I’ll keep it relatively short. The past few years, the Royal Rumble has been the event where WWE royally flips off their fanbase, by way of completely ignoring said fanbase of what they all clamor for. 2011, Alberto wins the 40-man cluster of the midcard. 2012, Sheamus… just why. 2013, LOLCENAWINS. 2014, no Daniel Bryan and BOO-tista wins (but Mania 30 was a different story). 2015… frigging Roman Reigns won it all, complete with Bryan getting eliminated early and killing the buzz of the match. And 2016, Triple H won, won the title, and then lost it to Reigns at Mania 32 to a timid crowd of 100,000. So how would 2017 fare? Here are my scattered, abbreviated, and stream-of-consciousness thoughts on this year’s show.
First, the setting of 50,000 inside the Alamodome made for a more grand affair, and the on-screen graphics were actually really cool to see. Didn’t care for the Raw stage being used for this show; you’re in a football stadium, bump up the production budget a bit, maybe?
No SmackDown [World] Women’s title match, there was just a 6-women tag at 5:30pm. Whoop-dee. Also, a 2-hour preshow with three matches in it?
And the Raw [WWE] Tag belts were defended on the pre-show? Well, good for Bullet Club for adding some more gold to their collection.
Sasha Banks on the frigging pre-show. Good God.
Bayley took a beating in the Raw [WWE] Women’s title match. That Natural Selection on the apron was nasty, oof.
The Super Best Friends do it again and keep the Universal [Television] title, thanks to some brass knucks and BRAAAAAAAUNNNNNNNNNN Strowman laying waste to Reigns. But this means we’re gonna get Strowman and Reigns at Mania, doesn’t it? And Reigns is gonna be the one to topple Strowman, thereby deflating every bit of amazing monster heel heat he has… okay, we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it in 9 weeks.
There was a top 30 moments countdown during the PPV. Hey, WWE, WhatCulture called – they want their gimmick back.
Here’s my problem with the Crusierweight stuff – it’s all in the standard WWE style. Paint it as purple as you want, it still won’t get over. Good on Neville for laying the heel persona real strong, he’s great in this role.
So here’s how you rehabilitate the whole division: get them off of Raw, stop taping their show right after SmackDown and move the tapings to Full Sail Live, a month of shows taped over 2 days, once a month. And stop trying to make it into a spectacle when it really isn’t.
Can we please ditch Phillips and Otunga and JBL from SmackDown and just bring in Corey Graves and Austin Aries to join Mauro at the booth?
Enzo and Cass shilling for KFC, and New Day shilling for Vudu… ugh.
Cena and Styles for the WWE World title win Match of the Night honors, but AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHH screw your booking. Whoop-dee, 16th title reign, don’t let Styles squander on SmackDown, PLEASE.
Colin Cassady gets the honor of entering the Rumble at #1, and HOLY CRAP, WWE, you have done such a poor job trying to push him as a big, tall, strong babyface. Catchphrases only get you so far, guys.
I just realized that WWE has drawn 150,000 people at AT&T Stadium and the Alamodome, for only two events. For what it’s worth, that’s a mighty feat.
No one’s ever gonna mention Benoit winning the Rumble after entering #1 in 2004, for obvious reasons. Still a shame it’s totally expunged from the canon.
We had to have Jerry Lawler on commentary, and no Mauro Ranallo? Lame.
Jericho’s in at #2, and Kalisto’s coming in to make his good lucha thing or something. Oh good, Mojo Rawley is #4, and it’s a real shame that everyone’s NXT personas are stripped down when they’re on the main roster. Not that Mojo had much of a persona, anyway.
Okay, Cole mentioning Lex Luger and Roman Reigns as past Rumble winners, in the same breath, is kinda funny. Modern day Luger and all.
SCREW YOUR WARRIORS 3-1 SIGN, YOU ASSHOLE.
Gentleman Jack Gallagher is #5, awesome. And his umbrella is named William III – not quite as cool as Skarsgard, the Dilapidated Boat, but it’s still neat.
The 2-minute interval should have an asterisk to it, since nobody ever times it. And hey, Mark Henry is #6 – I’ve been listening to the Attitude Era Podcast, and man, his 2011 world title reign could’ve been SO much better. Needed less matches with Big Show and more or Mark Henry killing people.
I need some more Rockstar lemonade.
Gallagher is the first eliminated, fare thee well, you gentle Brit.
#7 is BRAAAAAAAAAAAUNNNNNNNNNNN, my new favorite monster (and a fellow NC boy). Please tell me James Ellsworth is gonna be here, too.
See you, Mojo. And see you Cass, Braun is clearing house. There goes Kalisto, too, thrown out with little ease. Out goes Mark Henry, Braun is dominating – watch out, Jericho.
And #8 is Sami Zayn… poor guy got the short stick with the tumbler roll.
Up at #9 is “The BIG Show?!” Yes, Jerry, it’s The Big Show. He’s gonna turn face and heel about 13 times in this match, I’d wager.
You know, so far, this has been a pretty alright Royal Rumble show. Maybe this’ll be the one that breaks the “fuck you” booking curse it’s been plagued with for far too long.
(Famous last words…)
Jericho, don’t go after your former best bud Paul, you were both tag team champions!
WHOA, Braun nearly dead-lifted Big Show out of the ring. Still got him out, but Braun got him on his shoulder. Damn,
#10 is… YEAHHHH BOY IT’S THE PERFECT 10, TYE DILLENGER, THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS JOB GUY!
I gotta watch Takeover from last night, it looked great.
Michael Cole mentioned Eric Young on a WWE pay-per-view. Another one for the checklist.
ELLSWORTH IS #11, YES. GET HIM, BRAUN.
Does Cass know his real-life girlfriend has been written into a storyline relationship with Ellsworth? Can’t imagine he’s too pleased with that.
Ambrose is #12, and he tricked Ellsworth into running into Braun. And he got slammed out of the ring for it, there’s some payback for you. 6 eliminations for Braun so far.
(Un)Lucky 13 is Big Banter Baron, with only the 14,000th mention of the Andre battle royal – does that even mean ANYTHING? Aw, out goes the Perfect 10.
Why is my PS4 having internet problems? The quality just went to 240p–CORBIN ELIMINATES BRAUN ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING.
#14 is Kofi Kingston, 1/3rd of New Day. So what’s his annual spot gonna be, this year?
Remember, the floor is only lava if you go over the TOP rope – middle and bottom rope, it’s fair game.
#15 is Miz, I’m not expecting much from him.
Okay, we had Tye Dillenger, but will there be any more NXT appearances this year? And when is Samoa Joe gonna get the call-up?
JEEZUS KOFI, your spot was climbing to the turnbuckle post and falling chest-first to the top of it, dangling above the floor? The hell are you doing?
#16 is Sheamus, doing double-duty tonight. Alright, gotta wait for Lesnar and Goldberg and Undertaker to fill up the 21-30 slots…
#17 is Big E [Langston], just don’t do a dive through the ropes. Not just here, but ever.
I wonder, does WWE not want Sign Guy to be in the front row anymore? He’s about 7 rows back, here.
#18 is MACHKA SOMETHING, and according to the script, Rusev is gonna win it all… good god, Rusev got a legit broken nose on Monday and now he’s wearing Cody Rhodes’ ugly duckling face mask.
WHY would you mention the League of Nations, Cole? The one thing that killed El Patron’s 2015 return?
#19 is WEE WOO WEE WOO WEE WOO WEE WOO Cesaro. And sorry, Saif, he wasn’t released tonight. Maybe next time, bud.
#20 is Austin Creed, so now we can focus on the big draws coming in next. I wonder if Don posted the “PA! PA!” image of Nico Robin three times, tonight.
There haven’t been any eliminations since Tye got thrown out. Ooh, #21 is Bray Wyatt, Meltzer says he’s gonna be in for a big WrestleMania season this year. Subject to change, of course. And Dave, I pray to God that you’re wrong about Orton winning the Rumble this year.
(Again, famous last words…)
#22 is Apollo Crews… the guy who won a spelling bee as a kid. Goddamn, they REALLY dropped the ball with him, fast-tracking him from NXT and giving him NOTHING to work with. The crowd wants Goldberg, but I bet you he’ll be coming out #30–Cesaro and Sheamus eliminated New Day, then Jericho eliminates them both before they can eliminate each other. Cue the Jay Hunter special, tag team dissension.
#23, Randall Keith Orton. Don’t win, Orton. Please don’t win. Let it be… well, anyone but Reigns. Nah, as if HE would do double duty tonight…
(FAMOUS LAST WORDS.)
…we’re not gonna see Finn Bálor return tonight, are we? Fuck.
#24 is Dolph Ziggler… I got nothing. At least he starts a Superkick Party in the ring, so that’s cool with me. If only Steve Corino were here to call it. “SUPERKIIIIIIIIIIIICK.”
More Goldberg chants. Come on, 50,000-plus are getting antsy…
#25 is Luke Harper, coming out to the Wyatt Family music for some reason… guess they didn’t have “WWE_LukeHarper_Theme.mp3” on standby in the back. And out goes Apollo, see you on Main Event in a few weeks, dude. Good storyline development with Harper and Wyatt and Orton, though.
#26 is BRRRRRRRRRROCK… LLLLLLLEEEESSSNNNAAAAARRRRRRR!!! And of course Paul Heyman is with him, wouldn’t be complete without him. Out goes Ambrose, then Ziggler, and then Rusev and Jericho and Corbin get German’ed, then Miz and Orton get F-5’ed. Hot damn, that’s a great sight–you’re gonna get Goldberg in a few moments, people, calm down.
The lucky #27 spot is… Enzo Amore? The hell? Uh… well, Lesnar’s gonna kill you, and Corey Graves is gonna savor every minute of it. Aaaaaand out he goes.
#28 is GOOOOOOOOLDBERRRRRRRRRRG. Not #30, but still pleasantly welcomed.
GOOOOOOOOLDBERRRRRRRRRRG. GOOOOOOOOLDBERRRRRRRRRRG. GOOOOOOOOLDBERRRRRRRRRRG. GOOOOOOOOLDBERRRRRRRRRRG.
I hope their Mania match doesn’t stink up the place.
SPEAR! Hot damn, what a spear, Bill’s still got–LESNAR IS GONE HOLY SHITE MAN.
Sami Zayn eats a Jackhammer, that had to have been a mark-out moment in his mind.
#29 is *GONG*, Undertaker is here. So let’s stop the interval clock as we all take in that magnificent entrance–OH SHIT HE’S IN THE RING.
Undertaker and Goldberg, that’s a money match we may never see in this lifetime. Goldberg throws out Rusev and Harper, Undertaker throws out Corbin, Goldberg spears Undertaker, but Undertaker throws out Goldberg from behind.
So wait… who’s #30 gonna be? I can’t think of any other names, unless… oh no, please, no, DO NOT DO IT, VINCE. DON’T YOU DO IT. DON’T YOU DARE DO IT, I SWEAR. DON’T DO IT–YOU FUCKING SUCK, IT JUST HAD TO BE ROMAN REIGNS, HUH??? ARGHHHHHHHH.
I am flipping off my screen. This bullshit, AGAIN.
…I don’t want a match with Undertaker and Reigns, especially if it has Reigns going over. That just benefits nobody.
“THIS IS BULLSHIT! *CLAP-CLAP-CLAP CLAP CLAP*” I agree, Alamodome.
Taker takes out Miz and Zayn, see ya–FUCK YOU, ROMAN ELIMINATES UNDERTAKER. FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU.
Commence the loud booing and “BULL-SHIT!” chants.
Jericho gets Saitama’d (Superman Punch) out of the ring, no bueno.
If given the choice between Orton or Reigns winning, I’ll gladly take the monotone robot over… well, the monotone robot with a vest.
Reigns eliminates Wyatt, I say BOOOOOOOOOOOOO with a hard middle finger.
And lastly, Orton eliminates Reigns… whoop-dee-fucking-doo, I feel nothing for this.
THIS close, WWE. You were THIS CLOSE to a perfect 180 from years’ past, but those little things at the end of the Rumble match (read: REIGNS) brought out the usual reactions from the crowd. And you wonder why he’s not getting over, YOU CANNOT FORCE IT ONTO PEOPLE. So yeah, Orton wins, and we’ll either be getting Orton-Cena Round 82,164, or Orton-Wyatt in some capacity at Mania. And my interest has gone down a bit for this year’s WrestleMania.