Royal Rumble 2015 - A Review

This is way off topic for a health blog, but go with me here.

For a while now I've been thinking about the fitness regimes of pro athletes. With my personal trainer certification coming from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, I often think of framing exercise in the OPT model. More and more I've been wanting to start an interview series with athletes from a wide variety of sports to see exactly what they do, why they do it, and does it actually give them the results they want. I should get on that.

So, why now am I writing my thoughts on the Royal Rumble PPV? Well, because I have thoughts and I don't have a cool forum or community to chat. So, here they are.

New Day Vs Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, W/ Adam Rose

In our first match we see the theme running through the PPV. If you give us poorly developed "good guys," the crowd will boo. I like all 6 of these guys as performers. (Remember when Xavier Woods was Consequences Creed in TNA? Awesome work.)

These pre-show matches feel like a way to keep dudes around when the writers have dropped the ball. I hope Cesaro settles in for a long winter's nap. If he can stay healthy and keep performing well with these inconsequential matches, he'll get there. I hope.

New Age Outlaws Vs The Ascension

I'm willing to give the Ascension time. Let them continue to be obnoxious, berating legends, only wrestling no-namers on TV. I'd like that. Sure, I'll put my eyes on my second screen during the matches, but I'll listen to JBL and smile.

Nice to see the Outlaws from time to time. It's also nice to see them lose appropriately.

The Usos vs Miz and Mizdow for the Tag Team Championship

My wife, an Attitude Era fan, doesn't care about Raw these days. She's in and out (mostly out) but she'll join me for the PPV's. When this match came up she said, "They don't have any other tag teams? I always see these guys. I don't give a fuck about them!" (I'm paraphrasing)

She then changed her mind, professed love for Damien Mizdow, and began booking the Miz Vs Mizdow interaction in the Rumble match. At this point she became very passionate about Mizdow winning the Rumble because he's the only one she gives a fuck about (again, paraphrasing).

She's not wrong here. The lack of a decent tag team division is one of the 17 major problems that the WWE has right now. The fact that the Usos retained their titles after having the same match that they've been having for months is whatever, I guess.

Natalia & Page Vs The Bella's

Do you remember when TNA was 100% behind the Knockouts? That entire division was amazing, filled with main eventers. Fully realized characters that could work the men into fits of embarrassment.

One of the WWE's 17 major problems is how they treat women. I'll just say that the second screen experience was made for these matches. So you don't have to watch.

Lesnar Vs. Cena Vs. Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

This match is why I was legitimately looking forward to this PPV. And hey, it was fantastic. I'll watch it again later today.

What else? It was really good. Good story. Good moments. Good duration. Good action. Really good, in fact. Lesnar retaining was a surprise for me and I'm good with that.

Two minor things. Lesnar being "hurt" and out of the match for a while only worked in the moment because I thought Rollins was going to cash in Money In The Bank. There was a directing issue here. By keeping the camera off of Lesnar, we can now predict that he will, Surprise!, sneak back in the ring. Plus, if that dude was legit hurt he would still get back in the ring and throw people around. In fact, I probably believe that he does have a real broken rib and still was able to rag-doll dudes.

Now, not cashing in Money In The Bank. Right now it seems like a misstep, but until we see where it's headed I'll reserve judgement. My secret prediction was that he'd cash in and then Orton would run-in and ruin it, setting up a Wrestlemainia match. Maybe that'll be tonight on Raw.

But again, this was a great match.

The Royal Rumble Match

The first half of the Rumble was probably some of my favorite Rumble stuff ever (although that one time where all the hardcore guys were in there and Kane threw them all out was pretty awesome). Bubba Ray, The Boogieman, DDP! (BANG), and Bray dominating were fantastic (Bubba better be on raw tonight). There was a weird storytelling problem with the Wyatt family thing. I actually don't know what that I'm-turning-on-you, no, I'm-turning-on-you thing was about, but there were two moments of this-is-awesome before, wait, what happened?

And I'll say it, Daniel Brian getting eliminated early was also great. I really like him and I want him to continue to do great things, but not winning the Rumble is more interesting.

Around the mid point of the match, while still fine and entertaining, the tone started to turn. That moment between Miz and Mizdow was fun, but Jesus, Mizdow really could have won the match and had everyone behind him. To be as ineffective as he was, not even one elimination, was a miss.

I liked Big Show and Kane working together to just dump dudes out. It made sense and it worked for me. The shock of Ziggler's going to win, wait, he just got dumped! worked for me.

But there were multiple moments at the end that pure and simple just didn't work.

  • Roman Reigns winning was a fuck up.
  • Roman Reigns unable to win on his own and needing the Rock to help made him look weak and was a fuck up.
  • What the hell was Rusev doing? That sequence made no sense, had directing problems, and was a fuck up.
  • Triple H and Stephanie McMahon stepping out from behind the curtain looking mad made me thing that they were about to do something! Then they walked away looking mad. Fuck up.
  • And Sting! At the start of the show Triple H said that is Sting showed up, H would beat him up. Shining a spotlight on Sting and then having him not be there was a fuck up.

 Now, I'm calling these moments fuck ups, but they weren't really. Some were poorly executed and confusing moments (Rusev & the Authority) and some were conceptual problems (Rock & Sting).

The question is this: is Roman Reigns winning in 2015 an error on the same level as Batista winning in 2014? I think that it is and it is now one of the WWE's 17 major problems. (I was ultimately okay with how they turned Batista and added Daniel Brian. Batista was not okay with it, but hey, what can you do?)

I don't entirely understand the "Reigns isn't ready" argument. Maybe, I don't know. What I do know is that you could feel that the Raw crowds liked him, but didn't love him. The Philly ECW crowd is an extreme crowd, but that reaction, that hate of the anointed, is now the accepted reaction. Maybe. We'll see on Raw. But I feel like Reigns will now split people like Cena does. And that's not cool for the next chosen one.

And maybe I do understand the "Reigns isn't ready" argument, come to think of it. Zack Ryder (welcome back) is way better on the mic, Sin Cara has a better move set, Curtis Axel has a greater range of emotion, and you know what, R-Truth has more charisma, and I don't want any of them in the main event of Wrestlemania.

What's happening right now is that, while writing this, I have just convinced myself that I really dislike this choice. And this is the problem. I don't dislike Reigns, but like a bad actor on a fun show (think most of the cast of Arrow), when you stand them next to someone with chops, the lack of quality shines bright. The lead cast of Wrestlemania earns that honor because they are among the best in the industry. And now that I am articulating my feelings, it has become super apparent that Reigns has been miscast.

So what's the solution? All is not lost. A poor decision has been made, but these are creative people who must be aware that Reigns Vs Lesner as is would not be the way to go. I don't want to start throwing out a bunch of scenarios, but copying Batista's arc seems to be the first discussion point. What if Reigns turned on the Rock? What if Rock turned heal as well? What if a third guy was added to the match? It's all in the execution.

The unfortunate side effect of the Royal Rumble is that Reigns will now be utterly dissected and have his skills over analyzed, and that sucks. The guy is improving and he has something going on, but because of this win I suspect that his personal growth will be derailed.

An unfortunate result from a pretty good Royal Rumble.