A lot happened in Pittsburgh Sunday night at the Royal Rumble. But the real story coming out of it was what didn’t happen.
Daniel Bryan, who’s reached heights of organic popularity few have reached recently, was not an entrant in the Royal Rumble. As you could imagine there were a lot of strong feelings toward this decision.
Here are the full results from the 2014 Royal Rumble:
- Bray Wyatt defeats Daniel Bryan
- Brock Lesnar defeats Big Show
- Randy Orton defeats John Cena
- Batista wins the Royal Rumble
Now here are my 10 observations from Sunday’s event:
Daniel Bryan was not in the Royal Rumble
Boy, are people upset about this one. The fans inside the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh voiced their disgust for it during the event by booing everyone and anyone that wasn’t named Daniel Bryan.
Poor Rey Mysterio. He was the unlucky guy of being the final entrant into the Royal Rumble, which meant he instantly bore the brunt of a chorus of boos from the fans. The fans gave it to Batista pretty good as well.
The rest of us vented our frustrations through social media. Us fans weren’t alone in that feeling. Bryan himself and a WWE Hall of Famer shared our feelings.
— Mick Foley (@realmickfoley) January 27, 2014
Does @WWE actually hate their own audience? I've never been so disgusted with a PPV.
— Mick Foley (@realmickfoley) January 27, 2014
Sorry guys, the machine wanted me nowhere near the Royal Rumble match. But I thank everyone for their support. YOU are the #YESMovement
— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) January 27, 2014
The both of them going public like this makes me think it’s all apart of a work, but what we never really know anything until it happens.
In all my years of watching wrestling I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much emotion for guy who wasn’t in the Royal Rumble and lost in the opening match of the pay-per-view, but thus is the case when it comes to Bryan.
WWE could use the out of saying that Bryan was never announced nor advertised to be in the match, so technically, the company gave us exactly what we expected.
But Sunday night was about more than just the Royal Rumble. Sunday night was about the fans, whether in the building or on social media, cementing their love for Bryan. The fans stood in solidarity and told WWE to wake up and listen to them.
This has gone much further than just a one-time thing. This has gone much further than a smarky crowd. This is everywhere. Bryan is over whether WWE likes it or not, and people will continue to hijack shows if it chooses ignore him moving forward.
From WWE’s perspective, that may not be the worst thing because if you’re hijacking shows that means you paid for a ticket. If you’re complaining on social media that means you must have watched on television. Either way, you’re lining the company’s pockets.
WrestleMania is long ways away, but as it looks right now, Bryan’s road to the milestone looks as if it will be an uneventful one.
Batista winning the Royal Rumble was so predictable
Boy, are people really upset about this. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? That’s because it is. So is hearing that Batista has won the Royal Rumble.
Not only is it familiar, it was widely expected, which was one of the major reasons why fans didn’t like it. The people didn’t all of a sudden start hating Batista. It’s not really about Batista.
It’s the fact that he’s not Daniel Bryan, he’s had his moment in the sun before and that was just too obvious. Not to mention, it makes the whole rest if the roster look insignificant when a guy who hasn’t been a wrestling ring in four years waltzes in a earns a title shot at the biggest show of the year.
Batista’s purpose should be to make someone else look good, even if it comes in a victory. His opponent should walk away from that match looking better because of it.
There’s a reason why Undertaker doesn’t wrestle for the title, because the spot could go to someone else. He doesn’t need that particular spot. There’s a reason why The Rock won the title and headlined two WrestleManias in a row, because he’s one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and has massive crossover appeal.
Batista has a burgeoning movie career, but he still has a long way to go before he’s the highest-grossing actor in the business.
Brock Lesnar makes sense because he was at one time the biggest draw in Mixed Martial Arts and also has crossover appeal. Also, people simply like seeing Lesnar beat people up because we all believe he really can. Batista barely had a career in MMA.
Every couple of years, WrestleMania was used to usher in a new main event star. Examples were Bret Hart at WrestleMania X, Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII, Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV and John Cena/Batista at WrestleMania XXI.
The last one was nine years ago. But yet here we are in 2014, looking as if we’re going to get a repeat of years gone by.
The Bray Wyatt-John Cena program looks to have officially started
I’m a Bray Wyatt fan. I love his character. I even like his work in the ring. I think he’s great. With that said I believe this is a bit of a step down for John Cena.
In my opinion, Cena has become sort of the like the Undertaker where you have to earn a match with him at WrestleMania, because if you’re in a match with him at that show, it’s a main-event match.
Wyatt hasn’t earned that just yet. You don’t get to face the Undertaker unless you are a proven commodity. The same should go for the top guy in the business right now.
But yet at the 30th edition of WrestleMania, the top guy will go against a character that hasn’t been on television for even a year and has won two meaningful matches during that time.
Again, WrestleMania is 69 days away and plans could definitely change. Maybe they will only have a one-month program that culminates at Elimination Chamber. But Wyatt interfering in one of Cena’s matches should not warrant a WrestleMania match between the two.
Brock Lesnar destroys Big Show
I wasn’t expecting much a technical masterpiece between these two, and we got nothing close to that from the moment Lesnar stepped into the ring.
This was about Lesnar and making him really look like the “beast incarnate” so he can go into his WrestleMania match looking as strong as ever.
Who he will be facing at WrestleMania is a different story. If I had to guess, it looks like the Undertaker. But that could obviously change between now and April 6.
The best part about Lesnar’s match Sunday was seeing him pick up Big Show with such ease. We’ve seen Big Show get picked up numerous times, but he never looked lighter than he did on Lesnar’s shoulders.
Roman Reigns had a great showing in the Royal Rumble
As expected, Roman Reigns was dominant during the Royal Rumble, as he tossed 10 men over the rope by himself and an 11th with members of The Shield.
Reigns was even the last guy eliminated before Batista won. The WWE clearly has major plans for Reigns in 2014 and Sunday night was just another piece of evidence to support that.
What was interesting, however, was that Dean Ambrose attempted to eliminate Reigns during the Royal Rumble before Seth Rollins pulled him away. So it looks like we have a few more cracks in The Shield before they eventually split up.
Kane eliminates CM Punk from the Royal Rumble
Kane was a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble and went right after CM Punk. CM Punk eventually disposed of Kane, but apparently stayed at ringside until he found the opportune moment to pull CM Punk out of the ring and out of the match.
This was clearly done to further the storyline between the two, which will apparently lead to CM Punk facing Triple H at WrestleMania. Time will tell if that actually comes into fruition, but it looks like for the time being we’re going to get a few more exchanges between CM Punk and Kane.
Randy Orton-John Cena match was actually kind of good
Although the fans in Pittsburgh crapped on the match, if you watched the match with the sound off, you might have enjoyed it more.
Cena and Orton pulled out all the stops during this one. They even used each other’s finishing moves. There were a lot of near falls, which added some excitement.
But the fact that we have seen these wrestle hundreds of times didn’t help these two at all. We’re just tired of seeing them. But they worked hard and did what they could given the circumstances.
What’s next for Randy Orton?
So, Randy Orton defeated John Cena again to retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Now what?
It would be easy to predict he would go up against Batista at WrestleMania, but no one, and I mean no one, wants to see that match. Okay, maybe Triple H does.
Although there is a built-in story there with them being former members of Evolution, it’s not like these two have never went against each other. They did in 2009 and that was five years after Evolution broke up. It’s now been 10 years and the storyline really didn’t mean that much then and it won’t much now.
Add to that the match itself would be awfully boring. I like Orton and Batista as individual workers, but them together just doesn’t seem to be a good fit. They work better when someone can create motion in the ring for them.
If not Batista, then who?
The New Age Outlaws defeated the Rhodes brothers
Speaking of Triple H, two of his friends defeated Cody Rhodes and Goldust to win the WWE Tag Team Championships.
There are two reasons why this works: Firstly, the Rhodes brothers could use this as apart of their breakup. Secondly, the Outlaws could lose to young babyface tag team no later than WrestleMania. Maybe they’ll drop the titles to the Usos since they’ve been on such a tear lately.
Rhodes brothers may be on their way to a break up
Add to them losing the tag titles, Rhodes was eliminated from the Royal Rumble by his own brother Goldust. This will not and should not be swept under the rug and should be used to add fuel to an eventual WrestleMania fire between the two.