Sunday night's Royal Rumble wasn't all that bad.
OK, so the actual results (justifiably) led to amazing GIFs such as this one and a whole lot of tweets in the same vein as this one from legend Mick Foley, which pretty much summed everything up:
Does @WWE actually hate their own audience? I've never been so disgusted with a PPV.— Mick Foley (@realmickfoley) January 27, 2014
But while the results have an entire fanbase in an absolute uproar, there were some solid moments from the disappointing pay-per-view that are being overlooked.
Although Daniel Bryan being tossed right back into the title hunt by earning a spot in the Elimination Chamber match on the post-Rumble Raw may have slightly quelled some of the anger, let's take a bit of an optimistic look back at the best moments from the 2014 Rumble.
Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt
Undoubtedly the best match of the night (and it wasn't even close), Bryan vs. Wyatt stole the show in about every way possible. In fact, WrestleZone.com wondered if it would be in the conversation for Match of the Year at the end of 2014:
Wonder if that will be spoken about in 12 months time as a match of the year candidate. That was all kinds of good, had everything— WrestleZone.com (@WRESTLEZONEcom) January 27, 2014
It's safe to say it will be.
Coming in, we knew Bryan was easily one of the most talented in-ring technicians in the business, and we knew Wyatt, although absolute gold on the mic, had, at times, underwhelmed inside the ring.
But Wyatt rose to the challenge and helped put on a truly memorable match that had a bit of everything: strong offense from both sides, great back-and-forth action that told a story perfectly, scintillating spots, you name it. The match was given just over 22 minutes—slightly more than the World Heavyweight Championship match between John Cena and Randy Orton—and it felt like it could have gone on for much longer.
If you had any doubts about either one of these guys being able to main event in this business, those beliefs should have been put to rest on Sunday night.
When Rey Mysterio's music hit for entrant No. 30 and it was confirmed Bryan wouldn't be in the rumble, many turned their attention to Reigns, hoping the Shield member would grab the victory in the Battle Royal.
Although he eventually lost to Batista—much to the chagrin of the WWE universe—Reigns looked about as strong as possible. Including eliminations of teammates Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as well as guys like Antonio Cesaro, Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler, the burgeoning superstar set a Royal Rumble record by tossing 12 opponents over the ropes, per WWE:
Despite losing out in the end, Reigns has an incredibly bright future. And more importantly, it looks as though the WWE is intent on bringing that bright future to fruition very soon.
That can only be seen as a good thing.
Will the WWE give the fans what they want and put Bryan in the main event at WrestleMania XXX?
When Mysterio made his entrance and 20,000 Pittsburgh fans erupted into a chorus of boos and chants for Bryan, and then seemingly every fan took to websites and social media to convey similar feelings of anger, it was unprecedented.
Fans have been unhappy about a result before, or been angered with the company, but the dismay has never felt this one-sided or so obvious.
Perhaps that kind of reaction can help, though. Foley, this time via his Facebook account, once again sums it perfectly:
On the bright side, WWE has 10 weeks to make this thing right for its loyal audience - and the potential to make this Wrestlemania the most talked about and interesting of them all. Where there's a will, there's a way. But unless Daniel Bryan is involved, that way just doesn't seem possible to this particular wrestling fan.
It's undoubtedly hard to trust the WWE at this point. But this entire reaction has been unlike anything I can remember, and it's going to be hard for the company not to notice.
Whether or not the company actually acts on that and gives the fans what they deserve is another question entirely, but the reaction in Pittsburgh and around the world following the disappointing PPV is something that can help evoke change, and it was good to see the WWE universe unite around a true star.