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 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

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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.

WWE TLC 2014 Preview

Yes, I am slacking on a couple of other blogs, BUT this was a busy week. I just completed yet another successful LingFest. It was fantastic. I may do a quick blog about it, but I want to focus on wrestling right this moment.

I want to say that if you haven’t been watching NXT, you should. It’s better than the WWE’s main shows in my opinion. It is a mixture of WWE and ECW in a lot of ways. I include ECW because of the fans. They make the show feel special week after week for me. The talent is hit and miss at times, but the future is amazing at the moment. Let’s face it, Taker, Kane, Big Show, Mark Henry, and Goldust are pretty much done. HHH has a match 1-3 times a year. Cena, Randy, and Brock are getting to a point where the opportunities that they have been taking need to be passed down to the next generation. Think about Dolph, Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Ryback, Miz, Damien Sandow, Cody, Cesaro, Swagger, and Sheamus and how they are quintessentially the middle men that need to really put up or shut up. Then there’s the new guys that are really grabbing the infamous “brass ring” such as Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper, Bray Wyatt, Rusev, Eric Rowan, Fandango (this guy is the real thing, and may take longer like Dolph did), Roman Reigns (shaking my head as he don’t deserve his push) and of course that young strapping buck known as Batista. Then there’s the NXT roster, and they have anywhere from 5-10 legit superstars in the making down there. Adrian Neville can be, but I don’t think he will be. Sami Zayn really is so damn unique, and he can work with damn near anyone, and I think he’s a future champ. Tyler Breeze….I’m just not sure about quite yet. Hideo Itami, Finn Balor, and Kevin Owens are all no brainers. The Ascension will be the best tag team of this decade, I am 80% positive. They have some of the best qualities of all time teams like Demolition, Legion of Doom/Road Warriors, The Eliminators, and The Dudleys. Yes, they are my can’t miss prospects above anybody else. There’s a few others like Baron Corbin, the Vaudevillans, Bull Dempsey, Bailey, and Charlotte. I’ll tell you 2 talents that are really showing me some outstanding potential: Sasha Banks and Enzio and the tall dude. Sasha is potentially our next great heel diva, I truly believe that. The guys, they are funny, they stay in your mind, they have so many catchphrases, and they have a hot chick. Even is their in ring talent is average, people like The Rock, John Cena, Road Dogg, and Hulk Hogan have all proved that if you’re charismatic and can work the crowd, you can be a main eventer.

Sorry, that went on too long, but please, if you have the WWE Network, watch NXT R Evolution. Fantastic show from top to bottom. On with the TLC preview.

The New Day vs Star and Goldust

I already hate The New Day despite being a big fan of Kofi and to a lesser extent, Big E. I know that for a PG non controversial show, making them a more militant Nation Of Domination type stable may not be best for business. Unfortunately, I also believe that’s the only way that they get over. Kofi needs a heel turn, and Big E could too. Add R Truth as the older guy to partner with Xavier to help him get over and I would like that. As it is, they are bombing. They will get the win, but I don’t give a fuck. And they need new attire.

Raylene’s Prediction: “Probably stupid New Day.”

The Miz and Damien Sandow vs Usos

I really dislike the Usos. They don’t do anything bad mind you, but they got a much bigger push than they deserved and kept the belts for too long while other teams would have benefited more. Harper and Rowan or Real Americans should have won them much earlier this year. As for the Miz and Sandow’s act, I hate saying Mizdow, it’s good. The question is do they fear it wearing out it’s welcome and pull the trigger on the split too soon, or do they give Miz the reigns and say be the heel that we know you can be? I say ride it out and let Miz heel it up more. Whether they have the titles really won’t matter if it’s drawn out. The other logical scenario is the have the split sooner than later, with each guy remaining as half of the champions, and have a match between Miz & partner vs Sandow & partner. If things start sucking or stagnating, pull the trigger. Who would I have as partners you may be wondering? I would reunite Big Show with Miz and have Show Miz and reunite Damien with Cody. Why? Because the Miz treats everybody like shit and if this was to play out, Big SHow may be due his annual face or heel turn. Also, that team is intimidating in theory. The Dusts should continue jobbing, not much of a story. Cody is offered a chance to go for the titles, and Goldust gives his blessing. Goldust should interfere in the match, start the Cody vs Goldust rivalry and have a good team as champs.

Anyway, yeah, the Usos lose because they bore me.

Raylene’s Prediction: “I’m going to take Miz and Mizdow. I fucking hate the Usos.”

Eric Rowan vs Big Show (Stairs match)

Eric Rowan wins. He has to, right? He’s the guy that really needs the rub and Big Show has no problem taking some big hits and putting over a young talent. I do hope they continue this feud because Rowan can learn a ton from Big Show. Big Show gains nothing if he wins.

I got Rowan here.

Rayelene’s Prediction  “I gotta go Big Show.”

Nikki Bella vs AJ Lee

I like AJ, and she’s still in my top 3 with Alicia and Emma, BUT she has to up her game if she plans on staying relevant. That’s not entirely fair when not given much to work with, but her work has dropped a bit I feel. Nikki on the other hand, may be the most improved Diva this year, at least in ring. I don’t hold her awful storyline against her personally. Let’s face it, the Bella storyline was the worst of the year probably. Brie is garbage, and I hate brie mode. I’ll predict Nikki because I have a sinking suspicion that the twins break up in time for Wrestlemania pay day. I hate them some days.

Rayelene’s Prediction “Yeah I’m keeping stupid Nikki. I hate her.”

Rusev vs Swagger for US championship

Rusev is winning, no doubt. The question is, once he does lose, will he be able to retain momentum and continue to rise or at least hold his position?

Rayelene’s Prediction “Again? You know what I am going with Jack Swagger. He needs it.”

Ryback vs Kane (Chairs Match)

Kane is here to job in under 5 minutes. Don’t go any longer because I like Ryback, but long matches don’t suit him.

Rayelene’s Prediction “I’m just picking fucking Ryabck.”

Luke Harper vs Dolph Ziggler (IC title Ladder Match)

Well, this will be match of the night no doubt, especially if they are given 20 minutes. This could end up as match of the year really. Aside from Seth and Dean, nobody else is at this level in ring currently, and I mean that all 4 are at the peak with no distinct order. Dolph is getting pushed. Luke needs the title more. I have no clue. I think I stick with Luke Harper retaining and somebody fucking over Dolph.

Rayelene’s Prediction “I got Luke retaining.”

Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt (TLC)

Like last month, I expect another great matchup, and instead of it being too much of an angle, it’s going to be a balls to the wall match, and these guys may steal the show if Luke and Dolph get less time.

Rayelene’s Prediction “Eh, I’ll give it to Dean.”

John Cena vs Seth Rollins (Tables Match)

Cena don’t put over young guys. Cena is the destroyer and eater of pushes. Cena needs to retire if he’s not going to be putting guys over. BUT you already knew that. Meanwhile, Seth has been the 2nd half of the year’s MVP, without a doubt. He not only is killing it in matches, BUT his mic skills have improved, he is one of the best trash talkers during a match, and he is getting in ridiculously good shape. Despite this, Cena wins, the show ends on a down note.

Rayelene’s Prediction “I already told you Rollins. I just don’t want to give it to fucking Cena.”

So there you have it. I think this ppv has sleeper potential. We have Harper/Dolph, Dean/Bray, Cena/Seth as the 3 matches with most potential. We need one more good match, but where does it come from? I’m guessing the Miz match or Rusev. Divas, and the 2 hoss match ups will be exactly what you expect, little to nothing. Thank you for reading!!!!

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

WWE TLC 2014 Review

Yes, I am slacking on a couple of other blogs, BUT this was a busy week. I just completed yet another successful LingFest. It was fantastic. I may do a quick blog about it, but I want to focus on wrestling right this moment.

I want to say that if you haven’t been watching NXT, you should. It’s better than the WWE’s main shows in my opinion. It is a mixture of WWE and ECW in a lot of ways. I include ECW because of the fans. They make the show feel special week after week for me. The talent is hit and miss at times, but the future is amazing at the moment. Let’s face it, Taker, Kane, Big Show, Mark Henry, and Goldust are pretty much done. HHH has a match 1-3 times a year. Cena, Randy, and Brock are getting to a point where the opportunities that they have been taking need to be passed down to the next generation. Think about Dolph, Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Ryback, Miz, Damien Sandow, Cody, Cesaro, Swagger, and Sheamus and how they are quintessentially the middle men that need to really put up or shut up. Then there’s the new guys that are really grabbing the infamous “brass ring” such as Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper, Bray Wyatt, Rusev, Eric Rowan, Fandango (this guy is the real thing, and may take longer like Dolph did), Roman Reigns (shaking my head as he don’t deserve his push) and of course that young strapping buck known as Batista. Then there’s the NXT roster, and they have anywhere from 5-10 legit superstars in the making down there. Adrian Neville can be, but I don’t think he will be. Sami Zayn really is so damn unique, and he can work with damn near anyone, and I think he’s a future champ. Tyler Breeze….I’m just not sure about quite yet. Hideo Itami, Finn Balor, and Kevin Owens are all no brainers. The Ascension will be the best tag team of this decade, I am 80% positive. They have some of the best qualities of all time teams like Demolition, Legion of Doom/Road Warriors, The Eliminators, and The Dudleys. Yes, they are my can’t miss prospects above anybody else. There’s a few others like Baron Corbin, the Vaudevillans, Bull Dempsey, Bailey, and Charlotte. I’ll tell you 2 talents that are really showing me some outstanding potential: Sasha Banks and Enzio and the tall dude. Sasha is potentially our next great heel diva, I truly believe that. The guys, they are funny, they stay in your mind, they have so many catchphrases, and they have a hot chick. Even is their in ring talent is average, people like The Rock, John Cena, Road Dogg, and Hulk Hogan have all proved that if you’re charismatic and can work the crowd, you can be a main eventer.

Sorry, that went on too long, but please, if you have the WWE Network, watch NXT R Evolution. Fantastic show from top to bottom. On with the TLC preview.

The New Day vs Star and Goldust

I already hate The New Day despite being a big fan of Kofi and to a lesser extent, Big E. I know that for a PG non controversial show, making them a more militant Nation Of Domination type stable may not be best for business. Unfortunately, I also believe that’s the only way that they get over. Kofi needs a heel turn, and Big E could too. Add R Truth as the older guy to partner with Xavier to help him get over and I would like that. As it is, they are bombing. They will get the win, but I don’t give a fuck. And they need new attire.

Raylene’s Prediction: “Probably stupid New Day.”

The Miz and Damien Sandow vs Usos

I really dislike the Usos. They don’t do anything bad mind you, but they got a much bigger push than they deserved and kept the belts for too long while other teams would have benefited more. Harper and Rowan or Real Americans should have won them much earlier this year. As for the Miz and Sandow’s act, I hate saying Mizdow, it’s good. The question is do they fear it wearing out it’s welcome and pull the trigger on the split too soon, or do they give Miz the reigns and say be the heel that we know you can be? I say ride it out and let Miz heel it up more. Whether they have the titles really won’t matter if it’s drawn out. The other logical scenario is the have the split sooner than later, with each guy remaining as half of the champions, and have a match between Miz & partner vs Sandow & partner. If things start sucking or stagnating, pull the trigger. Who would I have as partners you may be wondering? I would reunite Big Show with Miz and have Show Miz and reunite Damien with Cody. Why? Because the Miz treats everybody like shit and if this was to play out, Big SHow may be due his annual face or heel turn. Also, that team is intimidating in theory. The Dusts should continue jobbing, not much of a story. Cody is offered a chance to go for the titles, and Goldust gives his blessing. Goldust should interfere in the match, start the Cody vs Goldust rivalry and have a good team as champs.

Anyway, yeah, the Usos lose because they bore me.

Raylene’s Prediction: “I’m going to take Miz and Mizdow. I fucking hate the Usos.”

Eric Rowan vs Big Show (Stairs match)

Eric Rowan wins. He has to, right? He’s the guy that really needs the rub and Big Show has no problem taking some big hits and putting over a young talent. I do hope they continue this feud because Rowan can learn a ton from Big Show. Big Show gains nothing if he wins.

I got Rowan here.

Rayelene’s Prediction  “I gotta go Big Show.”

Nikki Bella vs AJ Lee

I like AJ, and she’s still in my top 3 with Alicia and Emma, BUT she has to up her game if she plans on staying relevant. That’s not entirely fair when not given much to work with, but her work has dropped a bit I feel. Nikki on the other hand, may be the most improved Diva this year, at least in ring. I don’t hold her awful storyline against her personally. Let’s face it, the Bella storyline was the worst of the year probably. Brie is garbage, and I hate brie mode. I’ll predict Nikki because I have a sinking suspicion that the twins break up in time for Wrestlemania pay day. I hate them some days.

Rayelene’s Prediction “Yeah I’m keeping stupid Nikki. I hate her.”

Rusev vs Swagger for US championship

Rusev is winning, no doubt. The question is, once he does lose, will he be able to retain momentum and continue to rise or at least hold his position?

Rayelene’s Prediction “Again? You know what I am going with Jack Swagger. He needs it.”

Ryback vs Kane (Chairs Match)

Kane is here to job in under 5 minutes. Don’t go any longer because I like Ryback, but long matches don’t suit him.

Rayelene’s Prediction “I’m just picking fucking Ryabck.”

Luke Harper vs Dolph Ziggler (IC title Ladder Match)

Well, this will be match of the night no doubt, especially if they are given 20 minutes. This could end up as match of the year really. Aside from Seth and Dean, nobody else is at this level in ring currently, and I mean that all 4 are at the peak with no distinct order. Dolph is getting pushed. Luke needs the title more. I have no clue. I think I stick with Luke Harper retaining and somebody fucking over Dolph.

Rayelene’s Prediction “I got Luke retaining.”

Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt (TLC)

Like last month, I expect another great matchup, and instead of it being too much of an angle, it’s going to be a balls to the wall match, and these guys may steal the show if Luke and Dolph get less time.

Rayelene’s Prediction “Eh, I’ll give it to Dean.”

John Cena vs Seth Rollins (Tables Match)

Cena don’t put over young guys. Cena is the destroyer and eater of pushes. Cena needs to retire if he’s not going to be putting guys over. BUT you already knew that. Meanwhile, Seth has been the 2nd half of the year’s MVP, without a doubt. He not only is killing it in matches, BUT his mic skills have improved, he is one of the best trash talkers during a match, and he is getting in ridiculously good shape. Despite this, Cena wins, the show ends on a down note.

Rayelene’s Prediction “I already told you Rollins. I just don’t want to give it to fucking Cena.”

So there you have it. I think this ppv has sleeper potential. We have Harper/Dolph, Dean/Bray, Cena/Seth as the 3 matches with most potential. We need one more good match, but where does it come from? I’m guessing the Miz match or Rusev. Divas, and the 2 hoss match ups will be exactly what you expect, little to nothing. Thank you for reading!!!!

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

The Brock Lesnar Experiment

We are closing in on 3 years since Brock Lesnar made his return to WWE and made a ton of waves. We also are under the impression that Brock’s contract is up after Wrestlemania this year. Let’s face it, nobody knows all the exact facts, and I don’t trust everything I read online. I know, I know, if you’re going to be a wrestling fan online, then you must believe everything and buy into all of the negativity. Nope, not going to do that. What I would like to do is analyze Brock’s almost 3 year run and what to look forward to, and finally, was it all worth it.

On April 2, 2012, Brock returned on RAW, the night after Wrestlemania 28, and the crowd went ape shit. Even more so after he F-5’d stupid John Cena. That pop should have told the WWE that we were sick of Cena, but that’s a blog for another time. Since then, Brock has had 9 matches. Let’s briefly look at those.

Extreme Rules 2012 vs John Cena

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Yay, Brock has returned, and speculation is that he is on a weird contract where he only works for 3 months of the year, and has 3 matches a year. Well this was his big return match, and the fans wanted him to destroy Cena. So what happened? Cena overcame the odds and beat Brock. Seriously, you can look this up. This actually happened. You pay this man, reportedly millions, to come back and you job himm foolishly to Cena, a guy most fans that aren’t children or whoooores, absolutely are sick of? That’s a wise investment. That young up and coming Cena really needed that rub. I’m getting angry just writing this. Moving on.

Summerslam 2012

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HHH didn’t want to give in to contract demands, so Brock broke his arm, which led to this match. HHH did what Cena couldn’t do, put over Brock and his submission move. The match was ok, and Brock was a hoss here. It was enjoyable, but not great.

Wrestlemania 29

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If HHH loses, he’s forced to retire or some such nonsense. Well, you guessed it, HHH overcame the odds and won. Awful booking. I hated this match. It bored the piss out of me. Yeah, let’s bring Lesnar back and in his first year, have him lose 2 out of 3 matches to young up and comers who really could use the rub of being in the ring with the Beast.

Extreme Rules 2013

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HHH put Brock over here to end their feud. This was ok, but nothing great either. HHH wasn’t a great opponent for Brock, but HHH has to stroke his ego sometimes. He at least jobs and puts guys over, so I’m not harping on him.

Summerslam 2013

This was by far his best match since returning. It’s no coincidence that he was going against a full time talented wrestler. These 2 had some good chemistry and I would have loved a follow up match. Unfortunately, you can’t always get what you want. The next time Brock would have a match would ironically be the same night as CM Punk’s last match sadly. Such a shame.

Royal Rumble 2014

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This match…..why? Nobody expected Big Show to win. Once again, a real young guy who could benefit from being in the ring with Brock. 10 years ago, yeah, these guys put on some really good matches. Unfortunately, Big Show isn’t the same athlete that he was, nor is Brock. We’re seeing that he his best matches so far was Punk and Cena. 2 younger more athletic guys. This was a mess, and wasn’t much of a match as much as a domination by Brock and a chair. What a waste of everybody’s time to be perfectly honest.

Wrestlemania 30

I’m really still not ok with writing about this. When you are part of the biggest mistake ever in the history of the business, when you can make Eric Bischoff suddenly feel that things could always be worse, you have in fact fucked up. The worst decision in wrestling history. Brock would have been better served taking on Bray and then Taker could have fought Cena. That would have been the better decision. I can’t even say hindsight is 20/20 because I was saying that beforehand. This was beyond unforgivable. I must move on.

Summerslam 2014

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From worst match on the list to my favorite match. This was great, but I think not was the match direction a mistake, but the aftermath is a travesty. Nobody loved watching Cena just get decimated more than I did. Believe me, I got so much happiness out of this. Here’s the inherent flaw. You have a guy who beats everybody all of the time in John Cena just get wrecked by Brock. Well you have just made Brock unbeatable, plain and simple. I know, I know, when Brock loses it will be such a huge rub. No, not really. It’s illogical to say the least because he lost to Cena and HHH already. If Brock was only going to have these few matches, he should have gone over Cena the first time, and play off that Brock has Cena’s number for instance. I think Cena has had too many matches with Brock, so it feels less and less special every time. There was one way to salvage the aftermath. They should have booked Cena to continue to lose for a months. Brock should have gotten deep in Cena’s head. This would have been far more interesting than what he got.  Stupid booking!!!

Night of Champions 2014

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The rematch that nobody wanted to see. Randy Orton should have gotten his rematch here, as he never officially got a legit title opportunity after losing at Wrestlemania. It would have been an interesting dynamic with Authority Orton. Brock would have got a good pop. Would have been far more fun, and something different. Instead, we have an ok match, and Seth interfered, cost the Cena the match, and nobody cared. And Brock hasn’t defend the belt since they don’t seem to care about rules that have been in existence since I have been watching, plus the hilarity of making Daniel Bryan drop it early this year. Fucking morons.

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So here we are, building up to a match that nobody, and I man nobody wants to see. Who really wants to see Cena vs Brock for the 4th times since Brock returned? I think they need to add Seth to this match, or the rumored upcoming Wrestlemania main event with Roman Reigns. If Dean could sneak into that match too, it would be crazy great and a great main event for Wrestlemania. We know that won’t happen, but it’s better than Roman and Brock one on one.

I have to ask, was bringing Brock back a good decision now that we can see where we are and probably where we are going? I just don’t know, but I am going to say no, this didn’t work, and it is 100% WWE’s fault. I don’t blame Brock. This was fucked long before he killed the streak.Instead of using Brock to help make some new main eventers, he has gone against Cena 4 times, HHH 3 times, Big Show, Punk, and Taker, all guaranteed in theory of hall of fame, legendary careers. OK Punk may be fucked, but not because of lack of talent. Why the hell didn’t Brock take on a Sheamus or Cesaro or Orton? I really want Dolph, Seth, and Dean in there against Brock. If Daniel Bryan could get healthy, please, make that match happen. There was so many opportunities where by virtue of being in a special attraction match with Brock, these wrestlers would have been truly elevated, even if they lost. I know that’s what they said would happen with Bray against Cena, but I know damn well most of the buzz around Bray has died thanks to Cena. Brock wouldn’t have killed these guys if booked well.

I hate to say it, but I feel that the Brock experiment has been a costly failure. I am curious if this has really helped WWE make money or lose money. I hope come Wrestlemania, when Brock drops the belt, he makes a true superstar, and it better be somebody who deserves it, not Roman. Roman will get there, but there are guys who can take the ball and run with it right now. Dolph, Seth, Dean, Luke, and possibly Bray are all right there. I will keep my fingers crossed that this works out well.

As always, thank you for reading. I have more on the horizon. Last week was insanely busy.

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

WWE Royal Rumble 2015 – Best For Business?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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WWE Wrestlemania XXXI Review

Did WWE right the wrongs of the past year, or did they keep up with their terrible booking? Well, if you saw the show, you know the answer.

Kick off show

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This match was exactly what you would expect. Some jumps, a few spots that were good (the double suplex spot, although sloppy was a cool visual), and a smart finish with an unknown  tag, and the right team winning.

Winners: Cesaro and Kidd

Rating: **

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Axelmania did not run wild as he was immediately gangbanged and tossed out. Shame, that was my pick. Here’s what I hated about this match. Everybody from the first match was in this one as well, the very next match. Sorry, that is terribly stupid. And all of them served as cannon fodder except Cesaro. New Day tried, but nah. Hideo Itami deserved to have a bigger more impressive showing. I thought Kane would last longer. For all of Ryback’s muscles, he’s physically impressive, but Cesaro seems to be so much stronger, it’s unbelievable. I like Ryback, but he needs to improve or get lost in the shuffle. Big Show held on at one point after being tossed in an incredible feat of strength. I don’t know if people realized how impressive that was. Cesaro held up Show for an insane amount of time.

The final 4 were Big Show, Ryback, Miz, and Sandow (I refuse to call him Mizdow as some names are terribly stupid). Ryback got frisky with Big Show, and Big Show showed him that he is a better athlete. By the way, no Sheamus. Miz then started getting in Sandow’s face and got pissy and demanding and started poking Sandow hard in the chest to the point his chest was getting red and it looked painful. Miz was great here as the fans were dying for Sandow to go off. Big Show got a breather here which he needed during this exchange. Sandow eliminated Miz. Now Big Show works on Sandow, and Sandow gets tossed, but he “skins the cat” as HBK has made famous, and he did so with little to no effort. I will proudly claim that they would try the spot where Big Show charged and the top rope would get pulled down, but it wasn’t enough. I them wisely said the best elimination of Big Show was Benoit in 2004 which was the front face lock and pulled over and out. Well less than a minute later, Sandow did it and I was oh so proud. A nice nod to Benoit. But in the end, Big Show was not to be stopped. I know it wasn’t the popular decision, especially with how poorly he gets booked, but honestly, Sandow wouldn’t benefit from this rub, he really wouldn’t, Miz would have simply destroyed the trophy tonight on RAW. On the other hand, this really meant a lot to Big Show personally and I think it was a nice thank you gesture as his career winds down after jobbing so much the past few years to put guys over and having his character ruined by the constant flip flopping. I actually liked this, although I want Axel.

Winner: Big Show

Rating: *** and 1/4* (I’m a sucker for battle royales and this was done well all things considering.)

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No Sheamus, no surprise to me. Luke Harper got cut early on. Daniel, Dolph, and Wade were used sparingly, so you just know that they will be used more towards the end. Honestly, Luke and Dean (my 2 favorite current wrestlers) really carried this match early on. They hit some sick spots. Luke more than anybody carried the match. Him and Dean had a minor hiccup on a spot for the powerbomb on the ladder, but it was so minor, it didn’t ruin things at all. R Truth and Stardust both did well. Then Wade got on fire with the Bullhammer. It was fucking awesome. It really then became the Dolph and Daniel show towards the end, and it worked incredibly well. As most people speculated, Daniel won it. I wish I had more to say. Russ openly complained about this match, and I tried to remind him, he was acting like a spoiled ECW fan towards the end of their run. Sometimes you can only have so many spots, so much mayhem and violence before it seems mundane. We are used to a lot of this stuff and sometimes it doesn’t feel so special, but considering the time that they had, the spots they nailed, how well they did it, it was a really great start. Could it have been better with 5 more minutes? Yeah, but I feel that one minute in this type of match is the equivalent to 2-3 minutes in a normal match. That shit has to kill. And we all agreed, they put on an excellent match. They set the bar, would anybody be able to upstage them?

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Rating: **** (We’ve seen better, but I am not here to compare to other ladder matches, but as a match in general, it had us cheering and yelling. That’s the sign of a great match.)

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I thought this match had potential to steal the show, and although it may not have stole it, it was very, very good. I couldn’t have asked for much more in all honesty. The near falls, Seth’s picture perfect curb stomps, the RKO’s, and the finish of the match was such a great sight to behold, the curb stomp into a sky high RKO was something that got all of us in awe. We got loud quite a few times. We were like kids all over again. Anytime that you can elicit that type of reaction from jaded fans, I feel you have put on a great match. Had they had 5 minutes more, we may have had a whole other level, but I actually liked the length of this one.

Winner: Randy Orton

Rating: ***and 3/4*

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First of all, let me talk about the netrances. I had hear Sting would have Scarecrows. Instead, we get some Asian gentleman in facepaint, one female in paint, and like the unpainted older guy in the middle who referred to as Master Splinter. This was very unique Asian music that was very awesome, but confusing. All things considering, I loved it even if it caught me off guard. I am shocked that Sting came out first though. It was great to see Sting soak it all in. Then came what may have been one of the all time greatest wrestling entrances ever, possibly best ever. I am not a person who likes to over hype things that just happened, but my god, this was fan fucking tastic. Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced HHH and plugged the new Terminator movie. It was time to play the game. We have…ya know what, words can’t do this justice. Look at this!!

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So yeah, that happened, and it had us buzzing for most of the night. The match, while not spectacular from a work rate level, was one of those matches that went beyond a 30 minute HBK vs Kurt Angle type affair. The drama, the story, stuff like that mattered more. Sorta like Hogan vs The Rock, the atmosphere was far more important. At points, DX came out, so then NWO came out to even the odds. Then HBK interjected, and by the end, HHH won. Wait, what? In my predictions, I jokingly mocked this as a sure thing as I did with Taker vs Brock last year. So this must not be Sting’s last match. I’m still very shocked, but maybe he wanted to build up a solid storyline, possibly involving Taker next year, hopefully teaming up. Sting looked very good for his age and how he had looked the past couple of years. HHH, well he’s HHH. Love him or hate him, he brings match quality. I hated how cheaply the did the sledgehammer breaking. That was sheer foolishness. All in all, I still loved the match and we were actually cheering on HHH based on his entrance, so nobody was disappointed, just surprised at the outcome. Those guys still got it. I really hate the idea that WWE always had to beat WCW. Not many WWE guys at that time were better than Sting, and yeah, Austin and Rock existed with HBK, Taker, Foley, HHH and so many other names, Sting is in some ways only behind Austin on that list overall. I know, very subjective, just one man’s very leery uncertain opinion.

Winner: HHH

Rating: **** 1/2* (In all fairness, this match told such a memorable story, and the quality was high enough to be the match of the night for me. When I think back on this Mania, I’ll remember various things, but this whole thing will be the first thing to come to mind.)

The music performance was way too long and shitty. Seriously, stop this nonsense. We aren’t paying $9.99 to watch this shit, so I guess it is the bathroom break. We kept talking about terminators during the performance and ate more pizza.

Winner: Nobody

Rating: We all lost

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Honestly, this was exactly what you would expect from this match. Paige got worked over by the Bella’s most of the match, made the tag, AJ won it. Very paint by numbers. I’m not bitching, but there was one very obvious awkward botch, and I don’t know who to blame. It was fine for what it was.

Winners: AJ & Paige

Rating: * 1/2* (Yeah, 1 and a half stars….it was what it was. I can’t say it was better than the tag match  which I gave 2. I want Emma and Alicia and Summer to get some lime light soon.)

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Well Rusev’s entrance was fantastic. Lana looked stunning. And then Rusev was in a fucking tank!!!! Awesome. Cena’s entrance was extremely underwhelming, but lots of Ronald Reagan, so I guess it could have been worse. The match itself was good for the time given. Cena gave Rusev a much better match than he gave Bray last year. I was soooo damned impressed with Cena’s springboard stunner. I was wowed by that, but it doesn’t beat the RKO from earlier. I thought this would go longer based on time left and only 2 matches remaining. Good solid effort, no complaints other than I would have enjoyed 5 more minutes honestly. They told the story that they wanted to.

Winner: John Cena

Rating: *** (It could have been 3 and a half easily with more time, it’s a rating based on time.)

Then we had to sit through an excruciatingly long segment started by HHH and Steph which was fine. Steph really gets it. Then out comes the Rock, and he really wasn’t all that funny sadly. Steph slaps him, and so Rock goes to the crowd, brings Ronda Rousey into the ring. Blah blah, this led to Rock hitting HHH and Ronda like did an armbar judo nonsense to Steph. The crowd was eating it up. Steph outdid HHH and Rock on the mic and it wasn’t remotely close. She has evolved so much, I’m so impressed. The segment dragged for fucking ever though, and you can call it a Wrestlemania moment, you can speculate that this sets up Rock vs HHH at WM 32, and maybe, just maybe something with Steph and Ronda at some point, if her contract allows it. Still, they could have cut it by 5-10 minutes honestly, gave it to the Cena and Orton or ladder match. Just saying.

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Well there’s the scarecrow entrance that had been rumored for Sting. This was fantastic. The thing that sucks about these outdoor stadiums is you can’t get the darkness needed for certain things. Still, Bray’s entrance was fucking fantastic. I don’t know if it was necessarily better than Rusev’s, but both worked incredibly well for their characters. OK, so it’s time for Taker’s grand entrance. And no real big pyro, no druids, no…..no……no nothing. He just came down. WHAT THE FUCK? Are they saving a big one for next year? Anyway, would Taker be in good shape, would he look worst than last year. No sir. Taker has been working out. Really working out. Shit, he looks great. I’m so impressed. I found out that earlier in the day, Bray supposedly sprained his ankle. The match started off very slow paced, which fits both guys actually. They are both more about psychology with bursts of action. If you understood that, you appreciated it. Otherwise, you may have been bored. Action did pick up, At one point both guys are down. Bray pops up in the spiderwalk pose, and then Taker sits up and gives the look. Now that to me was a Wrestlemania moment. After some good back and forth, some kicking out of finishers, Taker with ease lifted Bray and tombstoned him. Taker got some strength. Taker gets the 1,2,3. Note how great Bray looked as far as a threat. Cena didn’t do that for Bray last year. That’s the difference between Taker and Cena. That’s why you never hear a bad word about Taker, and you hear numerous things about Cena. Just saying.

Winner: Taker

Rating: *** (Yes, I admit it should be 2.75 BUT I am a biased nostalgic asshole.)

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This match had so much buzz before Brock resigned, and then he resigned for 3 more years, and then there were even more questions. Would this be an ass whooping, would it be an evenly contested match up, would it be a long match? So many things. And I will give WWE this, despite all the criticism, they really tried to make us aware that we didn’t hate Roman Reigns, we just hated his push, the too much, too soon thing. And I do like Roman Reigns. If he can continue to learn and improve, in another year or two, I think he has a chance at being something good, but he doesn’t deserve to be pushed in this moment over so many other individuals who’s time is now, no not you John Cena. The Dolph’s Daniel’s, Wade’s, and Luke’s of this world all deserve it more. And one can argue that so does the Seth’s, Dean’s, Bray’s, and Sandow’s of this crazy WWE universe. Sometimes talents get lost in the power shuffle of WWE pushing their established guys in Cena, Orton, Sheamus, and CM……oh wait, sorry. The hardcore fans are chomping at the bit for these new guys to maintain pushes before they become stagnant like Fandango, Adam Rose, Bo Dallas, and Eric Rowan have become. Then you got this group/generation of guys stuck in between that need the opportunity right now to be given the push, and see if they sink or swim, and it can’t be a Rey mysterio push, but a legit 6-12 month push to see if he can keep the crowd engaged. That is where I feel WWE is fucking us fans.

Stepping off my soapbox now.

So Brock owns Roman the vast majority of this match, “Suplex City Bitch”. Roman’s stupid new vest is cutting the hell out of Brock. We assume this is only causing Brock to launch Roman harder and farther. This is an ass whooping and it is fantastic. One fear I have is that over the past calendar year, how many F5’s have been kicked out of? The WWE is devaluing one of it’s best finishers. And I get why. Taker needed to kick out, Cena needed to, and so did Reigns, but maybe only once a match, or in Taker’s case twice. Taker is always the exception, always. Roman eventually pushes Brock into the turnbuckle, and we don’t know if Brock bladed or not. There is video footage of the ref handing Roman something prior to the move, so it is in fact possible. I didn’t think he did based on the cut, but I have been wrong a lot, so what’s one more time? Roman gets in like 3 Superman punches and 2 spears. The crowd is solidly behind the beast but Roman has his fans too. This just feels like a big match, and that is thanks to Brock, I gotta give them credit for this. Lesnar hits an F5, but he is too exhausted to capitalize. And there is Seth’s music, and the crowd is pumped. This is chaos now. Never has anybody cashed in Money in the Bank in the middle of a match, so now it is a triple threat. No shit. That was different. Once again kudos to WWE. Curb stomp on Brock. Rollins goes for it again as Roman is on the outside, but Brock catches Seth. Roman in for a huge spear on Brock. Rollins curb stomps Roman. Rollins covers Roman, and gets the 3 count. Lesnar never got pinned but lost his belt. Wow…..well played WWE! The celebration occurs. No shit. Props to WWE.

Winner: Seth Rollins

Rating:**** (It told such a great story, and there was so much speculation heading in to the match, and WWE found a way to craft that into something incredibly memorable. Hats off to all 3 guys and Paul Heyman. I really loved this match an it certain is one of my all time favorite Mania Main Events. It has to be top 5 for me no doubt. You have Cena vs HBK, Taker vs Edge, Angle vs Brock, Austin vs Rock I & II, HHH vs HBK vs Benoit, Warrior vs Hogan, HBK vs Taker II, and HBK vs Austin as probably my top 10 with this match. OK, maybe this doesn’t crack the top 5, but easily top 10. I gotta be realistic.)

Overall, I really, really liked this Wrestlemania, and I can safely say it ranks in the top 5 all time. So much better than last year’s shit fest. This year, the hype wasn’t there, but the matches were and the stories came together, and it just worked. It’s no WM 17, but that is the best for numerous reasons. Probably no match of the year contenders here unless we have an incredibly down year, but overall, very impressive. Really, nothing was too bad. Even though I am down on the Rock segment, it’s only due to the length of it. I like when the Rock can be funny and work with somebody new. I am not too fired up about him vs HHH, and I love both guys. Rock vs Rollins or Bray, now you have my attention, especially Rollins because of the humor. Pound for pound, I would say this was an 8 out of 10, maybe more type of night. Once again, it was very good in my mind.

If you have any thoughts, think I’m a total idiot or maybe you agree, please feel free to leave feedback for me. Thank you!!!

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