Hey, it’s the WWE Royal Rumble! From the city of Brotherly Love and contrary fans!
So my plans to go and watch the show in a niteclub were SCUPPERED and so I faced the usual, lonely prospect of watching it on Monday morning. BUT! I decided to grasp the nettle, and subscribed to the WWE Network so I could instead enjoy the lonely prospect of watching it LIVE!
This meant I got to see the pre-show, and got to shout, “SHUT UP, BOOKER T!”, like the rest of the world. It also meant I got to see the exclusive, pre-show match…
Hey, it’s A New Day! They shout stuff that means nothing but the crowd – eager for something, I guess – seem slightly into it. They’re fighting Tyson Kidd & Cesaro, who the crowd REALLY liked. Contrary, see?
This was supposed to be a six-man, but Xavier Woods still had ankle knack, so Adam Rose was relegated to supporting his pals Tyson & Cesaro at ringside. Natalya was also there, as were the Rosebuds.
This was a Good Match. Not as Good as Tyson & Cesaro’s t-shirts, which read Brass Ring Club. Tyson & Cesaro won when Tyson used a spinning Fisherman’s Buster on Kofi. The announcers told us that this should put them in line for a tag-team title shot. I hope so.
So onto the show itself! It started, in 2015, with the New Age Outlaws. Road Dogg is starting to look like his dad, which is inevitable because I am, too. Billy Gunn’s dad must look a lot like him because he doesn’t look much different at all.
They’re fighting The Ascension, who were humilated by the Outlaws – and the nWo and APA – on Raw, and now they’re back for more.
Let’s not beat around the bush: I hate The Ascension, and they’re awful. But the tag-team division badly needs new blood, and so them winning – which they did, with the Fall Of Man on Billy Gunn – is a Good Thing. After the match, the Ascension looked like they’d been through a war, instead of a short match with two men with a combined age of NINETY-TWO.
Backstage, HHH and Stephanie were talking about their problem with Sting. Paul Heyman appeared – the Philadelphia fans loved that – and told them that he could take care of it for them. His solution? Brock Lesnar. Or “Brock-pause-Less-pause-Ner”, as he brilliantly says it.
Hey, it’s Miz and Mizdow! This crowd LOVE Mizdow. Everyone loves Mizdow. They’re fighting the Usos for the WWE Tag-Team titles, and this was the fifteenth time a Miz had fought an Uso on TV in the last two months.
So, yeah, they had their match, and there were Mizdow shenanigans, which included Miz pushing Mizdow into the line of fire of an Uso dive. Unfortunately, this meant Miz was out of position for the next dive, and an Uso almost died. Eh, it’s not like we don’t have two of them…
The Usos won when Jimmy did a twisting splash on Miz for the pin. Please, PLEASE, let that be the end of this.
Backstage, Joey Mercury was playing WWE Immortals on his iPad. Jamie Noble angrily asked what he was doing but then wondered if he could play it on his ‘phone. Mercury reassured us that it was free on all mobile platforms. Thanks Joey! Seth Rollins walked in on them and told them off. Cranky cranky Rollins.
Oh, it’s the women. The Bella Twins came out, fashionably matching in a fetching shade of green. Them wearing the same colour meant that you had to fall back on Booby Bella and Non-Booby Bella as a way of telling them apart.
They’re fighting Natalya – who looked like she’d gotten dressed in the dark – and Paige. They’re friends because Total Divas. It’s something for women, apparently: I caught five minutes of it once and changed the channel thinking, “it’s not for me.” Although I am crotchety old man so maybe it’s just not for crotchety old men? I just don’t know.
The Bellas beat down Natalya FOREVER and, just when she was about to get the hot tag, Non-booby pulled Paige off the apron. Booby then hit an INCREDIBLE Misawa elbow which hit Natalya square in the FACE for the win. Total Divas, eh?
They played a bunch of goofy interviews with the stars who were entered into the Royal Rumble. It looked like they were in one of those video booths people have at their weddings. They were all going to win, apparently.
Hey, it’s WWE Heavyweight Championship time! John Cena came out first, and the Philadelphia fans did NOT like him. Once again, contrary. He took it well, almost amused by it. A lesser man may have crumbled but John Cena Never Gives Up. He also Hustles Loyaltys and Respects.
Seth Rollins was out next, with J&J Security. The crowd did not like him, either, but in a different way. Finally, Brock Lesnar, protected as a monster for years, and accompanied by Philadelphia’s favourite adopted son Paul Heyman, got an AMAZING reaction. Who knew?
Well, they had a match. They had a Great Match. Lesnar KILLED Rollins and Cena early on, with German suplexes and release suplexes that were borderline dangerous in their ferocity. He also German suplexed both Noble & Mercury over the top. At the same time. One in each arm.
Lesnar went to the outside and stripped the Spanish announce table of its trimmings, including hurling one of the monitors at the ringsteps. This would be his undoing.
Cena joined him on the outside and they brutalised each other for a while, but Lesnar ended up laid out on top of the announce table. Rollins saw his chance and FLEW through the air from the top turnbuckle, landing an elbow which resulted in a pile of human bodies and flat-pack furniture. The announcers sold that Lesnar was done, with – and I quote – “a broken rib, at least”.
Back in the ring, Cena and Rollins traded MOVES. Cena had the STF locked in but Noble & Mercury, who were alive again, broke it up. Cena then killed them again with a double Attitude Adjustment.
Rollins came back with a kerb stomp and a PHOENIX FUCKING SPLASH but Brock Lesnar rose from the grave and German suplexed Rollins out of his boots. He went for a second but Rollins landed on his feet and nailed Lesnar with the Money In The Bank case. Lesnar kicked out and hit an F5 on Rollins for the pin. The crowd seemed happy.
So, yeah, this was a Great Match. I watch a lot of wrestling these days so it doesn’t even make the top five so far – it’s been a good year – but if you don’t watch anything else from WWE this month, make sure you watch it.
Hey, it’s the Royal Rumble match! One of the best moments of the year! I’m sure everything will go just fine with this one…
Miz was out at number one, and he was joined – after rapping his ENTIRE THEME SONG – by R-Truth. They did some comedy, and then out came number three. Bubba Ray Dudley. Yeah, he’s back.
Given that he spent his best years in ECW, the Philadelphia crowd quite liked this. Bubba Ray spent most of his career in partnership with D-Von Dudley as the Dudley Boyz. Spoilers, but D-Von did not turn up tonight. Instead, Bubba Ray grabbed the nearest black man and did the Dudley Boyz spots with R-Truth. I am old and cynical.
They tossed Miz, and then Bubba Ray threw out R-Truth, and then Luke Harper came out as number four. Bubba Ray and Luke Harper brawled – God, I miss a good brawl – and Bray Wyatt came out as number five. Harper and Wyatt team up to eliminate Bubba Ray.
Curtis Axel was out at number six, but before he got even halfway down the ramp he was attacked by Erick Rowan, who lost his spot in the Rumble on Smackdown last week. Rowan ran down to the ring and joined his former Wyatt Family compadres for a three-way staredown.
Rowan and Harper had a moment and teamed up to attack Wyatt, but then Harper turned again and attacked Rowan. Wyatt threw them both out in time for number seven to come to the ring – Boogeyman. Remember Boogeyman? He ate worms. He did not eat worms tonight.
Wyatt outweirded the Boogeyman with the crab walk and then tossed him out. So much for that. Sin Cara came out next and had a brief flurry of offense before Wyatt tossed him, too.
Wyatt then sang “he’s got the whole world in his hands” as we anticipated the next entrant. It was Zack Ryder. Zack fucking Ryder. Wyatt threw him out, too.
Okay, business picked up because number ten was Daniel Bryan. Wyatt pinned Bryan on the go-home Smackdown, and Bryan launched himself into 90 seconds of furious offense before Fandango came out and interrupted the fun. Fandango – FANDANGO – beat up Bryan for a while before Bryan blocked a kick and delivered an airplane spin. The fans counted the spins, which handily coincided with the countdown for the next entrant.
And that was Tyson Kidd, who went right after Bray Wyatt. Bryan and Kidd then both hit dropkicks on Fandango, and then hit each other in the middle of the ring with simultaneous crossbodies.
Stardust was out at number thirteen, and maybe this is his year? He and Fandango trade “skinning the cat” spots, which Tyson Kidd surely can’t have been happy about. It didn’t matter, because Bryan back-suplexed Kidd over the top rope to the floor, narrowly avoiding Bray Wyatt, who had rolled out to earn a breather. Bryan spotted him and tope suicida’d threw the middle rope for a non-elimination.
Number fourteen? It’s him, it’s him, it’s DDP(im)! He is almost SIXTY years old but hasn’t aged in twenty years. That may be because he looked sixty back in 1995, but still. He has spent the last few years saving the lives of several wrestlers who lived, erm, fast lives in the ’80s and ’90s. If this is a reward for that, he deserved it.
He hit the Diamond Cutter on Stardust, and then one on Fandango. Wyatt tries a sneak attack, but gets Diamond Cuttered for his troubles. They are doing a great job of protecting this SIXTY YEAR OLD MAN in the booking here.
Rusev is out at number fifteen, and avoids a Diamond Cutter to eliminate DDP. Booooo! He then eliminates Fandango, to leave himself, Wyatt & Bryan. Oh, and Stardust. It might be his year!
Bryan takes out Wyatt and Rusev with a dropkick, and then hits fast kicks to both, before Rusev hit a sidekick and then whipped Bryan over the top rope. The fans held their breath but Bryan landed on the apron. Phew! Then Wyatt charged at him and knocked him to the floor. Oh, bum. The Philadelphia crowd did NOT like that.
Goldust was out next, and is immediately almost eliminated by Stardust. He hangs on and admonishes his brother but both are soon hit by a crossbody from number seventeen, Kofi Kingston.
In recent years, Kofi has been the king of escaping elimination by the most remarkable of means, and we’d soon see another.
Adam Rose was number eighteen, accompanied by his Rosebuds. He got in the ring and they stayed at ringside, just in the right place to catch Kofi after Rusev threw him out of the ring. They crowd-surfed Kofi back into the ring and then danced back to the ramp, which meant they were not there to do the same for Adam Rose. He should get rid of them, really. Oh, Kofi went out soon after, too.
Hey, it’s Roman Reigns! Earlier, on that Twitter social media thing the young kids love, there were reports that an image of Reigns on the big screen had led to huge boos in the arena. Philadelphia fans are, as I told you, contrary, and will not cheer someone they have been told to cheer. So, of course, when Reigns appeared as number nineteen, the crowd filled the air with derision to the point I started to feel sorry for the highly-paid sports entertainer.
Reigns quickly eliminates The Dust Brothers – I guess it just wasn’t Stardust’s year – and we were left with Reigns, Wyatt & Rusev.
With boos still echoing around the arena, Big E came out as number twenty, and they launch into a spirited four-man brawl. Mizdow is number twenty-one, to a huge reaction, but before he can get in the ring Miz runs down and told him to step aside. I’m not sure that’s allowed. Anyway, Miz got cold-cocked before he could get in the ring, and the fans urged Mizdow to take his opportunity, which he did. And then got eliminated by Rusev. Is that it?
Jack Swagger was out as number twenty-two, and went straight after Rusev. He hit him with the Swagger Bomb, but falls prey to a double-team from Wyatt and Rusev.
The Ryback enters at number twenty-three, and quickly knocks down all five men in the ring. The brawling continued as Kane came out as number twenty-four and almost eliminated The Ryback, who landed on the apron and continued his quest for glory.
Dean Ambrose entered at number twenty-five – a number he stole from Fandango on Smackdown, continuity fans – to make an eight-man field at this point. This would soon increase to nine – but not for long – as Titus O’Neil came out at number twenty-six, and was immediately eliminated by Reigns and Ambrose. This was timed at four seconds, but should have been a lot shorter as O’Neil botched going out. The doofus.
Bad News Barrett was number twenty-seven, and he went straight after Ambrose, almost eliminating him before Reigns made the save. Cesaro came out at number twenty-eight, and started uppercutting EVERYONE. The fans – who he does not connect with, remember? – were VERY happy to see him.
Rusev eliminated Big E just as the Big Show entered at number twenty-nine. All the other wrestlers attacked the Big Show but he fought them off. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but he is a GIANT.
Kane and the Big Show teamed up to eliminate The Ryback, and then the Big Show eliminated Jack Swagger. Finally, number thirty in the Royal Rumble match, Dolph Ziggler came to the ring, to a decent reaction, and went straight after the two biggest men in the ring. Not the smartest, our Dolph.
Ziggler eliminated Barrett, and then fought wirh Cesaro. Both men fell out onto the apron, and Ziggler eliminated the Swiss Superman with a superkick.
Filled with confidence, Ziggler headed up top and leapt at the Big Show, who knockout punched him in mid-air and then joined with Kane to toss his limp body to the floor. This helped Kane break Shawn Michaels’s all-time elimination record. FFS.
The same up & coming hungry young tigers team up to eliminate Wyatt, leaving four men standing in the ring: Kane, the Big Show, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns, who is bleeding from his mouth.
Reigns and Ambrose team up to try to eliminate the Big Show but Kane saved his Authority comrade. The Big Show then chokeslammed Ambrose, and he & Kane dumped him over the top rope to the floor.
The crowd, it is fair to say, did not like this, and chanted – very loudly – “BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!”, much to the amusement of the Big Show, who is past caring now.
This, of course, meant that our winner would be one of three men: The Big Show, Kane, or Roman Reigns. None of these possibilities filled anyone with hope or glee.
Reigns attacked both men but was overpowered, and Kane started to dump him out. Reigns grabbed Kane’s arm, and the Big Show intervened. However, Kane wasn’t sure if the Big Show was trying to save him or eliminate him, and attacked him, which led to Reigns dumping both men to the floor to be your 2015 Royal Rumble winner!
Except there was no bell. No announcement. No nothing. How odd. Kane and the Big Show climbed back into the ring and attacked Reigns, which brought down THE ROCK~! to make the save. The Rock, who fans actually like, got cheered wildly. He hit the People’s Elbow on Kane, while Reigns Superman Punched the Big Show. The Rock then delivered the Rock Bottom on the Big Show and it’s all over.
Except remember there was no bell? That’s because Rusev, the sneaky Russian bastard, was hiding on the outside, having never been eliminated. The crowd sensed a brief glimmer of hope but it was soon extinguished as Reigns ran him over the top rope to finally win the Royal Rumble.
As the crowd booed VERY LOUDLY, the Rock celebrated in the ring with Reigns, who seemed to be oblivious to the fans’ hatred for him. The Rock, however, looked very aware of what was going on.
HHH & Stephanie McMahon came out to the top of the ramp and stared down at the two men in the ring. They were slightly more happy about this result than the fans, and that’s not to say they were at all happy. And that’s your show.
This was a Puzzling Show. The early tag matches were disposable, and were always going to be. The WWE title match was a car crash in the very best way, but the Rumble itself delivered too little on its way to its terrible conclusion. Vince McMahon can be a cantankerous, stubborn fool, but he has to answer to shareholders these days – the next few days are going to be very interesting…