– Shares, comments, likes and the like are appreciated. Pay-per-view report shares can get kinda sketchy, so do your best to send this to everybody so they know THE ANIMAL IS BACK or whatever.
– For fun, here’s a link to last year’s Best and Worst of WWE Royal Rumble 2013. It’s amazing what a difference a year makes. Ricardo Rodriguez is having lovable fun and JBL is drunk! If you want to go back farther, you can revisit the Best and Worst of WWF Royal Rumble 2000.
Please click through to walk for miles inside this pit of danger/enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE Royal Rumble 2014.
Worst: I’m Going To Do Everything I Can To Be Okay With This New Age Outlaws Title Win
So far I’ve come up with two great reasons to be okay with the New Age Outlaws becoming six-time WWE Tag Team Champions. Spoiler alert: neither of them is “because I remember them from when I watched wrestling with more friends than will watch with me now.”
1. They’re more than likely transitional champions, and it’s easier to put a team like the Usos or the Real Americans over the Outlaws on some random Raw than the Rhodes Brothers.
2. WWE is telling a very specific story right now about Triple H being in power and bringing back all his terrible old friends from 19-aught-6 and giving them opportunities they don’t deserve. Shawn Michaels is becoming the special guest referee of everything and superkicking title contenders, Kevin Nash is in the Royal Rumble, the Outlaws get tag title shots. Justin Credible will probably show up and spinning tombstone Dolph Ziggler on Raw or whatever. I’m going to believe this is a very specific story being told and not the story just happening in real life.
That said … man, I hate the New Age Outlaws. They’re supposed to be bad guys, right? They turned on Punk and left him at the mercy of The Shield and they’re mean to Renee. Why are they still doing their babyface introduction schtick and getting cheered? If you’re writing them as bad guys, shouldn’t you take away the call-and-response that instantly makes them popular with crowds? This is the same problem I have with a heel Triple H, surprisingly enough. You want to be the bad guy, but you also only have so many crutches to lean on, so you’ve gotta do what works whether it benefits what you’re actually trying to do or not. Because your success is more important than the team’s, right?
Anyway, if the Ascension shows up on Raw tonight and Fall Of Mans Road Dogg to death I will happily clap my hands.
Best: The Bray Wyatt Match We Needed
I’ve written a lot over the past few weeks about how crucial this match was for Bray Wyatt as a performer. The Raw audience largely isn’t familiar with Bray’s epic run on NXT, so they’ve mostly just seen him as this weird fat guy who rocks in a rocking chair and never wrestles, and when he does he just has these bad-to-worse matches against Kane and R-Truth. Bray can go, and if he’s going to stick around and be “new Undertaker” he kind of has to prove that he’s a legitimate (and legitimately entertaining) physical threat.
Personally, I think he nailed it.
It’s not surprising to say that the one-on-one showdown between Wyatt and Daniel Bryan was great, but it was. It was really great. There was so much going on here, from Wyatt working the head to exacerbate Bryan’s concussion to the simple, brutal impact Wyatt has when he starts running and hits you with things. His greatest strength in the ring, I think, is his ability to throw his body weight fully into whatever he does, so when he throws a crossbody he really THROWS it and murders you. Bryan can do that flipping sell on anybody’s clothesline, but when Bray hits it he’s f*cking earning it.
On the other side, Bryan’s greatest strength is his timing. Nobody gets timing like Daniel Bryan right now. He knows what to do and when to do it, and the fact that I’m still grinning and yelling YEAH when he throws those running corner dropkicks eight months later is a testament to that. He’s also a soldier when it comes to throwing himself into his opponent’s offense, which is the perfect compliment for Bray. He’s not just getting a Sister Abigail done to him, he’s EATING IT. Just totally eating it. If you didn’t react to Bryan diving straight into a Sister Abigail into the guardrail on the outside, brother, I don’t know what to tell you. That’s a counter that makes perfect sense. Dive feet first next time, Bryan.
Other highlights include:
– That KILLER diving tornado DDT from the apron to the floor
– Harper and Rowan getting thrown out, ensuring that the pinfall would be clean, which is important if you want people to believe Wyatt can hang with Cena without cultist sheepmen doing his clubbering for him
– Wyatt escaping the Yes Lock via biting
Great stuff all around. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but this Bryan kid might have something special!
Worst: Let’s Have A Serious Discussion About Whuuuuuuuhhhhh
Whuuuuuhhhh is a sometime food, you guys.
Whenever Daniel Bryan throws strikes, the crowd chants “YES.” Originally, they’d chant yes when he threw those kicks to the chest, then go whuuuuuuuuuhhhhh before the last one. That was it. The rest of the match he could get normal reactions for doing normal things. Now people are so into the yes/whuh combination that they do it for EVERYTHING. He throws three punches and does an irish whip, the crowd goes YES! YES! YES! Whuuhhhhhh!
Most of the time he’s not doing anything necessitating a whuhhh. The buzzsaw kick, yes. An irish whip? YOU DON’T HAVE TO WHUH. You can see Bryan visibly trying to speed up the spaces between moves now to accommodate it. Watch how fast he gets up the ropes to hit that hurricanrana. The crowd’s going whuuuuuuuuuh and have to do it for like 20 f*cking seconds because he is not a teleporter.
Don’t get me wrong, you should be able to watch and enjoy and respond to wrestling however you want, especially if it’s in excited favor and support of the thing you’re watching. Just … pick your whuuhs, that’s all I’m saying.
Best: Brock Lesnar Spanking Big Show With A Steel Chair
As expected, the Big Show/Brock Lesnar match was just an excuse to have Lesnar pick up show and impress the announce team, a trio of elderly-minded gents who have their memories wiped on a four week cycle.
The match wasn’t great (or much of anything, really), but I’m not the kind of person who’s gonna give a Worst to Brock Lesnar hitting somebody with 70,000 consecutive chair shots. This is what I want from a Brock/Big Show match. Show clenching his fist and going AAAAAHHHHHH and Lesnar Pearl-Harboring him and beating him into hamburger with objects. Also, hitting him in the ass with a chair. That’s not a joke. Show’s on all fours and Lesnar just swats him in the ass with a chair.
Worst: Why Is Big Show Selling 70,000 Chair Shots By Holding His Arm And Looking Upset?
At the same time, if you’re gonna build a match around a “brutal assault,” why is the guy getting brutally assaulted walking away with an upset look on his face? Brock Lesnar, the guy we’re supposed to believe is the strongest and meanest and toughest guy in the world (not currently employed as COO of a publicly traded company), has a deadly object and is beating you mercilessly with it. Just chairshot after chairshot, all over your body. Can’t you just … I don’t know, lay there unconscious until the cameras go to something else? He is BEATING YOU TO DEATH and you’re just rolling over holding your elbow, making a face like you just stubbed your toe.
I know they can’t do blood anymore, but sometimes these situations call for it. Imagine you’re a kid. Imagine you just watched Show get hit a million times with a chair by a maniac and he just shuffles away like he has to go to the bathroom. Nothing, right? Now imagine that Show is lying there motionless in a pool of his own blood. Imagine Lesnar striking with the chair and Show throwing his head back and screaming as blood pours out of his face. You’re scarred for life, right?
Gonna be honest with you, when I was a kid I didn’t stop to read wrestling magazines because hairless musclemen were posing and smiling on them. I stopped to read them because Abdullah the Butcher was SCARY AS F*CK and his face was falling out of his forehead from the inside and I had to know what horrible thing caused it. If you’re gonna be scary, be scary. You can’t order dozens of chairshots and stop after each one to say, “he’s fine.”
Worst: REGULAR Match Was The Most Regular Match Of All Time
This has got to be the laziest match I’ve ever seen.
Not “bad,” or whatever, just lazy. WWE has a tendency to look predictable from time to time, but Hashtag Rematch made those Miz vs. Kofi Kingston matches look like the Nexus invasion. It’s not about either guy being bad at wrestling, it’s about the match being laid out in the most obvious paint-by-numbers way you can think of. Cena just did an Attitude Adjustment and Orton kicked out. What happens next? Orton hits an RKO and Cena kicks out, of course. Orton just stole Cena’s move, but Cena kicked out. What happens next? Cena steals Orton’s move, but Orton kicks out. It’s the illusion of excitement. Excitement on paper. It’s also a 25-minute example of why wrestlers should call at least the majority of a match in the ring instead of deciding what the crowd’s gonna like beforehand.
I don’t even know what to say about it without sounding like one of those guys you hate on the Internet. The match felt like a relic. Like we’d dug up a time capsule from 2004 and this was in it alongside a Hoobastank CD and Jessica Simpson being the new Lucille Ball.
Best/Worst: Help Me Remain Optimistic About A John Cena/Bray Wyatt Feud
As the match drew to a close, BLEARP occurred and the Wyatt Family interrupted, beating up John Cena. This sets up the rumored Cena/Wyatt WrestleMania program, and there are two ways you can think about it:
1. The Optimistic Point Of View: Both Cena and Bray Wyatt are talented performers, and a program between the two is fresh and could be interesting. Bray rides the success of the Bryan match and victory to a main-event position (because Cena is the one true main-event, no matter what you’ve heard) and worst case scenario we get some baller Cena vs. Luke Harper matches on Raw.
2. The Pessimistic Point Of View: Cena’s getting one of those “you’ll be facing A-TRAIN and NATHAN JONES” types of WrestleMania matches, and while I don’t think Cena would just come out and call him “Husky Harris” at any point now, I DO think he’d pull the “nothing you do bothers me, this is all fake, I’m here to fight” card. Cena’s not going to show any vulnerability beyond a few concerned facial expressions, or hell, maybe they’ll have Cena have to “join the Wyatt Family” too just to f*ck with us.
The truth, I’m guessing, is somewhere in the middle. Right? Cena doesn’t show vulnerability and never takes the Wyatts as seriously as he should, but he has some good matches with Luke Harper and Bray gets a spotlight, even if it’s temporary. So that’s good, isn’t it? Help me stay optimistic about this, because I never want to be the guy who just assumes stuff is bad instead of actually watching it and forming constructive opinions.
Worst: This Is Bad And I’m Not Forming Constructive Opinions
Yeah, you should totally cheer for a guy who wants Billy Gunn at his parties and not Renee.
Worst: History Is Written By The Winners
The commercial for Elimination Chamber features Stephanie McMahon talking about how much she loves her “dream house.” The only problem here is that it’s not Stephanie’s dream house at all … it’s Eric Bischoff’s, created when he was Stephanie’s top rival.
And yeah, you can’t take these goofy commercials literally sometimes, but if WWE’s built on anything, it’s built on winners controlling and rewriting history. Bischoff isn’t around anymore, so it’s Stephanie McMahon’s Elimination Chamber. WCW isn’t around anymore because of the AOL/Time Warner merger and Jamie Kellner thinking wrestling wasn’t part of the image he wanted for the company, but WWE owns them so now WWE put them out of business and WCW was an unsuccessful, embarrassing joke 24/7. Triple H ruled the Attitude Era with an iron fist, yadda yadda.
The muddling of reality and fiction wouldn’t be a problem if so many fans of wrestling weren’t so adamant in their defense of what they’ve been told is real. And if they weren’t so dead set against the effort required to do the research.
Best: A Word From The Royal Rumble Participants
The best part of any Royal Rumble show — and the worst part if it isn’t included — is the “word from the Royal Rumble participants,” that rapid fire interview piece where guys in the Rumble take a few seconds to say something asinine about how they’re gonna win. Sometimes they try to work in catchphrases (Big E Langston’s “that’s where it’s at!” is the worst replacement ever for “I need five”), sometimes they don’t say anything (Batista), sometimes they just show a little personality and get us interested in their existence. There’s far too little of that in pro wrestling these days. Just small moments of personality. Examples: The Usos being cool guys, Sandow still obsessing over his Money in the Bank loss instead of concentrating on the Rumble and Summer Rae mugging over Fandango’s shoulder as he talks about going to the “big dance.”
Also great: Rey Mysterio looking like a baked potato with sour cream and chives.
My only suggestion for improvement is that everyone’s opinions should be screamed.
Worst: A Conversation About Number One Entrants
“But guys y’know, number one has yielded two winners over the 27-year history of the Royal Rumble!”
“From our incredible Hall of Fame panel up there HBK in 1995 entered number one and WON IT ALL!”
“AND NOBODY ELSE DID THAT EVER”
Best/Worst: The New Sandow Equation — I < 3(MB)
Sandow getting tossed like an afterthought maybe five minutes into the match is kinda depressing, but it’s starting to become funny. He’s officially crossed over from being “a guy who should get a top spot and be awesome forever” to “a guy who is probably way too good to be in this bottom spot, but whatever, his shirts are terrible so f*ck him.”
I wish Cody had been the one to eliminate him instead of Punk, but the effort it takes to care about/root for Sandow right now is too much. Call me when he gets repackaged as SANDBACK, a stupid, aggressive man in a bathrobe.
Best: So Is DDP Yoga’ing Everybody?
Kane was one of the early surprise entrants in the Rumble, showing up in his Sunday best to take the fight to CM Punk as a Superstar and not an authority figure, and he looked great. I haven’t seen Kane look that fit and agile in a while. The time away from the ring is doing him wonders, and I’ve got to ask … did he start doing DDP Yoga, aka drinking from the Goldust Fountain Of Youth?
He wasn’t the only one who was unusually fit. For the ladies in the crowd, here’s DEAN AB-ROSE:
I’ve seen a lot of Jon Moxley matches, dude has never been that fit. So either DDP had a post-TLC workshop about core strength or WWE’s new developmental fitness plan is “wear a shirt until you look like John Morrison.”
Best: Hey, An NXT Guy!
If you ever want to play the Brandon Stroud WWE Show Drinking Game (which I would not recommend), drink when
1. Brandon gets stupid happy at any mention of NXT or NXT talent whatsoever
2. Heels are good friends to one another
3. Somebody makes a logical or reasonable decision
4. somebody does something that can be stretched into a 10-paragraph rant about racism or misogyny or homophobia
5. Kofi Kingston jumps
I included the last one to poison you to death for playing the Brandon Stroud drinking game.
Anyway, drink, because YEAH HERE COMES BIG ROOSE. NXT’s Alexander Rusev made his main roster debut during the Rumble and got to look like the flippy boss hoss he is. When a guy is only six feet tall and feels monster-sized in the ring, that’s a good thing. It’s why Taz felt like he was six-feet tall in ECW. See also Big E Langston.
If you aren’t a regular reader of the Best and Worst of NXT, here’s what you need to know about Rusev. He’s from Bulgaria, he likes to walk around with his arms up and his hands open like the surprised kitty and will camel clutch you to f*ck. He briefly experimented with wearing a brown sumo diaper and writing names of his opponents on thin wooden boards and BREAKING THOSE BOARDS, but now he’s wearing expensive bicycle shorts. Like Batista! You’ll probably enjoy him if you like heavyset guys who throw spinning wheel kicks. So, uh, him and Viscera?
My only question is, “where the hell is Lana?” She JUST got awesome and started controlling him with hand gestures.
Best: USA Chants For The Real Americans
That sounds like something I’d hate, right? Let me explain.
I’ve never been totally comfortable with the Real Americans getting “WE THE PEOPLE” chants and cheers because they’re supposed to be this horrible, racist political gimmick, but they’re so good it’s hard to boo them. Swagger was fun in the Rumble and Cesaro was SPECTACULAR, giant swinging folks to death, throwing European uppercuts at anything that moves and making me want to see a big pay-per-view Cesaro vs. Sheamus match IMMEDIATELY. I’ve been struggling with a way to justify it — especially as a fan of NXT, where Cesaro gets massive We The Peoples on the regular — and I think I’ve come up with the solution.
Everybody has a racist relative, right? Let’s reposition the Real Americans as average, every day dudes who have to deal with their offensive uncle Zeb, a guy who talks a big game about wanting to “deport illegals” or whatever but is mostly harmless and the kind of guy who’d get beaten up by a midget in a bull costume. So Zeb goes on TV and spouts his shit and Cesaro and Swagger just stand in the background with their hands over their hearts trying not to crack up about how embarrassing this is. They run around the ring with flag capes and throw them like javelins and have great wrestling matches and we love them, and Zeb becomes this Archie Bunker type who eventually figures out that he’s a total asshole, but is too proud to ever admit it. You could cheer for that team, right? They’re basically already that.
So yeah, F*CK BULGARIA. USA! (lol)
Best: Kofi Kingston Jumps!
In last year’s Best and Worst of Royal Rumble I wrote about how Kofi Kingston’s signature Rumble elimination save spot was one of the most colossally stupid things I’d ever seen. The guy ended up on the announce table and used a rolling chair to “pogo” his way back to the apron, which seems fine on paper but gets stupider and stupider when you realize he had about a billion other ways to get back in. Just this asinine guy hopping in place.
This year’s spot was the polar opposite of that, and I loved it. It was “desert island Kofi.” Alexander Rusev gets eliminated and is stewing on the outside just as Punk knocks Kofi off the apron. Kofi ends up flying into Rusev’s arms, so Roose takes him over to the guardrail and does that “prop them up, knee them in the ribs” move he does in matches in NXT. Totally logical so far, right? Kofi ends up sprawled along the barricade, but he’s not eliminated. He’s legitimately far away from the ring this time, in a corner opposite the steps, so he can’t just hop over to them like he could’ve last year. Nobody’s around to anchor him. The only way he can get back in is to try to tightrope walk all the way around the ring or make a short run and jump for his life. He makes the jump, and it works because it’s simple and legitimately impressive athletically.
He got a second “save” spot later on where he’s dangling by his feet and manages to pull himself back in, and the crowd doesn’t hoot or “pop” for it, they clap because they’re happy and it’s kind-of awesome. My pitch would be to amp this up and make it a huge part of Kofi’s character. One of the things that made the original Tiger Mask so great is that it was hard to knock him down … every time you tried to do a move to him he’d flip and turn and get out of it and land on his feet. It made him feel almost supernatural. Instead of giving Kofi one or two Rumble hope spots a year, put him in at number one next year and have him go the distance with DOZENS of them. Turn it into a f*cking Tony Jaa movie. I’m not a fan of Kofi’s, but if he spent 80 minutes staving off death in increasingly ridiculous ways only to win it all I would probably love him forever.
Worst: Royal Rumble Maed Poopies >=(
(Good news is that Nash was about as important to this Rumble as Zack Ryder, so I’m gonna pretend he hit a Broski Boot and got thrown out by Punk and move on with my life.)
Best: Roman Reigns, Coolest Wrestler In The F*cking World
No amount of Kevin Nash takes away from how impossibly cool Roman Reigns was in this Rumble. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are in trouble in the apron when Roman’s number is called, so he just runs around the ring and does that jumping apron dropkick he does and cracks Punk’s skull. Then it’s an emphatic dispatching of the Rhodes Boys, an elimination for Kofi Kingston via HURLING and a spear on Dolph Ziggler that may have literally turned him inside out. Look at that picture. Oh, and my favorite part: selling a Kevin Nash clothesline by just standing still and shoving him away like an idiot. More people should do that to Nash. Sorry, Giant Zack Ryder.
That’s just his first minute. He goes on to break the all-time single-Rumble elimination record by taking out TWELVE GUYS (!), all the while doing little things like spearing somebody who’s trying to eliminate his friend. That doesn’t even begin to describe the Rumble’s ending, when Roman basically becomes a martyr for everybody with a soul and brain watching at home. He even gets to stay in the ring when his friend tries to throw him out and throws out THREE GUYS AT ONCE in response.
You, uh, you’re my favorite, Roman.
Best: Goldust Eliminates Cody
Give me the Goldust vs. Cody WrestleMania match. GIVE IT TO ME.
Best: It’s That Guy Everybody Expected To Return! HE’S BACK!
The return of Sheamus is a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, he’s fantastic in the ring and I almost always love his matches, assuming they aren’t against Orton, who turns into Jumpin’ Jeff Farmer whenever Sheamus is around. On the other, Sheamus is one of the worst CHARACTERS in WWE. A racist 5-year old who’s “just havin’ fun” or whatever when he punches you for being smart or poops in your car for being non-white. A guy who “gets revenge” 70 times for every time he’s wronged. I hate him a lot, but I love to watch him wrestle.
I’m also worried about all these Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan WrestleMania program rumors, because they are WrestleMania’s Bad Luck Schleprock. Their US title match got turned into a pre-show battle royal that the Great f*cking Khali won, and their World Heavyweight Championship match was 18 seconds long and my undisputed least favorite match and moment as a wrestling fan ever. So they’re gonna do it again? Uh … great. Can they just do it at Extreme Rules, when it’ll be wonderful and not a shitty passive-aggressive statement?
Actually, why don’t we do Sheamus vs. Bryan again this year, only let Sheamus take too long taking off his necklace or whatever and get hit with a Bryan running knee and lose immediately. That way we get karmic balance for Bryan’s loss two years ago, and WWE still gets to make us pay hundreds of dollars for tickets and not actually give us Daniel Bryan.
Best: EL TORITO
The only person in the Royal Rumble as cool as Roman Reigns is El Torito, who managed to get in a bunch of comedy spots but also pose a legitimate threat and eliminate somebody. Also, he gave us the greatest Dean Ambrose moment since the Ghost of Andre The Giant. Seriously, watch Ambrose when Torito starts flying around headbutting Miz and headscissoring Seth Rollins. Ambrose just stands in the corner with his hand out with the most amazing “what the f*ck is happening” look on his face.
El Torito gains infinite points here for not only calling out CM Punk, but WINNING. He gets the best of Punk, and God, I would sincerely love for them to just regularly put Torito into wrestling matches. I don’t think there’s been such a talent and entertainment discrepancy between talent and valet since Jim Cornette was managing the New Midnight Express.
Best: JBL, Phantom Entrant
The third coolest person in the match is JBL, who gets called as a surprise entrant, takes off his jacket, gets eliminated and then goes back to doing commentary like nothing had ever happened. It’s remarkable. Later on he sees his arch-nemesis Rey Mysterio makes reference to how if he’d known Rey was in, he “might’ve entered.” Lawler’s “buh??” response of “might’ve entered?” is perfect.
One supplementary Worst, though. JBL gets announced and the camera zooms in on the entranceway (which is pretty stupid, considering JBL’s been sitting at ringside all night, as he normally is), but when they cut back they do so a little too soon and we catch a MYSTERIOUS FIGURE creeping toward the ring:
Pretty sneaky, sis.
Best: SURPRISE KANE
Worst: The Jackson Hewitt Picture-In-Picture Replay
With helpful recaps like this one!
I hope there was exclusive footage of Punk lying on the table being broadcast on the app at the same time.
Worst: Sorry You Weren’t Who We Wanted You To Be, Baked Potato
Firstly, yeah, Daniel Bryan should’ve been in the Royal Rumble, and should’ve won. The crowd chanting “DAN-IEL BRY-AN” for the last five-or-so entries and then getting CRAZY PISSED when Bryan wasn’t involved was heartwarming from the perspective of someone who loves Bryan the most and wants the best for him.
Now that I’ve typed that … take it home, guys.
There is absolutely no reason why you have the right to get upset that Daniel Bryan wasn’t in the Royal Rumble and didn’t win it when he had an announced singles match on the show and was not EVER announced to be a part of the Rumble match itself. Why would they keep an important roster guy secret until the last second? What kind of fantasy world are we living in where they clearly announce things and we get upset WEEKS LATER that what they announced was what was on the show?
Don’t get me wrong, like I said, f*ck Sour Creams and Chives over here and his convoluted whirly-doodles, we JUST saw El Torito and he was a thousand times better than you. Bryan showing up to eliminate the Wyatts and The Shield singlehandedly would’ve been the best thing in the world, but your level of disappointment here should be “ah, that sucks” and that’s it. Honestly, what else do you deserve? If you want to get bent out of shape about something, get bent over the ecosystem pro wrestling’s found itself in where wrestlers are constantly judged on whether or not they’re “breakout stars” or whatever and are never given love by casual fans or time to grow because their success or failure is determined by these moments of happenstance where people stumble upon them at the right moment and figure out they’re good? How many people do you know who watched the Rumble on Sunday and suddenly figured out that Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns were cool? It’s not an earned opinion you’re going for, it’s a 50/50 decision based on dumb f*cking luck. If the post-Mania crowd hadn’t gone so crazy for Bryan two years ago would we even BE here, or would Bryan get in Ziggler’s role as “recently concussed guy who’s pretty great and we try to care, but whatever?”
Be mad at the ecosystem of “wrestling booms” and crossover stars. Be mad that guys who have proven popularity at some point in their careers can saunter back onto the show in January and collect a paycheck in April at the expense of guys who are JUST as charismatic and JUST as talented and JUST as popular, but are those things NOW instead of 10 years ago. We’re victims of popularity contests and nostalgia. There is no organic system for rewarding great performance in pro wrestling, because wrestling isn’t real. You’re playing the parts in a story, and just because you’re the best actor in Hamlet doesn’t mean Bernardo gets to be the lead in the next performance.
It’s depressing from the point of view of sports fans, because in sports, we have the idea that no matter how bad our team’s fate seems, there’s a chance they can make a few good decisions and rise up to be the best, whether that’s ever happened before or not. We think if we cheer them they can come back and win, when it’s all up to metrics and chaos theory and intangibles and luck. Now imagine that every metric, chaotic theory, intangible or lucky moment was decided by one dude in an office building with a big SPORTS logo on the side.
And speaking of all that …
Worst: I Was Saying Boo-Tista
Batista is a shitty old wrestler with a hot dog neck who looks like a shaved cat and can barely do the two wrestling moves he’s being asked to do. He’s being held together by red tape (literally) and just showed up after a four year hiatus, declared frankly that he was going to win the Royal Rumble and beat Orton at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship, got the #28 position in the Royal Rumble and won it with little-to-no effort. Still, by the end of his 15 minutes in the ring he was so broken down and gassed that he couldn’t even celebrate properly. The crowd booed him because he’s f*cking terrible and doesn’t deserve anything he’s getting. He never has. He’s an asshole grandpa who barely likes wrestling.
But still, here’s the reality: the Royal Rumble isn’t about who’s the best, it’s about creating bank for WrestleMania. Deciding which matches will bring in the most fans, including those fans who might’ve been watching 10 years ago when Batista was relevant and haven’t since because they don’t like any of the “new” wrestlers. You know, because they haven’t been watching. That’s the only reason somebody you know doesn’t like the new wrestlers.
The further reality is that Big Dave has a very, very popular movie coming out, and he’s going to be in magazines and on television and on every Hollywood gossip website and on every talk show, and if you can have them say “WWE Superstar” instead of “former wrestler lol” alongside it, that’s endless publicity. If you can have him headlining your biggest show of the year, people associate your show with Marvel’s or whatever, and if you have him carrying around your championship belt, people who don’t already watch might say “hey, what’s that about” and tune in. THESE ARE THE WORST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. I’M TYPING THIS IN CAPITAL LETTERS SO YOU’LL SEE IT. THEY’RE TERRIBLE. THEY COME AND GO AND HAVE FULL POWER TO CONTROL AND DICTATE THE FUTURE OF THE THING YOU LOVE THE MOST. Why? Because they come and go. They choose whether or not to give the company money, and are not locked in this f*cked up Stockholm Syndrome of love and abuse we lifelong wrestling fans find ourselves in.
The world is no longer divided between “mark” and “smark.” It’s the “fan,” the person who only calls themselves that when they like everything you’re doing, and the devotee, who desperately wishes the best for you. Think about the relationships you have with people in real life. Who’s opinion do you usually care about more, the person who breezes through your life as this unattainable thing you want to love you, or the person who is always around and always complaining and cares about you more than anything, but mostly just get on your nerves?
Roman should’ve won the Rumble. But Bryan should’ve more. And neither of them did. Sorry. :(
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
Well the good news is that WWE just made the greatest template ever for a Bad News Barrett Speech.
Good business plan:
1. Announce a massive potential revenue source in the WWE Network
2. Ignore/piss off the key customer base for said revenue source
Turn up that music louder, WWE, I can still hear the boos.
Believe in DeShields (referencing El Torito)
Geez, guys. Thanks a lot for saying you wanted to see a vanilla midget win the Rumble.
Ryback makes a 2nd promo – “I DELETED THE LAST PROMO SO HERE’S ANOTHER ONE!”
“Wyatts, I’m afraid I have some BAD NEWS! *Wade opens up Nexus’s Wiki Page*”
“They kept saying DANIEL BRYAN. I thought he might be out here. My bad.” – Bray Wyatt
They’re stealing each other’s moves. Can’t wait for Cena to win this match by going AWOL from the military.
Even the voices in Randy’s head are chanting Daniel Bryan
Thanks for reading, everybody. See you tomorrow for the Best and Worst of Raw, which will not feature Daniel Bryan.