ass told Renee she had "No Chance!" as the New Age Outlaws left to celebrate together. 

Royal Rumble
CM Punk, Seth Rollins, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Kane, Alexander Rusev, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Jimmy Uso, Goldust, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Kevin Nash, Roman Reigns, The Great Khali, Sheamus, The Miz, Fandango, El Torito, Antonio Cesaro, Luke Harper, Jey Uso, JBL, Erick Rowan, Ryback, Alberto Del Rio, Batista, Big E. Langston, Rey Mysterio

CM Punk (1) was entered first as revealed on the pre-Rumble Smackdown. Number two was Shield member Seth Rollins (2) Hailed as the architect and aerialist Rollins and Punk were a good start. It was a battle of Wrestling Wonders' Pro 50 of 2013 with Punk, ranked 8 and Rollins at 6 having a strong technical tussle for two minutes. It was a strong beginning. Punk added that notion with kicks followed by Rollins. Time for Damien Sandow (3) to enter, going for an elimination of Punk. Neckbreaker and DDT by Punk on both. Cody Rhodes (4) charged straight for old foe Sandow. Punk eliminates Sandow, with ease as predicted. It was blatantly obvious that Sandow would be the first eliminated.

Kane came in at (5). Punk and Rhodes battle. Roundhouse kick was swung by Punk and eliminates Kane. That was quick. Alexander Rusev (6) joined the Rumble from NXT. He has mhuy thai boxing and MMA style fighting with feet like the Barbarian/Wild Samoan's. If not done correctly this will be another Ryback. Jack Swagger (7) joined the fracas. Sign fail here. Their placard read "Every 90 *blank* another illegal crosses the border." Days? Minutes? Hours? Oops. Rusev and Swagger fought. Kofi Kingston (8) joined. Will this be a fancy footwork feet spot? Kofi goes after Punk. Jimmy Uso (9) came in next. It was a bit boring now. Goldust (10) came. Rusev went out. Kofi was then caught by Rusev halting an elimination. Quick witted Kofi jumped to the barricade from Rusev's arms. Kingston predictably did the spot from outside where he braved a running jump to the ring. Once again, Kofi became a spot monkey open to ridicule. He needs some serious booking to be a strong name kept for the midcard, at least. Rollins was almost eliminated. Dean Ambrose (11) saved his stable mate. 

Dolph Ziggler (12) entered to knock a few people over then became a boring non-entity again. R-Truth (13) took his moment. Ambrose sent R-Truth out. Jimmy Uso out. Kingston then dangled under the ropes with his feet hooked, arms and shoulder touching the floor but feet still hooked by ropes keeping him in. The fans could not take the creativity seriously. Swaggers boot hits him, to which Kofi still held onto. Surprise entry Kevin Nash (14) came in. He went for The Shield. "I don't think anyone will come to your aid" to save Ambrose Lawler says. As this happened, just as the clock counted down for a new entry, giving the game away, Roman Reigns (15) came to save his stablemate. 

Caught by Reigns and tossed over is Kofi. The fun is over. Ziggler tried to mess with Reigns and got tossed out. Crowd boo'ed for man of the minute Ziggles. Nash went out quickly after. Rhodes piles on. The Great Khali (16) enters. Khali was instantly eliminated. This was absolutely pointless. It may have been Christian's spot, ruined by the revelation by the internet causing bookers to sideline Christian's return here. Goldust eliminates Cody as Cody is flung by Reigns, dodging Goldie. Sheamus (17) returned to clear house in an obvious and uneventful return. The Miz (18) came in for a nothing moment. Fandango (19) shimmied in as the crowd Fandango'ed for first time this evening. El Torito (20) charge in and gave some interest to the match. Seth took a move. Torito saw a CM Punk standing in his way and called a charge to Punk. Punk lifted the little bull as Torio was too quick and hurricanrana'ed him instead. Smug strutter Fandango smashed a clothesline on El Torito viciously to loud upset. Almost eliminating Fandango, on resurgence, the dancer holds on. A leg attack from rope next sends him away. Torito gores for bulky Reigns. Reigns was unfazed and lifted Torito up, hurling on Fandango as Torito goes too. 

Antonio Cesaro (21) arrived to put the Cesaro swing on Miz, Punk, then stopped by Rollins to loud boos. The swing on Rollins clocked a record 28 swings. What pro's. Luke Harper (22) joined. Jey Uso (23) came into the Rumble with no impact whatsoever. Next entry was a daft surprise as JBL (24) got up from behind the desk. Not this again. Luckily all announcers did not join. Disrobing, Layfield walks into the match only to be instantly thrown out. It was pointless. All was not bad though. Cole told his broadcast buddy it wasn't as bad as Santino Marella's record 1.9 seconds. 

Erick Rowan (25) went for Miz who survived as then Harper simply clotheslines him off. Thanks for coming. Ryback (26) goes for Cesaro. "Goldberg" chants echoed. Cesaro and Sheamus began a stare down. Sheamus fights Ryback too. Alberto Del Rio (27) was added to the mix. The man of the hour and debut match for returnee Batista (28) heard initial cheers turned into thick and heavy boo's. Erick Rowan was tossed out easy as he squares up with "stupid!" Ryback. Ryback was removed by The Animal. Batista flipped over Del Rio with ease. Big E. Langston (29) came out. He and Sheamus had a little action. The final man entered. Rey Mysterio (30) received a multitude of vicious boo's Mysterio. These were the most severe of the night. Not a good rumble booking. (See summary below)"We want Bryan" chants began. Fans were expect him to join last. Huge boo's were howling constantly as Langston and Sheamus play together. Sheamus takes off Big E. Seth Rollins got a 619 to loud boos. Rollins eliminated Rey to huge cheers. Roman Reigns took out Harper. 

Not full of warm reception
Ambrose shockingly sees an opportunity and goes for Roman Reigns but misses. Rollins and Ambrose tip over Cesaro quickly as Reigns irately flings over both his Shield pals. Batista bomb to Reigns was given as the final four are there. Sheamus, CM Punk, Reigns and Batista were the last left. Kane returns from behind and scuppers Punk's chances pulling him over the ropes for revenge. Kane chokeslammed Punk through the announce table. He flung him around the outside barricade's too. Huge boo's bellowed as Batista begins moving. Batista clearing both opponents down as Sheamus big boots to constant "No" chants. Sheamus drops a backbreaker. "Sheamus is weak" Lawler adds. Sheamus screams "Fella" for a brogue kick as Batista ducks leaving Sheamus to halt his pace. Sheamus almost takes out Reigns who charges a spear sending Sheamus away. Batista tips over Reigns, who quickly gets back in. 

Batista realises he hasn't won yet. Stare down. Batista kicks the gut of Reigns. Hands exchange. Batista shouts "Go" to Reigns into corner Irish whip. Reigns stops and loud spots are heard being called. Batista jumps into a running Reigns with a spear as the crowd boo. Spear by Reigns follows to huge cheers. Batista then quickly hurls Roman Reigns over instantly in order to win the Royal Rumble match. Huge boo's rang out becoming deafening. Batista gave a strong return for himself. He guaranteed a Wrestlemania main event. Fans, however, regard him as going into business for himself and sidelining the newer forces on the cards the chance to gain an opportunity at becoming a big name for WWE's future. This would also further enhance Cena, Batista and other names strong on the card to have people to tangle with in future feuds. The Royal Rumble, to fans, has now become a throwaway event. They regard it as the worst Rumble ever. 

PPV Rating - 5/10

Men/Women of their matches - Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins

Man/Woman of the PPV - Batista

Bryan's match with Wyatt was a tidy opener with a good outcome to strengthen all involved. Something fans were not expecting to continue the story on. 

Orton and Cena for the umpteenth time, after years of absence was again not thrilling the fans. Orton, aiming to work Cena to a good match was tirelessly exhausted. Not for his own efforts, but simply Cena never respects his opponent, the setting, action or holds in play. If Cena does something valid we will be sure to praise it, but we cannot lie about Cena's lack of respect for the business and sport itself. This is one of the key issues surround his disinterest. It is also a mass disrespect from Cena to fail to bother after all these years and continue the comedy act instead. 

Lesnar's match was a disaster for the company. With only a day to reschedule they created a feasible line despite a mishap. Though it was rather empty and too long in parts with the chair as a standout figure. Though WWE should keep the Big Show battles short in part to give better options overall. Fans weren't interested in the match anyway.

The fans felt after a loss to Wyatt, and rumours awash over the internet from WWE HQ, Bryan entering as number thirty would be justified. Other rumours among the Royal Rumble hype included a return of Christian, who has recently had a baby. Rob Van Dam, Chris Jericho (teasing a return) and soon to be WWE Hall of Famer for 2014, Jake "The Snake" Roberts were also filling the hazy air among the WWE Universe. WWE have been said to have been frustrated with fans and 'news' hacks revealing such details that they pulled Christian's return and simply announced him on the post Rumble Raw for a Smackdown return. It was Jeff-Matt Hardy whodunit down the stairs once again. Fans need to learn to be careful what they post publicly. WWE does not cave in to public demand ruling the roost. In the end, the audience will suffer for it. 

Mysterio, however, though fans assume was boo'ed for not being Bryan was incorrect. Mysterio was boo'ed because fans are bored of him and haven't seen him on television as a character for so long that he did not deserve a place other someone more deserving. The same occurred with The Great Khali. WWE should have left out some for others. It would have been great if WWE had booked Chyna as number thirty. 

Roman Reigns gaining the most eliminations despite a loss was counterproductive. Yes, it protected him in WWE's mind since he wasn't going to win, however, has became a background distiller that does nothing for him. Being the last of two men was also enough, given Reigns recent rise. Someone else could have used the eliminations further. 

Public embarrassment Mick Foley even ridiculed WWE for not putting in Bryan and letting him win. WWE should just part ways with the motormouth floater that just won't flush. It doesn't need him, nor such ignorance, either. 

The Rumble is an event specifically designed for a new up and comer to win and use the platform to rise a new star for WWE. In recent years, WWE, however have decided to use this as a cheap stepping stone to set the main event of Wrestlemania. Returning to indecision, Batista was visibly upset by the WWE Universe. Simply put, Batista did not need a Rumble win to maintain his profile. He's the strong, bulky and headline act from year's prior that fans were on board with. Negotiating a return to the 'Mania match of the year, 'tista was seen by fans as self-serving. They have not respected that choice. So, are we with WWE on this, or are we with the fans, who suggest Daniel Bryan should have been in and potentially won? 

No. We are with neither. Batista doesn't need the win. Neither does Bryan. Bryan has immense fan support and was already on the card and has no need to be in the match. As well as selling the beating, both are household names at this time to WWE. The Rumble should always be prioritised to a new star to make a chance to create an opportunity for a future beginning. Lead candidate would be Antonio Cesaro. It would have been very easy to launch him to the spotlight come April 5th. He's also worked very capably with Orton countless times and has popular opinion across the board. Another option would have been Damien Sandow, but WWE like to create measures to make its own points, which is understood. There are many others waiting for a chance to launch. WWE should have considered this first and foremost, than cementing one match, which could have easily been maintained without the Rumble guarantee. Fans, once again, now regard this Rumble as the worst of its years and see the booking getting worse every year. The concept, becoming a throwaway option, looks bleak for a future attraction that sells the PPV and a new future on offer. 

©  Max Waltham 29th January 2014

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