Monday, January 30, 2012

1/29/12 Royal Rumble

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry (Cage; World Heavyweight Title): *3/4

Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Brie Bella, & Nikki Bella vs. Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Alicia Fox, & Tamina: *

John Cena vs. Kane: *1/2

Brodus Clay vs. Drew McIntyre: N/A (squash)

CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE Title): ***1/2

Royal Rumble: **3/4

And the Road to WrestleMania XXVIII begins in St. Louis!

I liked the World Title match at the start. The card for this PPV was pretty stacked (and you need a bunch of time for the Rumble anyway). Wasn't sure how Mark Henry would factor into this one after his injury on Smackdown. DB came out to a mixed crowd as Cole shows how hypocritical his views are about egotistical people. Mark's out second and appeared to be walking OK (still gingerly got in the ring, though). Finally, Show came out. Main event intros. DB at 210 pounds now...he used to be billed under 200 a couple years ago. "Daniel Bryan!" chants start up. We know neither big man is escaping the cage.

This was an OK match for the people involved and the limitations (Henry has bad wheels). DB got tossed all over the ring to show how vulnerable a champ he can be (a stark contrast to the style we've seen from guys like Hogan and Cena). It was an acceptable way for Mark to get taken out of the equation with the Show WMD. In the end, DB's the right person to win here, even if it has to look fluky. I was actually impressed they did a Big Show spot on the top rope. That got extra points, in my book.

Divas tag match, eh? Eight of them! I guess they had to get the women on the show somehow. Basically the eight divas that have gotten the most in-ring (and TV) time lately. At least it wasn't gonna be a 30-second match. A few botched moves in there and the crowd largely didn't care. By the way, when was the last time Cole actually did good research? Seriously? Vince feeds him his lines. Nice spot with KK coming off the top on all the divas. Loved the end. That was the hardest "tag" I've seen in a divas match. That works for me. Shows that Beth's making her own statement.

Ryder's in a wheelchair. Eve said "ass," but come on...say it to Laurinaitis' face!

Cena and Kane didn't wow me at all. Mixed chants for Cena as always. Hopefully Cole one day becomes more of a natural at doing the heel commentary role. Kane's beatdown of Cena was boring. That hand claw suffocation move is...meh. The crowd was really only in this due to Cena's presence. Cena coulda had a match with a nobody like me and the crowd would pop. The match had poor flow to it. Double countout was very lame.

Hey, I saw "The John Report" sign while Kane and Cena fought to the back! Go John Canton and Cantonia!

Kane took out Cena, then got to Ryder. Ryder got wheeled out to the ring, and it was another mauling. Right in front of Eve as well. Cena tries to save the day and gets chokelammed. Eve was spared -- for now. Good continuance of this storyline. Ryder gets stretchered out again. So much for his push now, I guess.

Wait a sec, McIntyre gets a PPV match and he's been on a losing streak?! Why? Because Brodus needs someone to squash! Sorry, I was watching Brodus' dancers. Squash occurred as predicted. What the funk?

WWE Title match time. Will Johnny be impartial? Vintage sleeveless ref shirt! He's on the outside as an enforcer, so we'll definitely have a ref bump. Punk was getting cheered, but not nearly as much as last summer. Main event intros again. One of the few times any fan would like Johnny's decision. Vickie was gone from ringside before the match started.

Basically, the WWE Title match was likely the match of the night by default. Two great workers, a good flow, and a good storyline (albeit it's a story between Punk and Laurinaitis, Ziggler's more of the beneficiary in all this). Nice balance of mat wrestling, impact moves, and high-flying stuff. Very happy for Ziggler getting this main event push. Nice "Randy Savage" chants after Punk hit that top-rope elbow. Not long after, the ref bump happened.

Ziggler was tapping in the Anaconda Vice, but come on, Johnny! At least look a little more concerned to wake the ref up! We know you're not jumping in the ring anytime soon! Punk basically had Ziggler three times while the actual ref plays dead pretty well. The GTS into a Ziggler "rocker dropper" was awesome. Johnny comes in to help deliver the three-count? Guess he's using that as ammo to plead his case to HHH on RAW.

Royal Rumble time. Apparently it's every 90 seconds again this year, so Rey's Iron Man record is safe. For people who watched RAW, they know Miz was forced to be #1 after losing to Truth. Nice, A-Ry was #2...vintage continuity of a former feud! Riley was the first casualty of the Rumble. Ha, Truth was #3. Don't worry, Truth probably didn't care about being so early in the Rumble. Cody at #4. Gabriel at #5. At least the fresh guys get to do their thing, like getting the hot tag in a tag match. Primo at #6. Nice handstand on the top rope from Primo. Truth got taken out by Miz. Truth pulls Miz out under the bottom rope and delivers Little Jimmy. Foley is #7. I wish he came out as Cactus Jack or something, though. Foley takes Primo out! Foley's lumbering around the ring, must be in bad shape.

#8...ROFL! RICARDO IN A BEAT-UP CAR! That's awesome. The action stopped in the ring. The crowd is chanting for Ricardo! Wait...what?! Ricardo and Foley took Gabriel out? Weird.

#9 is Santino. Wedgie to Ricardo! Foley and Santino...Cobra and Socko! That was awesome as well. #10 is Epico. Poor Epico lasted maybe ten seconds. Cody eliminates Santino, then Foley. #11 is Kofi Kingston. Nice double boomdrop.

#12...JERRY LAWLER?! What?! He got his spot in and got taken out in less than a minute. #13 is Ezekiel Jackson. #14 in Jinder Mahal, and he's got new music, I think.

#15...KHALI?!?! Jinder's in major trouble. Jinder and Zeke are gone. Mini game-changer entry! #16 is Hunico...and Camacho comes out as well.

#17...BOOKER?! I dunno why Cole's all surprised. You'd think he woulda noticed Booker in tights instead of dress pants, right? King's always in wrestling gear, so I don't blame Cole for missing that one.

Miz about to eliminate Kofi. Kofi...HANDSTAND! Oh damn. That's one of the best spots in Rumble history. Seriously. Holy crap. That tops Morrison holding onto the barricade!

#18 is Ziggler. Double duty again! The guy's a true workhorse. Vickie's at ringside for this one. Booker's lasting longer than I thought he would.

#19...HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN! Awesome. Big pops for Hacksaw. He looks way better than Foley. Well, Cody took care of him. Cody takes out Khali and Booker as well.

#20 is...Michael Cole. Well crap. Now I've seen everything. Cole's bouncing up and down like a moron.

#21. KHARMA! YES YES YES! I marked out huge for this. Cole's face is priceless, so much so that I HAD to get a screengrab.

(Note added 1/31/12: Kharma had her baby on December 31, 2011, so she at least had some time to recover from the childbirth, spend time with her newborn, and start her way back to ring shape)

Kharma with a clothesline. Cole pulls himself over the top on the apron. King and Booker finish the elimination. Awesome. Implant Buster to Ziggler! Vickie's pissed. Hunico flies and misses...Kharma will get credit for that elimination! Aw, Ziggler eliminated Kharma. But those couple minutes were priceless.

By the way, Miz is still in the thing. He or Cody will be the Iron Man tonight. Booker, not surprisingly, lasted the longest of all the announcers.

Sheamus is #22. Time to clean house! Kofi's out. Clubbing blows to Miz and Cody.

Road Dogg is #23! Vintage moves! "You still got it!" #24 is Jey Uso. Jimmy's not in it, apparently. #25 is Swagger as things have slowed to a crawl. Road Dogg actually lasted longer than Lawler.

#26 is Wade Barrett. Strong chance to be in the final four guys. Barrett takes out Road Dogg.

Who gets the lucky #27 spot? David Otunga. Well, it won't be lucky this year. Hey, Cole mentioned Otunga (legit) winning a case for a guy in NY! Impressive stuff.

#28 is Orton...hometown hero pop! Game-changing entry! Double hangman's DDT on Cody and Dolph! Jey Uso is gone. RKO to Barrett...and Wade's gone!

#29 is Jericho! And he's getting physical! Woohoo! Otunga's gone, so #27 is unlucky this year. #30 is Big Show! No Kane this year, first time in eons he hasn't been in one.

Cody's over 40 minutes, and Miz is over 43 minutes.

Show eliminates Swagger and decks him with WMD. Show eliminates Cody and Miz at the same time. Miz is the Iron Man tonight. Show eliminates Ziggler.

Now Sheamus, Orton, Jericho, and Show. Chokeslam to Jericho. RKO to Big Show! ORTON ELIMINATES BIG SHOW! Jericho takes out Orton! Aw, buzzkill!

We're down to Jericho and Sheamus! Sheamus over the top...lands on the apron. Springboard Jericho dropkick, and he's still on the apron. Brogue Kick misses...Walls of Jericho! Jericho vaulted over the top...hangs on! Superplex? No, double KO spot off the top rope, and both land on the apron. Codebreaker! Jericho instinctively went for the cover, but duh, no pins here. Vintage angry Sheamus! Jericho held on again! Brogue Kick! Sheamus wins!

I honestly didn't expect Sheamus to win this. That was a great one-on-one ending. Will Sheamus main event WM? Honestly, I'm not sure, but I don't think so. I'm still thinking Jericho will somehow get his way into the title picture.

The Rumble was fine, but I felt it suffered a bit with Lawler and Cole entering. I'd allow Booker to enter because he had recently finished a mini-feud with Cody Rhodes. I was against Hacksaw and Road Dogg in the Rumble until they showed they could still bring some credible moves and good pops. Having Foley in there was merely for entertainment. He lumbered around the ring and looked out of shape.

I read online that Jericho didn't win because it was likely WWE wanted to portray the "dark horse" winning the RR and spark unpredictability. Also, it may not have helped that people like myself predicted Jericho would prevail. Other scenarios ultimately not used would have seen Orton or Cena win the Rumble. If Cena had won, he may have needed to choose between the WWE Title or fighting Rock.

Finally, Christian was rumored to participate but officials decided to hold his return off until later.

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