HAPPY 2014 EVERYBODY!! It’s Royal Rumble time, and you all know what that means. It’s the official start of WrestleMania season!! It’s the time of year where WWE pulls out the big guns and unloads both barrels in your face, so what have they got in store for us to get the big ol’ WrestleMania hype train rolling this year? Join me, dear reader, in killing a little time until the show begins…
YES!! The Road to WrestleMania begins tonight and I AM HYPED!! Not just for the Rumble (although it should be amazing if the right person wins), but tonight means the beginning of my own personal road to New Orleans for WrestleMania XXX. (Boy, are you people ever gonna get sick of hearing me mention that over the next couple of months.) But that’s for another time, because tonight is my 2nd favourite PPV of the year (Survivor Series is 1st, although that doesn’t really count since they don’t do the “lots of big team matches” thing anymore), which is guaranteed to provide us with some thrills, some spills, some shocks, and more than likely a few surprises thrown in for good measure.
The undercard looks pretty good too. Who doesn’t want to see Brock Lesnar maul Big Show? We’ve got a nostalgia-tinged cruise back to 1997 with the tag title match, Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt ending their feud (hopefully) and…well, Cena vs. Orton (I guess you can’t win them all), but other than that it should be a great night. If the right person wins.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The Brotherhood© vs. The New Age Outlaws
Why do WWE always do things about 12 months after they should? Last March I asked if the New Age Outlaws could be utilised to assist with the newly reinvigorated Tag Team Division, so obviously the best thing to do is hold off on that for almost 12 months, allow the Tag division to build themselves up, then interject the NAO at the wrong time in the wrong way.
Don’t get me wrong, if we’d had the NAO coming in months ago to take a crack at the Tag Division, I wouldn’t have a problem. The sad fact now is that they’re not really needed. Instead of riding the crest of the initial wave and helping to bring the best out of guys like the Usos, The Real Americans, The Shield, The PTP and others, the delay has only meant that the Outlaws have now been surpassed by the other teams in the division. These teams no longer need the rub from beating someone like the New Age Outlaws, because they’ve already spent the last year showing off what they can do and establishing themselves with the fans.
So what is the point of bringing the New Age Outlaws in now and gifting them a title shot? Well other than to keep the Authority story ticking over, I can’t see a point? There’s no benefit that I can see to having the New Age Outlaws win the straps, and if that’s the case why even have the match? Why not allow one of the more deserving teams who’ve spent the last year working their butts off to have their shot on a big 4 PPV? Basically, what I’m saying is how damn long do The Usos have to wait for at least a title shot, if not a run with the straps?
Sure this match should be perfectly watchable stuff, and I expect them to set the tone for the rest of the evening with this opener, but I can’t help but feel that other teams are more deserving and better suited to take the spot that The New Age Outlaws are seemingly needlessly taking up.
There’s also been rumours about the potential of Cody and Goldust falling out in this match to lead to a WrestleMania confrontation between the brothers Rhodes. Don’t do that WWE. There’s no need. Can’t it wait until WrestleMania 31?
Who I want to win: The Brotherhood. There’s still plenty of life left in that team.
Who I think will win: The Brotherhood. I can really see no benefit to the NAO winning, unless it means they drop the titles swiftly to Jimmy and Jey?
Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt
So have you all seen Daniel Bryan shrug off the indoctrination of Bray Wyatt? Have you heard the rapturous ovation the crowd gave Daniel Bryan? Wait, you haven’t? Well fear not humble reader, just clicky this video and be amazed at one of the loudest crowd reactions I’ve heard in YEARS…
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How cool is that? That right there is why Daniel Bryan HAS to win the Rumble. I defy you to name me a wrestler who is more over with the crowd (in EVERY demographic) right now than Daniel Bryan? Hell, even my girlfriend bought her first piece of wrestling merch because of him (A “Respect the Beard” shirt if you must know). There’s just something about Bryan that makes us all want to support him and see him do well. I can’t even define exactly what it is about him, I just can’t help but be enraptured by everything the man does. Don’t even get me started on “IMAGINE DOING THAT TO A BEAR!”.
Although before Bryan can take his rightful place in the WrestleMania XXX main event, there’s the small matter of dealing with the patriarch of the Wyatt Family. So personally, I see Bryan winning this match, but only via disqualification. My prediction is that the Wyatts are going to try and eliminate Daniel Bryan from even being able to compete in the Rumble. This is most likely not going to be a catch as catch can classic, rather this is more than likely gonna be a 3-on-1 mugging with the sole purpose of putting a hurting on D-Bry.
Fret not though, because I also predict that even though they’ll probably spend all night telling you that Daniel Bryan won’t be in the Rumble, he will enter at his chosen number, battered, bruised, but most importantly of all, royally p*ssed off. I expect Bryan to set about eliminating the Wyatts in patented Daniel Bryan “HOT TAG OF DOOM” fashion, before fighting through the pain of his earlier beating to go on and win the whole thing. In an ideal world.
Who I want to win: I kinda want Bray to win, just because that’s exactly what would happen if WWE wanted to throw us of the idea of Bryan winning the Rumble later in the night.
Who I think will win: Probably Bryan by DQ. I’ve just got a funny feeling that this isn’t gonna be a match, more an assault for a few minutes to get the crowd wound up and firmly behind D-Bry for the rest of the evening.
Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar
Is there even anything to say about this? Surely the whole point of this match is for Brock to look like the absolute beast he is by mauling the biggest guy available right now (because even WWE aren’t silly enough to book Brock vs. Khali). I mean, that’s really all there is to this, isn’t there? No-one’s seriously expecting Big Show to win this match, are they?
In a way, I kinda feel sorry for Big Show. Show put in some solid promo work with his whole firing and rehiring thing, along with him being bitched out constantly by Steph, only for it to be ruined when they tried to slot him into Daniel Bryan’s position late last year. Don’t try and book someone else to steal the “YES!” chant, WWE. You’re not fooling anybody, and all that does is make me care less about the stooge you’re trying to fool me with (in this case, Big Show). Seriously, I was at the Birmingham WWE House Show, and you should have heard the complete apathy of the crowd when they announced Big Show would be facing Randy Orton for the title that night. The apathy made way to anger, which was vocalised in a resounding “DAN-IEL BRY-AN!!” chant from literally EVERYONE in the LG Arena. Now this isn’t Big Show’s fault. He’s just doing what he’s been given to work with, but unfortunately for Show since then I’ve just not cared about him because he was the guy who “stole” Daniel Bryan’s spot. I know my problem is with WWE’s booking and not Big Show himself, but what are you gonna do?
Either way, he’s now slipped from (unwanted) Main Eventer to Brock fodder. And believe me when I say Big Show is going to be Brock fodder tonight. He’s there to be an impressive amount of weight to F5 and nothing else from what I can make out. It kinda sucks that a guy like Show has nothing else going on for him right now other than being what pretty much amounts to a giant jobber, but at least this match should be good for “holy sh*t” moments, if nothing else?
Who I want to win: *adopts Paul Heyman growl* BBBEEEEERRRRRRAAAAWWWWWKKK LEESSSSSSNEEEERRRRRR!!
Who I think will win: It’s gotta be Lesnar. Surely? Otherwise what’s the point in using one of his precious remaining dates on this match?
WWE World Heavyweight Title Match
Randy Orton© vs. John Cena
Excuse me while I compose myself following the jaw-breaking yawn I just gave out from even reading the words “Randy Orton vs. John Cena”. Like, if there was one match I could really do without seeing for the next 5 or 6 years it’d be Randy Orton vs John Cena for the bajillionth time. I’m really struggling to get motivated enough to type anything about this match. The only thought that keeps running through my mind is “I really, REALLY don’t want to have to watch another one of their matches”. I may even use this as an opportunity to grab a sneaky little power nap to make sure I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed for the Rumble match itself.
I’m gonna defer this one to my girlfriend, who actually came up with a pretty good idea. Cena wins (bear with me) leading to the mother of all Elimination Chamber matches for the title in February with Cena, Orton, Batista, Brock, and whichever other two people you want to put in there. It means that everyone who’s giving it the big “I am” about being the champion get their shots at the same time, and it‘s a fair and even way of determining who the champion will be heading into Mania (not that it matters, since Bryan’s winning the Rumble and leaving mania with the belts). I’d totally not be against that happening. Sure it means it gives us a bit of unpredictability heading into the start of Mania Season, but that’s been the same for the last few years. The Main Event for Mania is hardly ever locked down until we’ve been through the Chamber. I’ve got to give it to my girlfriend. Stacking a Chamber like that ahead of Mania would be great viewing, so let’s go WWE, make it happen. Anything as long as we don’t have to watch Orton vs. Cena one on one for nth time.
Who I want to win: Meh, not really fussy. Either guy can win for all I really care.
Who I think will win: Orton? Possibly through nefarious means and shenanigans (I’ll get my broom).
30 Man Royal Rumble Match
So let’s keep things simple. Here’s who to look out (and who I have high expectations) for in the Rumble match.
So help me jeebus, if Daniel Bryan doesn’t win this Rumble I will one man riot through the streets of Birmingham (look out for me on the news). I seriously cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of the Rumble win and proper push towards the title than Daniel Bryan this year. The work this guy has put in over the last…well, 2 years I guess, has been absolutely phenomenal. If Bryan doesn’t win this, then I can only imagine it will be by some nefarious means to outrage the fans and keep them firmly behind him. I just hope WWE don’t get a case of the Jeff Hardy’s and hold off on pulling the trigger so long that it diminishes the title win when he finally gets it. In my opinion the majority of 2013 was Daniel Bryan’s Road to WrestleMania, and this Rumble win is the penultimate piece to slide into place. Besides, I’ve been calling this since last April, so I’ve got to stick to my guns!
Well we now know that CM Punk will be entering the Rumble in the dreaded #1 slot. But we also know that it’s not outside the realms of possibility for someone to go from bell to bell in a Royal Rumble match. Could Punk add himself to that illustrious list before the end of the night? If rumours are to be believed, WWE has “big plans” for Punk heading further into 2014. Whether that brings him back into the title picture remains to be seen, but current whispers seem to think we will be seeing CM Punk taking on Triple H at WrestleMania (and hopefully this time getting the win he should’ve got 2 years ago at Night of Champions). If that is the case then you’d have to assume that The Authority are going to go out of their way to eliminate CM Punk from the Rumble. So while Punk may not win the Rumble itself, I expect him to be involved in the big storyline heading out of January and into WrestleMania season. Could yet another “Summer of Punk” be on the cards?
I’d be remiss not to mention the recently returning Animal when looking at the movers and the shakers in the Rumble match. Now I’m dead set against Batista winning this. Why? Because I’m fed up of WWE relying on part time alumni returning to boost their Mania buyrates. I had to sit through the Rock being possibly the worst champion of the last couple of years in the lead up to WM29, and I’ll be damned if I tolerate them gifting a Mania main event to Batista when he’s really only here for a paycheque and to promote his new films. I could do without WWE putting the title on a guy again based on how good he used to be, and again there are people who are far more deserving of the prestige the title provides than Batista. So how about it WWE, instead of relying on the old guard why not try having a little faith in the plethora of talented young guys you have right now? Or y’know, maybe listen to the crowd telling you who they’re behind? YES! YES! YES!
Ooooh, is there finally a crack in the Shield? It’s certainly looking that way, which also means we have to start looking for the possibility of one of the group breaking away from the others. Who are we kidding, it’s gonna be Reigns. Look at the last few weeks of WWE programming and you can quite obviously see they’re trying to position Reigns as the breakout star of The Shield. And to be fair to our boy Roman, he’s upped his game to match this belief the company has in him (not that The Shield weren’t fantastic anyway). Roman Reigns is my official pick for MVP of this Royal Rumble match, and as Matt and Dean mentioned on the TWO Community Podcast, it wouldn’t be outside the realms of possibility to see them push Reigns to the moon by allowing him to be the person to break Kane’s elimination record. Personally, I’m all for that. Superman punches for everyone! But all joking aside, this could well be the beginning of the end for The Shield as we know it. Just take a moment and let that sink in. Think about how phenomenal The Shield have been in their first 12 months and realise why it’s actually gonna be a sad day when the Hounds of Justice split.
Big E Langston
Now I know there’s no way Big E is winning this thing, but he’s definitely someone I want to keep my eye on during the match. By all accounts Big E is impressing people in all the right places with his current IC Title run, so it’s gonna be interesting to see if they continue to keep Langston fairly well protected in his first Rumble showing. No doubt they’re gonna let Big E throw a couple of guys around, maybe even rack up a few eliminations of his own, so definitely keep your eyes on this man once his number is called.
So Woods is somewhat of an unknown quantity heading into his first Royal Rumble match. Recently promoted to the main shows from NXT, you’d have to imagine there could well be a little something in the Rumble for him to use to make a name for himself. I’m calling him eliminating Brodus Clay (provided Clay gets a Rumble spot, obviously), but one thing for certain is that Woods is will be looking to make an impact. The guy absolutely oozes charisma from every pore, so I’m expecting him to put in a good showing for himself before his inevitable elimination.
Other things that you may want to watch out for:
– Antonio Cesaro eliminating someone by Swiss Deathing them off the ring apron
– Roman Reigns employing the Superman Punch to devastating effect
– Dolph Ziggler (if cleared) taking the dirtiest bump of the whole Rumble
– Kofi Kingston’s annual elimination evasion masterclass (although, after walking on his hands I don’t know where he goes from there?)
And there we have it. We’re only a few short hours away from the show, so how about letting me know what you think? You can either leave me a comment in the box below, or if you’re feeling adventurous you could even join in the debate by joining the TalkWrestlingOnline Forums. And if you’re still looking for a way to kill a couple of hours until 1am (or whatever time you happen to be on) why not head over and check out some of our TWO Community Podcasts? 2 Seasons and still going strong(ish)! Or why not go back and take a look at my all time favourite Royal Rumble moments in last year’s article?
So that’s that. The energy drinks and beers are chilling, the takeaway menus have been carefully selected, my Iron Sheik shirt is on, the day off work tomorrow is booked, all that remains is to try not to explode with excitement at the prospect of my boy D-Bry headlining Mania!
Enjoy the Rumble, and I’ll see you all next time!