Some quick thoughts on last night’s Royal Rumble, then. First off, the WWE Network live stream worked great throughout, with only a handful of pauses for buffering that didn’t distract from the show. I can’t even blame the network for that as it’s more likely my ISP’s fault, considering the connection dropped in the last 20 minutes and even after a reboot we were stuck with a low-res stream for the end. Thanks, UPC.
Aside from the Royal Rumble match itself, it was a one-bout card, although it was interesting to note the undercard comprised all tag-team matches. Weekly TV calibre matches, yeah, but still. I’ve got my quibbles, particularly with the Ascension angle (why the hell are JBL and the other old fogeys going out of their way to bury them when the whole point is that they’re being booked like an old-school tag team that squashes jobbers?) but they served as a decent warm-up for the World Title triple threat match, which I’m gonna watch again because it was a Cena match and I naturally tuned out but that was unfair to Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar, who put on a hell of a show in the final few minutes (the only bit where I paid attention).
I pretty much had pegged Roman Reigns to win the Rumble itself, it made the most sense being aware of the general creative direction, but I thought they’d do better with Daniel Bryan, maybe have him go long and give Reigns the rub at the end. It would have suggested Bryan’s still important to the company and made Reigns look strong. Instead, Bryan went out with a whimper and Reigns tossed a bunch of jobbers (and I count the over-the-hill Kane and Big Show in that number). They really misjudged the booking on that one, especially in Philly! Also: too many no-name midcarders, which says more about Creative’s ignorance of the talent base than anything else.
I’ll admit it started off well, and I popped for Bubba Ray Dudley like anyone else. But the Boogeyman‘s appearance was telegraphed by that episode of Countdown that ran on WWE Network before the pre-show, which sapped the surprise factor. And for the most part the match played off like a generic battle royale you might see on Raw or SmackDown, giving me a serious case of the blahs.
Like in the last few Rumbles, there was an absence of flow. Having Bray Wyatt clear the ring for the first third of the match meant there was no rhythm developed until quite late in proceedings, by which time Bryan was already gone and the crowd was lost. Damien Mizdow almost saved the match single-handedly, but he was never gonna last. Kofi Kingston‘s elimination tease spots are done, kaput, so can we not do that again next year, please?
But as for the crowd’s mutiny? Well, what did they really expect? The idea of Bryan winning the Rumble was far too predictable. It’s what all the smarks wanted, so much so that it was the only acceptable result. Forget the overriding realities of the situation, that Reigns is being groomed for the main event (even if he’s not ready for it, as if that’s never happened before): the smarks’ argument boils down to ‘chosen guy must win’. Which is the exactly the same reasoning behind John Cena’s domination of WWE for the past gajillion years.
Can’t the smarks, the IWC, etc see that? Oh, but it’s not the same if it’s someone they care about. Whatever. Wrestling can do with fewer so-called fans like that. You know, the kind of man-babies who would block wrestlers’ cars from leaving the arena after an entertainment show and make #CancelWWENetwork trend on Twitter but will be the first to tune in to Raw tonight because fuck everything forever.
One final comment: Curtis Axel was robbed!