The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2015
Live from Philadelphia, PA, home of ECW and King of the Ring 95.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler
The New Age Outlaws v. The Ascension
The circle of life continues, as the Outlaws originally got themselves over by busting on the LOD, and now they’re the old fogies defending the honor of the previous fogies. On the bright side, the Ascension can always say they lasted longer than the Public Enemy. Apparently we’re supposed to use “#tagteamtitles” for this match, which probably earned Cole a stern yelling. The crowd lets the NAO know that they’ve still got it, which is a very generous assessment of their talents. The Outlaws work Konor over and Dogg drops the knee while JBL tells the tale of Bob Armstrong v. Buddy Colt. Bradshaw is so fucking old now. Dogg gets caught in the corner and pounded as we’re already well over the point of exposure for these clowns. Speaking of exposure, closeups of Billy Gunn’s face in HD in 2015 is a BAD IDEA. We get some chinlocks on Dogg until he fights them off and gets the hot tag to Billy, but the fameasser misses and the Fall of Man finishes at 5:22. Shit match to start the show and really the supposed world-beating monsters should have obliterated the old geezers. ½*
Meanwhile, after two commercials and a RAW recap, HHH and Stephanie ponder the whereabouts of Sting. Apparently the crap he got away with in WCW won’t fly here. I bet he used to rappel in and just use ice packs WHENEVER HE WANTED. Fucker. Paul Heyman interrupts and offers Brock as the solution to their problems.
WWE tag titles: The Usos v. The Miz & Mizdow
Finally, a fresh matchup! Mizdow is of course over huge as a babyface. The Usos double-team Miz to start and we get the wacky Mizdow stuff, which Cole makes sure to explain in detail to kill the joke. Miz necks Jimmy on the middle rope to take over and goes to the chinlock while teasing a tag with Mizdow. Backbreaker gets two. It's really weird that they’ve actually corrupted the original joke so much, in that Miz was originally trying to avoid doing any work and has now shifted to doing ALL the work himself, which is a point they’ve never made for some reason. Miz showboats and allows Jimmy to tag out to Jey, but Miz rolls him up for two. Short DDT gets two. Jey comes back with an enzuigiri to put Miz on the floor, but Miz sacrifices Mizdow to block a dive. Back in, Jey misses the flying splash and Miz gets two. Jey superkicks him and hits another splash, but Mizdow saves. Skull Crushing Finale gets two, although Mizdow hit the move so it might not have had all the impact it should. Miz and Jey fight on the top, which results in a top rope powerbomb and splash to retain at 9:23. Finish was really flat, as the match built weird with the Miz-Mizdow stuff screwing up the tag formula. Good action otherwise. **3/4
Meanwhile, J&J Security play video games in the back like a couple of lazy millennials, annoying Seth Rollins.
The Bella Twins v. Paige & Natalya
Apparently this is stemming from something on Total Divas. I’m guessing Paige turned babyface at some point? Because reasons? Frankly I’m still not even clear on why the Bellas are back together in the first place. The Bellas work Nat over as the commentary is already getting derailed into stupidity, before the match even has a chance to die. Paige and Natalya with a double suplex on Brie for two and then the crowd gets bored and starts chanting for Sami Zayn. Nattie gets worked over in the corner while Cole recaps the thrilling storyline on Total Divas. Because I’m sure all the 40 year old housewives watching that show decided to order Royal Rumble. Not to mention they basically ignore 90% of the show anyway. We get a whole bunch of chinlocks on Nattie and a sad spot with Brie yelling “Brie mode!” before hitting a running knee for two, as no one cares about what Brie Mode is. More chinlocks and Nikki misses a blind charge, but Brie trips Paige off the apron and Nikki pins Nattie off a forearm at 8:18. THAT was the finish? *
Yay, more commercials.
WWE World title: Brock Lesnar v. John Cena v. Seth Rollins
The crowd gloriously resurrects singing “John Cena sucks” in time with his music and then gives Brock a hero’s welcome by contrast. Brock immediately suplexes Cena and then takes out J&J to get at Rollins. So everyone gets suplexed multiple times and Brock tries the kimura on Cena, but Cena powers out. FU on Brock and Rollins gets one off that, but Brock just dumps both guys and we head to the floor. Back in, Cena comes back on Rollins, but sadly Lesnar is in fact able to see John and kills him with another suplex. Rollins dumps Brock and Cena slams Rollins for two, but Seth comes back with a Blockbuster for two. Rollins gets rid of Cena, but dives at Brock and gets caught in an F5 for two. Well that was ill-advised. Brock preps the table, but walks into three straight FUs, which gets two for Cena. Rollins with the curbstomp for two on Lesnar. Brock takes a breather and Cena tackles him through the barricade and then sends him into the stairs. Come on, you have to freeze him and then dump him in molten metal to really finish him off. So Rollins puts him on the announce table and drops an elbow from the top rope onto him as this match turns into a complete video game. In the best way, of course. Back in, Rollins cradles Cena for two and superkicks him for two. Cena comes back with a powerbomb for two while Heyman screams for a doctor. Cena and Rollins fight on the top, and Seth brings him down with a powerbomb into the opposite turnbuckles, for two. Cena reverses the curbstomp into the STF, but J&J make the save. Triple powerbomb on Cena gets two. Cena gets rid of Rollins and does his customary beating on J&J while Brock gets put on a stretcher, and the FU gets two on Rollins. Slugfest and Rollins gets an enzuigiri and curbstomp for two. And then Brock makes a miracle comeback, destroys both guys with suplexes, and F5s Rollins to retain at 22:40. So yeah, I guess we’re getting Brock v. Reigns. Thankfully the match delivered what the crowd wanted and showed Seth could hang on the main event stage. ****1/2
Miz is #1 and R-Truth is #2. Oh man, the final explosion of Awesome Truth! They fight on the apron early and Truth gets a leg lariat, but goes up and gets crotched…and Bubba Ray Dudley is #3. He’s looking a bit fatter than his TNA run. Bubba and Truth debut the What’s Up Drop and Bubba sends Truth to get the tables. And then they hit Miz with 3D and toss him at 4:00. Luke Harper is #4 as Bubba tosses Truth at 4:15. Bray Wyatt is #5 and thankfully cuts his entrance short, and the Wyatt Family reunites to beat up Bubba. The crowd wants D-Von, but Bubba is thrown out at 6:57. Well so much for that. Bray and Luke decide to team up as Curtis Axel is #6. And Rowan emerges to destroy him and take his place, and we get a three-way Wyatt fight. You have to be pretty low on the totem pole to get punked out by Rowan. Bray tosses both Wyatt geeks at 8:50 anyway to clear the ring. Boogeyman is #7. Really? This is the bottom of the barrel we’re scraping for surprise appearances now? So Bray quickly tosses this loser at 11:05. Sin Cara is #8 as the parade of jobbers continues. Cara gets some offense but walks into Sister Abigail and gets tossed at 12:18. Bray stops to preach to us and Zack Ryder is #9. Apparently Zack has been out with surgery for months. How would we ever know the difference? Zack gets his sad offensive flurry and then gets tossed at 14:01. Daniel Bryan is #10 as we finally get star power here. Bryan immediately runs wild on Bray with dropkicks in the corner and goes up with a rana as Fandango is #11. The New and Improved Fandango! Or is that a thing still? Bryan headkicks him into an airplane spin, but can’t get him out. Tyson Kidd is #12 and gets to run wild on everyone, but collides with Bryan and everyone is out. Stardust is #13 and they’re acting like it’s Cody’s Rumble debut. What? Bryan suplexes Tyson out at 21:06 and then dumps Bray through the ropes before following with a dive. DDP returns to the WWE at #14 and Stardust immediately punks him out. And that results in a Diamond Cutter. Fandango goes up and gets crotched and DDP hits a Diamond Cutter from the top on him. Bray also takes one and Rusev is #15. Rusev casually blocks the Cutter and tosses DDP at 24:31. Fandango at 24:38. Bryan hits both heels with a missile dropkick and throws kicks, but Rusev puts him down and Bray tosses him at 25:35. Uh oh. This is gonna get ugly. Goldust is #16 and you can tell they’ve deflated the crowd like Tom Brady’s football. Stardust tries to toss his brother and the crowd just ignores the match and chants for Daniel Bryan, booing EVERYONE. Kofi Kingston is #17 and they boo him too. This is some awesome sour grapes. YOU’RE GONNA GET ROMAN REIGNS AND LIKE IT, PHILLY! Adam Rose is #18 and the Rosebuds catch a flying Kofi and save him. And then they ignore Rose flying out at 30:33. And then Rusev eliminates Kofi at 30:49 anyway. I’m glad they at least did the crowd surf spot before killing the Rose character off. Roman Reigns is #19 and the crowd is PISSED. They are NOT buying in on this one. This man is being sent out there to die. Reigns cleans house and dumps Goldust at 32:37 and Stardust at 32:38. It’s Bootista time as the crowd turns on the match. Big E is #20 and the crowd can’t even be bothered to boo him. No, wait, they can. Everyone stands around punching each other and Mizdow is #21 and he’s the one guy who at least the crowd spares. And then Miz sends him back and takes his spot, so Roman shoves him out and Mizdow goes in after all. And then Rusev tosses him right away at 36:03. So the crowd turns on the match again. Jack Swagger is #22 and no one cares about that either. Swaggerbomb on Reigns and then it’s back to standing around and kicking. Ryback is #23 and goes after Rusev, but can’t put him out. Now the crowd wants CM Punk. Kane is #24 as the ring piles up with stiffs with nothing going on. Dean Ambrose is #25 and we’ll see what stupid way he eliminates himself. Philly is willing to back him in his quest to make this match not suck. Titus O’Neil is #26. Well that won’t help. The Shield reunites to dump him at 43:38. Bad News Barrett is lucky #27. So that leaves Big Show, Dolph Ziggler and someone else. More nothing going on with dead weight piled up. The match basically died off with Reigns. Cesaro is #28 and he gets some offense on Ambrose and Big gets Rusev’d at 48:23. Big Show is #29 and he dumps Ryback at 49:33. Swagger at 49:40. And Dolph Ziggler is #30, so we’re getting Reigns winning this dog. Dolph tosses Barrett at 51:01, but walks into the Giant Swing. Cesaro can’t put him out, however. They slug it out on the apron and Ziggler supkerkicks him out at 52:01. And then Show just punches him out and tosses him at 52:47. Kane and Show dump Bray at 53:17, leaving a Final Four of Show, Kane, Ambrose and Reigns. We do the big slugfest and the crowd shits all over it. Superman Punch for Show, but Reigns runs into a big boot from Kane. Dean gets dumped at 55:13 like a geek, leaving Reigns alone. And the crowd just SAVAGELY turns on the match, booing Reigns’ comeback. Kane and Big Show turn on each other and the crowd is just booing this whole mess with a wall of white noise, and Reigns dumps both to win at 57:15. And the crowd BOOS HIM OUT OF THE BUILDING! Holy fuck. There was literally zero reaction to him winning. Kane and Show beat on him afterwards, but The Rock makes the save, momentarily redeeming this mess, before the crowd goes back to booing Reigns again. And then Rusev returns, having never been eliminated, and Reigns tosses him out to win for real at 59:48. And the crowd still boos him. WORST RUMBLE EVER. At least 1999 had trainwreck appeal. This was just boring. **
This show is gonna be legendary for all the wrong reasons. Thumbs way down.