The 2014 WWE Royal Rumble was one of the most anticipated pay-per-views of the last year, but a disappointing conclusion to the event has left a bad taste in the mouths of many wrestling fans.
While the main event of the show didn’t end the way many members of the WWE Universe had anticipated, there were still several stars that kicked off the road to WrestleMania XXX with a strong performance.
All of the following Superstars thrived at the 2014 Royal Rumble.
Smart wrestling fans expected Daniel Bryan to be a late entry in the 30-man over-the-top-rope Battle Royal for the right to main event WrestleMania XXX, but he was not even included in the match.
The clear favorite besides Bryan was Batista, and he was able to steal the victory after coming out at No. 28. Batista was booed heavily due to the crowd’s displeasure that Bryan was passed over, but there is no denying the magnitude of a Royal Rumble victory.
Batista will fight for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, whether the fans like it or not. He took to Twitter to share that sentiment as well:
Awesome night! And @VinceMcMahon walked away from my Royal Rumble win healthy and happy.. Love me or hate me thanks to everyone who watched.— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) January 27, 2014
There is no denying the star power of Batista, and he is not the worst character on WWE programming, but his face promos are not that interesting. The hope is that the company sees the monster it has created and turns the No. 1 contender into an entitled brat.
Batista is much better as a heel.
Regardless of whom he fights at WrestleMania—a one-on-one match against Randy Orton or a three-way bout with the winner of the Elimination Chamber match and Orton—The Animal walked out of the Royal Rumble looking as dominant as ever.
There was no way Brock Lesnar was going to take a loss at the Royal Rumble to the Big Show, but the WWE did its best over the weeks leading into this match helping the fans buy into this feud.
After destroying Big Show with several chairs and hitting him with a huge F-5, it is clear that Lesnar is being positioned to look incredibly strong as the road to WrestleMania begins.
Whether he ends up in a possible match against The Undertaker or a clash against Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Lesnar looks like one of the strongest men in the company right now.
There is no question that a wrestler as talented as Lesnar should be taking on wrestlers that need the rub to help build their mainstream credibility, and with a limited number of dates on his contract, wasting a match against Big Show wasn’t a good idea for the WWE.
Brock may look incredibly strong, but he could have done the same thing against Mark Henry in a much more interesting battle.
Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan stole the show in their Royal Rumble opener, and the leader of the Wyatt Family proved that he has the potential to live up to the immense hype that has followed him from NXT.
Which star looked the strongest?
Wyatt’s character is built on nuances and quirks that he has perfected over time. His in-ring moves play off those intricacies and allow for excellent in-ring psychology, an art form lost in the WWE at times.
With WrestleMania season upon us and a big push coming for Wyatt after costing John Cena the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Bray proved that he is one of the brightest prospects on the main roster.
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