Monday, January 25, 2016

Royal Ramble: 2016

So, some musings on last night's Royal Rumble PPV... and as a bonus, I even included some notes on the Rumble match itself. Not detailed or anything; just notes. Anyway, let's get on with it.

Intercontinental champion Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match to retain the title. The finish came when Dean tossed Owens through the conveniently set-up double tables at ringside that you knew was going to be the finish. Other than the telegraphed ending, this was an excellent brawl that was violent (but not needlessly bloody) and felt like an honest to god FIGHT. Great way to start the show.

Tag-team champions The New Day defeated the Usos to retain the titles. Eh, I can't say I disliked this one, but I can't say I was too interested either. It was okay, at best.

Kalisto defeated US champ Alberto Del Rio to win the title for the second time. I liked it when Kalisto won the title on RAW for the first time because it was a nice little surprise. I facepalmed when Del Rio won it back on Smackdown. And now here I am, headdesking at Kalisto winning it again. It's almost as if they want to get this "feud" over and done with so that Del Rio can do something worthy of his time or something. The match itself was alright, but I barely remember anything about it beyond the end result.

Divas champion Baby Flair defeated Becky Lynch via Flair's jacket to retain the title. Then Sasha Banks shows up, kicks Becky to the side like the afterthought that she is, and gives Baby Flair the Bank Statement. This match felt so much like a waste of time after having seen it so many times that it almost dangerously regressed Divas matches back to piss break status. People might be excited about a potential Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks title match at 'Mania, but I'm worried we're just going to get Baby Flair vs. Sasha Banks instead. Seriously, the whole Baby Flair thing is reeking of 2003 HHH matches... that's not a good thing, by the way.

HHH wins the Royal Rumble at no. 30 and wins the WWE World Title. Roman Reigns, the former champ, came in at number 1 and I wish I could say he went the distance with the likes of Chris Jericho, Kofi Kingston, and the debuting AJ Styles (who got a huge fucking pop upon entrance), but at some point, he got beat up by the "evil foreigners" and was stretchered out... only to come back when the 29th entrant was on his way out. It almost reeks of Rumble '99 booking when they did the same thing with Austin. Although to this Rumble's credit, the "dead air" was more than appreciated as it was a much better Rumble than the previous years' worth.

Honestly, this was a good Rumble. It had good moments and it didn't feel like a complete waste. AJ Styles debuting to a big fucking pop and lasting as long as he did was a solid way to get this guy on a roll without having him win the damn thing. I thought Brock was fine; did his suplexes to satisfy the pleebs and then got beat up by the Wyatts (illegally, but whatever) and promptly tossed out. There weren't much in the way of surprise entrants or cameos, which is good because there shouldn't have been considering the circumstances. The dead weight didn't take up much space. It flowed well enough that I didn't feel completely bored and that's key with the Rumble. It shouldn't feel slow even during the slow moments.

HHH entering the Rumble and winning it wasn't much of a surprise. I'm sure we all saw it coming. And something like this should worry me, but it really doesn't. Listen, I know there's this concern that we might get another reign of boredom and suckitude like we did from 2003 to 2005 and I get that. However, considering the options they had, it'd be nice to have a champion that's booed because he's a heel rather than a champion that's booed because he's the chosen one... even though the crowd cheered old man Paul. And since I'm almost certain this will last a month or two until Reigns wins it back, I'm somewhat alright with this.

My only real gripe with HHH in the Rumble was the usual gang of idiots not making a bigger deal out of this than they did. The last time HHH had a match was at Mania versus Sting. The last time we saw HHH was at NXT Lond--, er, I mean, getting beaten up by Roman Reigns. It seems like they were going out of their way to minimize the fact that HHH was largely a suit for the past year and were instead passing him off another guy, another returning face, that sort of thing. They didn't make HHH entering the Rumble or winning the title feel like a big deal, which... sure, I don't think a HHH match is a big deal, but that's usually how he's treated as. And this felt underwhelming for that context. Still, this should be interesting... I hope.

All things considered, we're off to a great start with a good show in this year's Royal Rumble. Great opening match, good Rumble match, and the rest was take-it-or-leave-it at worst. No complaints there, actually.

Quick Rumble Musings

Roman Reigns enters at No. 1... remember, this is for the WWE championship. And also remember, the crowd hates Roman Reigns for some reason and give him the appropriate response.

Rusev enters at No 2... and quickly goes bye-bye. Well, that was a waste.

Entering at No. 3... is AJ Styles to a big fucking pop. And I mean REALLY big. To their credit, the usual gang of idiots brings up AJ Styles being a former IWGP champion "just like Brock Lesnar." This has the double effect of giving AJ that nice shine from the get-go and also giving the rest of us peons more ammunition to toss at TNA commentator Josh Matthews for his stupid observation about how WWE would know about former TNA mainstays without mentioning TNA. And of course, once Roman gets offense in, the crowd shits on him.

Next up is Tyler Breeze... and his shitty selfie stick. Tyler Breeze is so interesting that the crowd is chanting for AJ Styles... And there goes Breeze, thanks to Roman...

No. 5 is Curtis Axel... dude, what's up with your beard? Anyway, despite interference from the Social, Axel gets outsted by Styles... well, they're not overcrowding the Rumble. And at least Axel got eliminated this time around.

Next up is Chris Jericho with no jacket. AJ isn't really doing a whole much here; gets a couple moves in, but isn't doing much.

Now we got Kane... his 17th Rumble according Maggle Cole. Of course, we need to have Kane look like a tough guy... Jericho with a nice save there from elimination...

Goldust is next... he and Kane go at it. It's starting to get a bit crowded here, kids. AJ is doing nothing here, but the crowd still loves him. That's what happens when you have a WWE show in the Impact Zone.

Look, I don't mean to interject here, but isn't this supposed to be One Versus All? Wouldn't be it smart for the guys not named Roman Reigns to work together to get rid of Roman Reigns so that they can fight for the title without worrying about Roman Reigns?

No. 9 is Ryback... and the Big Guy is getting big shit fed from the crowd. He gets his chants back in short order.

No. 10 is Kofi Kingston and Ryback got shit on for backdropping Styles.

No. 11 is Titus O'Neil... meh. AJ gets slammed by Titus, crowd shits on Titus. I guess Father of the Year means nothing to Floridians when you crap on their hometown favorite. There goes Goldust, by the way.

No. 12 is R-Truth... who decides to get a ladder because sure, why not? He climbs the ladder and finds out there's no title hanging. Or maybe there's no briefcase. Who knows? Who cares? Truth is gone. His bad or something. Is this his thing now where he fucks up every so often?

Kofi's annual save is brought to you by Big E. Apparently, Kofi's going to be out there a while.

No. 13 is Luke Harper... and Roman Reigns is pulled out of the ring by the evil foreigners, headlined by old man McMahon... note that they don't eliminate him.

No. 14 is Stardust and apparently there's a French announce table... by the way, Kofi is apparently eliminated and we completely missed it. Good going, Kevin Dunn.

No. 15 is Big Show. Nothing happens... looks like Roman is getting stretchered.

No. 16 is Neville. Roman is hurt. Roman is bad... but hey, AJ Styles is still in it. And still getting chants. That's cool, I guess.

No. 17 is Braun Stroman... who eliminates Kane. Yay. And Big Show goes bye bye too. This Strawman fellow is pretty strong. But honestly, this almost surprises me that both Kane and Show would be ousted so quickly since they tend to take up lots of time... not that I'm complaining.

No. 18 is Kevin Owens, still selling the wear and tear from his earlier match... and eliminates AJ Styles. Well, if KO wanted heel heat, he just got it. Give credit to AJ, though; he didn't do a whole lot, but he stuck in there longer than I would've thought and he got a nice reaction from the WWE Impact Zone crowd, so that's something.

No. 19 is Dean Ambrose... and he and KO go at it for a bit.

No. 20 is Sami Zayn... and he eliminates KO.

No. 21 is Erick Rowan... a bunch of guys get eliminated. I lose track.

No 23 is Brock Lesnar... Piss Break City, Bitch. For a moment, I thought Brock was 22, but turns out Mark Henry went in and was justly tossed as quickly, so I missed that.

No 24 is Jack Sthwagger... Weed The People, indeed. F5, out goes Sthwagger. Good-bye.

No 25 is Miz... Piss Break City, Bitch. And Miz is talking strategy. And Harper is still there.

No. 26 is Alberto Del Rio El Patron...

No. 27 is Bray Wyatt... and there goes Brock after Wyatt Family assistance... don't tell me they're actually building towards Brock vs. Bray at Mania.

No. 28 is Dolph Ziggler... meh.

No. 29 is Sheamus... and here comes Reigns. And the crowd is just shitting on him. I guess they wanted to go for that whole absence making the heart grow fonder by removing Roman from the match... didn't work.

No. 30 is HHH... to the surprise of absolutely no one. Even the announcers aren't making that big a deal of it, despite not having wrestled a match since Mania and despite not having been seen since TLC when he got beaten up by Roman... and then took a WWE-doctor prescribed Z-Pak and was fine enough to make an appearance at that week's NXT London show.

Skip to the end... Last two guys is Ambrose and McSon-In-Law, after HHH eliminated Roman. Shouldn't surprise anyone who's winning this one... and... yep, Ambrose is out... McSon-In-Law wins... eh, I'm strangely fine with this.

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