Extreme Boredom

People have been wondering where I’ve been. I’ve been getting emails, tweets and messages on Facebook asking me what I’ve thought about the post-Wrestlemania / Brock Lesnar era taking place on WWE television these days.

I haven’t been answering. I haven’t been saying much. I haven’t been too interested in what’s going on. Frankly, I’ve been finding it hard to watch anything WWE lately. I haven’t been caring.

I’m well aware that Brock Lesnar has come back, and yes I’ve tuned in enough to see him F5ing Cena, cutting his pretaped promo and doing that awful contract signing segment. I saw Edge return to tell Cena that he needs to be the Cena he used to be (which I’m fairly certain is the same Cena we’re still watching.) Ultimately, I haven’t been pulled in.

There is some argument that could be made saying I’ve fallen victim to the infamous Wrestlemania hangover. I can’t argue against that, but to say I think that is only a small fraction of why I am not enthralled by current WWE programming.

I consider it more logical to chalc it up to several factors. After watching WWE for years, and seeing the past few where it has been, debatably, bouncing from good to dreadful, it can be difficult to replenish that interest which caused me to tune in in the first place.

Sure, I like Brock Lesnar and I popped just as loud as most people did when he arrived and wiped the floor with John Cena. Internally, I can’t help but wonder if this is half because of my interest in Lesnar and half because of my hatred for Cena. I watched Jericho smash a bottle of Punk’s head with as much interest as the next guy, and laughed just as hard when Jericho slipped in the fake liquor. Still, something is missing here for me as well.

So, what’s the problem? I’ll tell you. First and foremost, I just sat through an entire year of John Cena being the main event focus while not in the title chase and I’m simply not interested in watching it happen again. I don’t care how many times he makes his boo-boo face and puts a ridiculous looking chain around his neck. I’m tired of Cena and I thought, I hoped, I wished, I pleaded, that after Wrestlemania we’d get to see just a little less of this guy. Well, we’re seeing more. I can’t take it. I can’t take this guy.

I love the Rock, but wasn’t too into the angle because it involved Cena. I think Brock is awesome, but I’d rather watch him feud with Santino than John Cena. Cena has the magical ability to disrupt any sense of realism (I know, it’s fake, but you want suspended disbelief) that could exist without his BS. I can’t torture myself to watch this guy.

The Jericho / Punk thing was certainly interesting. I thought it was a little unnecessary to involve family members, but I did think it was funny because Jericho is a promo master and he sold it like gold. I thought Jericho breaking the bottle over Punk’s head was great. Then they had to do that angle with Punk coming out of the Pub which I found to be stupid. I thought they couldn’t get much stupider until I saw the retarded sobriety test angle. I changed channels back to the NHL Playoffs faster than it became clear Punk was only pretending.

These are two talented wrestlers, great promo men and interesting personalities who are trying to sell a match by acting like total goofball morons. It’s a sad state of affairs when the best way to sell what could be a fantastic match is to have them acting like children. Jericho comes off like he’s too stupid to see what’s happening, which is fine if you do it after the buildup, and Punk looks like a fool for playing along with it. Remember when he was all about pipebombs?

The rest of it, I’ll just run through quickly. If a Bella is Diva’s champion than Kharma better be coming back.. oh it didn’t matter, WWE could care less about the title so why should I? Orton vs Kane.. again.. really.. don’t do this to me. The Miz is challenging for the US title against the great champion of…. Santino. Right. Usually Santino is telling jokes, but here the joke is on us. I could go on, but why bother?

So, I’m trying WWE. I am. I’m trying to watch and I’m trying to care and I’m trying to fight through this, but they’re certainly not making it easy on me. Maybe I’m alone, and maybe you guys are loving this right now. I’m glad for you if you are, but I’m certainly struggling to keep my television tuned in. Maybe it will get better.

Miami Heat


Wrestlemania is almost impossible to put into words. There is so much to take in. The spectacle, the matches, the crowd, the atmosphere. Ultimately, it is WWE hitting the reset button and initiating a new year of programming.

Wrestlemania 27 was not nearly as good as it was made out to be. There were a lot of fans feeling let down after last years event. It all felt so half-assed, thrown together and poorly executed minus the Triple H vs Undertaker Match.

Wrestlemania 28 was a thousand percent better.

This isn’t to say that Wrestlemania 28 didn’t have its down times. Many people are upset about Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. Despite my sincerest efforts, I simply cannot muster up and explanation. Hopefully, desperately hopefully, WWE has something in mind and this wasn’t just Vince McMahon giving a giant middle finger to the IWC.

However, I would say, Wrestlemania 28 had greater peaks than it had darker valleys. Jericho and Punk definitely put on a show. This match was not the five star classic some had come to expect, but their performance was by no means a letdown. It was entertaining, back and forth and the closing five minutes of reversals and tapout teases was extraordinarily executed. I’d have gone with a different finish, had Punk lose and then have him walk into his hometown of Chicago as the challenger next month.

Triple H, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels reminded us that wrestling can be one hell of thing when it is done correctly. A nearly flawless match that absolutely lived up to whatever hype was drummed up in the past few weeks. That match has a series of moments (Triple H jumping back when Undertaker sat up, Shawn Michaels pleading with both men, the Superkick / Pedigree combination, blood, spit and eats) that should, and will, live on in the legacy of Wrestlemania. What this match did leave us with though, is three important questions: Was this the Undertakers last match? Is Triple H down for good? Was this the last gasp of the attitude era?

There were so many questions, doubts, backstage rumors, on screen bombs and chaotic experiences leading up to John Cena vs the Rock. Did this match payoff? Absolutely. Understandably there are some upset John Cena fans, but as someone who dislikes John Cena (his character, not the Make-A-Wish champion) I think this is the absolute best thing that could happen to him. This will force Cena to go to new places, assuming that he sells this loss and doesn’t come out giggling tonight like he often does after a big loss. If this is handled properly, John Cena could come out of this shinning. Also, no one should associate the Rock winning to the Rock not giving John Cena some amazing shine and Legendary rub.

The Rock proved he could still go. John Cena proved he could hold his own against the greatest superstar of all time. This is absolutely a win win situation that WWE can make into something even more amazing. Remember, folks, there’s always the possibility that this is a best of three series. I certainly hope not, I’d rather this was a one time thing.

Wrestlemania 28 was definitely a great show worth watching and paying attention to. The challenge for WWE coming out of this, which could be a fantastic thing, is to build new stars so that next years roster is full of young talent rather than returning names and old stalwarts. It’s time for a changing of the guard, but don’t be surprised if they wait until Wrestlemania 30 to make the switch. Next year they may want to cash in on that New Jersey, New York attitude with some old names. We know the Rock will be there, speculation points to Brock Lesnar and don’t forget a beer drinking, ass kicking, mudhole stomping guy from Texas with some gas left in the tank who might want to make a last impression.

Wrestlemania 28, as a whole, did what it was supposed to do. It reinvigorated, and for the most part, it paid off what it has been hyping. I rate the event an eight out of a possible ten. The eighteen second world title match kept this away from being a nine. Oh, and did I forget to mention, Good ol’ Jim Ross showed why he is, was , and always will be, the best announcer in the business.

Monday Night Raw has all the potential to be absolutely amazing tonight. Maybe WWE will show us that they don’t just pull out all of the stops for Wrestlemania.

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Wrestlemania 28 Predictions

I thought I’d give a quick rundown of my Wrestlemania 28 predictions:

WWE Title:
Chris Jericho defeats CM Punk

World Heavyweight Title:
Sheamus defeats Daniel Bryan

Intercontinental Title:
Big Show wins via Disqualification

Randy Orton defeats Kane

Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos defeat Beth Phoenix and Eve

12 Man Tag:
Team Johnny defeats Team Teddy

Hell in a Cell:
Undertaker defeats Triple H

Once in a Lifetime:
The Rock defeats John Cena (Possible outside interference.) 

Wrestlemania Questions

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In 9 days, all of our questions will be answered. In 9 days, the big names will clash and the face of the WWE will be changed. In 9 days, Wrestlemania 28 will come and deliver or fall short of expectation. No matter how you slice it, we are 9 days away from what is being pushed as the biggest Wrestlemania of all time (they should have gotten Tony Schiavone to announce that.)

Wrestlemania 28 is almost upon us and there are a few burning questions which are only going to scorch that much hotter in the 9 days leading up the event. There are several matches on this show whose outcomes will define the future of WWE for, at least, the next few months. There is a rumor that next years Main Event will be announced a year in advance, again, so it is probable that this event could lead to another year of build up (or tear down, based on your perspective) of the Rock, or perhaps, another name from the past.

Regardless of where you stand on the feuds heading into the event, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a few of the questions which will, hopefully, be answered.

Does Kane vs Randy Orton do anything to help either of these guys?
Kane is facing Randy Orton in what could best be described as a last minute, thrown together feud all revolving around Kane randomly attacking Orton. It should be obvious that this match is being given to these two to assure them a place on the Wrestlemania card, but not to do much more. I sincerely doubt that the outcome of this match makes any difference whatsoever for either of these men. It seems highly unlikely this could be a sleeper match that steals the show, and even less likely that it will result in a long standing Orton vs Kane feud, which I’m not sure anyone would want to see anyway. You can’t get much lower on the card, short of being in a twelve man tag match. Speaking of which…

Team Teddy vs Team Johnny – Does it Matter?
We all know that Team Teddy will face Team Johnny at Wrestlemania with the winning team winning control of both Monday Night Raw and Smackdown for their respective namesakes. The question lingering here is, who cares? Whether Teddy or Johnny are in charge, it isn’t going to make a bit of difference. They’re going to be the same shows, ultimately. The only difference is whether or not we have to see Johnny introduce himself randomly or Teddy saying “Hold on playa.” The result of this match will change absolutely nothing, aside from who you see as the GM from time to time. Let’s face it, the GM storylines have been played out for years. Johnny has become a pretty big heat magnet, but I could live without having a GM on either show.

Who truly is the best in the world?
Chris Jericho vs CM Punk was originally billed as the Battle of the Best in the World. This has recently taken a backseat to being the battle of the straight edge superstar with a family history of drug an alcohol abuse versus the smug, not sure where he stands, he wasn’t talking, but now he is, Chris Jericho. To both men’s credit, they’ve managed to take a WWE Title match, which should be important but has been almost ignored by WWE, and made it must-see-TV. This angle has been excellently executed, and last weeks attack from Chris Jericho on CM Punk’s sister was nearly flawless. It should also come as no surprise that these two are highly capable of tearing the non-existent roof off of Wrestlemania. One question which lingers is, does CM Punk walk out with the title only to defend it the next month in Chicago, or does he walk into Chicago as the challenger? Either way, I don’t foresee this match letting anyone down.

Does anyone remember Sheamus is facing Daniel Bryan?
You can’t be faulted if you’ve forgotten, WWE hasn’t exactly gone out of their way to make this match seem like something you can’t live without. I hear more about AJ than I hear about Sheamus when Daniel Bryan is on my screen. Regardless of WWE’s severe lack of push for this World Heavyweight Title Match, this could absolutely be that sleeper. Daniel Bryan and Sheamus were the opening dark match last year and you have to believe they want to show WWE and the world exactly how good they can be. Keep your eyes open during this one because it may be the show stealer.

Does Big Show’s embarrassment continue?
Cody Rhodes has made it his business over the past few weeks to go out of his way to show recaps of Big Show’s most embarrassing Wrestlemania moments. From Big Show getting beaten by Floyd Mayweather to hosting a dinner party at the old WWE restaurant in Time Square. This past Monday, Cody handcuffed Big Show to the ropes and delivered several blows which resulted in the announcers pushing that Big Show was officially pissed. There is more than meets the eye on the line in this match. Cody Rhodes has held the Intercontinental Title for quite some time and is giving some credibility back to it. Should he lose, and the belt goes to Show, does this destroy the small build they’ve been giving that belt? If Rhodes should win, where does he go from there and could this be a step toward the main event? This all remains to be seen, and though I have complete confidence in Rhodes abilities, I do question the quality of this match and whether or not it is granted more than seven or eight minutes.

Does Maria Menounos actually qualify a celebrity?
This is highly debatable. What is not debatable is that WWE continues showing just how unimportant they consider their Divas division to be. Imagine the awesome matches we could have gotten in place of this tag team debacle; Beth Phoenix vs Natalya was a match I was truly hoping for. Two tough, gorgeous, badass women going out there and showing what women’s wrestling can actually be. Instead we’ve got Beth working with Eve whose claim to fame is being called a whore, Kelly Kelly whose wrestling skill is somewhere on par with a door mat and Maria Menounos who.. hosts a level C show where they talk about celebrities. Perhaps the burning question here is WHY?!

Does the Undertaker’s streak end?
I’d say there is a good chance the streak stays in tact, but this could be the last harah for the Undertaker. He’s been through a hell of a lot, and aside from wrestling once a year, I can’t see him doing much more after this. WWE have gone out of their way to make it debatable as to whether or not Triple H can end the streak and the involvement of Shawn Michaels is pivotal. The problem is, does anyone truly believe that if there streak were to end it’d be to Triple H? It seems unlikely they’d have HBK screw the Undertaker, and if he screwed Triple H it seems worthless since he has said he will not wrestle again. Is it possible he’d come back for Triple H’s last match? Maybe, but I think it is highly unlikely the Undertaker will lose. One question I have, though, is can these three live up to the hype and deliver a Hell in a Cell match worthy of the grand stage of Wrestlemania? We shall see.

Do the Rock and John Cena make it worth our while?
The hype has been insane. Between personal attacks, cutdowns, verbal assaults, songs, raps and everything in between, we have been told, time and time again, that this is the biggest match in Wrestlemania history. The ratings for Raw argue that fact, hell the ratings seem to show that this match doesn’t mean a great deal. Then again, maybe people have stopped watching because they’ve already decided to buy the show and they don’t want to watch these guys behave like children any further. Suffice it to say, this Monday has the dubious challenge of making this entire years feud come to a head where you can’t live without seeing what happens. What matters, though? The match? Absolutely. These two who have legit heat have to make a match together that will go down in history as amazing. What also matters, though, is what comes after. I’ve been pretty vocal about this, and it remains true today, I have no idea who is going to win this match. If Cena loses, well then he lost to a guy who is a part timer and hasn’t wrestled a singles match in years. If the Rock loses, well, actually, does it really matter to him? Probably not, but it seems likely a Cena victory would ensure Wrestlemania goes off the air to a sea of boos. I somehow doubt this is where they want to go. Ultimately though, will this match and the result make the past year worth the while for those of us who have committed to it? It better. Also, does the rumor come true and do we see the Miz make an appearance?

So many questions linger about Wrestlemania 28 and we’re only 9 days away from having all of the answers we’ve been seeking. Truly though, one of the greatest questions is what happens in 17 days. The Raw a week after the one which follows Mania. No more Rock, Undertaker, HBK. More than likely Triple H will be back behind the scenes. The show will fall back to the default superstars. Do the ratings continue their steady decline, and if so, what is done to correct it? This is a much more precarious time, creatively, for WWE than we have seen in a long time. Ultimately the one question which will remain is: Where do we go from here?

The Rock / Cena Schizophrenia


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Talk about your all-time schizophrenic promo battles. The Rock and Cena angle has been all over the map in recent weeks. Keeping up with what exactly is going on here has led to debate on all sides of the wrestling world about work and shoot, professional and unprofessional, selling and no-selling. All viable arguments, and it’s currently impossible to determine who is right and who is wrong. Ultimately, the answers to all of those questions don’t matter. There are two extremely important elements here, and they are what matters: are Cena and the Rock selling Wrestlemania and will both or either of them have been put into a better position when April 2nd comes around?

Things have gotten a little out of alignment here. This past Monday, John Cena gave his empty arena promo all about how this match at Wrestlemania means everything to him. He explained how he doesn’t just want to win this match, he has to win this match. It means everything to him. Simultaneously, Rock vignettes were airing with him making jokes and tearing down Cena as he always does. Cut to later in the night, John Cena comes out and begins cutting a silly promo while smirking. The Rock comes out, super serious, and cuts a promo of his own while Cena no-sells it and acts like the quintessential goofball that he has been for years.

What the hell happened there? Both guys completely flipped their scripts. Rock went from funny, silly vignettes to being serious in the ring while Cena went from saying his entire career is riding on Wrestlemania to smirking like a seven year old who is trying to annoy the teacher. Meanwhile, a lot of people are trying to figure out if this is all a work, a shoot or a mix. I love a good promo as much as the next guy, but I do have some problems with worked shoots.

Rock has said he will kick Cena’s ass and make him his “bitch.” Cena has said Rock will have to kill him to beat him. That’s all fine and good, but when you start mixing together work and shoot and you start trying to make the fans believe everything you’re saying is real… you severely undercut that when you then say you’re going to win a predetermined wrestling match.

This has always been my problem with worked shoots. You can’t tell me everything is real, but simultaneously try to convince me you’re going to settle it in a wrestling ring. There is a lack of balance there which has always bothered me. Ultimately, sell your match by selling your match rather than trying to sell who has the better punchlines. What does it matter who is funnier or says the more biting comment when no one is going to be holding a microphone in the middle of that match?

Some argument has been made that John Cena has been unprofessional in this feud while the Rock has been attempting to keep things balanced. No matter which side of that argument you fall on, it does have to be acknowledged that one of the biggest gripes anti-Cena fans have had over the years is John Cena’s failure to sell. In this promo battle with the Rock, Cena has sold nothing.

Imagine if Stone Cold Steve Austin cut promos on Vince McMahon and Vince just smirked the entire time. Imagine CM Punk going off on Chris Jericho and Jericho just laughing about it. You certainly submarine the angle when you fail to show that it actually matters or is important. It is ironic, because as John Cena has said this match means everything to him but Rock doesn’t care if WWE closes down, he is simultaneously undercutting the angle and doing damage to the business aspect of it. If you need proof that fans are getting pushed away all you have to do is look at the ratings over the past two weeks which have both involved face to face meetings between Rock and Cena.

Was John Cena pointing out the writing on Rock’s arm unprofessional, or was it planned? How about this past week where Cena smirked and smiled the entire time the Rock was talking and then began interrupting him while he was just finishing his promo? Nobody knows, and nobody will know for a while. Ultimately, none of this is as important as whether or not this program has made you want to see this match more or less.

I am a massive fan of the Rock, and though I dislike John Cena’s character, there have certainly been times where I have enjoyed his work. Right now the only thing that has me interested in this match is… I don’t know who will win. That’s it. The promos, the threats, the jokes, the undercutting has made me less interested. If I didn’t write columns, there’s a chance I’d just tune out until April 1st because everything between these two is beginning to frustrate me. Oh, and what are they doing next week? These two want to kill each other so much that on Monday’s Raw we get to see Rock signing and Cena rapping. To quote the Miz: “Really? Really? Really? Really?” That’s your Wrestlemania 28 build up.. musical battling. Oh boy.

On April 9th, the Rock will be gone. He will be filming movies until he comes back for the build up to Wrestlemania 29 (in whatever capacity he is participating.) On April 9th, will John Cena be in a position where he can ride the wave of excitement, bring PPV buyrates up and increase ratings or will we be back to the John Cena that the fans boo and the guy who makes silly “poopy” jokes, acts like Superman and continues to pummel his goodie two shoes personality into our brains? If John Cena doesn’t come out of this Wrestlemania either glowing and with a rejuvenated fanbase, or edgier and angrier, than this Wrestlemania could go down in history as the year WWE went to the mat for Cena and it didn’t work.

Regardless, if John Cena goes back to being the way he was and interest continues to flag while the Rock is out there signing on to do more and more movies, Rock’s words will prove prophetic and Wrestlemania 28 will be remembered as the time when Rock made Cena his bitch. You know what should be frightening about that? The Rock doesn’t even have to win to make Cena look like a bitch. Just ask post-Wrestlemania 18 Hulk Hogan about that.

The Royal Fumble

The road to Wrestlemania has begun. The most exciting time to be a fan of the WWE is finally underway. This is the time when wrestlers become superstars and superstars become legends. The best storylines, the most hype, the best matches, the most excitement… so why doesn’t it feel that way? Why does it feel like this particular road to Wrestlemania is littered with potholes and speed bumps?

The Royal Rumble is a key in the road to Wrestlemania. It is the first spark that begins burning down the fuse to an explosive, exciting and WWE Universe altering experience on the grandest stage of them all. This year, however, the Royal Rumble was more, or less, a Royal Fumble. It was a sub-par pay-per-view with a few highlights, but overall nothing worth writing home about. The entire show didn’t seem to kick into any sort of higher gear until the last few moments of the Rumble match itself when Jericho went head to head with Sheamus.

The opening match for the World Heavyweight Title was nine minutes of little activity. Understandably, Mark Henry was injured and incapable of doing much. Big Show isn’t known for his ability to create movement. Daniel Bryan is a spectacular athlete and fantastic wrestler being thrown into a match with two people who are not, on most days, capable of performing the same style that is conducive to an excellent performance with Bryan.

The next match was an eight Diva tag match which was treated with the same respect, dignity and appreciation by WWE management as a dead raccoon in the middle of the road. I cannot, for the life of me, begin to comprehend the logic (or lack thereof) which goes into the planning of this division. If any planning goes in at all, that is. It seems more likely that Vince McMahon throws darts at a copy of WWE magazine and whatever divas he hits get to wrestle in a five minute match. Unless, of course, we’re talking television in which they get half of that time.

Cena and Kane have an interesting storyline going, but no one believes this is going anywhere other than giving Cena a top tier storyline while they wait for the Rock to be around more often. I love Kane, I always have, but I could care less about this right now. I’d rather see Kane working with someone who has a capacity for selling and a capability to make what is happening seem important. Between Cena’s lack of selling and his half-hearted, half-comedy, all-bullshit faces that he makes, I can hardly keep my eyes focused on the screen. How am I supposed to take this guy seriously when it appears quite obvious he is phoning it in and doesn’t take himself seriously?

Oh, and I’m supposed to care that he’s facing the Rock at Wrestlemania? I care, in the sense that I want to see the Rock again. I’d be just as hyped if the Rock was coming back to wrestle Zack Ryder. The only thing about Cena that keeps me interested in this match is hoping to see the Rock beat the ever-loving hell out of him. Please, please, Dwayne, throw a few potatoes.

Brodus Clay went up against Drew McIntyre. Wow. Enough said.

Finally, we got to see CM Punk defending the WWE Title against Dolph Ziggler with Johnny Ace as a special outsider referee. What a cluster this match was. First of all, I think Punk is an amazing talent and Ziggler is really on the rise. That being said, this match was incredibly below the standard that should, and is, expected of two athletes of this caliber. It is hard to tell if this match was a victim of Punk and Ziggler or of the horrendous angle which was involved with it. Following this match, Ziggler hasn’t continued getting his push so it raises a few eyebrows. Out of a possible five star rating, I gave this match a solid 2.5 Not good enough, and it really should be much better.

Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the Royal Rumble match itself. Royal may be an overstatement. This was more of a mid-card, nostalgia Rumble from numbers 1-20. It was filler, it was half-assed and it was reminiscent of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s first Rumble victory in 97 when half of the entrants were borrowed talent from Mexico. This speaks volumes, not only about WWE’s lack of roster depth, but of their failure to build new stars. What the hell is happening here? No wonder they went down from 40 to 30. They couldn’t find enough worthwhile names to fill the roster.

Everyone and their mother believed Chris Jericho was winning the Rumble. Aside from his statement on Raw when he said that, at the Rumble, “The world as you know it is coming to an end.” They seem to have forgotten that when they gave Sheamus the nod. Rumor has it that the outcome was changed shortly before the PPV which, if true, is eerily similar to previous short term decisions made by McMahon and his team based less upon what is best for the company and more upon swerving the so-called “smart marks” and “internet fans.” Seriously?

I like Sheamus, but they really left Jericho dangling out there. He had to come out on Raw the next night and basically explain what his comments had meant. The angle between he and Punk could certainly be a hot one, and I am hoping it is, but right now my confidence in WWE’s ability to build is severely shaken. I have confidence in Punk and Jericho, I have little confidence in the creative team behind them.

So the Royal Rumble has passed, but we’re coming out of the gate with more of a limp than a quick stride on this road to Wrestlemania. There is still time to correct it, there is still time to build this into something remarkable. Don’t ever count them out when you’re approaching Wrestlemania, but right now, I want to see a lot less hype and a lot more substance before I’m willing to commit to believing in this being the biggest Wrestlemania ever.

The 2012 Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble was once my favorite WWE PPV of the year. I always loved the Royal Rumble match. There is so much anticipation and excitement to see who is coming in, when, who will be eliminated and how, and of course, who will win. Each year the winner goes on to challenge for the title in the main event at Wrestlemania. For a long time, I really enjoyed going back and watching the 1994 Royal Rumble. I thought the angle of having dual winners was pretty exciting, plus, it hadn’t been done before. These days, I go back and watch a lot of the older Rumbles. Mostly for nostalgic value, but also because they seemed more important back then.

The Rumble is still an exciting match to watch, if for no reason other than to see people clashing in the ring that you never see against each other. It’s always fun to see tag team partners going after each other, two faces locking up in front of a divided crowd. The Rumble also provides moments for people to stand out, to do things that make their time in that ring memorable, even if they don’t go on to win it. I think back to Diesel eliminating a ton of people, CM Punk preaching to the crowd, Beth Phoenix taking a GTS. How about those surprise entrants? It’s always cool to see an old name or a surprising return.

A few things have happened which has made the Royal Rumble fall a few notches in my book, however. First of all, they keep trying to inject a lot of comedy in there. Maybe they’ve done this back in the day as well, but if so, they did it better. Watching someone like Santino get in there and jump around like a fool or Hornswoggle spending so much time bouncing around and emulating various wrestlers. It makes the match seem less important, then again, WWE has spent a lot of time making a lot of things feel less important than they used to be.

Another thing that has negatively impacted the importance of the Royal Rumble is the Elimination Chamber PPV. Whereas, in the past, the winner of the Rumble would challenge for the title and that match would be built up from the Rumble until Wrestlemania, now we have this extra PPV thrown in where the titles can (and have) changed. You lose several weeks of build up and while you could have a Rumble winner matching up against someone you really want to see him face, come February the title changes hands and you don’t get it. Also, which I’ve not really understood, the point of winning the Rumble is to get that title shot but, even if you don’t win, there’s a chance you’ll be one of the handful of people in the Elimination Chamber to challenge for it the next month anyway. I enjoy Elimination Chamber, but I’d move it further in the year. Replace one of those half-assed PPVs that nobody orders with the Chamber. There are several moments throughout the year where there is nothing that has a “big time” feel to it. You could easily shift Elimination Chamber to one of those times.

Finally, and this is highly specific to this year, the winner of the Royal Rumble is NOT going to challenge for the title in the Main Event, unless the Rock wins the Royal Rumble and John Cena is the champion. Hasn’t WWE made it clear that their Wrestlemania main event is going to be Cena vs the Rock? Didn’t we also get Shawn Michaels vs the Undertaker Part 2 as the main event over the title match that year, as well? It may just be a matter of semantics, but just change the language and remove “in the main event” from the promotion. “The Winner of the Rumble goes on to challenge for the title at Wrestlemania.” Sounds fine to me, but if you’re going to tell me it is the main event, and then it isn’t, I feel slighted.

Last year the Royal Rumble was 40 competitors. This year, we’re back to 30. I’m not sure why that is, and I don’t really have a big problem with this, but it’d be nice to have been given some sort of an explanation. It seemed as though last year’s Rumble worked out very well, I know I enjoyed it. Why the shift back to 30? Also, what the hell does it mean that “this year, every superstar is eligible?” Weren’t they always?

This year, it’s as up in the air as it always is. 30 competitors, but really only a handful of people who are probable to win. It seems likely that some names to be considered for victory this year have to be some of the old standbys; Randy Orton and Chris Jericho, for instance. Then again, there has been some speculation about people like Sheamus or the Miz. Will we see the return of some previously injured people, or people who haven’t been on television lately? Sometimes WWE likes to have a big return and give the victory to that person, see John Cena and Edge, for example. Honestly, this year, I have not yet decided on who I am putting my money on. This is partially due to the possibilities and partially due to WWE’s failure to make any one person stand out. It all seems arbitrary sometimes.

Either way, I know that this Sunday I will be sitting in front of my television watching the 2012 Royal Rumble. I can’t resist it, it will always be one of my favorite PPVs. It kicks off the Road to Wrestlemania, it plants the seeds for Wrestlemania, it is the first PPV of the year and it can often show us how the entire year is going to trend. Let’s hope this year is the best one yet.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
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