Sunday, February 7, 2021

Royal Ramble 2021

So... yeah. I was able to watch this Royal Rumble show in its entirety. I think this was the first time I was watching the show in one shot despite the four-hour run time in a good long while... and I honestly regret it in hindsight for reasons that I will get into after the break.

So before we begin, I need to make a note about the Thunderdome; the virtual set that WWE created, which features lots of webcam footage of random people "reacting" to stuff while static white noise that is supposed to be audience reactions play in the background. Now, as I've stated when I saw the first Smackdown to feature the Thunderdome - which you can read by clicking here - I was not a fan of the gimmick. All those monitors make the whole thing eerie and the crowd noise comes off as fake.

Months later, they've got a new location and it's just as bad as it was before. I've long since gotten used to the "virtual crowd" being a background thing, but that crowd noise is still bad. The reactions are fake, the "normal" crowd noise sounds as bad as the noise used in the WWE 2K video games - I wouldn't be surprised if it's the same crowd noise, actually. It simply doesn't work for me and what's even more sad is that Impact Wrestling - IMPACT FUCKING WRESTLING - experimented with crowd noise in their recent PPV (not sure if it applies to the weekly show) and while it's not quite as good as a live crowd, it's MILES above what WWE is doing as the crowd noise actually sounds like crowd noise. When TEE ENN EY IMPACT FUCKING WRESTLING is doing fake crowd noise better than the multi-million dollar company with high-end production studios could, there is something seriously wrong here. Absolutely embarrassing.

Fortunately, this year's WrestleMania is going to welcome back crowds... we'll see about that.

Anyway, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre defeated Goldberg in a short match that involved a few spears, people kicking out of their finishers, and eventually Goldberg eating a claymore to earn Mac the win and retain the title. Short, sweet, fine for what it was, which was to make Drew look like a big deal and it did that. A (theoretical) big win for Drew and it took exactly as long as it needed to be and not more than that. I'm perfectly fine with that. And anyone complaining about another Goldberg match lasting less than five minutes can kiss my ass because that's more than enough old man Bill that I need or want these days,

Smackdown Women's Champion Sasha Banks defeated Carmella via submission to retain the title. This match was a thing that happened and there's not much else to say about that... although I will add that if nothing else, Carmella has seen a considerable improvement since the last time I saw her. Make of that what you will, however.

Some dude has a concert. I skip.

There's the facts video. I skip.

Blanka Blair wins the Royal Rumble. Blair is the one with the long hair and the exceedingly horrible ring gear. A lot of the Rumble was a largely forgettable mess, with only a couple highlights. One of those highlights was the last few minutes between Blair and punk lady Rhea Ripley, which was tease a fine one-on-one match. The other highlight of note was Nia Jax charging at Lana, only for Lana to pull down the ropes, thus making Nia fly over and onto the ground. Other than that, my mind is a total blank on this one. But hey, someone new is getting a title match, so that's something.

A bunch nothing happens for almost a half hour. Talking heads, something with Miz, and a five-year long video package.

Blue Belt Champion Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match to retain the title. This was basically guys falling off stuff and stall until the other guy comes up. Kevin Owens did his best Sammy Guevara impression by getting hit with a golf cart, which is the only really exciting thing to happen here... now that's sad. Then Roman gets cuffed on the ground, the ref counts, Roman rams him to a pole, another ref shows up, does his count, Paul Heyman is struggling to uncuff Roman, another ref shows up to count and then stops counting while Heyman struggles with these cuffs, and Kevin Owens is doing fuck all during this whole thing. After five minutes or so, Roman is finally free from the cuffs, catches KO in the guillotine, and knocks him out for the win. Total fuck finish in a totally boring match. Lame.

And then Edge runs out and there's no time.

Edge wins the Royal Rumble. We started with Edge and Randy fighting and then Randy gets "hurt". He leaves and we get the rest of the match. Other than the return of Christian, Carlito, and Hurricane, this was a nothing Rumble. And then Edge wins, but Randy RKOs out of nowhere or something and gets eliminated by Edge anyway. So nice to see WWE push young guys like Edge.

So I will be honest with you here; I was largely bored with this show. The Rumbles matches were pretty forgettable fare and the title matches were things that happened with one of them having a really bad finish. Even after going back a couple times to check out the Rumble, I was struggling to find anything worth remembering or noting. It also didn't help matters that there were a billion camera cuts that kept missing important bits, the commentary was lifeless and dull, and nothing of note was happening. For a four-hour show, you'd figure something interesting would be worth watching and the only thing that happened was another old guy getting a Wrestlemania title match. Yippee.

Forgettable show with forgettable Rumbles. Pretty sad that on a week with one of the "Big 4" PPVs, the biggest thing to happen is that KENTA attacked Jon Moxley on AEW Dynamite to confirm a relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling.

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