1) Seth Rollins: For the second straight week, Seth Rollins tops the list. Granted, he didn't win his match at the Royal Rumble, but nobody out performed him. Even though he lost on Raw, it was no big deal because he stepped up on the big stage. Again. Seth was added to the WWE Title match to save us from another John Cena/Brock Lesnar rematch. He did just that. Not only was this the best match of the night and week, it was up there as a top three WWE Title match in Rumble history. I'd only put Angle/Benoit in '04 and Cactus/HHH in '00 above it off the top of the head. Seth was the MVP of the contest as he added something to the match that we've yet to see before. He had the spots of the night when he put Brock through the announce table and busted out the Phoenix Splash. I haven't seen the Phoenix Splash since the Tyler Black days. While he did end up eating the pin, that's not the important thing to look at. Seth stepped into the ring with the two biggest money guys on the roster currently and not only didn't look out of place, but he outshined them. I have a feeling that he will play the Edge role to Roman Reigns' John Cena in the future. He delivers in spades every single night and the Royal Rumble was no different. He isn't lying when he says he's the future and it looks mighty bright.
2) Roman Reigns: My original plan was to put the Royal Rumble winner in the number one spot. However, anyone who watched the Rumble saw that it did not go well to say the least. I'm not against Roman Reigns. I like the guy and believe he has loads of potential, but I don't think he is quite ready. It seems like a lot of fans agreed and it made for an awful moment. He got the biggest win of his career for now but the crowd shit on it because it's not what they wanted. Daniel Bryan getting eliminated early deflated the crowd and they turned on everything they saw after. That was a bad decision. Nothing besides Dean Ambrose or Dolph Ziggler winning would have saved the show. For the second straight year the WWE didn't listen to their fans and it led to #cancelwwenetwork trending for more than 12 hours now on Twitter. That's a lot of people. Regardless, the win was huge for Roman and earns him a spot here.
3) Brock Lesnar: While Seth Rollins was the MVP last night, Brock Lesnar was the guy that won. How did Brock do it? By being a complete and total badass. He suplexed Seth and John Cena around the ring and looked like a monster. It took four AAs, going through the barricade and being put through the announce table to get him subdued. Now he did spend the next minutes hurt outside and they even did the false stretcher spot but he got back in and continued the assault after a while. I thought he might lose the belt near the end, but surviving two briefcase shots only to hit the F5 and retain was a total badass moment. This was the best match that Brock has had since his return in 2012 besides SummerSlam '13 against CM Punk.
4) Austin Aries: The Greatest Man That Ever Lived. The number one choice on my list of top TNA Performers. And now the man with a guaranteed TNA World Heavyweight Title shot. I've gone on record here and stated that I wanted TNA to use Austin Aries in a better manner. He is a damn good X Division Champion but is the best wrestler in the company and I've wanted him to become a focal point of their programming. So, he goes into Feast or Fired, has the coolest spot of the match and retrieves a briefcase. One that just so happens to have a TNA World Title shot in it. Now, according to Josh Matthews, nobody has ever successfully cashed in their shot but Aries should be the one. He should hold it for a bit, while being built up to their new viewers, and win the title. He's that damn good and I hope to see big things in the future for A Double.
5) Bray Wyatt: There was one man who dominated the Royal Rumble this year. That man was Bray Wyatt. He entered at number five and had some awesome moments early on. There was the near Wyatt Family reunion. There was the Boogeyman showdown. There was the elimination of Bubba Ray Dudley. There was the heartbreaking moment that he eliminated Daniel Bryan. Bray Wyatt has been booked strong in the back half of 2014 to make up for the momentum that he lost in the middle of the year and last night seemed like it would be more of the same. Then the Authority entered. Kane and Big Show got rid of him like he was trash. It was a poor ending to a really good night for Bray. I assume he moves into a match with the Undertaker at WrestleMania, but hopefully it's just something entertaining.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Onto the actual show and we open with The Ascension vs. the New Age Outlaws. I think this was a dreadful way to start the show. The opener is supposed to be something to get the crowd hot. There wasn't anything that stood out to do so on this show but I would have gone with Usos/Miz and Mizdow here. The crowd loves the Usos and Mizdow and they have the chemistry to perform a good match. I hoped the Ascension would kill the Outlaws in a quick match but it went about six minutes. Wisely, the Ascension won and to make things better, Billy Gunn ate the pin! Anyway, this was pretty dull though it did the job. *1/2
Now we get the WWE Tag Team Title match as the Usos defend against their constant opponents for the past few months, the Miz and Damien Mizdow. These four have wrestled in tag or singles matches so many times over the past few months that they can sleepwalk to a decent match by now which is pretty much what happened here. Miz continued his trend of not being able to catch people diving on him and nearly injured one of the Usos. The crowd was hotter for this than the opener and the Usos retain in just under ten minutes. Can we get them new challengers please? Usos/Kidd and Cesaro will tear the house down even if it's just at FastLane. **1/2
The tag match trend continues as we go to Divas tag action. Paige and Natalya took on Brie and Nikki Bella. The man in me must say that all four girls looked mighty fine tonight. They were actually given about eight minutes and did well with the it but the crowd didn't care much which is what happens when something is built on two minute TV matches. Nattie and Paige worked a nice double suplex but then Nattie played the face in peril. As she got close to making the hot tag, Paige was pulled from the apron and Nikki knocked out Nattie to win. Not bad but to not finish the hot tag was lame. **
The show is completely stolen here. Brock Lesnar defends his WWE World Heavyweight Title in a triple threat match against John Cena and Seth Rollins. This will go down as my second favorite match of the year so far, behind only Shinsuke Nakamura/Kota Ibushi from Wrestle Kingdom 9. Things played out with Brock being a total monster that is unstoppable. Four AA's, going through the barricade and Seth putting him through the table finally took him out for a while. They played the potential stretcher job on him while Seth and Cena both got near falls with the AA and Curb Stomp. Seth busted out the Phoenix Splash from his Tyler Black days, only for Brock to come in and fuck it up for him. After Cena was tossed outside, Seth reversed a German suplex and hit Brock twice with the briefcase. He went for a Curb Stomp on it but Brock, being the badass motherfucker he is, just gave him and F5 and that's a wrap. Excellent match, in which Seth was the MVP. Seriously, Seth Rollins manages to be the best thing about nearly every single show he's on. He is indeed, the future. ****1/2
Time for the Royal Rumble and we get Miz and R-Truth as 1 and 2. AWESOME TRUTH EXPLODES! In all seriousness though, a terrible top two. Bubba Ray Dudley arrives at three and the Philly crowd is marking. Truth is just standing in for D-Von as they even do the 3D. Bray Wyatt comes out shortly after and eliminates Bubba Ray with Luke Harper in the ring. Curtis Axel draws 6 and is taken out by Erick Rowan. He never makes it to the match. In a strong spot, Harper and Rowan seem to want to go after Bray, only to attack each other. Bray also tosses surprise entrant the Boogeyman. Fun so far.
Bray is dominating until Daniel Bryan enters at 10. The crowd is molten hot for Bryan. There have been a lot of jobbers in here like Zack Ryder and Fandango. Tyson Kidd enters and does a fun exchange with Bryan. DDP is our final surprise at 14 and drops some Diamond Cutters on people until number 15, Rusev, eliminates him. Bray and Rusev each eliminated about six tonight. In the moment that turned the entire tide of the show, Bryan gets knocked on the apron by Rusev and shoved off by Bray. The entire crowd completely turned on this match. Stardust, Kofi Kingston and others entered next to nothing but boos. Kofi even does his "I'll survive elimination" gimmick by landing on Adam Rose's rosebuds and being surfed back in the ring. The crowd completely hates everything.
Roman Reigns arrives at #19 and the crowd boos him. This could get ugly. The crowd boos everything until Damien Mizdow came out. Hey, someone is over enough to overcome the Bryan stuff. Miz tries to take his spot, but fails and Mizdow comes in doing Miz offense. However, the one guy that was over enough is eliminated in less than a minute. No pop for Jack Swagger or Ryback, but Dean Ambrose gets one at 25. I expect him and Ziggler to be the only ones and I was right. Dolph arrives at 30, throws out two people, is knocked out and tossed by Kane and Big Show. The Authority toss out Bray like nothing and the same goes for Ambrose. The crowd is chanting "Bullshit" and "We want refunds." Of course, Reigns eliminates Kane and Show when they start fighting and the crowd shits on this. The Authority attack so the Rock comes out and gets a pop but it doesn't save this. A "We want Rusev" chant breaks out because he was never eliminated. He sneaks in but is easily disposed of by Reigns. This was a poorly booked Rumble. **
Overall, this show wasn't great. The undercard was underwhelming and having to sit through so many tag matches dragged. The WWE Title match is MUST SEE and Seth Rollins to continues to do nothing but deliver. The Royal Rumble match was horribly booked. I'm not against Roman Reigns but the booking of the Rumble did him no favors. It got him possibly the worst reaction possible. Yes, the crowd would have been furious if he eliminated Bryan last but having Bryan go so early deflated them like the footballs at a Pats game. Oh yeah, sports reference! Anyway, the show gets a ho hum 4.5/10.