Royal Rumble 2011

 

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Is bigger always better? That was the question this Rumble posed. Every Rumble but the first one had contained 30 entrants. This year they decided to up that number to 40. And we get a real changing of the guard at the Rumble here, as this one doesn’t contain Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, or Triple H. They had all moved on from being full-time competitors.

John Cena seems like the obvious favorite. He was in the match and seemed like a good bet to be in the main event of Wrestlemania. But this was a time of change for WWE, maybe they had a surprise planned…

The Rest of the Card

-Edge defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

-The Miz defeated Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship

-Eve Torres defeated Natalya, Layla, and Michelle McCool in a Fatal Fourway Match to win the Diva’s Championship

The Match

Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker are on commentary.

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CM Punk, leader of The New Nexus, is our #1 entrant. Then The Corre shows up and we get a brawl between The New Nexus and the old Nexus. Jerry Lawler: “This is a confusing way to start the Rumble.” Definitely got that right. Crowd is pretty much silent for this brawl. Then we get the Anonymous Raw General Manager buzzing in with an announcement. He sends everyone to the back except Punk. Well, that was a pretty lame way to kick things off.

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Daniel Bryan is #2. Not much of a reaction for pre-beard Bryan here. Cole is in his heel persona here and he’s already insufferable. #3 is Justin Gabriel of The Corre. He misses a 450 Splash on Punk, at which point he’s fulfilled his purpose in the match and is eliminated by Bryan. #4 is Zack Ryder. He’s got some steam behind him at this point, a year before being buried. He’s eliminated by Bryan in about 45 seconds. William Regal is #5. Ted DiBiase is #6. King is surprised him and Maryse are still together, I’m surprised he was still employed. #7 is John Morrison.

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Yoshi Tatsu is #8. Husky Harris is #9. Chavo Guerrero is #10. A lot of mediocrity filling up the ring right now. Mark Henry is #11. He tosses Chavo. And Yoshi Tatsu. JTG is #12. You know, I feel like they could have cut ten entrants out of this match and been just fine. Michael McGillicutty is #13 and eliminates JTG. Harris and McGillcutty team up to eliminate DiBiase as Chris Masters enters #14. David Ortunga enters #15. At this point we have enough New Nexus members that they overwhelming the ring and eliminate everyone. Bryan, Masters, Morrison, and Henry.

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So we have Punk, Harris, McGillicutty, and Otunga alone in the ring. #16 is Tyler Reks, he lasts about 30 seconds before getting tossed by the pack. #17 is Vladimir Kozlov, he’s gone in less than a minute. #18 is R-Truth, same deal for him. #19 is Great Khali. Khali eliminates Harris. He manages to last the interval, and the #20 entrant…Mason Ryan of The New Nexus. I love that spot. Ryan eliminates Khali.

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#21 is Booker T! Big pop for the surprise return. He fights heroically, then gets distracted by the need to Spinaroonie and gets tossed. #22 is John Cena, and he proceeds to destroy the entire Nexus single-handedly. Well, that was the end of any chance they had of mattering. Hornswaggle is #23 and gets beaten up by Punk. Cena wakes up and eliminates Punk. Tyson Kidd is #24. He gets beaten up by Cena and Hornswaggle. Kidd gets tossed. #25 is Heath Slater. He’s gone in less than a minute.

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Kofi Kingston is #26. It would be really nice if this match was rounding toward the finish, but we’ve still got a lot to go. #27 is Jack Swagger. #28 is King Sheamus. He eliminates Hornswaggle to my great relief. #29 is Rey Mysterio. He eliminates Swagger with a 619. #30 is Wade Barrett. #31 is Dolph Ziggler. He’s doing double duty after losing to Edge in the opener. #32 is…

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BIG DADDY COOL DIESEL to one of the biggest Rumble pops ever. Got to be the best legend entrant ever. Drew McIntyre is #33.

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Alex Riley, the apprentice of The Miz, is #34. Diesel gets tossed by Barrett. The Miz joins the commentary team. Crowd is rabid for Diesel, still chanting for him. Big Show is #35 and there’s a moment where him and Diesel pass each other on the ramp. Didn’t lead to anything. Striker is trying to put over how huge Big Show is and Cole is shouting him down. Commentary used to be worse than it is now, I swear. Big Show tosses Ziggler.

#36 is Ezekiel Jackson. McIntyre is tossed by Big Show, Jackson eliminates Show. And then we realize that Alex Riley was accidentally eliminated when he slipped off the apron. You can see Cena laying in the corner getting directions from a referee on what to do. Santino is #37. Big pop for the Milan Miracle. Alberto Del Rio is #38. His entrance takes the entire interval and Randy Orton is #39. Orton eliminates Kingston and Sheamus.

And then in one of the most unintentionally hilarious moments in Wrestlemania history Cena and Orton do the Hogan/Warrior deal where they stare each other down and look at the Wrestlemania sign. And there’s absolutely no reaction from the crowd. That might have been a test for whether there was any juice in that feud for Wrestlemania, and the answer was a resounding “Oh Hell No.”

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Kane is #40. So we’ve got Kane, Cena, Barrett, Orton, Mysterio, Del Rio, and Ezekiel Jackson. Kane dumps Jackson. Mysterio eliminates Kane with a Head Scissor and then gets dumped by Barrett. So we’re down to four: Cena, Orton, Del Rio, and Barrett. Another Cena/Orton showdown gets to no response. Alex Riley shows up, Cena gets distracted and then eliminated by Miz.

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Orton tosses Barrett, then gets dumped by Del Rio. We think Del Rio has won, then it’s revealed that Santino is still around and was never eliminated. He hits The Cobra to a crazy pop. Del Rio reverses Santino and dumps him to win the match.

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Rating: **½. That was kind of soul-draining to watch. It wasn’t really a ton longer than a typical Rumble (if you don’t count the pre-match thing between The Nexus and The Corre). But there were so many entrants and so many of them were pure filler. The Nexus run was one of the best things in Rumble history. The surprise returns of Booker and Diesel were awesome. There’s a good version of this match where you cut it down to 30 entrants. But that’s not the version we got.

The Aftermath

Del Rio challenged Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania, where he was defeated.

On the Raw side, John Cena won an Elimination Chamber match to become the #1 contendender for the WWE Championship. He challenged The Miz for the title at Wrestlemania and came up short.

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