The Royal Rumble Match
And here we go, the biggest most exciting match of the year (as it’s meant to be) that decides who faces the champion at the grandest stage of them all Wrestlemania! Before I dig into the match itself let’s go over a little history here. Last year’s Rumble was considered by most fans to be the worst Rumble ever (a title now bestowed upon THIS Rumble) not only for its’ less-than-stellar card (Cena Vs Orton for the 1,000th time and Lesnar Vs Big Show) but for the main match itself. One of the most important complaints about the match was that fan favorite Daniel Bryan (a guy who was THE most popular with fans at the time, even more than CM Punk) wasn’t even slated to appear in the Rumble. With Daniel out of the match this left only a hand full of fan favorites (or even possible heels) to win the match but who did WWE think the fan’s wanted to win the match? The long absent wrestler Dave Bautista! WWE thought fans would eat it up but they booed so loudly at his victory that the response made world media headlines, which would have been a great thing if Batista was a heel at the time but he wasn’t. WWE had to scramble with the storyline before the following Wrestlemania by turning Batista heel and throwing Daniel Bryan into the championship match resulting in one of the worst Wrestlemania main events ever. Surely WWE wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, right?
Now, to this years match. The first half of the Rumble was pretty boring with Bray Wyatt dominating for over 54 minutes as the occasional “surprise” entrant comes out. I like Bray but his size and in-ring ability do not make him a monster heel that has the ability to dominate the rumble for so long. Rusev, yes. Wyatt, no. The surprise entrants this year consisted of The Boogeyman (a former mid card jobber at best) DDP (totally awesome guy I was actually glad to see) and Bubba Ray Dudley (former tag team champion of one of the greatest tag teams ever). Now, those entrants may be more than what we got last year but three entrants is just not enough. I understand nobody wants half the entrants to be old stars from the past but half the fun is wondering “who’s next?!” and seeing the same old undercard guys coming out each time is just boring. Not to mention WWE didn’t even manage to get Bubba Ray’s partner Devon Dudley to show up! What a missed opportunity.
We all know that at Daniel Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania last year but had to vacate the title shortly after due to injury. After months of recovery how does WWE present Bryan’s triumphant return to the company? At the Rumble? No. With a lousy tag match on Smackdown!, the company’s B show. His pop was one of the loudest of the night but it would have been SO much louder had THIS been his return. Another opportunity missed. Anyhow, that point is moot because Bryan didn’t end up winning the Rumble thus completing his underdog comeback story. No, he was thrown out in ten minutes early on in the match. Was he at least thrown out by a member of The Authority to continue his feud with them? No, he was thrown out by Bray Wyatt who he hasn’t wrestled against in literally a year progressing exactly zero storylines. ANOTHER missed opportunity.
So, last year WWE fumbled by forcing fans to love someone against their will (Bautista) so surely, this year the winner would be someone the fan’s naturally love, or even hate, right? Wrong. No, the WWE could have made the fans ecstatic by having Bryan, Ziggler, Mizdow, Ambrose, Bad News Barrett or even Cesaro win the match and they could have progressed some storylines by having a heel like Rusev, or Wyatt win but instead they give us Roman Reigns. Last year might have been a good time for Reigns to win (and many people wanted him to back then) but his popularity has waned in the last several months as fans start to realize his in-ring and microphone skills are lacking. Even worse, fans have begun to realize that WWE WANTS us to like him much the same way they REALLY want us to like John Cena and that is a big no-no with fans. It seems WWE even knew this because they flew The Rock out to Philadelphia to help push Roman but that backfired too and the fans booed one of the most popular wrestlers in history for trying to force Reigns down our throat.
Had the title matches not been so great I would agree that this Rumble was the worst WWE PPV ever (or that I’ve seen at least) but considering just how long the WWE product has been mostly garbage I have to say that I am officially turned off as a fan regardless. I WILL watch Wrestlemania this year, unless the card is just absolutely horrible, but if it’s anything like last year’s Mania you can count me out as a fan for good. You’re the king of the hill WWE, you can do better than this and if you don’t you’re not going to be the king for much longer (WCW anybody?).
AUTHOR’S NOTE: As I finish up this article RAW is coming on the air live and they just announced that they’re showing the entire rumble again on RAW. The worst RUMBLE of all time and they rebroadcast it again…. I don’t have enough faces or palms for the amount of facepalms I want to do right now.