WWE 2017 Royal Rumble Review – 9 Deuce – The Entrance Ramp That Never Ends Edition

 

Hello folks.  Another Rumble is in the books and people are in a mixed state of mind, but at least it’s not straight hate and contempt like in 2014.  Joining me for this review is Keri because Russ is an ugly prostitute, like deep down inside.  He doesn’t sell his flesh, he’s just one at heart.  At least I have Keri, and that’s really all I need to have a great review!

Keri and I also wrote a review for NXT Takeover, so check that out.  On top of that, Steve and I did a podcast about these events, so please check out Are You Not Kentertained.

The 9

  1.  Naomi, Nikki, & Becky def Alexa, Mickie, & Natalya

 

Keri:  Overall, best women’s match of the night. This match had everything. Good spots and good storytelling. I’m excited for the Naomi-Alexa feud as well as the other storylines that I’m sure will continue into Wrestlemania season. Rating: 5 out of 9.2

Kent:  Well, my first thought was: “Why the hell is this on the pre-show?”  Then I remembered that WWE hates Smackdown.  This was a fun match at points, and other spots were downright stupid.  I enjoyed it more than I hated, and as predicted, by me first, Naomi beat Alexa.  The sincerest form of flattery is impersonation, remember that.  Still, this match was better than Charlotte and Bayley, and it’s not even debatable from my perspective.  This kept up the energy and told a story. I would give it a 5.0.

  1.  Gallows and Anderson def Sheasaro

 

Keri:  Overall great match. I was actually shocked that they took the belts off of Sheasaro so soon. Yet after the rumble match, I understand why they did it. Sheasaro was a good tag team but a singles feud between the two of them is great to watch (I would use epic here but we do not use that word on this blog). As for Anderson and Gallows winning, I couldn’t be happier. It’s about time. Rating: 5.5 out of 9.2

Kent:  Well, when you are wrong, one must own up to it.  Here, I was wrong.  No excuses.  Well I have one excuse, which is more of a question.  What purpose does this really serve?  Sheasaro had more story to tell.  I think that there’s more to come.  If they pulled the plug because of the reactions, that’s booking’s fault for continually blowing it.  I’m happy for Gallows and Anderson, I genuinely am.  I just don’t see the logic.  I don’t know why I didn’t predict a lack of logic from RAW.  My bad.  Russ nailed it.  This match was OK, but nothing great.  I would say it gets a 4.1.  I have no interest in rewatching it.

  1.  Nia Jax def Sasha Banks

 

Keri:  Well this match happened. Is there really anything else to say? Let’s face it Nia is horrible. She’s still extremely green and very hesitant in the ring. She really should still be in NXT. But she isn’t because, the Rock. As for Sasha, my how the “mighty” have fallen. This match just further buried her into obscurity. Which leads me to the following question: Was she that good in NXT or did NXT creative just book us to believe she was? Either way, what is happening to her is extremely sad and unfortunate. Rating 0.5 out of 9.2 (I feel bad giving this one a 0 hence the half point)

Kent:  Oh lord.  Please, get Nia off of my TV screen.  She doesn’t look talented or imposing and her in ring actions don’t change that perspective, like Kevin Owens actually does work.  Nia’s history of doing a move, waiting 5-10 seconds, rinse, repeat, rarely sell a move.  It doesn’t work, mainly because she doesn’t know how to do it, or maybe she just can’t.  I know that wrestling isn’t easy.  If it was, more people would be great at it.  This isn’t for Nia.  This match was abysmal.  I don’t see the appeal moving forward.  Rumor has it that Nia is going to be in a 4 way for the belt at Mania.  Just patiently waiting for her to win it so I can laugh at the women’s division.  RAW would legitimately be better off with NXT’s women’s division than what they have.  Think about it, and know that I am right.  Worst match of the night, and it certainly wasn’t Sasha’s fault.  She must be getting more in shape as it appears that her boobs are shrinking.  Just an observation, from a female actually.  I am just reiterating it.  I give this match a 2.0 and moving right along.

  1.  Charlotte def Bayley

 

Keri:  Another match that happened. It was not impressive and it did nothing to further this feud with me. I’m not at all surprised by this because the RAW women’s division is awfully booked. However,  we should have been given something better than this to watch. I don’t blame either woman though. They can only work with what they are given. With that being said, this division is very unfortunate and I quite frankly don’t care enough about it anymore to say anything further about it. Rating: 1 out of 9.2

Kent:  Bayley isn’t improving.  Working with Charlotte isn’t going to help because she needs to rely on some veterans, like say Alicia and Emma.  Sorry for bringing logic in here.  From my perspective, Bayley is absolutely being wasted.  She should be in the top 5 for merchandise and one of the most popular figures in wrestling.  The crowd’s pop has been declining.  Even worse, Bayley isn’t improving in the ring.  Charlotte at least improved once she got called up.  Sasha has actually gone in reverse.  Becky has improved too.  Alexa and Carmella have improved.  Why is that?  Because they are working with Natalya, Nikki, and Naomi.  Gee, that’s an easy fix.  I just rewatched this match, and it was still bad.  I was hoping to find something really positive to say.  The finishing move was good.  There, that’s all I have.  Why didn’t they have Charlotte put Bayley in the Figure 8 and have Bayley pass out from the pain?  That builds up both characters incredibly well.  I give this one a 3.6.

  1.  Kevin Owens def Roman Reigns

 

Keri:  This match exceeded my expectations. I’m starting to see what my colleagues are talking about with Roman. He really steps up when he needs to and puts on a great show when he needs to. His mic work, well that is another story. With that being said, this match actually told a good story and showcased both guys well. I almost think that Smackdown writers handled this one. Rating: 7 out of 9.2

Kent:  I liked this match in that it was a good car crash type of match with plenty of good wrestling and spots.  My issue lies in the lack of logic.  Owens has a pair of brass knucks.  He uses them once and then abandons them.  WHY?  WHY WHY WHY WHY?  I don’t get it.   It really was bad booking.  In the end, this was probably the 2nd most enjoyable match for me, but there were too many issues.  Why did Owens set up that final chair up top?  If anything, that hurt him more than anything and looked dangerous.  I don’t dig that stuff when the payoff simply isn’t there.  Both guys did a great job, and this was their best match to date, I believe. I would give this a 7.2 as it held my attention the whole way through.

  1.  Neville def Rich Swann

 

Keri:  This match was good and both guys did a good job. I’m happy that Neville won given the lack of recognition that he has had since getting his call up. However, I’m also sad to see Swann lose it. I really like that guy. Oh well, I have a feeling this story is far from over so I predict we will see these two again. Rating 6.5 out of 9.2

Kent:  I tried my best to feel this match, but I couldn’t get into it.  It happens.  Both guys were awesome.  It was a really good match.  I wish this had opened the show, to be perfectly honest.  These guys delivered.  I like that Neville won with a submission as opposed to the flashy Red Arrow. I feel comfortable giving this a 6.3 as I am positive that I would enjoy it even more upon second viewing.  

  1.  John Cena def AJ Styles

 

Keri:  Well the inevitable happened. Cena is champ once more. Cue sarcastic yea followed by a groan. With that being said said, this was a fantastic match. Both guys put on another great show. This leads me to another question. Can these two guys put on a bad match?  Rating: 7 out of 9.2.  I’m deducting a half a point because Cena is champ again and now I have to endure hearing the champ is here again. Groan. Le sigh.

Kent:  Sigh.  This match was amazing, right down to the ending.  Cena, just lose a feud, just once man.  That was one of the finest matches that I have seen over the past 10 years.  Cena doesn’t need it.  He’s already cemented his pace among the top 4 all time.  This wasn’t needed.  Yay, now we can look forward to AJ vs Shane O’Mac.  Honestly, I am so not looking forward to it.  Cena delivered 4 AA’s I believe.  Those last 3-4 minutes were ALMOST epic, well they were really F’N good.  Hats off to both guys who busted their asses to give us the match of the year so far.  I love when Cena actually busts out different moves because he has the talent and ability to have great matches.  If he would just bring it more often, he would be more beloved by fans.  I would give this a 7.8.

  1.  Royal Rumble

 

Keri:  This was a good Rumble. It had its great points, good points, and well, meh points. Let’s start with the great points. First, there was the Rumble debut of Tye Dillinger. That was unexpected and also the only surprise of the night. Then there was the Brock elimination by Goldberg. I put this in the great category but it was almost unbelievable to me that Brock let this happen to him again. Yea for storytelling. And my last great moment was Baron eliminating Braun. That was completely unexpected but yet fantastic at the same time given the fact that bob are getting a similar push. Now for the good moments. Well there was the Ellsworth and Kalisto law dart moment. Yes it looked scary for both involved but it was entertaining. We had the Ceasaro come in and do the everyone gets a swing spot. Baron getting eliminated by Taker was another good moment. Now before everyone gets upset let me explain. I want to see this feud somehow. It would be great for Corbin. But alas, because I wanted, it will not happen. We are probably getting Roman-Taker and we are going to like it. Le Sigh. Anyways, now onto the meh moments from the Rumble. There are two for me. First, Roman at number 30. I’m going to channel Obi Wan when I say this was not the Samoan I was looking for to close out the Rumble. I really wanted Samoa Joe. I really thought after seeing him the crowd at Takeover that it maybe a possibility. Oh well. Now onto my final meh moment. The ending. Why Orton? You have Bray in the final three and you chose Orton? I don’t get it WWE. Rating: 6 out of 9.2

Kent:  First off, why the hell was the entrance sooooooooo long this year? While not as bad as Wrestlemania 3, still it was rough.  The easiest way is to look at this is by considering the pro’s and the con’s.  Let’s start with the cons.  They wasted the legends by pulling the most obvious bullshit in having them all at the end instead of spreading it out and adding intrigue.  They had a serious lack of surprise entrants and with all of the talent, should have done a 40 man Rumble in 90 second increments.  It would have allowed more eliminations for guys like Baron and Mojo.  That’s a whole other issue.  Those guys should have gotten 2-4 eliminations each to help build them up.  But no, waste it on Brock and Goldberg.  Roman Reigns.  Roman Reigns eliminating Taker.  The utter waste of most of the conditioned talent like Sami, Jericho, Dolph, and Dean.  They were more there for fodder and not so much in contributing to eliminations and action.  I hated how bad it got with the way that all the guys not involved in a spot was either lined up along camera side apron, or furthest from camera side along the apron.  Seriously, this happened WAY too often.  I felt that the pacing was pretty lousy.  Now let’s do the pros.  While I wouldn’t have used Tye, I am happy that he got a reaction and I dig him.  I liked that they built up Braun, but they just raped his character back to back weeks prior.  Jericho lasted for over an hour and did some fun stuff at times.  Taker tossing out Goldberg.  This was packed with talent.  One of the most stacked Rumbles ever.  I have seen it twice, and I loved watching Bray, Randy, and Luke.  Overall, I would give this a 6.4.  I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it.  I really expected more though.

  1.  Overall, rate the PPV.

Keri:  Overall, this was a descent PPV. There were high points (Owens vs Reigns; Cena vs. Styles; the Rumble) and then there were the low points (the RAW women’s matches). Then there was everything else in between. Either way I was entertained by a good majority of it. Overall rating: 6 out of 9.2

Kent:  This gets a 6.28 from me.  I got this # by ignoring the kickoff show, and only focusing on ratings that I provided for the main show.  I averaged those numbers, but with one caveat.  I included the Rumble # twice in my calculations based on length of match, it seemed more fair.  Unfortunately, Charlotte and Bayley happened.

 

Bonus Deuce

  1.  What do you make of the surprises, or lack thereof, of surprises in this year’s Royal Rumble match?   Also, any thoughts on no Kane, Goldust, or R Truth?

Keri:  This Rumble was kind of predictable. There were now major surprise entrants like we have seen in years past. It was just boring in that respect. I was not in the edge of my seat for any of the entrances at any more during the Rumble. Also, I was kinda surprised that we didn’t get Kane, Goldust, or R Truth. But then again the field was already getting kinda full in the weeks leading up to the Rumble. So probably they just did not have room for them in the line up especially since Roman had to come in at number 30.

Kent:  I love Tye Dillinger.  I am super high on this guy.  I loved seeing Gallagher, and he made sense.  Hell, I didn’t mind Ellsworth, but I would have left him off.  I really wanted to see Samoa Joe at the very least.  I was ok with Finn being held out due to his health.  Enzo, Kalisto, Mojo, and a few others had zero chance.  I would have left off Sheamus and Cesaro and Roman for that matter, and given those spots to Kane, Goldust, and either R Truth or one of the other surprise guys.  So yes, I have gripes.  We could have used that surprise guy like a Booker T, but I am happy for Mark Henry.

  1.  Was it smart to keep Rollins off the PPV?  Was it smart to bring Roman back?

Keri:  Nope and nope. Rollins should have been put somewhere in last nights show in order to keep his story relevant. Why didn’t they have a backstage segment involving the actions that took place the previous night at Takeover? Why did we have to wait for RAW to get that? Nevermind I know that Creative isn’t smart enough to answer my questions so I don’t now why I’m asking them. As for Roman, putting him in the final spot of the Rumble was kinda of a waste. Someone else could have taken this spot instead of Roman. Why does it always have to be Roman? Roman. Roman. Roman.

Kent:  Smart?  As soon as Steph said that Seth was banned from ringside, I would have bet Russ’ life that he was showing up.  That’s a staple of WWE.  I was surprised.  I hate how people have now equated being surprised to to quality booking, think Brock vs Goldberg.  We all know that HHH is passing the torch to Seth, and I’ll be glad when it’s done and over with.  As for Roman, complete waste of a spot  He could and should have come out and eliminated Braun and left.    Even better would have been him going to spear Braun and accidentally spear Goldberg.  That would have been way more interesting.  Him eliminating Taker?  Whatever.  They were simply trolling us, so they are not getting a rise out of me.

 

  1.  Was Braun the right guy to get the most amount of eliminations?

Keri:  Maybe. Creative has made attempts to strongly book this guy in the past few months and they have failed. Maybe this was their way of changing that fact. Who knows?

Kent:  No.  He’s been acting like a pussy recently, so fuck him.  How’s that for being blunt?  Baron or Mojo could have used that way more.  That’s on RAW’s piss poor booking, not on Braun the talent.

 

  1.  Knowing what we know now, including the rumored Wrestlemania matches, what are you most and least looking forward to?

Keri:  Based on the rumored card, I can’t think of anything I’m specifically looking forward to come time for Mania. This is the most lackluster Mania ever. I’ll watch because it’s Mania but I doubt I’ll enjoy it. Seriously, what is WWE thinking here? This just sounds bad and they should feel bad.

Kent:  Baron Corbin not having a match?  Cena vs Orton for the first time ever?  HHH vs Seth?  AJ vs Shane?  Charlotte vs Nia vs Sasha vs Bayley?  Enzo and Cass vs Gallows and Anderson?  Jericho vs Owens?  Rusev not having a match?  Big Show vs Shaq?  Goldberg vs Brock?  Bray jobbing?  I hate Wrestlemania without knowing anything about it.  I am looking forward to Roman getting boo’d out of the building and finally doing his character properly…..I hope.  I’m on Team Roman, and you can’t teach that…I mean, Believe that.

 

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

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

NXT Takeover: San Antonio 2017 Review

This is far from a 9 Deuce, unless you want to call it a 9 minus Deuce.  There’s not a ton of ground to cover, but we will do our best.  Russ is busy reliving his glory from his Royal Rumble predictions, so it’s just Keri and I for this one.  Let’s face it, this is the best outcome possible.  Keri and I also cover the Royal Rumble in a blog, so you can check that out too.  If you are more into the podcast thing, check out the one that Steve and I did on Are You Not Kentertained?

 

  1.  Tye Dillinger vs Eric Young

  

Keri:  This match was decent. Nothing crazy. Nothing over the top. This was my first introduction to Eric Young and I was sorta impressed. I did find Tye losing very disappointing though. Maybe I need to stop watching again so he gets a win. Rating: 4 out of 9.2

Kent:  This match was fine for all intents and purposes, but it never hit that very good range in my opinion.  Both guys are capable of much better matches.  I feel that the outside interference actually hindered this match more than anything else.  I liked the in ring stuff, but the other stuff just didn’t move the needle so to speak.  This was a 4.8 and that may be generous.  Tye needs a win at a Takeover.  I don’t get it.  People who want him in the Rumble, but why?  He has demonstrated how many straight Takeovers that he can’t win.  Yeah, he has faced some really good competition that needed to get over.  So then you need to focus on Tye now.  It’s strike while the iron is hot or forget about it.

  1.  Roderick Strong vs Andrade Cien Almas

 

Keri:  This match was also decent. This was my first introduction to Strong and I was impressed. The guy is pretty good. Also, it looks like Andrade has also improved since I saw him last. Rating: 4 out of 9.2

Kent:  This match worked well for me.  This was Roderick’s best showing so far at NXT and Andrade is money.  Andrade can be a main card level player if they keep pushing him in the right direction.  He’s really talented.  ROderick is fine in ring, I don’t have anything to really say for him one way or the other.  I’d rather Tye get the push over Roderick, but he was probably promised a push early in order to sign on.  I’d give this one a 5.8.

  1.  DIY vs The Authors of Pain

 

Keri:  This match was amazing. It had everything that you expect from a match of the night. Great job to both teams. I’ve haven’t seen too much of the Authors of Pain but this match made me like them. Rating: 7 out of 9.2

Kent:  What do you know, DIY is in the match of the night again.  That’s not to take anything away from the main event, but this was just a good story, good pace, smart spots, and the crowd was eating it up.  I feel that this did everything that the main event did, but better.  If you only see one match from this night, this is the one to see.  The Authors of Pain have come a long way in a short time.  The big thing now is to be able to carry a match on their own accord.  It’s like Baron Corbin and Braun.  You see these power guys and there are steps to their evolution.  Baron can now hang with the best and hold his own in a match.  Braun is coming along much slower and still needs to be carried.  The Authors are probably ahead of Braun, but not by much.  Having the manager really adds to what they do.  As for DIY, I worry about them.  I think they would be better served as a tag team on 205 then to go main roster and flop.  They are less charismatic and less over than Bayley.  Bayley has had a rough transition.  This would be way worse for DIY.  They are talented as hell, but I fear that they will get lost in the shuffle.  WWE needs to refocus on the tag division on both rosters and make them fun again.  It’s not that hard.  I’d give this match a 7.2.

  1.  Seth Rollins segment

 

Keri:  I found this slightly unexpected. I knew there was going to be a Rollins-Trips call out at some point after what happened on RAW but did not see it happening this way. With that being said, this segment actually made me start to care about this feud again. Decent job WWE.

Kent:  I thought this was smart.  It was unexpected.  Everybody knows that HHH is going to be there for NXT, so it just made a lot of sense.  The bad thing was whey placed it.  I would have done it before the tag match, because DIY gets the crowd more pumped.  It’s a minor quip.  I don’t care at all about this feud, but all in all, it was a smart way of doing things.  No rating.

  1.  Asuka vs Nikki Cross vs Billie Kay vs Peyton Royce

 

Keri:  This was a match of firsts for me. First time seeing Asuka in months and she is still a badass. This was my introduction to Nikki Cross and she did not disappoint. I like this Sanity stable. I feel this is what the Wyatts could have been if Creative took the time to book them properly and they added a Sister Abigail. Also, it was my first time seeing Billie and Peyton since they started with NXT. I’m very impressed with how far they have come in such a short amount of time. They are the NXT mean girls and they are fantastic. With that being said, this match was good up to the ending. The ending well it happened. That is really all I can say about that. Rating: 5.5 out of 9.2

Kent:  And this is where things went to shit.  I hated this match.I liked seeing Nikki do work, as I think she’s not up to Asuka, yet, but may be on par with Ember or just below.  As for Billie and Peyton, I am high on Billie, but this match did her no favors.  If anything, it highlighted Peyton briefly, and she did great.  The problem with this match was the booking and pacing.  Stop doing this Charlotte and Sasha bullshit.  Big spots are not the answer to women’s wrestling.  It will doom it more than help it.  Nikki is good with the spots, and good in the ring with Asuka.  The double suplex off the announce desk was stupid.  It’s slanted and neither Peyton nor Billie looked comfortable.  “They drove Nikki through that table.”  No they didn’t, and every replay showed it clear as day.  They held her up and just waited until she was ready and she just fell basically.  Billie and Peyton didn’t add any oomph to the move.  They didn’t act like they added anything.  It looked terrible.That’s a damn shame because that could have been awesome, but I just don’t think they were comfortable with it while watching it.  I hated early on that Billie and Peyton did jackshit.  The whole thing just was an irrational mess.  It wasn’t any of their fault for the booking.  Damn shame because I wanted to love this.  Peyton needs to tone down the yelling because we don’t need another Kelly Kelly or Brie Bella.  I think Brie was the biggest offender and should be put down for it.  I give this wreck a 2.9.  Sorry, I wanted to love it.  

  1.  Bobby Roode vs Shinsuke Nakamura

 

Keri:  Ah, the battle of the amazing entrances. I have to say Roode’s entrance was good and Shinsuke’s was kinda disappointing. Where were my violins? I wanted more violins. Oh well onto the match. This match started out really slow. I was actually worried that this match would not meet my expectations. But then it picked up and I found it enjoyable. Then we had the injury angle part of the match. This was unfortunate and, in my opinion, took a little something away from the match. With that being said though, I was happy to see Roode win this one. I have a feeling we will see a rematch at the next Takeover and then Shinsuke will move up to the main roster. Rating: 6.5 out of 9.2

Kent:  Let’s talk entrances first.  Bobby’s involved 8 women in lovely dresses, half of which looked petrified or worse, like just unhappy to be there.  Like, what the fuck happened there?  Those girls should have been all smiles and happy to help make it look like Bobby is some playboy.  The black chick on the right side, and at least 2 white chicks on the left looked borderline miserable.  I hope that they are never utilized again, aside by Roode for his after match celebration.  I hope they are cooking, cleaning, putting out, and not talking.  If they aren’t doing those things, pay them and give them the boot.  Shinsuke’s was cool in theory, but it hurt the shit out of my head, which sucks.  It did look cool, but I couldn’t handle it.  Therefore, advantage goes to Roode.  In ring, the first 25% was dull, then Bobby really got into a groove and Shinsuke seemed to thrive off of it and it got really good.  In my head, I am thinking that this is going to steal the show, plus I was waiting Samoa Joe.  Instead, Shinsuke landed a sloppy knee, I think he may have actually slipped a bit.  Then he “injured” his knee.  I am fine with this angle, but you gotta make it believable.  The ref blew it.  He should have immediately came out, checked on Shinsuke and threw up the X sign.  Yes, that is what they do for real injuries, but they have worked it into angles in the past.  At the very least, teh ref should have come out fairly immediately.  They are taught to do that just to check on the guys if anything looks rough.  So right there, I knew it was fake.  Then they spent such an inordinate amount of time with the doctor.  It sapped away the momentum and energy from the match.  Yeah, it was good for the most part.  I loved Bobby punching the knee in the half crab, although I don’t get why he didn’t go figure four there.   I give the match a 6.1 because it was on pace for a 7 something, but then they blew it, and then it dragged on.  Once again, this was a damn shame.  Roode got into a great groove and he was killing it.  Proof that you don’t need to 20 indy flippity fuckeroos to get yourself over.

  1.  Final thoughts and overall rating

Keri:  Let me start out by saying I haven’t watched NXT in months. The last takeover I watched was Takeover: Brooklyn II and I found this one to be lacking in comparison with its predecessors. With that being said, there were some decent matches and the booking was decent as well. So, final rating: 6 out of 9.2

Kent:  This is from top to bottom, the worst NXT event that I have seen as far as Takeovers go.  Nothing really felt special or big to me.  Aside from the tag match, no other match was great.  The tag match isn’t even must see or match of the year contender.  It was just a solid match.  The ratings that I gave average out to a 5.36 and sadly, that seems about right, so I add a little to that for the Rollins segment, I think 5.8 is fair.  I wish it was better, but I had low expectations heading in.  No Way Jose vs Elias Sampson would have really helped, as would Revival vs TM61 or any other tag team.  The talent is there, they need to do better angles.

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

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

WWE 2017 Royal Rumble Preview – 9 Deuce

Here we are, the 2017 Royal Rumble, the 30th one!  How excited are we?  I don’t know, but we are being told that this is a very important and historical year.  OK, maybe not historical, but give it time.  Let’s make some ridiculous predictions!.

The 9

  1.  Kickoff Show

Raw Tag Team Title Match – Sheasaro vs Gallows and Anderson

Russ:  With two ref’s I see that both teams are going to win somehow.  Making it a no contest.  I know this team is breaking up sooner than later, but with the double ref here it makes me believe the time isn’t now.

Winner: Sheasaro and G&A.   

Kent:  Sheasaro is winning this.  Why?  Because Russ is wrong.  These guys aren’t splitting up for at least a little while longer.  Something to consider, wouldn’t it be neat if by the end of this, Cesaro turns on Sheamus and they do the double turn?  G&A have been on a roll.  It’s not their time, not yet at least.  

Winner:  Sheasaro win, and maybe get a beatdown afterward.  

  1.  Kickoff Show Historical Match

Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks

Russ:  Who gives a fuck.  

Winner:  Nobody, but I guess Nia will win the match.  

Kent:  I don’t care.  I have zero f#&%’s to give for this one.  Nia needs this win more.  Then she will be seen as a contender for the belt so we can have the awful 4 way at Mania that NOBODY wants to see.  Bunch of stupid idiots.

Winner: Nia

  1.  Women’s Historical Title Match

Charlotte vs Bayley

Russ:  Doesn’t seem like the time for Charlotte to lose the belt.  Not to mention they can easily extend Charlotte’s awesome streak (Debatable.)  to WrestleMania.  Bayley will get screwed out of this somehow.  

Winner: Charlotte

Kent:  If they wrestled nude, I could possibly get up for that.  They won’t be, and I won’t be caring.  Charlotte isn’t losing her belt.  Let’s go with Emma coming out and distracting Bayley for some dumb reason.  It’d be different from Dana Brooke.
Winner:  Charlotte

  1.  Becky, Nikki, & Naomi vs Alexa, Mickie, & Natalya – Non Historical 6 Woman Tag Match

Russ:  It isn’t stealing when I’m pretty sure I thought of this the night of Smackdown.  I’m also pretty sure I mentioned this on the podcast.  Definitely the right time for Naomi to pin Alexa to set up their feud.  (Kent: Naw man, it’s cool.  It’s not stealing, it’s prediction charity.)

Winner:  Naomi’s Team

Kent:  This seems like a great time to have Naomi pin Alexa here.  I know, my colleagues will steal my idea.  Go ahead.  That or now that I have challenged them, they will come up with a different prediction that is wrong, wrong, WRONG.  Like Wrong Strowman.  Naomi vs Alexa at Elimination Chamber, and then Mickie vs Alexa at Mania.  Yup, sounds like a plan.

Winner: Naomi’s team

  1.  Cruiserweight Championship Match

Rich Swann vs Neville

Russ:  I’m not sure how this will play out.  On the one hand Neville has been kicking ass and has really stepped up his game in character building.  On the other Swann is awesome and deserves a big run as champ.  Problem is WWE needs 205 to pick up in the ratings or it will disappear forever.  This brings in Gallagher, dude is the future of the division.  I’m about 60% sure that means he will get his chance at WrestleMania.  Which means he needs a heel champ.  

Winner:  Neville, but I’m only  60% certain.  

Kent:  This is the hardest match for me to predict.  I can see this going so many ways.  My fear is that we are going to get a Cruiserweight Battle Royale for the belt or #1 contendership at Mania.  Actually, that would be awesome on the preshow, but they can’t do that due to the Andre memorial.  Hmmm, I feel like Gallagher is being groomed for a big run.  Does he get another feud for now?  I think Rich Swann keeps his belt for now.  Him and Neville can go for another month.

Winner: Rich Swann

  1.  Red Belt Match

Kevin Owens vs Roman Reigns

Russ:  I really hope  the rules of Good night on RAW / Bad night at the PPV are in full effect here.  I’m not a Reigns hater, but I don’t have any interest in him as champ right now.  Owen’s needs a better run as champ than what he has been given.  I see Jericho helping Owen’s win this match.  If he does, I think we might see Jericho winning the Rumble.  

Winner: KO

 

Kent:  Well, if rumors are true, Roman is facing Taker at Mania.  I know, I know.  Rumors also suggest that Taker will not be in a title match.  Rumors ALSO suggest that Owens will not be the champ heading into Wrestlemania.  I don’t see Kevin Owens losing this match.  Jericho will find a way to help in some capacity.  In February, I see Roman vs Owens vs. Jericho where Jericho wins the belt. That would make sense to me as a thank you to Jericho.

Winner: Kevin Owens  

  1.  WWE Championship Match

AJ Styles vs John Cena

Russ:  After everything that went down this past week I find it difficult to believe that AJ is not coming out of this as the Champ.  AJ is way too good to be treated the way John Cena Treated him.  I meant like total trash.  AJ is taking it to Cena one more time at least.  This will probably be the match of the night because these guys know how to put on a match.  Plus, AJ has just been on fire in any match he is put in.  

Winner: AJ

Kent:  AJ is winning this.  Cena was too much of a bully.  Not only that, but I assure you, when Cena is to become the champ, that 16 time thing will be pounded into the ground.  I would consider having HHH win his 15th so that there is a race to 16.  Hell, if they want, Orton could be involved too.  Rumors, there’s that awful word again, is that AJ won’t be champ heading into Mania.  I don’t buy this one.

Winner: AJ Styles

  1.  Who are your top 3 picks for the Royal Rumble?

Russ:  Zayn, Jericho, Randy (Kent: Oh, what do we have here?  Why on Earth are you picking Sami Zayn when ten other guys have been booked like potential winners and not one single person is picking him?)

Kent:  Sami Zayn, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt (Russ: for someone who has been saying smackdown has no reason to win the rumble you sure have a lot of smackdown on this pick.) (Kent: I am anything but consistent. Honestly, FInn, Jericho, Seth, Baron, Braun, Brock, Taker, Joe, and Dean can all win this thing.  Goldberg and Titus cannot. I haven’t seen so much confusion about who’s winning in….possibly ever.)

  1.  Who do you think will get the most eliminations?

Russ:  Braun Strowman

Kent:  Baron Corbin

Bonus Deuce

  1.  If you think that there will be a surprise entrant(s), who do you think it will be?  Up to 5 picks for laughs, not lulz.

Russ:  Samoa Joe, Tye Dillenger, RVD, Booker T (Kent: I hate leaving RVD and Nash off my list.)

Kent:  Samoa Joe, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Terry Funk, Booker T, No Way Jose

  1.  Who will be the guy who lasts in the ring the longest?  Up to 3 picks

Russ:  Baron, Ziggler, Ambrose

Kent:  Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn

 

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

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

NXT Takeover: San Antonio 2017 Preview

Welcome to my quick preview of NXT Takeover: San Antonio.  I am not joined by my colleagues, so this will be shorter, but at least you will walk away with facts and not theories.  This may be the most underwhelming Takeover yet, sadly enough.  None of the matches jump out at me.

I would like to say that No Way Jose vs Elias Sampson should have made the card instead of Andrade Cien vs Roderick Strong.  Also, the music for this is way better than Royal Rumble’s, and it’s not even close.  Ghost’s “Square Hammer” is awesome for the videos.  WWE should be using Ghost’s “Cirice” for the Rumble.  If you don’t know the song, listen to it and tell me how that isn’t happening.

 

 

Roderick Strong vs Adrade Cien Almas

I don’t get Roderick’s appeal yet. A lot of people have touted him as something pretty good to great.  Aries has talked him up a ton as has Graves.  He seems like the epitome of vanilla midget, from what he has shown in NXT.  He may be able to do all sorts of crazy shit but is being held back.  I have no idea, so I am basing it on what they show me.  Andrade is main roster ready, and he should get the win.  This match will probably go to Roderick.  If it does, I could see Andrade being a surprise entrant for the Rumble.

 

Eric Young vs Tye Dillinger

I really like both of these guys.  I don’t know if Eric is ever going to make an impact on the main roster.  Tye should absolutely make an impact.  I think Tye is a future star.  Winning or losing this match doesn’t matter either way as long as there is a post match beatdown.  I am curious if anybody will attempt to make a save.  I would love to see DIY make the save, as I hate TM61. The Revival wouldn’t make any sense.  I just don’t know.  Keep this feud going, it can’t hurt any.  Let it get really personal.  I am predicting that Tye finally gets a win.

 

DIY vs The Authors of Pain

This is a tough one.  I don’t think that Ciampa and Gargano should lose the belts yet.  I do think that Authors of Pain are belt ready though.  NXT could use more tag teams.  Without many, it complicates things.  I say have DIY win it and then for Mania Takeover, have it be a 4 team elimination match adding in The Revival and TM61, or get rid of DIY, add Sanity, and winner takes on DIY.  That would work.  I don’t know how DIY is supposed to beat these guys.  I am really struggling here.  I guess I am predicting the Authors of Pain.

 

Asuka vs Nikki Cross vs Peyton Royce vs Billie Kay

Asuka isn’t losing to any of them, I don’t think.  Ember Moon is taking over the division when Asuka gets the long awaited call up.  I like Nikki a lot, and if they had to do a title change, she would be who I would be most interested in.  Long term, I think Billie Kay has a ton of potential, but she needs better attire and a little more personality.  Peyton is not helping, and I don’t think will ever quite make it, but I hope that she proves me wrong.

 

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Bobby Roode

The question is a simple one, who else is getting the call up if we assume that Joe does?  Is it Shinsuke or Roode?  I would pull the trigger on Roode as he is older and he wrestles a safer style that the guys can assimilate to much faster.  Yes, I know.  We all want Shinsuke up ASAP,   I think that he will pass the torch to Tye or Andrade, then he will come up in the summer.  Bobby, Joe, Aries should all be on the main roster ASAP.  All of them plus Joe and AJ and you have a hell of a TNA reunion.  I would put Joe and Roode on RAW though.  RAW needs a makeover, so Joe, Finn, and Roode could really help inject new life, especially with Jericho’s end coming sooner than later.  Roman could also use a break from action.  I am picking Shinsuke here, but would be ok if a TNA alumni helped Roode win.

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

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

The Best of the Royal Rumble – 9 Deuce Style

Today, I’d like to take a look back at the best of what the Royal Rumble has to offer us.  I have broken it down 9 Deuce style. I am joined by my after PPV podcast partner, Steve, for this particular venture.  Keri and Russ basically flipped me off.  So here you go, this is what we consider the best of the Rumble.  Both of us have seen every single year, so you know that you are getting legit perspectives.   

The 9

  1.  Best save from elimination, meaning the coolest way(s) people have saved themselves from being eliminated.  I don’t know if this should be the Shawn Michaels award or the Kofi Kingston award.

Steve:  John Morrison in 2011, when  he got knocked into the guardrail and hung on.

Kent:  Morrison is my pick as well, but props to Kofi for walking on his hands in 2012 I think it was.

  1.  Best quick elimination from the match.  Old school fans may recall one of the Bushwackers getting eliminated in record time, and then Santino set the standard.  We aren’t caring about who was quickest, but rather which one was the best. The Elimination should occur before the next participant comes out.

Steve:  I’m going to go with the Bushwackers, something about how he was just completely unfazed about being tossed out right away and kept doing his walk right to the back.

Kent:  Jerry Lawler back in 97 when he wa son commentary, enters the ring, goes out in seconds and returns to the announce desk like he never even entered.  There are a ton of good ones to choose.  Warlord, Titus, Santino, Bushwackers, JBL, etc.

  1.  Favorite elimination from the Rumble.  This one is self explanatory.

Steve:  Maven eliminating the Undertaker is my favorite, just because it was so unexpected.  Also Macho Man getting himself eliminated is a good one.

Kent:  Sid eliminating Hogan in 1992 was awesome, Muhammad Hassan’s elimination in 2005 was great, but I will go with Benoit eliminating Big Show in 2004 because it was a neat way at the time and I just wasn’t sure if WWE ever truly had faith in Benoit.

  1.  Best rookie hazing during the match.  There are obvious times when the veterans have some fun with the young guys with various chops and other old school moves.  Give me your favorite example.

Kent:  Well Steve alluded to Maven eliminating Taker, and after that, he got his ass handed to him.  Still, Daniel Puder in 2005 was absolutely brutal with Eddie, Benoit, and Hardcore Holly.

  1.  Best Hoss showdown in the rumble.  In the Rumble, it’s inevitable for 2 big boys to square off and all of the focus on them.  What one was the best or your favorite?

Kent:  Giant Gonzales vs Taker in 1993 for all of the wrong reasons.  It’s still hilariously bad.  

  1.  Best Eliminator, or the Kane award, goes to your favorite wrestler who has his fair share of eliminations.  Something about the way that he does it, just pleases you.

Kent:  I really enjoyed Punk in 2010 holding his ground for a long time and owning that ring.

  1.  Best Survivor is for those guys that always seem to last long and entertain you doing so.  Maybe they have won the whole thing, maybe they have come up short.  This isn’t for just one year, it’s a sign of overall appreciation through the years, or maybe you just love what Ric Flair did in in 1992.  Woooooooo!

Kent:  Jericho is probably my pick with a nod to Rey, Cody, and Backlund in 93.

  1.  Worst Rumble of all time.  Yeah, this one is self explanatory.  Do you focus on the in ring work, the lack of stars, the terrible eliminations, the bad storyline leading in, the outcome of the match, or maybe everything was just too obvious from the get go.  Don’t let your hatred of Bluetista sway your pick.  Seriously…..don’t. .

Kent:  1993, look at the participants. They get rid of Flair, Perfect, and Dibiase so early and have nothing left.  Absolute trash.   

  1.  Best Rumble of all time.  Take everything I just said above in #8 and pretend it’s opposite day.  You probably still aren’t picking 2014, but you can.  Tell us why you chose this one.

Steve:  1992 should be everyone’s best.  It was for the title, Flair came in at 3 and won it, Heenan and Monsoon were great the entire night on commentary.  The after Rumble interview with Mean Gene telling someone off camera to put the cigarette out.

Kent:  I’ll go 2008, despite that being Cena’s year.  That Rumble had everything that you want in a rumble.  It had great stars, some returns and legends, and Cena coming back was actually incredible at the time, and still is today.  1992 finished second for me.

Bonus Deuce

  1.  Best surprise entrant in the Rumble.  Please, don’t get this confused with a returning wrestler, say somebody from injury.  No, this should be a big surprise that the average fan wouldn’t have known about.  Let’s call this the AJ Styles award to ruin anybody’s thunder if they try to pick him and make their pick seem obvious and stupid.  A female entrant would fall under this category if you wanted to be historic.

Steve:  Does Diesel in 2011 count? I believe it got Matt Striker fired so he has that going for him.

Kent:  Jericho in 2013 and to hold his own for so long was incredible to me.  I loved it.  Also, AJ Styles has to be mentioned.

  1.  Best returning entrant in the Rumble.  This should be a superstar that has been with the company and probably has just been injured.  They didn’t defect from ECW or WCW, they were already with the WWF/WWE.  Think of it as the HHH while listening to Creed’s “My Sacrifice”.

Steve:  John Cena in 2008.  Although it’s cool to hate him, and say everything he does is terrible, he came back from shoulder surgery way sooner than anyone should…which makes me think he has mutant healing powers, or took HGH.  It also had the crowd cheering him when his music hit, which for John Cena to have 100% of the crowd cheering is amazing.

Kent:  Cena for all of the reasons that Steve suggested.  I don’t care if he was on something like HGH, he was possibly missing Wrestlemania, and yet he returns for the Rumble.  Unreal!  Way better than HHH’s return, which was crammed down our gullet like a Women’s Revolution.

 

Finally, I would like to give you some interesting facts that I dug up on Wikipedia that I feel may interest you in the Rumble.  These are numbers and statistics that don’t get much love from commentary on WWE.

Longest Cumulative Time Spent in the Royal Rumble

HHH @ 3:59:37
Chris Jericho @ 3:55:59
HBK @ 3:42:30
Kane @ 3:38:46
Rey Mysterio @ 3:20:01
Cody Rhodes @ 3:08:30

Honestly, I’m surprised by Cody.  He’s only been in 7 or 8 of them while Shawn has been in 12, and HHH with 9.  Rey has been in at #1, 2, 4, and 8 in the past, and he always did well, except 2014.

Most Royal Rumble Appearances

Kane with 19
HBK with 12
Goldust and Big Show with 11
Taker and Rikishi with 10
Viscera, Mark Henry, Miz, HHH, Jericho,  and R Truth with 9

Basically, Kane should have this record for many years to come.  If he participates this Sunday, that will be 20 out of 30 Rumbles, or two thirds of all Rumbles.  Shawn’s #’s would be higher if he wasn’t out for 4 and a half years, obviously.  Taker and Mark Henry should be higher but injuries to big men is a hell of a thing.  Big Show has been involved in lots of singles matches or he would be higher.  Miz has a shot at Kane’s record in my opinion.

Most Cumulative Eliminations in the Rumble

Kane with 44
HBK with 39
Stone Cold with 36
Taker with 35
HHH with 33
Big Show with 31
Hulk Hogan with 27
Roman with 23
Cena with 22

I absolutely loathe this Roman Reigns bullshit.  He should have to prove himself before being handed all of these things.  Kane had to be Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel before given his push.  Roman, well he’s Dwayne’s cousin with really moist hair.  I’m surprised that HHH doesn’t have more, and Big Show’s numbers are a travesty.  Big Show actually has a higher elimination average per Rumble than Kane.  Of course Roman is almost averaging 8 a year.  Yeah, would you look at that.Austina averaged 6, Hogan with 6.75, but Roman has 7.67 average.  Stupid WWE!!!

 

With that being said, don’t expect any records broke this year, but lots of fun….hopefully.  Enjoy!

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

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

The Wrestling 9 Deuce – January 23 & 24, 2017 – The We Don’t Want None Edition

Welcome Rosebuds to the party that never seems to stop, The Wrestling 9 Deuce.  This week was the build up to the Rawal Rumble.  This week was mediocre to say the least, but that usually results in some fine insults from the panel.  Speaking of the panel, let me introduce you to Russ and Keri, 2 people that clearly have better things to do with their time, but yet they keep coming back to my miserable face.  Delightful!  Let’s go make fun of some wrestling and praise Smackdown for writing competent women stories.

Of course, we also did our podcast, Are You Not Kentertained, where we discuss some of these topics and others, plus do our weekly segments.  It’s like a verbal companion to the blog. Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

The 9

  1.  This Sunday is the RAWal Rumble.  Shouldn’t Daniel Bryan or Shane O’Mac be fighting for their roster getting more matches? Seriously, look at the posters for this Rumble. 

     

Russ:  No.  The only fighting that should be happening is the fans should be starting a Seth movement that put’s Daniel’s Yes movement to shame.  I am outraged that Seth Rollins has been removed from this majestic Royal Rumble.  This is absolutely ridiculous.  As of right now, maybe Shane and Daniel should be fighting to trade for a guy who was the #1 draft pick.  They should be willing to give up Styles, Cena, and Corbin if that’s what it takes!  Seth is that damn good.  Damn you Stephanie!  DAMN YOU!!!!  (Kent: Really Russ?  This is how you choose to answer my question?  Very disrespectful.  So haha, screw Seth.)

Keri:  Not necessarily and hear me out on why I feel this way. Right now, we have the WWE championship match for Smackdown. And really that is all that is needed from Smackdown at this point in time. The purpose of the Royal Rumble event is the Rumble itself. This is not your typical PPV, kids, so the normal “rules” for matches shouldn’t apply. Smackdown has already added a good amount of their roster to Sunday’s Rumble match. And who knows what surprises are in store for us on Sunday. The other thing what we have to keep in mind here is that the Smackdown roster is significantly smaller than the RAW roster. Also the Smackdown roster is very women and tag team heavy. Yes, a tag match and women’s match could have been added but really that should be it. The focus should be on the Rumble match and not the brand specific storylines that we are used to seeing week in and week out. This really is another case of RAW creative going too far and taking focus away from what matters.

Kent:  RAW now has 5 matches plus all the big names in the Rumble.  Smackdown has one match and one Baron.  Why even have Smackdown show up?  I want to like this Rumble, but I am really losing faith fast.  My interest level is dwindling in a terrible way.  I think the Taker stuff is what hurts it most of all.  If you just had kept Taker on Smackdown, he could have rallied the troops again, maybe talked trash with Baron, and suddenly you think that Smackdown has a chance.  Wow, that was simple booking.  Of course WWE missed the opportunity.  I hate this company at times.  I am revoking all the gold stars that I never gave them in the first place.

  1.  Let me get this straight.  So New Day, Enzo and Cass, Rusev, Jinder, Titus, Big Show, Jericho can all just say that they are in the Rumble, yet Sami can’t, and has to take away the #1’s Rumble spot.  Please, make sense of this because this really hurts my noggin.  Also, why is Sheamus and Cesaro pulling double duty for the night?

Russ:  This is a creative problem that has plagued WWE for years.  It makes so little sense.  However, I’m going to try and understand how this makes sense.  So,  Steph and HHH don’t want Rollins in the Rumble, because he has the potential to win it.  So Steph was trying to come up with a plan on how to get him kicked out.  That’s when Zayn comes in and announces he wants in the Rumble.  Normally, Steph would just say yes that’s great and be done with it.  Until, she sees her opportunity to get rid of Rollins and make it look innocent.  She forces Zayn to get into the match with Rollins and then made sure Rollins wouldn’t win.  See if you read into the details it totally makes sense.  What, you need to be told those reasons because otherwise it is stupid and confusing.  Get out of here, WWE Creative knows how to tell a story, you just don’t know how to read between the lines.  Seriously though,  If WWE isn’t going to make sense in their stories then they need to fill us in on background information or something.  Not tell us 3 weeks later trying to work backwards to make sense of it.  

Keri:  Ah, the “burial” of Sami Zayn continues. This is what he gets for getting over more or less on his own. It really is sad what is happening to him. As for Rollins, I just don’t get it. Why have the HHH distraction now? Why not wait until Rumble? I’ll tell you why? RAW creative has to rush everything that isn’t “historic” and then they beat it to death. The stupidity of RAW creative. It really burns.

Kent:  They don’t care.  They clearly do not care about logic at this point.  So screw it.  I already know that Seth will end up stealing somebody’s place in the Rumble, like Titus or something.  Maybe all he has to do is look in Braun’s direction and Braun will run off like the big 7 foot bitch that he is.  Great job WWE.  You got me hating Braun.  Are you happy now?  By the way, Sami Zayn is winning the Rumble, just in case you didn’t know that.

  1.  Jack Gallagher is clearly over.  Do you think this is good for the long term, say 6 months down the road?  Why is Mustafa Ali being showcased so much?  Is Alicia Fox out performing everybody on 205 at the moment?

Russ:  Jack Gallagher is a breathe of fresh air in the WWE.  He is innovative, quirky and good on the mic.  Add to that he can wrestle and has a good gimmick and you have a unique wrestler that, hopefully, cultivated correctly will make a future Daniel Bryan for us all.  In the long run I worry about him.  WWE will see that he is getting over and try to milk him for what he is worth instead of putting him in meaningful feuds.  See for examples:  Big Cass and Enzo or New Day as not what to do with over wrestlers.  I like Mustafa so I don’t care that he is being showcased, but I do understand why some might think he isn’t worth it.  I think it is WWE’s attempt to connect with the Middle East, by having a decent high flying wrestler exposed and as a face, instead of a heel.  As for Alicia she is outperforming everyone on RAW period!  

Keri:  First, as a Gallagher fan, I hope he stays relevant for a good long time. I really enjoy the guy. With that being said though, Creative, unfortunately has the last say on how this guy is booked. I hope they see his greatness but they probably won’t. Sigh. Now on to the other questions. I’m not sure why Ali is being featured so much. Since I do not watch 205 live yet (I know I know for shame), this was really the first time I saw him. He’s ok but I don’t know enough about him to form an educated opinion. As for Foxy, I love what they are doing with her. She really is the best woman on the RAW roster right now and she hasn’t even wrestled a match. Kudos to Creative on this one. (Kent: SHAME!  SHAME! SHAME!)

Kent:  I would have said that it’s bad for somebody to get over so quick, look at Ellsworth comma James, but Jack is showing some signs of being legit.  I am cautiously optimistic at the moment against my better judgement.  I don’t get Mustafa’s appeal.  He’s basically Justin Gabriel, and nobody cared about him either.  I think that Jack, Ariya, and Neville are slightly ahead of her, but this is close.  Alicia is having a career renaissance and it’s a thing of beauty.  The best Alicia is crazy Alicia showing off her booty.

  1.  Holy Crap! Did you guys see Big Show?  He looked fantastic!  You guys think if he put this much effort into his physique back in the day he would have gotten more of a push from Vince?  

Russ: This question like the Big Show is huge!   I have always thought of Big Show as someone who had potential, but just didn’t have any moves or was that interesting to begin with.  However, the guy who came out last night had an impressive physique and looked genuinely menacing.  If he can grow a personality that is worth cheering and actually perform in the ring, then I say that his best days in WWE are still ahead of him!  Unfortunately, I don’t know if Show has it in him.  He can be humorous which can help for a short time, but he needs more than that to make people care for more than a month.  All of the personality is useless if he can’t wrestle.  For me this has always been Show’s problem.  He sucks in the ring because they are slow and plodding.  If this new show is faster and can last longer I say the sky’s the limit.   

Keri:  I feel like a bad investigative reporter for not reporting this to our podcast listeners and blog readers sooner. I’ve known about this transformation and weight loss for weeks now. I think Show looks fantastic. Good for him. I do have one question though. Do we still call him Big Show? Or should we call him Half-Size Show? This along with whether or not he is a heel or a face are important questions that should be answered. I need to know how to mark my scorecard.

Kent:  As a petite gentleman, I have been keeping tabs on Big Show’s dramatic weight loss.  I know that I don’t have a fancy title like investigative reporter, but I do keep tabs on the big guys.  I can tell you that I am incredibly impressed by how the Big Show has done.  I am legitimately wondering if Shaq is a guest entrant in the Rumble.  Big Show is ready, the fans are ready, and RAW is going F this angle up so bad, it is going to have a longer hype video and ring entrance than their match this year.  Good job RAW!  You guys are as bad as TNA!  No, that was mean.  TNA writes better than you guys.

  1.  So, overall, what was more entertaining this week: RAW, Smackdown, or Linda McMahon’s Senate confirmation hearing?

Russ:  Since I’d rather watch Kent Jazzercise for 40 minutes rather than watch a Senate Confirmation hearing, this comes down to Smackdown and RAW.    RAW this week was pretty blah to me with a few exceptions.  Those exceptions were the match between Rollins and Zayn,  KO decimating Saxton on commentary, the stare down ending with Brock, Taker, and Goldberg, and Big Show coming out and looking the best he has ever looked.  Smackdown on the other hand from top to bottom was a damn fine show.  The real problem this week was that RAW has to fill 3 hours and frankly that is too much time.  I get bored after about an hour and a half so my mind starts to wander.  Also, I’m always doing something else when I watch wrestling, like playing a game or reading.  So after awhile I forget that wrestling is even on and I have lost a good chunk of time.  Smackdown story’s always seem to keep me intrigued add to that it only has to fill 2 hours I tend not to lose interest.  So Smackdown was more entertaining to me.  

Keri:  First, let me say that all three had their high points and low points. I’ll start first with RAW. We have the showdown of the old guys at the end which could have been a high point for some and the low point of others. We had a decent Jericho vs Reigns match. But really everything was kinda meh. RAW this week for me started out at a big disadvantage. They opened with a Reigns promo and we all know what happens when I see that guy on my screen. I fall asleezzzzzzzz. Oops sorry everyone I guess even his name makes me sleepy. As for the Senate hearing, I know RAW creative didn’t write this one. It had everything. Old foes becoming supportive allies. Stephanie smiling like it was her first trip to Capitol Hill and she was just genuinely excited to be there. And speaking of Trips, well he was there too looking kind of uncomfortable and wondering who he could get away with pedigreeing during the hearing. It was entertaining to a point. But you all know I’m going to pick Smackdown. I mean was there really any choice. This week had it all: Orton vs Harper; a Harper face turn?; Mickie explaining why she was the Alexa Bliss of her era; Rumble getting hyped with the addition of Mojo Rawley; AJ and Cena deja vu promo war; and my personal fave Ellsworth Makeover: Jersey Shore edition. All and all great show.

Kent:  Nope.  Not doing anything political.  Smackdown.  Moving on.

  1.  Is Smackdown ruining American Alpha’s title reign by not having competitive matches weekly in the tag division?

Russ:  I don’t know if it is ruining it so much as putting it on hold.  It always seems, to me anyway, that the WWE puts the tag team division on hold when the Rumble comes to town.  This year is no different.  Add to it that AA was not supposed to be champions right now (Ryder and Mojo I believe were.) this would have been the perfect time to have belt placeholders like Ryder and Mojo.  Instead they pulled the trigger on AA.  Yes, this does seem bad because there is nothing for AA to do, but on the other hand immediately after the Rumble I bet things will pick up in the Tag Division and AA will get that proper feud they desperately need.  

Keri:  I would have to say AA’s current booking or lack thereof is not doing them any favors. I’m not quite sure what the problem is here. You have plenty of tag teams right now that could feud with AA. This just seems like laziness to me. Smackdown creative if you were going to do this you should have left the belts on the Wyatts or just put them on the Usos.

Kent:  Yes.  I know that Zack’s injury threw the writers off a bit, but it tells me that they had no intentions of having secondary feuds in the tag division.  Did they really need to turn Dolph heel so soon?  Couldn’t Dolph have been eliminated at the Rumble and then go off big time on a face wrestler and turn then?  That would have opened up some tag team opportunities, no doubt.  They are absolutely killing AA at the moment and they deserve a better title reign.

  1.  Did Bray officially turn on Luke or is this part of a ”tough love” type of angle, or something else altogether?

Russ:  Yes, I think this was the death knell of Luke and Bray.  This angle has been one of the best angles WWE has produced in a long time.  It started with Bray and Randy feuding.  Randy turning to the darkside.  Randy twisting Bray to his way of thinking and tuning against his true loyal brother in Luke.  Now Randy is one step closer to beating Bray.  Once Bray no longer has his disciples to protect him it will leave Randy the chance to take Bray down like the snake he is.  I honestly can’t wait to see how this unfolds and hope there are still a few more twists in this story before it comes to a satisfying end.  What shocks me is that this angle has been going on for almost 6 months now and it is still fresh and interesting.  When was the last time an angle lasted that long that still has you intrigued?  My thoughts are Randy is going to eliminate Bray at the Rumble, but this is not set in stone and could play out even longer.   

Keri:  I think we may have seen the end of the Wyatt family as we know it on Smackdown this week. I also think that we saw a potential face turn for Harper. The match this week between Orton and Harper was supposed to resolve some issues among the group. And boy did it ever. Apparently whoever lost was out of the group. Good job creative. I didn’t see that one coming.

Kent:  I think that he turned on Luke.  Hell, like 2-3 weeks ago, I believe I was the only one on this panel to suggest that Luke be the one who turned face.  I know that it looks like I’m always right, and that it must be hard work, but nah, I’m lazy as hell.  

  1.  Mickie James cut a promo, in a weird way.  Becky came out for an attack and got tricked by Alexa.  Nikki and Natalya fought outside and inside.  Carmella took Jimmy shopping.  Naomi came out and demanded a match and was answered by Alexa.  This question is an easy one.  Has the month of January 2017 for the Smackdown women been more interesting or exciting than RAW’s women division in totality since the brand split?  We’re talking 6-7 months vs 4 episodes.

Russ:  This is a no brainer! Smackdown in the past 4 episodes has done more for women’s wrestling than anything RAW has done since the brand split.  I’ll give RAW a little credit.  In the past 4 episodes they seem to be taking strides toward what Smackdown has done, but they are nowhere near the blue brand yet.   Everything Smackdown is doing with the women is interesting and *gasp* makes total sense!  We have seen, Becky transition smoothly into a feud with Mickie. Nattie and Nikki continues to be a solid piece of business (Fact: I have never once wanted to see Nikki in a match nor Natty, but I can’t wait to see these two finally square off in the ring!) Alexa and Naomi seem to be starting a feud that may truly pick up at the Rumble.  I loved the fashion show with Carmella and James.  There wasn’t a single women’s match that aired on Smackdown this week.  Yet,  each woman mentioned above has made major strides in their feuds this week.  That is how you do it!  Way to go Smackdown!  

Keri:  100% yes. We have so many good female storylines on Smackdown right now and I excited to watch them all. I’ll admit I was initially bored with the Nikki and Natalya feud but now I’m back on board. Mickie’s promo was a good introduction (or re-introduction) for her to the fans. This promo had some underlying tones of frustration. Both Alexa and Mickie are very similar in that they are very talented women who were completely overshadowed by their female counterparts. I like how Naomi came back and was immediately thrown in the deep end. No return vignettes that went on for months. Nope, just a simple I’m back and want to fight segment. The Carmella segments are funny as well. Smackdown really is knocking it out if the park. I don’t know who is feuding on RAW or why I should care. And that, my friends, seems to be the problem with RAW.

Kent:  Quicker than Lisa could choose Marge to go on a rocket ship after the Y2K disaster, I say Smackdown, and leave Homer and Bart, I mean RAW in the dust.    RAW needs to hit reset.  Naomi has been gone for 3 months, and she’s back, and I am already craving an Alexa vs Naomi match.  Mickie has been back for a hot minute, and I can’t wait to see her vs. Becky.  I look forward to Carmella segments now!  I am still eagerly awaiting Eva Marie’s return, hopefully with Emma and Glacier.  It will be the greatest stable ever!  Hey, if Curt Hawkins can eventually come back, so can they.

  1.  AJ and Cena had a little bit of promo time.  Was this good stuff or more of Cena being allowed to say and get away with more than just about anybody else in WWE because of who he is?

Russ:  While it may seem like this was just another Cena tearing the other guy to pieces because …he’s John Cena promo, but I think their may be more to this.  *Warning* The following is an optimistic take on what transpired between Cena and AJ.  You can blame Smackdown for being so good lately as to why I’m looking at this positively instead of the old #loljohncenawins! *End Warning* The way John spoke about his match against AJ, the way he kept calling him “that guy from Alabama” on the Today Show, and the fact that AJ is conveniently positioned in the back of the poster leads me to believe that Cena is not winning his record 16th championship at the Rumble.  Hear me out.  I know this seemed like a typical Cena destroys his competition verbally before he destroys them in the ring, but I believe Smackdown knows this and wants to swerve us.  In the end Cena is going to lose, and lose cleanly, yet again to AJ.  This will lead us down a path for Cena that will be quite interesting for the next several months.  Cena is going to have to adapt to the new era.  He can no longer be the face that runs the place, because AJ will have owned him 4 times (5 after he again beats him at Elimination Chamber.)  Cena will have to buckle down and maybe this time ask AJ for one final shot at the title at Wrestlemania man to man, not I’m Cena…I want a title match…I do what I want (channeling my inner Cartman there.)  Of course that is where he will finally win the damn thing and it will be huge!  Much bigger than if he won it at the Rumble.  Yes, I know this puts a kink in my Taker retires with the belt at Mania, but we all knew that once I started typing that angle it was never going to happen.  This seems much more likely.  We will only know after the Rumble though.  

Keri:  This was typical John Cena promo work. The same things being said and the same points being made. All in all this was the same promo we heard between these two sinc before Summerslam. The only difference this time was that stupid accent Cena was using during the promo. If you want to be the Dr. of Thuganomics again Mr. Cena, then I want a heel turn. And I don’t mean a heel turn where you troll the crowd and literally turn your heel. A heel turn. The Rock knew when it was time to go. Why can’t you? Oh well, at least there will be one decent championship match on Sunday to watch. So I guess that is our silver lining, right?

Kent:  There are subtle things that only guys like Taker and HHH can say in a promo that others would never be allowed to say.  This has been going on for a very, very long time.  This sort of thing pisses me off.  It only shines a spotlight brighter on how Cena is somewhat of a spoiled child at this point.  He’s King Joffrey to AJ’s Jon Snow.  He’s Darth Vader to AJ’s Yoda.  He’s merely a Daryl to AJ’s Rick Grimes.  Man, I could do this for a long time.  10 years down the road, nostalgia tends to get in the way and a lot of people are going to look back and eat their member berries and think “You member when John Cena cut that scathing promo on ____ and they had nothing go to say back?”  And Keri’s there saying “Oh yeah, I memba, that was epic.”  Russ will jump in and find a way to flub his line.  I’ll be sitting to the side giving everybody dirty looks.  Where the hell was I going with this?  Oh, I memba.  Rememba that time that CM Punk dropped that pipebomb and had the title for like a year and a half yet never main evented Wrestlemania?  Yeah, I memba.

Bonus Deuce

  1.  OK, let’s be real here.  This Emmalina thing is a big swerve or angle for something, right?  They aren’t really going to just bring her out with this gimmick and expect her to get over after all of this hype without something huge, right?  RIGHT?

Russ:  I think Emmalina is a figment of our imagination! I don’t think a tease for someone coming back has lasted this long before.  Well over 6 months now I think.    When she comes back and loses her first match back I’m going to laugh and laugh hard.  Emma will never wrestle again because she will be a laughing stock.  I know this probably won’t happen, but I don’t put it past WWE.  If she doesn’t come out and be the Alexa Bliss of RAW she has no chance at all after the extremely long build up to her return.  

Keri:  Oh come on, guys. She’s not coming back in any shape or form. There is no way she is at this point and if she does, who cares? This really is shameful considering how good she is in the ring. Wow, great job WWE. You took a wrestler who had a great thing (and look) going and you ruined it. I’m not surprised by how poorly this was handled and quite frankly I no longer care so this will be my last rant on this topic. (Kent: Rest assured, this dead horse has not seen it’s last beating.) (Keri: That poor poor horse. Someone should call PETA.)

Kent:  Well, it’s RAW.  Shit, she is so boned.  She has no chance at getting into a good feud because of the lack of women on the RAW side.  She can feud with her gal pal Dana I suppose.  The timing is really bad.  I would actually hold Emma off until the night after Mania at this point and have her destroy Bayley.  I cannot see anything positive happening for her until after Mania, so why not make this into a big angle?  In the meantime, have her down in NXT training the girls who desperately need the help.  Billy, Peyton, Liv, Nikki, Alliyah, and others could all use Emma’s vast knowledge.  If they bring her on RAW prior to Mania, just offer her a release.

  1.  Which world champ is most likely to lose his belt this Sunday: Kevin Owens or AJ Styles?  I am not asking for your predictions of the match, but rather who is most likely, meaning that you MUST pick or the other for this question to work.

Russ:  I’m starting to doubt either guy is going to lose the belt. Too much happened this week to make me think either is going to lose.  I’ve already explained my thoughts on AJ vs Cena so let’s look at KO vs Roman.  Since Jericho has the United States belt and it is no DQ I see cheating afoot 25 feet above the ring.  I think Jericho will drop his US Championship down to help KO retain.  Now, I know the question said most likely to lose so I have to choose and I choose KO is more likely to give up the championship.  I outlined a pretty detailed way Cena is going to get that 16th world title and to me that sounds good and plausible.  However, KO doesn’t exactly need the belt going into Mania since it seems that, eventually, we are going to get KO vs Jericho.  So if it goes down as a loss I think Jericho will attempt to drop the belt to KO only to have Roman intercept and use it on KO.  Bam, the start of the true dissention of the best bro’s of wrestling.  

Keri:  I’m going to go with Owens here because it’s too soon for Cena to win the belt. Cena needs a Wrestlemania moment to coincide with the start of his 16th title reign. I know I know he has had plenty Wrestlemania moments already. But we all have to remember this is John Cena. He will get his Wrestlemania moment and we will all like it. Groan! As for my choice of Owens, unfortunately his title reign really hasn’t been all that spectacular. It has been more about Jericho than it  has about him. So in short, he is the logical choice. If we were going with logic which is probably a mistake.

Kent:  While I don’t foresee either guy losing the belt, the question was very specific.  In that case, I will pick Owens based on the likelihood of injury.  AJ is working with a safer wrestler.  KO already has a main event level match shaping up for Mania that doesn’t require the belt.  AJ has nothing clear cut, so it makes less sense for AJ to lose it in January.  By Elimination Chamber, it may make more sense.

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

The Royal Rumble Retrospective – Part 6 of 6 (2013-2016)

Welcome to the 9 Deuce exclusive, The Royal Rumble Retrospective.  This has long been the most beloved match of the year for a huge portion of wrestling fans.  Every year, I tend to watch a few of these and have a great time.  This year, I wanted to go back and revisit each and every Rumble from the beginning and find out what each Rumble brought to the table and try to determine my personal favorite.  I’m not going to say the best, as your criteria is probably very different, and incorrect, from mine. This has been an arduous task, but I hope you enjoy this project which will have taken about 35-40 hours when all is said and done.  I will provide links to all of these in each edition for easier navigating. A new part will be added daily until completion. I have also linked each Rumble to it’s Wikipedia page so you can see all the info that I didn’t provide.

Part 1 (1988-1992)
Part 2 (1993-1997)
Part 3 (1998-2002)
Part 4 (2003-2007)
Part 5 (2008-2012)
Part 6 (2013-2016)

2013 – You know how you can sometimes pinpoint a specific moment in time when something important in wrestling happened?  Like Flair in 92, Benoit in 2004, Austin 3:16, the screwjob, “Bret screwed Bret”, Hogan turning heel, Punk’s pipebomb, etc are fine examples.  Well this is the night that set the WWE back significantly.  I know more people were upset at the 2014 Rumble, but I will touch on that in the 2014 section.  This is the year that WWE screwed CM Punk, YET AGAIN, and forced him to job to a part timer like the Rock, so that Punk couldn’t main event a Wrestlemania, so we could have one of the most obnoxious Mania main events ever, Cena vs Rock “Once in a Lifetime”….twice.  This is the sort of thing that really makes me hate being a wrestling fan.  Aside from that travesty, Big Show faced Alberto in a Last Man Standing match which ended stupidly.  Cody and Damien jobbed to Team Hell No and that was it.  Oh yeah, Be A Star!  No bullying damnit!  Presented to you by a show that half of it’s roster is made up of bullies.  Yeah, I’m annoyed.   

Man, I forgot about AJ with Dolph and Big E.  AJ was so awesome.  Dolph has the MitB briefcase, so he gets his greatest moment in less than 3 months.  At #2, Jericho returns!  This is one of those years where early guys last long.  Along with Dolph and Y2J, we get guys like Cody, Kofi, Santino, Drew, Titus, Goldust, and Heath.  Look at all of that potential that WWE had no idea how to utilize, and in Kofi, Dolph, and Titus’ situations, still don’t.  Man, Goldust debuted in 1991 in WWF at the Rumble.  Think about that.  Otunga, why did you steal Wade’s entrance?  Why are you still employed?  Lawler commenting on AJ: “Her nickname is Napkin because she’s been on so many men’s laps.”  Cody, with mustache, gets some good heat for eliminating his brother in a vicious way.  Wade and Otunga have the same entrance. Why was this allowed?  And along comes SuperCena who just took on 5 guys with no problem and starts eliminating guys.  

The second 10 guys definitely were an improvement with guys like: Sheamus, Tensai, Brodus, Rey, Wade, Cena, and Sandow.  Bo was in good shape here actually.    Orton comes out and decimates dudes.  Wow, Ryback was over huge here.  I think he turned heel the night after Mania.  WWE logic at it’s finest.  The highlights of the final 10 guys include: Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Khali, Kane, Zack Ryder, Orton, Miz, and Ryback.  Jericho got a chance to show off before finally being eliminated.  This was his and Ziggler’s year, with props to Cody, Sheamus,  and Bo as well.  Let the burial begin so SuperCena can win.  This was fun, well paced.  Good saves, lots of surprises, always full of talent, memorable stuff.  Lack of hoss showdowns and the inevitable ending really ruin an otherwise very good Rumble.  I will give this a 5.9 as I hated how predictable this was, with the wrong man winning.

  1.  Best Save – Kofi lands on Tensai after eliminating Kofi, and he ends up on the Spanish announce desk.  He takes JBL’s chair and pogostick’s his way back.to the ring, while Bo Dallas makes his debut.  Amazing!  
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Godfather in like 3 seconds, haha.
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Cody eliminating Goldust viciously, Kofi’s elimination after his amazing save,  Daniel eliminating Kne, then getting knocked off the apron and hangs on Kane, and Kane dumps him.  It was funny.  
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Bo by Wade
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown
  6.  Best Eliminator – Sheamus and Ryback with 5 each
  7.  Best Survivor – Dolph @ 49:47, Jericho @ 47:53, Sheamus @ 37:23, Cody, Kofi, Wade, Cena, and Bo all over 20 minutes.
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Jericho, Goldust, The Godfather
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

2014 – A lot of things came from this particular Rumble, and if nothing else, it s incredibly memorable, not always for the right reasons.  The crowd wanted Daniel Bryan in the main event, they wanted him to win the Rumble.  They never got it, and this set in motion awhile issue of whiny millennials getting their way.  I loathe this particular year.  Batista was brought back to win the Rumble and main event Mania against Randy, and have the whole Evolution tie in.  Things went very differently.  Cena buried the hell out of Bray at Mania.  Oh, this would also be the last night in CM Punk’s pro wrestling career because he was also sick of this shit.  This would also be the last big event until the one holy and sacred thing in all of wrestling got ruined in New Orleans.  To say that I loathe everything about the WWE in 2014 is a huge understatement.  A year that they needed the presence of Punk, perhaps more than ever after Daniel’s injury.  So begins the year that the Shield would get shoved down our throats so much that we have yet to get the taste out of our mouths.  We, the real fans, we lost most of all.  The undercard featured Daniel vs Bray in a great match, Brock making Big Show his bitch, and Cena vs Orton for the millionth time.  The fucks that I didn’t give.  This would also be Batista and Rey Mysterio’s last Rumble.  Did I forget to mention that this is the year that they bastardized the record and gave Roman 12 eliminations and broke Kane’s great record?  When the crowd starts shitting all over this match, they may be justified.  Onto the Rumble.

Hey, CM Punk is #1 yet again.  Punk looks so tired and worn out at this point in his career.  He also had a terrible MIRSA growth on his back that WWE doctors refused to help him out with.  Yes, Punk has been guilty of being whiny at times, but in this case, he was 100% in the right.  #2 is Seth Rollins, which makes for a great start.  I miss Seth’s ring attire back then.  So much better than his current garb.  Cody and Sandow tussled briefly, and Kane come out and was eliminated by Punk, who he was feuding with.  Rusev makes his debut and really wowed the hell out of us.  Swagger is with Zeb and doing the We The People. Kofi is out and everybody is expecting something crazy from him at this point.  He delivered, big time between the barricade stunt and the hanging by his toes, good stuff. Nash came out and that was fun.  Unfortunately, Roman Reigns came out after that and this Rumble goes downhill so bad.  The record gets broken by him and it is garbage.  The second 10 guys included big names like: Dean, Dolph, Nash, Roman, Sheamus, Khali, and Miz.  That’s pretty loaded 3 years later, but at the time, it was middling.  The final 10 guys were decent, with names such as: Cesaro, Luke, Ryback, Del Rio, Batista, Big E, and Rey.  The crowd is so pissed when Rey comes out, they don’t stop booing the rest of the match.  When Rey is eliminated, fan favorite Rey Mysterio, the crowd cheers.  I believe they have edited the crowd quite a bit on the replay.  Dean had the right idea in trying to eliminate the scourge of the Earth known as Roman.  The Final Four is Punk, Roman, Batista, and Sheamus.  Kane comes out and just pulls Punk over  the top rope, eliminates him and puts him through a table.  Roman just broke the record.  I’ve seen enough.  Batista is blown up.  ROman is clueless.  I give this Rumble a 3.5, making it tied for the worst Rumble of all time.  It had some intrigue, but it was all a set up to hand Roman the record.  This Rumble was so dumb and bad when you consider everything.  They had so many talented guys and did what they did with it.  AT least the crowd was chanting Roman’s name to spite big Dave.

  1.  Best Save – Kofi went from the barricade, ran it and jumped back to the apron.  Unreal stuff.  Also, he pulls a Marty Janetty and hangs on my his toes, and takes off one of Swagger’s boots.  
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – JBL’s was classy
  3.  Favorite Elimination Big Dave eliminating Roman at the end because it ended this shit.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Dean got it from Sheamus and Khali a bit
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Swagger vs Rusev was way better than you’d expect
  6.  Best Eliminator – Batista….he eliminated Roman…duh
  7.  Best Survivor – CM Punk @ 49:11, Seth @ 48:37, Dean @ 33:41, Roman @ 33:51, Sheamus @ 28:22, Cody over 21 minutes
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – JBL
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Batista

2015 – It’s 2015, the Shield have been main eventing since Mania, with no slowing down.  Daniel has been hurt.  Del RIo has left, Punk has left, Rey has left, and the fans are just getting a small taste of the future.  The undercard features The Ascension vs The New Age Outlaws, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd defeated the New Day, The Usos beat Miz and Sandow, The Bellas beat Natalya and Paige, and Brock beat Seth and Cena in a really great match.   This year starts off with The Miz at #1 and Truth at #2.  Why?  Why wouldn’t you have Sandow in at #2?  What a terrible way to start it.# was Bubba Ray, and he got a huge pop and well deserved.  It made sense to have Truth so that Bubba could work with a black dude.  I am convinced that was the only reason.  Luke was in @ 4, and he was fresh off a great ladder match against Dolph the previous month.  Bray is out next, and business has picked up.  Bray was in great shape here, and would soon go on to get buried by Taker.  At this point, the Wyatt family had disbanded.  At #6 is Curtis Axel, but then Eric Rowan came out and beat up Curtis and stole his spot.  The Wyatts all start fighting and this crowd is dog shit.  They should be going crazy.  Bray just got rid of both guys.  This is Bray’s Rumble as far as I’m concerned.  Ugh, the Eater of Worms vs the Eater of Worlds.  Terrible.  Bray should have won this one.  So the first 10 round out with Sin Cara, Zack Ryder, and Daniel Bryan.  Daniel Bryan in the past 2 years were his own worst enemy.  He should have fully healed himself, but he failed to, rushed back, hurt again, bye bye in ring career.  There’s a sign that says “Mr Small Package”.

This is a boring year so far, aside from the Wyatt stuff and DDP’s return.  Haha, Bray just eliminated Daniel Bryan, and the crowd is PISSED!  Would the WWE have ever treated Hogan, Austin, Rock, HHH, or HBK with such little respect?  Nope.  I do love the Rhodes brother fighting for like the 4th year in a row.  The crowd is still chanting for Bryan and booing.  Seriously, you couldn’t have had him last til the end?  Maybe give him a late entry.  I admit it, I miss Adam Rose.  Oh yay, Roman Reigns.  Highlights from the second third of the competitors include: Stardust, DDP, Rusev, Kofi, Goldust, Roman, and Big E.Sandow was so over at this point.  Like top 5 most over guys, and he’s gone in 18 seconds.  Wow, the WWE hate their fans.  Here comes the boo’s again.  Lex Luger is the only Royal RUmble winner to never win a WWE World Championship.  Wow.  The crowd wants CM Punk.  Good luck with that.  You get Ryback.  I believe that they were trying to break Santino’s record, but Titus botched his flip.  Haha.  Really, let’s tout how great Reigns is for lasting 15 minutes.  Bray and Rusev have been in soooooo much longer.  Fuck you WWE.  They just had Kane and Big Show eliminate all of the best competitors, minus Dean.  Dean will be next I am sure.  The final 10 guys had some names like Show, Kane, Dolph, Dean, Ryback, Cesaro, and Sandow.  So Show and Kane have taken out all of these huge front runners, but can’t put away a guy who’s been in for 27 minutes.  Oh, the fans are just chanting bullshit.  Were they right to do so?  Hell yeah they were.  You wonder why fans hijack shows, or you wonder why they chant for Punk..  Well this is why.  The fans are fed up.  Curtis Axel was never eliminated, fact.

  1.  Best Save – Kofi knocked off into the Rosebuds, who carry him back.  Good stuff.
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Titus due to the botch.
  3.  Favorite Elimination – I don’t have one.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – The Wyatts showdown, Bray vs Boogeyman, Big Show vs Kane
  6.  Best Eliminator – Bray, Rusev, and Roman with 6 each
  7.  Best Survivor – Bray @ 47:29, Rusev @ 35:40, Roman @ 27:29
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Bubba Ray Dudley, The Boogeyman, DDP
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

2016 – This night’s Rumble was for the championship, just like 1992, minus the talent and quality.  The matches on the undercard were: Dean vs KO, Usos vs New Day, Kalisto vs Alberto, and Becky vs Charlotte.  The Dean match was really good.  On to the Rumble.  Roman is #1 and Rusev is #2.  Makes sense to me.  Oh cool, Roman eliminated Rusev.  Then the big surprise, AJ Styles makes his debut!  The crowd is crazed!  Poor Tyler Breeze had no chance of getting over following up AJ.  Jericho is out at 6, so that’s another big name.  Kane is out at #7, and he holds so many records in Rumbles. Goldust, Ryback and Kofi round out the first 10.  That’s a hell of a lineup for early on.  This is a year where you have guys who last long.  Ryback doing the running knee lifts in the corner to guys was a way to mock Punk I feel.  I think Ryback is kind of a prick, but who knows.  R Truth at #12, immediately grabs a ladder, climbs it, and thinks that it is a ladder match.  That was fantastic.  Luke Harper at #13, I love it!  Now the League of Nations, remember them, are out there beating Roman.  It’s Sheamus, Rusev, and Alberto.  This was a way to give Roman plenty of rest, and it was stupid.  Make that fucker earn his spot.  Man, Rusev running across the desks and crashing through Roman was pretty awesome actually.    Rusev hugging Vince,….man.  The League leave and Rusev has a souvenir monitor.  Too funny.  Stardust @ #14 and Big Show @ #15.  The ring now has Luke, Kane, Big Show, and Baun.  That’s a lot of hoss.

Braun was #17 followed by KO, Dean, and Sami Zayn is a good run. Rowan is #21, so there’s 3 of the 4 Wyatt Family members, minus Bray.  Mark Henry came out, and got got by the Wyatt’s. Well, here comes the pain, as Brock lesnar comes out to fight the WYatt boys.  Man, it’s really good that Swagger and Mark Henry won that tag match earlier to earn spots in the Rumble.  They lasted a combined minute and 2 seconds.  Good booking WWE!  I loved when Bray came out, all the family got up and attacked Brock.  That would have been a solid Mania match.  Awww, see ya Brock, haha.  So we get Bray, Dolph, Sheamus, and HHH at the end.  Roman returns after missing the majority of the match.  I will not be giving him credit for the full 59:48.  That’s a bullshit number.  The crowd was stoked for HHH.  Bray vs HHH needs to happen by next year.  It’s  amoney match up that the crowd wants.  This was Dean, Bray, and Jericho’s night, but mainly AJ’s.  Sheamus is out, Roman is out.  It’s down to Dean vs HHH.  That was pretty sweet for the final 2.  It could have gone either way, but that gave HHH his 14th title win.  He’s one away from Cena.  

  1.  Best Save – Kofi caught by Big E, rides him around the ring, has a drink, and so on.
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Kane eliminating poor R Truth.  
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Roman getting his dumbass tossed
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Braun vs Big Show
  6.  Best Eliminator – Braun with 5
  7.  Best Survivor – Jericho @ 51:20, Dean @ 29:57, AJ Styles @ 28:58, Luke Harper @ 24:16
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – HHH
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

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

The Royal Rumble Retrospective – Part 5 of 6 (2008-2012)

Welcome to the 9 Deuce exclusive, The Royal Rumble Retrospective.  This has long been the most beloved match of the year for a huge portion of wrestling fans.  Every year, I tend to watch a few of these and have a great time.  This year, I wanted to go back and revisit each and every Rumble from the beginning and find out what each Rumble brought to the table and try to determine my personal favorite.  I’m not going to say the best, as your criteria is probably very different, and incorrect, from mine. This has been an arduous task, but I hope you enjoy this project which will have taken about 35-40 hours when all is said and done.  I will provide links to all of these in each edition for easier navigating. A new part will be added daily until completion. I have also linked each Rumble to it’s Wikipedia page so you can see all the info that I didn’t provide.

Part 1 (1988-1992)
Part 2 (1993-1997)
Part 3 (1998-2002)
Part 4 (2003-2007)
Part 5 (2008-2012)
Part 6 (2013-2016)

2008 – Here we are at MSG in NYC.  They even got Michael Buffer to announce the rules.  This night had some solid matches like Flair vs MVP, Edge vs Rey, JBL vs Y2J, and RKO vs Jeff Hardy.  This one is definitely memorable as it set the standard for various things.  There is a guy by the entrance that is really pumped and may or may not have developmental issues.  Well, they start right off with Taker at #1 and HBK #2, the final 2 from the previous year.  Man, that’s crazy.   Aside from Taker and HBK, you got Khali, John Morrison and Batista in the first 10.  That’s more star power than 93, 94, and 95.  The second third was absolutely stacked with CM Punk, Cody, Umaga, Snitsky, Miz, Shelton, Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, and Kane.  WOW!  The NYC crowd is doing things right.  They aren’t trying to takeover the show, just amplify it.  HHH and Foley brawling was great.  Lots of great matchups here.  The final 10 include: Carlito, Mick Foley, Mr Kennedy, Viscera, Mark Henry, Finlay, HHH, and finally Cena.  Cena wasn’t supposed to be back for like 3 more months after injury.  The crowd went apeshit.  HHH’s face was the best.  The final 3 showdown with batista, HHH, and Cena was great, with each guy mocking the others. As much as I have hated Cena’s run, by and large, he obviously needed a Rumble win, and he came back in such a way, I am struggling to be too pissed off.  This gets an 8.5, one of the all time best rumbles due to pacing and star power, hoss match up, returning superstars, legends, everything you could ask for.

  1.  Best Save – Mr Kennedy somehow just hanging in there after Cody’s headscissors Finlay coming out hit Mark Henry and Big Daddy V with a shillelagh.  
  2.  Best Quick Elimination Santino at #3 gets got by Taker and HBK
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Taker eliminates Snitsky, HBK eliminates Taker, Mr Kennedy eliminates HBK, Taker puts Snitsky through a table.  That whole sequence.  Also, Hornswoggle on Miz was ridiculous. Kane punting Morrison was also good.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Punk by Taker with a bad ass clothesline after Punk knee’d HBK in the face
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Snuka vs Piper everybody in the ring just stopped and gave them the ring.  Cena vs HHH was also huge, plus we had Khali, Taker, Kane, Viscera, Mark Henry, Snitsky, Umaga, and Batista.  This is Hoss paradise.
  6.  Best Eliminator -HHH with 6
  7.  Best Survivor -Batista @ 37:40, HBK @ 32:39, Taker @ 32:33, Morrison @ 29:33, Hornswoggle, Cody, & Umaga all over 20
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Jimmy Superfly Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – John Cena

2009 – The main storyline here is that Randy Orton is pissed at Steph and then punted Vince in the head.  Good shit.  This one stayed loaded throughout.  No huge ring clearings.  Tons of talent, with a great mix of old, current, and new stars.  It did get a tad congested at times.  All in all, it was still very good and kept you captivated throughout, in my opinion.  The old guys put on a show.while Punk, Knox, and Johnny Abs got a chance to shine along with Cody and Ted.  Lack of big spots hurt, to a degree.  Still, this is one of the better ones.  7.7 seems fair.

  1.  Best Save – Rey landing on Miz and stepping on Morrison, hanging upside down on corner post
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – HHH eliminates THE Brian Kendrick, Kane eliminates Dolph even faster, and then the Santino elimination
  3.  Favorite Elimination – HHH eliminates Miz and Morrison
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Mike Knox
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Khali vs Kozlov, HHH vs Kozlov, Big Show vs Taker
  6.  Best Eliminator – Big Show & HHH with 6 apiece
  7.  Best Survivor – HHH @ 49:58, Rey @ 49:24, Randy @ 48:27, Ted @ 45:11, Jericho @ 37:17, Cody @ 37:01, Mike Knox @ 32:42, Taker @ 32:29…wow
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – RVD, Hacksaw Jim Duggan
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

2010 – The undercard had it’s ups and downs.  We had Sheamus vs Randy, which is one of those feuds that happened far too often.  We had the conclusion of the awful Piggie James feud between Mickie and Laycool.  The real gem here is Taker vs Rey Mysterio.  Now it’s Rumble time, and we start off with Dolph vs Evan Bourne.  Well, nobody gives a damn here.  Considering where these guys were in their career at the time, is this the worst first 2 of all time?  I think it has to be considered.   Thankfully Punk comes out to help this riff raff.  Serena has a great rack, that needs to be said.  This is when Punk was the leader of the Straight Edge Society, a great gimmick.  “Great Khali, I can make you greater.” – CM Punk.  Punk owns the first 7, but then HHH’s music and I would say that maybe the Rumble finally begins.  Punk vs HHH is quite interesting knowing what we know now.  The first 10 was not very good aside from HHH and Punk.  Dolph, Zack Ryder, Drew MacIntyre, and Ted Dibiase were the other “name” guys.  So far, so unimpressive.  I gotta say, this is a time when Kofi, Carlito, Morrison, Miz, MVP, Drew, Shelton, Cody, Dibiase and a few others were stuck in midcard purgatory and should be main eventers now.  WWE dropped the ball big time in failing to elevate those guys.Morrison should have been a world champ as should Cody, Drew, and Carlito in my opinion.  Not 15 runs of Cena. DX clears out the ring and then Cena comes out at #19.  

So the second set of 10 included: Morrison, Kane, Cody, MVP, Carlito, Miz, HBK, Cena, and Shelton.That;s a significant improvement.  I gotta say, the most impressive performance aside from HBK and Punk was Kofi.  Really innovative stuff.  Final four are Cena, HBK, Edge, and Batista.  Great picks here.  Batista is getting some heat for eliminating HBK who wanted that one last match with Taker, and Shawn is selling it, and is pissed.  Batista goes out next and Cena is out about 30 seconds later.  Edge truly deserved one Rumble win during his career.  It was a tad anti-climatic in all fairness. The last 10 guys included: Mark Henry, Big Show, Kofi, Swagger, R Truth, Batista, Jericho, and Edge.  It was a solid roster, no doubt about it.  The thing this one missed was more of a flow, longer survivors.  I loved the Shawn story, but other than that, there wasn’t much going on.  This was light on hoss matchups and survivors.  This is fun, but I gotta be real.  This gets a 6.7 as it was more pretty but without the substance.

  1.  Best Save – Edge and HBK going over simultaneously
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Matt Hardy’s dumbass getting eliminated in 20 seconds
  3.  Favorite Elimination – HBK kicking HHH out.  R Truth gets Big Show and Mark Henry out simultaneously.  WTF?
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown Big Show vs Mark Henry
  6.  Best Eliminator – Shawn with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Cena @ 22:11
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Edge

2011 – Ugh, the 40 man Rumble.  The most obnoxious Rumble obviously takes place in the most obnoxious place on Earth, Boston.  I want out already.  On the plus side, they are using Paralyzer as the theme song and I love that song.  The undercard features Edge vs Dolph, Miz vs Randy, and Eve Torres beating 3 legitimate women’s wrestlers.  So bad.  Oh no, the anonymous RAW GM thing.  No, just no.  This Rumble is almost 80 minutes long.  They put CM Punk in at #1 and he is now the leader of the new Nexus.  Out comes Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Justin Gabriel,Michael McGillicutty (Curtis Axel) and Heath Slater.  That in turn causes Otunga, Mason Ryan (Batista Jr.) and Husky Harris (Bray Wyatt) to all come out.  What a clusterfuck.  Everybody aside from Punk was ordered to the back or else be DQ’d.  #2 would turn out to be Daniel Bryan.  Wow, that’s how you start a Rumble!  No facial hair, it’s weird, and Punk’s hair is short and lighter.  I don’t dig the hair game her for either guy.  Michael Cole is killing it on commentary making fun of internet fans.  What I am seeing is a bunch of guys who should be the main event scene in Dolph, Punk, Daniel, Wade, Zack, Dibiase, Cody, and John Morrison, and well that’s just not the case 6 years later, sadly.  Zack Ryder has Nasty Boys trunks on, and was a #1 contender around this time. So the highlights from the first 10 guys were Punk, Daniel, Punk, Regal, Morrison, and tubby Bray.  The story around the teens is that Punk, Husky, Axel, and Otunga are working together and clearing the ring of everybody.    Khali eliminated Husky, but then Mason Ryan came out and got rid of Khali.  Superman at the height of his burial powers has to be due out soon I fear.  The second 10 guys were incredibly not noteworthy aside from Mark Henry and Khali.  I’m sick of Lawler whining about how this isn’t what the Rumble is about.  

Booker at 21 and the crowd is marking out big time.  Great sign that says “Wrestlemania, we coming for you N”.  If you don’t get why that is great, look it up.  Here comes Cena at 22.  Get the shovels out.  3 guys out in a minute, way to go Cena.  I hate Cena in this timeframe.  F*$& you Cena for eliminating Punk.  tyson Kidd having to take a beating  from Hornswoggle is ridiculous but funny too.  Suddenly Lawler isn’t complaining about how this isn’t what the Rumble is about.  Great.  Kofi and Cena had a nice moment, ya know, before Kofi gets buried.  Man, prior to this, Rey had been #1, 2, 4 & 8 in Rumbles.  Impressive. OK, the 3rd round of 10 was really good.  It involved the likes of: Booker, Cena, Rey, Wade, Sheamus, Swagger, Kofi, and Hornswoggle.  Just guessing that this may be better than the last 10 guys, but time will tell.  Man, as soon as Alex Riley enters, Cena clocked him.  I am starting to wonder if rumors are true that Cena held him back.  We know that Cena held Wade back.  Did you know that Alberto is the only person to win at #38?  Sorry, I had to.  Randy got rid of Kofi and Shaemus, and now looks at Cena.  If HHH was in there, that would be his 4 most opponents I feel.  Gotta look at the Mania sign like morons.  Kane at #40 is great.  In the ring, we have Kane, Wade, Cena, RKO, Rey, and Alberto.  Good choices.  Kane and Rey are out.  Riley comes out, distracts Cena, and miz eliminates him.  New favorite elimination.  Randy dumps out Wade, Alberto dumps Randy.  But wait, there’s still one more guy!  Santino never got eliminated!  The crowd was buying it.  COBRA followed by the trombone playing, and then Del Rio dumped him.  I honestly haven’t wanted a guy to win so badly in years and years.  We have long needed a surprise winner, and that would have really made Mania feel special.  Instead, Del Rio would win, then lose to Dolph the next night in one of the biggest moments in WWE history in my mind.  I loved it.  This match, took too long.  Pacing was a huge issue.  Half of these guys were not at all special.  The ending was great at the very least.  Also, they brought back 2 legends in Booker and Diesel, which is clutch.  Morrison had the great save.  Lack of hoss matchups hurt.  If it was just 30 guys, they could have actually had a better match in my opinion.  I will remember the night for Diesel, Santino, Morrison, and Miz eliminating Cena.  Still, I am giving this a 5.7 as it was a grueling match to watch.

  1.  Best Save – John Morrison with the Spiderman save.  That is still unbelievable.  
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Zack Ryder because Vince hates young stars
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Sheamus Brogue kicking Hornswoggle out, Miz dumping Cena out
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Alex Riley thanks to Cena’s shovel
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Big Show and Diesel on the entrance ramp
  6.  Best Eliminator – CM Punk with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – CM Punk @ 35:17
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Booker T & Diesel blew the roof off the place
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Great Khali

2012 – Aside from Punk and Bryan being champ, this is a brutal year.  Neither man got to main event Wrestlemania.  Instead, Cena vs Rock Once…..Twice in a Lifetime main evented 2 years in a row.  So bad.  If you want to know why I, along with numerous hardcore fans are cynical, this era really sticks out.  The guys who deserved the main spots got shoved away for the part timers.  End rant……for now.  The Miz is #1 and Alex Riley is #2.  This was a neat idea I suppose.  Eh, I lied.  This sucked.  I want some Fruity Pebbles.  Doo doodoo doooooo.  Can we please stop looking at the Wrestlemania sign?  I can’t be the only person sick of that balderdash.  Primo and Epico were tag team champions at the time.  That should tell you everything.  Foley came in at #7 and the crowd was pumped.  Nothing has happened so far, so of course they’re pumped.  My doppelganger is in the front row.  Ricardo came out at 8, and this was actually a great entrance.  The crowd is very much behind him.  Holy hell, Ricardo is killing it.  Santino comes out at 9 and let the comedy begin.  Foley and Santino have a showdown of socko vs cobra.  Tremendous.  Foley has now eliminated the tag champs and Gabriel.  

Out of the first 10 guys, I’d say that Miz, Foley, Santino, and Cody mattered.  Seriously, that’s such a bad list in 2012. The second 10 guys are highlighted by retired Hacksaw, Lawler, Booker T, and Dolph ZIggler.  I forgot how bad this year was.  Michael Cole at #20, and his song is Burn It To The Ground by Nickelback.  Yeah.  Kharma tosses out Hunico.  I think Kharma may have been one of my 10 favorite females.  Orton is over huge, and it’s his hometown, so there’s that.  We get Jericho and Big Show to finish it off and toss in Sheamus, Swagger, and Wade for the last 10, and therefore the best 10.  This was not a good year.  Sheamus wins.  I would say that this is like 4.4 territory based on the over reliance on old guys, and the fact that Miz and Cody were not exciting guys as survivors.  Sheamus was a boring choice for winner.  Jericho would have been a better choice as he feuded with Punk anyway. Geez, more sign gazing between Jericho and sheamus really irritated me.

  1.  Best Save – Kofi walking on his hands, spectacular!!!!
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – I would say Ricardo as it was short, but Lawler’s was shorter.  
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Big Show simultaneously taking out Miz and Cody
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown
  6.  Best Eliminator – Cody with 5….slow year
  7.  Best Survivor – The Miz @ 45:39, Cody @ 41:55
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Mick Foley, Jerry Lawler, Booker T, Michael Cole, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Kharma, Road Dogg
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

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

The Royal Rumble Retrospective – Part 4 of 6 (2003-2007)

Welcome to the 9 Deuce exclusive, The Royal Rumble Retrospective.  This has long been the most beloved match of the year for a huge portion of wrestling fans.  Every year, I tend to watch a few of these and have a great time.  This year, I wanted to go back and revisit each and every Rumble from the beginning and find out what each Rumble brought to the table and try to determine my personal favorite.  I’m not going to say the best, as your criteria is probably very different, and incorrect, from mine. This has been an arduous task, but I hope you enjoy this project which will have taken about 35-40 hours when all is said and done.  I will provide links to all of these in each edition for easier navigating. A new part will be added daily until completion. I have also linked each Rumble to it’s Wikipedia page so you can see all the info that I didn’t provide.

Part 1 (1988-1992)
Part 2 (1993-1997)
Part 3 (1998-2002)
Part 4 (2003-2007)
Part 5 (2008-2012)
Part 6 (2013-2016)

 

2003 – Big Show vs Brock, HHH vs Scott Steiner, and then Kurt vs Benoit all before the Royal Rumble match.  Talk about having a mountain to overcome.  So they start off with HBK and Y2J, and you say why not.  Stacy Kiebler was absolutely F’N stunning here.  My God.  Best looking diva ever in my opinion along with prime Sunny, prime Trish, Dawn Marie, and a few others.  Man….Cena’s rap was vulgar and tremendous.  Jericho’s face looks awful thanks to the stray kendo stick from Dreamer I believe.   I forgot about Jamal, who ended up being Umaga, one of the all time best unfulfilled potentials.  Test and Cena fight a lot in this one.  The last 3 guys are Batista, Brock, and Taker.  Wow.  That’s insane.  Taker first eliminates Cena.  Then Maven goes for the dropkick from behind in a hilarious spot, a continuation from the previous year. The final four are Kane, Taker, Brock, and Batista.  Holy crap!  This is just hoss heaven.  I think I was cheering on Batista when this aired live.  If this happened this year, I’d be cheering on Batista or Kane.  The ending was good, really good.  This is actually a great overall PPV plus a great Rumble.  This was interesting all the way through and had stars the whole time, plus a great final 4.  I’d give this an 8.3.

  1.  Best Save – Edge was so close twice, once thanks to Rey.  Matt Hardy also saved by Shannon Moore propping him up by his legs.
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Bull Buchanan
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Christian doing Jericho’s entrance which caused HBK to be distracted, and was quickly eliminated.  Jericho with a huge knot on his face, eliminating Edge and Christian.before #12.  Jeff Hardy goes to the top rope and gets shoved off by RVD was awesome.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Rikishi vs Rosey
  6.  Best Eliminator – Chris Jericho with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Chris Jericho @ 38:54
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Taker

 

2004 – This Royal Rumble is rated TV-MA. Shiiiiiiiit.  Well after that HHH vs HBK bloodbath, I can see why.  Anyway, for all you stupid idiots that were in the YES movement in 2014, pretending like it was the most important thing, 10 years prior, there was a man that was every bit as good, and probably better than Daniel.  The crowd loved this man.  The crowd didn’t act like a bunch of whiny millennials and whine and protest.  No, they just hoped with every ounce of hope that a man who had busted his ass for years, a man who may be a little shorter and not the prettiest face in the room, but perhaps the most talented guy, would finally get his chance.  That man was ‘The Crippler’ Chris Benoit.  Yes, it was obvious that he was winning it, and it was totally worth it.  Now, I can look back with less bias and actually judge the whole match.  Benoit was #1 and a young Randy Orton was #2, oddly enough, the man that would take the belt off of Benoit that summer, in a terrible mistake.  Thankfully, this is an every 90 seconds Rumble.  I like how Benoit is saving himself and is only doing 2 consecutive Geman suplexes as opposed to his usual 3.  Early on, the star power is lacking aside from Randy and Benoit.  Steiner, Bradshaw, Matt Hardy, Rhyno, Matt Morgan, Mark Henry, Tajiri, and The Hurricane don’t move the needle much.  But They were all good talents that weren’t total jobbers so it held a middling level of interest.  The second third is far more entertaining, featuring Kane, Booker T, Shelton Benjamin, Albert, Rikishi, Ernest the Cat Miller, and Kurt Angle.  Wow, so much better.  Of course Benoit just unleashed the triple German’s on Kurt.  Test was due out at 21, which got me pumped momentarily, but then I got more pumped at his replacement, Mick Foley, which was a huge story at the time, for Foley and Randy.  Holy crap, Randy just cranked Mick with 2 of the most vicious chair shots that you’ll ever see. Nunzio gets the Mandible Claw then refuses to get in the ring.  Awesome.  The final 10 include Foley, Christian, Big Show, Jericho, Goldberg, RVD, Billy Gunn, and John Cena.  This is a loaded third.  This is when Cena was just turning face and he got over, and then he finds Nunzio.  Brock attacked Goldberg and F5’d him.  That may happen this year.  Final 6 are Benoit, Cena, Y2J, Kurt, and RVD.  That’s loaded!  Cena, then RVD, Jericho, Kurt, and finally Big Show.  I think Cena tweaked his knee and/or ankle upon elimination.  That Angle elimination was great.  I love how much damage Big Show took.  It told a great story, and showed that he had been weakened for the proper ending.  He had the Walls of Jericho, Angle Lock, and Crossface, plus other stuff.  That final elimination was iconic as well, well until they stopped showing it.  Man, this Rumble was friggin great.  I gotta give this an 8.5 based on the storytelling.  Would be a 9, but the first 10 participants lacked one more star or if we had a bonafide hoss showdown.  They set up so many great angles for Mania though and that’s the whole point.  Kudos!  

  1.  Best Save – Jericho had a few close ones
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Randy and Benoit eliminate Ernest and Lamont who were dancing to “Somebody Better Call My Momma”.
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Foley eliminates himself and Randy was huge for their rivalry.  The winner is Big Show’s flipping elimination on Angle.  It was amazing.  One of the all time greatest and most overlooked.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Scott Steiner on Orton, it’s ridiculous, after Hurricane’s elimination.  Matt Morgan also got some hazing by Rikishi.  
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Randy vs Foley
  6.  Best Eliminator – Benoit with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Benoit @ 1:01:35
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Mick Foley
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Billy Gunn

 

2005 – This is when WWE was in the midst of making Orton and Batista into stars while Edge was becoming a superstar.  The older established guys like HHH, HBK, Jericho, Taker, Eddie, Benoit, and such were doing what they could.  Cena was in full SuperCena mode, and was pissing off the everyday common fan.  This is one of my personal favorite Rumbles.  Aside from the Rumble, we get Edge vs HBK, Taker vs Heidenreich, Big Show vs JBL vs Kurt, and HHH vs Orton.  Yeah, a lot of star power is used up in matches instead of pawning it off on tag team and women’s matches, like they should.  Eddie pickpocketing Flair’s number backstage was great.  Also Snitsky and Heidenreich backstage….B movie grade stuff there.  Wow, the shit that JBL got away with saying to Teddy Long….wow.  Eddie drew #1 and this is his last Rumble, sadly.  Fortunately, he gets to start against his good friend, Chris Benoit.  This is the year of hazing, and Daniel Puder was a douchebag to Kurt, and he paid for it.  This was absolutely intentional in who would come out.  As bad as Maven’s hazing was, this was way worse.  The first 10 was pretty damn stacked with Benoit, Eddie, Edge, Rey Mysterio, Shelton, and Booker T.  Good start to a memorable evening.  At one point, we have 4 RAW guys (Edge, Y2J, Benoit, & Shelton) and 4 Smackdown guys (Booker T, Eddie, Rey, and Luther Reigns) and they have a rumble, which leads to Muhammad Hassan, and one of those unforgettable moments where everybody teams up on him.  He gets the 619 and then unanimously dumped.

 “Orlando is the new Virgil” sign held by Rappaport.  Love it.  Rumble-roonie by Booker T, and immediately eliminated by Rey and Eddie, haha.  Edge gets ride of Eddie and immediately mocks him while Simon Dean is outside “warming up”.  The second set of 10 guys was incredibly underwhelming for the most part, but it did include Jericho at 11, HBK at 19, and Kurt at 20.  The rest of them…..yikes. The Kurt getting eliminated by Shawn and then coming back in and eliminating Shawn and busting him open was memorable.  Jericho doing the French Tickler dance after eliminating Rene was smart.  Cena was very over, as the fans weren’t sick of him yet. Jesus, Snitsky eliminating Paul London resulted in a concussion I believe.  It was brutal.  Haha, Coach has attacked Benoit and Kane from behind, both with hilarious results.  Cena just randomly elbowed Coach while resting in the corner.  The final third is the hoss third with Viscera, Snitsky, Kane, Batista, Cena, Christian, and Ric Flair.  That’s a solid lineup.  Christian’s song was probably my favorite at the time, and I still listen to it.  It’s called “Just Close Your Eyes” by Waterproof Blond.  The remake of his song with the dude singer sucked.  The final 8 are Flair, Batista, Cena, Edge, Christian, Rey, Benoit, and Coach.  Yes, Coach.  Batista is way too tired too early in his match.  The final four are Cena, Rey, Bats, and Edge.  Clearly Batista’s second foot first, but it was a well done spot, especially with 2 power guys.  It was smart.  The crowd was crazed.  Vince is so pissed as he comes out, he runs and slides in the ring, tears both quads at the same time.  He is in so much pain, and he just sits there feeling like a fool.  Batista is clearly looking concerned.  What an ending, and poor Vince.  In the end, we get a restart and Batista wins it.  If it wasn’t for the poor middle third, this would be an easy favorite.  Alas, despite it probably being my favorite, there are flaws, lack of hoss matchups also hurt.  This scores incredibly high on eliminations and memorable moments and star power.  I give this an 8.2 on those merits alone.  It’s so good.

  1.  Best Save – Rey had a decent save before Edge speared him
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Muhammad Hassan was incredibly memorable.  Then of course there was the Kurt getting eliminated by HBK in like a minute which led to one of the all time great Mania matches, so that holds up well.
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Kurt getting Shawn back and busting him open, or Batista and Cena tossing each other after Vince comes out.  Jericho eliminating Rene and then mocking, also classy.  Shit, Edge spearing Rey off the apron wins it.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Daniel Puder in chop city courtesy of Eddie, Benoit, & Hardcore Holly. Kenzo Suzuki had a bad time as well with Eddie and Benoit.  
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Kane vs Snitsky
  6.  Best Eliminator – Edge and Batista with 5 each
  7.  Best Survivor – Benoit @ 47:26, Edge @ 40:19, Rey @ 38:25, Y2J and Eddie both over 28 minutes
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Does Angle count?
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

 

2006 – This is the Royal Rumble after Eddie’s death.  Lots of Eddie armbands.  Basically, Rey and HHH last the whole damn way.  They wasted the momentum, and while I felt others were more deserving than Rey, but Rey was the greatest Cruiserweight that I have ever seen so kudos to him.  HHH also wanted some glory, I know, I know, that’s hard to believe.  It wasn’t a great Rumble, but 3 great jobs by HHH, Rey, and Carlito.  I’d give this one a 6.2.

  1.  Best Save – Rey as HHH tosses him, Rey gets under the rope and latches on to the bottom rope ala Rick Martel
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Simon Dean, Sylvan, Coach, Booker T
  3.  Favorite Elimination – HHH eliminating Big Show and Kane simultaneously, HHH knocking Chavo off top rope, HBK Sweet Chin Music on Shelton
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Joey Mercury and Johnny Abs (Morrison)
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Lashley vs Big Show, Kane vs Lashley, Kane vs Big Show
  6.  Best Eliminator – Rey with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Rey @ 1:02:12 and HHH @ 1:00:15 obviously
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Tatanka, Goldust
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

 

2007 – This is one of the all time great ones.  The matches were fine, but the real treat was the Rumble match.  Finlay turned back the clock and stayed in for a long time.  We got Rated RKO kicking lots of ass.   This was CM Punk’s first Rumble and Benoit and Flair’s last, for 2 completely different reasons, obviously.  The pacing was smart, plenty of good spots.  Not huge on the saves until the end.  But the end, that’s where this one really shines.  It is without a doubt, the greatest final 2 showdown of all time with Taker and HBK.  Those 2 stole the show and set the bar for how to end a Rumble.  Taker eliminating Khali was a thing of beauty as Khali prematurely jumped.  That left Taker to will Khali over with pure strength, and Khali was not much help.  It just showed how incredible Taker was.  I give this one an 8.3 and I don’t know which one is better between this one and 2002.

  1.  Best Save – Shelton with feet inches away from floor
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – The Miz
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Rated RKO eliminates the Hardy Boys, Taker powering Khali after Khali F’d up his elimination
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – CM Punk
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Khali vs Taker
  6.  Best Eliminator – The Great Khali with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – Finlay @ 32:33
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

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

The Royal Rumble Retrospective – Part 3 of 6 (1998-2002)

Welcome to the 9 Deuce exclusive, The Royal Rumble Retrospective.  This has long been the most beloved match of the year for a huge portion of wrestling fans.  Every year, I tend to watch a few of these and have a great time.  This year, I wanted to go back and revisit each and every Rumble from the beginning and find out what each Rumble brought to the table and try to determine my personal favorite.  I’m not going to say the best, as your criteria is probably very different, and incorrect, from mine. This has been an arduous task, but I hope you enjoy this project which will have taken about 35-40 hours when all is said and done.  I will provide links to all of these in each edition for easier navigating. A new part will be added daily until completion. I have also linked each Rumble to it’s Wikipedia page so you can see all the info that I didn’t provide.

Part 1 (1988-1992)
Part 2 (1993-1997)
Part 3 (1998-2002)
Part 4 (2003-2007)
Part 5 (2008-2012)
Part 6 (2013-2016)

 

1998 – My senior year in high school.  Yup, I am old.  This is the night that would set the stage for the impending Attitude era in a lot of ways.  Austin is on a roll, and Shawn is killing it in DX.  Mike Tyson is in the house as well.  This is the night that Shawn would hurt his back against Undertaker in a casket match and would cost him the prime of his career.  As we all know, Austin would win and go on to defeat Shawn Michaels and get things moving along with Vince as the best heel in the business.  I think that this match loses some importance due to Austin’s performance the year before, just my opinion.  Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) would start off against Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk).  Yeah, this is a hell of a way to start things off.   Owen Hart as a face is weird, just weird hearing the crowd pop for him.  I think they dropped the ball with Marc Mero.  He could have been huge, especially with Sable.  Man, Shamrock was over.  This match isn’t boring, and that’s due to having great early guys who last long enough until you get other big names in.  So you have your Foley, Funk, Rock, and JBL to keep you going until Austin and whoever else enters.  Bradshaw is clobbering everyone.  At #16, Foley comes out as Mankind and eliminates Chainsaw Charlie.  Yup, that happened and it was awesome.  Goldust was in bad shape at this point in his career.  Weird seeing HHH with Chyna beating up Owen Hart, and yet Terry Funk is still alive..  Ahmed Johnson had no stamina.  Phineas knocked a ref down when getting eliminated and Ahmed just attacks while Phineas checks on the ref.  No wonder Ahmed bombed.  Smart story that Austin got attacked and nobody came out at 22 to add intrigue.  EVery once in awhile, this story works, but also gives away the winner in my opinion.  At 24 Austin’s music hits, the guys are all looking at the entrance and he hits them from behind.  Good stuff.  Austin and Rock brawling on the outside was a look into the future.  Hahaha, Dude Love at 28, that’s ridiculous and great.  Mark Henry was pretty awful in ring, just saying, despite my love for the guy.  The final four guys are Austin, Dude Love, Faaooq, and the Rock.  Good choice for what was coming up.  Dude is gone and The Rock lets Farooq do all of the work, then eliminates him.  Rock vs Austin at the end and this is great.  Jim Ross just screamed Stone Cold 4 times.  Really great Rumble with no lulls despite all the new faces.  The pacing was smart as hell and they always had guys in there that could keep things interesting.  One of the all time best ones.  I’ll say it’s an 8.4.  Also, Mike Tyson said Cold Stone after the match.   Man this DX vs Taker and Kane story was truly amazing.  Kane turned on Taker, then him and Paul Bearer lock Taker in the casket, and then set it on fire.  What a great ending!  It was almost epic.  

  1.  Best Save – The Rock at the end before getting stunned
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Tom Brandi eliminated by Foley and Funk.
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Farooq getting eliminated by Rock
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Bradshaw hazing Kurrgan.  Bradshaw on a lot of these young guys.
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Austin vs Rock, duh
  6.  Best Eliminator – Austin with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – The Rock @ 51:32, Bradshaw @ 35:45, D-Lo @ 32:21, 8 Ball @ 30:43, plus Phineas, Funk, and Goldust made it past 25 minutes, which is a record I think.
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Honky Tonk Man
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

1999 – This year, Vince had put a $100,000 bounty on Austin’s head as he was #1 and Vince was #2.  This was such a huge and hot angle.  WWF was flying high at this point.  DX, The Brood, The Corporation, the Ministry, The Oddities were all around.  The story was the Vince would do anything to assure that Austin lost, including setting a trap in the ladies bathroom.  It never got dull in the ring as you had a constant flow of good to very good guys  in the ring, although the greats were largely left out.  Most of the legends at this point were in the beginning of their rise, like HHH, Edge, Test, Kane, and others.  This was actually a huge night in the career of the Big Bossman and as far as I’m concerned the Bossman Royal Rumble.  I rate this one a 7.5.  In ring was lacking but the story and continuity and crowd was all top notch.

  1.  Best Save – Edge
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Gilberg, Golga
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Mabel via Ministry abduction, Kane eliminates himself chasing the white coats
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Blue Meanie
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Mabel with Taker, APA, and Mideon I suppose
  6.  Best Eliminator – Stone Cold Steve Austin with 8
  7.  Best Survivor – Big Bossman was awesome @ 18:53.  Vince and Austin @ 58:36
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – None
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Mabel

2000 – The year that Austin was hurt.  The year that HHH and Foley had one of the greatest championship matches of all time  The night that Kurt’s undefeated streak came to end at the hands of a debuting Tazz.  The tag division was ridiculous, the Dudleys and Hardys had one of the matches of the year in a tables match. Chyna was fighting for the IC title with Hardcore Holly and Jericho.    Great show prior to the rumble,.  The year that Too Cool all danced together mid Royal Rumble in what was absolutely cheesy, but is incredibly memorable.  Kaentai interfered 4 times, well Funaki 4 times, Taka only 2 times because he broke his face.  The Mean Street Posse cost both Faarooq and Bradshaw in ridiculous run ins.  X Pac got eliminated, but the refs never saw it.  Kane hit an enziguri followed by a bodyslam on Big Show.  The Road Dogg spent almost 20 minutes hugging the bottom rope.  The 3 longest survivors were Bossman, Gangrel, and Test, yes Test.  The night ended with The Rock being victorious, leading to a terrible Wrestlemania 2000 main event.  Great overall show, fun Rumble, memorable as hell, but not great.  6.3 seems right.

  1.  Best Save
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Viscera, Blackman, Scotty, but Kaentai kept coming out and it was hilarious, until Taka smashed his face, Bossman elbowing Chyna out is the best,  Mean Street Posse follow Faarooq out beat him down and Bossman eliminates him
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Bossman on Chyna
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Rikishi vs Viscera
  6.  Best Eliminator – Rikishi with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – Road Dogg for doing the Martel and Bossman for being awesome, Test @ 26:17
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Bob Backlund
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

2001 – This was another big Steve Austin push.  Honestly, in the moment, I was getting sick of the megapush.  Yup, we can look back on it with rose tinted glasses, that’s fine.  You can say that it was what was best for business.  I can’t even argue that one.  As a fan, I wanted variety in my main event, and I felt that they blew their load so many times with Austin previously, which was unfortunate because this one was well worth it.  I loved that he worked with the crimson mask.  Make no mistake, this was the night that Kane earned everyone’s respect and will always be Kane’s night.  Don’t try to suggest otherwise.  He went 53:46, and that is unheard of for a big man, but he did it, and he dominated, and it was refreshing.  I loved a lot of guys in here, but the reality is that a lot of it was made up of midcarders. I give this one a 6.1 mainly for Kane.

  1.  Best Save – Taker saving Kane
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Tazz
  3.  Favorite ELimination – Drew Carey, Blackman by Kane,
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – K Kwik
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – None really, Kane vs Rock is the closest thing
  6.  Best Eliminator – Kane with 11
  7.  Best Survivor – Kane @ 53:46
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Haku, Honky Tonk Man
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

2002 – A month before Vince would go crazy and bring back the NWO, this event took place. The Austin era is coming to a close, The Rock will be making movies soon enough.  It’s now the time of the WCW and ECW guys to get in some main events before WWE takes back over.  HHH was coming back from his infamous quad injury, and was heavily advertised for this.  Believe it or not, he won it.  That really wasn’t the biggest story, despite the WWE’s insistence that it was.  Vince and Flair were having a feud over the ownership of the WWE.  Maven was the first ever winner of Tough Enough and was gifted the elimination of Taker after he destroyed the Hardy boys.  Taker would proceed to destroy Maven, but what a great memorable moment.  Austin coming in mid way, getting rid of people, doing the watch gimmick and then HHH arrived.  They had a few comedy spots.  We ever got Big Show and Kane out there, and Kane picked up and eliminated Big Show.  At the end, it came down to Austin, Perfect, Angle, and HHH.  Austin went out, so he hit them all with chairs. Then Perfect and then finally Kurt.  It had a really great pace to the whole show.  Nothing boring.  Really fun night.  Hurricane trying to dual chokeslam HHH and Austin was great.  My only complaint was how heavily WWE foreshadowed HHH’s win, kinda made it anti-climatic.  Still, I would give this Rumble an 8.  

  1.  Best Save – Perfect at the end was decent
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Maven for all intents and purposes, but also Jeff Hardy, Albert was quickest but not as funny, and Godfather lasted under 2 mins excluding entrance, Hurricane was funniest though, Faarooq in under a minute, Kane, Booker T
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Maven eliminating Taker
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Taker on Maven
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Austin vs HHH, Kane vs Big Show
  6.  Best Eliminator – Austin with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – Austin @ 26:46
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Godfather
  9. Best Returning Superstar – HHH, Mr Perfect?

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

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