Yesterday I wrote a column for Redeye explaining why so many WWE fans were upset at the winner of the Royal Rumble 30-Man battle royal match. Some will say that the end result was predictable and plenty of folks got on social media to voice their displeasure. I’ll admit, I was one of those fans that was let down. The Triple Threat Match between Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Seth Rollins was an instant classic, showcasing all the strengths of the three competitors, so it really raised the bar for the pay-per-view’s main event. I guess a letdown should have been expected.
But once the proverbial smoke cleared and cooler heads prevailed, I started looking at the Rumble with a little more perspective. Re-watching the battle royal, as it was broadcast the following day on RAW, helped me make a better analysis of the match and what it was offering. The conclusion I came to was this: you can get upset over who wins the Royal Rumble, but then you’re missing the forest for the trees.
(Read more after the jump!)
See, as the WWE spent so much time illustrating in the PPV pre-show, the Royal Rumble match is about more than just who wins it. As the 30 contestants make their entrances – and eventual exits – numerous storylines can be created and advanced, records can be made and broken, and a career can be launched.
Consider what happened during this year’s RR battle royal:
- Bray Wyatt essentially owned the ring for a significant amount of time. His declaration of “this is my year!” may have seemed hollow after his ejection, but that’s a video segment that the WWE will be able to put in his highlight reel for years to come.
- Bray Wyatt also faced off against The Boogeyman, which was a delight. Their face-off wasn’t so much a match as it was who could “out-creep” the other. Tell me you didn’t love it.
- Bubba Ray Dudley made his surprise return to the WWE! Considering how social media spoils most everything, that was a nice surprise.
- Damian Sandow – as “Mizdow” – got a chance to shine when he was almost screwed over by the Miz and then got a chance to make a brief entrance into the ring. The fan reaction was evidence that he’s finally getting over.
- The Shield reunited, oh-so-briefly, against The Authority. Good lord I forgot how much I enjoyed seeing them work together. Dean Ambrose is a modern-day Roddy Piper, if you ask me. He’s going to be a megastar.
- Kane cemented his spot as the all-time record holder for eliminations in the RR. I just wish he’d not come out to wrestle in his dress slacks as “Corporate Kane.”.
- Dolph Ziggler entered at the #30 spot and was eliminated by Big Show & Kane, which pissed off a lot of fans, but continued his role as an enemy of The Authority. Take that as evidence that DZ’s not going to be kept languishing in the mid-card anymore.
- Rusev was there at the end of the match, and even had the fans chanting “WE WANT RUSEV!” something I’m sure the WWE writers never expected. You may say that was a reaction to the Roman Reigns push, but it may also be showing that Rusev’s own extensive is finally paying off.
I’m sure that there are other moments that I’m forgetting, but I think this illustrates that there’s a lot more to the Royal Rumble than who wins it at the end. As fans we get mad at the WWE for doing what we feel is “predictable”, but that’s because we don’t always take in the long-term narrative. A lot of stuff was set up at this year’s ROYAL RUMBLE outside of the main event at WRESTLEMANIA.
Sure, the record books will show that Roman Reigns was the last man standing in the ring, but the tape will show so much more.
(EDIT: It didn’t take long for someone to remind me about Diamond Dallas Page’s return to the WWE ring! I did a total facepalm on that. How many times did the WWE announce crew mention “DDP Yoga”? FEEL THE BANG!)
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