Royal Rumble 2014

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Yeah, it’s the one where they screwed up with Daniel Bryan. The first time. This was a challenging time for WWE, discontent both in front of and behind the camera was bubbling over. Batista returned on the Raw before this and popped a big rating. He got a good response from the audience. But no one wanted to see him in the main event of Wrestlemania this year. They wanted Daniel Bryan. That’s what we had been building to since Bryan got screwed out of the title at Summerslam.

But it wasn’t to be. And what we got instead was one of the most fascinating Rumbles ever.

The Rest of the Card:

-Bray Wyatt defeated Daniel Bryan

-Brock Lesnar defeated Big Show

-Randy Orton defeated John Cena to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

The Match

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CM Punk, making his final WWE appearance to date, is #1. Seth Rollins is #2. They were teasing dissension among The Shield at this point, but that storyline would end up getting dropped before Wrestlemania. Damien Sandow is #3. #4 is Cody Rhodes, Sandow’s former best friend that he stabbed in the back at Money in the Bank. Cody and Goldust lost the tag titles to the New Age Outlaws on the pre-show. Sandow charges Punk and gets Back Dropped over the top rope.

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#5 is Corporate Kane. This is was his 15th consecutive Royal Rumble. He gets dumped by Punk in about a minute. Rusev makes his main roster debut at #6. Still billed as “Alexander Rusev” here. #7 is Jack Swagger. #8 is Kofi Kingston. He hits Punk with a kick that concussed him, as we would later learn in Punk’s podcast with Colt Cabana. Jimmy Uso is #9. Goldust is #10. Rusev gets ganged up on and eliminated. Kofi gets knocked off the apron into Rusev’s arms. Rusev proceeds to set Kofi on the security wall, setting up the spot where jumps from there back to the apron. I can’t believe he pulled that off.

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#11 is Dean Ambrose. #12 is Dolph Ziggler. #13 is R-Truth. He’s eliminated by Ambrose in about 30 seconds. Rollins and Ambrose then combine to eliminate Jimmy Uso. Kevin Nash is a surprise entrant at #14. He eliminates Swagger. Roman Reigns is #15 and we’ve got all three members of The Shield in there. He tosses Kingston. Then Ziggler. Then Nash. Great Khali is #16. Shield guys gang up on him and eliminate him. Goldust accidentally eliminates Cody and then gets dumped by Reigns.

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Sheamus is #17. So we’ve got the three Shield guys, Punk, and Sheamus. I had forgotten this was a return for Sheamus, he had been gone since Money in the Bank. The Miz is #18. Fandango is #19. #20 is El Torito. He eliminates Fandango with a Dropkick. Reigns then Military Presses Torito out. Cesaro is #21. He’s got a Big Swing for Miz. And Punk. Punk did a great job in this match giving everyone offense when they came in. And then the longest Swing ever for Rollins.

Luke Harper is #22. Jey Uso is #23. JBL is #24. He takes forever getting into the ring and then gets dumped by Roman Reigns. Cole busts out the clunky line that “The JBL character has never entered the Royal Rumble.” Also, the camera catches Kane sneaking down to the ring. JBL does the Lawler thing of pretending like he was never in the match. #25 is Erick Rowan. He combines with Harper to dump Miz. Then they eliminate Jey Uso. #26 is Ryback. Amazing how much he had cooled off from the previous year.

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#27 is Alberto Del Rio. Batista is #28. He gets a bit of a pop but it quickly turns to heat. Batista eliminates Rowan. He Back Drops Ryback over the top. He dumps Del Rio. #29 is Big E Langston, the reigning Intercontinental Champion.

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One last entrant. Everyone in the world assumes it’s Daniel Bryan. The crowd is chanting for Daniel Bryan. It has to be Daniel Bryan. It’s…Rey Mysterio. Who gets booed for basically the only time in his career. The crowd boos, chants for Bryan. They’re completely checked out of the match. The announcers have to awkwardly pretend like it’s not happening. Big E gets eliminated by Sheamus. Mysterio gets eliminated by Rollins and everyone cheers. Reigns eliminates Harper with a Superman Punch. Ambrose tries to dump Reigns, at which point Reigns eliminates Cesaro, Ambrose, and Rollins. That ties Kane’s record with 11 eliminations.

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We’re down to four: Punk, Sheamus, Reigns, and Batista. Punk gets dragged out of the ring by Kane. He had been hiding under the ring since the JBL entrance. Kane Chokeslams Punk through the Spanish Announce Table. This was leading to Punk vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania, but that got scrapped when Punk quit the company. Reigns eliminates Sheamus and we’re down to two. This is probably the hottest a crowd has ever been for Reigns and it’s purely out of spite.

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Batista counters a Superman Punch with a Spear, but then gets Speared by Reigns. Batista reverses a throw attempt and tosses Reigns to win.

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Rating: ***½. That was pretty good, and if it had ended with Daniel Bryan winning it would have been remembered a lot better. Not too heavy on surprise entrants this time. Loved Reigns dominating. Punk had a great run despite being messed up. Overall, an enjoyable and surreal Rumble.

The Aftermath

The Wrestlemania card got reshuffled as a result of Batista flopping as a face and Punk quitting. Daniel Bryan took over Raw and demanded Triple H face him at Wrestlemania. Triple H agreed, and then Bryan upped the ante by challenging Triple H to put him in the main event if he won. An enraged Triple H agreed. At Wrestlemania, Bryan defeated Triple H in an awesome match and then won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by forcing Batista to submit.

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