Story by JOSHUA LEONARD, for The Muleskinner—
Sunday’s Royal Rumble was one of the best, if not the best, all-around Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
The night started off with a World Heavyweight Championship Last Man Standing match between the reigning champion Alberto Del Rio and the world’s largest athlete, the Big Show.
The match went back and forth, keeping me on the edge of my seat. This came as a surprise, due to the lack of showmanship and wrestling capability of the near 500 pounds Big Show.
The match went to the top of the entrance ramp where the Big Show climbed on top of a hanging light and chokeslammed Del Rio off of it. The match ended with Del Rio retaining his title.
The next match of the night was for the WWE tag team championship between Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) against Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow).
It is nice to see the WWE finally making the tag team division relevant again. Team Hell No is always entertaining to watch, especially with their anger management storyline. Team Hell No retained their title.
The third match was the Royal Rumble match. This was an interesting change of pace, as the match is usually the final match-up. Dolph Ziggler was the no. entry in the rumble. Ziggler came out with his “Show-off” character, ready for the match.
The no. 2 entry was a very pleasant surprise. Y2J, Chris Jericho, made a shocking entry. It’s always nice to see Jericho back in the WWE, because I got the pleasure of working with him and was his personal driver in a B-horror film made in Warrensburg titled, “Albino Farm.”
Every 90 seconds another superstar would enter the ring. The match became more and more intense. The final three left in the ring near the end of the match were John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback. Sheamus was eliminated, leaving just Cena and Ryback. Not being a Cena fan, I was rooting for Ryback to win, but to my dismay, Cena won his second Royal Rumble match, and will headline Wrestlemania 29.
The main event was for the WWE Championship, between the longest reigning champion in the last 20 years, an astonishing 434 day reign, CM Punk, and the most electrifying man in all of entertainment, The Rock. Punk received loud applause and CM Punk chants. The Rock had equally, if not louder, “Rocky” chants. The match went back and forth.
As The Rock was about to hit his iconic finishing maneuver, the people’s elbow, the lights in the arena went out. When the lights returned, CM Punk was left lying in the ring with The Rock flattened out on a broken announcer’s table. Punk got Rock in the ring and pinned him. Punk cheered and flaunted, thinking he successfully retained his title.
His celebration was cut short when Vince McMahon entered the arena, stating he was going to strip Punk of the title for The Shield attacking The Rock in the dark. The Rock quickly got on the microphone saying he was going to take the WWE title from Punk, and the match restarted.
Punk was angry and viciously attacked The Rock as the ring bell rang again. The Rock quickly got the upper-hand, hit CM Punk with the people’s elbow, and pinned him.
The Royal Rumble was fantastic. Every single match was great; not one dull moment in the night.
I was a little upset that CM Punk lost his title as he’s my favorite wrestler/performer in the WWE today, but it was bittersweet as I am happy to see The Rock back for a few months. Feb. 17 is the Elimination Chamber.
It’ll be awesome to see The Rock in his first ever Elimination Chamber match defending his title.
The road to Wrestlemania is always the best time to watch WWE for wrestling fans. Matching will be shaping up and being made as Brock Lesner, Triple H and the Undertaker will be coming back to have matches on the grandest stage of them all. I am very excited to see what is in-store on the road to Wrestlemania.