During the 26th anniversary of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, WWE created a number of monumental moments, with John Cena winning his second Rumble match and The Rock winning his first WWE Championship in over a decade.
Although most of the show could be easily predicted, the excitement was still there in every match throughout the night.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of prediction and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in the coming weeks.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro def. The Miz (Pre-show)
Good match, with Antonio Cesaro successfully retaining his United States Championship against The Miz. They worked a well-wrestled match, and the crowd seemed steadily behind Miz, which is a good indicator that his face turn is slowly working.
I'm glad he didn't full lock in the poorly executed Figure Four, and he was protected via the knee injury he received during the contest. This was a great win for Cesaro in defeating a former WWE Champion, and the bout ended in a way that enable the feud to be continued beyond this point.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Big Show in a Last Man Standing match
Entertaining Last Man Standing match, with Alberto Del Rio successfully retaining his World Heavyweight Championship against Big Show. They made great use of the surrounding environment and utilized the weapons effectively as well.
The spot with Big Show performing a Chokeslam to Del Rio through the table near the stage was very cool and created a nice sense of suspense. This match was flat at points, but Show and Del Rio kept the action going at a good pace throughout.
I'm a huge fan of the finish, seeing how it was used in the John Cena vs. Batista match at Extreme Rules 2010, but keeping the belt on Del Rio was still a logical move.
WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No def. Team Rhodes Scholars
Decent match, with Team Hell No successfully retaining their WWE Tag Team Championship against Team Rhodes Scholars. We've seen this match countless times before, so the action was nothing really out of the ordinary.
It wasn't well-received by the Phoenix crowd, who were practically dead for this bout, and who can really blame them? The titles should've changed hands here, and I don't wish to see the feud continue if the same result is going to occur each time.
However, I'm fine with Team Hell No keeping the title, since they've been a fun tandem thus far and provide quality matchups.
John Cena won the 30-man Royal Rumble match by eliminating Ryback
Incredibly awesome 30-man Royal Rumble match that saw John Cena secure the victory by eliminating Ryback. There were plenty of stories told during the course of this contest that I really enjoyed.
First, the surprise entrants—including Chris Jericho, Goldust and The Godfather—were all great, mainly because no one saw them coming. Jericho coming in at No. 2 and surviving for nearly 50 minutes was a nice touch, Goldust going after his sibling Cody Rhodes made for a memorable moment, and Godfather had a fun cameo appearance as well.
Kofi Kingston hopping to the ring on JBL's chair wasn't as cool as last year's spot, but still unique nonetheless. Kicking off the bout with Jericho and Dolph Ziggler made for an excellent dynamic for the rest of the Rumble.
The returns of Santino Marella, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara were also nicely done. The final four was very suspenseful, and it was great to see Ryback eliminate two major stars in Randy Orton and Sheamus.
As much as I wanted Ryback to win, John Cena is the most logical choice to go with at this point. Sure, Ryback going over one of the biggest faces in the company would've been very beneficial to his career, but Cena's victory was in order to make it clear he'll be facing The Rock at WrestleMania 29.
That being said, the outcome of this match foreshadowed the finish of the main event, but I was still content with it. No need to get mad at something we saw coming months in advance, and the important thing is that it makes sense.
The Rock def. CM Punk to win the WWE Championship
Great match, with The Rock defeating CM Punk to win the WWE Championship. Rock was in much better shape than he was at WrestleMania 28 and meshed well with Punk in the ring.
The Rock Bottom botch on the Spanish commentators' table hurt the overall flow of the match just a bit, but they managed to recover nicely with the Rock Bottom on the floor instead.
The Shield's involvement was cool, but the match might've been fine without it. It made sense after what occurred on Raw last week, and I appreciated the Punk Swerve, but the restart of the match was way too short for my liking.
Not only that, but having Rock win with the People's Elbow made the monumental victory come off as anticlimactic. I understand how over that move is, but it's no way to win a title in a meaningful manner, in my personal opinion.
Regardless, Rock's title victory still felt somewhat special despite the lackluster finish, and I'm completely content with him winning the strap after Punk's year-long reign. Honestly speaking, I thought Rock vs. Cena from WrestleMania 28 was better than this matchup.
Spare me the hate mail, but I felt that match told a better story than this one. Maybe it was because it built over a long period of time, but I hope Rock and Punk clash in a rematch next month at Elimination Chamber to right the wrongs they made in this bout.
Nonetheless, this was still a strong effort from both men.
Overall, a very enjoyable show, despite the predictability of most of the results. The good thing is that the outcomes of each match (with the exception of the tag title match) were logical and probably the best booking decisions for the long run.
The action itself on this show was excellent and gave a clear view of what we might be getting at WrestleMania 29. Personally, I found the returns of Chris Jericho and Goldust to be the highlights of the night, as the Royal Rumble match is what stole the show for me.
With this being the official start to the road to WrestleMania, I highly anticipate where WWE goes from here and the exciting content we're bound to receive from this point forward.
Watch my latest WrestleRant video for my full thoughts on the show.
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