Winners and Losers: WWE Royal Rumble
LOSER: WWE Creative The fans in Pittsburgh stole the show, chanting “Daniel Bryan!” throughout the uninspiring WWE Title match between Randy Orton and John Cena, then adding more “Daniel Bryan!” chants through the Royal Rumble itself, and booing loudly when Rey Mysterio was announced as the 30th and final competitor, meaning that Bryan was not going to be included in the big match. Fans also booed eventual Rumble winner Batista, who creative is trying to push as a face, and cheered heel Roman Reigns when he seemed to be on the verge of winning the Rumble before being eliminated by Batista. None of this is good for business.
WINNERS: Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt OK, Bryan lost to Bray Wyatt in the opener, but he put Wyatt over in more ways than one. Wyatt is now, finally, a star, and with his outside interference helping Orton maintain the WWE Title, on his way to a feud with Cena. Bryan’s reward: the crowd chanting his name all night long.
LOSERS: Brock Lesnar and Big Show Maybe one of the worst pay-per-view matches ever. Here’s a quick summary: Lesnar hits Big Show with a chair. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Whoever wrote that one needs to be sacked, immediately, and never called back. Truly awful.
WINNERS: New Age Outlaws WWE needed to get Goldust and Cody Rhodes on their way to splitsville anyway. The nice crowd reaction that the Outlaws got at the recent Old School Raw provided a nice out for creative. Neither Road Dogg nor Billy Gunn can wrestle any better than they did 15 years ago, but it was nice in a nostalgic sort of way to see them get another shot with the belts.
MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Bray Wyatt-Daniel Bryan
ROYAL RUMBLE MVP: Roman Reigns
THESE GUYS WERE IN THE RUMBLE, AND DANIEL BRYAN WASN’T? Kevin Nash, JBL. At least JBL added value as a commentator. Nash was a waste of whatever time and money was invested in his brief two-minute appearance.
FINAL VERDICT: Overall, this show was a dud. If it had ended around 8:31 p.m. Eastern, right at the conclusion of the Wyatt-Bryan match, an early candidate for Match of the Year, then this show would have been more than worth it. But, sadly, we then were subjected to Lesnar-Show, which made absolutely no sense, then the Orton-Cena match, which, as the fans chanted at one point, was simply “boring!”, and then finished up with the predictable Batista win in the Rumble main event.
Column by Chris Graham