After all the hype, after all the segments and after all the talking, the Royal Rumble did not disappoint last night. I have to say, despite the predictability and the lack of surprise, the show on the whole looked a fantastic success from where I was sitting. It had everything from spectacular returns, to awe inspiring feats of athleticism. I would put it down as one of my favorite WWE events in the last five years.
I know the night will probably receive a lot of criticism from internet fans, for one reason or another and yes, there are a few things about it that I’m not over the moon about. Let’s face it. It was never going to be fun to see CM Punk finally lose the title, and the end of the longest title reign of my lifetime. However, I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom. It now opens up a lot of doors for Punk’s character over the coming months. There are so many different ways they could use him, particularly with The Shield. Whatever they do, it better be good!
As much as it sucked to see the best in the world have to leave empty handed, I have to say it was great to see The Rock holding the title. Putting aside any opinions on his long term priorities, or his commitment to the business, from a fan point of view it was a great moment. It’s not often that WWE programming can make me revert to cheering like a child anymore, but last night was another story. I watched with bated breath as The Rock delivered an albeit cheesy, but excellently executed promo to inspire the people before the main event clash, barely holding back my excitement.
I thought the match told a great story and more than lived up to expectations, particularly thanks to the added drama that The Shield and Vince McMahon brought to the occasion. They teased us with a screwy finish, then brought the match right back from the brink to end with a predictable, but nonetheless awesome finale. My only quarrel is the continuation of this trend of NOT ending the show with the rumble match. In this instance, I can understand their trepidation at booking an hour long battle royal for a potentially exhausted and deflated crown after a match of such magnitude. Regardless, I still think the main event of the show, and the highlight of the night should still be the namesake, the rumble.
Speaking of highlights, one of my favorite things about this years rumble match was the surprise (at least to me) return of Chris Jericho. Entering at Number 2, and lasting almost the entire match is another testament to the enduring quality he offers as a performer. The crowds chant of “You still have it” brought back memories of Road Dogg from last years match. As soon as the music hit, I practically screamed like a little girl in anticipation for the best of all time.
Sadly it wasn’t going to be a rumble with many former legends returning. I recall an extremely brief but equally cool cameo from the great Godfather of the attitude era (complete with modern day, far less skanky hoes) – I can’t remember there really being any others. Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Ric Flair, The New Age Outlaws, Bob Backlund, MVP and Mick Foley were some of the names floating around the internet when speculating possible participants. No such luck on that front.
Despite that, I thought the match was booked almost to perfection and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. This was the real main event in my eyes! One thing which did rub me up the wrong way was of course the Cena win. I think the ending to the match was great, particularly with Ryback managing to eliminate former 9 time World and WWE Champion Randy Orton. I just thought it was the perfect time for him to win the big one and go on to Wrestlemania. But of course, once can’t be enough for the Cenation and he had to pick up the rumble win again. I understand it (to some degree) but I don’t like it. You could clearly hear that the crowd were fully behind the young powerhouse, but I guess they just don’t wanna fully push him over the edge just yet.
I even thought the opening match of the night was a resounding success. On paper, this feud has snoorefest written all over it. Watching their initial title match on Smackdown put to bed any ideas like that, and the momentum these two have hasn’t stopped there. I actually think that Smackdown is starting to gain some ground now, and it’s because of stars like Big Show and Alberto Del Rio in my view. Despite all the criticism he gets (and often rightly so), the Show has been such a revelation as a fully fledged heel. I honestly think he is great on the mic, and is capable of getting the best out of himself in big matches. As much as people will disagree, I have to admire his work as of late. The spot from the titantron onto the table last night was a stamp of authority from the big man. The ending, was nothing short of genius. It looks like Del Rio is going down the Eddie Guerrero route now.
All in all, for all of the negative feedback the rumble may (or may not) get, my personal view is a positive one. If there is one thing I rarely rant about these days it’s pro wrestling and the WWE product. If anything it’s one of the few beacons of light in my life these days which gives me pure joy and entertainment, helping to take my mind away from my regular, everyday life problems and struggles. Last nights show was a prime example of how (on the odd occasion) wrestling still has the ability to turn a 23 year old man into a primary school boy again. The Great One is the champ, Y2J is back putting on the performances which made him famous and guys are being choke slammed through tables. Did I mention Kofi and JBL‘s chair? Check that shit out on YouTube right now!
If you’re reading this and saw the show, let me know what you think. Am I the only one who momentarily regressed into a year fiver for the night? Am I the only one who didn’t hate the show?
I look forward to hearing from you.