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The Punk: Royal Rumble Review

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Hey everyone! Punk here with a review of the polarising Royal Rumble event.

The Royal Rumble event has been a favourite event for many wrestling fans since it's inception back in 1988. The build up to Wrestlemania, the unpredictable nature of the eponymous battle royal and even, like this year, a high profile title match. The Rock has returned to challenge long time champion CM Punk in a match that has been in the making since the 1000th episode of Raw back in July. Also hoping to book a place in the Wrestlemania main event is John Cena who hopes to join an elite group of competitors to have won the Rumble on multiple occasions. Who will emerge as champion? Who will emerge his challenger?

We are live-ish in Phoenix, Arizona for the 26th annual Royal Rumble! Michael Cole is joined at commentary as usual by Jerry Lawler and the always brilliant JBL.

Match One - Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Big Show

Backstage segment featuring Ricardo Rodriguez marking out after seeing Bret Hart. Pointless yet funny.

If you've missed Smackdown the last couple of weeks then you've missed on a pretty decent rivalry that has been brewing between these two. This latest match between the two eclipsed their first and for the longest time, looked to have stolen the show. It's quite a feat for either competitor to be involved in such a decent match but they gave it their all. Show looked brutal with his offence and there were a couple of occasions that I thought the title would be switching hands once again. Del Rio has become a completely new superstar since his face turn last month and coupled with some new offensive moves, might have found a way to become relevant again. Some crazy bumps and ringside destruction ensued but in the end Del Rio retained the title thanks to Ricardo Rodriguez's timely use of duct tape. A familiar finish it may have been but the rest of the match was fantastic. A perfect way to start the show.

Winner and STILL champion: Alberto Del Rio

Match Rating: ****/5

Backstage: Promo featuring Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee and Big E Langston. Was in danger of becoming a standard heel promo from the "Show Off" until Big E grabbed the mike from Matt Striker and delivered a unique, mock interview with Ziggles. A bizarre segment but it's nice to see WWE doing something different with one of their resident meatheads.

Interesting segment featuring a number of Royal Rumble participants delivering old school promos about how they fancy their chances in the match. A nice touch but it feels like an attempt to stretch the show out a bit.

Match Two - Tag Team Championship
Team Hell No (c) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars

These two teams have met a number of times but this match was easily the best of the bunch so far. Standard tag offence from both teams who again demonstrated great chemistry with one-another. Solid match overall. Team Hell No pick up the win and retained the titles which came as a slight surprise as I thought that the two would have disbanded to pursue their own Wrestlemania storylines. Perhaps a new feud is in store between them? Time will tell.
Winner and STILL champions: Team Hell No

Match Rating: ***/5

Kane and Bryan open their Rumble cards which inform them of their number of entry. Usual banter between the two. Could this be the beginning of the dissension mentioned above?

Segment featuring the various festivities over the Royal Rumble week. The most interesting section focused on the NXT tournament which saw Bo Dallas book a place in the Rumble match. This kid is a great prospect, lets hope is contribution in the match lasts more than a couple of minutes.

Match Three - 30 Man Royal Rumble Match
This year's Rumble match was the arguably the best in years. Nothing seemed completely unnecessary, the match wasn't too long, boasted some great surprise performances from Chris Jericho, Goldust and even featured a cameo appearance from the Godfather and a strong debut from NXT's Bo Dallas. John Cena entered at number 19 which obviously meant the predictability quickly began to assert itself but at least he didn't enter at number 2 like what was almost universally expected. Everyone seemed to make the best out of what time (Or little obviously for the lower tier talent) was afforded to them. Sure, Cena won like every person on the planet knew he would but that aside, a much better Rumble than last year's and the best way possible to get the road to Wrestlemania started...even though we know it'll just be Cena/Rock II.

Winner: John Cena (19) last eliminating Ryback (30)

Match Rating: ****/5

Rumble MVP: Dolph Ziggler

Pre-match promo from The Rock. The Rock's promos for a long time have seemed a little stale and overused but this was raw and emotional and not what you would usually expect from "The Great One". The crowed seemed to lap it up anyway and were left buzzing with anticipation for the main event...

Match Four - WWE Championship - If The Shield interfere, CM Punk will be stripped of the title
CM Punk (c) vs. The Rock

Finally, the talking stopped and the action began. No more Rock concerts. No more pipebombs. Just the champion and the challenger in what was largely a fantastic match. For a man who wrestles one or two matches a year, The Rock looked fantastic in the ring and was able to hang with Punk for the entirety of their 25 minute long match. The only issues with this match for me was the actual finish and result; why would you want to make your champion, a champion who has held the title since late 2011, look so weak compared to what is essentially a part-time competitor? The simple answer is money and the need to book a rematch that WWE thinks we all want to see. I don't mind that Punk lost to The Rock, I just wished they did it in a manner that allowed the former champion to come out looking as strong as possible. The apparent interference from The Shield was also a little odd; why would Vince McMahon, with no proof whatsoever that it was actually them, strip Punk of the gold? Why would McMahon also then completely make a U-turn on his decision and restart the match just because The Rock said so? Like I said, the match itself was fantastic but the writing and logic behind it was pretty poor.

And so it is, the great WWE title reign of CM Punk has come to an end at 434 days. I'm glad it's over in a way as Punk can now look to solidify his status as a top superstar without the gold. It will also be an interesting couple of months for The Rock as WWE champion. He'll surely need to make more regular appearances in the ring...and not via satellite!

Winner and NEW champion: The Rock via Pinfall (People's Elbow)

Match Rating: ****/5

Predictably booked but executed very well for the most part, this year's Royal Rumble will surely become one of the most hotly debated WWE events ever. Was it good? Was it flat out awful? That's your opinion to make and you are welcome to it. I thought it was a good way to start out the year. Yes, some elements may not have added up properly and the results may have been predictable and slightly offensive but I've learnt over the years that WWE will alway do what is best for business over actual fan satisfaction...and that will never, ever change.

Match of the Night: CM Punk vs. The Rock. Fantastic match let down only slightly by the questionable restart.
Move of the Night: Another year, another Kofi Kingston Rumble stunt!
Lowlight of the Night: Cena wins. Again.

PPV Rating: ****/5

Thats all for now! Thanks for reading and remember to check out The Punk for more things WWE and UFC related.

Oh...and I'm on Twitter too!

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  1. The Piper's Avatar
    Was it good? Was it flat out awful?

    easy question, aweful

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