Thursday, January 28, 2021

Royal Ramble 2014

Yeah, this is a noteworthy show... one of those shows that ends up being memorable for all the wrong reasons. If there is any one show you could point as the beginning of the crumbling of WWE's product... well, there's plenty of those that do a far better job of that than this show, but I guess we can throw this in the hat.

Bray Wyatt defeated Daniel Bryan Danielson in the opening contest. Fun match, but the wrong guy won. If only we knew, huh?

Brock Lesnar hit Big Show with a chair a bunch of times, hit an F5, and pinned him for the win. Next.

WWE Champion Randy Orton defeated John Cena to retain the title with an assist from Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt clan... and then Bray beats up John Cena. You've seen one Orton/Cena match, you've seen them all. And so did the crowd because they just didn't give a fuck. They were chanting Daniel Bryan, they were chanting both guys suck, calling this match awful... you know things are bad when Bray Wyatt's interference - HE'S THE BAD GUY, YOU KNOW - gets cheered with a thank you and everything. This was, without question, the worst match between these two based on the crowd reaction alone... and we're not even at the fun part yet.

Dave Batista wins the 2014 Royal Rumble; a triumphant return to form on any other night, but on a night where the audience was clamoring for a triumph of a different kind, poor Dave was showered with a chorus of boos. Making matters even more bitter is Michael Cole subtly acknowledging the reaction by telling people "Batista won. Deal with it."

This Rumble is noteworthy for several reasons. It is the final match of one CM Punk, who opened the match at #1 and lasted a good long while before being eliminated by future mayor Kane in dress pants. It is notable for poor Rey Mysterio coming out as the 30th entrant and getting booed for it because he wasn't Daniel Bryan. It's notable for the people cheering on the then-still-heel Roman Reigns; possibly the last positive reaction poor Roman would be getting for a good long while. But perhaps most of all, this was the Rumble where the people were anticipating the arrival of their chosen hero and when that didn't happen, they turned on the match HARD to such a degree that NOBODY could turn the tide. Roman came close, but I doubt it would've lasted.

You know, it's easy to wail on the audience at these WWE shows because sometimes they'll just entertain themselves, much to the detriment of the show itself. But when you watch a show like this (and the subsequent Rumble as well), it becomes readily apparent that WWE brought this on themselves by producing a show with an end result that nobody wanted. They continue to do this year after year and then they wonder why audiences are leaving droves and why the ratings have deteriorated over the years.

Setting aside the Rumble, the rest of the show was just awful. The wrong guy won the first match, the second match was apathy personified, and the title match should have been an omen of things to come, but instead we get the big bang, dinosaurs, bipeds, and a mounting sense of futility. This show needed more Malcolm Tucker now that I think about it.

A really, really, REALLY bad show.

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