Analyzing the Most Predictable Royal Rumble Match in History
Every year I have a little wager with my friend. We each predict who we think the final five superstars in the rumble match will be and, to make it more interesting, even attempt to work out the precise order of those five combatants.
Normally this process is fraught with error, and for the past few years we have rarely been able to accurately predict the eventual winner, let alone the other four men that make up the final quintet.
This year however, was a completely different story.
John Cena was always going to win the Royal Rumble.
But what was disappointing was the general lack of innovation surrounding the other superstars involved in the Rumble match itself.
Before anyone overreacts, I actually thought the match itself was of a generally good quality. Unlike last year (where we were forced to witness the likes of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Ricardo Rodriguez and Kharma wasting actual contenders spots), the field consisted of a mixture of low-middle to top-tier carders, who (with a few exceptions) all posed the genuine threat of being real "challengers" in the match.
Of course the likes of Cody Rhodes, The Miz and Wade Barrett were never going to win the Rumble, but their presence only serves to bolster the ranks of cannon fodder for the match's real potential winners, thus making their performances in the event seem all the more impressive.
This was evident when Ryback entered the match and instantly eliminated a plethora of men who wouldn't find themselves out of place holding Intercontinental or US championship gold.
What was also nice to see was the genuine exposure WWE gave the young NXT tournament winner Bo Dallas. Bo beat seven other men from the company's training ground show to earn his spot in the Rumble, and lasted a surprisingly long amount of time (over 20 minutes).
In fact it was only after eliminating the Intercontinental Champion, Barrett, that Dallas met his end, when the man from England re-entered the ring only to take the rookie out despite no longer officially being an entrant himself (shades of Maven and Undertaker from 2002).
The shocking return of Chris Jericho was another plus point for the Rumble. Y2J came out at No. 2—ready to face off with the man who had cost him his contract, Dolph Ziggler, who had entered at No. 1—and lasted for nearly 50 minutes, eventually finishing sixth in the match.
Ziggler outlasted even that time though, eventually finishing fourth and cementing his place as a genuine title contender in the coming months. Again this was a great use of Ziggler's selling talents from the WWE (what better chance to get over being tossed around the ring than in a match where the whole purpose is to be thrown over the top rope?).
It has become somewhat of an ever-decreasingly amusing trademark for the Rumble to exhibit some kind of "phenomenal act" that saves a superstar (well, at least Kofi Kingston) from being eliminated.
It was always going to be hard to top last year's handstand, and unsurprisingly Kofi failed to do so this time around—simply jumping onto the eliminated Tensai's back and then shuffling back to the ring on a swivel chair. It looked as impressive as it sounds. Six out of 10 at best, Kofi.
Unfortunately for the WWE, Y2J's aforementioned return was the only possible blotch which could have ever proven my pre-Rumble predictions wrong. And after he was eliminated, it was plain sailing for predictability.
Orton, Ziggler, Sheamus and Ryback (in that order) eventually found themselves being tossed over that top rope as John Cena became just the fourth man in history to win more than one Rumble.
Does Cena deserve to win the Rumble? I dislike the man, but yes.
Cena hasn't held the title in over a year despite being the "face of the company," and however much you hate the guy nobody can deny his loyalty or dedication to his employers.
I would have bet my house on Cena winning the 2013 Royal Rumble.
The match was good, the wrestling was good, the entertainment and crowd buzz was good.
But the outcome? WWE, you're going to have to try a little harder next time.
That being said, the WWE title match truly electrified the masses, and spiced up what the WWE is going to do with Cena and Rocky at Mania.
The only question is, why couldn't that sort of initiative have been used in the Rumble itself?
Who knows, maybe Vince and Hunter have something huge planned for us all.
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