The 2014 Royal Rumble took place last night. Batista won the 2014 Royal Rumble eliminating Roman Reigns to win the match. In the co-feature, Randy Orton defeated John Cena to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It was Daniel Bryan who stole the show with his match of the night match with Bray Wyatt and the crowd chanting his name throughout the night.
While there is a big game coming up in a few weeks that people like to wager on, another event is taking place this Sunday which will have plenty of highs and lows itself, especially for those with a rooting interest.
That is the WWE Royal Rumble featuring the annual 30 person over-the-top-rope extravaganza, entering at timed intervals with the last one standing getting a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the showcase of the immortals, WrestleMania XXX.
Yeah, it’s a big deal.
It’s also a big deal and a real fun one for those watching at home. And there are plenty of people – myself included – that take part in a Royal Rumble pool with a couple of Monopoly bucks on the line. Everyone picks their number before the match and then waits in anticipation to see if you get a real contender or The Brooklyn Brawler.
The look on someone’s face when they are hoping for John Cena but instead get Gillberg with one of their numbers is priceless.
With the Rumble just days away, here are my standing odds for this year’s participants. Note: I am taking a few liberties because the entire 30-superstar field has not been announced and I am taking some liberties with who else I think will be included.
THE SANTINO MARELLA AWARD (WITH A NOD TO THE WARLORD)
This goes to the person who will be in the Rumble the shortest time with Santino holding the record of one whole second before being dumped over the top rope, breaking The Warlord’s seemingly unbreakable record of two seconds before elimination. While he is not officially one of the participants right now (and mysteriously disappeared from the WWE list earlier in the week) Barrett is the perfect guy for this spot. I’ve got some bad news for him: he’s not going to be getting a title shot at WrestleMania XXX.
Odds: 1000 – 1
THE “AT LEAST WE ARE IN THE ROYAL RUMBLE AND GET A PAYDAY OUT OF IT” GROUP
It’s an honor just to be one of thirty people to be in the Royal Rumble right? Well, for some it is. Let’s be honest, for most people in the match they really have no chance at winning it. But that doesn’t mean they can’t put on a good show while you’re out there. So here are the longest of shots
Sorry rookie, not your time.
Odds: 500 – 1
Maybe he can sell some of his CD’s to fans at the show.
Odds: 400 – 1
Not awesome – for him at least.
Odds: 400 – 1
THE “WE HAVE A LITTLE BETTER CHANCE BUT NOT REALLY” GROUP
Yep, he’s still with the WWE although he haven’t seen him outside of NXT in two years. So it’s time for the big return!
Odds: 300 – 1
I just hope that Zeb Colter doesn’t break out Shoo Baby to punish him for not winning.
Odds: 300 – 1
Dance on in and dance on out. Remember, you still have Summer Rae.
Odds: 300 – 1
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
They’ve definitely a good tag-team they have a higher purpose and that’s protecting the figurehead of the Wyatt Family. At least they’ll be home in time to catch up on Duck Dynasty or Swamp People.
Odds: 300 – 1
Jimmy and Jey Uso
A fantastic tag-team and could easily be in the line for the titles in the near future.
Odds: 300 – 1
Kofi has stamped his mark several times in the Royal Rumble using his athleticism to escape elimination.
I’m sure he’ll come up with something again this year but that will be his legacy here.
Odds: 300 – 1
THE FEEL GOOD STORY
Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake has been wanting this for a long time. He was absolutely giddy about his return to Raw a few weeks ago and this would be a dream come true for him after so many years of fighting addiction. I say give him his moment, let him DDT someone in the middle of the ring. Fans will eat it up and Jake will appreciate it.
Odds: 250 – 1
THE “IT WOULDN’T BE TOTALLY CRAZY BUT STILL NOT HAPPENING” GROUP
Another big return! Unfortunately he was sidelined for a while following a concussion and has been cleared to the ring. We haven’t seen him though as WWE tried to come up with something creatively for him. I’m not saying that Christian should be a world title contender but he is a great talent and should have a good mid-card role.
Odds: 150 – 1
Goldust and Cody Rhodes
The brothers will be busy this night, first defending the tag-team titles against the New Age Outlaws and then trying to land a championship match by winning the Rumble. With rumors that they could square off against one another at WrestleMania, I could see a scenario where the lose the tag belts and then one of them costs the other in the Rumble to set up a match. My personal preference would be to keep them together as tag champs and continue to anchor the division for months to come.
Odds: 150 – 1
Here’s a guy that seems to get close to taking the next step (having great matches with John Cena) and then having to put over The Great Khali. He’s getting there but it’s baby steps for now.
Odds: 100 – 1
Another guy who is not officially in the match but it would make sense that he be in there to fill the quota. Originally, I thought about including several surprise returns like Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho which could happen but chose not to. Cesaro is definitely a guy that deserves a shot to stand out on his own and come out of the Rumble looking great. Get him out of the Real Americans team and push him. And who doesn’t want to see him Giant Swing someone. Here’s a suggestion: Jake “The Snake”. Or not.
Odds: 100 – 1
THE “WE’RE GETTING TO THE GUYS WHO HAVE A REAL CHANCE” GROUP
A former Royal Rumble winner back in 2006 and still holds the record for the longest time in a single Rumble clocking in at 1:02:12. That seems like a long time ago now but he still has to be considered a dark horse.
Odds: 50 – 1
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose
It almost seems like they are the other two guys of The Shield with Roman Reigns getting so much attention these days. I think both of them will be the workhorses of this match and try to keep it together. Even though they have already said that no matter what happens at the Rumble they will still be a tight group afterwards, we know that is wrestling talk for “prepared for the split to begin”. But I can see either of them as singles stars in the coming years.
Odds: 30 – 1
Big E. Langston
The current Intercontinental Champion has been impressive, especially over the last few months. It looks like things will continue to get better for him in 2014 and then him becoming a world champion in 2015. He’s close.
Odds: 20 – 1
THE “WE HAVE A REAL CHANCE IF SOMEONE SLIPS OUT OF THE RING” GROUP
Alberto Del Rio
Yes, I am putting Del Rio in this group. Say what you will about him but WWE still plans on keeping him at least near the top of the card. And he definitely has a feud both in and out of the ring brewing with Batista who is a made man in the company. I could see a scenario where he wins the Rumble only to lose his title shot before WrestleMania. Unlikely but possible. What might be more possible is he and Batista shooting on one another in the ring in the near future. Book it!
Odds: 15 – 1
Yet another big return! This really wolud be a big return with Sheamus out since last August following surgery for a torn labrum in his shoulder following a brutal bump at last year’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view. He has also revealed that his other shoulder was banged up too although it didn’t require surgery.
Sheamus won’t come back until he is 100% and doesn’t want to risk further injury. The timetable works and he could be healthy enough for a return here. If that’s the case, he’ll get a good run in the match and will be back in the main event picture soon enough. Hopefully a heel turn as well – funny Sheamus doesn’t work for me.
Odds: 10 – 1
It makes sense that he would be in this match with Harper and Rowan there to watch his back. I have no idea what the plan is for WrestleMania with Wyatt but one of the rumors has been a match with John Cena. If that were to happen, he would need a strong showing in the Rumble. I don’t see that match happening but WWE has something in the Wyatt Family and people look at him as a credible threat here.
Odds: 7 – 1
Punk has a long night ahead of him as the number one entrant in the match. The most likely scenario for him is that he gets screwed in this match with either The Shield ganging up on him or maybe Kane observing at ringside and pulling down the ropes with Punk helplessly flying over and to the floor. Punk has never won the Royal Rumble and I don’t see it happening here. I do see him in a big match against Triple H at WrestleMania XXX though.
THE FINAL FOUR
While everyone always tries to guess the winner, the true I-really-think-I know-what-is-going-on person guesses the final four of the Royal Rumble. Here’s my best stab at it.
You can tell that the WWE has big plans for Reigns when the time comes that he splits from The Shield. It just depends on when exactly that happens. He already has a devastating spear that is putting away opponents left and right. And now he has added an incredible Superman punch to his arsenal like the one he did to Cody Rhodes on Raw this past Monday which almost put him on dream street sitting next to the “American Dream” baby.
Still, it’s not his time for the win here. My guess is he breaks Kane’s record of 11 eliminations in the Rumble and it one of the big talking points of the match.
Odds: 5 – 1
Yes, the Beast Incarnate is not listed for the match but I can easily see him pulling double duty especially since Paul Heyman has expressed that his client has his sights on the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Lesnar being included in the match would add some major juice to it and another true threat to being the last man standing.
Odds: 4 – 1
Yep, another guy who is not included in the match as it stands right now. But everyone wants to see him in it. YES! And just about everyone wants to see him win it. YES!
WWE has already given the people want they want (shout out to Jalen Rose) and switched course with Bryan, taking him out of the Wyatt Family after the monster response he continued to get from the live audience at their shows. Or even from people attending non-WWE events like what happened at the recent Michigan State – Ohio State game. YES!
It seems like a no-brainer that Bryan should at least be in the match and even make it to the end. While I could easily make a case that he should win, YES! and then go on to beat either Randy Orton or John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX YES!, I’ll say he comes close but isn’t able to stand alone. NO!
Odds: 3 – 1
Yes, the Animal is the odds-on-favorite to win the Royal Rumble. That’s no surprise and it really shouldn’t be either. It sure looks like the plan has been for him to return in time to win the Rumble and then square off against former Evolution member Orton at Mania. While Daniel Bryan – and especially his legion of fans – have tried to throw a monkey wrench into those plans, my guess is that Batista still comes out a winner. And then sporting skinny jeans on Raw bragging about his win.
Odds: 2 – 1
Brian and Steve are back to discuss Old School WWE Raw from Monday night with legends returning to the show including Ric Flair and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, if WWE should have ended the show different following Roman Reigns big win, Daniel Bryan making his television debut with the Wyatt Family, the Brock Lesnar segment with Mark Henry and Big Show and more. Plus, more talk about Lesnar about him still talking with UFC about a potential fight, Jerry Lawler’s health scare, Dolph Zigger sidelined again, Jeff Jarrett’s next project and more.
Hey, whadoyaknow, Raw went Old School last night in an attempt to compete with the NCAA BCS Championship. Was it entertaining? Sure. Compelling? Unfortunately not. Worth watching over the fantastic game between Auburn and Florida State? Not in the slightest. But hey, that’s what DVRs are for… and if you actually tuned in to RAW live, at least it was over in time for FSU’s fantastic come back in the last 20 minutes (suck it, SEC!). [Read more...]
Professional Wrestling really about the star power of in-ring performers. Today’s top guys mean big money on television, Pay-Per-View, and at the merchandise stand. But those big draws aren’t going to be around forever, and so the business has to keep building up new talent to take their place. This was a major focus area for WWE in 2013. With the debut of the new training facility in Florida, and more high-profile matches for under card talent, the company seemed determine to start packing away for the next era of superstars. But which talent really came into their own this past calendar year? [Read more...]
Brian and Steve discuss the final WWE Raw of 2013 including Daniel Bryan in a shocking turn of events joining the Wyatt Family, Brock Lesnar making his return alongside Paul Heyman, The Shield coming closer to breaking up, Batista returning to the WWE and the talk of his “stealing” someone’s spot, possible plans leading up to and through WrestleMania 30, The Rock announcing his plans for that show, Jeff Jarrett leaving TNA Wrestling, AJ Styles working for Ring of Honor and his future with TNA and more.
The last time we saw an undisputed WWE champion was Brock Lesnar after he defeated The Rock at Summerslam 2002 to win the title. Right after that event, due to the brand extension the WWE created the World Heavyweight Championship.
The WWE announced on Monday Night Raw this past week that WWE Champion Randy Orton will battle World Heavyweight Champion John Cena in a title vs title match at the TLC pay-per-view on December 15th. As soon as the match was made, people on social media and various wrestling websites were saying the WWE wasn’t stating this was a unification match and there would be a way Orton and Cena would each walk out with a title.
WWE released their weekly Michael Cole and Triple H video interview today. HHH stated that the goal of the match was to have one unified champion coming out of the match and heading into 2014.
Let’s go with what HHH is hoping for and having one unified champion at the end of the TLC event. The question is though, are John Cena and Randy Orton the right guys to have a match to determine this?
A John Cena-Randy Orton unification match in 2008 would have been a dream matchup as they were the two hottest and most over acts in the WWE. Going into ’08, Orton was on a roll as the WWE Champion and Cena made a grand return at the end of the month from a torn pectoral muscle at the Royal Rumble. Orton defeated Jeff Hardy in a very good match and Cena ended up winning the Rumble. Instead of having the match at WrestleMania 24, the match took place at the No Way Out event in February. Cena won the match by disqualification. A triple threat match involving Orton, Cena and HHH took place at WrestleMania 24 with Orton retaining.
Now fast forward to 2013 and both Cena and Orton are champions and no one really cares. Orton comes out to the ring and you could hear a pin drop. When he cuts a promo, you get the same reaction. Cena comes out, gets a moderate reaction, but when he starts talking, the fans don’t buy what he’s saying in a promo and start chanting “boring, boring”.
You watch the opening segment on Raw this past Monday when Orton, HHH and Stephanie are in the ring and the fans are chanting for Daniel Bryan and chanting “YES YES”. Cena came out and at least acknowledged the reaction and that’s what the fans want. But right after Cena did that, he went back to discussing why there should be one unified champion, with the match being made right after that. Fans in the arena weren’t very interested when the announcement was made.
About 90 minutes into the show, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan came out for an interview with Renee Young before their match with The Wyatt Family. Both guys by far got the two best reactions of the night. But that has been the case for most of 2013.
Punk started out the year as a heel and then when he came back in June at the Payback pay-per-view, he turned back to a babyface role facing Chris Jericho. Punk then started a feud with Paul Heyman at the Money In The Bank pay-per-view when Heyman cost him a chance to win the MITB briefcase. Punk faced Brock Lesnar at Summerslam and has had a feud with Heyman through the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view.
Bryan has been the hottest act in the WWE in 2013. The Washington state native started out the year stuck in a tag team with Kane and then got back into singles starting at the MITB. Bryan then headlined Summerslam winning the WWe championship from John Cena, but after the match HHH pedigreed Bryan, with Orton cashing in his MITB and winning the title at the Hell In A Cell event.
Bryan and Punk teamed at Survivor Series on Sunday and defeated Erick Rowan and Luke Harper. It looks like after Raw on Monday that Bryan will face Brey Wyatt and Punk will be facing Roman Reigns.
Those matches are fine, but do nothing in the grand scheme of things for Bryan and Punk.
The WWE has always gone by the mantra of saying that they listen to the fans and they give the fans what they want. In this instance this isn’t the case whatsoever. You have the two hottest acts in all of wrestling feuding with guys who we aren’t sure are going to even reach a main event level.
The time we should see a unification match should be at Wrestlemania 30 with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan battling out to see who is the best wrestler in the world and the right to be called undisputed champion. Lets give the fans what they really want to see because at the end of the day, it is all about the fans.
The WWE held their Smackdown tapings last night in Birmingham, Alabama. The show will air on Friday night on the SyFy channel starting at 8 p.m. ET. Here is what happened at last night’s tapings.
- The show opened with Michael Cole interviewing Triple H in the ring. They were seated in chairs for the sit-down interview. Triple H said six people were fired for setting up the production for Big Show. He noted that Show filed a lawsuit. He said Show is irrelevant and he remains fired and he can’t comment further.
- They spoke briefly of the Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena match and moved onto Daniel Bryan and Shawn Michaels. Hunter said Michaels will do the right thing. Daniel Bryan’s music hit. Hunter stayed in his seat. Bryan cut a promo saying he will prove Hunter wrong at Hell in a Cell. Bryan had a staredown and Triple H left to yes chants
- The Uso Brothers defeated Luke Harper and Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt). Miz was at ringside and kicked Wyatt. Rowan chased Miz, and the Uso’s double teamed Harper and got the three count.
- A.J. Lee (w/Tamina Snuka) beat Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella). A.J. picked up the win with the Black Widow in three minutes.
- Los Matadores defeated Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre. Zeb Colter and The Real Americans watched the match from the stage. A quick win for Los Matadores. They are kinda over with the crowd. Zeb cut promo saying the Americans will prevail at Hell in a Cell.
- Backstage, The Wyatt Family had Miz chained up in a dark cage with “liar” painted on his stomach.
- Ryback and Paul Heyman defeated C.M. Skunk in a No DQ handicap match. Yeah, that’s right C.M. Skunk, a local jobber with skunk hair. The crowd really popped when Punk’s music hit, but it was merely a squash match for Heyman and Ryback. Afterward, Heyman cut promo on Punk, saying he is Best in the World. He absolutely had the most heat of the night thus far.
- Big E Langston told Vickie Guerrero that he wants in the main event match now that Miz is out. She agreed after he told her that she is nothing like Brad Maddox.
- Alberto Del Rio delivered a promo on the stage. Pretty standard mic work from Del Rio.
- The Great Khali (w/Natalya) fought Fandango (w/Summer Rae) to an apparent no-contest. Summer Rae slapped Natalya and they fought inside the ring, which led to the apparent no-contest. Khali chopped Fandango to end the segment.
- Daniel Bryan, Big E Langston, Cody Rhodes, and Goldust defeated Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose in an eight-man tag. Bryan pinned Orton to win the match. A standard eight-man tag with near falls. Overall, a good match live.
Results from ProWrestling.net.
Before the Smackdown tapings take place, the WWE films “Main Event” that will air on ION Television tonight starting at 8 p.m. ET. The tapings took place in Birmingham, Alabama. Here is what took place on WWE Main Event.
- Seth Rollins (w/Roman Reigns) defeated Goldust (w/Cody Rhodes) in roughly five minutes. Huge pops for Goldust and Cody. The Shield received an okay pop too. Back and forth action and the crowd was really into Goldust. Rollins won with a rollup after Goldust was distracted by Cody and Reigns brawling at ringside.
- A John Cena video promo was shown and the crowd really booed him.
- The Real Americans defeated The Prime Time Players. The Real Americans came out to not much heat. The Players were next they didn’t get the reaction I expected. The Real Americans were in control to begin. A “We The People” chant started and then the crowd had a small pop for the hot tag to Titus O’Neil, but he got caught in Antonio’s spin before Swagger put him away with the Patriot lock in about seven minutes.
- Cameron and Naomi defeated Alicia Fox and Aksana. A typical Divas match with Cameron pinning Aksana in four minutes.
- Damien Sandow defeated Dolph Ziggler. Dolph received a huge pop and Sandow got a lot of hate. In fact, it was the most heat of the night. Back and forth action from both guys with Sandow picking up the win in about five minutes.
Results from ProWrestling.net.
WWE superstar Seth Rollings spoke with Eric Lopez of SportsTalkFlorida.com to promote Summerslam which is coming up on August 18 on pay-per-view.
He spoke about the quick success of The Shield along with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns and the impact they have made in the WWE. Rollins shares his thoughts on some o the highlights of his career including coming up from FCW, being part of the Shield , debuting in the WWE at the Survivor Series in 2012, winning the tag team titles with Reigns against Kane and Daniel Bryan. Rollins also talks about how and why the Shield has worked so good together, the history of the Florida Territory in Wrestling, wrestling in Central Florida area, the new WWE Performing center in Orlando and a lot more.
Check out the interview at http://www.sportstalkflorida.com/wwes-seth-rollins-talks-path-to-stardom-and-future-for-the-shield/
WWE superstsars Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns of The Shield talk about the new Performance Center in Orlando, FL, some places they trained at when breaking into the business and their quick success in the WWE.
Just to catch up: If you missed Friday Night Smackdown this past week, then you also missed a pretty big development for one of WWE’s hottest acts. The Shield, who have seemed unstoppable since their debut last November, finally saw defeat.
Re-read that first paragraph. Summary: “If you missed Friday Night Smackdown, then you missed The Shield’s first loss.”
See, no matter how I word it, it still doesn’t sit right with me. Wasn’t this supposed to be a big freakin’ deal? Wasn’t WWE propelling these guys to bigger and better things? Doesn’t JBL call this group “the best faction ever” on a weekly basis? So why, then, would WWE give this important moment away in such a careless fashion?
Don’t get me wrong, the moment was handled perfectly fine on Friday night. Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and Kane celebrated their victory with a hot Greensboro crowd. Lilian Garcia even got back on the mic to make sure everybody knew this was the trio’s first loss as a three-man group. But from a big-picture perspective, this sucks.
These guys were positioned to lose on a big stage, to a big opponent. Our own Brian Fritz promoted his own fantasy booking scenario on the BTR Podcast where The Undertaker would return at Summerslam, team with Bryan and Kane, and finally give The Shield what’s coming to them. This sounded like great booking. It would sell a few more PPVs, give the babyface Undertaker his revenge, and further promote The Shield by losing on a big stage. Plus, there’d be little shame in losing to three veterans.
Instead, WWE creative got bored and decided to hot shot the angle.
There was little-to-no promotion for this three-on-three encounter. In fact, all the focus was on Sunday and the respective United States and Tag Team title matches (matches that, for the record, were booked just earlier this week). The hype train had us headed towards the PPV, not stopping off at the Smackdown station to see whether or not The Shield could remain undefeated.
I’m not saying that big, unexpected moments don’t have a place in the modern WWE – quite the contrary. Smart surprises should be staples of any pro wrestling organization. They keep things fresh for the fans, and give companies that much sought after water-cooler talk. I’d cite Del Rio’s World Heavyweight Championship win back in January as a perfect example. Being an established main-eventer, he didn’t need a huge build, and he was fresh into a face turn. Plus, WWE pulled the trigger on the title-change during the long void between TLC and Royal Rumble. It was a great way to create viewer interest.
But that’s not what happened on Friday night. Instead, when nobody was watching, and when nobody was told to watch, WWE gave The Shield its most damaging loss yet. And It left a lot of money on the table by doing so.
I’m not just counting potential Pay-Per-View buys of people hoping to witness the trio’s first loss. I’m including the credibility hit that these guys took as a whole. These guys had become must-see TV, both together and individually, because of the aura that surrounded them. Not even company demigod Cena could topple them. Now, they’re just another mid-card act, with mid-card titles, who have seen their greatest strength – being undefeated – completely vanish.
In all fairness, I have no perspective here on WWE’s big-picture. And what happens next with The Shield will depend mostly on how the creative team positions them coming out of Payback.
But this whole angle still feels like a giant missed opportunity, or at the very least, a rapid misfire. It’s simply not the way WWE should be handling the hottest group in pro wrestling today.