By: Tim Grzecki
Every year the Royal Rumble is the official starting point for the WWE and their road to WrestleMania. This being the supposed high point of the year for Pro Wrestling, and being the fan that I am, I’ve decided to chronical this year’s journey from now till WrestleMania 31. Boy did the Royal Rumble give me one hell of a place to start off.
Spoiler Alert!! If you didn’t already know Roman Reigns won this year’s Rumble in what seemed to me to be a déjà vu moment from last year’s Rumble when Batista was the victor. How so? Cause once again the WWE decided to stick it to its fan base by having “their” guy win as opposed to the one the people want. Much like last year the fan base’s pick was Daniel Bryan, or if you base it on crowd reaction following Bryan’s elimination from the match at the halfway point, Dean Ambrose or Dolph Ziggler would have been acceptable alternatives. And just like last year the fans in attendance turned on the performers and the match itself.
The Philadelphia crowd was absolutely dead following the elimination of Daniel Bryan except to voice their displeasure. A rain of boos showered the second half of the main event. Daniel Bryan chants popped up multiple times. The only cheers heard in the aftermath were for the aforementioned Ambrose (who is more over than Reigns despite WWE’s misuse of him), Ziggler (who has been misused repeatedly by the WWE and is still somehow over with the crowd) and Damien Mizdow who is currently playing a comedic role and had absolutely no chance to win. Even a surprise appearance by The Rock couldn’t save Reigns’ victory. Sure The Rock got cheered, but his presence in the ring following the match didn’t prevent a chant for a refund.
If you’re a fan of the WWE it’s no secret they have been attempting to groom Reigns to be the next top star in the company for the past year, starting with his big showing in last year’s Rumble. The problem lies with the fact that he just isn’t ready for that spot yet. His mic skills are lacking, his in ring skills are either lacking or being held back and honestly despite popular opinion, I’m not impressed by his look either.
BUT!!! HE’S WWE’S GUY!!
A notion I just can’t seem to wrap my head around seeing how he’s supposed to be a face (good guy for those not familiar with wrestling terms). Why wouldn’t the WWE want to give their audience the guy they have chosen to be their top fan favorite as the top fan favorite? I mean…he’s supposed to be the fan favorite…seems only logical that the crowd would have some sort of say in that.
BUT!!! HE’S WWE’S GUY!!
Now the company is in trouble. Should the backlash against Reigns continue, which it likely will, and should Brock Lesnar leave the WWE following WrestleMania, which it’s highly rumored he will, the main event for the biggest spectacle of the Pro Wrestling year is likely to go over like a fart in church. The fans will turn on this match in an instant. A lot of work is going to need to be done over the next few months to change people’s minds about this situation and lately the WWE hasn’t done anything to convince me their capable of that kind of work.
Of course the fans at tomorrow’s Monday Night Raw could cheer for Reigns and negate everything I just said…I like my chances though.
Sadly the awful finish overshadows an otherwise solid Royal Rumble event. Here are some quick highlights.
- Damien Mizdow is so over its ridiculous and he actually makes me care about The Miz which is unheard of.
- There was a pair of good double team moves in the Divas match. The delayed double suplex by Paige and Natalya and the Bellas’ rolling leg lock slam thing.
- Paige is inexplicably hot.
- The triple threat was great. Lesnar continued to show how strong and dominate he is. Rollins looked like he belonged. Didn’t like the ending though. Lesnar is out cold for five minutes, they get a stretcher out and then suddenly he’s back in the match and in beast mode?
- It was nice to see Bubba Ray Dudley make an appearance. I hope it wasn’t a one off though. He was doing some nice work as a top heel in TNA and if WWE allowed him to do the same for them it would only improve their product.
- Strong showing by Bray Wyatt in the Rumble match. He’s a guy on a long list of people I feel the WWE has mishandled and that kind of a spotlight should only benefit him.