When it comes to last night's actual Royal Rumble match, there were things to like and things to hate. Thus, the Rumble match itself earns the first-ever mixed bag.
First, the lowlights.
The positioning of the Rumble match before the WWE championship battle seemed to virtually guarantee that John Cena would win the WrestleMania title shot. That's a definite sell.
If the tilt between the Rock and CM Punk had gone off before the actual Rumble, there was a possibility that the loser of the match would enter the Rumble and win redemption, setting up a rematch between the two for WrestleMania 29. Without the star power of Punk or Rock in the battle royal, Cena's victory seemed all but assured.
Points off for killing the drama.
Another sell is awarded for the predictable outcome of the Rumble match. Cena was the overwhelming favorite going into the match. There's no way that WWE could have prevented that from happening, but the company is famous for changing the outcomes of matches in order to "fool" the fanbase.
If it was ever going to pull a fast one, last night would have been the time. Cena's win all but guaranteed that The Rock would win the WWE title in the closing match of the show. WWE can have a Cena-Punk showdown anytime it wants. Cena vs. Rock is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The Rumble also gets a sell for having three of the top four babyfaces in the company as the final three combatants. No viewer thought Sheamus would win a second straight Rumble match, and very few fans feel that Ryback is ready to headline WrestleMania. Since Cena was bound to win, WWE would have been wise to elevate a heel such as Dolph Ziggler by letting him make it to the final two.
Now, the good stuff.
A buy goes to Dolph Ziggler for a strong showing. The "Show Off" was the first entrant and made it all the way to the final four. Though Ziggler wasn't dominant during his more than 45 minutes in the ring, he showed guile and stamina by making it almost to the end. It also elevated Ziggler to have him in the ring with three of the company's top babyfaces.
Another buy goes out for having Chris Jericho not only return to WWE, but enter the Rumble in the second spot. The fact that Y2J returned, faced off with Ziggler and lasted a long time creates intrigue.
Will Jericho return to the company full-time?
If so, will he renew his feud with Ziggler? Will he turn heel and go after World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio? The possibilities are endless. Jericho's surprise return also got the crowd into the match early, and kept the energy level high during the early parts of the Rumble.
The comedy spots in the Rumble match earn a buy, as well.
Santino Marella bested his 2012 performance by lasting more than two seconds. Further, he came into the ring, destroyed everyone in sight and began to celebrate before realizing that he hadn't actually eliminated anyone.
Kane's elimination of Daniel Bryan by simply dropping him on the floor after Bryan eliminated him, then diving into his tag team partner to avoid elimination was very amusing. Perhaps the comedic highlight of the Rumble was the look on Cody Rhodes' mustachioed face when his brother, Goldust, was announced.
While the announcers weren't stellar for most of the evening, a special buy goes out to JBL's commentary when Brodus Clay entered the Rumble match. Clay began his typical dance routine, and JBL said something to the effect of "Somewhere a Sasquatch and LaToya Jackson are sitting on the couch watching their kid in the Royal Rumble." It was the only real laugh-out-loud moment of the night.