Monday, January 26, 2015

Royal Rumble: Hits & Misses

Heading to Wrestlemania
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

In the moments that followed the 2015 Royal Rumble, Chad and I recorded a podcast, that's now available on the Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network and iTunes.  For the most part we remained positive in our discussion.  After sleeping on it, I still don't agree with the way the Rumble played out, but I'm going to buckle up for the ride because the Road to Wrestlemania is usually filled with a few twists and turns and a lot can happen in the next 62 days.

Rollins shines
Photo courtesy: WWE

 For me the takeaway from this year's event had nothing to do with the over the top rope match.  Instead, I'm still in awe by the WWE World Heavyweight Title match.  Seth Rollins proved (again) that he's a main event player and is here to stay.  John Cena showed us he's not above getting down and dirty.  And Brock Lesnar reinvented the term Beast Incarnate.  I've never been a huge fan of Brock's, but his return to the ring and the push he received in 2014 and now into the start of the new year has been nothing short of awesome.  I really thought he was down for the count as medics attended to him outside the ring.  I figured we were moments away from Rollins winning his first World title.  Then out of no where Brock returns to the ring with rage and anger.  He walked out with HIS championship.

Brock's a beast
Photo courtesy: WWE

In the process of all of this though I think Brock has become even more of a fan favorite.  I don't think that's a bad thing, as Lesnar rarely displayed the typical heel traits we've come to expect through the years.  He doesn't surrender, he doesn't retreat.  Even though he has Paul Heyman in his corner, they don't cheat.  Fans don't seem to want to hate him just because he's a monster in the ring. Wrestlemania will be interesting if the current plan stays the course.

Get the tables!
Photo courtesy: WWE
The Rumble match itself is typically my favorite event of the year.  I love the surprise entrants, but this year I felt like they fell flat.  Bubba Ray Dudley's return shocked.  I'm curious to see if he sticks around, because as we mentioned on the podcast, he definitely still has gas left in the tank and should be able to go, thanks to his time away in TNA.  I think they did a good job helping him step out of that stereotypical tag team partner role and made him a great solo star.

The yoga works
Photo courtesy: WWE
I speculated in a previous blog that Diamond Dallas Page is Hall of Fame bound in 2015.  I wonder if his appearance in the Rumble helps or hurts my prediction. The Boogeyman never impressed me, and his appearance didn't do anything but make me wish someone else had received that spot.  I do enjoy the legends and past stars coming back for the Rumble, but I was really hoping for an NXT guy to make an appearance.  Truth be told I wanted either Kevin Owens or Adrian Neville to win the whole thing, but I know that's way too much fantasy booking.

Can The Rock help?
Photo courtesy: WWE
Until Daniel Bryan announced his plans to return to the ring at the Royal Rumble, I had picked Roman Reigns to win the whole thing.  I pretty much made that decision right after Lesnar won the championship at SummerSlam.  I knew then that Reigns wasn't ready for that spot, but figured there was plenty of time to get him there.  I think his injury may have hurt him in more ways than one, as I see most of the Internet Wrestling Community collectively voiced their disdain with the outcome of the Rumble.  Even Reigns' cousin, the uber popular Rock couldn't seem to get the crowd to rally behind the new number one contender.

Eliminating Dolph
Photo courtesy: WWE


I'm disappointed at the final four (or five) with Kane and the Big Show lasting so long.  From a storyline standpoint, I guess I get it, but I think there was an opportunity for Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt and Rusev to shine.  Instead, they were mostly treated like afterthoughts, at least in my opinion.  They did the same thing essentially with Rusev playing possum as they did in 2011 with Alberto Del Rio and Santino.  I thought Rusev may have had a chance though...

Rusev-Cena coming soon
Photo courtesy: WWE
After the show they teased a Cena-Rusev showdown at Wrestlemania.  I've already blogged about my opposition to this and can only hope if they execute this feud, Rusev wins the match OR if they end his streak they somehow make him look strong in the process.  Like Chad says in the podcast, it's all about the aftermath booking that's important.

In conclusion, I'm not going to stop watching the product.  I'm not canceling the WWE Network.  This is something that is fixable.  There's still two months before we get to Wrestlemania and a lot can and will happen.  It's similar to the flack WWE got last year, and I know that CM Punk leaving changed the course of some of what happened at Wrestlemania XXX.  Just don't throw the baby out with the bathwater yet. 

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