The Road to Wrestlemania officially starts with the 25th Royal Rumble from the Scotrrade Center in St Louis. Who will win the Rumble and how many times will the Wrestlemania XXVIII logo be pointed at? Let’s take a look.
We start the Rumble with a triple threat steel cage match between The Big Show, Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship. I have been really impressed with Daniel Bryan since he became World Heavyweight Champion but it will be tough to deal with two 400+lb wrestlers inside a steel cage. There was funny bit when Show made his entrance and he tried to give his hat to a little girl. Unfortunately, the girl got shy and didn’t want it so Show gave it to her sister instead. Bryan, being literally half the weight of Mark Henry, tried to escape the cage at the beginning but was pulled down by Henry and hit with a spear by Show. Some of the highlights of the match include Show continually splashing Henry up against the cage, Bryan constantly trying to climb the cage only to pulled down, and Bryan hitting the LeBell Lock on Show only for Henry to kick Bryan in the face. Henry picked up Bryan to do a World’s Strongest Slam but was hit by the WMD by Show. Bryan almost escapes from the cage but is stopped by Show, who had Bryan dangling in mid air, which was a cool moment. Bryan managed to get out of Show’s grip and fall to the floor, getting the victory. I quite enjoyed this match and I was impressed with Mark Henry. Henry has been working through an injury, which he aggravated last week, so I wasn’t expecting him to do much. However, he did more than I thought he would, so fair play to him. In terms of Bryan, it might be a lucky win, but what I like about him is he’s an opportunist and he knew that, being the lightest, he had a better of winning by escaping the cage. Therefore, well done to Daniel Bryan.
Winner: Daniel Bryan Predictions: 1 for 1 (good start!)
After a really good video about John Cena in preparation of his Wrestlemania match against The Rock, we get a 8-Divas tag match with Beth Phoenix, Natalya and The Bella Twins (all wearing green) taking on Kelly Kelly, Tamina, Alicia Fox and Eve Torres (who I thought would be at Zack Ryder’s hospital bedside). Some of the highlights (tho there isn’t many) include Beth countering a moonsault by Eve and the Bellas doing Twin Magic (for a change) which I swear was right in front of the ref. Kelly gets tagged in and we get a brawl between the Divas outside the ring which Kelly ends up doing a cross body onto all of them, which Michael Cole called “Divas Dominos”. Kelly drags one of the Bellas (Brie I think) back inside and Beth tags herself in by literally slapping Brie’s shoulder off. Brie’s face was brilliant as Beth told her “to get out of my ring.” One Glam Slam on Kelly later and Beth gets the victory for her team. This actually wasn’t a bad match; all of them got some time in the ring and I thought that this match would take up no more than 4 lines of this review. We all know how good Beth, Natalya and, to a lesser extent, Tamina are but the match did show how good the Divas can be if given the time (this match lasted about 5 minutes, which is about 4 minutes longer than they normally get). However, I fully expect the WWE to do 60-90 second matches with them on RAW in the near future.
Divas of Doom and The Bellas Predictions:
Now I know why Eve wasn’t at Zack Ryder’s bedside because Zack is at the Rumble in a wheelchair where he bumps into John Laurinaitis (did you know that he’s the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and the interim RAW GM?) who has given Zack his own room with a buffet (nice!) Eve arrives and lays into Laurinaitis for what he’s done to Zack recently and says that she hopes that he gets fired on RAW. Laurinaitis walks off, saying “Well that’s gratitude for you”. Nice little segment tho it does seem that Zack has become a walking catchphrase machine.
Next up is John Cena taking on Kane. Cena goes flying out the blocks and attacks Kane. Cena tries to go for the AA but his knee buckles and he falls forward. This gives Kane a chance to dominate things for a while. Cena tried a couple of times to shift the momentum but Kane managed to stop it before it had a chance to get going. Kane hits his suffocation move but Cena counters it into a crossface, which Kane powers out of. Kane tries to hit the chokeslam but Cena gets out of it only to get a big boot instead. Cena hits the 5-knuckle shuffle off the top turnbuckle then tries to hit the AA but Kane elbows him in the face and then kicks Cena out of the ring. Kane follows him and they go up the entrance way and the referee Mike Chioda counts to 10, making the match end in a double countout. Meanwhile, Cena and Kane keep on fighting up the entrance way and then backstage. Kane attacks Cena with a chair and leaves him in a heap. Kane then notices that he’s outside Zack Ryder’s room, so he goes in and attacks Ryder, and pushes him back to the ring. Eve Torres and pleads with Kane not to attack Ryder. However, Kane hits Ryder with a tombstone piledriver and turns his attention on Eve before Cena comes back and gets hit with a chokeslam and then Kane leaves the ring. I know that I predicted that Cena would win but this makes more sense as it makes Kane look strong and it protects Cena as well. It was a decent match and I do wonder what they will do next. In terms of my predictions, because it ended in a double countout, I have to employ the Show/Henry Vengeance Rule and count this as a loss.
Winner: Double Countout (so no-one) Predictions: 1 for 2
After another really good video showcasing The Rock, we get Brodus “Funkasaurus” Clay taking on Drew McIntyre. I loved McIntyre asking how we can take Brodus seriously (er, we don’t). McIntyre uses his head and distracts Clay by blowing a kiss to his girls and then assaulting him. McIntyre hits Clay with a clothesline against the turnbuckle twice but Clay no-sells it. Clay hits a suplex sending McIntyre flying across the ring, splashes him against the turnbuckle then hits the What the
Fuck Funk to get the win.
It’s the usual 1 minute match from Brodus. However, he can’t keep on squashing
people in 60 seconds otherwise he will be in danger of going stale. As for
McIntyre, as a fellow Scot (I was born in Edinburgh, about 85 miles away from
McIntyre’s home town of Ayr) I do feel sorry for him. I don’t get what the WWE
are doing with him. He has been performing really well on Superstars then, as
soon as he goes to Smackdown, goes on a losing streak, including losing to
fucking Santino. Hopefully, McIntyre will get a win soon.
Winner: Brodus Clay Predictions: N/A
Next was the WWE Championship on the line with Dolph Ziggler challenging CM Punk with John Laurinaitis (did you know that he’s the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and the interim RAW GM?) as the special guest referee. Laurinaitis comes out and announces that, to make it a fair match, he will referee from the outside, so Rod Zapata comes out to referee the match. Laurinaitis then goes out of the ring and sends Vickie Geurrero to the back, because she and Jack Swagger are barred from ringside. Early on, Punk tried to go for the Anaconda Vice but Ziggler gets away. Ziggler goes to the outside and Punk does a suicide dive, hitting Ziggler. Ziggler starts to get the upper hand and hits the sleeper. However, Punk tries to counter it into the Anaconda Vice but Ziggler gets out of it. Ziggler tries to hit a leg drop bulldog but Punk counters it into a powerbomb and gets a 2 count. Punk hits the running knee followed by the bulldog. Punk goes for the GTS but Ziggler gets out of it and catapults Punk towards the turnbuckle. However, Punk lands on the middle turnbuckle and hits a crossbody, which Ziggler manages to turn into a cover to get a 2 count. Punk bodyslams Ziggler and goes onto the top turnbuckle but stops to look at Laurinaitis, who is standing nearby and hasn’t done anything, worried that he might interfere. Punk hits the Macho Man elbow drop but only gets a 2 count. Punk tries again for the GTS but Ziggler gets out of it and pushes Punk into the ref, knocking him out and sending him to the floor. While Laurinaitis tends to the referee, Punk puts on the Anaconda Vice and Ziggler taps out but there is no referee. Punk is not happy at Laurinaitis, who argues that he’s tending to the referee. Ziggler takes advantage and does a roll up, which Punk counters into another roll up but there’s still no ref. Punk hits Ziggler in the face and goes to Laurinaitis, who is trying to get the referee back into the ring. While Punk and Laurinaitis get into an argument, Ziggler tries to attack Punk but Punk gets him onto his shoulders for the GTS and swings Ziggler round, accidently knocking Laurinaitis on the back of the head and out of the ring. Punk hits the GTS, but the referee is only starting to come to and Punk is getting irate at Laurinaitis, who thinks that Punk hit him on purpose. Punk goes for another GTS but Ziggler counters it into a leg drop bulldog. The referee is now able to continue and Punk kicks out at 2. Punk hits the GTS and the referee and Laurinaitis make the count at the same time to give Punk the victory. This was a really good match with lots of counters by both guys. I really liked Laurinaitis’ role in this, who acted relatively neutral throughout, although Punk might think differently. It makes Laurinaitis’ job review on RAW a lot more interesting.
Winner: CM Punk Predictions: 2 for 3
Now we come to the Royal Rumble match. Thanks to losing a match against R-Truth, The Miz was drawn number 1 and number 2 was his NXT rookie, Alex Riley and we get our first look at the Wrestlemania XXVIII logo as both of them look at it before Miz hits Riley gets the Rumble underway. Miz eliminates Riley and waits for number 3, who was R-Truth, who must have thought that his match must have been a waste of time because of the number that he drew. Later on, The Miz eliminates R-Truth after Primo comes in at number 6 (I’ll publish a list of the draw and order of eliminations after this article). R-Truth doesn’t take that too well, drags Miz out of the ring and hits the What’s Up? knocking out Miz. Mick Foley comes in at number 7 and, in a hilarious moment, Ricardo “Virgil” Rodriguez comes in at number 8. It was really funny because he comes out to Alberto Del Rio’s theme music in a battered used car, and does Del Rio’s entrance perfectly. I’m sure that he is announcing himself as he is walking down the entrance way with the wrestlers just looking at him bemused.
Going back to the match, Ricardo, with help from Foley, eliminates Justin Gabriel and he gets eliminated by Santino Marella, who came in at number 9. We fast forward to number 12 and we get our first surprise entrant who is Jerry Lawler, to Michael Cole’s chagrin. For those who don’t know, Lawler last entered in 1997 where he takes off his headset, gets in the ring, gets eliminated by Bret Hart almost immediately, and then goes back into commentary without missing a beat. So, I hoping he lasts a bit longer this time. It turns out to be about a minute longer as Cody Rhodes eliminates him but it was still a fun little moment. Then Booker T comes in at number 17 and I loved how it looked like he was wearing a suit throughout the entire broadcast and then he stands up revealing his wrestling gear and taking off his jacket and shirt. Just after that, Miz throws Kofi Kingston over the top rope but Kofi ends up with his hands on the floor, not feet. Miz pushes Kofi’s feet off the ring apron and Kofi does a walking handstand and he goes along to the steel steps and gets himself up. What a great move by Kofi Kingston and I think it might be better than John Morrison with his parkour antics last year.
Dolph Ziggler comes in at number 18, followed by Hall of Famer Hacksaw Jim Duggan at number 19. I would mark out; the problem is, I really hate Jim Duggan so I’m praying that he doesn’t last too long. Thankfully, he lasts about 60 seconds before Cody Rhodes eliminates him (I owe you one, Cody). Cody Rhodes assists Dolph Ziggler in eliminating both the Great Khali and Booker T. The countdown for number 20 begins and it’s Michael fucking Cole (oh, god!) who dresses down to his orange singlet and his headguard. Cole goes in and does absolutely nothing, number 21 is announced and it’s KHARMA!!! Ok, now I can mark the fuck out cos I loved Kharma’s brief run last year and I’m guessing she had her baby and is ready to kick some ass. Kharma does just that and proceeds to destroy Cole. Cole goes over the top rope (not a good idea in a Rumble match) and pleads for mercy from Kharma. Meanwhile, Lawler and Booker get off commentary and pull Cole off the ring apron, eliminating him. Ziggler turns Kharma round and demands that she leaves the ring. Kharma responds by hitting an Implant Buster(!!!) on Ziggler and then Gorilla Presses Hunico out of the ring. Unfortunately for Kharma, this gave time for Ziggler to recover and eliminate Kharma. That was such a fun part of the Rumble.
Sheamus comes in at number 22 and kicks ass, eliminating Kofi then Road Dogg Jesse James comes in at number 23. We fast forward to number 26 and it’s Wade Barrett, who I would love to see win. On a side note, I hate his new theme music as the one he had for the Corre was a great song. Anyway, Barrett eliminates the Road Dogg then David Ortunga comes in at number 27 followed by hometown boy Randy Orton at number 28. Orton hits both Ziggler and Rhodes with a DDT then he eliminates Jey Uso, hits Barrett with a RKO then throws Barrett out. Number 29 is...my pick, Chris Jericho. It would have been nice if he came in at number 30 but that honour goes to the Big Show, who helps Sheamus eliminate Jack Swagger before he even gets in the ring.
There are now 7 wrestlers left in the ring and Show eliminates both The Miz and Cody Rhodes followed by Dolph Ziggler as seven now becomes the Final Four: Big Show, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton and Sheamus. Show is targeted by the other three and gets hit with a RKO before Orton throws Show over the top rope closely followed by Jericho eliminating Orton. We are now down to two: Jericho (that’s my pick right there) and Sheamus. Like the end of 2007 between Shawn Michaels and the Undetaker, we get a mini match here. Jericho tries a facebuster but Sheamus sends him to the turnbuckle and tries to eliminate him. Jericho survives and gets a bit of momentum before Sheamus hits an Irish Curse Backbreaker. Sheamus then attempts to use the Irish Cross to eliminate Jericho but Jericho got out of it and clotheslines Sheamus over the top rope. However, Sheamus managed to hang on to the top rope and survives. Sheamus misses with a Brogue Kick and Jericho slaps on the Walls of Jericho, which is pointless because Sheamus can’t submit. Jericho lets it go and gets thrown over the top rope. However, Jericho holds on the top rope and is dangling for dear life. Jericho gets back up and they both end up on the top turnbuckle. They both get back in and Jericho hits the Codebreaker and then tries to pin Sheamus, which he can’t do either (Jericho should have brushed up on the Rumble rules). Jericho starts to slap Sheamus then tries another Codebreaker. However, Sheamus catches it and sends Jericho over the top rope. Jericho is once again dangling on real life; however, Sheamus is wise to it and Brogue Kicks Jericho off the apron to win the match. What?! No!!!! I was so fucking close!!!! Argh!! Ah well, I’m quite impressed with my pick as he ended up the runner up. Congratulations to Sheamus for being the first European wrestler to win the Royal Rumble. Also, congratulations to Corey Santiago (co-host of the Future Endeavors show), who I think is one of the few people who picked Sheamus to win.
Winner: Sheamus (damn it!) Predictions: 2 for 4
I really enjoyed this Rumble and there were some good matches on the undercard. As I mentioned earlier, I’m slightly critical of the Brodus Clay match only because Brodus can’t keep on squashing people, otherwise it will get stale. The title matches were really good ad the Divas was actually pretty decent.
In terms of the Rumble, there are two main criticisms. The first is I really hate it when the World Championship challengers go in the Rumble. They had your chance so I think they shouldn’t be in the Rumble. Also, why no Kane or Cena? I know Cena has The Rock at Wrestlemania but he wants his match at Wrestlemania to be for the WWE Championship, so he could have done what he did in 2008 and challenge CM Punk before Wrestlemania. As for Kane, I really wanted him to take part as I thought that he could be a potential runner-up. Kane was going for his fourteenth consecutive Rumble appearance. Plus, he was only 4 eliminations away from tying Shawn Michaels’ record of 39 eliminations, so I would have loved to have seen if Kane could tie or even break the record.
Otherwise, the fact that I wrote 1,165 words on this match (seriously, I did a word count) shows how much I enjoyed it. This is probably the funniest Rumble match that I have ever seen with Ricardo’s entrance, Santino’s Cobra against Foley’s Mr. Socko, and Cole’s elimantion. It was fucking awesome to see Kharma return and it was such a cool moment when she hit the Implant Buster on Dolph Ziggler then lifted Hunico out of the ring. Also, it was nice to see the entire commentary team have a go in the Rumble and they all did pretty decent. It would have been interesting to see the Spanish announcers of Marcelo Rodriguez and Carlos Carbera have a go as well as they don’t get to do much, except see their announce table get destroyed.
I really enjoyed this event and it has set up some potential Wrestlemania feuds between Sheamus and Bryan and Kharma and Beth Phoenix. The Road to Wrestlemania has officially begun and I, for one, am glad to be along for the ride.
Oh, and as a side note, the Wrestlemania logo was only pointed to five times, which is less than the amount of times John Cena alone did last year.