The 2013 Royal Rumble was one of the most hyped events in recent WWE history, and for the most part, our favorite costumed fighters lived up to that promise.
Stars like Chris Jericho and Bret Hart made rumble cameos, The Rock reclaimed his title more than a decade after losing it, and superstar John Cena outlasted 29 peers to win his second Royal Rumble.
But wrestling isn't some sort of sanitized, pre-teen soccer tournament where "everybody wins." There's a complementary loser for every one of Sunday night's victors—guys who left Phoenix with lower stock than they entered with.
Let's take a look at three guys who fit that bill:
3. CM Punk
The Rock punked CM in the night's most entertaining bout, and for the show he and Dwayne Johnson put on, it's hard to call our former champion a "loser" after Sunday.
But that's the thing. He's now the former champion. It's obligatory to at least mention that, right?
Punk was a great champion for the 400-plus days he held the belt, and even in defeat Sunday night, he performed like a consummate pro. In true Second City manner, he and The Rock gave fans all that they paid for and more. Unlike the next two guys on this list, he isn't a loser because of how he acquainted himself with the audience.
He's a loser because he literally lost something.
2. Dolph Ziggler
Just kidding. Kind of. Ziggler spent 40-plus minutes in the ring during the Royal Rumble (tops among all participants), and made the Final Four despite starting first. However, in that very protracted span he accomplished all of nothing.
While bigger (and perhaps truer) stars created memories for wrestling fans across the globe, Ziggler stood idly by in the corner. He fought when he had to, but his banal grappling looked more like 'rasslin than true, bona fide wrestling.
B/R's own Jonathan Snowden agreed, lamenting Ziggler's Rumble performance:
Ziggler is a guy with so much potential—it's a shame to see him languish on the midcard. And this Rumble could have been his true breakout moment.
Nobody remembers the guy who just hangs around in the corner for 45 minutes. Unfortunately, that's what Ziggler did. Sometimes lasting a long time in the Rumble is special. This wasn't...
Ziggler has potential to be so much greater than he was on Sunday night. Some would even say he has potential to be a legitimate WWE mega star. Based on the role he was given at the Rumble—that of side-show rather than main show—the league's execs might not agree.
1. The Miz
How far has the former MTV bad boy fallen?
A recent face turn and a subsequent team up with buddy Ric Flair gave the Miz modicums of momentum entering the Rumble. But Sunday's performance put a resounding end to that.
His United States championship bout with Antonio Cesaro didn't even make the main card, WWE instead choosing to air it on YouTube in the pre-show. For free.
That is, the wrestling brass—men who at one point felt comfortable giving Miz a title belt—no longer consider him a chargeable commodity. What's worse, he lost the live-streamed fight with Cesaro, who tossed his listless bones across the canvas all match, and generally looked the part of a much stronger character.
Mike better get down to Miz-ness soon if he wants to repair his career.