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RR2012 Participants: The Roles and the Verdict

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I've read several pundits, like Matt Seagull over at TheJohnReport, who claim the entrants in the 2012 Royal Rumble was sub-par and a testament to how poor the current WWE roster is. I could not disagree more.

All in all I though this years Rumble was a step up from last year, and probably among the top 10 Rumble matches. Not top 3, but a solid showing, somewhat marred by the descision to use 90 second intervals rather than the classic 2 minutes between each new entry.

Now I won't go into detail about the whole show, or even the bookings during the RRmatch itself, just look at whether the claim that there was obvious a lack of talent among the 30 participants ring true.

The Roles
First of, let me explain what kind of participants I expect to see in a 30 man RR.

Gimmick/Storyline guys
Some participants who probably would not have been in the match unless there was a gimmick or story they tied into. Last year it was New Nexus v. The Corre.

I use the term loosely. What I mean are familiar faces who's retired or at least works mostly backstage or in other capacities than as full time wrestlers and are in the match for a nostalgia pop

The Returning
One or possibly two surprise entants, wrestlers who have been sidelined by injures for a longer period or maybe have been away with other pursuits, and are returning as full time wrestlers.

Comedy crew
Some wrestlers who are there for a gag, or to play to the crow, usually in the first half of the match

The Diva
I always enjoy seeing one of the Divas mixing it up, as long as she is portraied as the most dominant diva in the WWE. Chyna and Beth Phoenix were both surprises and did a good running in the matches they partook in.

Main Event Material
Any wrestler who plausibly could win the whole ting. Could be established main eventers, wrestlers who are in the main title picture all ready, or just a talented mid carder who might be on the rise in the company.

The Fill
Jobbers to the stars, mid-carders or the occasional tag-team, they might get a good showing, but there is no chance in hell they will win.

So lets look at this years entrants:

Gimmick guys: 3 (or 0 if we count them in other categories as well)
This year alle three guys at the announcer table got involved, and I though it was a fun little one-off. Cole doubles as a Comedy act (YMMV), Lawler can be considered a Legend, and if Booker T isn't then he falls in the Filler category now. WWE fullfilled their wish for the mini-story of one-upmanship from the commentators without shoehorning in too many useless participants.

Legends: 4 (5,5 if we add Lawler and Booker T)
Hacksaw Jim Duggan, The Great Khali, Road Dogg Jesse James, Mick Foley. Foley is somewhat of a comedy-gag as well, but I'll count him in this category. Hacksaw was a given entry of the venerable type at the 25th Royal Rumble, as the winner of the first. Khali worked as the big «threath to win» while Road Dogg showed he still know his way around the ropes.

The Returning/The Diva: 1
Kharma was fresh out of the hospital after giving birth (on new years eve) and probably needs and wants a bit more time before returning full time, but it was a pleasant surprise!

Comedy Crew: 2 (3 including Cole)
Santino Marella was there for the gags with Mick Foley, as well as being a part of the build up, as the penultimate man last year. Ricardo Rodrigues was just hillarious, with his banged up car (notice the license plates) and all the mannerisms and penache of his injured employer.

Main Event Material: 9
Sheamus naturally. Chris Jericho being who he is. Big Show and Dolph Ziggler, even though both fel short in championship matches earlier in the night. Wade Barrett, coming in on a winning streak, and having put Randy Orton «out of action», as well as winning the Survivor Series. Randy Orton as the hometown hero returned from injuries. The Miz, just because it could be the kind of fluke win WWE likes, he's bankable in the media, and he did end up as this years ironman lasting over 45 minutes. Cody Rhodes, as a strong Int'Con. Champion, and with a plan to be a double champion. And possibly Jack Swagger, as a fresh US Champion, former WHC-belt holder and probably on the way up in the ranks again.

Fillers: 11 (11,5 includng Booker T)
Primo&Epico, Jey Uso, David Otunga, Kofi Kingston, Alex Riley, Ezekiel Jackson, Justin Gabriel, Hunico, Jinder Mahal, R-Truth. Of these Kingston and Truth are going into the Elimination Chamber WWE-championship match, Primo&Epico are reigning Tag Team champions and Justin Gabriel might be up for a shot at the intercontinental title soon. So not just pushovers either.

The Verdict
I don't think I've been to kind, when I say that having 9 participants who possibly could have been booked as winners, and about 11,5 participants who's just there from the depth of the roster, isn't to bad, and a far cry from a lot of the Royal Rumbles in the late 90's and early 00's.

As always I hope you'll add your thoughts in the comments. And no grammar-police I hope, English is my second language.

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Updated 02-01-2012 at 05:50 PM by Iscariot

Thoughts and Opinions


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  1. timfeyenoord's Avatar
    Good blog, agree although Khali should probably be in the 'the Returning' category.
  2. Iscariot's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by timfeyenoord
    Good blog, agree although Khali should probably be in the 'the Returning' category.
    I doubt he'll compete regularly. As far as I know he's not under standard contract.
  3. zerosystem's Avatar
    If King is considered a Legend, then Booker T should as well, since they both are commentators now. I also thing it's a bit premature to have Dolph and Swagger as potential winners. Sure, Swagger did have a short lived title run and Ziggler has been in main events lately, but headlining Wrestlemania? This year? Their time might come next year, but I don't think either could be considered winners of the Rumble this year.
  4. jonod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by DK Wrestling Savior
    Good Blog. Whoever reported that the Royal Rumble showed a weak WWE roster, is not in touch with what's actually entertainment. I'm sure 97% of people watching RR appreciate the 3 announcers, Road Dogg, Foley, etc...I mean, think about it. We could have been subjected to Tyler Reks, Trent Beretta, Curtis Hawkins, etc...instead.
    Heres the original blog
    I think the guy makes some really valid points although it does turn into a bit of a rant - thought his ideas about audience expectation and pressure on writers was really interesting and just makes sense.

    Just thought people might wanna see the first part of the debate

    Personally I thought it was a fun rumble, but watched it with my bros who haven't been watching these past few years and ended up feeling like the roster didn't stand up to the scale of the event.. strange as I've been really liking the roster recently.
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