WWE Royal Rumble rumblings


Miami Herald Writer

Much like it has done in the past, the Royal Rumble pay-per-view brought the WWE Universe a night of surprises.

This year’s spectacular was headlined by The Rock ending CM Punk’s staggering 434-day title reign and taking home the WWE championship for the first time in a decade. The victory on Sunday, Jan. 27 was foreshadowed by his passionate and inspiring pre-match comments. It was a nice moment to see Miami’s son celebrate with his mother, Ata.

The match wasn’t without controversy with The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns) striking in the darkness and nearly costing The Rock the title. The Spanish announce table got some revenge during the battle. Guess it was tired of being used and abused in matches. I’m sure there were some fans who were thinking The Undertaker was reading to make his grand entrance when the lights turned off.

Just when we think we’re getting a “Russo” WCW finish, Vince McMahon appears and follows through on the promise of stripping Punk of the title if The Shield interfered. Rock didn’t want a match with so much build to end like that and asked for it to be restarted, leading to his historic win.

I think the main event did a good job in establishing The Shield as the group made an impact and proved to be a dangerous faction in WWE. I also don’t mind The Rock as WWE champion, as it will give great exposure to the company when he attends his movie press junkets. It’s good for business.

A rematch is also good for business, as the two worked well together, and I’m sure fans wouldn’t mind seeing another encounter with a clear-cut winner.

One thing I do have a problem with is John Cena winning the Royal Rumble. I like the hard-working face of WWE, but having him win the battle royal is predictable. It leaves the taste of stale Fruity Pebbles in the mouths of the WWE Universe. It’s an ending we’ve seen before.

This would have been the perfect time to spotlight how unpredictable the Royal Rumble is by allowing someone like Ryback or even Dolph Ziggler to win. The “Show Off” has been on the cusp of greatness for a while, and the Rumble would have been the perfect vehicle to send him over-the-top. Look what the Royal Rumble did for Shawn Michaels.

As it stands, there is a good chance of seeing Cena and Rock again, but the WWE Elimination Chamber PPV could change that.

It wouldn’t be a problem to me had WWE not advertised The Rock and John Cena at WrestleMania 28 “Once in a Lifetime.” At this point, I would rather see a triple threat of some sort. Maybe Punk, Cena and Rock? I’m not a fan of three-way WWE title matches at WrestleMania, but then the company wouldn’t be accused of false advertising.

• The Rumble itself had a lot of fun moments. Among them was Chris Jericho’s exciting return to WWE by entering at number two. Y2J sure knows how to make an entrance when fans least expect it. He had a great showing. Hoping Jericho is here for more than one night. His new “Robot Combat League” TV show does air on SyFy, which airs WWE SmackDown.

The “Do not try this at home” commercial should have aired after Kofi Kingston played floor is lava with JBL’s announce chair. I wonder how many members of the WWE Universe are going to try hopping around in their own office chairs at work.

It was nice seeing Goldust again, who received quite a reaction. Perhaps it will convince WWE management to book the golden one against his brother, Cody Rhodes, at an event like WrestleMania. Brother versus brother with daddy Dusty Rhodes as special referee. I like it.

Linda McMahon is no longer running for office, and we see the Godfather reappear. Coincidence? It seems the “PG Era” has been bad for business, as the ho-train was downsized to two cars.

WWE NXT superstar Bo Dallas made a great first impression in the Royal Rumble. After impressively eliminating Wade Barrett, he may have earned a permanent slot on the main roster. It reminded me of Maven sending The Undertaker sailing over-the-top-rope in 2002.

I know there were a lot of rumors floating around with the names Brock Lesnar, Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, the Hurricane and John Morrison entering the 30-man battle royal. Another lesson for fans not to believe everything they read.

Kane and Daniel Bryan continue to entertain as WWE tag team champions. Although I kind of wish they don’t get along so we can see more of Dr. Shelby.

It was a really cool moment to see Bret Hart give World champ Alberto Del Rio advice before facing the Big Show. You have to think the 12-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez was jealous of his older self receiving a pair of the Hitman’s trademark sunglasses. As predicted, Rodriguez played an integral role in the match and helped Del Rio retain. I saw a little bit of Eddie Guerrero in Del Rio during the contest. His evolution as fan favorite is coming along nicely.

• Overall I think the Royal Rumble was a solid show, filled with great action. It gave fans their money’s worth. The road to WrestleMania is full steam ahead.

• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN, http://twitter.com/#!/smFISHMAN, where I post links and information. Opinions expressed reflect no other entity. I can also be found tweeting incessantly during wrestling shows weekly.

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