Hello. My name is Vincent and I am what you would call Brand New to the Inside Pulse Wrestling team. I have been a part of the IWC since the early days of it back in the 90s. From 1998 until around 2009, I was a radio host of a wrestling talk show on two stations in the Midwest with some amazing co-hosts that made me ready to try this out. I have followed Inside Pulse since it’s inception and am amazed to be writing for them now. What I am presenting today was the piece that got me in that was written the day after the event. A review of this year’s Royal Rumble.
Put that brick and/or heavy object down.
To be perfectly honest, I know the risks going in and would prefer to put forward the first thing that got me in here in the first place. This is not so much a normal review in that I don’t go in the order that the card did, instead I choose to look at different issues as they come up as I write. Without further rambling, here is my very first steps into the writing world.
Vincent’s Take: WWE Royal Rumble
This year, the WWE’s annual Royal Rumble had a chance to redeem itself from last year. In 2014, the fans were highly disappointed when fan-favorite Daniel Bryan wasn’t even in the main event match. They also booed Dave Bautista, the person that the management chose to win the match. All of this lead to a complete storyline change and the main event of their WrestleMania PPV having to be altered to make the fans happy. The moment that the fans in attendance realized the ending was not what they were expecting, they completely turned on the event and any wrestler brave enough to step through the curtains, including normal fan favorite Rey Mysterio. It was a complete debacle that could have been fixed this year.
Instead, for the Royal Rumble match, we almost received a carbon copy of that result. Daniel Bryan was in the event this time, only to be thrown out around the halfway point of the match. With this, the fans immediately turned on the match and started to boo. It was almost as if they had just done the exact same thing. Then, suddenly, the person that had been rumored to be pushed for the finish came out. From the moment that Roman Reigns’ music started to play, the majority of the fans in the Wells-Fargo Center could do nothing but voice their displeasure. Any punch that was thrown, any momentum that was gained was immediately vilified by the crowd. A few fan favorites of the likes of Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler came out to nice cheers, but as they were thrown out and the possibilities of any other ending dwindled, the crowd shut the event down and would not get behind Reigns. It was to the point where a character that feels at times to have little going for him got cheered as Rusev had hidden away until Reigns was alone. As if they hoped that this one person could be a surprise victory. But in the end, the inevitable DID happen and Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble. But hey. Bubba Ray Dudley and DDP, right?
A surprise appearance by The Rock could not even save Reigns from the crowd. As the usual crowd favorite raised the hand of the winner, you could see that he wasn’t happy with the jeers and thumbs down that the new number one contender was getting. And being a cousin, one couldn’t really blame him.
The matches earlier in the card would not save the overall feeling of the pay per view. The undercard featured no one on one matches, with two regular tag team bouts, a tag team championship match and the Triple Threat for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The last match before the Rumble itself actually was fantastic. Brock Lesnar was as powerful as he should be, showing that it took the two other competitors in the ring to even make a dent in him as he was. John Cena played his normal and played out role of underdog (a 15-time champion as an underdog is hardly believable anymore with a guy the size of Cena.) And Seth Rollins had a banner day as the overall heel of the match. He did the normal shtick of rolling out of the ring and having J&J Security bail him out of situations that seemed dangerous. But in between all of that, we actually got a decent show from him as well in the wrestling department, culminating in an amazing Phoenix Splash at the end of the match. The Philadelphia crowd that would go on to rue attending due to the Rumble match was fully behind Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins for this match. Meanwhile, John Cena heard the familiar sing along to his theme of “John Cena Sucks” repeated over and over again.
At the end of the day, the right person won with Brock Lesnar holding on to the title with his next match likely to be at Wrestlemania for the title. Seth Rollins teased the use of the briefcase at the beginning of the event, and Lesnar’s ‘broken rib’ was a nice tease for the possibility. But as soon as you saw how the match ended, it was safe to assume that it would not be happening.
Moving further down the card, we reach the Tag Team Championship match with the champions, The Usos facing off against the team of The Miz and his stunt double Damien Mizdow. Really, this match was the same bog standard match we have been getting every Monday night on Raw. Miz starts us off. Crowd wants Mizdow. Miz teases tagging, but doesn’t. Hilarity with Mizdow ensues outside the ring. Miz gets covered as he wants to go it alone and hog the spotlight. Usos laugh at Mizdow while fighting. We ran into nothing new and it certainly felt like it. The actor and his stunt double would later go on to the Rumble where Mizdow’s contribution was another attributing factor to why the match was so bad. At best he was only there a few minutes.
Next on the recap is the women’s tag match. Most of this, I missed due to some WWE Network problems. But I didn’t see anything super memorable from what I did see of it. It will be very nice when the current NXT breed of women’s wrestling gets to the main roster. That’s assuming they aren’t written to be dumbed down from what they are.
Finally, we have The Ascension versus The New Age Outlaws. The only good thing I can say about this is that the right team won with the new guys going over the vets. Other than that, it was a slightly elongated squash that shouldn’t have seen the Outlaws get that much offense in. The Ascension has been mishandled from the start with JBL on commentary putting them down any chance that he gets. The culmination of the putdowns was seen as the catalyst for this match with Raw Reunion the week before. If you want to feel bad about anyone that might come up from NXT, this is enough proof that the feeling is valid. If I were at Full Sail, I would feel pretty comfortable at the moment.
The announce team deserves a touch of discussion as this is the first time we have had JBL, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler back as a team since Lawler’s recent trip to the hospital. The dynamic is as it always is. JBL has actually toned down somewhat with his full on heel trip that we saw from the lead up to Survivor Series and up until the return of the Authority. Michael Cole is, well, Vintage Michael Cole. And Jerry Lawler continues to be a halfway decent announcer that sometimes relies on the same tropes that we have always seen from him. At least we got to hear him say the word Puppies in the PG era. That sparked a few good memories.
In closing, this event had all the promise in the world if they had just stayed away from the far too predictable finish with the Rumble. The Triple Threat set up the audience for something great and the Rumble cut that from under them. Here’s hoping we get something better next year. Until then, we begin the road to Wrestlemania with a car that is already near empty in the fuel tank as it nears the Fast Lane.
The Ascension def. The New Age Outlaws (*)
The Bella Twins def. Natalya and Paige (NR, WWE Networkference)
The Usos (c) def Miz and Mizdow (* ½)
Brock Lesnar def. John Cena and Seth Rollins (****)
Roman Reigns wins Royal Rumble (ZZ)
(Ratings from Worst to Best: ZZZZZ, ZZZZ, ZZZ, ZZ, Z, *, **, ***, ****, *****)
Tags: Royal Rumble 2015