The first pay-per-view of 2014 is in the can, and the Royal Rumble certainly had a few surprises.
We had championships change hands, and the inevitable returns the Royal Rumble always gives us. The WWE also made some pretty good booking decisions that will strengthen the company moving towards WrestleMania.
However, there were also some bad decisions made at the event. There were some moments which left fans scratching their heads—and left the crowd chanting furiously.
What were the best and worst booking decisions at the Rumble? Let's take a look.
It doesn't matter who won the belts, but the tag division was in desperate need of this to happen. Whilst Cody Rhodes and Goldust have been excellent champions, it had all gone a bit stale during the latter part of their reign.
The fact it was the New Age Outlaws who knocked them off gave us a pretty enjoyable moment. Anyone who grew up in the Attitude Era will have had a soft spot for Road Dogg and Billy Gunn—no matter what they did to CM Punk two weeks back on Raw.
You would imagine Triple H and The Authority had something to do with the Outlaws getting the shot. However, they pulled off a pretty decent spectacle, one that should have been nowhere near the pre-show.
Let's hope they are credible champions.
Even the genuine surprises that WWE pulled in the Royal Rumble match were executed badly.
It was a pretty enjoyable moment when JBL—a guy who has never competed in a Rumble match—drew No. 24 and stepped away from the announce table.
However, for him to barely make it into the ring and be bumped out by Roman Reigns was just a waste of a slot in the Rumble.
Kevin Nash did come back again, which was a nice moment. But none of the returns in the Rumble were shocking—something we are accustomed to.
Finally, it looks like the WWE have closed the door on John Cena vs. Randy Orton—at least for now.
The actions of Bray Wyatt at the end of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match seem to suggest Cena will be entering into a program with the demonic, twisted Wyatt moving towards WrestleMania.
It will be nice to see Cena working an angle with someone fresh—he seems to feud with the same people over and over again. Wyatt is on a major roll right now after his rivalry with Daniel Bryan, and is certainly worthy of competing with the very best on the biggest stages.
Orton will obviously move on to bigger and better things as well. Let's just be thankful the door has been closed on this most timid of rivalries.
It was a complete and utter waste of time for El Torito to enter the Royal Rumble. Sure, there were some nice spots from his stay in the Rumble match, but was it really needed?
It sort of summed up the Rumble match, in truth. There were no real star entrants that brought the crowd to their feet, and just a raft of midcard Superstars to drag their way through the match.
It was a huge relief when Roman Reigns put us out of our misery by dumping El Torito out of the match.
He tore through the field at Survivor Series with a spell of devastating Spears, but nobody could have seen a Royal Rumble record being set by Roman Reigns in 2014.
Kane's long-standing record of 11 eliminations was finally beaten—and it says a lot that the WWE chose Reigns to be the guy who did it. 12 eliminations across 30 men is a stunning feat, and the fact two of those were Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins suggests a Shield split is imminent.
Reigns is headed for the very top, there can be little doubt of that. He is a future champion in the making, and this Rumble justifies that. Even more impressively, the crowd seem to be buying into him.
Watch out for Reigns dominating the spotlight as WrestleMania approaches.
I didn't really like the ending at all. After arguably the greatest individual performance in Royal Rumble history from Roman Reigns, he was eliminated in pretty dull fashion.
The ending of the Rumble match should be a spot where controversy, drama and excitement reign supreme. Instead, it all felt a bit flat as Batista simply tossed Reigns out of the ring.
For all of Reigns' good work in the match, it shows how far behind the likes of Batista he is in the minds of WWE creative.
There is no real issue with Batista winning—The Animal vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania would be far from the worst match in the world.
But it's just a shame Reigns wasn't able to put up more of a fight.
Book it in, folks. When we get to December and the annual "Slammy" awards, we have our Match of the Year. It will take something pretty special to beat it.
Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt opened the show in real style. It was on a par with one of the best Royal Rumble matches in history: Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle in 2003. It was that good.
The crowd were into it big time, and it set the tone for the rest of the night. Bryan vs. Bray has had its low points, but it certainly ended on a high note.
The "this is awesome" chants summed it all up. It was a stunning match, worthy of a pay-per-view like the Royal Rumble.
It may well go down as the worst booking decision of the past 15 years. The company missed a huge opportunity to send the crowd berserk when slot No. 30 was approaching.
The crowd were chanting "YES!", and everyone was expecting Daniel Bryan to come out and finish the show in real style. Instead, we got Rey Mysterio.
I felt a little bit for Rey. He didn't deserve that reaction when he came out. He's a credit to the WWE and a guy that the crowd do still buy into. It was more that he wasn't the guy the crowd wanted to see.
Rey coming in earlier in the match would have been perfectly acceptable, for example. But why did Daniel Bryan not pull double duty and have a Rumble spot? It was enough for Mick Foley to vent his rage on Twitter, after all.
Sorry WWE, you missed a trick tonight.