WWE Royal Rumble 2015 – Best For Business?

I want to specifically talk about the Royal Rumble match this year. Last year, WWE made perhaps it’s worst decision as far as a winner goes for a Royal Rumble match. Granted, in the end, the fans got Daniel Bryan, but we lost CM Punk. Let’s not claim that there were no casualties, because Punk had one of the 2 loudest pops in the match along with Roman. I’m not going to act like I am watching this for the first time. I watched it live. WWE made a worse decision this year than last year in my knee jerk reaction/opinion.This was the year for redemption for us loyal fans. The fans were practically demanding Daniel Bryan or Dolph Ziggler to get the win. Would Dean Ambrose have pleased the crowd, a Philly crowd? I think most would have been accepting of Dean but felt he was still a year or 2 away from deserving it, and that is fair. It’s Dolph and Daniel’s time. I am going to revisit the key moments and then analyze where I felt they went terribly wrong. If you are a fan of the outcome, this blog will probably piss you off, so just move along. And yes, the Brock match is an obvious match of the year contender. It was amazing. Sadly, it was one of the only things that they did well. Let’s revisit the atrocity that cause massive backlash.

In case you are unaware, Philly is home to one of the 3 best crowds in the US alongside NYC and Chicago. I will leave numbers in parentheses when I wish to go back and discuss things.

We start off with The Miz. I think most fans naturally expected Sandow to come out. I hate calling him Mizdow, so I’m not doing it. Instead, we get….R Truth? Some of you may have forgotten that Miz and Truth actually main evented a Survivor Series and put over Cena and Rock in the build up to one of the all time worst feuds in WWE history. I like when the past comes back to haunt people, it’s good storytelling, and damnit, how can you not like Truth? Thes guys worked well together, but i feel the vast majority was underwhelmed by these 2 starting the rumble. (1) #3 was none other than Bubba Ray Dudley/Bully Ray if you follow TNA. Huge pop. This guy has worked his ass off to improve and he is a legit upper card guy in my opinion. Naturally in Philly, he is part wrestling god.  Him and Truth did some double team moves on the Miz.(2)  Now it makes sense, no Devon, so you put another black dude in. Why not just have Devon? Crowd is chanting ECW. Truth get the tables, and the crowd is happy.Miz is gone? (3) Truth is gone as Luke Harper comes out at #4. He was my pick to be the work horse of the match. Very physical matchup here, suit both guys well. Crowd is still happy.At #5, we have Bray Wyatt. I’ll be honest, I’m a tad surprised to see him this early, but with Luke out there, it lends some familiarity.The crowd is chanting “We want Devon” but that don’t happen. Bubba is double teamed, and gets eliminated. Luke and Bray stare down. Well some times obvious booking is obvious.

#6 is Curtis Axel??? What, where is Eric Row…..oh, there’s Rowan. Well that at least made some sense. My favorite part honestly was Luke and Rowan standing side by side. Luke stares him down, and points his fingers like a gun at Rowan, then at Bray, and Bray laughs. That was genius! Rowan tries taking on his former stablemates. Rowan goes to dump out Luke, and Bray eliminates both? (4) Sigh, well there goes that prediction. #7 is the Boogeyamn, and the crowd goes mild. He’s a fun guy to have go against Bray as a way for something unique and eat up early time. That is a must when they only have one guy in the ring this late in the match.They have a freak off if you will. Bray wins that one, because he’s finally getting the push he should have received last year but didn’t thanks to the eater of pushes, John Cena. Boogeyman is gone. #8 is Sin Cara, no pop at all. WWE never nailed the Sin Cara character, but he is awesome in NXT as a tag champ. And Sin Cara is gone.Bray has the mic and is talking shit to the guys in the back, saying it is Bray Wyatt’s year, and he begins with He’s Got The Whole World in his hands, and the crowd is solidly behind him. #9 is Zach Ryder, and he got a medium pop. Another casualty of Cena in regards to a push. Ryder should be upper mid card at the very least. And there he goes while I typed that. Not a good showing for Long Island Iced Z.  Bray is saying it is only going to take him half a minute. #10 is Daniel Bryan, and the crowd explodes. Good for him!!! This is a match up from last year’s Royal Rumble as it was the opening match. Remember, anytime you can put a young talent like Bray over your most popular wrestler in Daniel Bryan, in 2 months you should follow it up by burying him to that young up and comer named John Cena. The crowd is loving everything that DB is doing.

#11 is Fandango, and he gets no pop. Do you know why? It’s 2 fold. He beat Jericho at Wrestlemania in his debut, and wasn’t used in any decent feuds after. Secondly, They lost the catchy music. Shawn always had catchy music and played a damn good heel. WWE, you fucked up because Fandango is really an above average guy, and deserves feuds. #12 is Tyson Kidd! Hey, speaking of guys terribly underutilized. I really hope his tag team with Cesaro gains momentum because they are fantastic. Solid work in the ring, crowd has mellowed a bit. #13 is Stardust, and he deserves a better pop, he is so good. Ohh, the battle of men in purple with Stardust and Kidd getting into it briefly. Nice spot of Stardust thinking he tossed out Fandango, but he pulls himself back in ala HBK, so Fandango does the same to Stardust with similar results. And Kidd is eliminated. Bray is on the floor and DB did a flying dive through the ropes onto him. So both are still in.(5) #14 is Mr Self high five, he Positively DDP. He got a decent surprise pop. The crowd popped for the diamond cutter. Diamond cutter from the top rope. Bray is in, beats on DDP only to eat a Diamond Cutter, and the crowd is behind him, good because he deserves it. #15 is Rusev, and yes, business did just pick up as JBL put, well stole it from JR. DDP tries to Diamond Cut Rusev, but Rusev eliminates him. Rusev eliminates Fandango right after. Bray and Rusev are face to face for a hoss matchup but DB takes them out with a double drop kick from the top rope. He works on both guys, but then Bray and Rusev double team him. Rusev throws him over the rope and Bray knocks him off. Wait, WHAT???? Did that just happen? (6)

#16 is Goldust and the crowd is just booing like crazy. That may be one of the most deflated crowd moments of all time. I felt bad for Goldust, but the crowd was scorned. Stardust tries to eliminate Goldust, they tussle a bit after, but then they square off with the other 2 guys. The crowd is booing like crazy. #17 is Kofi, and the crowd is chanting “Daniel Bryan”. Well WWE, enjoy the shit storm, you brought it on yourselves. More DB chants and the announcers are acknowledging this. My thought process was maybe this was done so Dolph can stand tall at the end without eliminating DB and getting boo’d. #18 is Adam Rose, and nobody gives a fuck because WWE botched his push, and then did nonsense with the bunny. He will be gone within the next 2 years I predict. Kofi got thrown over, but the Rosebuds caught him and helped him back to the ring. Lame compared to previous years. Rose is eliminated shortly thereafter. And now Kofi. So after all of that, he gets eliminated less than 30 seconds after? (7). Crowd, still booing. #19 is Roman Reigns, the WWE’s golden child, and the crowd boo’s the shit out of him. Maybe you shouldn’t have had the Rumble in Philly, dumbasses. This is not how you get your next big thing over. Roman promptly eliminates Goldust and Stardust. It’s now Rusev, Bray, and Roman. #20 is Big E, and look at what I said about Adam Rose, those are my feelings. Oh and the crowd boo’d, surprise surprise.Crowd boo’ing just to boo at this point.

#21 is Sandow, and the crowd finally cheers! Before he gets to the ring, Miz stops him, tells him that he is taking Sandows spot. Roman knocks Miz off the apron. Sandow looks conflicted, but enters the ring. The crowd is very behind him. I hope he lasts a long…..and he’s gone.(8) Sandow mocks the miz after. Let the boo’ing commence.#22 is Jack Swagger, and he gets a solid “We The People” backing. Here’s a guy who should be up there with Ziggler, but instead jobs a lot. Watch early to mind 2014 and see how over Swagger was. It was crazy, only to job him.#23 is Ryback and some of the crowd was excited. He does get a good “Feed me more” chant, so he’s doing something right at least. He should be the king of upper mid card now. Shaking my damn head. Hey, a CM Punk chant from the crowd. HAHA! #24 is Kane, and nobody cares, and that sucks. He’s the all time greatest Rumble participant along with HBK. Yes, I said it, you read it, deal with it. How has Kane not gotten the record already for most eliminations? He needs 2 more to tie HBK. (9) #25 is my man Dean Ambrose, my dark horse pick to win. (10). Ambrose comes in a crazy house of fire, just as you would expect. The crowd is chanting “Let’s go Ambrose”. Do you hear that Vince and HHH? Seriously! Big E is impressing me this year, just saying.

#26 is Titus O’Neil and he should never have split with Darren Young, obviously. He gets in and Roman and Dean double clothesline him out, but they botched it. He was supposed to break Santino’s record, but it was very, very botched. Bray and Rusev are doing great, Bray is at 38 minutes now. Is this the year of the thicker gentleman? #27 is afraid he’s got some Bad News, Wade Barrett. He’s a personal favorite of mine with Dean and Luke. There’s 9 guys in the ring, and all are very talented in their own way, ok maybe not Ryback, but he is charismatic damnit! Of course Dean and Wade are brawling. #28 is Cesaro, and here’s a guy who deserves so much more than WWE has afforded him. (11) That music, it’s so bad. We have 2 obvious guys remaining in Dolph and Big Show, but in what order? 10 guys in now.  And now 9, as Rusev eliminated Big E. #29 is The Big Show. Wow, so one of, the 3 best workers in your company is #30? That is beyond dumb, but whatever. Big Show and Kane are double teaming. They get rid of Ryback, then Swagger. Kane is now tied with HBK. Both of the last 2 guys were expendable in that capacity to put over the huge double team. And here’s Dolph and the crowd is pumped!

You have 2 crowd favorites in Dolph and Dean, along with Wade and Cesaro, And Dolph gets rid of Wade. Seraor doing the Cesaro swing for freaking ever, and tried to eliminate Dolph, but Dolph holds on. He then drags Cesaro over Benoit style, which if you don’t get the reference, re-watch Benoit with big guys in the rumble. Cesaro is gone via Dolph. Kane tries taking out Dolph. Dolph off the top rope, and Big Show with the KO punch!!! And he is lifeless, and Kane and Big Show picked up his lifeless carcass and eliminated him. Kane with the record, but seriously, you give Dolph like 3-4 minutes? (12)  Crowd is pissssed. It was so shitty. Bray to give Kane Sister Abigail, and Big Show KO punches Bray, and is easily dumped by Kane and Bray. Just like that??? That’s how Bray goes? (13) Our final four is Big Show, Kane, Roman and Dean. Most years, this would work and make sense. Kane isn’t winning, neither is Big Show. Dean is WWE’s last hope of saving this mess. Roman is bleeding from his mouth I think. Big Show chokeslams Ambrose. Big Show and Kane pick up his lifeless body and dump and eliminate him. The crowd knows whats coming, and it is a solid boo’ing. Wow WWE! There is a “bullshit” chant going. Michael Cole acknowledging the crowd is not happy with the eliminations of Daniel, Dean, and Dolph, the triple D if you will. Roman almost eliminates Kane, and Big Show tries to help, and needless to say, hoss matchup time. Now they grab each other’s throats near the ropes. You know what happens next. Roman eliminates both guys. The bell rings, and the crowd is pissed. Kane and Big Show come back in to beat down Roman, because they are heels. Still boos. Double chokeslam on Roman. Crowd is chanting “We want Rusev? and The Rock’s music hits and takes out the 2 big guys.  This is Rock’s way of trying to help get his cousin over, but the crowd don’t care. In comes Rusev. The crowd mildly popped, but everybody knows it’s inevitable. And like that, Roman quickly eliminates him. Fuck this.

The crowd was boo’ing, and now suddenly I can’t hear anything. What’s the matter WWE, you didn’t want the audience to know what the live crowd thinks of this shit fest? Let’s look at the footnotes. If you don’t care, just scroll past them for final thoughts.

1. I genuinely thought Miz and Sandow were a favorite to start the rumble. WHen Miz came out first, I would have bet money on Sandow next. I know sometimes obvious is obvious, but that would have worked really well here. Missed opportunity in my opinion.

2. Another missed opportunity by not having D-Von there. I love Truth, but it simply wasn’t as big as it should have been. Picture Miz and Sandow as 1 & 2. #3 is Bubba, and they double team him. #4 is D-Von and they 3D Miz through a table.  That place would have erupted.

3. To piggyback on #1, I fully expected a bigger angle to play out with Miz and Sandow in the ring together. To eliminate Miz that fast, I didn’t get it.

4. Rowan was totally expendable, but Harper? Why? Him and Ziggler stole the stole at the last ppv. Luke should be upper mid card, and mixing it up with the elite to get a feel for it, and he has, but not enough. He should have been the workhorse of this match. Missed opportunity, especially knowing that Bray and Rusev were, but neither needed it more than Luke.

5. I get why they did that spot, but was the rest really needed for DB? It makes me wonder just how healthy he truly is. I think WWE know his time is limited and they are going to probably unsafely milk his prime, while not utilizing it.

6. So this is one of the handful of moments WWE will look back up with significant regret. I find it hard to believe that they didn’t know that there would be backlash. They knew it. They saw what happened last year. I admit, I got sick of the Yes movement, but I am a hypocrite. I love seeing these guys finally get their due, but I loathe when they get shoved down our throats as the wrestling business often does. Every main guy can be vulnerable and still be awesome. ECW knew that. Back to my original point, they fucked up Daniel Bryan didn’t get killed by something new, or got worked over so bad that he couldn’t compete. He didn’t get the hero’s elimination that he deserved IF he had to lose. I still think Daniel or Dolph against Brock is pure money and storytelling at it’s finest. Idiots.

7. There’s an art to Kofi saving himself year after year. If it is to be a big deal, he needs to survive another entrant or 2, just so it felt like it was worth something.

8. Yet another fan favorite, that should have lasted a bit longer. Really, you have to toss the fans a bone. I think a better way to have booked that would be to have Miz not only get hit when trying to enter, but hit with a really big move, so he was knocked out for a bit, like Big Show’s KO punch for instance. Then you have Sandow come in as a house of fire, get like 2-3 eliminations, maybe Kofi and Adam Rose. Rusev and Bray getting all of these eliminations didn’t make them any more dominant in my eyes, and Sandow really could have used that boost, like he had when he won Money in the Bank a year and a half ago. Sorry, but I feel it’s important for guys like Sandow, Swagger, and Dolph getting a shot in the spotlight while guys like Big Show, Kane, Mark Henry, Orton, and Cena can help get them over. Don’t just skip that generation. It feels sort of like how I felt Edge and Jeff Hardy had to bust their asses to get any main event light for far too long, and I hate Jeff, but he was money.

9. Yes, Kane got the record this year, but the record was like 35. He had 11 in one year, and has been in like 15 Royal Rumble. He should have had this record like 3-4 years ago in my opinion. Kane deserves some record, and HBK already had tons of accolades.

10. Ambrose may have been wronged the most in some sense. Thing about how many pay per views in 2014 that he either main evented, co-main evented, or had match of the night. Yes, I am thorough here. 1. Royal Rumble- interfered in the Rock vs Punk match which was for the title, maybe it shouldn’t count. 2. Elimination Chamber – Shield vs Wyatts was match of the year no doubt, but lost it’s luster because it didn’t happen at Mania, which did nobody any good. Bray got buried and Kane and NAO put over Shield. Who cares? Missed opportunity. 3. Wrestlemania XXX – barely had any time for a match, and people wonder why Punk was pissed. 4. Extreme Rules – Shield over Evolution 2.0. 5. Payback – Shield over Evolution again. Both of those matches were in top 10 of the whole year I’d say. 6. Money in the Bank – Dean lost to Seth in the MitB case match which stole the show and clear co-main event. 7. Battleground – Dean vs Seth after Seth turned, wasn’t much of a match, but a brawl of sorts. It was clearly the co-main event coming into the awful ppv. Dean lost after HHH ejected him from the building 8. Summerslam – Dean vs Seth in a lumberjack match, and although not billed as co main event, you can’t tell me that Brie vs Steph was, and neither was Jericho vs Bray, and Seth and Dean was probably the best feud heading into the ppv. Dean lost after Kane’s distraction allowed Seth to use the briefcase. 9. Night of Champions – Seth was to face Roman, but then Roman had to have emergency surgery, so Dean shows up as Seth is getting his forfeit victory, it was terribly scripted, and Dean had to leave the building again after a brawl. Are you noticing a trend here? It’s the best feud going at this point. 10. Hell In A Cell – Seth vs Dean in the last match of the night, and Bray interfered and cost Dean the match. 11. Survivor Series – Bray vs Dean in which Dean lost via DQ due to using a chair, but by the end, there was a table and a ladder and a whole mess of chairs, with Dean looking like the winner even though he lost. This was the second best match of the night. 12. TLC – Dean Vs Bray which main evented and was a true TLC match, and it was pretty good, second best of the night behind Luke and Dolph. So as you can see, Dean keeps getting screwed over in wins, but the fans still love him. If he won the Rumble, you may have some awesome hybrid or Pillman, Austin, Piper, and Jake. Yeah, that’d be an awful guy to build your company around, jackasses.

11. Cesaro went from being one of the 3-5 most over guy in the early part of the year, and winning the Andre Memorial Battle Royal to being the new Paul Heyman guy and not getting a push, and just falling further and further, despite almost always pleasing the crowd, even when a heel. He needs a kick ass rock song to come out too. If Motorhead did his song, he’d be main eventing in under a year. Here’s another guy that deserves better feuds, but hopefully him and Kidd become the next big team, maybe as faces to supplant the boring Usos and really feud with the Ascension once they take over.

12. I don’t know Dolph’s official time, but it was way too short for one of the favorites in the match, one of the favorites to start the match and last most of the way through, and the best fall back if they didn’t want to do Daniel again. Once again, I think Daniel isn’t fully healed, so Dolph would have been a perfect ragdoll to go against the Beast, and it would have made his career like Survivor Series should have, but unfortunately, you end up on Team Cena, you always get over shadowed by Cena. Why such a short time????

13. So Bray overcomes so much throughout the match, only to get treated like a bag of trash. He couldn’t even fight to stay in. It was punch, go limp, get eliminated.

Final Thoughts

The WWE knew that the fans wouldn’t react well to Daniel’s elimination, but they could have had him save some face by being destroyed worse.The eliminations of Damien, Dolph, and Bray were beyond shitty. Sure Dean made the final 4, but he was simply fodder to make it look like Roman overcame the odds.

“Overcame the odds”, isn’t that the whole point of this Rumble? Dolph, Bray, Dean and others couldn’t overcome the Kane and Big Show team, and they wanted Roman to pull a Cena. It didn’t work for me as a viewer who was trying to comprehend what I was seeing.WWE knew what they were doing just a few years ago leaving Taker and HBK as the last 2 and let them battle it out. The crowd was mostly behind HBK, but didn’t hate Taker for winning. Daniel, Dolph, and Dean should have been in the last 4 with Roman. Let Roman own all of them, but at the end, all hit their finishers and team up to eliminate him. Let Roman feud with a heel Shamus and that would do wonders for Roman without over exposing him.The other 3 guys are all risk takers. One obviously would get eliminated by going for it one too many times, I’d say maybe Daniel. The crowd would have appreciated it if he went balls out and in the end it wasn’t enough, like Macho Man. Dolph would then beat Dean in a 4  minute tussle. Maybe Seth causes Dean to win. I know, you all may be sick of Death vs Seth, but they never finished their feud. Let Dean and Seth feud into Mania in a bad ass stipulation match, and let Dean finally get the clean win. Dolph beats Brock later on and then Seth cashes in the briefcase. Well, now Dolph vs Dean vs Seth could headline a ppv. Both guys could make claims to deserving the title match. All 3 guys get put over. Instead we get 4 moves Boring Reigns. I want to say, I think Roman becomes very watchable down the road, I think he’s hungry to improve, but he’s not there yet, and he doesn’t deserve the rub of defeating the 1 in 21-1.

In the end, yeah, the Philly crowd is harsh, but I think most any crowd would have shit over this fiasco. If it had been NY, it may have even been worse.They could have also had Dean and Roman tie in the and Dean goad’s Seth into using his briefcase to main event Wrestlemania. The Shield and Brock main event at Mania, sign me up.

Best for business? I think not. They fucked up and this year, they are going all in on a pair of 9’s and hoping for another 9 or maybe add a pair of deuces, yes I found a way to include 9 Deuce in this. That 3rd 9 ain’t coming and neither is that 2nd deuce. A pair of 9’s can win you a hand but in this case Daniel was a pair of Kings, Dolph was going for an Ace high flush, and Dean had a sweet pair of Jacks. Dolph would have gotten his flush. Roman is the worst hand no matter how you slice it. WWE, I hope you resign Brock and have him beat Roman. Let Seth cash in after, or let Brock reign for more months. Just don’t put the belt on Roman.

All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

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