The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2012
So just like my Night of Champions rant, this is more of a short-form review because I was watching this in a theatre and I never want to be the doofus taking notes in the dark. Now, that being said, my opinion of this might vary wildly from people watching it home because the movie theatre experience is AWESOME. And it was a sold out theatre, which is a rarity for their PPVs these days. Not only that, but sold out with a JACKED crowd. A tad on the super-mark side (some loudly so) but man what a fun experience it made for. There’s really no comparison to watching it at home. So any of these ratings and opinions are subject to future “2020 Scott sez” re-examinations later where I make fun of myself, but for now it is what it is.
Live from St. Louis, MO.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & Booker T.
Smackdown World title: Daniel Bryan v. Big Show v. Mark Henry
Weird choice for an opener, with two heels and Big Show. Henry, as expected, didn’t do much here, as the focus was mainly Show v. Bryan. A couple of interesting spots with Bryan trying to outsmart the big guys in between getting pounded by Show and throwing kicks. Mark Henry yelling “SHUT THAT DOOR!” at the poor referee was epic. Finish seemed a bit rushed, with Bryan trying for the over-the-top exit and Show holding him by the wrist to block, before just kind of dropping him to give Bryan the win. That’s pretty anticlimactic. The flukish win aside, this was pretty strong booking for Bryan, but the match was dogshit. They’ve gotta let Henry sit out for a couple of months or else he’s gonna be done for good by Wrestlemania. *1/2
Meanwhile, Johnny Ace continues his attempts to save his job by putting Zack Ryder (now downgraded to a herniated disc) into a private office so he can watch the show.
Oh yeah, also a LONG promo for John Cena basically doing everything but showing him walking on water to hopefully find SOMEONE to cheer for him at Wrestlemania. He does charity work! He loves the troops! He does more charity work! They’re going all-in on promoting Wrestlemania, I’ll give them that.
Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Brie Bella & Nikki Bella v. Kelly Kelly, Eve, Alicia Fox & Tamina
I was actually just wondering where the hell Beth had gotten to. I guess we’ve exhausted all the other combinations of these divas, so now it’s just throw everyone into the match and have at it. I really don’t get what they see in Tamina aside from her dad. Standard tag match with no real heat segment aside from the Bellas briefly switching places in lieu of just making a tag, leading up to everyone “brawling” on the floor in the most contrived setup possible for Kelly to do a dive onto them. The finish redeemed it somewhat, as Beth tags herself in and has had ENOUGH of Kelly, finishing her with the Glam Slam to hopefully end that feud forever. This wasn’t embarrassing at least, but man every time Tamina and Fox get in there it’s brutal. *1/2
John Cena v. Kane
This match died the death of a thousand DUDs as far as the crowd was concerned. Like really, it’s supposed to be this super-heated blood feud, and they just go out and do a dull Cena v. Kane match. Kane basically took the whole match and there was nothing going on as Kane can’t even get SMELL THE GLOVE over as a hot finish. Maybe if he wiped his ass with the glove before doing the smother, people would buy it as a deadly move. I did enjoy Kane popping up with a chokeslam attempt to show that he can indeed see Cena, but then they go to the incredibly lazy double countout non-finish so THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE. It’s such an important issue to Cena that they’re running promos for his match with the Rock before and after it. And then, just because you can never get enough of it, they fight to the back and sure enough Kane invades Ryder’s office and beats him up AGAIN. And this time it’s a tombstone on a guy with a back brace. And the crowd CHEERS it because they hate Cena so much. What a disaster this all was. DUD I keep wondering what more they can possibly do to Ryder and they keep finding things.
But don’t be a bully. BE A STAR! I can assure you that Zack Ryder is no longer a star.
And now, the Rock promo.
Brodus Clay v. Drew McIntyre
I don’t get the joke behind Drew continuing to get “fired” every week and yet still being employed. Usual Clay squash here, although the crowd isn’t really as fired up for Clay as the RAW crowds have been. ½*
RAW World title: CM Punk v. Dolph Ziggler
Thankfully, this was where the show went from awful to fantastic. Ace demotes himself to outside referee and then tosses Vickie (as per the stips that I don’t think anyone else even remembered). Ziggler continues to bring the goods here, as they do some neat mat reversals off the sleeper attempt and Dolph continues to be a show-off. I also really loved the fameasser getting countered into the rotation powerbomb by Punk. The finish sees the ref getting bumped (of course) and Punk hitting three different finishes on Ziggler to make up for the fluke jobs he’s already done, with Big Johnny missing all of them. The crowd was RABID at this point and freaking out about Ziggler possibly winning the title, so the booking of the match was particularly effective. Dolph escapes the GTS with the fameasser for a hot two, but Punk finishes for realz with the GTS with both referees counting. Ace as the smiling asskisser was tremendous here and this was a show-saving main event. ****
Miz gets #1 of course and he quickly gets rid of Alex Riley at #2. Man, whose dog did Riley run over? I just don’t get this whole thing where they find their decent prospects and then job them out of existence in a weird self-fulfilling prophecy. Most impressive to me, however, was the loud-mouthed guy next to me who actually knew A-Ry’s music. Next big highlight was Mick Foley at #7, leading to a sock-off against Santino in an amazingly entertaining break. Also amazingly entertaining: Ricardo Rodriguez entering to Del Rio’s music and driving a broken-down rental car before bonding with Foley and eliminating Justin Gabriel. That whole segment was AWESOME and they’ve got something potentially special with Ricardo. After that begins the running gag for the night, with Jerry Lawler entering the match to a giant pop and cleaning house before getting eliminated again. There was a lot of that, which is a great way to use the legends. Jinder Mahal gets some good heat from the crowd before Great Khali comes out and eliminates him, then proceeds to last longer than he had any right to. Next announcer into the match is Booker T, and you can see the payoff to this gag coming a mile away. Kofi Kingston gets tossed by the Miz, but lands on his HANDS and does a handstand to the stairs to save himself. That got, I shit you not, a nearly standing ovation from the movie theatre. Michael Cole is the last announcer in at #20 and everyone stands aside to let him pose and the marks around me were SCREAMING for Jim Ross to get #21. Sadly, no, but Kharma returns and Cole eliminates himself to escape. Then the actual star power portion begins, with Sheamus, Orton, Jericho and Big Show ending up as the final four. The crowd in the theatre was going crazy for all of this, although Show as #30 was a letdown to me. As was Jericho making his big promises and then just being a guy in the Royal Rumble. Orton gets his big hometown eliminations and then just gets tossed by Jericho, which was kind of a weird way to use him in his home city. Sheamus and Jericho survive to the end and do a pretty great 5 minute match ala Shawn-Undertaker in 2007, with Sheamus getting the unpredictable win with the Brogue Kick to eliminate Jericho. I don’t see him in the title match by Wrestlemania somehow. Plus I think predictable would have been the better way to go. I initially gave this the full monty while leaving the theatre and updating the blog from my phone, but a couple of hours of thought leaves this as ****1/2 because there was too much silliness with the announcers and they seemed to run out of clever ideas at the end. Still, a fantastic end to save what had been a horrible show up to the WWE title match started.
Well worth buying the replay, but only for the last two matches. That Kane-Cena abomination was a show-killer on any other PPV, but the Rumble was fantastically entertaining and I’m kind of left wanting to see another Ziggler-Punk match next month. Which is good because I’m sure I’ll get one.