Royal Rumble (2014) Reaction: “Yes!”

Daniel Bryan rumble

It didn’t take long to figure out last night that WWE is pretty out-of-touch with its core audience.  On the pre-show, we saw the New Age Outlaws defeat the Rhodes Brothers… the same Rhodes Brothers team that has looked absolutely unstoppable since joining forces in Fall of 2013.  On the upside, this probably means we’re headed towards a Cody vs Goldust pairing at ‘Mania.  I can dig that.  But as far as Road Dogg and Billy Gunn goes, while it’s awesome to see them back in action and still in great shape (really), this whole “give them the titles because they’re fun” facade felt premature.  When did they earn a title shot recently?  I’m worried the whole tag-team division took a step back last night.

Bray Wyatt shocked the world by holding his own against Daniel Bryan last night.  Never mind the outcome (which was wrong because Bryan NEEDS victories to sustain his credibility, something which he hasn’t been given much recently), but I think the internet went a little too crazy last night.  Sure, it was solid. And calling this ‘Bray Wyatt’s coming out party’ is probably spot-on.  Unfortunately, this match plodded a lot in the middle and lost my interest.  Bray Wyatt still needs work – his mistimed kickouts (twice!) took me right out of the moment. It might not have been a classic, but it was good enough to be really good. Enough said.

Considering I had zero interest in seeing Brock Lesnar and Big Show tie-up last night, the first five minutes of their match had my interest perked.  I enjoyed the surprise K.O. punch by Show.  And then, I was legitimately worried about him when Brock Lesnar laid the 50th or so chair-shot right into his arm.  It was short, yes, but a lengthy match between these two would’ve been AWFUL.  Instead, Lesnar solidified his spot as WWE’s resident rage-machine.  Fine.

It was really hard to keep up with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match after all the audience chants (“We Want Di-Vas” – wait, really?).  And I think the audience was to blame. It’s great that everybody in Pittsburgh sounded off and gave WWE upper-management a piece of their collective mind…  but this match wasn’t bad.  Is John Cena stale?  For sure.  And does Randy Orton’s character need some serious fine-tuning?  Yep. But these two weren’t even given a chance last night. So this whole segment earned an arbitrary “1 out of 1.” Take that, internet wrestling community.

Finally… the Royal Rumble. Blegh.  We all knew Dave Batista was going to win it (wait, you didn’t? delusional much?).  That’s not what bothers me.  And, while it sucks that Daniel Bryan wasn’t in the match, at least our resident bearded savior was on the card at all.  The thing that sucked about last night’s Rumble was the eerie sense of mundane surrounding the event.  The surprise entrants were beyond lame – Sheamus? Really? And Kevin Nash… again? – and the pacing felt off. It felt like everybody in the ring wasn’t sure who to attack, or what they should be doing at any given moment.  We had ZERO big moments or monumental eliminations (well, The Shield conflict was kind of cool…). And while something like Roman Reigns breaking Kane’s record for most eliminations should have been the story of the night, it was treated like a one-line run-down by Michael Cole, who desperately wanted Batista’s final moment to be so much bigger than what it actually was.

But here’s where things went south: your final entrant was Rey Mysterio. Your final 10 entrants included Big E Langston (okay, I’ll take it), El Torrito, Antonio Cesaro, Ryback, and one of the Usos. The star power was seriously lacking.  No Randy Orton, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, Mark Henry, Chris Jericho, or anybody else who has dominated the main-event scene recently.  I’m glad Punk made it as far as he did.  But there’s a reason Michael Cole didn’t promote this as “WWE’s All-Star Match” as he has in years past.

Overall show was a disappointment – not necessarily because of who won, but because of the way WWE booked the whole ordeal.  The company still has one Pay-Per-View to go before it’s on Network easy street.  Let’s hope it gets its crap together.

We’ve been hearing your opinion loud and clear on Facebook, but keep the conversation going in the comments below. And let me know if you think I’m right – or not – when you follow me on Twitter @therealwiseman.

Michael A. Wiseman

Michael is a pro wrestling enthusiast, MMA fan, and all-around geek. When not blogging, he likes to catch up on TV shows or dig in to the latest tech news. You can follow him on Twitter @therealwiseman.


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