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

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.
lebanon escorts

Thanks for every other informative site. The place else may just I get that kind of information written in such an ideal means? I have a venture that I’m just now operating on, and I have been on the look out for such information. led shop lighting

falling. Basketball is difficult, and protean, and changing before our eyes. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Success is not guaranteed. It’s all even tougher than it seems.
Clinica Ginefiv

Excellent post. I certainly appreciate this site. Keep writing! touch screen computer monitor sales

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! mp3 skull

The latest in B2B technology, marketing, human resources and business news. Cutting edge blog posts, white paper downloads /. custom bottled water

Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up!Bras

I recently found many useful information in your website especially this blog page. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing. instagram followers | instagram likes

I recently found many useful information in your website especially this blog page. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing...auto refinance cash out

Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up! Fiduciaire Geneve

that you’re doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a fantastic activity on this subject!.duracell

Europe Lead Generation The latest in B2B technology, marketing, human resources and business news. Cutting edge blog posts, white paper downloads, webinars and more. For more info, visit website http://knowledgehubmedia.com/ ...

Europe Lead Generation The latest in B2B technology, marketing, human resources and business news. Cutting edge blog posts, white paper downloads, webinars and more. For more info, visit website http://knowledgehubmedia.com/ ...

Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up! as an example

free psychic reading readings by psychics at live permalink to address
http://www.mypsychicadvice.com/category/free-psychics.aspx

Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up! continue reading

girlfriend activation system ebook download The Girlfriend Activation System (GFAS) is an online video course that teaches you how to attract the woman you want, keep her interested, and turn her into a committed girlfriend. It is an excellent choice for men who are sick of “PUA tricks” and are interested in learning how to create a real connection with that one amazing woman they’d love to be in a relationship with. Please click here site: http://haveyouseenhim.com/girlfriend-activation-system-review-breakdown-... ...

In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he ejoyed it as well clash of clans mod apk | subway surfers apk

where did u befall up beside the info on this posting?I possess scan a limited of the conditions on your website instantly/. http://www.laptopypoznan.pl/

The men still talk inanely but now even the most banal things they say are charged with an underlying tension. Such is the power of suspense..extra resources

I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he ejoyed it as well! Tumblr

loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to undertand. Unlike additional blogs I have read which are really not tht good. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he ejoyed it as well!
cheap price blog comments

Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. this page

It is merely to assert that these should be tools rather than ornaments and that we should never cease to ask ourselves what we want and how we propose to get it..Google+

Good job""! I’m glad I found this blog. Brilliant and wonderful job ! Your blog site has presented me most of the strategies which I like. delhi to jaipur taxi

I wish more authors of this type of content would take the time you did to research and write so well. I am very impressed with your vision and insight.Bra

Wonderful site and I wanted to post a note to let you know, ""Good job""! I’m glad I found this blog. Brilliant and wonderful job ! Your blog site has presented me most of the strategies which I like. Thanks for sharing this. Facebook USA PVA accounts

I would like to be perusing a greater amount of your articles soon.joann fabrics coupons

Good job""! I’m glad I found this blog. Brilliant and wonderful job ! Your blog site has presented me most of the strategies which I like. Thanks for sharing this. locksmith Perth

Wonderful site and I wanted to post a note to let you know, ""Good job""! I’m glad I found this blog. Brilliant and wonderful job ! Your blog site has presented me most of the strategies which I like. Thanks for sharing this. window cleaners

where to buy girlfriend system The Girlfriend Activation System (GFAS) is an online video course that teaches you how to attract the woman you want, keep her interested, and turn her into a committed girlfriend. It is an excellent choice for men who are sick of “PUA tricks” and are interested in learning how to create a real connection with that one amazing woman they’d love to be in a relationship with. please visit site: http://haveyouseenhim.com/girlfriend-activation-system-review-breakdown-... ...

Hardcore Porno PornoPrensi.com is Turkey's number one adult website, it features over 3,6 million videos,175,000 adult pictures, and a wide range of live sex cams of girls, guys, couples, trans and more. PornoPrensi.com has over 100 categories of adult videos and pictures for you to enjoy, so there is more than enough videos and pics to cater for all needs. Live Sex Cam on PornoPrensi.com give you the visitor a chance to see hot girls, guys and couples in live action, you'll get the opportunity to send requests, and should you feel so inclined, tip them for their performance, it's so much fun and so easy to use. Check out PornoPrensi.com today and discover for yourself why it's Turkey's number one! Please visit http://www.pornoprensi.com/ ...

Ibiza escort Come and book the most sexy and indulgent Ibiza escorts and Mallorca escorts today from Palma Babes. Please click here web http://www.palmababes.com/ ...

I found this much informative, as to what I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up..http://rec.arizona.edu/rec-news

Wonderful site and I wanted to post a note to let you know, ""Good job""! I’m glad I found this blog. Brilliant and wonderful job ! Your blog site has presented me most of the strategies which I like. Thanks for sharing this. minecraft forge api 1.8.7

This was because Montreal was experiencing a mass emigration of English speakers after the Parti Quebecois had come to power. Toronto was the Second City (thus, for example, SCTV) until relatively recently. Regardless, there's no question that Toronto had taken the top spot by the early 1990s and it was a mistake. obat peninggi badan

You'll burn physical body fat twice as fast as you would without it, and also you'll really feel explosive power as well as energy...escorts sydney

You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you.why not try these out

You have done a great job on this article. It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you. Twitter

Thanks for sharing the info, keep up the good work going.... I really enjoyed exploring your site. good resource.. pageoneengine

Really nice and interesting post. I was looking for this kind of information and enjoyed reading this one. Keep posting. Thanks for sharing. towels for salons and spa

Thanks for sharing the info, keep up the good work going.... I really enjoyed exploring your site. good resource Fide

like your post and all you share with us is uptodate and quite informative, i would like to bookmark the page so i can come here again to read you, as you have done a wonderful job visit here for more

this item moreover used part very benevolent info on this categorical issue. wild yam cream benefits

benevolent info on this categorical issue.ignou june 2015 result

Thanks for sharing the info, keep up the good work going.... I really enjoyed exploring your site. good resource..education

You have laid out the perfect font in this article! Everything in this article is simply great and I couldn’t have asked for a better article than this.Minecraft PE 0.11.1 APK

I was in imperative wish to acquire few info on this point further acknowledges to you, I've got that! Acknowledges, quondam more! .,.

No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject!full size bed

I very recognize that you wrote this item moreover used part very benevolent info on this categorical issue. I was in imperative wish to acquire few info on this point further acknowledges to you, I've got that! Acknowledges, quondam more! Clash of Clans Hack