No Chance – Initial Reactions to the Royal Rumble

Sometimes with distance and reflection, an ok match becomes great. Sometimes a great match becomes legendary. Sometimes you might look back on a match you hated and realize that, while nothing to write home about, it actually wasn’t all that bad. But sometimes you might look back on a match that you enjoyed watching live only to discover that it was in fact one of the biggest train wrecks you’ve ever seen in a ring. Such is the advantage of having time to reflect to give you a bit of background on what goes into writing these No Chance columns. In order to make sure the article is on the website in time, I need to have submitted it by Sunday at midnight. Usually there is no problem with this. At some point between Friday’s Smackdown and Sunday night I pick a topic and leisurely write about it. But once a month from 8-11 on Sunday, there is an event that leaves me with only an hour to write before deadline. This past weekend had one such event.  So without that “reflection time” we were talking about a moment ago, here are my initial reactions on the Royal Rumble 2012.

Again we have what is supposed to be one of the most important titles getting pushed to the opening match of the show. I know that the Rumble match presents a unique situation, but this just continues the trend that is undermining the supposed integrity of the World Heavyweight Champion.

I’ve said before that while the steel cage is supposed to presents a seemingly no win situation for Daniel Bryan it actually almost guarantees his victory because can you picture any of the other competitors crawling over the top of the cage?

I am really pleased that even though Bryan is more or less a heel now, Michael Cole still maintains that he doesn’t like the guy. It maintains, dare I say it, consistency of character for the guy, something almost unheard of whenever there is a face/heel turn. Also it looks like this is the first time Cole and Lawler have agreed about anything in over a year.

One other thing that I love about the Royal Rumble, it’s the first time the WrestleMania sign starts hanging up above the arena. It’s the start of storylines that will last for a while, which means that they will hopefully be storylines worth getting invested in.

They went for some intense pulling of heartstrings in the John Cena promo.

So the Diva’s match seems rather long, especially for a match that wasn’t announced beforehand and isn’t for any title. Not much to say about it except that may have been the worst twin magic execution that I’ve ever seen. Clearly WWE refs have no peripheral vision.

Kane beating up Zack Ryder has become the new Kevin Nash attacking Triple H with a sledgehammer.  I never ever need to see this clip again.

So we have to have the official ruling be a double disqualification so that Cena doesn’t lose cleanly to anybody, but I think it’s safe to say that Kane clearly won that bout. But I thought Ryder was just a stepping-stone to Kane’s ultimate goal of Cena.  Kane seems to have a clear hatred for Zack Ryder now, so where did that come from? And how are we going to wrap this up in time for The Rock to get back?

Another unannounced time filler of a match has come up with Drew McIntyre and Brodus Clay. Well we all know how that one’s going to turn out, one of them can’t beat Santino while the other has yet to even really struggle in a match since his re-debut.  However, Drew seems to have done better than any of the other jobbers that Brodus has been put up against yet.

My main problem with Punk and Ziggler as a whole is that these are two of my favorites now, and I would love to see them have a full on feud that isn’t just a byproduct of Punk and his problem with authority. Someday I’ll get my wish and these two will have a feud where the title is the main focus and not just an afterthought, till then, I guess I’ll have to settle for as much in ring action between the two of them as I can get. Case in point: Ziggler’s amazing reversal in this match. I’m not sure any spots in the rumble will be able to top that.

And now we finally get to the main event of the night: The Royal Rumble. But before diving in to this year’s rumble I want to take a quick look at last year’s Royal Rumble. Specifically, the fact that entrants #1 and #2 last year were CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, both of who are defending major titles at the same event one year later. So, Anybody feeling bold enough to call Miz and Alex Riley for the title defenders at the 2013 Royal Rumble?

Ever since he took an incredible bump off the top of a ladder through a table, I’ve decided I was a fan of Ricardo Rodriguez. So I was happy to see him in the Rumble. In fact I enjoyed almost all of the comedy bits near the beginning of the Rumble. Had this been any other match all of the silly bits may have annoyed me but because it was the Rumble, I knew that more “serious wrestlers” would be out later and there was no real risk of Rodriguez actually getting a main event shot at WrestleMania, so I enjoyed it for what it was.

Who’s responsible for making me think that Khali had retired? His contract had expired in September and I was told that that was the end of that.  I was happy with that, I thought we all were. But no, apparently Khali is back in the WWE again. So even though Big Show, Mark Henry, and even Brodus Clay all had matches before the Rumble started, WWE still manages to get a giant, monster of a wrestler to be in the Rumble, something I always hate. (This point is rendered somewhat moot later when Big Show gets a slot in the Rumble anyway.)

It was no Spider-man jump/The Floor is Lava/Balancing act back to the ring spot that Morrison had last year. But it was close enough. The segment from this match that will be played in Royal Rumble highlight reels in the years to come will be Kofi’s handstand to safety bit.

Both this year and last year, wrestlers who had matches earlier in the night were given slots in the Rumble. I always wonder why they would do this. Theoretically Ziggler could have potentially been champion when he entered the Rumble. So what would happen if he wins? Go after the Heavyweight Championship as well, and have a title Unification match? Or can he choose to go after his own title and then just spend WrestleMania holding his belt and giggling in the corner of the ring?

Against my better judgment I’ve tried to be optimistic about the one or two positive things I’ve seen happening with the announcer’s table in the past couple of weeks. I even offered Cole praise earlier in this very article. So now I have to take all of that back since WWE put every single announcer in the Rumble. And it’s not that I hated the fact that these guys were taking up valuable Rumble slots. I wasn’t crazy about it but I didn’t mind. No the problem with this is that once all three of them had been eliminated they spent the rest of the time on the mic talking about their brief entrants and hardly even mentioned the fact that there was a major match going on right in front of them for the rest of the night.

Yea, I’m excited Kharma’s back. I don’t know what she’s going to do since Beth Phoenix and Natalya pretty much took her gimmick when she got pregnant, but I’m excited.

I think most of us were already giving Chris Jericho the victory in out minds by the time we got down to the final four and especially when Orton was eliminated and there were only two left. So I’m considering the ending of the match to be a surprise. But what was most impressive about the end of the Rumble this year was how good of a match Jericho and Sheamus were having at the end. Filled with lots of near eliminations and close calls on both of them, plus lots of investment from the crowd. It was just about as good a singles match as any of the earlier matches on the card tonight.

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