WWE Royal Rumble 2016 (1/24/2016)- Orlando, FL
The panel is talking as if Owens and Ambrose are both in the Rumble even though they’ve got a Last Man Standing match for the IC Title tonight. I thought the whole reason for the Last Man Standing match was to keep them out of the Rumble so that the fans won’t be pissed when they get eliminated (and also to open up more spots for guys lower down on the card who can get thrown out by Roman/Brock/Rusev to make them look more impressive).
ROYAL RUMBLE QUALIFYING MATCH: The Dudleys vs. Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. The Ascension vs. Darren Young & Damien Sandow- 5/10
I’m trying to come up with a clever name for Young & Sandow, but the best I can come up with is Prime Time Scholars, which is really lame. Their entrance was great, though, and I’d be fine with it leading to an angle where they become friends and Sandow learns to tolerate Darren’s Prime Time Players antics.
LIVE Q & A WITH THE SOCIAL OUTCASTS- what a great time to try to fix my sound issues.
Unfortunately, I have the sound up on my laptop, so I had to hear this. It was F*CKING TERRIBLE! Whoever put these guys together is an idiot, whoever gave them mic time is an idiot, and whoever let them answer questions from dorks on Twitter is an idiot.
JOJO INTERVIEWS VINCE & STEPH- OH MY G-D SHUT THE F*CK UP!
THE F*CKING PPV HAS ALREADY STARTED! YOU DON’T NEED TO CUT A PROMO TELLING US WHY WE SHOULD BUY IT!
LAST MAN STANDING MATCH FOR THE WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: Dean Ambrose(c) vs. Kevin Owens- 8.5/10
The camera-work at the beginning was nauseating, but other than that, this was awesome. Twenty minutes of escalating carnage.
NEW DAY PROMO- bad.
Xavier has a new trombone. Two problems here:
1. They are letting the heels go out here and say things that people will cheer for.
2. Xavier should have taken a page out of Jake Roberts’ book. After Earthquake brutally murdered Damien, Jake said "You could do two things: Roll over and die, or get yourself a bigger snake." Xavier should have come out here with a tuba. (And if he can’t play the tuba well, then that’s even better!)
WWE TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The New Day(c) (w/Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos- 6.5/10
After Big E. hit a big move on Jey, Xavier yelled to Jimmy that “your brother’s soul is ours! You will be next!” causing me to have terrible flashbacks to the Brothers of Destruction vs. Wyatt Family feud.
It’s not impossible that the Usos’ new t-shirts are actually just old Jeff Hardy t-shirts that someone found in the warehouse and realized that they didn’t have Jeff’s name on them anywhere, meaning that they could be repurposed.
WYATTS PROMO- a perfect time to reheat my pizza.
WWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH: Alberto Del Rio(c) vs. Kalisto- 6.75/10
Del Rio, the champion, comes out first for no reason. Cole declared Del Rio to be one of the greatest US Champions of all time, which is not only ridiculous, but I’m certain Cole said something claiming Del Rio was a bad champion because that is the sort of thing Cena was saying during their feud.
The match was good big man vs. small man stuff, but would have been better if some of the spots had gone smoother. Kalisto wins the match and wins the title back, once again begging the question “if you were going to do this, then what was the point of the first title switch?”
HEYMAN & STEPH STUFF- boring. Why the hell would Brock get to renegotiate a valid contract just because he won a title? Also, they subtly pushed the Brock vs. Wyatts feud, so… yuck.
WWE DIVAS TITLE MATCH: Charlotte(c) (w/Ric Flair) vs. Becky Lynch- 7.25/10
Byron Saxton said that Orlando was the city where the Divas Revolution really started, which is like bragging about being the city where Adolf Hitler was born.
Ric sexually harasses Becky. Also, this entailed grabbing her right in front of the referee and there was no DQ. It didn’t even get him ejected from ringside. Charlotte retains due to a distraction by Ric. I really think this was the night Becky should have taken the title. They need to do a rematch without Ric at ringside.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Charlotte beats Becky up a bit, but then Sasha shows up and also get a huge pop. Then she kicks Becky and knocks her out of the ring like a piece of trash. Then Sasha and Charlotte do their BFF thing, but it’s all a fake-out for Sasha to jump Charlotte and lock her in the Bank Statement. For some reason the referee is trying to hold Ric Flair back instead of pulling Sasha off of Charlotte. I fully support Sasha vs. Charlotte at WrestleMania, but if that’s the direction they’re going, they should have wrapped things with Becky up cleanly. Maybe they can build to a three-way, but I don’t trust WWE to do well (which is sad because it really shouldn’t be hard at this point).
That “WrestleMania: 70 Days Away” commercial took WAY too long. All you need is the graphic. You don’t need random clips of stuff that isn’t from WrestleMania.
ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH FOR ROMAN REIGNS’ WWE TITLE- 8/10
This was much better than last year’s show, and a large part of that is because WWE did a much better job at anticipating the fans’ reactions to various events, which I think is best exemplified by the fact that it was Dean in there with Hunter at the end instead of Roman.
That doesn’t mean that this year’s Rumble didn’t have its problems, though, and the majority of those stemmed from the following issue:
ALL of the build was centered on Roman Reigns, to the point where it felt like instead of their being 30 possible outcomes, there were only two: Roman wins or Roman loses. No one else in the Rumble even feels like they have chance aside from Brock, and Brock’s chances went way down with that beatdown he suffered from the Wyatts on Raw.
The only people who anyone thought had a chance were Roman, Hunter, and Brock, which hurt the match tremendously. If they had built it around the idea that “anyone” can win, Dean, AJ, and Jericho would have felt like much more likely possibilities.
Still, this really felt like WWE getting back on track with Rumble after the debacles of the past two years, which gives me some hope for the future. As always, here are my semi-stream of consciousness thoughts, later edited together to hopefully make them easier to read:
Bad reaction for Roman already at #1.
Rusev in at #2, so the last two left last year are the first two in this year. Also, Lana is back.
Sh*t. Rusev is gone already.
AJ F*CKING STYLES! With a HUGE pop! And the announcers put him over like the biggest superstar in the world. Tyler Breeze at #4. The fans are still going nuts for AJ. #5 is Curtis Axel.
I could be wrong, but I’m getting the feeling they’re going to do an HBK-Bulldog type of thing with Roman and AJ starting early and being the last two left (before we get some sort of “Triple H is the 31st entrant” swerve).
HUGE reaction for Jericho. Now I’m marking out because AJ and Jericho are in the same ring!
KANE! This is our year! I can feel it!
Massive boos for the Ryback.
R-Truth is mentally deficient, so he still thinks it’s the same ladder match from WresteMania. That was stupid. At least Kane got to be the one to eliminate him.
Kofi’s spot involved him landing on Big E’s shoulders and being carried around the ring. He’s staying up on Big E’s shoulders for a while.
The League of Nations (sans Barrett) pulled Roman out under the bottom rope and beat him up because they’re too dumb to all just get in the ring and try to throw him out. Vince is there giving them orders. He got splashed through an announce table by Rusev. Basically they’re doing the 1999 Rumble with all of the heels beating Austin up, but not in the ring. Kofi got eliminated, but no one has any idea how because everyone was so focused on Roman Reigns. That’s quite the unintentional metaphor for WWE booking, isn’t it.
Zero sh*ts were given about the entry of Stardust.
Neville in at 16 with a much smaller pop than I would have expected.
They’re still so focused on Roman walking to the back. They finally got a replay of Kofi elimination, which was really cool. Too bad we were so focused on Roman that we missed it.
Boos for Strowman at 17. He eliminates Kane. BOOO! Then he put Big Shoe to sleep with the Embarrassingly Bad Chokehold and then eliminated him. Poor Big Show. Not only does he get eliminated, but Michael Cole doesn’t even remember that he was the real winner of the 2000 Royal Rumble.
HUGE pop for Owens at 18, and an even bigger pop for him doing spots with AJ. Now AJ is doing stuff with Neville and they once again tease a Styles Clash but Owens breaks it up with a superkick and eliminates AJ! At least WWE seems to have learned from the last two years and had a guy whose elimination they knew would be met with boos get eliminated by a top heel.
Ambrose is in next, and he and Owens are right back to brawling with each other… so what was the point that gimmick match they just had if didn’t even end the feud?
Here are some more replays to make sure we all know how brave Roman is and how unfair it is that Vince has it out for him and to remind us that tough, brave, valiant Roman still hasn’t been eliminated.
Big pop for Sami Zayn… and he’s going right for Owens! The people are going nuts! Sami dumps Owens! The people are cheering “SAMI! SAMI! SAMI!”
Rowan comes in next and the Wyatts are just tossing everyone around. Here comes Mark Henry at #22 to oppose the monstrous Wyatts. Strowman bodyslams Henry with ease. That was impressive. All three Wyatts eliminate Mark Henry. Now Strowman dumps Sami.
And HERE COMES THE BEAST! Suplex City for Harper and Rowan. Now Brock and Strowman are going at it… and Brock knocks him down! Harper eliminated by Brock.
Swagger Time! And now it’s F-5 Time. And Get Eliminated By Brock Time.
Miz came out and immediately went over to do commentary, where he claimed that he would “turn Suplex City into Disney World.”
Del Rio comes in and goes right for Brock, making me very said that we won’t be getting that match.
Bray is in at 27 to no reaction at all. The Wyatts who Brock had previously eliminated all run in and attack Brock… but he just tosses them all out again. Then they come back in and beat him up again, and then dump him over the top rope. We get no explanation whatsoever for why they just leave after that instead of helping Bray fight everyone else.
No pop at all for Ziggler at 28. Dolph runs wild, but Miz picks this time to come in and beat him up.
Sheamus in at 29… but he gets beaten up by Roman from behind before he makes it to the ring. Roman runs wild, eliminating Del Rio. Now Bray is the one running wild on everyone. Now it’s Roman, and he’s standing tall in the ring… and everyone is booing.
And here comes Hunter at #30 with a MUCH bigger pop than Roman got. A fan in the first row of the second section did a hilarious Triple H pose. Dolph tries to go after Hunter but is easily stopped and Pedigreed. There’s some symbolism for you.
After some good teases and near-eliminations, Hunter eliminates Dolph, meaning the final six are Roman, Sheamus, Hunter, Bray, Dean, and Jericho.
Hunter and Bray are going at it now, but for the second time, Sheamus helps Hunter out. Sheamus and Hunter eliminate Bray, leading to a great spot where Roman also eliminates both of them at the same time.
Dean eliminates Jericho, so your Final Four are Sheamus, Hunter, Roman, and Dean.
Roman eliminates Sheamus… and Hunter eliminates Roman! It’s either going to be Triple H or Dean Ambrose! They REALLY should have had Dean drop the IC Title if they were going to do this. The people are going totally bonkers for Dean!
And there goes Dean.
A pretty great show from WWE, with the Rumble really feeling like it is back to being what it should be.