Regardless how fans feel about John Cena winning the 2013 Royal Rumble and The Rock winning the WWE title, Sunday's Rumble featured a number of shrewd decisions by WWE.
The World Heavyweight Championship featured a fitting ending. The Rumble match itself delivered a handful of excellent surprises.
Along with booking worth griping about, WWE composed a number of solid stories. Not everyone's favorite did as well as some fans would have hoped, but the road to WrestleMania certainly has some intrigue already.
Looking past the show's flaws, here are the best decisions WWE made for Royal Rumble 2013.
Problem: How does WWE make it believable that Alberto Del Rio wins a second Last Man Standing match against the angry giant, Big Show?
Solution: Duct tape.
Not that anyone could have seen Ricardo Rodriguez's brilliant bit of interference coming, though it seems obvious now. Duct tape fixes everything.
After bashing Big Show's arm between a chair and some steel steps, Del Rio dragged the big man into the ring. He clamped on his cross armbreaker while his personal ring announcer taped Show's legs to the ropes.
Though Big Show is stronger and bigger than Del Rio, no one wins a Last Man Standing if they're unable to stand.
This bit of clever usage of the lack of rules felt like something out of Eddie Guerrero's playbook, a fun way to start the night.
There were any number of men WWE could have pitted against Dolph Ziggler to open the Rumble. Few made more sense or would have elicited such a elated response from the Phoenix crowd as Chris Jericho.
We last saw Jericho when Ziggler defeated him on Raw in a match where a Jericho loss meant his WWE contract would be voided.
Not only did this pairing continue their interrupted feud, but Jericho is one of the few surprise entrants who would be an instant legitimate contender. It'd only been a year since Jericho was one elimination away from winning the whole thing.
Jericho's Codebreaker on Ryback was an enticing image, as was most of his performance, even if he appeared gassed at times.
Kofi Kingston may never win the Royal Rumble, but he'll certainly have a place in its history, having now created one of the match's most stunning moments two years in a row.
The Wildcat continued that tradition on Sunday.
Dolph Ziggler knocked Kofi on the apron, and he was forced to hold onto Tensai's back to avoid elimination. He then found himself on the Spanish announcing table in proverbial no man's land. All eyes turned to him as he concocted a plan.
Using JBL's chair, Kofi hopped over to the ring to re-enter the match if only momentarily.
WWE would be wise to continue this tradition of having a Kofi moment performed by one of its most athletic superstars every year.
WWE Universe, meet Bo Dallas.
The NXT star won a tournament over the weekend for the chance to enter the Royal Rumble.
This melding of NXT and WWE is a brilliant move. Even if Dallas isn't called up right away, fans now have an impression of him. He made a name for himself at the Rumble by eliminating intercontinental champ, Wade Barrett.
WWE should definitely make the NXT tournament an annual event.
The Rumble is the easiest, most noncommittal way to introduce a new talent. If he flops, no big deal, just send him back down. If he does as well as Dallas did, then perhaps an upward move needs to be made.
Goldust made it clear that he deserved his spot in the Rumble.
He brought an intensity that elevated the match. He appeared to be in good shape, moving fluidly and working at a fast pace.
His inclusion was not only a fun trip down memory lane, but also a possible setup for a brother vs. brother match at WrestleMania 29. Goldust and Cody Rhodes went at it right away.
In the end, it was Cody who tossed Goldust over the top rope with a smug smile over his mustached face.
Whether or not this was a precursor to a Rhodes vs. Rhodes battle, bringing Goldust along for the ride was a good move.
Ryback entered last and used his power to toss his foes around the ring. He was a John Cena elimination away from winning, something he's simply not ready for.
He has made great strides, going from Skip Sheffield to the convincingly devastating monster he is today in a short amount of time, but the top of the WrestleMania card isn't the place for him yet.
John Cena's win was not exactly unpredictable, but WWE knows what it is has in Cena. Cena's a certified main-event star. Ryback may get or may not get there.
Letting Ryback get close to a Rumble win, making him look strong along the way and having him come just short, is a case of WWE making good sense.
Minus some loses against John Cena, Dolph Ziggler's 2013 is looking mighty good so far.
The Showoff is sure to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase at some point soon. When he does, his Royal Rumble performance is going to make him look like a more legitimate contender for the world title.
Ziggler started out in the first spot and lasted until the final handful.
He teetered on the apron, clung desperately to the ropes and likely earned a ton of respect for his endurance in this match.
Having Ziggler last longer than anyone in the 2013 Rumble creates an air of supreme resiliency for him. If he goes on a World Heavyweight title run, the Rumble can serve as the kick-starter for his momentum.