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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

The Piledriver Report 01.23.14: Royal Rumbling
Posted by Ronny Sarnecky on 01.23.2014

On Sunday, January 26th, the "Road to WrestleMania" begins at the 2014 Royal Rumble. As of press time, the Royal Rumble pay per view is scheduled to air five matches, a pre-show match, along with four matches that will take place on the main portion of the show.


The New Age Outlaws vs. Goldust and Cody Rhodes for the WWE Tag Team Championship

Cody Rhodes and Goldust just celebrated their three month anniversary as the WWE Tag Team Championship. Ever since the brothers started teaming up, they have been on fire. Each night, Cody Rhodes and Goldust have either the Match of the Night or pretty close to it. Goldust is 44 years old, and his workrate today is better than it was during the prime of the Goldust character in 1995-1997. It's been an amazing transformation for Dustin Rhodes. Their opponents at the Rumble, the New Age Outlaws, were at the height of popularity in the Attitude Era, which was over fifteen years ago. The only person in the match that is entering his prime years is Cody Rhodes.

I was a huge fan of the Road Dogg and Billy Gunn during their run. Instead of remembering their tag team wars or their skits in DeGeneration X, I can't help but always think of something else. A few years ago the New Age Outlaws filmed a shoot interview where they bashed Triple H like crazy. A few years later, they did another shoot where they were drug free and extremely apologetic towards Triple H. It was night watching two, or in this case four, totally different people. I just think it's funny to see them both working for the WWE today after the way they bashed Triple H in the first interview.

On January 17th's edition of SmackDown!, the New Age Outlaws beat the Rhodes brothers in a non-title match. According to the WWE's even stevens booking philosophy, that would mean that Goldust and Cody Rhodes should retain on the pay per view. However, I am going in the opposite direction. For the past couple of years, Cody Rhodes and Goldust have wanted to have a match against one another at WrestleMania. While this year seems to be the year that they finally get their wish, both men are on such a roll as a team, that I think they should stay together. Maybe they can do a face vs. face match at WrestleMania due to the Authority forcing them to. However, I don't see that happening. Instead, I see this match as being the first cog in the break-up of the Rhodes brothers. I think the New Age Outlaws win, so that the Authority can control the WWE Tag Team championship like they have been controlling the WWE World title. WINNERS: BILLY GUNN/ROAD DOGG


Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt

On October 7th, Daniel Bryan was attacked by Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan. I was very unhappy when he was attacked. To me, that day officially marked the date that the WWE dropped the ball on the Daniel Bryan/Face of the Company storyline. I always held out hope that the WWE would do the right thing by having Daniel Bryan win the Royal Rumble and go on to finally claim the WWE World championship at WrestleMania for the start of a real run with the title.

Instead, the WWE turned Daniel Bryan heel. Why? What possible reason did they have to do this? Conspiracy theorists may believe that they did this to kill off Daniel Bryan's momentum and the "YES" chants. I can't believe that, because Bryan is one of their most popular wrestlers. It wasn't like they were turning him heel, like they did with CM Punk a year and a half ago. Instead, they were having him join the Wyatt Family where he would take a backseat to their leader, Bray Wyatt. I believe that the heel decision was just short sightedness on the creative team, and the McMahons' part.

Thankfully, the incident at the Michigan State basketball game where the entire crowd chanted "YES" while the announcers mentioned Daniel Bryan by name happened. Apparently, the WWE was "100% totally embarrassed" by having Bryan a heel while the YES chants were catching on to a national non-wrestling crowd. The WWE put the kibosh on the Bryan pseudo-heel turn, and changed their mind to turn him back less than a week after basketball chants. The WWE can't kill Daniel Bryan's momentum anymore, which is why I feel that they will put him over Bray Wyatt. WINNER: DANIEL BRYAN


Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show

According to the rumors over the past few months, Brock Lesnar is scheduled to face the Undertaker at WrestleMania. In order to provide Brock Lesnar with a ton of momentum heading into this classic encounter, the WWE wants to put Lesnar over as a huge threat leading up to the match. This is why I am a little confused regarding the WWE's latest booking decision in the set up to the Big Show/Brock Lesnar match at the Royal Rumble.

Brock Lesnar has had three main feuds since returning to the WWE. He fought John Cena, Triple H, and CM Punk. To set up all three feuds, Brock Lesnar was mainly put over as a monster in the angles leading up to the matches. However, in the build-up to his upcoming contest against the Big Show, Brock Lesnar has looked like a mere mortal as the Big Show has thrown him from pillar to post in each confrontation. Is Brock Lesnar becoming just "another guy" on the WWE roster? I understand that the WWE is trying to build up the match by showing that the Big Show is up to the task to taking on the "beast." However, this show is being sold on the Royal Rumble match, and not on the Big Show/Brock Lesnar contest. You need to use this match to build the bigger match in Brock vs. the Undertaker.

The WWE needs to go back to building Brock's aura of being a killer, like they did pre-Big Show angle when he destroyed Mark Henry. The WWE needs to go old school, and turn the Brock Lesnar/Big Show match into a pre-Monday Night War era squash match. This match should be eight minutes of Brock Lesnar beating the hell out of the Big Show with a couple of short offensive bursts by the giant. Regardless if the WWE gives us a one-sided affair, or a pretty fair fight between the two, I can't see the WWE putting over the Big Show when Brock is moving on to challenging the "streak." Just how they do it is another story all together. WINNER: BROCK LESNAR


John Cena vs. Randy Orton for the WWE World championship

In a rematch from the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs pay per view, Randy Orton defends the new unified championship against John Cena. The stipulation of the match is that a winner can be determined by only pinfall or submission. When it was first announced that Randy Orton and John Cena were going to unify the WWE and World Heavyweight championships at the December pay per view, many felt a match to unify the two titles should be staged on the biggest show of the year, and not a "B" show. While the unification happened in December, at least the WWE is providing the rematch on the second biggest show of the year.

I think that now isn't the right time to give John Cena the WWE title. After all, I think the Authority angle has yet to reach its climax. From all reports, the conclusion of the angle is supposed to be at WrestleMania. I think the next step in the Authority angle is to have the Authority control all of the belts. Randy Orton holds the WWE World title, the New Age Outlaws could possibly win the tag titles, Dean Ambrose is the United States champion. After the Royal Rumble the only belt not under the Authority's control is the Intercontinental title.

I think Randy Orton will keep the title, but I do not think he will do so with a clean victory. I feel that this match will end due to someone interfering in the match. This would be a good way to allow Randy Orton to retain, while at the same time setting up John Cena's latest opponent. Depending on the wrestler, it could be his WrestleMania XXX opponent. WINNER: RANDY ORTON


30 Man Over the Top Rope Royal Rumble Battle Royal

Thus far, the participants are Alberto Del Rio, Batista, CM Punk, Big E Langston, The Miz, R-Truth, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Rey Mysterio, Fandango, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Damien Sandow, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso. There are still ten spots remaining. Assuming that the returning from injury Christian and Sheamus are added to the Royal Rumble, that leaves eight spots available. Let's figure that the WWE adds five "legends," that leaves three final spots. It's important that the WWE put some one big in those final three spots. If you look the Royal Rumble lineup, the WWE is extremely short on candidates who can legitimately win the match and headline WrestleMania. Those two wrestlers are Batista and CM Punk. The WWE needs to include three wrestlers to pull double duty on the show, and enter the Royal Rumble match.

John Cena- After losing the WWE title match earlier in the night, this would give John Cena another chance to headline WrestleMania. More importantly, it would put in some doubt as to who will win the match. After all, John Cena would leave Pittsburgh with two losses on the night if he came up empty.

Brock Lesnar- He cut a promo earlier this month stating that after the Royal Rumble, he is next on the food chain to get a WWE title shot. Putting him in the Rumble will give more credence to his argument about becoming the next WWE champion. Plus, with the limited dates and money that Brock Lesnar is earning, the WWE should earn their money and make Brock Lesnar work double duty on the Rumble pay per view.

Daniel Bryan- More than any other competitor, Daniel Bryan needs to be in the match. He has been the most popular wrestler in the company for several months. His being vilified by not being good enough by the Authority to be the face of the company, would make Bryan's entry into the Rumble as a last chance effort for him to chase the WWE World title. It would make for a good story.

Speaking of Daniel Bryan, there was a report that following the RAW where Bryan turned on the Wyatts, the backstage was in awe, and that "Vince loves Bryan." It has also been said that Vince scrapped the idea of having a Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara match where 75,000 fans are wearing masks in the stands. Now, he wants to have the visual of 75,000 fans chanting "YES! YES! YES!" Well, if you really want that to happen, then you need to have Bryan win the Rumble, and follow that up with a WWE World title win at WrestleMania. That's a better plan than what the WWE has for him at WrestleMania right now. Oh wait, according to the rumors, since they turned him back so quickly, they don't have a planned Mania match for him yet. Bryan competing for the title at WrestleMania would do the trick.

Unfortunately, I don't believe the WWE will go through with it. I think the WWE will go with Batista over CM Punk as their choice to win the Rumble. I expect CM Punk to be eliminated due to Authority members gaining up on him in order to help set up Punk's WrestleMania match against Triple H. Plus, the WWE has hyped the hell out of, not only Batista's return to the company, but also his appearance in the Royal Rumble match. They haven't hyped anybody else's Royal Rumble appearance like they have Batista's. Plus, they started to plan the seeds of former Evolution members exploding. WINNER: BATISTA


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