The Royal Rumble has been an event I always looked forward to. The event over the last 15 years or so has become memorable mainly because of those little surprises; either new story lines would develop or old faces would make a return. I mainly prefer the latter, and in the case of this event it delivered lightly with the surprises. As for the actual card, with the exception of CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler, there was nothing here for me to look forward to and there was barely anything here to really like. This event disappointed me and I came into it with low expectations, something I'm normally against doing.
1 - Triple Threat Steel Cage Match for World heavyweight Championship
Daniel Bryan (Champion) vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry
I always wanted to see Daniel Bryan pushed and become a defending champion ever since he stepped foot in WWE. And when he won that title the month prior, I was hoping creative did something more with him. No such luck, they put him against Big Show for weeks, and then stuck him in this match with another super heavyweight. This match was alright at best and that's pushing it. Big Show and Henry worked well enough to their strengths, such as Show landing tackles, and eventually squashing others in between the ropes and the cage. Bryan made his attempts to escape the cage, and he also used some good offense to take them down. The ending was good, but this match is pretty much forgettable. 3/5
2 - 8 Divas Tag Team Match
Beth Phoenix, Natalya, and the Bella Twins vs. Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox, Tamina, and Eve
Instead of adding a tag team title match or even a singles title like United States or Intercontinental. They find a reason to squeeze in the divas, who the absolute best out of the bunch is just slightly above average. It was just one stale moment after the other, and Kelly Kelly sucks, I don't care how hot she is. There's one high spot being a top rope splash to the outside, but the Beth Phoenix dominant heel ending is the only thing worth noting. This match bored me almost the whole way. 1.75/5
3 - John Cena vs. Kane
This was shaping up to be good, really good to be straight. Kane is back in the mask and he's in full heel mode; this is when Kane is usually at his best. They had a good brawl with Kane fighting off most of Cena's offense and countering his best moves. Cena would eventually hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle from the top rope. I like how this match stuck with the storyline and felt more like a fight that would soon go backstage. The problem with this match wasn't the fact it was meant to put over the storyline on a PPV, but it ended with the same outcome it had been delivering for weeks. Kane eventually destroying Zack Ryder with Cena not being able to stop him. These two would go on to continue feuding. 3.5/5
4 - Drew McIntyre vs. Brodus Clay
It's the same bullshit they had been showing for weeks. Clay would come out and squash someone with a few moves, and this bout was no different. I get the story with McIntyre's losing streak, but he's too good of a talent to be showcased like this, and this match was better off on free TV. Clay's dancing session lasted longer than the match. 1.5/5
5 - WWE Championship
CM Punk (Champion) vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ Johnny Ace as guest referee
This could have been a really great match, much better than what it was if it didn't come second place to the storyline. The focus here was mainly on Punk's feud with Raw GM John Laurenitis aka Johnny Ace. Due to pressure from Triple H, Johnny decided to go back on his word on screwing Punk over for the belt. Instead of acting as ref, he took up the role of enforcer and ordered a real ref to call the action, as well as ejecting Vickie Guerrero from the arena to call things down the middle.
Things were looking great here since they focused on the match delivering entertainment and good wrestling with some nice counters from the Sleeper Hold to the Anaconda Vice, and CM Punk countering the Famasser into a stiff sitdown power bomb. I felt the match began to lose a lot of steam when the story between Punk and Ace received the focus, from here, Ziggler was just a body to be dominated and at the end it was meant only to put over the story. 3.75/5
6 - 30 Man Royal Rumble Match
-2 superstars will begin the match
-After two minutes a superstar will enter. Then every minute a new superstar will enter
-Eliminations can only occur when a superstar goes over the top rope, and both feet touch the ground
-The last man left in the ring will be declared the winner, and is guaranteed a title shot at the following Wrestlemania
This year's rumble returned to 30 men and there was more of a focus on the younger stars. My feelings for this match are indeed mixed, moving more towards the negative though as this was the least enjoyable Rumble for me in years. The Miz started this thing off cutting a promo and for awhile it looked like he may have won this, and when looking at who won it, I would have preferred him instead.
The match had some comedic bits beginning with Ricardo Rodriguez taking Alberto Del Rio's spot, and man, the pop he got. Between Rodriguez, Santino, and Mick Foley, there was a portion of the match that was just funny as hell. Action wise, I would say there was at least one highlight worth noting, and it was how Kofi Kingston avoided elimination; it's one of those things you have to see to believe. And the surprise entries, well one of them was definitely a surprise; with New Age Outlaw Road Dogg making an appearance with his entertaining move set. Now for those who remember the VKM shoot in TNA back in 2007, like me, you probably thought he was never going to appear in a WWE event ever again. Definitely one of those anything can happen moments. There were a few other surprising, and even funny entries but I'll leave those alone.
Unfortunately, outside of the surprises, this Rumble was missing everything else that makes them so great. There were no wild eliminations, it lacked a severe superstar presence, and a lot of younger talent were completely overshadowed. The final four even failed to deliver something memorable, and the last two weren't great either. There have been far worse Rumbles, but this one deserves whatever negative criticism it gets. 2.75/5
When looking at the Royal Rumble Match itself. It confirms one of my worse fears, and it's that WWE really wasn't, and still really isn't in the best of shape. Instead of them pulling out these old timers like Jim Duggan and Mick Foley who look as if they can barely move. They should have pushed more of their younger talent so they can grow on people. I also think they either let go or drove away too many of their veterans, if it wasn't for the Royal Rumble Match, this major event wouldn't have been far away at all from being a house show. In any case, this is not an event I would recommend to anyone other than diehard fans or the very easy to please. This just wasn't a good Royal Rumble event to me and there are other 2012 events to choose from.
-Card s watchable for the most part
- Nothing I would dare say is special
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