Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Royal Rumble: React!

It has been little more than 36 hours since the conclusion of the 25th edition of The Royal Rumble.  Jim and I are here to each give our takes, including highlights and lowlights.

Tom’s Take:
CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler was the best match on this event.  They had a great in-ring contest, had the Johnny Ace elements mixed in well from the storyline perspective and had a finish that had to be satisfying to fans.  As much as I believe Dolph Ziggler could have won the title here without doing any damage to Punk, WWE still is not ready to ride the “Zig-Zag” and get behind him yet.

The 30 man Rumble Match was a mixed bag.  Good surprises like Kharma and the nostalgia of Road Dogg made it entertaining.  The final 2 being Jericho and Sheamus also gave some good action and a sense of unknown over who would win.  Considering Jericho’s history, I imagine most people felt he was destined to win (myself included) and Sheamus getting it instead could be the sign of bigger things for him and WWE choosing to get him back to the main event level.

My biggest complaint on the Rumble match was the lack of drama.  Where were the stories?  When WWE takes the time to put together the video packages they do, highlighting the statistical and historical nature of the Rumble, why not draw those things in and tie them to the Rumble Match itself?  I cannot recall the announcers alluding to the fact that The Miz could be challenging for the overall Rumble endurance record.  Things like that get fans more invested in what is going on.  Do they not want fans to have an emotional attachment to the “sports entertainers” and the product overall?

Other notes: Daniel Bryan’s win was a good one and it was impressive seeing Big Show virtually deadlift him with one arm while perched atop the cage.  Seeing “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay allowed me to understand what the hype is all about.  He is entertaining, figuratively and literally larger than life and will probably sell good amounts of merchandise.  The only missing element was not seeing him as part of the Rumble bout.  If you would have told me when I saw him in Florida Championship Wrestling in August 2010 that he’d be where he is now, I would likely have not believed you. 

Jim’s Take:
The Royal Rumble PPV has come and gone.  And from the online reaction to it, it seems that it was not a finer attempt from WWE this time around.  To me, it was a mixed bag of results. 

Daniel Bryan retaining actually has me holding out hope that he’ll hold the title all the way to Wrestlemania, allowing him a featured bout on “the biggest stage of them all” which is just awesome for guys like Tom and I who have been following his career for years.  Mark Henry also deserves major kudos for working injured yet again.  He has been an MVP for WWE over the last year or so.  Show being all the way on the top of the cage was very cool, and I agree with Tom, the visual of him holding Bryan in the air was also great. 

A complaint I have on the show was the inclusion of the total filler Divas match as well as the Brodus Clay/Drew McIntyre match.  Those were both segments that belonged on Raw or Smackdown, not a PPV that people have paid good money to see.  Clay could have gotten just as over by being in the Rumble (maybe even set it up so he could somehow still do his entrance), eliminating a few people and then have either the rest of the guys gang up on him, or have a heel low blow him and eliminate him, thus setting up a program for him so he can move past these introductory squashes he’s working now. 

Cena/Kane can’t end soon enough.  I just hate the whole storyline, it plays out like a really bad horror movie.  I like horror movies when done well, this one is not being done well, not at all.

Punk/Ziggler furthered the storyline with Punk and Ace, however, did they really have to have Ziggler lose like 4 times in one match?  Why not have a really tough match that Punk “barely” wins, thus keeping Ziggler strong in the process?  Ziggler needs to get moved up, he’s more than ready, but they just seem to love cutting the legs out from under heels in this company right now.  Right now I have no idea where Ziggler fits into the Wrestlemania card, and for a guy with his talent level, that is not a good thing at all.  WWE needs to get behind this guy, and do it now before they have to totally rebuild him all over yet again. 

I actually love Sheamus winning the Royal Rumble as I think it was a surprise and it’s another guy that they needed to get out of a pointless feud with a lower mid-card guy in Jinder Mahal and back to the top of the card.  Jericho being there at the end was great too, as it seems they are heading towards him and Punk at Wrestlemania, so I was surprised to not see him get the win.  Good thing they went back to 30 Superstars in the Royal Rumble Match this year though, because they struggled to fill 30 spots it seemed, wasting time with 3 announcers.  40 could have been downright painful.  I’m sorry but I’m not willing to watch Derek Bateman and Titus O’Neil in the Royal Rumble yet, and that’s what it would have been.  Also, if you’re Mason Ryan or Michael McGuillicutty, how bad are you feeling right now?  Outside of the guys that are on NXT each week, those were about the only two “main roster” guys that weren’t used, and heck, actually Jey Uso got in, and he’s basically an NXT guy now as well.  I’d say they should be in a “rent, don’t buy” mode right now.  

Head 2 Head Update

We would be remiss if we didn’t update you on the outcome of our first “Head 2 Head” as well.  Neither of us had a stellar night by any means, but, I came out with a 4-4 record, while Tom fell just shy of that with a 3-5 record, so after one event, I’ve got a slight lead towards making Tom wear that Chicago Bears jersey! 

Thanks for reading our Royal Rumble React here at Two Spot Monkeys!

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