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Royal Rumble: Through The Years (Part 5, 2011-2015)

by Scrooge McSuck

Last time in our re-visiting of the Royal Rumble... who cares. We’re at the end of the road, and we’ve got some rough years to get through. *Sigh*... Alright, last time in quest to present a rundown of every Royal Rumble, Rey Mysterio won it for Eddie and everybody hated it (the match and storyline, not Eddie), The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels were highlights of back-to-back so-so Rumbles in 2007 and 2008, the 2009 Rumble sucked a fat, wet one, and 2010 was probably the last great Rumble we’ve seen, with smart booking, limited crowding of the ring, and a great finish. Now... we move on... to 2011...

2011 (January 30th, TD Garden @ Boston, MA)

Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. CM Punk, 2. Daniel Bryan, 3. Justin Gabriel, 4. Zack Ryder, 5. William Regal, 6. Ted Dibiase, 7. John Morrison, 8. Yoshi Tatsu, 9. Husky Harris, 10. Chavo Guerrero, 11. Mark Henry, 12. JTG, 13. Michael McGillicutty, 14. Chris Masters, 15. David Otunga, 16. Tyler Reks, 17. Vladimir Kozlov, 18. R-Truth, 19. The Great Khali, 20. Mason Ryan, 21. Booker T, 22. John Cena, 23. Hornswoggle, 24. Tyson Kidd, 25. Heath Slater, 26. Kofi Kingston, 27. Jack Swagger, 28. King Sheamus, 29. Rey Mysterio, 30. Wade Barrett, 31. Dolph Ziggler, 32. Diesel, 33. Drew McIntyre, 34. Alex Riley, 35. Big Show, 36. Ezekiel Jackson, 37. Santino Marella, 38. Alberto Del Rio, 39. Randy Orton, 40. Kane

1. Justin Gabriel (by Bryan), 2. Zack Ryder (by Bryan), 3. William Regal (by Dibiase), 4. Chavo Guerrero (by Henry), 5. Yoshi Tatsu (by Henry), 6. JTG (by McGillicutty), 7. Ted Dibiase (by Harris & McGillicutty), 8. Daniel Bryan (by Punk), 9. Chris Masters (by Punk), 10. John Morrison (by Nexus), 11. Mark Henry (by Nexus), 12. Tyler Reks (by Punk), 13. Vladimir Kozlov (by Punk), 14. R-Truth (by Punk), 15. Husky Harris (by Khali), 16. The Great Khali (by Ryan), 17. Booker T (by Ryan), 18. Mason Ryan (by Cena), 19. David Otunga (by Cena), 20. Michael McGillicutty (by Cena), 21. CM Punk (by Cena), 22. Tyson Kidd (by Cena), 23. Heath Slater (by Cena), 24. Hornswoggle (by Sheamus), 25. Jack Swagger (by Mysterio), 26. Diesel (by Barrett), 27. Dolph Ziggler (by Show), 28. Alex Riley (by Cena & Kofi), 29. Drew McIntyre (by Show), 30. Big Show (by Zeke), 31. Kofi Kingston (by Orton), 32. King Sheamus (by Orton), 33. Ezekiel Jackson (by Kane), 34. Kane (by Mysterio), 35. Ret Mysterio (by Barrett), 36. John Cena (illegally by Miz), 37. Wade Barrett (by Orton), 38. Randy Orton (by Del Rio), 39. Santino Marella (by Del Rio), WINNER: ALBERTO DEL RIO

    Memorable Moments and Random Tidbits...
  • For the first time, and only time to date, we have 40 Participants, possibly to make room for all the members of Nexus and The Corre to get spots in. Even with the bloated list of participants, it’s still not the longest Rumble from bell-to-bell, with 2002 still taking home the honors there.
  • CM Punk is the new leader of Nexus, because reasons.
  • CM Punk and Daniel Bryan is probably the wettest smark dream in Rumble history, with Benoit vs. Eddie in 2005 as a close second, but we’re not allowed to remember that one.
  • The Anonymous General Manager is still a thing. Thank GOD I missed that boat. Anonymous Raw GM also means HEEL Michael Cole. For the love of Pete... the lead announcer shouldn’t be an obnoxious heel.
  • I’m assuming Ted Dibiase (don’t call him Junior) was rocking a Losing Streak Gimmick™, a WWE tradition since 2004 when everyone has to be neutered so they don’t bail on them like Brock Lesnar.
  • John Morrison with the most amazing teased elimination of all time (to this point), being knocked off the apron, hanging onto the security barrier, tight-rope walking along the path, and long jumping onto the ring steps to stay alive. Just describing it doesn’t do it justice.
  • Husky Harris is Bray Wyatt... sorry, was channeling the Baltimore, MD crowd who thought they had to chant that because we just wouldn’t have known it, otherwise.
  • CM Punk using his stable to dominate the field is one of the few times someone actually thought to do that kind of sequence. Seriously, in 1998, The Nation was well represented and didn’t do it. In 2009, Legacy was in it for 40 minutes and didn’t do it. HOW HARD IS THIS TO COME UP WITH?
  • There’s no worse name than Michael McGillicutty. Was Vince watching re-runs of I Love Lucy, got it confused for a new show, and thought it was such a great name? (Editor's Note: was he Beulah's kayfabe sister?)
  • Who gets to end the run for the Nexus? Here’s a hint... #CenaWinsLOL
  • Vladimor Kozlov went from stone-faced super villain to bottom-of-the-card comedy jobber. I don’t think anyone complained.
  • Booker T arrives. Matt Striker: "I’m marking out, bro." PLEASE SHOOT THIS MAN.
  • Hornswoggle brings the comedy sequence of the match, and thanks to the bloated list of participants, that means it gets more time than you’d want. This wouldn’t have been so bad for 1 spot (points to Kidd for taking an AA from Hornswoggle), but it lasts for 4-5 minutes with the super team of Cena and Hornswoggle ruling the roost.
  • Has Heath Slater really been around for 5+ years doing his undercard "One Man Band" gimmick? Roster turnover is a major problem these days.
  • Dolph Ziggler works double duty and is still selling the punishment he took from his match approximately two hours earlier.
  • Kevin Nash shows up as Diesel. Did WWE deliberately sign away TNA’s Main Event Mafia or something?
  • I miss Ricardo Rodriguez as Del Rio’s personal ring announcer.
  • Santino is instantly knocked out by a Brogue Kick and rolls the floor, where he remains until the very end when we almost get the most surprising finish in Rumble History... but we need predictability, so he screws up his big chance because he’s a comedy jobber.
  • Take a shot every time someone points to the friggin’ WrestleMania sign.

Rumble Match Rating: ...

    The Undercard...
  1. Edge def. Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a match where Edge’s former love-interest, Vicki Guerrero, made it a stipulation that if Edge were to use the Spear, he would lose the match and his Championship. Good opener, but we’re in that era where every match just kind of feels like it’s the same thing every time out. Seriously, how much Dolph Ziggler can one man take before he cracks and admits the guy does the same stuff? [***1/2]
  2. The Miz def. Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship. Is there anyone out there who fondly remembers the Miz’s reign as Champion? All I remember from it is the worst WrestleMania Main Event since WrestleMania 13 and defending the Title against JERRY LAWLER on a PPV. In 2011. Decent match, nothing to write home about. [**1/2]
  3. Eve Torres def. Natalya, Michelle McCool, and Layla to win the WWE Divas Championship in a total nothing match. I guess there was speculation that Awesome Kong would make her debut here, but it just turned out to be Eve added to the match. [3/4*]

2012 (January 29th, Scottrade Center @ St. Louis, MO)

Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. The Miz, 2. Alex Riley, 3. R-Truth, 4. Cody Rhodes, 5. Justin Gabriel, 6. Primo, 7. Mick Foley, 8. Ricardo Rodriguez, 9. Santino Marella, 10. Epico, 11. Kofi Kingston, 12. Jerry "The King" Lawler, 13. Ezekiel Jackson, 14. Jinder Mahal, 15. The Great Khali, 16. Hunico, 17. Booker T, 18. Dolph Ziggler, 19. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, 20. Michael Cole, 21. Kharma, 22. Sheamus, 23. Road Dogg, 24. Jey Uso, 25. Jack Swagger, 26. Wade Barrett, 27. David Otunga, 28. Randy Orton, 29. Chris Jericho, 30. Big Show

1. Alex Riley (by Miz), 2. R-Truth (by Miz), 3. Primo (by Foley), 4. Justin Gabriel (by Foley & Ricardo), 5. Ricardo Rodriguez (by Santino), 6. Epico (by Foley), 7. Santino Marella (by Rhodes), 8. Mick Foley (by Rhodes), 9. Jerry Lawler (by Rhodes), 10. Jinder Mahal (by Khali), 11. Ezekiel Jackson (by Khali), 12. Jim Duggan (by Rhodes), 13. Booker T (by Rhodes & Ziggler), 14. The Great Khali (by Rhodes & Ziggler), 15. Michael Cole (illegally by Lawler & Booker), 16. Hunico (by Kharma), 17. Kharma (by Ziggler), 18. Kofi Kingston (by Sheamus), 19. Road Dogg (by Barrett), 20. Jey Uso (by Orton), 21. Wade Barrett (by Orton), 22. David Otunga (by Jericho), 23. Jack Swagger (by Show), 24. Cody Rhodes (by Show), 25. The Miz (by Show), 26. Dolph Ziggler (by Show), 27. Big Show (by Orton), 28. Randy Orton (by Jericho), 29. Chris Jericho (by Sheamus), WINNER: SHEAMUS

    Memorable Moments and Random Tidbits:
  • Has anyone paid attention to the promotional posters over the years? I swear to God, the Royal Rumbles had some pretty generic posters throughout the 2000’s, but this one, with SANTNIO wearing a swami hat sitting in front of a crystal ball might be the worst Royal Rumble poster of all time. 1996 was uninspired with just Diesel booting someone (Owen), but this was just bad and set the tone for a comical (and lackluster) Rumble.
  • With Cena vs. Rock already announced to Main Event WrestleMania, everyone here was basically fighting for a far less-important role... yes, more-so than Del Rio. At least there was an illusion for him in 2011 at picking a real Main Event spot.
  • Cool of them to start the Rumble with the Miz and his former protégé. Sure, it doesn’t really mean anything historically (the blow-off match took place on Superstars), but it’s SOMETHING as a cute nod for the first two men in the match.
  • Heel Michael Cole is still a thing. Thankfully that gimmick would be retired in time for the 2013 Royal Rumble.
  • Coming in at #3... the other half of Awesome Truth, the team that was punished for not inflating the buyrate for the Survivor Series PPV headlined by the Cena and Rock team-up.
  • How many character changes has Cody Rhodes had over the years? We’ve seen green-as-grass rookie Rhodes, Legacy Rhodes, and now he’s... Dashing? 2011-12 bleeds together for me.
  • Comedy/Legend Entrant #1: Mick Foley, making his last in-ring appearance for the WWE.. Comedy/Legend Entrant #2: Ricardo Rodriguez, driving a beat-up-POS and dressed like Alberto Del Rio. Comedy/Legend Entrant #3: Santino. Yes, all three came out back-to-back-to-back.
  • SOCKO VS. COBRA!
  • Kofi Kingston begins his streak of near-eliminations, doing a hand-stand walk to keep himself in the match.
  • Comedy/Legend Entrant #4: Jerry Lawler... #5: Booker T... and #6: Michael Cole. Yes, all three spots were used on the announce team. Cole outlasted Lawler, but ended up being chased out of the ring by Kharma (Awesome Kong in her one and only in-ring appearance). In all fairness to Cole, his mugging for the camera and frantically pointing at the WrestleMania sign was funny.
  • If Jinder Mahal and Great Khali, who are portrayed as relatives in storyline, interact but nobody cares, did it really happen?
  • What the F*CK is a LOW-RIDER BICYCLE?!
  • Comedy/Legend Entrant #7: Jim Duggan, who had to be a spry 58 years old at this point and looking no older than 83. Comedy/Legend Entrant #8: Road Dogg. Could’ve been worse, I guess.
  • Kharma is the 3rd, and last, female competitor to enter a Royal Rumble Match, following Chyna in 1999-2000 and Beth Phoenix in 2010.
  • Kane’s consecutive streak of Rumble Match appearances ends at 13 years, having worked on the under-card and not pulling double duty.
  • The Miz sets the Iron Man mark for 2012, lasting over 45-minutes, with Cody Rhodes not far behind with 41-minutes of ring time. For the shortest time in the ring, Epico lasted less than 30-seconds, and Jim Duggan and Jerry Lawler both lasted under a minute.
  • Cody Rhodes with the most eliminations, throwing out 6 (most of them the legends and/or comedy entrants). Big Show tossed out 4, and a handful of Superstars were credited with 3.
Rumble Match Rating: Seriously, of the first 20 or so entrants, only the Miz had enough credibility to win this thing. One of the weakest field of scrubs and geeks in Rumble History. The short list of believable winners could be counted on one hand, and all of them entered late. There was plenty to comment on here, which makes for some form of amusement, but that doesn’t make this a good rumble. Too much comedy and wasted spots on the JTTS Squad and "Legends" and very little good sequences and drama. Sheamus’ Rumble win lead to one of the most poorly-received Championship matches in WrestleMania history. [**]

    The Undercard...
  1. Daniel Bryan def. The Big Show and Mark Henry in a Triple Threat Cage Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Funny to think Bryan’s reign as Champion was just a joke, and was never meant to get over, and that Sheamus knocking his block off at WrestleMania was supposed to be the "big moment" of the night that pushed Sheamus into super-stardom and Bryan back into obscurity. HA! [**]
  2. Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Nikki and Brie Bella def. Kelly Kelly, Tamina, Alicia Fox, and Eve Torres in a worthless 8-DIVAS Tag Team Match. Usually Diva turnover is pretty good, but 5 of these 8 are still around in 2016. [DUD]
  3. John Cena and Kane fought to a double Count-Out. The only memorable part of this angle? The excessive burial of Zack Ryder. [*1/2]
  4. Brodus Clay def. Drew McIntyre in about a minute as he’s reintroduced to the world as the fun-loving Funkadactyl. Yes, that was the sound of two toilets flushing. One for Drew McIntyre meaning anything, and WWE wasting Clay in a goofy comedy role instead of a monster heel. [NR]
  5. CM Punk def. Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Championship, with John Laurinaitis as a special referee because he’s got People Power™. Pretty good match as expected, but hampered a bit with the involvement of Johnny Ace. [***]

2013 (January 27th, US Airways Center @ Phoenix, AZ)

Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. Dolph Ziggler, 2. Chris Jericho, 3. Cody Rhodes, 4. Kofi Kingston, 5. Santino Marella, 6. Drew McIntyre, 7. Titus O’Neil, 8. Goldust, 9. David Otunga, 10. Heath Slater, 11. Sheamus, 12. Tensai, 13. Brodus Clay, 14. Rey Mysterio, 15. Darren Young, 16. Bo Dallas, 17. The Godfather, 18. Wade Barrett, 19. John Cena, 20. Damien Sandow, 21. Daniel Bryan, 22. Antonio Cesaro, 23. The Great Khali, 24. Kane, 25. Zack Ryder, 26. Randy Orton, 27. Jinder Mahal, 28. The Miz, 29. Sin Cara, 30. Ryback

1. Santino Marella (by Rhodes), 2. Drew McIntyre (by Jericho), 3. Titus O’Neil (by Sheamus), 4. David Otunga (by Sheamus), 5. Goldust (by Rhodes), 6. Brodus Clay (by 6 Superstars), 7. Tensai (by Kofi), 8. Darren Young (by Kofi), 9. Kofi Kingston (by Rhodes), 10. The Godfather (by Ziggler), 11. Heath Slater (by Cena), 12. Cody Rhodes (by Cena), 13. Rey Mysterio (by Barrett), 14. The Great Khali (by Kane & Bryan), 15. Kane (by Bryan), 16. Daniel Bryan (by Cesaro & Kane), 17. Zack Ryder (by Orton), 18. Antonio Cesaro (by Cena), 19. Jinder Mahal (by Sheamus), 20. Wade Barrett (by Dallas), 21. Bo Dallas (illegally by Barrett), 22. Damien Sandow (by Ryback), 23. Sin Cara (by Ryback), 24. The Miz (by Ryback), 25. Chris Jericho (by Ziggler), 26. Randy Orton (by Ryback), 27. Dolph Ziggler (by Sheamus), 28. Sheamus (by Ryback), 29. Ryback (by Cena), WINNER: JOHN CENA

    Memorable Moments and Random Tidbits:
  • This is another personal note: This was the first PPV I purchased since Unforgiven 2004. I kept up with the product through 2006, watching PPV’s either through DVD purchases or on delay on the 24/7 a.k.a Classics on Demand service, but the combination of a Rumble Match and Punk vs. Rock was what pushed me over the edge.
  • Chris Jericho makes yet another return in time for the Royal Rumble. Spoiler: He does it again for 2016 and 2019.
  • Here’s a weird trio for you... Dolph Ziggler, Big E. Langston (back when he was allowed to have a last name), and A.J. Lee. Dolph gets #1 as punishment from his old flame/business associate, Vicki Guerrero.
  • Cody Rhodes’ newest character trait: the pornstache as a member of the Rhodes Scholars. What does 2014 hold for Cody?!
  • Santino throws everyone over the top rope and celebrates, but they all long on the apron and team-up to throw him out in his final Rumble appearance.
  • Remember when they did that interview with 3MB and pushed Drew McIntyre as "the funny one"? Totally a rip off from the Simpsons and the B-Sharps when they labeled Principal Skinner with that label.
  • Goldust makes a surprise appearance, in full robe and wig attire to have his annual altercation with brother Cody in a Royal Rumble Match. The crowd at least pops for it here.
  • Even babyface Michael Cole can’t help remind us of his glory over Jerry Lawler, but it was instigated by JBL, who no doubt had Vince screaming in his ear about it.
  • Brodus Clay is using Ernest Miller’s old "Somebody Call My Momma" music. He has a Battle of the Bulge with Tensai, but nobody cares about Tensai (formerly Albert/A-Train).
  • Kofi Kingston with his 2nd near-elimination performance, finding his way onto an announcers table and using JBL’s chair to pogo hop his way back to the ring (and would be eliminated seconds later). Not an impressive physical feat, but still cool to keep the streak going. I want to say the original idea was a long jump, but we’ll see what he does in 2014.
  • Bo Dallas (the second son of Mike Rotunda and nephew of Barry Windham to compete in a Rumble, the other being Husky Harris in 2011) from NXT gets a spot in the Rumble and is completely ignored for the most part. This was before NXT was the cool thing to like and before Bo Dallas got his big push to win the NXT Title.
  • The Godfather makes a surprise appearance ("Papa Shango" was rumored, but that was probably to throw everyone off) with obnoxiously long entrance, gets eliminated in 2-seconds, and it doesn’t bother him cause "we’re having fun, Maggle!"
  • They tease an angle between Bo Dallas and Wade Barrett, but it was dropped almost instantly. Maybe Bo Dallas’ god awful promo on Raw is what sealed the fate of that push.
  • Daniel Bryan is still trying to get "No!" over in order to stop the "Yes!" chants. I don’t think it’s going to work.
  • Despite the quality of workers involved, there’s a bit too much in the ring at once, and not a whole lot going on. That’s usually the issue when you have the cream of the upper-midcard in there (Jericho, Ziggler, Barrett, Bryan, Sheamus, Kane, freshly pushed Cesaro) with Cena and you’re unwilling to eliminate some of them.
  • Michael Cole claims Kane is entering his 14th consecutive Rumble. Kane didn’t compete in the 2012 Rumble Match.
  • Kane and Daniel Bryan have a cute exchange on the floor where Bryan first eliminates Kane, then begs him to help him out from being eliminated, all while being wrapped around him like a child.
  • I’m starting to think that the #27 is spot is just trolling us these days.
  • Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho both lasted about 50-minutes each to set the 2013 Iron Man Mark.
Rumble Match Rating: One of those middle of the road Rumbles. It had some decent spots and sequences, but nothing that will crack the all time list, and nothing was actively bad, either. The ring suffered a bit too much from over-crowding, especially in the second half of the match, but a few key eliminations helped keep interesting during those lull moments. [***]
    The Undercard...
  1. Antonio Cesaro def. The Miz to retain the United States Championship on the Kickoff Show. Decent but unspectacular. [*1/2]
  2. Alberto Del Rio def. The Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. They had a much better match on Smackdown for the title switch, but this wasn’t too bad. I had no problem with tying Show’s boots to the bottom rope, since I wasn’t watching when it was last used for a finish. Babyface Del Rio sure went nowhere, though. [***1/4]
  3. Team Hell No def. The Rhodes Scholars to retain the Tag Team Championship. That would be the make-shift team of Kane and Daniel Bryan defending against the under-rated team of Cody Rhodes (repackaged again) and Damien Sandow. OK, but nothing special. [**]
  4. The Rock def. CM Punk to win the WWE Championship and end Punk’s reign as Champion at 434 days. Not a "Great" match, with Rock’s cardio being an issue, but this was more than satisfying for a Main Event. The only real complaint was the predictability of them setting up a rematch to "once in a lifetime". For a moment I had hope Punk would retain, but the second Rock cut his Dusty Rhodes inspired promo... nope. Punk was done. [***1/2]

2014 (January 26th, Consol Energy Center @ Pittsburgh, PA)

Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. CM Punk, 2. Seth Rollins, 3. Damien Sandow, 4. Cody Rhodes, 5. Kane, 6. Alexander Rusev, 7. Jack Swagger, 8. Kofi Kingston, 9. Jimmy Uso, 10. Goldust, 11. Dean Ambrose, 12. Dolph Ziggler, 13. R-Truth, 14. Kevin Nash, 15. Roman Reigns, 16. The Great Khali, 17. Sheamus, 18. The Miz, 19. Fandango, 20. El Torito, 21. Antonio Cesaro, 22. Luke Harper, 23. Jey Uso, 24. JBL, 25. Erick Rowan, 26. Ryback, 27. Alberto Del Rio, 28. Batista, 29. Big E. Langston, 30. Rey Mysterio

1. Damien Sandow (by Punk), 2. Kane (by Punk), 3. Alexander Rusev (by Punk, Cody, Kofi, Seth), 4. R-Truth (by Ambrose), 5. Jimmy Uso (by Ambrose), 6. Jack Swagger (by Nash), 7. Kofi Kingston (by Reigns), 8. Dolph Ziggler (by Reigns), 9. Kevin Nash (by Reigns), 10. The Great Khali (by The Shield), 11. Cody Rhodes (by Goldust), 12. Goldust (by Reigns), 13. Fandango (by Torito), 14. El Torito (by Reigns), 15. JBL (by Reigns), 16. The Miz (by Harper), 17. Jey Uso (by Harper), 18. Erick Rowan (by Batista), 19. Ryback (by Batista), 20. Alberto Del Rio (by Batista), 21. Big E. Langston (by Sheamus), 22. Rey Mysterio (by Rollins), 23. Luke Harper (by Reigns), 24. Antonio Cesaro (by Reigns), 25. Seth Rollins (by Reigns), 26. Dean Ambrose (by Reigns), 27. CM Punk (illegally by Kane), 28. Sheamus (by Reigns), 29. Roman Reigns (by Batista), WINNER: BATISTA

    Memorable Moments and Random Tidbits...
  • CM Punk is being punished by the Authority, so he gets to start the match. It isn’t done every year, but I hate the "punish someone by giving him #1 or #2" just because it’s always the same: someone pulls an iron-man performance.
  • CM Punk is making his last in-ring appearance for the WWE, walking away from the rest of his contract the next day before Monday Night Raw and eventually signing with UFC. That might be the simplest summary of the situation on the internet.
  • Is it illegal for Cody to not draw #3 or #4? Seems like he’s come in at those numbers the last few Rumbles. He’s also just a normal Cody Rhodes, no gimmick, no nickname. He was teaming with his brother, so there’s that.
  • Corporate Kane makes his "15th straight" appearance, and his 4th different persona. He’s competed in the Rumble as Isaac Yankem, "Diesel", Kane Classic, and now Corporate Kane.
  • Alexander Rusev represents NXT, still with his first name, but without Lana. He wouldn’t make his official Main Roster move until after WrestleMania.
  • Kofi Kingston with his 3rd near-elimination survival spot, this time being carried over to the security wall by Rusev, and doing a broad jump from the rail to the apron. It seriously has to be seen to believe.
  • Kevin Nash makes a surprise appearance. He’s not nearly as over he was in the 2011 Rumble, and thankfully wasn’t brought back to weasel his way out of more jobs.
  • The Shield actually work together as a team to clear out the ring. Again, this isn’t something that should’ve been hard to do in years prior when it came to strong stables.
  • The crowd is actually HAPPY to see Sheamus.
  • In a production mistake, we see Kane stalking around at ringside mid-way through the Rumble, giving away he’s going to be coming back later to somehow screw over CM Punk. Allegedly, Punk was suffering from a concussion and they wanted to call an audible, but for some reason, it was waved off. You can tell Punk is in pain, as he just starts laying around doing very little after Kofi enters.
  • El Torito is the 2nd "little person" to compete in a Royal Rumble, following Hornswoggle who competed in the 2008 and 2011 Rumbles. He’s the mini-bull mascot of Los Matadores, formerly Epico and Primo, for those who have no clue what I’m talking about.
  • JBL makes a Rumble appearance because "why the fuck not."
  • The crowd increasingly becomes more impatient as the later numbers enter, still expecting Daniel Bryan’s participation. Finally, when Rey Mysterio comes out at #30, the crowd turns on the match completely, boo’s everyone, especially Mysterio, with the exception of Roman Reigns, but that’s only because the only option for winning was Batista.
  • I’m pretty sure the "Boo-Tista" nickname originates from this show, too. That’s another Simpsons reference, where Mr. Burns was too ignorant to realize a crowd was boo’ing him, so Smithers tried convincing him they were serenading him with chants of "Boo-urns."
  • Roman Reigns breaks Kane’s long-standing record of 11 total eliminations from 2001, throwing out 12 WWE Superstars.
Rumble Match Rating: This wasn’t too bad of a Rumble, but the lack of Daniel Bryan and the crowd unwilling to accept anything else creates another scenario where there’s no helping the product because the work of the match is over-shadowed by the backlash of the audience. Bringing Batista back in this specific role was just a bad idea, especially when it was presented in such an obvious and predictable fashion. [**1/2]
    The Undercard...
  1. The New Age Outlaws def. Cody Rhodes and Goldust for the Tag Team Titles on the Kick-Off Show. Yes. The Outlaws won the Titles in 2014. I guess I shouldn’t say that with too much conviction... one of the defending Champions was Dustin Rhodes in 2014. [**]
  2. Bray Wyatt def. Daniel Bryan in the PPV opener in an outstanding back-and-forth battle that ended with Wyatt giving Bryan two Sister Abigails, one on the floor into the security wall, and one in the ring. [****]
  3. Brock Lesnar def. Big Show in destructive fashion in less than two-minutes, then destroyed him with chair shots afterwards. Show sold it with mild discomfort. [NR]
  4. Randy Orton def. John Cena to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with help from the Wyatt Family. The crowd completely turned on the match before it had a chance, and makes it hard to rate. It wasn’t bad, but the factoring in the crowd definitely knocks I down. [**1/2]

2015 (January 25th, Wells Fargo center @ Philadelphia, PA)

Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. The Miz, 2. R-Truth, 3. Bubba Ray Dudley, 4. Luke Harper, 5. Bray Wyatt, 6. Curtis Axel, 7. The Boogeyman, 8. Sin Cara, 9. Zack Ryder, 10. Daniel Bryan, 11. Fandango, 12. Tyson Kidd, 13. Stardust, 14. Diamond Dallas Page, 15. Rusev, 16. Goldust, 17. Kofi Kingston, 18. Adam Rose, 19. Roman Reigns, 20. Big E., 21. Damien Mizdow, 22. Jack Swagger, 23. Ryback, 24. Kane, 25. Dean Ambrose, 26. Titus O’Neil, 27. Bad News Barrett, 28. Cesaro, 29. Big Show, 30. Dolph Ziggler

1. The Miz (by Dudley), 2. R-Truth (by Dudley), 3. Bubba Ray Dudley (by Wyatt), 4. Luke Harper (by Wyatt), 5. Curtis Axel (illegally eliminated by Rowan), 6. The Boogeyman (by Wyatt), 7. Sin Cara (by Wyatt), 8. Zack Ryder (by Wyatt), 9. Tyson Kidd (by Bryan), 10. Diamond Dallas Page (by Rusev), 11. Fandango (by Rusev), 12. Daniel Bryan (by Wyatt), 13. Adam Rose (by Rusev), 14. Kofi Kingston (by Rusev), 15. Goldust (by Reigns), 16. Stardust (by Reigns), 17. Damien Mizdow (by Rusev), 18. Titus O’Neil (by Ambrose & Reigns), 19. Big E (by Rusev), 20. Ryback (by Kane & Show), 21. Jack Swagger (By Show), 22. Bad News Barrett (by Ziggler), 23. Cesaro (by Ziggler), 24. Dolph Ziggler (by Show & Kane), 25. Bray Wyatt (by Show), 26. Dean Ambrose (Kane & Show), 27. Kane (by Reigns), 28. Big Show (by Reigns), 29. Rusev (by Reigns), WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS

    Memorable Moments and Random Tidbits...
  • Bubba Ray Dudley makes a Rumble appearance, but not D’Von. Would you believe this was Bubba’s first Rumble Match? He worked at the 2000-2004 PPV’s, but all on the undercard. Like a Tag Team version of Scott Hall.
  • R-Truth gets to play D’Von because he’s black... what?!
  • Erick Rowan was too much of a jobber to earn his spot into the Royal Rumble, so he takes Curtis Axel’s place and still gets eliminated in less than 60 seconds. It was still cool to see the Wyatt Family "Reunion."
  • Boogeyman vs. Bray Wyatt. The Water of Worms vs. The Eater of Worlds. Book it for WrestleMania!
  • Daniel Bryan makes his triumphant return from injury to enter the Royal Rumble, win the whole thing, and go to WrestleMania... wait, that wasn’t the plan?
  • Yet another character revamp for Mr. Cody Rhodes... STARDUST.
  • Diamond Cutters OUT OF NOWHERE!
  • I understand the logic behind doing Daniel Bryan’s elimination so early in the match, but the better booking strategy was to just keep him out all together so he doesn’t over-shadow Roman Reigns. Instead, the crowd dies and turns on the match even harder than in 2014.
  • The first man in the ring after the elimination of Daniel Bryan? Goldust, a SHATTERED DREAMS production. That’s some epic trolling, intentional or not.
  • Stardust vs. Goldust, and the crowd only has "Daniel Bryan" to say about that.
  • The crowd hates the match so much they boo Kofi Kingston. His non-elimination tease is being chucked over the top rope, caught by Adam Rose’s Exotic Express, and being carried around the ring and back onto the apron... it was still cool.
  • Adam Rose gets eliminated because his Party Posse is out of position. HA-HA!
  • Damien Mizdow gets the first pop of the match in nearly 10-minutes and gets eliminated in 30-seconds. Why not let him get a few more minutes at the least?
  • Titus O’Neil blows his quick elimination, because this Rumble just can’t get anything right.
  • Corporate Kane and Big Show clean house of everyone that the crowd could reasonably cheer for at this point, and in complete geek style.
  • Roman Reigns mega-comeback involves Kane and Big Show stumbling around like Dinosaurs, recreating the spot in 2006 where Triple H caught them by surprise and threw them out.
  • The Rock shows up to pop the crowd and gets booed out of the building for endorsing Roman Reigns.
Rumble Match Rating: What else needs to be said about this? Once Daniel Bryan is eliminated, the match hits the skids and never recovers. The crowd pops maybe 2 or 3 times the rest of the way, but each time is for such an insignificant amount of time that it gets lost in the sea of boos and indifference. I really like the first half, but its not good enough to save one of the worst halves of all time. [**]
    The Undercard...
  1. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd def. The New Day in the Kick-Off Match. This was originally meant to be a 6-Man Tag with Adam Rose and Xavier Woods added, but was changed at the last minute. Remember when New Day were babyfaces left to die on national television? [**1/2]
  2. The Ascension def. The New Age Outlaws in a total turd. [1/4*]
  3. Jimmy and Jey Uso def. The Miz and Damien Mizdow to retain the Tag Team Titles. Same-old-same-old from these guys. Most memorable moment was Miz classically being out of position to catch an Uso on a dive. [**1/2]
  4. Nikki and Brie Bella def. Paige and Natalya in a weird match where they did the heat segment on Nattie, broke up a hot tag attempt, and Nikki pinned her with a forearm. [*1/2]
  5. Brock Lesnar def. John Cena and Seth Rollins in a Triple Threat Match to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Title in a Match of the Year Contender. The idea of Brock destroying everyone in his path, forcing the unlikely alliance of Cena and Rollins to conquer the monster so they could try and beat each other played out perfectly and almost saved one of the worst PPV’s of the Year. Almost. [****1/4]
  • Enjoy the 2016 Royal Rumble. There’s nothing left to say, unless I wanted to kill myself and watch a bunch of other Royal Rumble matches that didn’t take place at a Royal Rumble PPV. There’s the MSG Rumble from 1994, a Rumble co-promoted with Tenryu’s company in the Spring of 1994, the Smackdown Rumble in 2004, and a handful of other Mini Rumbles presented on TV throughout the years. With all these Rumbles looked at and broken down, I think I don’t need to watch any of them again for at least a decade.

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