Mt. Killamanjaro: 2012 WWE Royal Rumble Review

Mike Killam

WWE Championship — John Laurinaitis as the Special Guest Referee
CM Punk def. Dolph Ziggler
Who in the hell booked this match? I am so sick of having fantastic wrestling matches ruined with the worst, most screwy booking we've seen from the WWE in years! It's not a strike against Punk and Ziggler, who once again put on a classic bout for the WWE title – my complaints rest solely on the shoulders of whoever scripted the storyline pieces together… How many months have we spent listening to Laurinaitis and Punk go back and forth? And how awesome was it when Johnny Ace finally stepped up and admitted that he would find a way to screw over Punk when the Rumble rolled around? So WHY book a match that has intrigue because of the deck stacked against the champion, only to throw it all out the window six days before the actual event? Who the hell wants to see Laurinaitis "play nice"?

This is just one more case of them making a heel character flop sides because of a story that nobody cares about! So Triple H comes back tonight…and what? Tell me what happened last time Triple H got involved, took over Raw, and made managerial decisions in an on-screen capacity? I believe we had the walk-out, followed by several months of creative mess! News flash "Board of Directors": maybe DON'T send the guy you replaced in to clean up the guy who REPLACED HIM's mess… I just want to see CM Punk kick ass, Dolph Ziggler show the world why he's the future, and be entertained by a fantastic wrestling match. Why is that ALWAYS too much to ask for? Yes, I was the one who called for Jericho to get involved in some kind of "screwjob" angle. Yes, that would have been a lot more complex and convoluted than what I just complained about. But you know what…? It would have been awesome, it would have been entertaining, and it would have MADE SENSE! Rating: B

Note: I realize I'm probably a bit more emotional about this than I should be. But I think it's that because for the first time in awhile I actually PAID for the WWE event that I watched, and two hours in I was regretting my decision, having virtually nothing in the pay-off department. Or maybe it's because as a long-time wrestling fan I had a lot invested in this year's Royal Rumble, and I was expecting a five-star classic for one of the biggest events of the year… 

Royal Rumble Match
Winner: Sheamus

And finally we arrive at the main event. The reason everyone watches the first PPV of the year: the Royal Rumble match. An event where the winner must outlast 29 other Superstars to receieve an automatic match at whichever World title they choose, on the grandest stage of them all: WrestleMania! Congratulations to Sheamus – I am genuinely happy for him. I could complain about how they gave the win to a guy that has been virtually lifeless on Smackdown's mid-card, but I don't think it really matters. With or without a proper feud Sheamus has been drawing the best pop of the night since Orton left with injury, and we'll all been waiting on the edge of our collective seat, to see the Celtic Warrior ascend to his throne. So congrats Sheamus – I wish him well, and it is an accomplishment well-deserved. Rating: B+

Now that I got that out of my system… Let me pose a question to you Wrestlezone readers: Pretend you're in charge of WWE Creative. Why would you tack on the stipulation that "any WWE Superstar can enter the Rumble" for the "very first time", if you don't actually plan on using it? Furthermore, with said stipulation in place, why would you choose to include so many competitors that would obvious lose, when you have access to draws like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry, John Cena, and Kane!? Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to include David Otunga, Primo, Epico, and Hunico when the aforementioned Superstars could have easily been entered into the fray? Who cares if Punk wouldn't have WON the match, his mere presence could have shaken things up and added a bit of intrigue to the finish! 

I liked some of the guest spots. "Hacksaw" got a great response, as did Road Dogg. Ricardo was hilarious, and Mick Foley played around with Santino to bring us one of the better moments of the night (dueling sock puppets!). And of course the returning Kharma made a big impact, and throws the entire Divas division into question as we head towards WrestleMania… But once you throw in all three of the announcers at different times, it just felt like WAY too much of a gimmick Battle Royal, and not like the prestigious Rumble match that has made such a legendary name for itself in the industry! Simply put: I liked the comedy spots and some of the returns, but I could have done with a LOT less, and better usage of the "never before done" stipulation.

They also really need to learn how to not kill all momentum in a match that huge. After a very lackluster night many of the fans were depending on that Rumble to send them home happy! At times they did a very good job of keeping the crowd happy – bringing in a new face or implementing a sweet spot with the high flyers. But it always seemed that once I was finally on the edge of my seat again, somebody like Khali or Jinder Mahal would march down and crush my spirits like a pancake… Building up Miz from #1 was great, but having Big Show walk down in the final spot and eliminate Miz, Rhodes, and Ziggler – three guys who are making a huge dent into WWE's future – took all the air out of the match for me. I like Big Show, but not nearly enough to validate him taking out three of my favorite heels in the business  right now… It just bugged me how poorly the final group of guys were booked. Big Show was a mistake, in my opinion, and if they were going to shock us with somebody that had already performed, it could have at least been CM Punk to further any speculation… 

I'm not going to whine about Jericho's wasted potential. He's Chris Jericho, and he can get to WrestleMania without a damn Rumble win. Sheamus…I have serious doubts about whether he could do the same thing. So Jericho didn't win – we should be happy that a less obvious choice, especially one with as bright a future as Sheamus took the thing home! Sheamus is our winner, I'm incredibly happy for him, but after only 30 guys in the Rumble and a severe lack of main event stars that could have easily made things more interesting (not to mention the over-booked returns), the whole PPV left me once again thinking: "Wait…that's it?" What happened to the "end of the world" build up from Jericho's return? What happened to the intrigue surrounding the WWE title picture? What happened to that interesting "anything goes" feeling the Rumble was supposed to have!? 

Tonight's Raw is going to have a lot of ground to cover, because I think a lot of fans want answers. Where are the going with Punk and Laurinaitis, and will it be worth the screwy booking from the Rumble title match? Is Kharma back, or was it a one-time appearance until she can make her full-time return? And most importantly…does the WWE intend on making "Santoshi" a permanent tag team? These are the questions I want answers to. And actually, I'm not so much concerned about Punk or the Divas…I mainly just want to know about "Santoshi", because I think it's brilliant! 


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