Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Royal Rumble 2012 In Review

And we're finally at the first PPV of 2012 and it's the event that everyone looks forward to. Even my brother who has admitted he would pay a hypnotist to get rid of my wrestling obsession, says he wouldn't mind watching the Rumble every year. This year WWE did the build up for the big one really well because I had no idea exactly who would be coming out on top and the unpredictability always makes the match more fun. Even though I got spoiled on a few things before I could watch it, the match itself still threw me a couple of surprises.

1) Daniel Bryan* vs Mark Henry vs Big Show (World Heavyweight Championship; Steel Cage Match):
And yet another PPV opens with the WHC match and I don't like it though they didn't really have any other match that could have been a decent opener to the show. I wonder if they'd ever have a WWE title match open the show? Anyway this was surprisingly short and barely reached the 10 minute mark which was a little disappointing but I still enjoyed some of it. Mark Henry really didn't do much which I'm guessing is because of his injury but he was always going to be the spare part in this match. Big Show did well and I was loving that spear towards the end. Daniel Bryan was his usual self and I expected him to win by escaping the cage but as I already said, it happened a bit too soon for my liking. That tornado DDT was the spot of the match, especially when Big Show sold it perfectly and that's not always possible for him to do. Good enough but not great. 6/10

2) Divas of Doom & The Bella Twins vs Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Alicia Fox & Tamina:
File this one under matches I wasn't expecting. I thought Beth might compete in the Rumble match itself or we'd get another Natalya/Tamina match but this works too. This one wasn't too shabby for a match added at the last minute and that's the second PPV now where the Divas have been an eleventh hour addition and still delivered a good match. Obviously not as fun as the Beth/Kelly and Beth/Eve singles matches but the girls got a good amount of time to work and they all looked fine out there. Tamina managed to hold her own on her first PPV match since Fatal 4 Way. When Alicia got tagged in I thought it would be over then but they went on for a bit longer. Kelly's spot with the crossbody to the other divas was cool and it was a good idea to have the heels win. It's a good clean win that makes Beth look dominant as ever. 6.5/10

3) John Cena vs Kane:
This went pretty much the way I was expecting it to, WWE sticking to their tried and tested formula, and it worked. It was really just a brawl, which is Kane's forte at this stage in his career. He's able to make those type of matches entertaining like he did with the Undertaker at Night of Champions 2010 but of course it was slightly repetitive. Involving Zack Ryder was a good idea and I loved his part of the segment. I'm wondering if they're going to build to a Ryder/Kane match at WrestleMania? With the rumours of Triple H/Undertaker III and the obvious Cena/Rock that leaves Kane with nothing to do. This could be one of the hottest matches we've seen in a while and it would be a great rub for Ryder. It was good to involve Eve as well though WWE's PG constraints show again and make a trained jiu-jitsu blue belt cower in fear like a damsel in distress. 6/10

4) Drew McIntyre vs Brodus Clay:
Can't believe they booked a squash match on PPV but I guess since Brodus wasn't in the Rumble that's what they wanted to go for. And for McIntyre, any TV time is better than none at all. Anyway I got my fill of the Funkasaurus and the crowd were hot for him. An extra point for THE FUNK. 2/10

5) CM Punk* vs Dolph Ziggler (WWE Championship):
I was expecting this to be match of the night but it didn't have much in the way of competition. If I'm being honest, this match was a bit of a letdown. It didn't excite me in the way Punk's matches with Cena and Del Rio did or even Dolph's match with Edge at last year's Rumble, which was superior to this in every way. I did however like the idea of them both trying their finishers early on as well as their signature submission holds, and the action was all solid enough. One complaint though is that Punk controlled too much of the match. I mean after he broke out of the sleeper hold there was just a solid stream of offence from him and almost none from Dolph. As a challenger it makes him look a bit weak, even with the couple of spots that got thrown in. If you're a face champion you need to look vulnerable in places so that your victory means something. Punk's match with Del Rio had that, as did Dolph's match with Edge. The pin after the GTS was also a really bad looking moment as the ref very obviously looked at Punk making the pin and quickly looked away. It was a good enough match but didn't live up to standards or expectations. 6.5/10

6) Royal Rumble Match:
This year's rumble was very entertaining, as it always is. I remember hearing someone call it that Alex Riley would be the number 2 entrant so there you go. It was good to see Mick Foley back in action but the part with Ricardo Rodriguez in the ring did look a bit awkward and was probably the worst moment of the match. However the Cobra/Socko face off was something I never would have thought of and such a great idea. A part of me realised where they were going with the commentators when Booker T got entered and others don't seem crazy about it but it was a nice touch which I liked. I never really liked the idea of people who had competed in other matches in the being allowed to enter the Rumble so as far as I'm concerned Big Show and Ziggler were wasted spots. It was fitting to have Hacksaw Jim Duggan show up since he was the first winner and I suspected Road Dogg would make an appearance though I was praying Billy Gunn would show up as well. Hope dashed. Oh well, there's always next year. Kharma's appearance was a real treat because I had no idea she had her baby over a month ago. Talk about a tough cookie. I was backing Wade Barrett to come out on top but I'm happy for Sheamus. I was honestly wondering when he'd finally get the push for the title he deserves because for the first time since he joined WWE, I feel he's ready for the title. I think it would be very fitting to have him vs Daniel Bryan for the title since they got bumped off last year's card. I wasn't crazy about the final moments of the match because they dragged on for too long. When you have two people left in a battle royal, it shouldn't last longer than 3 minutes or else it'll get dull. Nonetheless this year's Rumble was hugely entertaining and the winner had a bit more oomph than last year's. Roll on Road To WrestleMania. 8.5/10

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