Best Match: Wyatt vs. Bryan
Worst Match: Cena vs. Orton
Feel bad for Rey Mysterio. Even though it was pretty obvious he was coming in based on people who were announced - that crowd hated him when they realized he wasn't Bryan. Batista I'm mixed about. I am glad he's back, I had no interest in him getting this spot.
Most surprising part of the show to me was Justin Roberts clearly omitting "Main Event" when announcing the prize for winning the Rumble. If they're officially taking out the Main Event gimmick then they're really trying to kill interest in this match.
Thumbs up (begrudgingly)
Best match: Bryan/Wyatt
Worst match: Rumble
Ok, so maybe this is a late night in the UK combined with around 3 hours sleep talking here.
Bryan/Wyatt: great match, Wyatt really stepped up as this was his "prove me right" moment. Although, if you can't have a good match with Bryan......Wyatt winning must have meant something for later on in the card, yes? No.............
Show/Lesnar: too many chair shots, even if they were to the back/shoulder. It was short but it was effective and told the story it needed to.
Cena/Orton: they had a good match, despite the crowd hating large sections of it. Orton did well not to blow his stack (in front of the cameras at least). It wasnt the match the crowd hated, just having the same guys force fed to them all the time. Speaking of which......
Rumble: poor Rey. Poor, poor Rey. If ever a guy was in a no win situation.......The match wasnt well paced in places, and there weren't many real surprises in it, but they stuck to their guns. At least Roman Reigns came out of it with momentum.
But the elephant in the room......Daniel Bryan. When he lost, I thought maybe he'd show up in the Rumble. When the Wyatts cost Cena the match, I thought he'd run in and start the build for a Mania match and not be in the Rumble. When he wasnt and he didn't, the crowd realised what was going on.......
I agree that he isn't the new Steve Austin. And I take your fact that he doesn't move ratings. But if they presented him as the man, pushed him properly in the upper echelon of the card as the fans want, then maybe we'd know one way or the other.....
Thumbs mixed. Let's start with the good things:
* Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt was everything it needed to be. They gave both men a long time, the crowd kept getting hotter, and they didn't book a banana peel finish. They made the point that the only way to beat Daniel Bryan was to absolutely destroy him, which Wyatt did with the barricade followed by the Abigail in the ring. If they're strapping the rocket to Wyatt for Mania, that's how you do it, and Bryan deserves to be acknowledged for making Wyatt strong as opposed to everyone protesting that he lost.
* Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show may have been bowling shoe ugly as a match, but again it's hard to fault WWE for picking a direction and sticking to it, which so many other companies (in and outside of wrestling) fail to do. They want Lesnar to look like Juggernaut, and convince you that he's going to run through Undertaker, despite his undefeated WrestleMania streak. Mission accomplished. If he can take out the 7 foot tall "thick" guy, he can take out the 7 foot "wiry" guy. Perhaps that makes it even more believable since Taker is aging and has chronic injuries Big Show doesn't. They've got to find ways to sell the idea taker +might+ lose, and this is as good as they can do.
* Dave Bautista was brought back to make a big impact, and the Raw rating was a huge banner reading MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. The only sensible thing to do in the Royal Rumble was go full speed ahead. I can't say that's what Pittsburgh wanted, but if you're judging by the people watching at home, that's a voting audience of millions compared to the views of 10-15K in one venue. If the casual viewer wants Batista, give them Batista. If they latch on to him because he was a star in the past, go with it, and if you can use the fact he and Randy Orton have history together that's even better. The story for Mania practically writes itself unless they overthink it and screw it up.
The bad things:
The tag team title change was completely flat. In large part that's due to it being a pre-show match with short time, which was interrupted by a commercial break when it had barely begun. WWE really needs to rethink the strategy of taking unnecessary commercial breaks during a pre-show, because THE PRE-SHOW ITSELF IS A COMMERCIAL FOR THE PPV
, so it's not only redundant it actually weakens the selling point when you interrupt the action that's a sample of what's to come. And like everybody else I loved the Outlaws 15 years ago, but I don't think the "we don't wear white hats or play nice" angle jibes correctly when Road Dogg does a pure babyface promo for his intros and interviews. The title change seems rushed and as is often the case felt designed to prove the point that you shouldn't skip pre-shows, which should never be the reason to do anything ever. EVER
Orton vs. Cena was nowhere near as bad as the crowd made it out to be, but good lord did they ever hijack this PPV. You would think they would have rather seen Aksana vs. Brie Bella. I guarantee you if they have been given that much it would have been far worse. This plus the unmitigated dump they took on the last ten minutes of the main event leaves me with mixed emotions. I get it. I've been a fan of 'American Dragon' Bryan Danielson since the first tape of the first ROH show I got from a friend 12 years ago. He's had a lot of ups and downs in the years since, worked all around the world, and now he's in WWE making the big money someone as talented and hard-working as him deserves to be. That's never going to be enough for the #YesMovement. He was the focal point of TV for most of 2013 and because he never got "a run" it was somehow not enough.
Let the man cash his checks and pop the crowds and for the love of God stop making what you think Vince and company do to him your cause celebre
. He's not getting any more over than he already is, and if anything hijacking a PPV to the point of booing Rey Mysterio (who did nothing to deserve that) isn't going to help the #YesMovement - it's likely to backfire dramatically. Vince may or may not believe these are isolated incidents, but he does believe in trolling the internet when the internet trolls him, and that's what this has come to. We'll give him the world title, and take it right back. Ha ha. You get louder, we'll feed him to Bray Wyatt. The beautiful thing is that Bryan is still a star and making the best money of his life. Let's try to remember he's not working in bingo halls in front of a thousand people now, no matter how much we fondly remember those days, and not destroy him by pushing this movement so far down Vince's throat he pukes it back all over us.
PS: Never let it be said fans aren't entitled to chant what they want, for who they want, for the hard earned money they spent. If it's more fun for you to spend $55 just to piss on the thing you came to that's your prerogative. I'm going to Raw next week myself, but I'm not going to chant for Daniel Bryan for 3 hours. When he gets his moment in the sun I'll chant YES! YES! YES!
during it, and when he's not in the spotlight I'm not going to demand they bring him right back out again. And in that respect I actually do agree with Vince not listening to the audience, because it's not The Daniel Bryan Show, and shouldn't be. It's a variety show, and he's a part of it, not the whole damn thing.
WWE Royal Rumble: Thumbs in the Middle
Best Match: Bryan vs. Wyatt
Worst Match: Lesnar vs. Show (by default since it wasn't really a match)
I have to say as a whole the pay per view wasn't a bad show, but it was disappointing for many reasons. One of course being that Daniel Bryan, the man who should be headlining wasn't even in the Rumble, two because the show was so predictable especially in the Rumble outcome, and three because there was a lack of surprises in the Rumble itself.
The Kickoff match with the Tag Titles was pretty good. I do hope Cody and Goldust get a return match instead of blaming each other and feuding. Kind of strange to have the New Age Outlaws as Champions in 2014. Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt was tremendous. This is the best I've seen Wyatt look and of course Bryan is phenomenal. I get Bryan losing, but again he should have been back later in the Rumble match. Lesnar vs. Show was not really a match, but made sense since Lesnar should look like a monster. Cena vs. Orton was fine, but again no one cares about these two against each other. It's been done to death and Orton is really stale. Having Orton headline Mania just doesn't seem right. Rumble was good, but with no Bryan, not much in the way of surprises (as in no Jericho, no RVD, no Jake, etc.). Nash was a decent surprise, but he looked pretty bad in the match. I hate when they waste a spot on someone like Torito and when the announcers get in the ring just for a quick two second deal. Was also funny seeing Kane in the wrong place as he got caught on camera while waiting to do his deal with Punk. Kofi was amazing again this year and hopefully he gets a shot at doing something. Batistia winning was no surprise and people badly turned on him. They were really behind Reigns which is cool and his spear looks so amazing next to what Batista did. I hope they badly realize what they have with Bryan and change course sooner than later because having Bryan vs. Sheamus at Mania is just a bad idea and even worse if Orton vs. Batista is the main event when people don't want it. Mick Foley knows what he's talking about. Too bad he has no input on creative.
For the show: thumbs up
For the crowd: thumbs down
Best match: Bryan vs Wyatt
Worst match: Lesnar vs Show
Oh, how I despise "smart crowds." The whole notion for me is a contradiction in terms. Yes, don't put someone who is a proven draw in the main event of your biggest show of the year. Please put in a guy who has a poor track record in drawing PPV buys, ratings or selling merchandise just because, well, just because.
I like Daniel Bryan, I really do. He has great matches. His "yes gimmick is fun, and I do believe he has been booked poorly. But why exacerbate the wrongs against him last year by putting him in the main event of WrestleMania where he is sure to fail because of said poor booking from last year? To be honest, even if he had been booked perfectly, an impossibility from the current WWE, but lets pretend it's possible. I still don't think he would be in the upper echelons so far as popularity. Time to let that ship sail for better or worse.
Anyway as for the show. Really Liked the opener, though both Wyatt and Bryan were great. The finish was right and the right guy went over. Show and Lesnar was what it was. Didn;t do a lot for me, and I agree they should have sent the stretcher out and had him carried off rather than leaving on hos own,
I really liked the Cena vs Orton match. I thought it was probably their best match together since 2007. Lots of cool bits near the end and the I didn't mind the finish. The rumble itself was nothing special. It followed the formula. I think the right guy won. The only other guy I could have bought as a WrestleMania title challenger was Punk and they're obviously going somewhere else with him.
Overall good show. Fuck smart fans.
Attended the Rumble live. Was happy to see Bryan get enough time to have a solid match, would have loved to see an appearance in the Rumble but wasn't expecting it. The pre and post match stuff with Brock and Big Show just felt like an eternity and the match wasn't much of anything, not to say I would have wanted to see them go any length of time. It was fine for what it was, and the show itself was pretty good as far as quality. The crowd started out on a high note, peaked with the opening match of the PPV, and their mood plummeted for the second half of the show.
With that said, I've never witnessed a crowd response like that in my life. The crowd reaction to the title match (especially thinking to what last year's title match meant) and Rumble was the most memorable part of the experience. Pittsburgh can be a quiet crowd, so it was quite a spectacle to see them so passionately behind Bryan, and turn on everything, especially once they figured out Bryan was not coming back out. I attended the Invasion PPV back in 2001 and after that show aired I remembered walking out of the arena and hearing so many people that were so unhappy that they probably weren't watching Raw the next night or spending money on any events in the future. It really had a negative vibe. I wouldn't say this was exactly the same as that or that it has any of the same business implications, but there absolutely was a disappointing feeling in the air as people started filing out of Consol tonight.
So I watched the Rumble and I enjoyed it. I do get the backlash of the fans as they want Daniel Bryan on top and I agree. But everyone who is bashing the show, I have to disagree.
The Shield looked great in the 1st rumble outing. Hell Rollins lasted over 40 minutes and Reigns had a superb performance.
The Wyatts shined, Bray had a breakout performance with Bryan in the opener, now into a program with Cena who is the top guy, Rowan and Harper had nice outings also in the Rumble.
Brock Lesnar is money.
Rusev in the Rumble was nice. Punk looked good, as did Cesaro. Point being the youth of the federation shined.
Batista winning, I'm not invested into what he or Orton does so it's whatever.
The show had some high points. People can boycott if they wish, but a lot of talent are working very hard and I want to see them get "moments"
Each time Bryan gets shafted, he gets more over, think about that? How many years did Punk go without the run? I believe it will happen. Everyone is allowed an opinion, but i did appreciate and enjoy the hard work so many put in.
Thumbs in the middle, leaning down
Best match: Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt
Worst match: Cena vs Orton
If not for the Bryan vs Wyatt match, I would be asking for a refund for this show. That match was far better than I expected. The Lesner vs Show match did well as far as building Lesner for the match with taker at Mania. The best part of the title match was the crowd reaction.
And the rumble... It seems like the WWE's motto lately is when in doubt, look to what worked before. I have no problem with Batista returning, but the fact that he has walked into a title program at the biggest show of the year makes me sick. It is so easy to tell what the fans want right now, a true Daniel Bryan push. The fact that there was room for El Torrito, JBL, and Kevin Nash in this years rumble and not for the most over baby face the company has had in a decade speaks volumes. I get it that Bryan winning the rumble would cause a change in plans for Mania, but sometimes life can get in the way of some of the best laid plans. Just imagine 70,000 people chanting in New Orlenes after Daniel Bryan finally won the title. It would have been a moment for the ages, and a moment that this company just doesn't seem capable of making anymore. Just my two cents.
Chris A Kunkel