The Royal Rumble pay-per-view is one of the best and most anticipated events of the year for wrestling fans, with the Road to WrestleMania starting on PPV and the excitement of the Rumble match itself.
This year, the card looked solid with Big Show getting his rematch against Alberto Del Rio in a Last Man Standing Match, the Tag Team Championship match between Team Hell No and Rhodes Scholars, the actual Rumble match and the WWE Title match between CM Punk and The Rock.
Following this PPV however, I felt a bit disappointed with what I had just witnessed—it was a good show overall but a few things left a bitter taste.
Putting a title on the line in a pre-show makes it almost certain to be retained by the champions—which was the case at the pre-show for the 2013 Royal Rumble PPV.
The Miz faced Antonio Cesaro in the match, "injuring" his leg and taking a clean defeat to the Swiss superstar who has impressed since his debut.
Putting a title on the line for a pre-show undermines the title—suggesting that it isn't good enough for the main show, as the match is seen by a minority audience. Whilst understandably there wasn't space in the show for the US title match, maybe a non-title match would have been good enough for the pre-show.
The Big Show - who lost at the Rumble
Alberto Del Rio defended his World Title at the Royal Rumble against the World's Largest Athlete in a Last Man Standing match to kick off the pay-per-view.
Del Rio won the match thanks to his ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez, who duct taped Big Show's legs to the ring ropes.
While this may help to develop the storyline between Del Rio and Big Show, a World Title match at one of the WWE's biggest PPVs should have a proper ending. It's also a heelish way for a face superstar to win the match and undermines Del Rio as the Champ.
First of all, let me state that Team Hell No has done a good job in saving the tag team division—BUT Rhodes Scholars' defeat to them leaves them at a crossroads.
Arguably, they are now out of the title picture after losing cleanly to the champions. Now they will either have to fade into tag team obscurity or head their separate ways.
I personally would have liked to see Rhodes Scholars pick up the victory, as they have been impressive as a team and could carry the division further.
Plus Team Hell No's loss would keep the storyline of Kane and Daniel Bryan's fragile togetherness interesting as they would have failed as a team for the first time.
The 2013 Rumble Winner
Fact: John Cena doesn't need to win the Royal Rumble to get into the title picture at WrestleMania and to win the WWE Championship.
Cena was the favourite to win the match and the WWE decided to surprise us all by giving Cena the win in the Rumble match; eliminating Ryback last to "shock the world."
The final four were Randy Orton, Sheamus, Cena and Ryback—which were hardly unpredictable, unlike the previous years there would not be a Sheamus swerve.
While John Cena may be the man that leads the WWE for the foreseeable future, it seems unnecessary to have him win this match.
Perhaps Ryback isn't ready for this and Sheamus won the match the previous year, but Orton could have been a more interesting option—having been out of the main event picture for a little while now.
The WWE Champion
There are three reasons I didn't want to see The Rock lifting the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble:
1) The Rumble match should be last on the PPV, given that it is what the PPV is based around.
2) CM Punk beating Rock would give him a massive boost and put him over.
3) It looks like Rock/Cena part two.
John Cena against the Rock will increase revenue for the WWE as John Cena looks to get his revenge for his loss at WrestleMania 28—which I'm sure will be the case.
Cena once again doesn't need to beat The Rock, so having this match only provides the WWE with short-term rewards.
The worry for fans of CM Punk now is this: Where does he go from here? He will probably lose the rematch, but then what? Does CM Punk slowly fade back into the upper mid-card?
Financially, Rock winning makes sense, but long-term...we will see.
The Royal Rumble wasn't a bad pay-per-view, in fact, it will probably turn out to be one of the best of the year.
There are two things which are certain in the WWE following the Rumble: John Cena will be main-eventing WrestleMania and that Dolph Ziggler is being built up to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
His long run in the Rumble match plus the short time between now and the biggest stage of all means that the WWE will be focusing on Ziggler as his time to cash in is running out.
We are also left with many questions:
What now for CM Punk?
Will The Rock take out The Shield?
When will Dolph cash in?
Who will face Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania?
The wheels are now in place as the road to WrestleMania has begun!