Looking Ahead/In Hindsight - Royal Rumble XXV
by, 01-30-2012 at 06:06 PM (2634 Views)
For those of you who read my last/first blog i mentioned that there would be a part two stemming from my initial predictions. After a bit of thought, i decided that i will try my hand at a semi regular blog with my own twist, or gimmick if you will. Il try and discuss a PPV or one of the weekly shows (RAW, Smackdown! and maybe even iMpact.. maybe), looking ahead at the possibilities that could come out of the various plot twist, promos and booking scenarios.
In doing so i will also go a bit deeper looking at what could have been, given the scenario, and offer some of my own sort of personal fantasy booking.
So without further delay, Looking Ahead/In Hindsight at the Royal Rumble XXV
Match 1. World Heavyweight Championship - Steel Cage
Daniel Bryan © v Mark Henry v The Big Show
Initial reaction: While i thought the right person won, the match itself could have gone a little longer. In saying that however, the injuries to Henry and Big Show have been repeatedly reported on and given the circumstances i think both performed incredibly well. Big Shows splash to Henry (notice Henry cleverly positioning himself, to avoid completely destroying the cage) was a great big man spot, and i thought Big Show in particular seemed more fired up and determined to put on a good match by bumping around the ring like crazy. MVP of this match though was without a doubt was Daniel Bryan. I said it last time, but Bryans character far exeeds that of your usual chicken sh*t heel. The guy is so entertaining and seems to have flipped the crowd on him without batting an eye. The finish was a nice twist that we havnt seen in a cage match before (or none that i can recall), and seeing Big Show that high up was truly spectacular. Although im sure the guy was big enough already without adding another 15 feet.
Looking ahead: I really hope Daniel Bryan keeps his title till Mania. His turn is picking up more and more steam every week, and he's really looking comfortable in this role. Now i think if they really want to solidify his heel turn down the road, they need to get Michael Cole on his side. It may be a daunting task, however if done right could be just the thing keep Bryan a top the card.
I have a feeling we haven't seen the end of this program. Theres still an issue there with Show nearly coming away with the belt, and Bryan weaseling his way to the victory, so i wouldn't be surprised if we get a 1 on 1 match at Elimination chamber (im not a fan of there being two Chamber matches on one PPV but thats just me), in like a no DQ or some sort of stip where Bryan will lose the title on a tainted win.
In hindsight: While i would have loved to see the Champ pick up his first 'real' victory i thought the way the match ended fit his character really well. Again maybe it could have gone longer, but given the circumstances its completely understandable.
Knowing the outcome of the Royal Rumble, and the potential of Bryan still being Champ come Wrestlemania, maybe i would have started something with Big Show and Henry. Its being reported that Show may be facing Shaq at Mania this year, and personally if this goes ahead i would love to see Henry in Shaqs corner. Henry barking orders at Shaq in a couple vignettes at Shaqs gym? brilliant.
Match 2. 8 (wo)Man Tag
Eve, Kelly Kelly, Tamina and Alica Fox v Beth Phoenix, Natalya and The Bellas
Initial reaction: I wont really comment much on this because there doesn't seem to be a lot going on between these girls, outside of Natalya farting on Smackdown!. I did like Eve and Alicia Fox while they were in there though. My problem with Eve however seems to be timing. She seems to be a half a second off pace, and while its great that she tries to protect her opponents in the ring, seeing her land a moonsault on her hands always takes me out of a match.
Looking ahead: I like that WWE has spent time trying to build Fox over the last few months, and that they seem to be doing the same to Tamina. I assumed it was all only to feed Phoenix leading into her expected match with Kharma down the line, but it seems they may be moving ahead with that sooner than later.
In hindsight: Given what happened in the Rumble with Kharmas return i cant understand why they couldn't have her in an angle that meant something, like coming out and attacking the heel divas (with Beth getting away untouched obviously) instead of basically a comedy spot in a Rumble full of comedy spots. If Kharmas return was only for the night then i guess i understand, otherwise i feel like they're missing out on some much needed build to a potential WM match.
Match 3. Grudge Match
Kane vs John Cena
Initial reaction: I hated Cena's entrance. Seems a bit much but i really did. After what happened on RAW with Cena's hilariously angry face, i thought the guy might actually sell that he's pissed off, angry that this monster broke his friend and potentially his friendship with Zack Ryder. But no. He came out doing his usual comedy bullsh*t aimed at the crowd. While i hated the entrance i thought the match itself was really quite good. Like Big Show earlier in the night, Kane showed a lot more fire (no pun intended) in the ring than expected and really lent himself to the crowd reactions.
As soon as they went backstage i knew they would make a bee-line to Ryders makeshift locker room (seriously WWE? didn't want throw a lick of paint on the wall?). I personally found it hilarious that Ryder had to sell a a five second snuffing for 5 minutes, all while keeping his feet off the ground so Kane could wheel him to the ring.
Looking ahead: Ryder and Eve could be turning heel any day now and i thinks its a complete mistake to go down that road. Ryder has been a breath of fresh air in the mid card that seems to have only consisted of Swagger for the past 2 years.
While i disliked Cena in the match, i still think that him going down a darker road leading into his match with The Rock is the right way to go, i just think that they took a giant step backwards last night. Ild imagine Kane and Cena will have another match come Elimination chamber, unless they're in the match themselves.
In hindsight: I would have loved to see a darker Cena (no not Darren Young) out there against Kane. Like i said last time, Cena going nuts on Kane would have been a logical way to keep him out of the Rumble match, with Laurinaitis kicking him out of the building.
As much as ive loved Kane over the years, at this point he should be fodder for Cena, and should be the catalyst for Cena evolving not just leading into Mania but to build on for the next few years. Cena needs another dimension, and it should have started at the Royal Rumble.
Match 4. Drew McIntyre v Brodus Clay
Initial reaction: If you've seen Brodus' matches on RAW and Smackdown! then you know how this went.
Looking ahead: Ah what to say about the Funkasaurus. I like the guy, and quite frankly i like the gimmick. Theres a reason why Santino and Hornswoggle get bigger pops than Dibiase or Kofi. They have a gimmick and its fun. The problem is (and its the same for Swoggle and Marella) is that these gimmicks have a shelf life, and unless you build on what your doing and evolve the character in some way then it just becomes stale and boring.
In Hindsight: McIntyre is better than this, but at the same time it made sense that he would be the one getting squashed.
Match 5. WWE Championship
CM Punk© v Dolph Ziggler
Initial Reaction: The crowd. That is my initial reaction to this match. The crowd ate up every bit of this, until it got to the end. The back and forth between Dolph and Punk was absolutely fantastic and really confirmed my comments i made earlier, about Dolph being that dynamic performer akin to Jericho and HBK. This was hands down the match of the night and i think is worth going out of your way to see, if only for the first 7-8 mins.
Im still a bit on the fence about whats going on with Johnny Ace and Punk, and this didn't help me make a solid decision. I get that Laurinaitis is trying to make good by the company i just don't understand what last night accomplished. Nor do i understand why it took Ziggler losing three times to make whatever statement they were trying to get across. Ziggler is a star and he has shinned so much in these past couple months, that burying him under a roll up is utterly unjustified. Still the match was great while it was going so i cant complain too much.
Looking ahead: Unfortunately i see this as the start of a slow decline for Dolph. Il happily eat my words if im wrong, its just given this and how he was handled in the Rumble its hard to think otherwise. I was hoping they may build to some sort of special attraction match with Dolph and Foley for Wrestlemania given their promo exchange a couple weeks back on RAW, but tonight did nothing to affirm my suspicion.
Punk has been great. There was a bit of a lull with him after coming back from MITB but this program with Big Johnny, while not exactly my kinda thing, at least gives Punk something to sink his teeth into. Punk should be the start of a new breed of wrestler coming through the WWE universe. I just hope the WWE can see that.
In Hindsight: Dolph should have been a bit more protected. While i agree with many others in saying that right now may not be the time for Dolph to run with the WWE Championship, i think thats its just a matter of time. Having him lose essentially 5 times in one night (if you count the Rumble) is ridiculous.
Punk going into Mania with the belt is the right choice, but i think him defending the belt with uncertainty, branching off a close match with Ziggler and maybe a rematch at Elimination chamber is a much better story than the dominant champion that we've seen for years with Cena, Orton and HHH. It goes from can challenger X beat the champ? to can the champ defy the odds and defend against challenger X?
Match 6. The Royal Rumble
Initial Reaction: Not the greatest of Rumbles. While i really liked the Dolph/Punk match i thought the PPV leading into the Rumble Match was more on par with recent throw away PPV's than the spectacle the WWE tries to sell the Rumble as. While i see value in comedy spots it becomes a real pain when you have to sit through as many as we got last night. I'll have to admit though Ricardo was great, and i did smile at the prospect of The Cobra and Mr Socko going head to head. However it did get a little overkill and turned into a complete slaughter by the time Cole entered the ring. I liked how long Cody got to last in the ring, but don't understand Dolph and Big Show being in the match and not Henry, Kane, Cena or Brodus. The surprises weren't that great either. Im a big fan of Road Dogg, but in comparison to Booker and Nash last year he felt like a bit of a let down.
I don't agree with Shemus winning. I hate that right now WWE is more concerned with throwing off the internet fans rather than just putting on a good product. Jericho winning was the right move, for all the right reasons. Sure, Jericho and Punk can still happen at Mania, but adding the Rumble win to the mix would have added that much more momentum. Not only that but it completely buries Jerichos return (however not so much Jericho himself). When Y2J finally opened his mouth last week on RAW and said those two sentences into the microphone he got the biggest pop of the night. Fast forward and him stating that 'it would be the end of the world as we know it' holds no clout whatsoever. Don't get me wrong i like Shemus, i just don't think now is the time nor is he a big enough name, with a big enough push behind him leading into the Rumble, to win it.
Looking Ahead: It would be easy to assume that Shemus and Barrett could headline Wrestlemania, given their little exchanges with each other over the last month or so. I just don't see that as being a big draw for your biggest show of the year and i don't see WWE having that much faith invested in Barrett. Throw Orton in the mix and you have quality Wrestlemania match, go another step further and throw in Bryan as the heel everyone wants to see lose his belt, in a situation where he wouldn't even have to be pinned and i think you have your story. It looks like WWE have started to play off the match that got bumped from last years WM in Bryan/Shemus by posting an article about it on WWE.com. Also a natural progression for each guy to Barrett with Shemus' recent run ins with him and Bryans history with the Nexus. Which then in turn leads to Orton and Barretts 'blood' feud. If that last part was a little hard to follow ive tried calculating a formula for how my brain works:
Orton wants Barret + Shemus wants Barret + Shemus won Rumble + Bryan has title + everybody wants the title + Bryan wants to keep title = 4 way match at Wrestlemania.
Il try not to get too much deeper into what i would like to see happen for WM as that is another blog for another time.
In hindsight: Jericho should have won the Royal Rumble.
So. Thats that. Another year down, and another Royal Rumble over and done with. All in all a bit of a disappointing show, with not much in the way of feuds or stories leading into WM.
Hopefully i can keep this up as a semi regular thing, and get a few more of you guys entertained one blog at a time.
Until next time, to be the man… you know the rest.