As I mentioned in my predictions article, the Royal Rumble is my favourite PPV of the year. I personally find that the main event of 30 (in this year's case 40) men fighting for a spot at WrestleMania is usually a fast and furious match that is used to surprise fans and push wrestlers. It should be the best match of the night at the very least.
The problem is that for the past two years the result has been somewhat predictable and has in many respects gotten the reputation for being a match to instantly push someone into the main event without any effort.
Considering this year's Rumble was to contain 40 men I was expecting to see a lot of surprise entries and some records get broken. What we got instead was something utterly disappointing. Well enough of the intro, let's delve into the matches.
Ironically the first match of the night was the best. It is never a good sign when a World Championship defense opens a PPV. I know the choices were somewhat slim but they could have added one more unscheduled match considering the PPV ended 15 mins before the cut-off.
So the gimmick of this match, to make it seem like Ziggler had at least a chance of being victorious, was that Edge's finishing maneuver, The Spear, was banned. If he used it he would be DQed and lose the championship. I think it's a stupid idea but I could live with it for this match.
The contest itself was a well contested match that made Ziggler look good in parts without sacrificing Edge's credibility as a main eventer. It was the best type of back-and-forth match. Ziggler defiantly showed his potential as a future top card draw.
Despite my praise for this match there was a huge glaring problem at the end. Vickie Guerrero slapped Edge with the ref watching, twice. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but Dolph Ziggler should have gotten DQed. It was outside interference and an attack on Ziggler's behalf.
For some reason, Kelly Kelly came down to attack Guerrero as Ziggler locked in a sleeper hold on Edge which resulted in the ref getting knocked out as it was broken. With the ref and Vickie Guerrero out cold, Edge used the Spear on Ziggler. The ref came around in time to see Edge use the Killswitch for the victory. I have to admit this was a nice touch, although the Spear was unnecessary and will probably be used to either:
A) Strip Edge of the World Championship
B) Give Ziggler a rematch/instant spot in Elimination Chamber
C) Give Ziggler the World Championship.
Hopefully B will be the choice they take if any action is to be chosen.
Overall the match was a good start to the night and, despite its blatant oversight of the rules, was entertaining.
As you can tell from the picture, my prediction of Miz gaining the win with a little help was correct. Yet I could not foresee New Nexus being the catalyst of a WWE Championship retention. I was particularly worried that this match was going to drag on because the movesets of both Orton and The Miz are pretty bland.
Still, I was pleasantly surprised and, while is wasn't the best match of the night, it was still enjoyable to watch.
Unlike the previous match that was back and forth, this one saw a dominant competitor. Randy Orton very rarely let up on The Miz and was pretty much on the offense for the entirety of the contest. Still, while everyone screams Miz's title reign is worse than Jack Swagger's, I retort that it was never meant to be better and that's why in a strange sense it is.
Jack Swagger has the build of a top wrestler. He should be able to go toe-to-toe with most of the industry and put up a good fight. This is why when he pretty much got squashed every week during his matches it was a complete let-down.
Miz, on the other hand, is not such a believable threat, therefore his championship reigns have to be more along the lines of cheap wins and loopholes. Every title defense is meant to be unconvincing because that's where Miz's heat is drawn from. If he was to win legit almost every week then people would accept him as champion and then he loses his biggest promo material.
My highlight of this match has to be given to Alex Riley. When Nexus appeared they approached the ring and distracted the ref. Riley made a charge for Orton, who quickly side-stepped him and tossed him over the ropes. Riley amazingly not only cleared the top rope with a good jump but landed perfectly on Nexus.
With this move the ref was KO'ed, allowing CM Punk to run in and deliver a GTS to Orton. He dragged Miz over the challenger and threw the ref in for the 3-count.
A very good heel victory.
It was a good move by WWE to change the title match from a Handicap contest to a Fatal Fourway. Still, their choice of fourth competitor and eventual winner is a confusing option. I pretty much had three women in my mind when it was announced a fourth competitor would be added.
- Melina getting another shot
- Beth Phoenix finally get her well deserved opportunity
- Awesome Kong debuting and destroying everyone
Instead it was a rather anti-climatic choice with Eve Torres, who has pretty much done nothing since 2011 started and hasn't looked like a serious title competitor since losing the belt to Alicia Fox. Still, the match was not bad, but for the third time in a row a ref blunder caused the outcome.
Layla would accidentally get laid out by a McKick from McCool. Eve would throw both McCool and Natalya outside and go on to hit Layla with a Moonsault. When she went for the pin, McCool simultaneously pinned Natalya, but the ref didn't see it and awarded the match to Eve.
Whatever their reasons, WWE have decided to give Eve another run with the belt. It's probably because a Natalya vs. Awesome Kong match is quite marketable and Eve does seem like the perfect gal to be completely squashed.
It's always hard to judge a Rumble match but I think I found a way. Since a Rumble is all about moments, like Shawn Michaels' win in 1995, I will write down what I remember from the match off the top of my head and tell you what I thought about them.
Good: CM Punk is the first entrant and for the second year in a row the most entertaining man in the match. With constant quips to the crowd and the villainous Nexus backing, him he lasted longer than any other wrestler all night.
Good: John Morrison showed an amazing feat of athleticism after William Regal tried to eliminate him from the match. He flew from the apron and managed to land on the barricade without his feet touching the floor. After getting on top of the barricade and walking around, he jumped onto the steps and got back into the ring.
Good: Chavo Guerrero came out at number 10 and dominated with a series of vertical suplexes.
Bad: New Nexus were dominant for a while and pretty much made sure no one had a chance of staying in. Tyler Reks, Vladimir Kozlov and R-Truth all had quick appearances because Nexus destroyed them all.
Good: Despite Khali looking as if he was going to destroy Nexus (he eliminated Husky Harris), Mason Ryan came down and made sure they were safe for another entrant. This can go a long way to making Ryan look like a credible threat.
Good: Can you dig it sucker? Booker T made his WWE return and cleaned house, showing off all his major moves.
Bad: He went for a Spinaroonie and was eliminated by Mason Ryan without eliminating a single member. Considering what was about to happen, Booker should have at least taken out one member.
Bad: John Cena came down at number 22 and eliminates all members of New Nexus in a time span of three minutes.
Bad: Hornswoggle made his second Rumble appearance. What I don't get is why everyone is vilified for attacking him when he willingly places himself in matches. Hornswoggle gave Tyson Kidd an AA for good measure and joined Cena and Kofi Kingston in attacks.
Good: Sheamus hit Hornswoggle with The Brogue Kick when he was on the turnbuckle, eliminating him.
Bad: Dolph Ziggler entered at Number 30 despite having a world title match earlier that night. I thought you give up a spot to fight for the title?
Good: Diesel was back in WWE, if only for one night. A nice nostalgia run. Even though he didn't eliminate anyone.
Bad: Randy Orton entered at Number 39...
Bad: An anti-climatic last entrant at 40 as Kane made his way into the match. He eliminated one man and lasted an amazing 1:36. Actually, no big men lasted very long considering this is meant to be the match big men have an advantage in.
Good: The last four were Del Rio, Orton, Barrett and Cena. Alex Riley (who was eliminated earlier) distracted Cena, allowing The Miz (who was on commentary) to dump Cena over the top rope. Cena in his shock told Michael Cole, "It's Over." Hopefully this will lead to some sort development with the Michael Cole situation.
Bad: A rather anti-climatic end as Orton dumped Barrett out of the ring and Del Rio did the same to RKO straight away. No big one-on-one confrontation and it was over.
VERY BAD: It wasn't over as Santino Marella was earlier kicked out of the ring by Sheamus but went under the bottom rope. WWE teased a Santino victory and used one of their biggest matches to create comedy. Santino Marella is the runner-up! Del Rio still won but what a way to cheapen the match. We always knew it was an option to hide under the ring but no one did it because it's ridiculous. I personally think a couple of new rules should be applied. If you don't enter the ring by the time the next participant is in you should be eliminated. If you are thrown outside and don't make it back in by a 10-count you should be eliminated.
Overall, despite its flashes of entertainment, this year's Rumble was a disappointment. No one was really pushed and Cena destroying New Nexus was unrealistic and irritating. The ending was also a slap in the face. Possibly one of the worst Rumbles I have watched since my first in 2000.
In the end, 2011's Rumble will only be remembered for the fact it had 40 men and nothing else.