The 2014 Royal Rumble is in the books and judging by the chorus of boos in the arena, my Twitter timeline and early stuff on the web, there are a slew of pissed off wrestling fans this morning. I have to say that I’m definitely not one of those pissed off fans. The show gave us just what most people expected and set up some great things moving forward.
Recap & Thoughts
PRESHOW: The New Age Outlaws defeated Cody Rhodes & Goldust for the Tag Team Championship – This I really don’t get. It’s been 14 years since the Outlaws had the tag straps and while I’m really happy for both Billy and Road Dogg I don’t see how it’s a good thing for the fledgling tag division to have two Attitude Era guys holding the top titles. I think it was time for the Rhodes brothers to drop the straps (Hopefully setting up a brother vs. brother match at WrestleMania) but I think there were more deserving teams. I will say that Billy and Jesse look as good or better then they did back in the day, but I don’t see them holding the titles for very long.
Bray Wyatt defeated Daniel Bryan – This didn’t surprise me at all. For some reason the WWE Universe is going absolutely ape shit for Daniel Bryan these days. Naturally, this means the WWE brass will do everything in their power to piss its fans off. Don’t get me wrong… I think Daniel Bryan is a spectacular wrestler. He’s clearly the top 3 in the business today. However, as a long time, old school wrestling fan I can’t stand any wrestler that has all kinds of “hoopla” around him. (See the lame Fandango character). This WAS the match of the night as both Wyatt and Bryan brought their A game. I loved the fact that Wyatt was able to beat Bryan without any outside interference from The Family. I’m really hoping that this program will continue because these guys are pure gold.
Brock Lesnar defeated The Big Show – Ho hum. I’ll start by saying I’m not a Brock Lesnar fan. He needs someone in the ring with him that can lead him through a match and unfortunately The Big Show really isn’t that guy. However, I will say that the “match” portion of this program was really well done. Lesnar beat the hell out of Show before the bell even rang (So you can do that now huh?) When the referee finally called for the bell, Lesnar moved in for the kill with another chair and Big Show nailed him with his knock out punch. A great little swerve here the reminded me of the Sheamus / Daniel Bryan 18 second bout at Mania a couple of years back. Lesnar shook that off and managed to defeat Big Show after a pretty monstrous (and impressive looking) F5. For what this was, it was a good match. Sadly, the post match stuff sort of killed it for me. Lesnar proceeded to beat the hell out of Big Show with a chair for an uncomfortably long time. Like… a really long time. I’m guessing they’re writing Show out of story lines for a while so Lesnar can get his title match next month? That said, this feud definitely isn’t over (More on that later).
Randy Orton defeated John Cena to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship – This wasn’t a great match, but told a good story. Orton and Cena went back and forth with Orton holding the upper hand the majority of the match. There was a section of the match where the guys took turns hitting each other’s finishers which was tremendous. The end came when John Cena had Randy Orton locked into his submission finisher and the lights in the arena went out. When the came back on the Wyatt Family was on the apron. Orton used this distraction to hit the RKO and pin Cena to win the title. I’ve been hearing rumblings of a Cena / Wyatt match at WrestleMania and it’s looking like that’s where we’re going.
Batista won the Royal Rumble – This should have surprised nobody based on the build up we got. Apparently though there are many in the WWE Universe that didn’t see this coming a mile away. I’ve never been a huge fan of Batista but he fits the mold to perfection. Vince (and now HHH) loves big dudes. Batista is just that. And don’t forget the fact that Dave Batista is playing Drax The Destroyer in the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy. If you’ve learned nothing from seeing The Rock over the last couple of years, you should know the WWE LOVES cross-promotional stars.
The Rumble itself was a very entertaining match even though it didn’t give us the “surprise” entries we’ve become accustomed to. Sure we got Kevin Nash (Not to be confused with last year’s Diesel), JBL and a Sheamus return, but many fans were hoping for the likes of Daniel Bryan, Curtis Axel, Jake “The Snake” Robert, AJ Styles, Rob Van Dam, etc. I realize it’s tough to book these things, but there were two completely wasted spots here in my opinion. JBL didn’t even get into his ring gear and was in there for less than a minute. And while I love midgets, putting El Torito in the match is a slap in the face to much of the roster.
What the Rumble DID do was move stories forward, build feuds and created at least one mega star – Roman Reigns. The monster of The Shield broke the Rumble record by eliminated 12 competitors and was in the final 2. The crowd was going bananas for every move he hit and was legitimately pissed when Reigns didn’t win. He’s clearly going to be the breakout star of The Shield when the team inevitably breaks apart… which is coming… soon.
WrestleMania 30 Predictions
The Royal Rumble is touted as the beginning of the Road To WrestleMania. Last night’s show absolutely accomplished what it set out to do. With Corporate Kane coming into the Rumble and being eliminated by CM Punk only to return once we got to the Final Four to eliminate Punk I think its safe to say we’re on the road to a CM Punk vs. HHH match at Mania. I’m guessing we’ll see Punk vs. Kane at Elimination Chamber which will escalate before the Granddaddy Of Them All.
We’re also headed toward Batista vs. Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Title which while I’m not necessarily looking forward to doesn’t necessarily need to be terrible. There’s going to be “authority” story line implications here as well, and I’d be shocked if we didn’t get some mentions and teases of an Evolution rebuilding as well.
The long rumored Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena looks to be cemented after the Wyatt Family distraction last night. Look for this to intensify over the coming months. My one potential complaint here is I don’t see Cena losing a non-title match at WrestleMania which doesn’t bode well for Wyatt. That said, I’m hoping the build up will propel Bray to super stardom.
Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins seems to be a no brainer as well as The Shield started its implosion last night when Ambrose tried to eliminate Reigns when his back was turned. Naturally, Reigns turned the tables and eliminated both Ambrose and Rollins on his march to history.
Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes makes sense as well as Goldust mistakenly eliminated his brother from the Rumble. When you’ve watched wrestling as long as I have you see the patterns develop. I’d bet a lot on this happening.
There’s a couple of names I’m not quite sure what to do with yet. Daniel Bryan clearly needs to be on the Mania card, as does Brock Lesnar. Lesnar vs. Undertaker has been rumored for years ever since Undertaker showed up at a UFC card. These guys have legit heat apparently but this would be a terrible match. The Undertaker is my all time fav, but at this point in his career he needs someone to carry him through is once per year match. Lesnar simply is NOT that guy. I’m guessing we’ll see Lesnar vs. Big Show again at Mania and perhaps Daniel Bryan vs. The Undertaker. I’ve long said that if Undertaker were to ever lose The Streak it would have to be to a guy who’s young enough to do something with the ultra push and established enough to be a legit threat. Daniel Bryan fits that bill to perfection.
There were some pissed off people after the Rumble but I don’t see how you can say this was a bad show. We got an amazing Bryan vs. Wyatt match, a better than average Big Show vs. Lesnar match, a championship match between Cena and Orton with some good wrestling that built multiple story lines and an above average Rumble match with a winner that everyone should have seen coming. Just cause it’s predictable doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.
The bottom line is this… we’re well on the Road To WrestleMania. We’re less than 70 days from the biggest show of the year and the WWE is firing on all cylinders. And I tweeted it last night but I’ll reiterate it here as well.
— Chewie (@406Northlane) January 27, 2014
What did you think of the 2014 Royal Rumble?