The 30-man Royal Rumble match is always one of the most anticipated events of the year, and the 2013 edition of the pay-per-view and battle royal lived up to the hype.
While only one man could win the Rumble match—John Cena walked away with his chance to fight for the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania 29—there were several Superstars that looked strong even in defeat.
All of the following wrestlers were eliminated earlier than they would have liked, but they were all built to look incredibly strong heading towards Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania 29.
After it was announced that Dolph Ziggler would start the match at No. 1, the anticipation over which superstar would enter the Rumble match second was off the charts.
The WWE Universe wanted a great start to the match, and as former undisputed champion Chris Jericho’s music hit, the crowd in Phoenix and the fans across the world exploded with excitement.
This was one of the loudest pops Y2J has ever received.
That huge response from the fans—coupled with the fact that WWE is already teasing a continuation of the feud with Dolph Ziggler—will result in an extended stay in the WWE for Jericho that will likely culminate in a WrestleMania match.
Despite not winning the match, it’s hard to talk about the 2013 Royal Rumble without mentioning Y2J.
Some fans have grown sour on Cody Rhodes over the last year, but the WWE has given Rhodes the ability to stay in the 30-man Royal Rumble match for an extended amount of time each of the last two years.
Rhodes eliminated Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston, Brodus Clay and his brother Goldust—which could have been teasing a long-term feud between Dustin and Cody—and was the focal point for much of the time he was in the ring.
The fact that Rhodes was in the ring longer than most other stars doesn’t mean he is in line for a big push, but it does prove that the WWE still believes the young star has the talent and the lineage to be a main-eventer.
Add in the fact that it was eventual Rumble winner John Cena that eliminated Rhodes, and the WWE did a good job building the future world champion’s credibility.
The biggest star of the night—shining even brighter than the match’s eventual winner John Cena—was Dolph Ziggler. The Money in the Bank briefcase holder entered the Royal Rumble at No. 1 and lasted until the final four.
While Ziggler only sent two men over the top rope during his time in the ring, it was his elimination of Chris Jericho that got him serious heat and foreshadowed what will be a great continuation of the duo’s ongoing feud.
Ziggler was in the ring for over 50 minutes Sunday, and the fact that it was a top face like Sheamus that was finally able to eliminate him was the perfect ending.
Mr. Money in the Bank may have lost the match, but he proved once again just how valuable he is to the WWE.
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