Monday, January 28, 2013

1/27/13 Royal Rumble

Antonio Cesaro vs. Miz (U.S. Title): Pre-show match that you could see on YouTube. Basic mat wrestling early on. Cesaro again with the impressive strength, catching Miz on a leapfrog and turning it into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Solid competitive match in the last few minutes. Cesaro to the outside, and he suckers Miz in, pulling Miz into the steel ring structure. Neutralizer in the ring and Cesaro retains after almost 8 minutes. **

Del Rio and Ricardo talking strategy in the back. BRET HART CAMEO! Crowd marked for that one. Bret says he thinks ADR is a Mexican Bret Hart. Quite the compliment. Vintage pink shades for Ricardo! Not surprised this match opened the show because it's a stacked card. Guessing Rock and Punk will be the main event.

Three-man announce team: Lawler, Cole, JBL.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show (Last Man Standing; World Heavyweight Title): Gotta love the WWE logic that ADR all of a sudden has the "change of heart" and is a babyface. Crowd really gets on Show. Show dominant early. ADR incorporating more lucha stuff into his offense, and Cole makes the comparisons to Mysterio. Cross armbreaker countered, but it wouldn't matter if Show tapped anyway. ADR uses a chair on Show, wonder if Sheamus' chair shots felt worse. "SI SI SI" chants for ADR. Show catches ADR with a chokeslam; champ barely up at 9, then collapses to the outside. Punishment continues on the floor. ADR with a low blow and a superkick to Show. Show barely up at 9. Show with one of the big light bulbs to ADR. Show climbs the structure(?!), pulls ADR up with one arm, and a chokeslam through a table. Awesome spot. ADR up at 9! ADR avoids the KO punch. Ricardo gets tossed into the barricade. Show misses the spear on ADR and crashes through the barricade into the ring bell area. Show up at 9. More chair shots to Show. Show's arm smashed between the steps and chair. Fire extinguisher to Show. Cross armbreaker to Show and Ricardo duct tapes Show's legs. Oh, they do THAT spot. Show obviously can't get up now and ADR retains. Not nearly as good as the Smackdown match. **3/4

As expected, Ziggler picks #1 because that is exactly who he is. Langston scares Striker off and becomes the new announcer. Woohoo, Langston didn't mess up his lines! I'd love it if Ziggler unified the titles, but we all know that's not happening. Gee, I wonder who Ziggler's facing to start the Rumble....

We see those simple promos from a few Royal Rumble entrants saying they will win the match. All we needed was the vintage music and the backdrop, and it woulda been perfect. Black backdrop?! Really?!

Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Tag Team Titles): Nice tag action from Team Hell No to start. DB with the usual stuff. Gotta love the vegan flying goat! JBL is money on announcing. Let's sing Kumbaya! Low bridge gives Team Rhodes Scholars the advantage. DB worked over. Kane gets the hot tag. Kane misses the top-rope clothesline on Sandow and Sandow with a weird neckbreaker for two. DB tags in. Kane chokeslam to Cody and DB with the NO lock on Sandow to get the submission win. Champs retain in about 10 minutes. **

Vickie gives Team Hell No their Royal Rumble numbers. DB shows his number to Kane, but Kane doesn't show his number. "Hey, it's the rule! I show you mine, you show me yours!" WIN.

Royal Rumble Match: Wow, Royal Rumble starts in the middle of the show! Ziggler is #1 as stated earlier. Ziggler promo saying he stands alone in the spotlight where he belongs.So who's #2?!

BREAK THE WALLS DOWN! WTF. I admit I marked out for Jericho because I wasn't even caring about if he was making a return. The crowd also went ballistic. An awesome way to start the Rumble. Both Y2J and Ziggler tease eliminations.

Cody Rhodes is #3. Double-team on Jericho. Walls of Jericho to Cody, like that would matter.

Kofi Kingston is #4. Springboard clothesline to Cody. Will Kofi top his handstand act from last year? More eliminations teased.

Santino is #5. He'll last longer than 1.9 seconds, but JBL still tells us not to blink. Santino thought he eliminated both Cody and Jericho, but no to both. Jericho halts the Cobra. Cody tosses Santino out. So much for that.

Drew McIntyre is #6. Not too much in these 90 seconds, except Jericho nearly got eliminated. He hung on to the middle rope before Ziggler "helped" him back on the apron.

Titus O'Neil is #7. Jericho with the springboard dropkick to eliminate McIntyre. Ziggler elimination tease as "Y2J" chants start again.

GOLDUST is #8! YES! Priceless shot of Cody's face, no pun intended. Crowd marked for this. JBL with the "Book-Dust" reference! Good luck to Dr. Shelby with that one. "Goldust" chants throughout the arena. Even though Goldust goes after Cody, they both team up on other guys. Gotta love the Rumble!

David Otunga is #9 and Heath Slater is #10. Jericho and Ziggler have made it 15 minutes.

Sheamus is #11. Could he be the fourth guy to win back-to-back Rumbles? Clubbing blows to Titus. Sheamus knocks Otunga into Titus and Titus is gone. Clubbing blows to Otunga now. Brogue Kick and Otunga's gone.

Tensai is #12 and he goes after Sheamus. Slater and Ziggler tease eliminations.

Brodus Clay is #13. Vintage Gangnam Style before going to the ring. Richard Dawson Family Feud reference from JBL. Cody and Goldust fight on the apron. Cody eliminates his brother. Sad panda.

Rey Mysterio is #14! A couple of 619s delivered to Ziggler and Jericho.

Darren Young is #15. He helps five other guys to eliminate Brodus. Kofi eliminates Tensai! Kofi went over the top to the apron. Kofi knocked onto Tensai. Kofi placed on the announce table. Oh, here we go. Kofi wants a chair.

Bo Dallas is #16. He won his way into the Rumble via an NXT 8-man tournament and should now be part of the main roster going forward. Meanwhile, Kofi gets JBL's chair and uses it as a POGO STICK to get back to the apron. I think Kofi realized he wasn't gonna make it via jumping. Or that it would be too risky. Kofi with the low bridge to eliminate Darren Young. Cody with the Disaster Kick to eliminate Kofi. Aw.

GODFATHER IS #17 WTF. Godfather gets in the ring -- and Ziggler dropkicks him out of the Rumble. Hey, he lasted longer than Santino and the Warlord! Godfather wants to party anyway. Lovely ladies.

Wade Barrett is #18. Jericho and Barrett try to eliminate Sheamus, to no avail.

John Cena is #19. Easily the favorite to win this year. Four guys line up ready for Cena: Barrett, Slater, Ziggler, Cody. Everyone except Sheamus and Rey attack Cena. Cena eliminates Slater and Cody Rhodes quickly. Jericho almost out but Ziggler(?!) saves the day. Love that Bo Dallas and Cena paired off here.

Damien Sandow is #20. Rey and Barrett over the top rope to the apron. Barrett back in and eliminates Rey with that back kick. Ziggler and Jericho now over 30 minutes in. Walls of Jericho attempt to Cena.

Daniel Bryan is #21. DB with kicks to Sandow, Ziggler, and Barrett. YES YES YES. Jericho almost eliminated but holds on. Split chants for Cena.

Antonio Cesaro is #22. White tights for Cesaro now.

Great Khali is #23. He actually got to the ring before #24!

Kane is #24. Record 16th Rumble for Kane (14 consecutive).

Zack Ryder is #25. Kane eliminated Khali to up his elimination total -- and then DB eliminates Kane! OHHHH HERE WE GO! Cesaro knocks DB off the apron onto Kane! ROFL DB IN KANE'S ARMS LIKE AJ LEE! HUG IT OUT! Kane puts half of DB's body on the apron and ends up dropping him to the floor. DB's eliminated. Aw.

Randy Orton is #26. Orton with snap powerslams galore. Bo Dallas really hanging in there. Ziggler and Dallas get hangman's DDTs for their troubles. RKO to Ryder. Orton eliminates Ryder and Zack hit his face hard on the floor.

Jinder Mahal gets "lucky" #27; a record four guys have won from this number. Cena eliminates Cesaro. 40+ minutes for Ziggler and Jericho. How is Jericho in such great shape? DDP Yoga!

Miz is #28. Miz and Cesaro brawl in the aisle for a bit. Miz also reportedly injured his ankle during his U.S. Title match with Cesaro on the pre-show. Sheamus eliminates Jinder, so no more 3MB. JBL with more ribbing of 3MB.

Sin Cara is #29. Too bad Mysterio's already gone. Bo Dallas eliminates Barrett! There's your "Maven" moment of the Rumble, I guess. Huge boost for Bo's WWE career to last this long. Barrett comes back down and eliminates Bo Dallas. Bullhammer to Bo. Might turn into a new feud. Jericho and Ziggler continue to tease eliminations.

And of course, that means Ryback is #30. Let the "GOLDBERG" chants begin! Ryback eliminates Sandow, Sin Cara, and Miz.

Jericho now with more moves! Codebreaker to Ryback! Lionsault to Cena! Springboard dropkick to Sheamus, but Sheamus holds on. Jericho clothesline to Orton. Codebreaker to Ziggler! Crowd jacked up again as Jericho wants to eliminate Ziggler. Jericho over the top to the apron. Ziggler superkick eliminates Jericho. Y2J lasted 47:53. Ziggler, not surprisingly, will be the ironman this year.

Final five is Ryback, Cena, Orton, Ziggler, Sheamus. RKOs for Ziggler, Cena, and Sheamus. Hangman's DDT to Ryback! RKO countered and Ryback eliminates Orton. Down to four! Brogue Kick to Ziggler and Dolph's gone! I really wanted him and Cena in the final two. Ziggler lasted 49:46 in the Rumble.

Down to three!  Sheamus and Cena tee off on Ryback, then go after each other because it's about headlining WM 29. Typical Cena moves of doom, bur Ryback with the meathook clothesline to Cena. Sheamus counters Shellshocked into White Noise. Sheamus sets up for the Brogue Kick but Ryback dodges and eliminates Sheamus!

Cena and Ryback in the final two, which many people probably had predicted. Crowd with "FEED ME MORE" chants. Spinebuster to Cena. Cena avoids the clothesline and STF to Ryback! Ryback passes out as split chants start. Cena puts Ryback on the top rope. Thesz press to Cena. Cena slips out of a powerslam and eliminates Ryback to win the Rumble. Was there really ever a doubt?

I personally didn't care for this Rumble much. We had the surprises, such as Jericho's kickass return and Godfather cameo, but most of the stuff was predictable like Ziggler's ironman performance and Cena's win. Bo Dallas lasting about 20 minutes was also cool. I wanted Ziggler and Cena in the final two because it would have made for a better Rumble finish. But hey, that's what happens when Ryback gets pushed like he has been the last few months. Cena gets his second career Rumble win, only the fourth to do so. **1/2

Rock's jacked up for his promo. He speaks about adversity, not getting drafted in the NFL Draft and then his mom overcoming cancer. Rock's mom is in the arena tonight, sitting at ringside. Guess if there's any doubt lingering, you'd have to say Rock is winning now.

WWE Title match next. So no divas action tonight. Just five matches overall, four on the actual PPV. Remember, if Shield interferes, Rock becomes champ.

Rock vs. CM Punk (WWE Title): Punk comes out first, his 434th day as WWE champion. Rock gets the electric entrance. Rock wants to take apart the Spanish table early, but Punk has none of it. Hey, Punk even put the top back on the Spanish table! Heyman with a blow to the Rock behind the ref's back, allowing Punk to get control. Rock meets the barricade again. Punk targets Rock's ribs because he knows Shield's triple powerbomb on RAW gave Rock these "internal injuries." Punk clearly the ring general here because he's in "ring shape." JBL nails it when saying there's a difference between being in great shape and in ring shape. Heyman with another cheap shot to Rock. Cole says Punk tweaked his left knee on a springboard dropkick to Rock. Punk then did a top-rope axehandle to Rock and cameras pick up Punk holding his knee. Rock sees the opening and attacks Punk's knee. Punk still does the suicide dive to Rock on the outside anyway. Punk misses a springboard clothesline. Rock back to work on Punk's left knee. Rock Bottom countered. GTS countered. Sharpshooter countered! Anaconda Vice to Rock! Rock counters into a pin for two. DDT to Punk. Rock Bottom countered again. Punk tried for a crucifix, but Rock counters that into a Sharpshooter! Punk gets to the ropes. Action back to the outside. Rock readies the Spanish table again! Punk battles back. Punk tries GTS on the announce table. Rock wants a Rock Bottom, but table collapses. BOO. Similar to when table collapsed on Angle/HHH many years ago. That coulda really sucked for both guys. Rock holds his right knee, but delivers Rock Bottom to Punk on the floor! Nice improvising. Back in the ring now, Rock gets two. Punk with a huge roundhouse kick to Rock for the double KO spot. Trading blows, then Rock hits a flying clothesline and spinebuster. Crowd goes nuts as Rock sets up for the People's Elbow.

LIGHTS GO OUT! Cole says Shield attacked Rock and did a triple powerbomb through the U.S. announce table. We hear the clubbing blows and the table break, but otherwise no clear evidence. I guess we'll have answers on RAW for that. JBL calls Cole a stooge. And frankly, there is no on-camera evidence to show Shield actually interfered. Details and loopholes. Gotta love it.

Punk's laughing in the ring, then feigns the "oh my God, what happened?" stuff. Rock's still laid out from the table spot. Punk rolls Rock in the ring and covers for three. Punk celebrates in the ring.

HOLD THE PHONE! HERE'S VINCE MCMAHON! Vince ready to strip Punk of the title even though we didn't actually see anything. Rock interrupts and says he wants to take the title from Punk. Restart the match!

Punk with the running knee and top-rope elbow. Rock kicks out! GTS countered! Spinebuster! Rock nails the People's Elbow and gets three! New champ! Rock celebrates in the ring, his 8th WWE Title reign as the show ends. ***1/4

I read that people were really praising the WWE Title match, giving it four stars and higher. Personally, I didn't think it delivered nearly as well as those people might think. It's not Rock's or Punk's fault here. The crowd was gonna go nuts anyway because we're talking about Rock here. Punk clearly showed he was the ring general that makes him that main event star. There's no question this match had tremendous crowd reaction. The same goes for the Royal Rumble match.

But Rock/Punk was not filled with the numerous false finishes that I almost require a great match to have. I did like the table spots and numerous counters. Nice work by both guys to attack "injured" body parts, but I felt the match had many drawn-out moments and didn't necessarily gel all the way through. JBL nailed it when saying Rock was not in ring shape. Punk did 10x the work and wasn't breathing nearly as hard. I thought Rock would need two or three Rock Bottoms to finish Punk off. It was basically a People's Elbow that won it.

I also liked the "Shield involvement" in the dark and answers may be given on RAW as to whether Shield will actually respond to any allegations. Punk's definitely gonna get on his soapbox for another rant. Again, I was thinking we'd see a ref bump and a Brad Maddox run-in, but that didn't happen.

As for the Rumble itself, I again marked out for Jericho's return, and he may work a program with Ziggler. I'm all for that. Godfather return was nice, but he clearly wasn't there to wrestle.

Nice to see Bret Hart make a cameo as well. Will never tire of seeing him on TV.

This PPV basically sets up Rock/Cena II. Expect Cena to go over this time to avenge his loss from last year. Punk could very well be inserted into the match to make it a triple threat. With Rock's in-ring conditioning a question mark, it probably will happen. Cena would still pin Rock just so that Punk can keep saying Cena still can't beat him.

Show wasn't bad, but with only four matches on the actual PPV, I expected better. ***

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