Royal Rumble 2013 is in the books and not only did WWE put on a strong, newsworthy event but Jim and Tom kicked off this year’s edition of Head 2 Head (as previewed and discussed on last week’s podcast).
Jim has the early lead 7-2 to Tom’s 6-3, by virtue of The Rock’s win over CM Punk.
Continue reading for both Tom and Jim’s thoughts & perspectives from watching the Rumble event.
This was a two match show for me, the Rumble Match and the Main Event.
Before I give my thoughts on those matches, a few quick thoughts on Del Rio-Big Show and the Tag Title Match. Del Rio-Big Show had some really cool spots (teetering on the dangerous – Del Rio’s table bump off of the Rumble set) and a unique, smart finish. The Tag Title Match had me shaking my head; not because Daniel Bryan & Kane should not and are not able to carry the torch as tag champions. More so, Team Rhodes Scholars has now seemingly had opportunity after opportunity and have failed. What is the purpose and agenda to build credible challenges over and over if they cannot ever win the “big one?” Rhodes & Sandow come across to me as nearly the perfect team to have a run as tag champions and have entertaining matches and get people interested in seeing them get their butts kicked! For all of the positives in the growth and re-building of the tag team division in the latter half of 2012, it seems that all we have now is just one team left standing – and where do we go from here?
Personally, I loved the Rumble Match. I think it was just a lot of fun, with quality surprises (especially Chris Jericho!). The way it came down to Cena and Ryback at the end was different than I had envisioned, so it was cool and fresh. It certainly will be neat to look back at and on when Cena-Ryback eventually face off in the ring.
I also really enjoyed the main event. I feel like WWE could have kept the title on CM Punk and still shifted it to The Rock later (Elimination Chamber), but with Rock’s promo and his Mother in the crowd, all of the stars aligned for it to happen in Phoenix. The overall structure of the match made perfect sense and I loved the MMA-stylings of kicks and knees that Punk added to the match. There was definitely a “big fight” feel and that is often what allows for that extra “oomph” to make WWE matches and events special. Even if I was disappointed because of my personal enjoyment of wanting Punk to remain champion, I do realize the Rock-Cena II goal for WrestleMania is likely the direction that WWE is going and to begin that proper build with Rumble as a launching point makes perfect sense in the grand scheme.
Totally agree with Tom that it was a two match show, while I enjoyed the Last Man Standing Match and the Tag Title match, it was all about the WWE Title Match and the Rumble itself.
I’ll stay with his format and share my thoughts quickly on the first two matches as well. First of all, CRAZY bump by Del Rio on the “chokeslam” off the set through the table. That could have been really really bad. I’m starting to get into him as the babyface champion, so maybe what they are doing is working. At first I wasn’t sure, but now I’m enjoying him. If they really do go to Sheamus/Orton for Wrestlemania though, I’m curious where that will leave Del Rio? Maybe Del Rio vs. Ziggler? (I’ve read rumors of the Jericho/Ziggler feud not lasting that long, so it’s an option). I thought the finish was great and worked into the whole idea of Del Rio outsmarting Big Show. It’s not just the Latino roots, but there is a little Eddie Guerrero in Del Rio, and I like it.
The tag match…well, Tom said it all and I 100% agree with him. Where do they go from here? There isn’t another credible team to challenge right now for the titles. The Uso’s? Prime Time Players? Brodus & Tensai? Where do they go? And I hated Cody Rhodes getting squashed on Raw too, so it makes me worried for the long term future of Rhodes Scholars as well. Good match, but insanely short sighted and dumb booking as far as who went over.
The Royal Rumble has been one of my favorite matches for a long, long time. I’m a sucker for a Battle Royal to begin with, and the Rumble is the “grand daddy of them all” when it comes to Battle Royals. Jericho coming out at #2 was a shock and it worked perfectly, and then he and Ziggler got to be the work horses of the match, which they are both so perfectly suited to do. Great stuff there. I also enjoyed the cameos and returns for Goldust, The Godfather, and Rey Mysterio, all very well done. If they aren’t going to do anything with Cody Rhodes in the near future, how about signing Goldust back and let them work a program together for Wrestlemania. Play off the Harbaugh brothers meeting up at the Super Bowl this weekend and have the Rhodes boys go at it at the Super Bowl of Wrestling. Could work and would be a fun match to watch! I also enjoyed the Bo Dallas debut, and while there are a number of NXT guys I’d have rather seen brought up, I like that they used his debut to start a program for him right away. Triple H deserves a lot of praise for not bringing guys up randomly, and instead, making sure they’ve got a plan for them coming in, and who they’re going to work with, etc. While I hate that we’re going back to the well with Cena, and would have loved to see someone new elevated with the Rumble, it was a foregone conclusion, so I wasn’t really that upset by it.
The main event was just great, I thought Punk and Rock had a great back and forth match, and they told a great story with the lights going out and The Shield attacking, but it was an attempt by Punk to outsmart Vince McMahon and everyone else one more time. When he got the pin, I actually started to text Tom to say “nice call on that one” because I was sure The Rock would win…and then Vince came out, and I thought “oh dear Lord in heaven, do NOT have him stripped of the title, that would just be SO anti-climactic”. Thankfully they had The Rock say that he wasn’t going to let it go down like that (somewhat of a call back to Wrestlemania 27 and the end of The Miz and John Cena actually) and asked for the match to be restarted…and then I knew, I was going to have a one match lead on Tom after all.
Rock/Cena II doesn’t set my world on fire for Mania…but, it was clear that’s where they were going, and if the ratings on Monday night say anything, people were interested by what happened Sunday night, so, maybe they have a clue up in Titan Towers after all!