Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the reviews that will hide under the ring until all the other reviews are eliminated, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as we have finally reached what many people consider to be the funnest and most interesting wrestling event of the year, the Royal Rumble. And this one is shaping up to be a doozy, which 30 men ready to enter and seemingly 10 odds on favorites to win. Will the monster Ryback destroy everything in his first Rumble match? Will John Cena erase the stink of 2012 with some redemption? Will Heath Slater make it all the way to the ring before someone beats him up? All great questions. And, for once, the Rumble isn’t the only place for rampant speculation and interest. Because we will also see the match up that would have blown 2003 Cewsh’s mind out of his ears, CM Punk vs. The Rock. Will Punk rise to the challenge and hold off the greatest threat to his title in his entire 400+ day reign? Or will The Rock find his inner champion one more time and show that he’s still as good as it gets? How many more questions can I pack into this intro? I don’t know?!
Cewsh: You’ve almost certainly seen a Royal Rumble before if you’re reading this, so you’re already predisposed to the following two pieces of information.
1) The Royal Rumble is fucking awesome.
2) The people who make the videos for the Royal Rumble love them a metaphor.
The tradition of creating some kind of overarching theme for the whole show continues this year, as they use a countdown ticking down to represent both the impending arrival of the next Rumble entrant, and CM Punk’s title reign ticking down. And while this may be subtlety on par with setting your boyfriend’s house on fire to let him know you’re upset, it still works great to get across the dual main events and to tie them together. Plus, it all culminates in a Photoshop job so awful that it looks like the WWE productions guys are just trying to show us who they ship.
It’s okay guys, we all have our one true pair. And for us here at Cewsh Reviews, that pair is without a doubt…
Cewsh: Backstage, we see Alberto Del Rio and his friend/butler/bump monkey Ricardo Rodriguez walking on their way to the ring and palling around like the Mexibros they are. They come across Bret Hart, (played here by Sir Ian McKellan,) who tells Del Rio that he reminds Bret of himself. Alberto thanks him profusely for the compliment and tries to go to the ring, but Ricardo is completely marking out for his boyhood hero. Bret handles this dangerous stalker situation in a friendly way, and gives Ricardo a pair of the classic Bret Hart sunglasses before Alberto finally drags an elated Ricardo away.
The fact that they’re having respected and beloved guy like Hart put over Del Rio as a true champion is a terrific idea, and adds to an already astonishingly effective run as Smackdown’s top babyface for Del Rio. The face turn has been the most unexpected breath of fresh air in WWE for years, and I wish both ALberto and Ricardo continued success as they continue to kill it on a nightly basis. Or, at least, I WOULD wish them success if Ricardo hadn’t gotten the glasses I’ve been wanting since I was 8. Because you don’t need a good reason to hold a grudge and I WANT THOSE GLASSES GOD DAMMIT.
MichaelC: So, you might remember from the TLC review that Alberto Del Rio turned face completely out of the blue. Yeah, that happened. He followed it up by committing hit and run against Santa (don’t worry, he got better) and in an even more hideous crime, bringing back Tommy Dreamer. Even so, he has become a massively over babyface in record time, not just helped by the Hispanic audiences which the current storyline is tailored to. Perhaps the lesson is that a man who played a face his entire life is better suited to being one than a heel? Color me shocked. In his new role, he’s actually bloody charismatic, and I speak as one of his biggest detractors.
What we have here is a shining example of WWE’s ability to save a pet project completely.
Big Show is on his own mission to save his career too. As recently as September, he was done and dusted in my book, with his last great matches fading into the distant memory, and him becoming what Terry Funk warns of: a liability to his opponents rather than help. Then came the Sheamus feud, which managed to make the fighting Irishman look vulnerable, and lit a fire under the Show, which has been hitherto missing in 2012. A run of matches between the two followed where the worst was good and the best was great, and as much as I put a chunk of that down to the younger, better opponent, Show certainly carried his weight.
He has carried that into this feud. I didn’t see the Smackdown title change due to health issues this month, but Psycho informs me it was a good match and he is a man of exquisite taste. This match wasn’t too bad either. Del Rio winning two Last Man Standings against a man Sheamus couldn’t put down on his best days really puts the former aristocrat over like Rover. Even in his Indian summer, Show is still capable of putting folk over huge when they let him. I didn’t mind the finish: I discussed it with Justin Jessel during the show and we both agreed it was “Cena v Batista, but smartly done.” Instead of “Oh I’m Batista, I’ll just grasp slowly in disbelief looking tough”… here, Del Rio destroys Shows arm with the chair and armbreaker, so that he CAN’T support himself back up or use his arm to get out of the duct tape.
The Del Rio show moves on.
I’m actually looking excited to it.
Now, if only we could get John Cena to stop burying him on national TV with snide comments about how easy he would be to beat, (in a move that would have gotten Triple H CRUCIFIED by the IWC had he said it,) when they are trying to build him up as the next big superface, that’d be lovely.
Cewsh: This match is really a ton of fun.
Del Rio is so at home in his new skin as the Mexican Hero that WWE has been having wet dreams about since Pedro Morales stopped drawing that it’s ridiculous, and the fans here buy into him 110%. Big Show, for his part, knows that what this match needs him to be is a big, oppressive bully who can’t be stopped, so that’s exactly what he is. Essentially, the Big Show’s brings the same style to this fight that he did against Sheamus. But where Sheamus was a brawler who had no choice or inclination to do anything but try to trade punches with Show, Del Rio is a strategist and a superior athlete, who can run circles around Show and out-think him all the way around.
That’s not to say Del Rio doesn’t take his licks in the process. No matter how smart you are, if you find yourself with the Big Show’s hand around your next while you’re standing on top of part of the stage, your plan probably hasn’t gone precisely the way that you originally meant it to.
But despite that setback, Del Rio managed to lure Big Show back to the ring, and work over his arm again and again and again, leaving it dangling useless, as Show fought him off again and again. Until finally, Del Rio got the Big Show down and Ricardo made quick work of duct taping Show’s feet to the ropes a’la John Cena and Batista. But while that was fun, this is infinitely better, because not only does Alberto have someone to do it for him, making it more realistic, but Del Rio also ripped Show’s arm up so badly, that the giant was physically unable to lift himself up to do anything about it. In the end, the plan worked like a charm, and the giant sat in the ring, humiliated for the second time in a row by our new hero.
This was a fun match, and the biggest reason for that is because WWE has something really special in Del Rio right now. Hopefully the temptation to push it to the side to focus on prior plans won’t cause them to make a huge mistake and let this momentum he has fade out, because I’m not joking in the slightest when I say that Alberto Del Rio, this Alberto Del Rio, could unseat John Cena as the top babyface in wrestling one day.
Tread carefully, WWE. Tread veeeeeery carefully.
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Cewsh: We go backstage and Matt Striker is interviewing Dolph Ziggler, while AJ and Big E look on. Dolph cuts a promo about how he’s choosing to be the first entrant because he IS number one, (a lesser blog would make a pee joke here, but we’re professionals,) and says that he’ll win the Rumble from that spot with hardly any trouble at all. Matt Striker then suggests that it might be slightly harder than that, which gets him a lecture from AJ before Big E just grabs the microphone and shoves him out of the way.This is all pretty standard, until Big E opens his mouth and awesome comes flowing out like liquid gold.
I already knew that Big E Langston was exciting in the ring, hugely charismatic and a ridiculous specimen of humanity. But now he’s funny too? I wish I were wearing panties so that they could drop at this point. I’m saying it right now, Big E Langston is my new favorite wrestler. And that ominous thunderclap that you just heard is nothing to worry about. Happens all the time. Totally unrelated.
MichaelC: Big E Langston takes the mic and bloody hell he knocks it right out of the park, both mocking the typical WWE backstage interview and adding his charismatic charm on top of it. If this man can wrestle, he’ll be a bloody star.
Cewsh: HE’LL BE MY HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERO
MichaelC: Yeah, you were right.
Cewsh: I’m riding this prediction momentum right on to a heroic Royal Rumble bet victory later tonight. I’m blaring “I’ll Be Your Hero” and looking stoically at pictures of John Cena, Ryback and CM Punk. We’re bringing it home tonight, boys.
MichaelC: PS, Dolph Ziggler drew number 1, although he admitted both spots are identical in a rumble match. Which they are. He also mused about unifying the two world titles at WrestleMania in a statement which made half the online wrestling community explode with joy. No inadvertent porn references from me THIS month!
It did however take me three times watching this promo to write it up, as my wife keeps drooling over AJ…
*Cewsh Note: MichaelC may not be responsible for any mentions of vaginal ventriloquism.
Cewsh: After Ziggler and his crew leave, (and I finish fanning myself dramatically like a Southern belle from the 20s,) we get a string of short promos from people who are going to be in the Royal Rumble. This is a take on the string of promos like this they always used to do before the match back in the olden days of yore, and it really is a great way to remind you of who is involved and let viewers who don’t really watch between May and December get an idea for who all of these people are and what they’re all about.
Nobody really stands out as particularly noteworthy, though it is worth mentioning that Randy Orton is coming off more and more heelish by the day. Are we rapidly nearing the wondrous time where heel Orton comes back to us? Because seriously, that’s what I asked Santa for for Christmas, and that fat bastard never comes through for me.
MichaelC: MICHAELC’s “I’m MARKING OUT, BRO!” (copyright, Matt Striker, 2011) Moment Episode 1
Royal Rumble promos! I’ve been wanting them to return for…sixteen years now. This reminds me of the 1990 Rumble, when every man in that rumble except Koko B Ware and The Red Rooster gets promo time before the match. I couldn’t be more excited if President Obama interrupted this video via telepathy to announce time travelling aliens had returned all the missing BBC archives!
Cewsh: Now, in the spirit of these promos, I’ll now let the stalwart crew who will be reviewing the Rumble match with me cut promos of their own in their own unique styles.
DDT: It’s that time of year again; the time when we decide who will be one-half of the main event of Wrestlemania, and ANYONE CAN WIN!!! And by ‘anyone’ of course, we mean only main eventers. Just as well, really; who here would pay money to see Jinder Mahal wrestle in the main event? Anyone?
Didn’t think so.
So anyway the internet is all stoked and ready for Shelton Benjamin and Carlito to make their triumphant returns to WWE. I laugh at this because one is under contract to Ring of Honor, one left on really bad terms, and neither were all that good. Hurrah for nostalgia!
So I’ve only been casually keeping up-to-date with WWE, and this is their chance to pull me back in. Let’s see what you got, WWE!
MichaelC: In the ads, The Rock has turned into an actual bull and is going to gore people at the Rumble! BEWARE! I wonder how many people turned up to see the Rumble!
Cewsh: 20,000 or so? That’s the stadium capacity.
MichaelC: Well, that’s no fun. But speaking of stadium capacity…
Cewsh: Oh no no no we’re about to start the Rumble review you can’t just go off on a huge tangent here somebodyturnondrwhoquick
MichaelC: Now, David Meltzer has often claimed…
Cewsh: We’re doomed.
MichaelC: …on the basis of figures on actual documents he once saw, that the attendance at WrestleMania III was a mere seventy eight thousand, not the ninety three thousand plus that the WWE claim it to be. I would like to suggest that both parties are talking bullshit, and the real figure is somewhere in between. Lets first take into account the use of camera work at the event. Those cameras show us the crowd from all angles, and there doesn’t appear to be four thousand empty seats. (The Silverdome non-football seating attendance back then being 82k.) As a long term follower of football (or soccer if you wish), believe me, you can learn to spot four thousand empty seats in an arena. Speaking of football, FIFA held some of their 1994 World Cup in the Silverdome, and had to drastically cut down the attendance figures as soccer pitches are a lot larger than your average American sports pitch. With the drastically cut down SilverDome, FIFA, who aren’t strangers to “claiming as many sold tickets as possible” shall we say, claimed an attendance of 77.2k for Brazil/Sweden. Which for people who weren’t watching football in 1994, was the World Champions vs the team who finished third in the entire World. IE pretty massive.
So the drastically widened Silverdome held the same amount as the full seated Silverdome with people on the pitch. It doesn’t take a miracle to see where this is going, and speaking of miracles, here’s the Pope. He claimed 93.6k followers attended to see him give Mass back in 1987. Now, looking at the footage, there isn’t that much difference between the Pope’s audience and the wrestling one, in terms of size. Now David Meltzer claims that that were was a ten thousand person difference between the Pope’s and the WWF’s audiences, and that more people were packed in. This isn’t supported by the corroborating evidence, which suggests more people packed into the wrestling event! Also the idea of the Vatican working an attendance figure later on to keep up with pro-wrestling amuses me ever so slightly.
At the end of the day, Dave may have claims from people who worked at the WWE at the time, but I am going to have to call Occam’s Razor on this. The idea that the Silverdome themselves, the Vatican, the NFL, the TV channels that showed the sports involved based on tickets sold, and FIFA to name but a few organisations are ALL working their figures in entirely different ways to support WWE’s claim of 80k plus seems, to me, to be utterly ridiculous. If we were talking one or two or even three parties (Silverdome, WWF, Pope) then I’d even side with Meltzer, begrudgingly, but taking into account ALL the evidence, nah. The easier explanation for me is that it’s a tax fudge of some kind…
People who have spent far more time than me looking into this, (for example the folk at the ProWrestlingOnly forums, and going way back in time, The Oratory,) suggest an attendance of circa 85k. At the end of the day though, 78k, 85k, 93k, its a damn impressive crowd for pro-wrestling. But 93k AND 78k have as much credibility as a WWE “Did you know?” fact.
Cewsh: Congratulations. Now you’re smarter. You probably forgot your 8th birthday party to take all of that in, but that’s okay, because your mom didn’t get you the Spiderman cake you asked for anyway.
Cewsh: I’m not entirely sure how to bring my journalistic expertise to this match. It would be incredibly easy for me to just tell you that it’s virtually identical to the 30 other matches these two teams have had recently, because that is 100% the case. I could tell you about the backstory to stretch things out, but how many words can I really commit to the story of two guys who don’t get along who fight another two dudes and no plot development occurs at any point? I like trumping up midcard matches as extravagant displays of masterful excellence as much as the next guy, but these guys aren’t giving me anything to work with. This was a perfectly fine match between 4 guys that range from competent to terrific, with nobody really going out of their way to try to compete with the other mega matches on this card. The whole thing is just nice and unobtrusive, which is POISON TO THE REVIEWING PROCESS YOU PRICKS.
I suppose the important thing to focus on here is the growing dissension between Kane and Daniel Bryan. They never had much “sension” to begin with, granted, but it certainly seems as though things have run their course here and they are quickly speeding towards a break up feud between the two. I can’t argue with the decision since their act has pretty much done everything that it could do, but with both they and Rhodes Scholars splitting up, that tag team division we were so excited about a few months ago isn’t looking too hot right now.
72 out of 100
MichaelC: Here comes the title change. Only…it doesn’t happen. That’s strange. The WWE rule of three (third title chance is the charm) has failed me. What that means for Rhodes and Sandow is anyone’s guess. JBL makes a Freddie Mercury reference, at which point Michael Cole tries to show off all his Queen knowledge. Later, Cole blows it by asking if someone would still be a vegan if they ate goat cheese. Vegans…don’t eat cheese.
Cewsh: Team Hell No is backstage celebrating their victory, when Vickie Guerrero shows up and gives each guy their Rumble entry number. Bryan shows his to Kane, inspiring uproarious laughter and mockery while Bryan just stews and feels sad. Bryan asks suggests “I showed you mine, now show me yours”, but Kane won’t show him because “Trust me, you’ll feel inadequate.” And while wrestling and dick jokes generally work together about as well as peanut butter and french toast, (Cewsh Note: Actually, that sounds amazing. Hold on a minute… Yeah guys, this is fucking delicious, you should get in on this.) this was pretty goddamn funny. I don’t know how much shelf life these guys have together, but even after they break up, this whole run deserves to be remembered as one of the few genuinely funny scripted things in wrestling. Kudos to all involved.
Cewsh: Well here we are, the match we’ve all been waiting for. But before we get started, let’s just pretend like none of us have ever seen a Royal Rumble before and go over the rules. The Rumble is a battle royal with 30 participants that starts with two men in the ring, with another entering every 90 seconds. Eliminations can occur at any time, and take place when a competitor is thrown over the top rope and has both of his feet touch the floor. Anything goes, and anything and anyone can eliminate you, and the winner of the match gets an automatic championship match of their choosing at Wrestlemania. Okay, everyone clear on that? Good.
To cover the Rumble this year, we’ve assembled the combined might of the Cewsh Reviews staff into a tiny room with no ventilation and made them all watch the show together. So you will finally get to see what the entire team is like when forced to endure one another’s company and watch a wrestling show at the same time. We have Vice, DDT, MichaelC, and Ms. Cewsh. And remember that, as always, MichaelC and I have our Rumble bet where the loser has to review any show of the winner’s choosing. If Ryback, Cena or Punk win this match, then I win. Otherwise, I will be subjected to the “glories” of Owen Hart for another 3 hours. I have never wanted John Cena to win a match so badly.
Alright then. So, is our rumble historian ready?
MichaelC: Rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble!
Cewsh: Let’s start the review before Michael explodes from sheer excitement. It’s the only night of the year we let him off the chain, and we’ve been feeding him nothing but old Rumble posters for days.
DDT: So Dolph is entry number one due to shenanigans and pissing off his ex. Earlier in the evening he cut a promo about how awesome he was and that he’d win the Rumble despite being number one, joining the illustrious company of Shawn Michaels and Chris Ben……uh…..that….other…..guy. So of course he cuts a promo about how he’s awesome and is going to win the Rumble despite being number one. We heard you the first time Dolph! Seriously, is it a rule now that number one has to talk shit before the Rumble?
And what the hell is with that stupid zipper thing on the front of his trunks? Why do you wear something that naturally attracts my eyes to your crotch?
Stop looking at me, Michael.
MichaelC: Ahem. Ziggler may be #1, but Shawn Michaels won it from that spot in 1995. Admittedly, Chris Jericho in 2009 lasted about the same length of time as Shawn’s ‘epic’ performance. Some other guy won it from Number 1 in 2004, but I don’t think we talk about him anymore.
Cewsh: I keep petitioning WWE to just recognize Billy Gunn as the winner that year, but they won’t return my phone calls.
Vice: I have to start by saying that I love Ziggler as a talent. I don’t see him as a clear, solid main eventer just yet. That’s not a knock on him by any means, though. His time will come if WWE doesn’t fuck things up. So, he has a 50/50 chance. What’s good about having a storyline featuring someone having to start the Rumble match is that WWE has a lot of faith in that person, and they are likely to have a very long stay. So this could be the thing that really puts Ziggler ahead of the pack as a serious contender.
MichaelC: Ziggler gets his good luck “snog” from AJ, and the Most exciting hour of the year is under way.
Cewsh: Wait, why is it all dark all of a sudden? You don’t think…
Ms.Cewsh: God damn it.
DDT: HOLY SHIT!!!
MichaelC: BREAK THE WALLS DOWN!
Well, that puts the cat among the pigeons!
DDT: Now this, THIS is a nice surprise. Chris is back, the light-bright jacket is back, and the crowd pops HUGE! Seriously, its freaky how over Jericho is with the crowd. That man is the master of come-backs.
Michael:C: Jericho is back face to face with the man who put him out of the WWE back in August. And the crowd are reacting like Elvis has walked into the building!
Vice: I’m not surprised he’s in this, but I’m surprised he’s number two. But that makes sense, because he and Ziggler have a history, and he can wrestle forever without getting tired. So he’s going to be here a while as well, I’m sure. I’m not a big fan of ol’ Jericho, but his experience is great for stuff like this. And he and Ziggler have pretty good chemistry.
MichaelC: It’s like they were thinking: “How do we stop people being so disappointed that the rumble isn’t on last? Give ‘em Jericho!”
Crowd: YOU STILL GOT IT!
Jericho: I NEVER LOST IT, BABY!
DDT: Really, a “you still got it” chant? The man was gone for like, six months people. I know you are excited but simmer down.
Vice: CODY RHODES AND HIS MUSTACHE. Love it.
DDT: Okay, now I propose an interesting conundrum to my gathered friends; which is more obnoxious, the arm tattoo, the zipper tights, or that marvelous mustache Cody keeps twirling?
My God the Liontamer was and is remains a thing of beauty. Wish more guys were flexible/injury free enough to use it more often.
MichaelC: Unlucky number 3 is the spot of Cody Rhodes this year. Unlucky, because I always associate number 3 with an early bath. Possibly because Butch Reed, Papa Shango, Bob Backlund, Fake Razor, Tom Brandi, Golga, Headbanger Mosh, Bossman, Daniel Puder, Simon Dean, Santino Marella and Justin Gabriel have all drawn the number and swiftly been the first man eliminated from the match. That’s 12 from 26 rumble matches. And in twelve other rumbles, the longest time a number three has lasted in the ring was Andre the Giant’s 14 minutes in 1989, and I’d like to qualify that by noting that he was Andre the bloody Giant. The only two men who have laughed in the face of the Number Three curse were Greg “the Hammer” Valentine and Ric Flair (who actually won from the spot), two of the all time greats.
So to say history isn’t on Cody’s side here is to put it mildly. He’s got some great Rumble history, and he’ll need to put it all to the test…
This is Cody’s 5th rumble match, incidentally. Michael Cole can’t count.
Three pretty good wrestlers starting us off though.
DDT: Kofi improved a lot in 2012, and he’s replaced Morrison as the Rumble Highlight reel for me, though nothing will ever top Morrison’s barricade grab to avoid elimination. Still, he hits his fun spots for fun times.
You know, if I was a masochist, I’d actually keep my own clock and see if it’s really 90 seconds between Rumble entrants.
Vice: Kofi is fun for these matches because he’s a jumpy little fuck with a lot of energy.
MichaelC: As a ball of fire who can get the crowd going, he’s a great choice for an early rumble entry. No slouches in this ring yet, in the one of the finest starting four since… 2003 probably.
I do like how Jericho and Cody Rhodes both go to try and eliminate folk at any opportunity that arises. Rumble smarts.
DDT: JBL: “Don’t blink.” JBL is best commentator.
I thought he was injured.
Santino power walks into the match and tosses everyone over the top rope! He’s going to Diesel the Rumble! Only everyone lands on the apron and gets back in, and he is swiftly out. Ah well. Santino for 2014 Rumble winner then.
*To Diesel the Rumble: to emulate Diesel in 1994 and clean house in a rumble match. Men like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rikishi and the Road Dogg have followed in this path, but Diesel was the man who paved the way.
Vice: Normally I’m not a fan of Santino, but I loved him clearing out the ring and thinking he’s a badass, and then getting his comeuppance shortly after. It was a nice little comedy spot to break things up a bit. Something that is generally required, but sometimes overdone.
DDT: Huh. Well, um, on with the show!
MichaelC: Drew’s in the Rumble!
He might win this, you know.
Drew tries to eliminate Kofi Kingston! That’s right, you get him for beating you for the IC title the last time you ever got a push worth a damn, Drew!
Drew has lasted 40 seconds now. That’s ten times the Bushwacker record!
The countdown and Drew has lasted a whole ninety seconds. I’m so proud.
Vice: I do not care about Drew McIntyre, or 3MB as a whole. They are stupid.
Vice: MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, ZERO FUCKS.
DDT: You know something? I like the Prime Time Players. I like their name, I like their gimmick, I like their little dance they do; they’re just fun mid-card heels. Say it with me Michael “Millions of dollars, millions of dollars!”
Cewsh: I would, but you asked me last and my ego can’t stand for that.
MichaelC: TITUS O’Neil is here to MAKE IT A WIN. That joke is still relevant, right?
Titus is entertaining in all things which don’t involve wrestling. Sadly, he needs to kind of wrestle in the rumble.
Vice: I don’t get why everyone is so crazy about PTP, but this dude at least has some charisma to him, and at least this crowd is into him. That is good. Hopefully he becomes a better wrestler in the future.
MichaelC: Drew goes to clothesline Jericho out of the match, but Jericho drops the shoulder. Drew sees the OMG’ing effort before it is too late, and holds onto the top rope, but meets a missile dropkick off the second rope and hits the floor.
DDT: Bye-bye, Scottish guy whose name I can’t be bothered to remember! On that note, MAN this crowd loves them some Jericho! I don’t think they’ve been louder for anything else.
MichaelC: Drew’s gone!
Cewsh: There there.
MichaelC: I’d like to announce that Drew McIntyre lasted a whole 2 minutes AND 30 seconds in this years rumble. What a man.
Cewsh: Surefire Hall of Famer.
MichaelC: Don’t you patronize me!
Vice: Very happy to see this bastard again. I was really impressed last time I saw him in WWE. I thought it was the best he ever was, and it was great. Amazing turnaround for him, considering his Black Reign stint in TNA which was like the worst thing ever. He still looks like he’s in fantastic shape, and it’s cool to see Cody salivating waiting to kick the crap out of his brother.
DDT: Okay, damnit, why aren’t Goldy and Cody feuding? Everything they did the crowd are up huge, from their pre-match posturing to their brawling, to their kicking Ziggler the heck out of their fight. This is money, and if it doesn’t happen at Mania, then WWE is just beyond hope.
MichaelC: Everyone has had a chance to look good for a bit so far. If this rumble carries in this vein, it’d be a good one.
DDT: JBL made a “Bookdust” reference and I am happy.
Vice: Otunga is in absurd shape.
Cewsh: Yes yes h is.
MichaelC: David Otunga! In his third rumble match.
Otunga didn’t win anyone poor guy benefits against a corrupt company this year though, so he’s not winning the rumble.
DDT: You know, I wish I could make some joke about how absolutely worthless David Otunga is at everything in wrestling, but really, he just bores me; hell, the fans went back to chanting for Goldust the second he got in the ring. Seriously Cewsh, what do you see in this guy? Cewsh?…CEWSH STOP DROOLING!!! OH GOD IT’S EVERYWHERE!!
DDT: John Cena once made a joke about Heath Slater looking like the “chick from Wendy’s”. Heath Slater’s biggest victory is against Doink the Clown. Congratulations, you now know the two most interesting facts about Heath Slater.
I love how through it all, Ziggler and Jericho keep going after each other, as do Goldust and Cody. Seriously though, this ring is starting to fill up, making it hard to concentrate on Ziggler’s zipper tights…errr, the action. Can we get someone to clear the ring up, please?
MichaelC: Heath Slater? Anyone got a stopwatch?
Cole calls him the Axl Rose of 3MB. Poor Heath Slater.
Lots of people, kicking themselves. We need someone big in here now, the crowd are starting to cool from the big start.
Vice: Heath Slater wastes oxygen I could potentially breathe one day. I love how Ziggler and Jericho are STILL going at it. It’s almost like they’re in their own little world. It’s quite great.
DDT: That’ll work.
That’ll do nicely.
Sheamus kicks everyones ass, and decides to ride the match of Titus and David Otunga. Technically, you could count Otunga with the assist on Titus’s exit, before he got his head kicked off.
Vice: I love Sheamus doing his arms out pose/taunt thing while running to the ring with a giant smile on his face. He is like a 5 year old pretending to fly. I CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN FLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!! Oh right, he is supposed to be very intimidating. Which I suppose works, because he murderizes everyone and everyone has to gang up on him to slow him down.
DDT: Thank God, now Cewsh can stop slobbering over himself.
Cewsh: Now who will adjust my legal briefs?
MichaelC: Tensai is in now. Now there is a man who they have completely buggered up the return of.
DDT: Poor Tensai; he comes back after getting ridiculously good in Japan, only to be saddled with a gimmick that had no chance of working, the fans shit all over it, and now he’s back to his unmotivated slob days.
MichaelC: Slater watch. Heath Slater has lasted three minutes so far. 15 minutes for Ziggler and Jericho, and 13.5 for Cody Rhodes. Oh, and 12 for Kofi.
Sheamus is trying to toss out Slater, but he is valiantly hanging on. MandyC is a big fan of Heath Slater, actually, she finds his goofiness admirable, and sadly he reminds her of her husband.
Vice: TENSAI is a gigantic waste of space. Man, he was fucking awesome in Japan, but WWE has ruined him. The best thing about him is that he is a huge dude who can be very quick and aggressive, putting on great intense matches. So WWE hires him again and.. makes him a horribly generic , slow, plodding, boring as utter fuck hoss. YAY. Fire him, because I don’t think there’s a wrestler on the roster I’d rather see gone.
Vice: …scratch my previous statement. I change my answer to Brodus Clay. I’d be happy never seeing him ever again.
DDT: Hey, remember when this gimmick was fresh, interesting, and kind of fun? When everyone danced along with Brodus rather than cringing in fear? Me neither. So let’s focus on something we do care about, Cody vs. Goldust!!! They’re on the apron, and this is getting dangerous.
MichaelC: Brodus comes in and does nothing of note, which sums up his WWE career. Ziggler and Sheamus, shades of their great World title match last May.
Goldust and Cody Rhodes go at it! No wait, both are on the apron. Dangerous! And…Cody eliminates Goldust for the second Royal Rumble!
That’s two eliminations for Cody Rhodes so far. He got six eliminations in 2012.
DDT: Crowd boos, Cody smiles evilly. Seriously; Wrestlemania. Feud. Make it happen.
MichaelC: Let me remind you the victims of Number Fourteen, the urban legend has it as the cursed rumble spot. Haku…ok, the curse ignored him, because it’s afraid of him, and frankly I don’t blame it. Marty Jannetty though, a trope namer for burnt out wrecks. Bulldog, dead. Hercules, dead. Koko B Ware, released that year. Doink, irrelevant. One of the Blu Brothers, released that year. Doug Gilbert. Who? Goldust. Released more times than Marty Jannetty, and substance issues. Shamrock, gone within 18 months. Kurrgann, gone within three months. Bob Backlund, gone within three months. Goodfather, retired within a year and a half (and spent most of 2001 out injured). DDP, career ending injury three months later. Eddie Guerrero, dead. Rikishi, released that year. Orlando Jordan, career collapse. Joey Mercury, went to rehab, came back, then met a ladder which disagreed with him rather violently. Jeff Hardy…well, you’ve seen whats happened to him. Umaga, dead. Finlay, retired within the year. MVP, released that year. Chris Masters, released that year. Jinder Mahal, a joke anyway.
So, death, life altering changes or career collapse. Not a happy turn of events for the poor souls who draw #14
And this year’s victim is…Rey Mysterio. Well, it was nice knowing you, Rey. (Though, Cewsh Review lawyers ensure I mean in career terms. I might not like Rey, but I’m not sick!)
He looks like a man ready to retire too.
DDT: Hey, here comes Mr. Wellness Violation! Seriously though, I love Rey; probably the most dependable hand to have in a match, and he demonstrates that here with some smooth work with Ziggler and Jericho. Shame that the ring is filling up again, but at least its full of people I care about one way or another…and Brodus Clay.
Cewsh: Even Heath Slater?
DDT: Wait, he’s still in there?
Vice: Rey is so stupid. I like how he is wearing a top because he has gotten chubby and flabby.. and the top doesn’t really cover anything but his stomach up. You can see the rest of his flab just fine. Go away, Mysterio.
DDT: Annnnnnnnd here’s the other, slightly less fun half of the Prime Time Players! Wait, everyone’s ganging up on Brodus; could it mean…
MichaelC: Darren Young enters the match.
A strange thing was happening though. Heath Slater was still in the match, and trying to eliminate Brodus Clay. This was going as well as you might expect, so he called for help. Sheamus showed up trying to take the big man out, then Cody Rhodes joined in. A strange partnership if ever there was one. Coming back to the ring, Jericho and Ziggler have joined into help take out Brodus, and Darren Young swiftly rushes over to help. The six men manage to dump Brodus out of the match. Teamwork!
This is amazing for two reasons.
First, it is the only time in history Darren Young will ever be credited with a Royal Rumble elimination.
Secondly, the elimination came about from a move that Heath Slater of all people orchestrated!
Thirdly, because I’m nothing if not a man of contradictions, I love how Tensai just stands in the corner watching them. Let them break their backs getting Clay out instead!
DDT: YES!! YES!!!! YES!!!!!
DDT: Slightly disappointing, but it was a cool elimination; speaking of cool…HOLY SHIT KOFI!!!
Okay, if Kofi makes this jump, this will officially beat Morrison hanging off the barricade like Spider-Man.
MichaelC: Uhm, you describe the Kofi elimination escape, Cewshington? Use of “jump the shark” is forbidden.
Cewsh: Well basically this happened:
…and then this happened…
…and then some of this…
Kofi uses JBL’s chair as a pogo stick to make it all the way back to the ring while everyone freaked out in celebration.
Vice: I liked Kofi doing the handstand to save himself last Rumble, but this spot just took way too long for my liking. We got a good like two minutes of Kofi trying to get back on land. And if I were him, I would have just stayed on the Spanish announce table until close to the end of the Rumble. Seriously, why not? You’re not getting eliminated being out there, so you may as well just wait.
If I were booking this, I’d have had him sit on the table for a good 10 minutes or so waiting for someone to be eliminated in front of him, and then he uses them as a platform and runs across their back into the ring. And after so much time is dedicated to him and the pogo-chair, he gets eliminated right away.
DDT: Who cares?! Go back to Kofi, damnit!
MichaelC: In between that, Darren Young went out, and Bo Dallas went in. The crowd cared about neither.
Scott Armstrong intently watching the pogo session to make sure neither foot hit the floor is another favorite moment of it too.
Vice: During all of this, Bo Dallas came out. I don’t care.
Cewsh: Once Kofi gets back onto the apron, a self destructive Darren Young charges him and finds that the world has suddenly filled up with black mats where the sky should be.
Cewsh: But no sooner has Kofi dealt with that problem, when Cody Rhodes comes soaring through the air and knocks Kofi the fuck out with a Beautiful Disaster kick. The smug look on Cody’s face after doing this, if properly harnessed, could power your house for 8 years.
DDT: Between this and the Goldust elimination, Rhodes has been the spoil sport of the Rumble, and I love him for it.
MichaelC: Four eliminations for Cody Rhodes now. Incredible performance by him too, from the unlucky spot.
DDT: I feel so cheated; I mean, I could have had someone whose personality began and ended with spitting apples, or some dude who had a fat mother. Instead, I get a wrestler from my childhood that the crowd cared about. What is the world coming to when I am cheated so? Wait a minute…
MichaelC: THE GODFATHER?
It’s the bloody Godfather, and the crowd go nuts.
Cewsh: I feel like I’m supposed to be excited to see him, but honestly, he was a popular midcarder for a cup of coffee 15 years ago, and he looks like someone’s grandpa wandered in here thinking it was the Champagne Room.
MichaelC: Well this is the rumble for random former IC Champions making surprise appearances.
I love this. JBL goes nuts on commentary in excitement, telling us how this is going to be great. Godfather comes out with his lady friends, Huggy Bear outfit and biggest smile in wrestling, takes off his glasses and coat, enters the ring and is immediately dropkicked back out, much to JBL’s horror. Godfather then puts his coat and glasses back on, and does his Godfather thing on the walk back to the crowds cheers. And the best thing about all of this?
Vice: GODFATHER! …one of the least PG characters they could have brought back.
DDT: Well. That was…short. Does that beat Santino’s time?
Vice: He spends a wonderful one second in the ring, and they never even stopped his music. It played until he got to the back, which makes this whole segment seem very.. SCRIPTED. Is wrestling FAKE?
MichaelC: Godfather, incidentally, is one of the genuine nicest people in pro-wrestling, so I am happy to see him show up now and again for the odd nostalgia pop and pay cheque. He deserves it. He also doesn’t speak badly of anyone in wrestling, bar Virgil and Johnny Ace.
Also, technically this means Wade Barrett’s Papa Shango joke tweet actually WAS a spoiler this year.
Well if you make a joke enough times…
MichaelC: Speaking of…WADE!
Vice: I’m very happy to hear that Wade Barrett has much better music. It’s still terrible, but good lord it’s better than the absolute shit he had last time I paid attention to WWE. I adore Barrett, and hope he has a very bright future in WWE.
DDT: Okay, time for something that miiiiight get me a little heat. Wade Barrett will not be a main eventer in 2013, because right now he’s not main event material. Sure, the Bullhammer Elbow is infinitely superior to Wasteland, and he has super fun brawls with capable wrestlers like Daniel Bryan and Sheamus, but really, who doesn’t He just doesn’t have that special magnetism that makes people take notice of him when he’s in the room, or in this case ring, with a bunch of people. Case in point, he gets in the match and…nothing. He tries to do his house of fire offense on everyone, and he is met with mostly stony silence, even when interacting with Jericho. Compare that to Jericho, or Goldust, or Sheamus; hell even Titus O’Neil got a better reaction, and Wade is supposed to be the next big main event guy? Tell me another one. And damnit that ring is full again!
MichaelC: Time catch up. Fourteen minutes for Heath Slater! I’m gobsmacked at that.
Just under twelve minutes for Sheamus!
Twenty six minutes for Cody Rhodes!
Twenty eight for Jericho and Ziggler!
The Barrett barrage swiftly beats up everyone in the ring.
He takes out Sheamus with the BOSSMAN SLAM. Not the Black Hole Slam.
Ms.Cewsh: johncenajohncenajohncenaJONH CENA
Vice: Oh hey it’s John Cena. He’s going to win. The plus side is that coming in at number 19 makes it a lot less offensive. He’ll be in the match for a while and actually kind of earn it. Not a huge fan of very late entrants winning after but a few minutes. Especially if it’s someone like Cena. I hate Cena.
DDT: Here comes the Ace! Clear out the garbage Cena, please?
Ahahaha, look at the jobbers all line up.
Cena beats up everyone, and I mean EVERYONE. This is how Cena should be booked; not this hammy underdog crap, but as the most dominant man on the roster, because well…he’s the most dominant man on the roster.
MichaelC: John Cena, one of Cewsh’s picks to win the Rumble!
Cewsh: I am wearing jorts right now to show my solidarity. SUPPORT JORTS.
MichaelC: He tosses out Heath Slater after a valiant 16 minute performance from the 3MBer.
Cody Rhodes tries it on next, and he goes flying. 27 minutes, 39 seconds for Cody.
Let’s be serious. Cody took on the Number Three spot and laughed in the face of it. Only Ric Flair and Greg Valentine have been allowed to do that. Cody Rhodes is in rarefied air here.
Cody Rhodes is at twelve all time Rumble eliminations too, and he’s still very young. We could be look back at his performances in these events with an aura of Hall of Fame resume in years to come. The WWE don’t let slobs do well in their baby.
DDT: Good job Cena. Now beat up Bo Dallas, the little prick.
I can’t help it; his offense is shitty, his one-glove look is silly, and despite winning a big tournament and representing NXT, possibly the best weekly wrestling show in the States, has done fuck all in this match besides taking the attention off of Kofi Kingston who was in the middle of doing something great.
Cewsh: Before the show started, we were watching an episode of Dallas and Bo Jackson showed up. Apparently televisions aren’t impervious to bricks.
DDT: Sandow’s one of those guys I objectively acknowledge as good but personally just doesn’t appeal to me. He beats up Bo Dallas though, so he’s got that going for him.
MichaelC: Sandow is in, and Rey is out. I’ll take that swap.
Cewsh: It’s a weird day when a former Rumble winner gets eliminated and the announcers hardly bother to even mention it. Mysterio has fallen far FAST.
DDT: Daniel Bryan shows Wade Barrett what it’s like to actually be over by getting a reaction every time he touches someone. That beard looks silly though; seriously.
Vice: It’s still absurd seeing not only Byron Dragonson being in WWE, but being insanely fucking over. Man. So crazy.
MichaelC: Daniel Bryan is next in, and he was my pick to win this thing…back in May. Ah well.
He gets in the mood by kicking the hell out of Ziggler.
Bryan and Sheamus teaming up to try and toss out Chris Jericho!
DDT: Good God, every time someone looks like they might even be considering eliminating Jericho the crowd boos; it’s crazy.
Vice: And now it’s Claudio Castagnoli! Well, Antonio Cesaro. A name I actually think is.. better. Claudio worked well with his very long hair and slender physique. Antonio is a much more badass name for this bald brick wall of a human being*
*he may not be human
DDT: You want to know who the breakout star of 2013 will be? You are looking at him, the Swiss Uppercut Machine. I actually love his gimmick of “Loving America but hating Americans”; it’s a unique take on the evil foreigner gimmick.
MichaelC: US Champion Antonio Cesaro. He wont win this, but he should have the chance to look very good indeed.
This match is full of people who would have great singles matches together. Sheamus, Cesaro, Bryan, Wade, Jericho, Ziggler, etc.
DDT: It’s like Cole, Lawler, and even JBL are part of a conspiratorial effort to get me to hate Bo Dallas, someone who until the Rumble I didn’t think of one way or another. Yeah, yeah, he’s lasted a while; wake me up when he does something.
MichaelC: Khali enters, looking terrible. Poor chap.
We’re into the fill the rumble up for the home straight part already.
Vice: It’s insane to think about how long Khali has been in WWE. I thought he’d be around for a year or two and that’s that. But here he is, former world champion. He is still so shit, and his legs just look so goofy. Because he has none. I’m always afraid that he’s going to break his leg randomly.
MichaelC: It’s KANE! Mr Rumble.
MandyC: Just let Kane win a rumble already, WWE!
DDT: So when Kane was all like, “Yeah I won’t see you out there Bryan,” did he really think Bryan couldn’t last two more entrants?
DDT: Speaking as someone who was once firmly in the Ryder camp, I am so sick of Zack Ryder, his youtube show, his crying into a US title reign, and all his fans talking about how good he is when he’s plainly average beyond his “Woo Woo Woo” crap.
Cewsh: Kane and Daniel Bryan Eliminate The Great Khali together, and shre a little moment of cheerful sportsmanship together.
Cewsh: …which lands about 5 seconds before Bryan tosses Kane over and giggles to himself about being so awesome at betrayal. Teenage hearts all over the world break whenever you guys fight you know, THINK OF THE CHILDREN.
Cewsh: But before Bryan can do anything, Cesaro wanders over and hurls him out of the ring directs into the waiting arms of Kane. Once they realize that Bryan hasn’t been eliminated yet, Bryan begs Kane to take him back to the ring. Kane smiles just as broadly as that mask will let him, nods encouragingly, and drops Bryan in a heap right in front of the apron. Now they’re even and can go back to making every shipper’s dream come true.
Vice: Byron Dragonson eliminating Kane was pretty great, and I enjoyed him getting knocked into the arms of Kane. Provided a nice bit of comedy and character development. Plus.. Claudio Castagnoli knocked Bryan Danielson out of the ring in a Royal Rumble. STILL FUCKING WEIRD.
DDT: The Monotone Machine has entered the Rumble, and starts killing everyone.
MsCewsh: A pox on your house and a carpet made of Legos for wherever you step.
DDT: AHAHAAHAHA!!! His head went kursplat! I hope he has as big a headache as I do when I watch one of his recent videos.
MichaelC: What a great man that Orton is.
Vice: ZAKA Ryder. He made me proud taking that bump.
DDT: Anyway, back to people that matter, Cesaro is freaky strong; almost gut-wrenching Cena over the top rope. Alas, it is not to be.
MichaelC: So much for Cesaro lasting and looking good then.
Vice: Cena eliminating Cesaro makes me sad.
DDT: I wish there were more opportunities for jokes, but there are so many guys in that ring that it’s hard to concentrate on any one guy.
DDT: Miz goes right after Cesaro as a nod to their title match in the pre-show. That could be a fun little feud.
Vice: Miz and Cesaro brawling on the ramp was a really nice little touch. Still don’t give a fuck about Miz, though.
DDT: Yeah, this is the tedious part of the Rumble, all the teasing of eliminations while we wait for something to happen.
DDT: Oh wait, we have to focus on Bo Dallas and his latest heroic effort against Wade Barrett. Come on Barrett, eliminate him; eliminate that little twerp and send him back to NXT!
MichaelC: BO DALLAS TAKES OUT WADE BARRETT! Grumble.
Cewsh: Wade looks on in shock as Bo Dallas gloats in the ring. This last about a minute before Wade reaches in and snatches Dallas right the hell out of the ring and drops him with a Bull Hammer. Becuse when a greasy haired rookie fuckface ruins your Wrestlemania title shot, elbowing him in the jaw at top speed is pretty much letting him off easy.
DDT: Take that, you glove-wearing toolbox! Give him the elbow too, for good measure!
Now go away forever! Better yet, show up tomorrow on Raw, wrestle Wade Barrett, get destroyed, and THEN go away forever! No way people could book Barrett to lose to Bo Dallas of all people, especially to his shitty belly-to-belly suplex finisher right? Right?!
Cewsh: Bo Dallas has been on the main roster for one night, and I already want to see people do him harm. That’s not a good sign.
Cewsh: Breaker 1-9, Breaker 1-9, we’re getting reports of horrific violence being perpetrated by a hungry cyborg down at the arena, please respond with National Guard support. Call it Operation Pissbone. Over and out.
DDT: Good-bye, everyone.
Vice: THE RYBACK. Now THIS is a number 30 entrant. You need someone to clear out the ring a bit, and he is perfect for that.
DDT: Uh, Cara? What are you doing Cara? What possessed you to think this was remotely a good idea?
Cewsh: I love Sin Cara, but Funaki had a better chance of winning this match. Messing with Ryback just made it a forgone conclusion.
DDT: The Miz tries to sneak up on Ryback.
DDT: Jericho, who has been fairly quiet for a while now, explodes into action with a Codebreaker on Ryback from out of nowhere! From there Jericho goes into a frenzy on everyone that is absolutely awesome. So of course:
Vice: Alright, a fresh THE RYBACK takes a Codebreaker and he sells it like he has been atom bombed. Ziggler, who has been in there since the beginning, takes a Codebreaker and doesn’t even fully hit the mat. He’s clinging onto the ropes, and immediately tosses Jericho over, and has enough strength to throw the most powerful kick of his life. One that misses by an entire foot (as in 12″, as in the length of a Subway $5 foot long), and the sheer force of it caused the wind to propel Jericho off the apron to his doom. Sure Dolph is pretty much dead right after, but still. THE RYBACK is still groggily getting to his feet as Ziggler is up and running at Orton, getting clotheslined and immediately getting back to his feet again.While the Jericho elimination was fairly exciting, something was a bit off here. ie: THE RYBACK should be a fuckton stronger.
Psycho: Now it’s Orton’s turn, and he goes into an RKO frenzy, even managing to sneak in his Surprise RKO spots on Cena, one of the few times where Monotone Man actually approaches interesting. Of course, being a stupid robot, he does the dumbest thing he can possibly do and stalks Ryback.
Vice: On the plus side, THE RYBACK eliminates Orton.
MsCewsh: I have agreed with every word you write, Vice, but for this? This?
DDT: We’re down to the final four!
Vice: Dolph making it to the final four was fantastic, and his elimination was goddamn brutal. Love him.
DDT: You know, if I didn’t know better I’d say Dolph LIKES taking these bumps. And now we are down to three; Sheamus at #11, Cena at #19, and Ryback and #30. Hey, wait a minute…
11 + 19 = 30
Okay, that’s just freaky. THE ILLUMINATI HAVE BOOKED THIS MATCH!!!
MichaelC: The entire Cewsh Reviews bet relies on Sheamus two timing the rumble.
Cewsh: God dammit, betting against Sheamus lost this for me last year. GET OUT OF THE RING YOU IRISH BASTARD.
DDT: Sheamus and Cena go after Ryback, which helps put over the kid huge in that two of the biggest bruisers think they have to double-team Ryback to have a chance. After they dump him on his head, they have a spot that just tickled me when they looked at each other, looked at the big Wrestlemania sign (which has an awful design this year IMO) smiled, shrugged, and started hammering away at each other. Cena goes for his signature “You Can See Me Set” when RYBACK clobbers him from nowhere! He tries to do the same to Sheamus, but Sheamus reverses Shell Shock to White Noise and is standing tall.
Uh-oh; Sheamus is dominating, it can only mean…
MichaelC: COME ON SHEAMUS!
Cewsh: GET HIM RYBACK! SIC HIM!
MichaelC: NO! DON’T DO THAT!
Cewsh: AHAHAHAHA YES YES YES YES YES I DID IT. I BROKE THE CURSE!
Cewsh: VICTORY! SWEET VICTORY!
After losing in every single competition, bet and contest we have ever held at Cewsh Reviews, I have finally won one! I’m sending those guys a fruit basket.
Vice: Sheamus’ elimination was AMAZING. I didn’t see it coming, and goddamn it was electric. THE RYBACK just flung him like he was nothing. That’s how the Rumble should have ended.
DDT: And now we are down to two! Giving Cena some credit here; he looks legit worried at who he’s facing, which again puts Ryback over huge. Ryback physically man-handles him until Cena hits one of his epic counters into the STF! That was a sweet counter, wasn’t it Vice? Look, Ryback’s head is so big, Cena’s even applying the face lock correctly!
Impressive strength from Cena there, picking Ryback up like he weighed nothing. Which, to Cena, he probably did. Ryback makes a brief come back, and hoists Cena over his shoulder, charging the ropes, but Cena slips out!
DDT: AHAHAHAHAHA!!! Blow up Internet! Blow up with HATE!!!!
I cannot stress how happy I am; first off for being right, second off that at least two of these lovely cohosts of mine absolutely loathe this great man, and third, this all but guarantees that the internet will lose their shit TWICE tonight with the now inevitable WWE title change. Go on Cena; find a “We Hate Cena” fan and celebrate.
This was a fun Rumble. The 2001 iteration will probably be the best forevermore, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad one. The ending wasn’t the best that’s ever been done, but there was enough fun interspaced throughout to make up for that.
3 and a Half “We Hate Cena” fans out of five
Cewsh: I loved this Rumble. It was the first one in a long time where it didn’t feel like we needed any surprise entrants to keep things fun and interesting, and that’s because the roster is just so damn strong in general and you could see it here.
Seriously guys, this was some of the most fun I’ve had watching WWE in years. If you haven’t seen it already, do yourself a favorite and get it done.
This was awesome, but Cena should not have won in such an anticlimactic way, because it just killed everything for me.
I felt like I’ve said that before. Deja vu?
Ms.Cewsh: Told you. Because, John Cena.
I feel like I should start making the bets in this house.
MichaelC: This reminded me of the 1990 Royal Rumble. Awesome right up till the finish when the wrong man, for my tastes, won. A damned shame, but still, it shouldn’t detract from the previous 55 minutes.
Cewsh: After all the hub bub of the Rumble has died down, we go backstage to find the Rock standing alone, waiting to address his fans. This isn’t as exciting a sight as it once was, as the Rock has routinely dropped the ball in promos since returning a few years ago, but the crowd still audibly holds it’s breath to listen. And for the first time since the Rock returned to wrestling with his fantastic redebut promo, the Rock brought the goods.
You could say that he seemed to jump all over the place from his mother’s cancer to the People to Punk himself, (true,) and you can say that the speech was more of his mega positivity gobbledy gook, (also true,) but I will give this promo a big shining thumbs up for the following 3 reasons.
1. He didn’t insult women or gay people at any point.
2. He delivered the entire thing with an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm, making it seem incredibly important to him.
3. The entire promo centered around the title. Not CM Punk. Not juvenile jokes. Just how much he desperately wanted the title.
For everything that we can lay at the Rock’s feet and criticize him for, (and oh boy, is there ever plenty of that,) the one faultless thing that has come from this feud with Punk is that the focus is more on the WWE title than it has been in a decade at least. Punk defines his legacy with it, the Rock needs it to validate himself, and their match over it takes precedence over everything else. This feud is easily the best thing to happen to a championship belt in this era of WWE. And this promo drove it home with an intensity that turned me from someone with no real stake in the main event, into someone who sat on the edge of his seat the entire time. That’s the power the Rock can have when he isn’t calling people “Cookie Puss”. That’s why it’s so frustrating when he is less than brilliant. Because shit, man. This is the goods.
Cewsh: You could conservatively say that this match has been building since the 1,000th episode of Raw where CM Punk took it upon himself to beat the Rock to a pulp for daring to steal his spotlight, prompting the mega Punk heel turn we’re currently enjoying. You could point to the Rock being gone ever since, and Punk’s anti crowd attitude being directly tied to those events, and you would be right. But this match is so much bigger than one GTS and two guys calling each other “punk ass bitches” for a few weeks. This is a clash of eras so stark and grand that it’s in danger of causing a thunderstorm to break out any minute. No two figures are more representative of the casual and smark audiences, and no two wrestlers have been talked about more in the past year. The movie star who got every chance handed to him against the man who crawled his way up through the muck and grabbed greatness by the throat. It’s a match I never could have foreseen in a million years, with two forces of nature pitted against each other due to a mutual desire for the WWE title that defies all other needs and wants. The “story” is flatly unnecessary. This match sold itself simply by putting the names next to each other on the marquee. Punk vs. Rock. New Attitude vs. Old Attitude. And only one way to settle it.
Now, reviewing this match from the future as I am, it’s interesting to have seen all of the wildly differing opinions that fans had after watching it for the first time. A huge swath of fans are absolutely furious that the Rock beat CM Punk and ended his magical reign with the WWE title and a n equally huge number are thrilled to have seen the Rock come back and actually do something significant by winning the title and vamqushing the despicable Punker. I’m not going to argue which of these viewpoints is more valid, because we’d be here all damn day, but ultimately both opinions are beside the point. CM Punk and the Rock took a rare opportunity to meld two different worlds, two different fanbases and two different styles here, and even with a lot going against them, (crowd burnout, a sloppily executed build, a shenanigan filled finish,) they still managed to accomplish something great.
These two put in a solid 15 minutes of wrestling excellence that showcased them both to near perfection, and ended up with Punk surprisingly in the driver’s seat more often than not. They battled all over the place, wrecking havoc through barriers turnbuckles and tables, (despite Punk’s very polite attempts to keep the tables intact.)
Now before I go further, I must remind you of the stipulation placed on this match shortly before it took place. If the Shield showed up to help CM Punk in any way whatsoever, then Punk would be stripped of the WWE title with no questions asked. This being wrestling, this played naturally into the finish where the Rock appeared to be cruising on his way to a victory when suddenly the lights went out and SOMEONE beat the fuckhumping bejesus out of the Rock and but him through the announcer table at ringside. Doing his very best to pretend to be surprised, Punk pulled the Rock back into the ring and pinned him to retain the title.
Thus putting the biggest of notches on his belt, and continuing on with the greatest modern day title reign in the wor….
Vince McMahon stepped out onto the scene and wasted no time at time in trying to strip CM Punk of his title, seeing as everyone on the fucking planet knew full well that the attack had been perpetrated by the Shield no matter how dark it was. But before he can, the Rock grabs a mic and demands for the match to be restarted so that it can end fair and square. Vinny Mac shows how flexible the babyface version of him can be and agrees, and one People’s Elbow later, the Rock is your brand new WWE Heavyweight Champion.
This isn’t the best match of either man’s career, and it won’t go down in history as an all time classic. But for one night it turned smarks into marks and marks into fanatics and in the end we got the kind of happy ending that is hard to come by in wrestling in the post Attitude era. The good guy won, the bad guy lost, and the championship, that most sacred of prizes, was the center of it all. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m about ready to give standing ovation for that all by itself.
88 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
MichaelC: Because I am super nice, I’ll leave any whinges of mine till WrestleMania. I will however state that I don’t think ratings and drawing are worth much fan thought. One shouldn’t be obliged to have to cheer on a match just because it will draw money for the company. That’s the company’s obligation. The fan obligation is to watch the damn thing if they feel like it, and take it on its own personal terms, and root for whoever they like to do the best, and to hell if they draw or not. Citizen Kane didn’t draw a dime, and I’ll hold its ground against any James Cameron film. Likewise, Sheamus and Wade against Cena.
Too often fandom takes everything too damned seriously. Who cares how many people sold out a building? Who cares who drew what in which country, and whose Hall of Fame credentials exist or don’t? JR has a right to care about drawing power and bums in seats, because he’s making money off of it. We aren’t The only bottom line for any fan is “Are you entertained?” And mostly, despite all the stupidity and homophobia, (which I notice much more now that Cewsh points it out to me, your strange American slang in these things goes WOOSH over my head,) and race relations and attempts to push Joey Abs… I usually am pretty entertained.
I couldn’t tell you what will draw for WrestleMania. But then, I think to get worked up about that kind of thing is to overlook the essence of being a fan. It’s the same in Doctor Who fandom, people spend too much time worrying about possibilities and bemoaning the now, too few just take the damned show as it comes. Like Who, at the end of the day, WWE is only a TV show.
So yeah, I’m not keen on Rock/Cena 2. Because the feud didn’t really entertain me the first time round, and I’m not looking forward to it again. (And I speak as a pretty massive Rock fan.) But this doesn’t make me call a fatwa. Because, wrestling is cyclical. Something better will be around the corner. It usually is.
And anyway, WrestleMania might be the granddaddy of them all, but it’s not the Rumble match, is it?
MichaelC: You know, there isn’t a divas match on this show. I know, I’m sad too. To compensate, however, I’d like to at this time bring up Eve Torres’s final WWE match on RAW from January when she dropped the Divas title to Kaitlyn. A women’s match with four months back story and given more than five minutes in the ring is a rarity in today’s WWE, and if I did MichaelC Download Seal of Approvals, that match would certainly get one. So please, if you haven’t seen, give it a look out. You might be pleasantly surprised.