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Views from the Hawke's Nest: WWE Royal Rumble 2014
Posted by TJ Hawke on 01.26.2014



Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, & JBL

This is the first WWE show (PPV or television) that I have really watched in full since Summerslam. I have not been impressed with what little I have seen since that time. Hopefully, the start of the 2014Wrestlemania season turns things around for them.


Pre-Show

The Brotherhood (Cody Rhodes & Goldust)© vs. The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn) [WWE Tag Team Championships]
The New Age Outlaws are the perfect example of an act from the late nineties that was not very good in the ring, but they remained beloved for reasons that I do not exactly understand. I never really had a problem with them, but I do not need to see them having matches in 2014. I'm sure they will work hard here at least.

Cody sent both of them to the floor. Goldust hit Road Dogg with a rolling senton off the apron. Cody hit a triple jump springboard plancha onto Gunn. We then inexplicably went to a commercial break. The first commercial was for the Royal Rumble and Batista. I'm pretty sure this who pre-show is already an advertisement for the Royal Rumble.

We came back with Road Dogg working over Goldust. He hit Road Dogg with a Code Red, but he did not make a comeback or tag out after that. Gunn then worked him over. Has anyone ever noticed that Billy Gunn looks a lot like Maria Tomei from The Wrestler> Goldust managed to tag out to Cody. Cody made a comeback. Road Dogg went for a pumphandle slam, but Cody reversed it into a Cross Rhodes: 1…2…NO! Billy made the save. Cody hit Road Dogg with the Beautiful Disaster. Gunn had blind tagged in though, and he hit Cody with the FameAsser: 1…2…3? Le sigh.

The match was fine enough, but the idea of the New Age Outlaws winning the tag titles in 2014 is just very, very blah. I hope they drop them soon. Cody was working really hard at least, and he provided about 99.99% of the entertainment in the match.
Match Rating: **



PPV

Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt (w/ Luke Harper & Erick Rowan)
If Bray Wyatt can't have a good match here, it may be time to pull the plug on the singles push.

Bryan hit a dive on Harper early on. Rowan went to attack Bryan. The referee then tossed out Harper and Rowan. Wyatt attacked Bryan after that. Wyatt told them he didn't need them. Bryan hit Wyatt with a plancha. Bray crashed into the steel steps, knee first. Bryan then had control, and he was mostly targeting the knees. Bryan was working Wyatt over for a while. Wyatt finally cut him off by snapping him down on the apron. Wyatt was then in control. Wyatt hit a senton on the floor. Wyatt was working him over for a very long time. Bryan finally started a comeback. He hit lots of kicks. He got a nearfall with a super ‘rana. Wyatt caught Bryan with an elbow out of nowhere for a nearfall. Bryan sent Wyatt to the floor and then hit a tornado DDT from the apron. Bryan got a nearfall with a buzzsaw kick. Bryan was building some momentum, but Wyatt caught him with a lariat that turned Bryan inside out. Bryan reversed Sister Abigail into a pinning combination for a great nearfall. Wyatt bit his way out of the Yes Lock. Bryan went for a diving headbutt, but he hit a superfly splash instead. Bryan called for the Busaiku Knee, but Wyatt fell to the floor. Bryan went for the tope suicida, but Wyatt caught him and hit Sister Abigail into the barricade. Wyatt then brought him back to the ring and hit Sister Abigail: 1…2…3! Yay, Bryan is free to win the Rumble now!

That has to be the best opener from the WWE in quite some time. Daniel Bryan is so good at making me forget that I am watching a 25+ minute match.

They had a perfect dynamic with the crowd. The crowd was completely hot for Bryan and perfectly willing to boo Wyatt the whole time. Wyatt even managed to win clean! A HUGE thumbs up for this match. The only way it could have been better is if some of the limb work down by Bryan paid off more in the closing sequence.
Match Rating: ****1/4



The Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman)
I have modestly high expectations for this one. I expect it to be quite a bit of fun.

Brock took Show down before bell. Heyman threw a chair into the ring, and Brock hit Show with the bell. The referee refused to start the match. He hit him with the chair a lot.

The referee finally started the match. Brock went for a chair shot, but Show caught him with the KO punch. Brock was loopy after that. Show tossed him around on the floor. They got back in the ring. Show hit a few more strikes. Brock hit the F5 out of nowhere: 1…2…3

Brock gave him more shots with the chair after the match. It was a long beatdown.

This was a strange match. I was all for this being a short match, but they did not execute it in a fun or exciting way. If you're going to have Show lose very quickly, go all the way with it. Don't give him an out for losing so quickly. They can even go back and forth for the whole two minutes. This was just lame to me. I appreciate the attempt to do something different though.
Match Rating: *



Randy Orton© vs. John Cena [WWE World Heavyweight Championship]
The crowd chanted for Daniel Bryan right before the match started. The crowd seemed immediately ambivalent to this one. They were trolling Cena and Orton early and often. Right after the crowd chanted for Jericho, Cena went for the walls. Let the troll-off begin. The match itself is almost irrelevant. The crowd is completely rejecting it. Since the crowd is completely rejecting everything about this match, I do not even see the point of recapping it. Wrestling is about performing to engage the crowd. The movez done in the ring are meaningless in this situation. The crowd chanted "This is awful!" after Orton got a nearfall with a belt shot. The crowd then reacted big time when Cena hit a FU out of nowhere. The crowd chanted "WE WANT DIVAS!" Lol. Orton got a nearfall with a FU. Cena got a nearfall with a RKO. The Wyatt Family showed up. Orton hit the RKO: 1…2…3.

The Wyatt Family attacked Cena some more after the match. John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania will probably be fun at least.

The crowd completely rejected that match, and it was very entertaining to watch unfold. This reminded me of the Final Battle 2009 main event between Tyler Black and Austin Aries. Sure, the crowd probably lost some credibility by reacting to some of the finishers without irony. However, I stand by my opinion that this match was a complete failure. Professional wrestling is about doing performance art that engages the live audience. Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt was a fantastic example of that. This was an example of a wrestling promotion being out of touch with what their fans care about. It's a shame because Cena and Orton have really good chemistry, and they seemed to have a match laid out that would probably have worked on a WWE house show. However, no one should blame the fans for this trainwreck. That is on the WWE.
Match Rating: DUD



The 2014 Royal Rumble Match
CM Punk was #1. Seth Rollins was #2. Not much of note happened before Damien Sandow came in at #3. Cody Rhodes was #4. Rhodes and Sandow went at it briefly. Sandow was the first person eliminated (Punk). Kane came out at #5. He was wearing his slacks. Kane looks like he is dropping weight at least. Punk eliminated Kane quickly enough. Alexander Rusev was #6. I like Rusev. Jack Swagger was #7. Swagger and Rusev squared off. Kofi Kingston was #8. I hope he does something goofy. Jimmy Uso came in at #9. I see no point to the Usos being in this match despite the fact that I like them. Goldust was #10. The ring is filling up. It's time for someone to clear out the scrubs. Several wrestlers worked together to eliminate Rusev. Punk knocked Kofi off the apron, and Rusev caught him. Rusev politely placed him on the barricade and delivered knees to his midsection. Kofi managed to leap from the barricade to the ring. Thumbs up. Dean Ambrose was #11. Dolph Ziggler was #12. R-Truth was #13. Haha, Truth was quickly eliminated. Uso was eliminated right after. Kevin Nash was #14. He eliminated Swagger. Roman Reigns was #15. He seemingly attacked Rollins. Reigns sent Kofi to the floor. He then gave Dolph the concussion spear before eliminating him. Nash tried to jump, but Reigns low bridged him to the floor. The Great Khali was #16. Reigns eliminated Khali. Goldust accidentally eliminated Cody, and Reigns eliminated Goldust. Sheamus was #17. Sheamus was clearing house. The Miz was #18. Jon Moxley finally has a great body, and he's wearing SWAT gear. Fandango was #19. El Torito was #20. Yay! Torito ran wild! Torito hit his double jump springboard dropkick to send Fandango to the floor. Reigns sent Torito to the floor to eliminate him. Antonio Cesaro was #21. He immediately hit the Giant Swing on Miz. Punk hit the dropkick on Miz, as if he was Chris Hero. Luke Harper was #22. Was Harper coming in right after Cesaro a shot at Chikara? Jay Uso was #23. I think he has a really good chance of winning this one. Cesaro and Harper squared off. Confirmed shots fired at Chikara. JBL was #24. He distracted himself by giving Cole his coat. Reigns immediately eliminated him. The crowd ironically chanted "You still got it!" Erick Rowan was #25. Harper eliminated Miz and then Jay Uso. Ryback was #26. Alberto Del Rio was #27. Batista, Rey, and Big E. are the last three. No Daniel Bryan. Batista was #28. The crowd booooed! He eliminated Rowan and Ryback. Del Rio was the next Batista victim. Big E. Langston was #29. The crowd chanted "Yes!" before the countdown. It was of course Rey Mysterio at #30. The crowd booed him, too. This may get awkward. Sheamus eliminated Langston for reasons that I do not understand. The match is getting awkward. Rollins eliminated Mysterio. The crowd is now rejecting this match. Reigns eliminated Harper. Ambrose tried to eliminate Reigns, but he failed. Rollins jawed with him. Reigns then managed to eliminate Cesaro, Rollins, and Ambrose. Kane showed up and eliminated Punk. Reigns, Batista, and Sheamus are the last three. Kane chokeslammed Punk through the SAT. That was the last thing this Rumble needed. The crowd was not happy. The crowd chanted "NO!" Reigns eliminated Sheamus. He set the new record for most eliminations in a match. Batista vs. Reigns for the shot at Wrestlemania. The fans suddenly got behind Reigns. They're martyrs. They traded spears. Batista then just eliminated him. Batista wins.

Once the crowd realized Daniel Bryan was not going to be in the match, the crowd almost completely and utterly rejected this match. There were some brief moments where it seemed that they would get behind Roman Reigns at the very end, but that obviously was killed off, too. I'm not offended by the WWE not pushing Bryan to the moon right now. I will keep focusing on watching the wrestling that I greatly enjoy watching a majority of the time. It's just baffling how they just refused to have him win the Rumble here. He's their only true rising star who is ready to have a great world title match at Wrestlemania. Go with it.

I don't really know how to feel about the Rumble match overall. I would argue the closing sequence of the Rumble is obviously the most important part. That aspect of this Rumble was obviously a complete failure. However, everything leading up to that was a lot of fun. So, if the closing sequence tarnished that a lot, I'll give it…
Match Rating: *3/4

What does "*3/4" mean??? I have no fucking idea! Goodnight!



Overall Thoughts: The second half of this PPV was a brilliant payoff to the longest feud in WWE history: the booking vs. the fans. The second half was a train wreck of epic proportions, and it was so entertaining to see unfold. If you're into well executed movez that the crowd does not get emotionally invested in at all, this may be the best show ever for you. Go watch Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt for sure though. That will most likely be a top ten match for the WWE this year.



Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: Shabang728@gmail.com. Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website, FreeProWrestling.com. Also, check out my Best of Chikara blog and an archive of all my 411 video reviews.





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