10 Royal Rumble Silver Linings

Usually one of the WWE's most reliable winners, Sunday's Royal Rumble was mostly a dispiriting mess. But not entirely.
Share |

That low, slow-rolling ambient moaning sound you heard on Sunday night? That was every wrestling fan you know, watching the extended and inevitable outcome of the Royal Rumble, generally WWE's most entertaining annual event.

For a while now, the company has been starting to turn away from the heavily veined meat-slabs of its past and toward lithe, athletic, generally smaller guys, many of whom had pivotal roles in the last decade's American indie-wrestling boom. CM Punk spent the past year-plus as the WWE Champion, convincingly defending against all comers through ability and chicanery, just as Ric Flair once did. Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Antonio Cesaro, Cody Rhodes, and a handful of others have been doing consistently great work on WWE TV. Thanks to a recent influx of talent from WWE's developmental system, a ton more guys like this are starting to get TV time. It looked like the company was building toward a slow refocusing of its priorities. But this is the WWE, we're talking about, and shitting away fan goodwill is one of Vincent Kennedy McMahon's favorite activities. And so it was on Sunday night.

The pay-per-view ended with the Rock holding aloft the company's championship belt, having returned from B-grade movie stardom and, after his third wrestling match in the last decade, ended CM Punk's 434-day reign. Most of us saw this coming a mile away, but it got worse when McMahon himself, all smug ochre schadenfreude, smirkily foiled Punk's big last-minute cheat. And before that match, John Cena, the company's longstanding muscle-goofus figurehead, won the Rumble itself, guaranteeing himself a spot in the Wrestlemania main event. All signs point to a rematch of Cena and Rock's 2012 Wrestlemania headliner, a match the company—swear to Christ—billed as “Once in a Lifetime." It's as though McMahon's taking his wife's humiliating Senatorial loss and the general widespread Republican demographic apocalypse out on his viewers, pounding home the message that there is still one place where dominant power-clutching fuckheads are in no danger.

So yeah: Pretty dispiriting ending. But the Rumble itself—the 30-man battle royale that gave the event its name—remained a blast, as always. With the Rumble, the eventual outcome is really only a tiny part of the experience. The magic of the Rumble, as Nick Bond wrote in this space last week and I wrote last year, is in the way the format allows for tiny storylines to play out, for surprise returns and new feuds and unlikely alliances and groansome comedy bits, all within the space of one match. Wrestlers can become stars without winning, or they can become walking human punchlines. But no man, not even two-time winner Cena, is bigger than the Rumble itself. So, in the spirit of this, here are 10 great or ridiculous or wonderfully dumb things that happened during the Rumble itself.

1. The Return of Chris Jericho Jericho is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, someone who's been a standout in the Canadian territories, the Southern territories, Mexico, Japan, ECW, WCW's once-great Cruiserweight division. Then he somehow became a star in WWE, defeating little-guy odds and stomping with the big dogs. He's a vivid personality, an inventive high-flyer type, and a savant at telling a simple and resonant story in the context of a wrestling match. Also, every time he tries something that's not pro wrestling, he's fucking abominable: Singing barrel-scraping power-metal, stooping to Dancing With the Stars, operating as a D-grade cable Seacrest. Every time he comes back to wrestling, something he's done a few times now, it's cause for celebration. His last run, a small and whimpering thing, ended just six months ago, in a match with Dolph Ziggler that, in storyline terms, cost him his contract. (In real life, he was leaving so he could host a reality show about robots fighting each other.) Ziggler was the Rumble's first entrant, and when he grabbed the mic and said he didn't care who came next, the lights went out, Jericho's music hit, and my heart sang. This run could and probably will turn out just as badly as the last one, but I'll always be happy to see him come back.

2. Jericho's Miraculous Late-Rumble Run Call this silver lining 1a, if you want. Jericho actually lasted for just about forever in the Rumble, making it to the final stages. But his best moment came near the end, after the lumbering roidbeast Ryback (I like him okay, actually) had come into the match and tossed a handful of wrestlers out. Ryback's destructive rampage ended when he walked into a Codebreaker from Jericho, a move where Jericho tucks his knees up to the guys' chest, grabs him, and falls backward. The audience, which never really warmed to Ryback despite his obvious company-dictated next-big-thing status, erupted. And after his David/Goliath moment, Jericho went on his own rampage, hitting big moves on everyone else left in the match before Ziggler finally superkicked him out.

3. Goldust A couple of weeks ago, Dustin Rhodes, in his glammed-out absurdist Goldust alter-ego, wrestled in the main event of an indie wrestling show at a horse arena in Lexington, Virginia, near where I live. I thought about going, but it was an hour's drive to see Goldust wrestle the recently axed WWE midcarder Chris Masters, and it just seemed sad. Suddenly, though, Goldust was back in the Rumble, going straight after real-life brother Cody Rhodes—who was awesomely dickish throughout the Rumble—and generally transcending his gay-baiting gimmick ashe's been doing for nearly two decades. Goldust has been publicly hoping for a Wrestlemania match against his brother for a while, and his Rumble appearance made it seem at least halfway plausible.

4. Kofi Kingston's Wondrous Idiocy Last year, the oft-jumping Kingston narrowly avoided Rumble elimination by walking across the floor on his hands; you're not eliminated, see, until both your feet touch the ground. This time, he was teetering on the ring apron when, instead of falling, he lept onto the back of Tensai, the fake-Japanese behemoth he'd just eliminated. Tensai roared, thrashed around, and deposited Kingston on the announce table. After milking a moment of suspense, Kingston figured out his way back into the ring: Hopping on announcer John Bradshaw Layfield's chair like it was a pogo ball. It looked goofy as hell, and the aforementioned Cody Rhodes promptly kicked Kingston off the apron as soon as he arrived. I laughed. So did Cody.

5. Ziggler Goes The Distance Ziggler should be the WWE's next headliner: A rakishly handsome, freakily athletic bleach-blonde dickhead with a tendency to sell all his opponents' moves like he's getting shot and the ability to pull off a leopard-print metallic vest with spikes on the shoulders. But the company seems unwilling to pull the trigger on him completely, possibly because he's a bit shorter than most of its biggest stars and possibly because he doesn't appear to have muscles dripping out of his ears. I think that's it, at least. Otherwise, I have no idea. Maybe it's that they've given him the name "Dolph Ziggler." It would've been amazing if Ziggler actually won the Rumble, but instead, we did at least get the the next best thing. Ziggler entered first and ended up as one of the last four guys in the ring. He tossed a whole bunch of people, and he never looked winded. You don't have to win the Rumble to benefit from it, and Ziggler got to be the most impressive non-winner. That's something.

6. The Godfather Among all the deeply ridiculous characters of the WWF's late-90s era, the Godfather was arguably the most ridiculous: A lovably flamboyant pimp who'd offer his opponents whore-sex if they opted not to wrestle him. Always a shitty and predictable wrestler, he'd appear alongside a coterie of local strippers in every city; today, in real life (well, Las Vegas, which is close) he manages Cheetah's, the club from Showgirls. I wasn't especially amped to see the Godfather return to the ring at the Rumble, but I was amped to see Ziggler dropkick him directly out the second he entered. It was about as grand a return as the Godfather deserved.

7. The Continued Team Hell No Implosion The massively bearded mat technician Daniel Bryan and the hulking masked monster Kane spent last summer feuding, largely because they were both constantly angry sociopaths who hated everyone. Then they bonded over being constantly angry sociopaths who hated everyone. They've done a masterful-for-wrestling job of depicting a love-hate relationship in action, and that storyline nudged itself along just a little further when Bryan pushed Kanye out of the ring, then found himself thrown out while was celebrating. He landed in Kane's arms and begged Kane to put him back in the ring. Kane seemed to consider it for a moment, then dropped Bryan on his ass, leaving Bryan to make excellently cartoonish angry faces. Look, I'll take what I can get.

8. The Let's-All-Push-The-Fat-Guy-Out Moment A treasured Rumble tradition: An enormous man-mountain stomps his way out to the ring, and everyone else immediately drops what they're doing so they can all mob up and dump him. Usually, those guys are juggernauts like Mark Henry or the Big Show, and the crowd's efforts don't work. Once, a few years ago, everyone piled up on the Great Khali, and the visual of Khali, in a single movement, sending bodies flying in every direction provided what was easily the highlight of his entire career. But when the leviathan of the moment is a dancing human dinosaur who loses every match, it turns out to be pretty easy for six or seven wrestlers to push him out. This time around, Funkasaurus Brodus Clay's elimination seemed almost matter-of-fact.

9. Sheamus Plays Human Croquet Irish bruiser Sheamus won last year's Rumble, and he ended up in the final three this year. He also had a great minor moment on Sunday when he used David Otunga's body to knock Titus O'Neil's body out of the ring, effectively turning gigantic human beings into weapons and clearing a couple of useless stiffs out at the same damn time.

10. Bo Dallas Is A Thing Now Royal Rumble storytelling at its best: New guy (in this case, stringy-haired and greased-up third-generation prospect Bo Dallas) wins a battle royale to get a spot in the Rumble. He hangs around for a while, doing nothing of note but narrowly escaping elimination a few times. Then, he seized his moment and tosses out an established midcard beast; in this case, it was snarling British bad guy Wade Barrett. Said midcarder, enraged, pulls the prospect out of the ring and knocks him out. That's about the most direct route possible to introducing a new wrestler and throwing him into a new feud, so simple that it's almost elegant. Even as the top of the card falls into boring stasis, at least things are still churning further down.


Share |

Comments

I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.
Labor Relations

i adore perusing this article so beautiful!!great work! assisted living in oradell

I’m inspired with the surpassing and preachy listing that you furnish in such little timing. gutter cleaning

Recent times when internet has so much gossiping and stuff, your content really refreshes me. poker online terpercaya

Thanks a lot very much for the high quality and results-oriented help. I won’t think twice to endorse your blog post to anybody who wants and needs support about this area.
Trial Attorney

Hey, I discover perusing this article a delight. It is amazingly useful and intriguing and all that much anticipating perusing a greater amount of your work.. domino qq

spyware reviews
It appears as though spent lots of time and effort in your blog. I’ve saved it and i’m searching toward reading through new articles.

ipage vs bluehost
We believe that everyone deserves a chance at moving ahead with their lives. In our Mitigation services we strive to provide the Court with your history For our other court appointed services, our goal is to help provide the most up to date and relevant interventions.

This is such a great information for me, because i do an online job thats why i need fast Internet connection, i search how to bost internet speed then ireach at a right place.
bluehost discount

car locksmith phoenix
We believe that everyone deserves a chance at moving ahead with their lives. In our Mitigation services we strive to provide the Court with your history For our other court appointed services, our goal is to help provide the most up to date and relevant interventions.

This article clears my mind. Writer has done great job. Best thing about this blog is its simplicity. Thank you so much. Keep posting. Garageband for Mac

In other words, thanks to postcards, you will be able to generate traffic towards your Hot Printsb site and to make profit. affordable flyer printing a6

I don’t know what has happened to the custom of delivering consistent good articles. I hope that the custom comes alive after this.. thumbs up for your work.
The Masters Golf

Great data on your website, thank you for setting aside an ideal opportunity to impart to us. Stunning knowledge you have on this present, it's pleasant to discover a site that points of interest such a great amount of data about distinctive specialists. Mikrowelle unterbaufähig

Decent post. I was checking continually this web journal and I am awed! To a great degree accommodating data exceptionally the last part I tend to such information a considerable measure. I was looking for this specific data for quite a while. Much obliged to you and good fortunes. Drain Cleaning in Charleston SC

Your article has importations your hard work and experience you have got in This field. Brilliant reading .I love it. signalboosteruk.co.uk

The deep you dig into the subject and give us the accurate data is appreciable. drink sati health

Nightlights are also useful to the general public by revealing the general layout of a room without requiring a major light to be switched on, for avoiding tripping over stairs, obstacles, or pets, or to mark an emergency exit. Exit signs often use tritium in the form of a traser. plug in night light 

I am sure you have a zealous fan stalking out there. air conditioning perth

I am happy to find this post Very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I Always prefer to read The Quality and glad I found this thing in you post. Thanks credit score gov

Your articles help me a lot in all mediums of subjects. cccam server

Your articles help me a lot in all mediums of subjects. cccam server

Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog.
best bluetooth headphones under 100

Much thanks to you such a great amount for allowing us to have this open door. http://austina40farina.weebly.com/

Find out how much you need to save for retirement in order to finance your lifestyle or philanthropic objectives by requesting a free consultation or by downloading our free eBook. contemporary New York dressing

A gander at your posts for my next report.Thanks for putting aside a flawless chance to look at this.mercedes-benz slk350 car covers

Awesome things you've generally imparted to us. Simply continue written work this sort of posts.The time which was squandered in going for educational cost now it can be utilized for studies.Thanks read the full info here

movie's physical construction outside of cast participation, and it could include directors, movie editors, photographers, grips, gaffers, set decorators, prop masters, and costume designers. A person can both be part of a movie's cast and crew, such as Woody Allen, who directed and starred in Take the Money and Run. popcorn movies

movie's physical construction outside of cast participation, and it could include directors, movie editors, photographers, grips, gaffers, set decorators, prop masters, and costume designers. A person can both be part of a movie's cast and crew, such as Woody Allen, who directed and starred in Take the Money and Run. popcorn movies

This, obviously, extraordinarily copies the measure of devotees one could get with one purchase. 100 free twitter followers | clash of clans glitch deutsch

Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here masculine-feminine

I enjoyed reading your post. very nice share. I want to twit this to my followers. Thanks!. businesswoman

I am a major adherent to remarking on online journals to illuminate the website scholars realize that they've added something beneficial to the internet!.. Simple and Sleek

Sometimes with visits your blog regularly and recommended it in my experience to read as well. Sequin dresses

I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. retro vintage dresses

I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!! Fall 2016 collection

You then cut them off when you’re finished. I then work my way up from the back to the top or under bezel on this piece. Loft extensions North London

I’m eager to find the valuable information and for me this is the right place to get the good stuff. Loftplan

This article explained how to activity a website with backlinks. seo packages

This article has some vast and valuable information about this subject.
i need help writing a paper

Your articles make whole sense of every topic.
a persuasive essay example

Thanks a lot very much for the high quality and results-oriented help. I won’t think twice to endorse your blog post to anybody who wants and needs support about this area.
more data

check this review
I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!!

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article.
best website

Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has importations your hard work and experience you have got in This field. Brilliant reading .I love it.
best website here

I endlessly am waiting on forthcoming to your posts again because I have impressed through your writing.
my homework help

I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I’m able to bookmark your site and show the kids check out up here generally. Im fairly positive theyre likely to be informed a great deal of new stuff here than anyone else!
check this website

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!!
click here for more

Awesome things you've generally imparted to us. Simply continue written work this sort of posts.The time which was squandered in going for educational cost now it can be utilized for studies.Thanks atlantis gold casino nd codes

I’m reading the stuff of your site continuously n I have got really a lot of the things that’s very important. You have put the great effort here.
HqEssays