Welcome cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the only blog that shows up less often than your dad to your Little League games, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as we hop in the car, adjust the rear view mirror, put some fuzzy dice on the dash, and get ready for the road to Wrestlemania. The official beginning of that grand adventure starts right here, with the first WWE PPV of the year, WWE Royal Rumble 2015. With a spot in the main event of Wrestlemania on the line in both the Rumble match itself, and in one of the most looked forward to triple threat matches in recent memory this show is full of intrigue, potential, and even a little dash of hope. Smarks the world over are scooching closer to the screen to watch it clutching their Daniel Bryan action figures and daring to dream that this could be the day. But with the specter of Roman Reigns looming, and a card that focuses unusually on big stars, that hopeful dream seems a mile away. Can Daniel Bryan overcome the odds to become regain his spot atop WWE? Will a new star emerge amid the whirling chaos of the Rumble? Can anyone on Earth actually defeat Brock Lesnar? Join Cewsh, Artie, Psycho and our Royal Rumble professor MichaelC as we explore the only way to find out.
So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!
Cewsh: I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but let’s just say that if I were still giving nicknames to people in the segment headers, calling them the New (Old) Age Outlaws would be the easiest bit of writing I have ever done.
Psycho: For as old as the Outlaws are, , and in spite of the fact that they pretty much stank up the joint around this time last year, the Philly crowd still gives them a pretty big reaction when they come out – outside of a smattering of boos for the Philly Fanatic. The Ascension…well, they get an “Ascension” reaction, which means the crowd hardly seems to care. I love Billy’s “That’s all I got “ comment. The biggest problem with this match is The Ascension’s inability to take the opportunity to utilize the Outlaws’ crowd reaction and legend status , show their stuff and actually earn some respect with the crowd. They react to ONE scream from Viktor, but once it becomes apparent they won’t show any real offense, the crowd struggles to play along.
You mean to tell me he couldn’t think of ONE move in this time?
To their credit, when Viktor gets in the ring, it feels like he tries to pick things up to catch the crowd’s attention, but by that point, the time is too little as they soon set-up the The Fall of Man and bring it home. There’s not much to say here. Billy and Road Dogg did their jobs fine, but in the length of the match, Konnor and Viktor could not produce anything of substance. Would more time have changed that? Perhaps, but the fact that they couldn’t even come close in 5 minutes doesn’t bode well for their future.
Billy Gunn outworks everybody for 6 minutes and then The Ascension win. The announcers continue to shit on The Ascension and make sure to tell us the Road Warrior Animal is mighty pissed at these fools. Oh no. Oh god no.
Grade: H for I HATE Cewsh for making me watch this.
MichaelC: The opener to the Rumble PPV I think we all called months ago, naturally. It’s always nice to see Road Dogg, who has an innate ability to get an audience into the show. A sort of Attitude era Billy Mays, if you will. As for Billy Gunn, I can hardly believe it is me typing this, but he looked really good in comparison trying to wrestle Konnor and Victor. Alas, the old guys lost.
Cewsh: The Ascension are poop. I’ve dedicated a lot of words to trying to explain the issues with them in scouting reports before, but the simple truth of the matter is that they are a gimmick with nothing underneath. You could slot virtually any reasonably sized professional wrestlers under these same gimmicks and expect equal or better results. That’s why, despite having a pretty cool legend killer storyline going on, nobody even pretends to care that these guys exist when they come to the ring. If they just had some actual aggressiveness, or a distinct wrestling style, or even a cooler finish then maybe there would be something tangible to hold on to once the music stops. As it is, it’s a wonder that people stay awake during their matches long enough to use them as piss breaks.
The Old Age Outlaws do their best here, as they always do, but what are they supposed to be able to do with these guys? They weren’t bump machines in their primes and the Ascension have no identity to sell for. The end product is a match that isn’t so much bad as it is sad. They’re playing the notes capably, but nobody is hearing the music.
58 out of 100
Psycho: If you have yet to catch on to the phenomenon that is Mizdow, you have been missing out on pure entertainment. This is the sort of thing that even makes casual onlookers intrigued and amused. The dynamic between he and Miz with the Stunt Double schtick provides endless possibilities and ideas. Then you see the crowd go insane for him, and you know that WWE has done what they do best: completely stumble upon gold. This is not to take away from The Usos at all, who I think are starting to get some flack because of a repetitive and uninspiring division. They have proven their worth in carrying the division for the better part of 2014 with some help from The Wyatts. Even so, they still know how to put together a solid match and understand how to create a hot sequence leading into a finish.
A nice touch to the match is the anger and mean side you see from Jimmy from all the hatred he’s grown after Miz was interfering with his life’s career. There is nothing overly fancy here, but all of these men, Miz included, know how to put together a coherent match with a basic dramatic narrative that they can tweak into something that’s worth writing about. Case in point, look at the size of this write-up compared to that of the last match.
Artie: Mizdow is the most over babyface in this match. The basic story here is centered on Miz holding Mizdow back, while Mizdow gets the big pop from the Phlly crowd. The Usos are also in this match doing things, I am told.
Much like the first match, this one doesn’t really go anywhere or do anything, but at least this time around there’s someone here that the fans are super into and it drags the enjoyment of the whole affair up.
68 out of 100
Psycho: So, this feud was kinda thrown together in 3 weeks. Really, you can probably say that for the majority of diva feuds for the past couple years. However, the girls have improved and the roster has had some welcome changes, like the addition of Paige. What some people will regret to say is the Bellas are actually kind of good. And despite what Cewsh and Artie think, Natalya is AT LEAST kind of good, too. Here, she works pretty well with Paige, and we’re treated to a tag team match that does more to rouse the crowd than The Ascension could ever dream to do in 8 minutes, and these girls do it in a matter of seconds, even if a lot of that was attributed to Paige. Of course, to make me a liar, Nikki and Brie do a couple sloppy moves, but they were both with Nattie, so what was the true variable?
Cewsh: Natalya’s suckiness. Which varies only in its suckitude.
Psycho: She’s GOOD, damn it, she just needs some direction every now and then!
Despite a couple rocky maneuvers, they bring it back in with some solid tandem offense and heel tag work. Nikki also has the right creativity for a cocky heel, though her push-up-submission combo needs some work. While the crowd isn’t too wild for all things non-Paige, they give it a little love and a decent pop for the finish. If nothing else, they totally surpassed The Ascension. Are you getting my point yet?
Artie: Ah, I see the story of this match is “WATCH TOTAL DIVAS”. Now, while I love Total Divas, I don’t really for this blatant shilling. Paige never even got a proper face turn, they sort of just gave up on here being heel once AJ went out again and the new season of Total Divas premiered.
Oh, i’m sorry, the story isn’t just about Total Divas, Paige is also getting sexual with The Bellas because…BECAUSE!
The crowd won’t stop chanting “Ole” during this match, I’m sure it’s due to their appreciation for this match and how it’s as exciting as a soccer game.
Grade: I for Idontgiveafuck. Also, Paige sucks at using the tag rope. You’d think someone wresting since they were 13 would know how the tag rope works!
Another Divas PPV match where talented people run around in the same circles chasing their tails again and again. It won’t end any time in the forseeable future, but far off into the windswept currents of time, there lies the hope for a new day. Her name is Charlotte. She can’t come soon enough.
64 out of 100
MichaelC: Actually, this was quite good. I liked the throwback to Owen and Bret’s title match against the Quebecers. Then, Bret was injured by the Quebecers, and had the chance to go for the hot tag to his brother, but went for the Sharpshooter instead and ultimately lost. Here, Natalya had the same chance, but went for the same move and lost, with Paige playing the increasing frustrated Owen Hart on the apron. Time will tell if Paige is now going to kick Nattie’s leg out of her leg, or this was just a one off nod to her uncles.
Psycho: We had waited for this match over the span of a few months, ever since John Cena defeated Randy Orton to earn the shot. The only problem with this is we’ve seen Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena enough times that a third felt like an unnecessary rehash. The excitement was not too high for a match that seemed destined for Cena to walk away victorious. But then a miracle happened. Triple H announced that Seth Rollins would be joining the title match to make it a Triple Threat, and this immediately bumped up the intrigue considerably. Between Seth Rollins’ nigh untouchable wrestling ability and role as the top heel in the company, this makes the match more exciting to look forward to and opens up the possibilities of what could actually happen.
What actually results is one of the greatest Triple Threat matches of all time, and that’s not a mere exaggeration. The dynamic of this match is superb, with Cena and Rollins marking Lesnar as the top priority. For good reason, too, as The Beast Incarnate manhandles both of them and J&J Security with ease when the bell rings. Never before has a match had such a sense of urgency and legitimate uncertainty.
Many people complained about Lesnar’s absence over the last few months, arguing that he could be ruining the prestige of the WWE Championship – or that he no longer has that mythical aura about him that he had around SummerSlam. This match absolutely unravels those arguments and completely reverses damage that may have been done to the belt or Brock’s persona. Here he is the unstoppable destroyer that he’s known for, taking it to Cena and Rollins as if it was one man. Some of this credit has to go to Rollins and Cena, who play their parts perfectly and never bring the match down. As a matter of fact, while Cena clocks in one of his best performances ever, Seth Rollins is the shining star here that handles most of the legwork that this match is praised for. He never stays down until he is put down, and while fearful of Lesnar, he gets right into the fray and lands some big blows on both him and Cena. Hell, he literally gets a blow on both of them when he delivers a flying knee that connects with both of their skulls!
The only time anything breaks down into a regular match is when Rollins and Cena are the only ones in the ring. Spamming finishers can mitigate the quality of a good match, but this is an example of when it feels both sensible and necessary. When Cena has to deliver three AAs to Lesnar in a consecutive sequence, not only does it show how far you have to go to put The Beast down, it also exemplifies the toughness of Lesnar when he stands right back up after the first two. Even when Brock is finally on the losing end of momentum, having been tackled through a barricade and whipped into the steel stairs, he still keeps getting up for more, albeit more sluggishly each time. Unexpectedly, it takes Seth Rollins to put the temporary nail in the coffin that removes Lesnar from the equation for the longest chunk of time, when he leaps from the turnbuckle to the outside announce table and crashes down on Lesnar with an Elbow that would make Randy Savage weep.
Cena straps his working boots on a bit tighter as we devolve into a singles match between Cena and Rollins, something that we as fans are learning is a terrific pairing. But again, Seth Rollins shines furiously bright as he unloads offense into Cena and even manages to get some heat from the pro-Rollins crowd when J&J come in to assist in planting Cena with a classic Shield Triple Powerbomb. And after all of this, Seth Rollins kicks out of an Attitude Adjustment! That is the true sign of a WWE main event star, when you’re booked to kick out of an AA. Now recognized as one of the most credible stars of all time, Rollins seizes the opportunity in front of him and cements his legacy in the WWE main event for years to come with a crowd-shattering Phoenix Splash that damn near brings the roof off the place.
Then Lesnar awakens with a vengeance, German suplexes Rollins, and hits him with an F5 to kill the pest that has just made name for himself. But not before said pest blasts him with the briefcase a few times and almost sets up Lesnar for a Curb Stomp that would have surely finished the match.
There are so many things I could rave about in this match, but I think I’ll summarize it like this: if someone were to ask me what WWE match they should watch to see the best they have to offer, this would probably be the match I would choose, as it is a perfect WWE main event in its own right. But this isn’t quite the main event, yet, is it?
Artie: This match starts with Cena receiving his usually Philadelphia welcome of a chorus of boos. Ba-rock gets cheered because he’s the anti-Cena, while Seth Rollins manages to actually get booed. Step back for a second and appreciate that: A heel getting booed in a smark city. Can anyone really argue that Rollins isn’t the top heel in the company (or country) right now?
The match start with Brock doing as he does and suplexing the absolute fuck out of everybody from Cena to Rollins to a beautiful double suplex to J & J security. I can really appreciate the fact that Brock’s ring psychology really IS just “suplex, repeat, suplex, repeat” and that that’s not just a slogan. Eventually Brock and Cena have a little hug time before THE HEEL comes and smacks them across their heads with a big knee.
Also, I must point out that Lesnar also utilizes five moves of doom like Cena. He just does them so freaking well and so convincingly that absolutely no one will ever shit on him for it. Speaking of doing moves well, how god-damn strong is Brock to catch Rollins off a crossbody and into an F5?
As if that wasn’t enough, Brock Lesnar goes on to eat THREE Attitude Adjustments and kick out like he was hit with a freaking snowball. Oh, he then eats a curb stomp. And a spear through the barricade. And the steel stairs…Twice. Look, if you’re going to try to hurt Brock, you may wanna bring a tank down to the ring. Or you could just break his ribs with an elbow drop like Rollins did.
Cena and Rollins start pitter-pattering about in the ring again now that Brock is (probably not) dead. Considering the fact that the injured and pissed off Lesnar could get up and kill them both at any moment, these two decide to take it easy and hit each other with superkicks, sit-out powerbombs, corner powerbombs, oh and then Rollins hits a Shield-style triple powerbomb on Cena with the assistance of J&J. Doesn’t matter Cause BIG JOHN feeds AA’s to J&J and Rollins at which point Rollins joins a very elite class of superstars as he KICKS THE FUCK OUT AFTER AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. Jesus Christ, what could happen next?
Good god almighty, Seth Rollins just hit a MOTHERFUCKING PHOENIX SPLASH. I’ve seen it all, I’ve seen it god damn all. What the hell could happen next? Oh, what’s that, Brock Lesnar uses a Phoenix Down to revive himself, come back into this match, and German suplex the holy shit out of everybody? Rollins starts desperately beating on him with the MITB briefcase, which only further anger the beast who kills Seth with one last big F5 to retain his championship.
Grade: A. No silly reason, no messing around, this was an A.
Cewsh: These guys have focused on how great this match is, and rightly so. This is a fucking fantastic match, and ranks right up there with any triple threat match in WWE history. Brock Lesnar’s stature as a monster of fairy tale proportions who simply cannot be put down for more than 30 seconds no matter what you do to him has to be one of the most compelling wrestling characters in recent times. When he’s in the ring with people, he just exists on a different level of credibility. Even Cena, who we have been taught for years to believe can and will win any match and overcome any challenge, is still often made to look vulnerable and beatable, only to pull a win out of his ass time and time again. But with Lesnar, it’s like two pro wrestlers trying to have a match while ignoring a tyrannosaurus rex in the ring with them. It’s implacable, it’s unbeatable and IT’S COMING.
But while Lesnar is the booking construct that makes this match run, the real accomplishment about this match is that he’s not the one you remember from it. Everything about this match from the opening bell on was built around establishing Seth Rollins as a top level star, even in defeat. In the ring with two of the most famous and unbeatable stars of this era, Rollins didn’t just hold his own, he stole the show, and Cena especially went out of his way to let that be the case. Every high spot in the match was about Rollins. The white hot ending sequence was built fully around Rollins getting soooooo close. And when the match had ended and everything was in the books, the cameras lingered on Rollins, giving him attention over the departing champion or the long time hero.
This is a continuation of Seth Rollins being perhaps the best booked character of the past 20 years. I have no idea where in the hell these lightning bolts of booking clarity are coming from that are keeping Rollins from falling into all of the usual traps and pitfalls that plague young guys who get these pushes, but somehow there he is. Standing in the ring with the best and the business, and looking like he belongs.
92 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
MichaelC: Loved this. Probably the best triple threat match the WWE have done since Kurt Angle/Rock/Undertaker from Vengeance in 2002. Rollins played his role to perfection, as the increasingly frustrated star who would stoop to any levels to get the title, but while he could put down one of the two most unstoppable stars in modern WWE, he couldn’t put both down at the same time long enough to take the title. Brock Lesnar was the Terminator, taking everything from multiple finishers to weapons to going through a table and still getting back up again. In a moment reminiscent of Road Warrior Hawk’s debut in Memphis (where he took Jerry Lawler’s dreaded piledriver four times and stood up each time), Brock got up from the AA thrice. Oh, and Cena was Cena.
But the biggest story coming out of this match, for me, was the solidifying belief that Seth Rollins is the man. He didn’t look a step out of place, in fact, he looked like this was the stage he was meant for all his life. He’s been the de facto world champ in lieu of Brock the past three months, the centrepiece of RAW, and owned the role – it should only be a matter of months (at a guess, by Summerslam) before he is the real World Champion. And he’d be the most deserving first time Champion since… possibly even Austin.
Cewsh: And here we are at last. Now, I’m sure this is far from the first Royal Rumble for most of you, but just in case we have a few spring chickens in the audience, let’s break down the rules here. There are 30 competitors who have had their spot in the Rumble chosen at random by a lottery. The competitors that drew numbers 1 and 2 start the match off in the ring, and a new competitor joins them every 2 minutes from that point on. The goal is to throw the other wrestlers over the top rope so that their feet touch the floor. If they leave the ring any other way, or their feet never touch the floor, then they’re still in the match. In the end, the last person left standing in the ring wins the match and gets an automatic match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania.
Got that? Alright then. Let’s get to the goodness. Do you guys have anything to say before we get started?
MichaelC: As I might have mentioned in my recent 50 Greatest Royal Rumble moments article (a writer is nowt without cheap plugs!), the Royal Rumble is like the wrestling fans Christmas. Only comes once a year, and fills the heart with a sort of childish excitement as the days slowly countdown to it.
Cewsh: That’s a solid plug right there. We have our Rumble Professor back so it’s time for another round of MichaelC Notes!
MichaelC Note: Miz has been with the company for eleven years now. Eleven!
Artie: Out first is The Miz pulling some double duty tonight. Hooray!
Psycho: The Miz? I mean, I love Miz and all, but really? Really? OK, maybe I am being too harsh. Besides, if nothing else, this SURELY means that #2 is Damien Mizdow and we see that split begin.
Artie: Oh, never mind on D-von. Bye Bubba!
Artie: And the crowd goes mild as Axel comes out…but oh fuck him, here comes Erick BIG RED Rowan instead! Wyatt family stare down? Fuck yesssssss!!!!
MichaelC: Curtis Axel is attacked by a man disguised as Cewsh Reviews alumni Vice. Axel then went online to complain he wasn’t eliminated from the Royal Rumble, which just goes to show a lack of awareness of the rules of the Royal Rumble.
Next time, instead of complaining, I suggest WWE superstars follow the example of Batista. He is up to date with all the tropes of the Rumble, becoming dangerously genre savvy, and as a result, has won it twice, and finished in the final four of every Royal Rumble he has ever participated in.
Psycho: Fuck me, this just got intense.
Cewsh: Ever since they broke up i’ve been wondering if fans would be interested in these three feuding. The buzz in the arena suggests that the answer is very much yes.
Psycho: WHAT?! Harper and Rowan are going to turn on their master together?
Artie: Oh man, that tease of Rowan and Harper reuniting against Bray got me all tingly in the pants.
Psycho: Well, Harper probably shouldn’t be a babyface right now anyway. Then again, Bray Wyatt is beginning to prove that he might be enough heel for the entire roster
Artie: Oh boo, I was looking forward to Harper running roughshod over everyone
Artie: HOLY SHIT BOOGEYMAN! YESSSS. Boogeyman and Bray Wyatt playing mind games with each other.
Psycho: Now THIS is a faceoff I wasn’t expecting, but I am loving it all the same.
Somehow, The Boogeyman has come back and is more legitimately terrifying than before. It’s too bad all it took was a clothesline to put him out.
Artie: Please tell me Papa Shango is #8. GOOD GOD PLEASE MAKE PAPA SHANGO NUMBER EIGHT.
Cewsh: Aww. 😦
Artie: Can we please bring him back for a Mania feud with Bray?
Artie: Oh shizzy, it’s my dude, SEEN KARRA. With their recent usage of him, I expect him to be a player in this rumble and spend a good while in here
Cewsh: I love how the Rumble has become a yearly game of, “Guess who still works for WWE?”
Psycho: Oh yeah, HuniCara is the right kind of gas to fuel this Dieseling.
Artie: What the hell? Wyatt is dominating here in a way I did NOT expect. Love him calling everyone out because why the fuck not.
Psycho: Wyatt grabs the mic and cuts one of his most passionate promos before calling back to the “Whole World” gimmick that grew tired after the hundredth time they shoved that gimmick down our throat. Will someone be able to turn the tide of Wyatt’s momentum?
MichaelC: He lasts about thirty seconds.
Would it be mean to suggest a minutes laughter?
Mrs. Cewsh: No.
Mama Cewsh: No.
Past Cewsh: No.
Future Cewsh: No.
AJ Styles: Does a wicky sticket strike his flap paddle on the side of a creek?
MichaelC: Poor Zack.
Psycho: I’m having a lot of trouble holding back my laughter.
Cewsh: I’m having a lot of trouble trying to stop laughing long enough to type things.
MichaelC: Bray Wyatt has eliminated six men already – I’m going to count Eric Rowan on the Mick Foley 2004 precedent even if that is currently a controversial view – and is getting the Diesel push so far. But Diesel was eventually slowed down by Randy Savage. Do we have a Randy Savage type person in the house?
Cewsh: Is there such a thing as a Randy Savage type person? I’m sure Slim Jim has been waiting years for one to come along.
Psycho: At least the kid got a Broski Boot in. Boogeyman couldn’t even get an awkward suplex. So who’s the next man for Wyatt to toss away like yesterday’s trash?
Artie: GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY BUSINESS US ABOUT TO PICK UP! Bryan is here to fuck shit up and the crowd absolutely loves it. Seriously, find me ONE person more over than Bryan is here.
Cewsh: The beer vendor during Zack Ryder matches? KA BLAM.
Psycho: Bad neck be damned, Daniel Bryan has not lost a single bat. He’s just as much of a powder keg as ever. This brought the crowd alive. So this is where we start getting a couple more exciting stars, right?
Artie: Remember when he was a thing?
Psycho: I love Fandango, but he’s definitely a cooling spot and a puppet for Daniel Bryan to manipulate. Look at that classic Airplane Spin! The man is glorious.
Artie: Oh baby, here comes Tyson “the” Kidd. I love this guy. Obviously, I don’t expect him to win, but man is it great to see him actually getting a freaking shot. I love he and Bryan one-upping each other in beating up Fandango. These two had a great little rivalry on Saturday Morning Slam many moons ago.
Psycho: The miracle man who has undergone the greatest of transformations. I wouldn’t be against a darkhorse victory for this man.
Cewsh: Tyson Kidd will win the Royal Rumble on the same day that the sun explodes, killing everyone but Tyson Kidd.
Psycho: DAMN it, Cewsh, Tyson is a master, and Vince McMahon will know this one day.
Artie: Oooo, Stardust is out next, as the ring starts to fill up. Either Bryan is about to start cleaning house or someone big is coming out in the next 2-3 numbers to do the mass eliminations.
Psycho: I fucking LOVE the purple and silver. I’ve said from the beginning that Stardust should have had a silver motif instead of gold, and this is a wonderful alternative.
MichaelC: Amusingly, commentary calls this Stardusts rumble debut, suggesting they are pretending he is not Cody Rhodes – they then keep referring to Cody’s accomplishments!
Psycho: NOOOOOOO! My illogical darkhorse pick!
Give me a moment to dry my tears…cheer me up, #14!
Artie: Damn it, I was really hoping that he’d stay in for a bit and play the typical Jericho role.
Cewsh: He did play the Jericho role. He showed up unexpectedly, disappointed you, and then left without putting anyone over. I said a KA BLAM.
Psycho: BANG! BANG! BANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANG!
Cewsh: Uh oh. Guys, I think our PsychoBot is broken. Does anyone know where we put the warranty?
MichaelC: MandyC interrupted here to ask how old DDP was. “Nearly sixty”, I replied. She thought he was in his mid 40s!
Cewsh: Biznes sobirayetsya zabrat’!
Artie: And heeeeeere’s Rusev to clean out the ring.
Psycho: Rusev came in like freight train, trimming the fat in the ring, BUT HE CAN’T TRIM THE BEARD, BECAUSE BRYAN IS ANNIHILATING THEM WITH ALL SORTS OF KICKS!
Psycho: Blast Wyatt’s skull! Come on! Ge- No! BAD! BAD Wyatt! BAD Rusev! What are you doing? Don’t throw Bryan over the ropes! Oh thank god…he saved himse-WHA-?!
Chaos is delicious, and the world just went completely insane.
Psycho: I’m just gonna weep over here for a moment…don’t mind me guys..keep enjoying the Rumble.
MichaelC: Ok, it’s a bad move, but Bryan’s exit crossing directly into the Shattered Dreams titantron video of Goldust was some epic trolling which set off my schadenfreude considerably.
Artie: Does any of this matter anymore now that Bryan is out?
The crowd is not having any of this now that Bryan is gone. Oh god, whoever wins is getting shat out of the building and I can’t blame the crowd one bit.
Psycho: *Bawling uncontrollably*
Artie: Never heard Kofi get booed like that. Ouch.
This crowd literally gives no fucks anymore.
Cewsh: At this point the crowd would boo a puppy entering the Royal Rumble.
How are you doing, Psycho? You doing okay there, buddy? You’re kind of using up all of my tissues.
Psycho: Ok…I think I’m ready to come back now. There are still some cool people left to come out. In fact, I bet #18 will do just the trick to cheer me up.
Psycho: …I’m going back to my corner.
MichaelC: Snapshot of the Rumble here: Kofi got booed when he entered, because the fans were still in post-Bryan shock. Then when Kofi went out within about 2 minutes, the fans booed his elimination.
Cewsh: I’ve gone on record for a good long time now as being an ardent Miz supporter. At this point, that bandwagon is so empty that it’s basically just me and Maryse driving it by ourselves in awkward silence.
Psycho: The only solace I can take in this is the fact that Wyatt and Rusev are looking like absolute monsters here. Surely they won’t fuck that up, right? …Right?
Artie: WTF, kofi out too? WWE is booting everyone out quickly this rumble.
Psycho: Why am I getting this sinking feeling I’m going to be proven wrong on the whole “Can’t fuck up Rusev and Wyatt looking like absolute monsters” thing…?
Artie: Oh, poor Reigns. He gets booed worse than anyone else. After Bryan got the boot, I think we can all guess who’s getting the win here. I’m with the fans…BOOOO!
Cewsh: As a genuine fan of Roman Reigns, let me just say that I too share the sinking feeling that many of you do at this point, but for the opposite reason. I see exactly where this is going, and man is it going to be hard to be a Roman Reigns fan on the internet after this.
Artie: Reigns’ first elimination. I’m sure there are plenty more to come.
Artie: Out comes Big E and literally no one cares. Poor guy. WWE are really botching this all the fuck up.
Psycho: Ok, the crowd cannot stand it, and I’m not a huge fan of how the Rumble has transpired over the last few minutes, but I honestly think the sight of Rusev, Big E, Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns in the same ring is pretty badass.
Cewsh: Since I started Cewsh Scouts, nearly every major prospect that I have gushed over has gotten a rocket under their ass from WWE except for one. This one. Big E Langston is the biggest missed opportunity in the past 5 years for WWE.
MichaelC: He really suits that robe, though.
Psycho: THE HEAVENS HAVE BESTOWED UPON US A WONDROUS GIFT!
Artie: Miz again? Oh no wait, It’s Mizdow! Wow. Mizdow is the only person out there who can actually get cheered right now. Real fun exchange as Miz tries to hold down the ‘Dow, only for the stunt double to make his way into the ring anyway.
Good damn, LISTEN TO THAT CHEERING FOR MIZDOW. THERE’S HOPE FOR THIS SHOW YET!
Psycho: When a man steps into the arena and brings the crowd back into the Royal Rumble match after Bryan was unceremoniously dumped, you know you have a saving grace on our hands. Mizdow needs to stay in this match for quite some time and do some damage control. They need to reel the crowd back in badly.
Psycho: Oh, for the love of-
Artie: Does WWE want anyone over in this damn thing?
Psycho: And the crowd goes….I dunno…they sort of pop, which is kind of weird. I honestly think it’s just the music at this point.
Remember that image of all the big guys in the ring that I was talking about? That image was tainted with the inclusion of Jack Swagger. We couldn’t just have Mizdow be the one to stick around?
Artie: Oh thank god, someone exciting in THE BIG GUY. Big Guy comes out and meat hooks, suplexes, and just knocked down everyone. He gets the biggest pop for clotheslining Reign’s stupid face off.
Psycho: OK, that’s a suitable replacement.
I gotta say, I love how they let Ryback come in and run the house for a bit. Considering the pattern we’ve been seeing so far, won’t be surprised if he’s tossed out in a matter of minutes.
MichaelC: Man, this crowd. If last year’s, when Rey came out, was like a riot was about to happen, this one is like they were all collectively told their favourite granny had just died. I’ve never seen such a depressed crowd in my life. And this is an arena that survived Mabel winning King of the Ring, the Brawl for All, a Melina singles match and Curtis Axel vs The Miz! (well, apart from Mabel – who holds an analogy to this, as he was the big guy Vince fancied over then midcarders Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels!)
Cewsh: At this point, you can kind of get the sense that the crowd is confused and expecting something. Last year they all really thought Bryan would be coming, but now it’s more like they’re angry customers waiting for a manager to show up and give them some free stuff for their trouble.
Artie: Oh boy, it’s Uncle Glen. Great. Seven “big guys” in the ring at once. I wonder who needs to look strong and is gonna throw everybody out!
Psycho: I think a lobotomy would be more enjoyable than this.
MichaelC: I don’t believe I’ve told Cewsh before that Kane is one of the all time greatest big men in WWE histor… Bloody hell, Cewsh has somehow learnt how to hit people via email with a Bobby Lashley Greatest Hits DVD….
Cewsh: You’re lucky it’s a DVD. The VHS version took up 36 tapes.
Psycho: Ok, the big guy schtick is getting stale with the bland old acts mucking things up. We really need a wildcard to liven up the scene. Do we have one of those?
Psycho: FUCK YEAH, WE DO!
Artie: Holy shit, that pop for Ambrose is nuts! Philly loves them some of the lunatic fringe who marches right into this match and fucks everyone up.
Cewsh: I’m not the biggest Dean Ambrose fan in the world, but can you imagine if he won this? At this point, they might carry him through the streets and make him the mayor.
Cewsh: Titus came.
Cewsh: Titus was eliminated while no one was looking.
MichaelC: What was the point of Titus?
I mean, that was a complete waste of a rumble spot. Why are you wasting your midcard? I’m beginning to feel as disappointed as my third year RE teacher was reading my homework on a regular basis.
Artie: I’m afraid I’ve got some Bad News at number 27, because here comes the Barrett Barrage. Shame there’s absolutely no hope of Barrett actually winning the damn thing.
MichaelC: Cesaro getting some rumble spots in. I feel like a WWE star has really come out once they have their Rumble of note.
Psycho: A Rumble isn’t a Rumble without the ring filling up at some point, but the crowd is so deflated right now, and the clusterfuck is not helping the matter.
Artie: Here comes Captain Brass Ring as Cesaro makes his way to the ring! Please let him be the ring clearer.
Cewsh: He’s less of a ring cleaner, and more of a walking, muscly ice cream truck that only sells uppercuts.
Psycho: Resisting the urge to say, “TIGER,” during every one of those uppercuts.
Psycho: My heart weeps for Big E. This guy should have been a Final Four candidate at this point in his career.
MichaelC: Aww, Big E is gone. Who will bring style to the Royal Rumble now?
Cewsh: YOU’RE RUINING HIM YOU FUCKFACES.
Artie: Oh. I guess this is where we clean the ring. Yikes.
MichaelC: I’m genuinely stunned that in a match where nearly 2/3s of the people lasted ten mins or much less, Jack Swagger gets over 15 minutes!
Cewsh: I wonder if that’s the result of them just having too many monsters on the roster right now. Between Kane, Show, Ryback, Reigns, Rusev and Big E, how many spots are there to go around?
Psycho: Seriously? Ryback is out like that? Are none of the pushed people getting a noteworthy elimination?!
Artie: I’M HERE TO POP THE CROWD, HERE COMES THE SHOW OFF!
Psycho: DOLPH ZIGGLER
I don’t even know if I can be excited for this at this point.
Artie: A superkick for you! And one for you! And another for you! THE GOD DAMN SUPERKICK OPRAH IS OUT HERE!
Is it too soon to rescind my earlier statement about not being excited?! I love this man.
Psycho: DOUBLE SUPERKICK!
MichaelC: Cesaro doesn’t care what the crowd chant, he’ll just uppercut everyone for good measure anyway.
Psycho: Noo….not…not the Knockout Punch.-It’s alright, someone will get in Big Show and Kane’s warpath befor-
Artie: Oh WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK. Tossed out like a sack of potatoes?>!
Psycho: That loud crack you just heard? That was the sound of my heart breaking.
I know how Michael C feels about Mr. Perfect now.
Artie: REALLY? Really?! FUCKING REALLY?!@!!@ THAT is how they clear out the ring? Really?!
Psycho: What the hell is going on here? They started turning things around for a moment, and now they are just booking their selves into a corner! Why are they not even taking advantage of the heat Wyatt and Rusev got earlier? Wait…where’s Rusev?
MichaelC: Among all of the eliminations by Show and Kane, I’d just like to point out Kane outright holds the record for most eliminations in Rumble history. A great result for a great man.
Psycho: I wish I could be actually excited for this uninspired Shield reunion, but the cold hard fact is I just can’t Ambrose is getting knocked out, and then we’re dealing with Roman Reigns looking really strong and eliminating both giants – The old giants who shouldn’t be relevant right now. WHERE THE FUCK IS RUSEV?!
Artie: Another potato elimination. Wow. Great booking here, Vince. Are you listening the crowd tonight? They’re chanting BULLSHIT for a reason.
Kane Has Been Eliminated.
Artie: Does anyone even care at this point? The crowd certainly doesn’t. I think Vince is the only person who popped for this shit.
Psycho: At least I wasn’t wrong…
No way this is it, right? Rusev did sneak out of the ring, right? Am I just going crazy?
Artie: Blahaha, they sent The Rock out to curb the boos. The crowd wants anyone else so badly that they’re cheering for the EVIL RUSSIAN RUSEV. Speaking of which,
Psycho: That ending was garbage. There’s no reason Big Show & Kane couldn’t have been Bray Wyatt and Rusev…Wait…WE STILL HAVE RUSEV!!!
RUSEV BACK IN
DO IT FOR MOTHER RUSSIA!
Artie: Oh, well, that was shit. I thought Rusev might come A LITTLE closer to winning. Guess not. Reigns wins, yawwwwwwwwn.
Cewsh: …I liked it.
MichaelC: Let’s get some thoughts in order here. I’d like to preface them by noting that, whoever you want to point the finger of blame at, Roman Reigns is an entirely innocent party in the whole debacle. I like Reigns, he has a lot of promise. The trouble is, the WWE long ago tossed long term thinking to the trash. You see, what you have is a talent who could replace John Cena if carefully nurtured. Instead, they’ve dived on him early, and risk turning him from the next John Cena into the next Ahmed Johnson. It is completely baffling what they are doing to him, by assuming he’ll be ready for a 20 minute plus WrestleMania main event when he missed three crucial months of his build up through injury, and his longest match to date was a disappointing styles clash with Randy Orton. By taking someone built to be that greatest of wrestling characters, the Destroyer, and trying to have him Cena style matches in the first place, and then having made that experience, not allowing the time to mature into those style of matches. By taking his cool persona which got over with the fans, and trying to turn him into a Warner Brothers jokester.
Then in the Rumble, instead of destroying all in his path, like last year, they had him hidden in the corner for most of the match, hidden from the jeers, as if the WWE were scared to push him. Then he needed his cousin to came save him. Really, they needed to have the courage of their convictions. If Reigns is the man NOW then they needed to go full force with him ala Austin in 1998. None of this wishy washy almost apologetic style. If it is true that they were writing the rumble after Bryan’s elimination out of panic, then even as they set up Roman Reigns as the man they contrive to write his own downfall.
So what we had is The Rock coming down to help and give endorsement to a new star, and The Rock getting booed out of the arena as a result. Then the anti-American heel reappearing, and getting cheered.
People get too caught up in it being a “Bryan vs the world” thing, forgetting he is an avatar for a decade of issues. I’d accept it was a Bryan or riot issue if the fans had turned on the entire match, like they did last year. But the funereal atmosphere did keep lifting, briefly. For Mizdow, Ambrose, Ziggler and others. The fans kept trying to get back into, only for a new depression to hit them. There’s a theory online in the last day or two that this will keep going until WWE push Bryan into Cena’s spot, or fire him, and really, that misses the point. When Bryan goes, Ziggler or Ambrose or Ryback (and of him, I can’t think of a less anti-IWC style guy) takes over. And, like Pandoras Box, one could suggest they wouldn’t have had the Bryan issue if they’d held off his comeback until after the Rumble, and the fans wouldn’t be so loud and vocal if the WWE hadn’t pushed the idea – built on exceptions to the rules – for years that they pushed who the fans want. Even after the Zack Ryder debacle, they still claim that, and so fans respond to it. Basically, Art isn’t a democracy, but if you are going to be hypocritical about it, you will get the response people think are expected.
I’m a big fan of Roman Reigns and I said previously that only an idiot could screw up his potential. Well, I might be a grumpy Glaswegian but sure as hell the WWE found me that idiot. I’d love to be wrong, but I think they’ve, long term, killed his career. And the look in his eyes at the end of the match was that of a man who agrees with me.
Psycho: For what it’s worth, this Rumble started off tremendously. They brought in three fitting and crowd-pleasing surprise guests, DDP and Bubba in particular getting a lot of love from me. The Wyatt Family “Reunion” was one of the greatest segments in Rumble history. Wyatt’s Diesel run of dominance, Bryan’s hot run up to his elimination, and dude in front row holding his arms out in excitement for Tyson Kidd were invigorating to watch. The timing was damn near pitch perfect, the moments were well orchestrated, and the energy level was off the charts.
However, that energy is drained the moment Daniel Bryan is eliminated, and it takes away so much from the match. The crowd couldn’t care less, and WWE follows that up with five entries that just pisses the crowd off after feeling so jilted. Mizdow, Ziggler, and Ambrose get considerable pops – Ziggler and Mizdow damn near making the place erupt after being so despondent – but the first two are thrown out at a moment’s notice while Ambrose doesn’t get much chance to do anything of significance until it’s time for him to be tossed out. The presence of Big Show & Kane already bores people, so putting them in the role of the two mountains that Roman Reigns has to conquer, while probably done to avoid a babyface reaction for young alternatives, just kills all the intrigue that the Rumble should generate on its own power. In fact, Wyatt and Rusev, the two people they built up through the entire Rumble, should have been the alternative. But instead, they are eliminated in the least inspired and productive manner, much like every significant person in this match that lasts past Bryan.
They had the potential to have a terrific Royal Rumble match with a winner that would be hated by some while still keeping the excitement high during the actual match. I honestly believe keeping Bryan in a little longer and giving him an emotionally charged elimination ala Mr. Perfect in the ’93 Rumble would have kept the crowd drawn in. Combine that with better execution of the eliminations of Wyatt, Rusev, Ryback, and Ziggler and having Big Show and Kane eliminated before the Final Four, I think you have the outline for a Royal Rumble worthy of all the praise. But I guess the Triple Threat match was too much charity, eh?
Artie: One of the less-shitty Rumble matches in years, but some of that booking was insanely stupid. No little guys to bump around, while having 10 big guys standing around just hugging each other. Bryan out early. Ziggler dumped out like potatoes. I seriously can not believe that half this shit happened.
Cewsh: This was a show that won’t ever be forgotten, if only for the controversy that surrounded the end of it, and the far reaching effects that will no doubt have on WWE history. But while there are so many people out there decided to cancel their WWE Network subscriptions over the direction of that one storyline, at the end of the day this show is actually a great representation of why you can’t. There was some nostalgia, a ton of new stars getting time in the spotlight, a very fun first half of the Rumble match, and a controversial ending that you will spend years debating and arguing and talking about with other wrestling fans. There isn’t another company in the world that is really capable of eliciting these reactions from people, for better and for worse. And through all the frustration, annoyance and outright indignation, i’ll keep coming back.
Unless they keep pushing the Ascension. Because seriously, they are like a gall stone in the penis of my happiness.
Artie: The tag matches were highly irrelevant, the rumble was super oddly booked, but at least the title match was excellent. Brock vs Cena vs Rollins is really what saved this show as a whole. Reigns has a very bleak future ahead of him.
Psycho: Despite the rough start and the abysmal ending, there was still plenty to enjoy from this show. The tag matches not involving The Ascension were fun romps, the Tag Title match particularly jazzing the crowd up after the flatness that was the opening contest. Had the Royal Rumble been enjoyable all throughout, the event could have gone down as one of the greatest ever. Even though we cannot regard the show that high, Seth Rollins and the Triple Threat Title match in general unequivocally stole the show and produced an all-time classic that will be revisited many times. It couldn’t all be great, but a main event-caliber match that will stand the test of time is something of which to be proud, so Royal Rumble 2015 wasn’t a total flop, and I would even say it was still a general success.
MichaelC: You know, I am a big fan of Rumble matches, and very forgiving of them. I can even accept the 1995 Royal Rumble match as a bit of an avant-garde experimentation, with the full hindsight of time allowing one to then jump to greater things in the future. Stuck in the present, with no reset buttons, one is reminded of Robert Hughes’s seminal Shock of the New: the flaws in this rumble strike us because they are so fresh. Perhaps in years to come, we’ll look on Bray’s section, or it’ll be remembered as one of those brave choices ala Maven and Undertaker in 2002. Just now one is hit with the shock of the new, and recoils, but with time comes concord. But at the moment, there was little stars made, or people protected (hell, even Brays longevity run ended with him looking an irrelevance).
Wrestling fans though, sadly, tend to see things in binary, not nuance, so I fully expect to be seen as either a Roman Reigns hater or WWE apologist. Seemingly, the people do not believe in the middle ground.
Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed this very overdue look at one of the most talked about shows of the past several years. Next up, we will answer the question: what is black, white, and promotes terrible wrestling shows? See if you can work that one out at home, and in the meanwhile remember to keep reading and be good to one another!