WWE: Royal Rumble
January 27, 2013
US Airways Center
The current WWE champs are as follows:
WWE Champion: CM Punk (11/20/2011)
World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto Del Rio (1/11/2013)
WWE United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro (8/16/2012)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Wade Barrett (12/31/2012)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Team Hell No (9/16/2012)
WWE Divas Champion: Kaitlyn (1/14/2013)
Your hosts are Michael Cole, a highly inebriated JBL, and Jerry Lawler.
- World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. The Big Show – Last Man Standing Match
Backstage, Bret Hart boosts Ricardo’s confidence that ADR can win by giving him a pair of shades. Suddenly, Ricardo is an eight year old kid again. Bret calls ADR the Mexican Bret Hart. WHAT. Show tries to keep the action nice and slow to start, but then ADR will start kicking him around and counter a powerbomb into a headscissors. ADR even busts out a flying seated senton ala Rey Mysterio to take Show off his feet. Cole tells us Del Rio wants to incorporate more of the lucha style into his arsenal. He pounds the arm a little bit and then thinks he’s going to get the Cross Armbreaker. Show lifts him with one arm and drops him to the mat. Del Rio gets a chair away from Show and beats him down. Show is up at six. ADR is waiting as he comes off the middle rope with the chair, but he flies down into a CHOKESLAM. After that, he’s up at nine, and then tumbles out to the floor. Show gives ADR a slam on the concrete, but then pays with a kick to the balls and then the head (on his shoulders). Show gets up at the count of nine. Over to the set, a light tube breaks loose and Show tries to break it over his back, but can’t! Now Show sets up a table and CHOKESLAMS ADR OFF THE SET! It’s like a 5-10 foot drop the best I can tell. Somehow, ADR is up at nine. Back to the ring, ADR slides out when he sees the KNOCK YOU THE FCK OUT punch is coming. Show tries to throw the steps at him, but misses. Ricardo BUM RUSHES THE SHOW, but gets thrown away like a rag doll. With ADR up against the barricade, Show charges, misses ADR, and goes flying through, which is a spot he’s done multiple times over the years. I believe he’s done it before at the Royal Rumble in a world title match as well. Again, Show is up at nine. Del Rio blasts Show a bunch of times with a chair, including a chair shot on the arm while its draped on steel steps. He even gets Show all disoriented with a fire extinguisher. Back inside, ADR applies the CROSS ARMBREAKER while Ricardo duct tapes the feet to the ropes. Once he feels he’s had the hold on long enough, he lets go of Show’s arm and lets the ref count to ten since Show can’t get up. (16:58) Much better than I remembered it being watching it live. The chokeslam off the set went a little far when you consider how tame the rest of the match was. It’s a thing where people will remember the moment more than they will the match itself. ***¼
In the back, Dolph Ziggler tells Matt Striker he’s choosing the #1 spot in the Rumble match because that’s exactly what he is. Striker reminds him of the insanity of that choice when you could go in at #30. Before Striker can begin to remind us of Chris Benoit and his Royal Rumble achievement, AJ interrupts and chastises him for doubting Ziggler’s ability, and then threatens him with Big E Langston. He gets on the mic and does a Walter Cronkite impression. Ziggler tells us his plans for WrestleMania: to win the Rumble, cash in his MITB briefcase to win the world title, and then unify the titles. That’s a TALL order, pal.
Yay old school Rumble promos! Somehow, it’s not the same. Antonio Cesaro, Prime Time Players, Randy Orton, John Cena (who cuts a loud Hulk Hogan promo), Wade Barrett, Sheamus, and Ryback.
On the pre-show, we see that US champ Antonio Cesaro defeated the Miz in no time with the Neutralizer.
- WWE Tag Team Champions Hell No vs. Rhodes Scholars
Doesn’t Cody just look like a guy trying to be Rick Rude for Halloween? Anyways, Rhodes and Bryan start us off. Headlocks and wristlocks are exchanged. Bryan catches Rhodes by the leg trying for a leapfrog and gets stuck in the surfboard. In comes Kane and Sandow. The tag champs concentrate on Sandow for a while. Kane boots Sandow to the floor and dumps out Cody so that Bryan can nail them with the suicide dive. Once that’s over, Sandow shoves out Bryan to start working on his back. He is *your* face in peril. He kicks Cody away and nearly gets a tag, but Sandow pulls him back. Canadian backbreaker on Bryan by Rhodes, but Bryan breaks loose. Bryan dives for the tag and gets caught by Rhodes, but counters *that* into a DDT. Hot tag to Kane, he hits the Side Slam on Sandow. He misses the Flying Clothesline, as Sandow blasts him with a swinging neckbreaker of sorts for two. Kane wants to double chokeslam the challengers, but they don’t let that happen, and then they give Kane a double suplex. After a blind tag, Bryan saves the day with a missile dropkick to Sandow. Rhodes gets shoved into a CHOKESLAM by Kane. With Cody gone, Bryan slaps the NO LOCK on Sandow for the tap out. (9:25) Fun little match. I just wonder what they are waiting on to put the belts on Rhodes Scholars though. **
Just when things are going great for Team Hell No, Vickie Guerrero drops by to reveal to them their Rumble match drawings. Bryan shows Kane his number, but Kane won’t show Bryan his. Hilarity ensues.
- The Rumble Match
Of course Dolph Ziggler is #1, but #2 is CHRIS JERICHO. No doubt, a huge ovation for Jericho. I just realized Jericho has tattoos now, and I don’t understand why. After a headlock and shoulderblock exchange, Ziggler tries to dump out Jericho. He lands on the apron and comes off the top with a sledge. Now Jericho throws Ziggler to the apron, where they end up fighting over to the top turnbuckle. Jericho ends up bringing him back inside with a superplex as Cody Rhodes enters at #3. They double-team Jericho, but he fights back. WALLS OF JERICHO on Cody, but Ziggler nails him from behind. Kofi Kingston is the #4 guy. He mounts Rhodes in the corner for the punches, but whiffs on the Trouble in Paradise to Ziggler. Ziggler wants to dump Kingston, but he bounces his neck off the top rope. Cole calls him the rubber band man. Kofi tries to dump Ziggler, Rhodes tries to dump Kingston, and Jericho tries to dump all three. That leads nowhere as no one gets eliminated. #5 is Santino Marella. He puts everybody out on the apron and celebrates like he’s the winner. Of course, no one is out. Once they decide to dump this idiot, he puts on the Cobra. Kingston charges and takes the stupidest move of all time because he’s a tool, but Jericho won’t sell that crap and chops Santino into a SUPERKICK from Ziggler. Rhodes decides to do the deed and gets rid of Santino for our first elimination. Drew McIntyre is the #6 entrant. When did he start looking like Lance Hoyt? He boots Kofi and tries to dump him to no avail. Ziggler tosses Jericho, but he dangles on the top rope ala Shawn Michaels. In comes Titus O’Neil at #7. Cody and Kofi work together on this guy, but they can’t handle him. Meanwhile, Jericho puts McIntyre on the apron and then springboard dropkicks him to the floor. Again, Ziggler and Jericho attempt to dump each other. Our second surprise entrant: GOLDUST. He’s your #8 guy and goes right after his little half-brother Cody Rhodes. When Ziggler interrupts, Goldust jabs him while Cody drops to the mat and gives him an uppercut. David Otunga enters in at #9. Nothing too interesting as the ring is filling up now. Another stooge by the name of Heath Slater drew #10. He doesn’t really make an impact either.
Here comes Sheamus at #11. He nails everybody and delivers Irish Curse backbreakers to Ziggler and Rhodes. Rolling Fireman’s Carry on Slater and then Jericho. Now Titus and Otunga get their chests pounded by Sheamus before getting eliminated. Tensai is #12. What a disappointment he turned out to be, huh? Who knew Albert would suck? Brodus Clay joins the fray at #13. He doesn’t do anything worth noting, but Goldust and Cody start mixing it up again. They fight on the apron where Goldust gets whipped into the ringpost and down onto the floor to eliminate him. Dustin can still take some good bumps. Next up, Rey Mysterio is #14. He dishes out 619s on both Jericho and Ziggler. He hits a flying splash to Jericho before Cody hoists him up on his shoulders to try and toss him out. Rey won’t go though. #15 is Darren Young. He helps a bundle of guys get rid of Brodus Clay. Kingston uses his legs to bring Tensai over the top to the floor. Ziggler comes up behind Kingston and forearms him off the apron onto Tensai’s back. Why would Tensai toss him down onto the Spanish announce table instead of the floor? Anyways, he does just that. While the refs try to clear Tensai of the ringside area, Kingston needs to figure out a way to get back into the ring without touching the floor. He can’t jump back onto the apron because it’s too far, so he asks for JBL’s chair. Meanwhile, NXT guy Bo Dallas is #16. Kofi then uses JBL’s chair as a pogo stick to reach the apron and get back inside the ring. I wish somebody would have hit Kofi with a baseball slide and eliminated him as he sat on the apron congratulating himself. Young does charge Kofi, but the top rope gets pulled down to send Young flying out to the floor. Since Kofi is still on the apron and not looking, Cody nails him with the Disaster Kick to finally eliminate Kofi. YEAH! Our third and final surprise entrant: THE GODFATHER comes in at #17. He hands the shades and chains to one ho, and hands his coat to the other ho. He slides into the ring and Ziggler dropkicks him out to the floor! He puts on the shades, the chains, and the hat, and leaves with a smile on his face and whores on his arms. #18 is Wade Barrett. He punches some folks and hits the Winds of Change on Sheamus. John Cena enters in at #19. I’m expecting some purging at this point. They all jump the guy, but even then he fights them off. Out goes Slater and Rhodes. Cena nearly eliminates Jericho, but Ziggler helps him out since he wants him for himself. By the way, Bo Dallas is still in this match. Damien Sandow comes in at #20.
Rey tries to eliminate Barrett with a headscissors, but they both hang on the apron. Barrett slides back in first and kicks Rey to the floor. Sheamus makes him pay by stomping him down in the corner. Meanwhile, Jericho attempts the Walls of Jericho on Cena. He finally applies the hold as Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring at #21. He goes into kick mode and doesn’t stop until he completes his combo with a Buzzsaw kick on Barrett. Sheamus tries to help Bryan eliminate Jericho. He dangles again, but makes it back onto the apron. Here comes Antonio Cesaro at #22. He throws European uppercuts all around. By the way, Bo Dallas is still in this match. The Great Khali enters in at #23. Somehow, he doesn’t eliminate anybody. Speaking of a guy who eliminates people, Kane is in at #24. Nope, still nobody is gone. Now I’m just thinking of Ryback. Zack Ryder – who has a MILLION TWITTER FOLLOWERS – comes in at #25. ROUGH RYDER to Ziggler, but he can’t toss him out. Meanwhile, Bryan and Kane dump out Great Khali. Once that is achieved, Bryan eliminates Kane. Stunned, Kane stands there as Cesaro forearms Bryan off the apron into his arms. Bryan tells Kane to put him back in the ring, which triggers a YES-NO argument. Bryan reaches the apron with his hands, but then Kane just lets him fall to the floor. Randy Orton is your #26 guy. Clotheslines and powerslams for a select few. He hits the draped DDT on Ziggler and Dallas. Yes, Bo Dallas is still in this match. An RKO to Ryder serves as the stepping stone to him getting eliminated. Jinder Mahal enters the match at #27. Cesaro makes eliminating Cena a lot harder than it is with a gutwrench, so Cena ends up just giving him a backdrop to the floor. Here comes the Miz at #28. He gets into a brief scuffle with Cesaro in the aisleway. Sheamus gets rid of Mahal. In comes Sin Cara at #29. There are now ten guys in the ring. Bo Dallas takes care of that as he brings Wade Barrett over the top rope to the floor. Not quite the same effect as Maven eliminating Undertaker, but it’s something. Barrett then reaches in and pulls Dallas out when he’s not looking. When he stands back up, Barrett nails him with the LOADED RED ELBOW PAD. By the way, when will we be seeing Chris Hero? Okay, time for #30 Ryback. He immediately sends Sandow, Sin Cara, and the Miz. Jericho shuts this fool down with the CODEBREAKER. Lionsault to Cena! Sheamus charges Jericho, but gets dumped to the apron. Jericho nails him with the springboard dropkick, but Sheamus still hangs on. CODEBREAKER to Ziggler! Jericho charges him, but gets sent to the apron to allow Ziggler to SUPERKICK him to the floor. That’s 47:52 for Jericho. Now Orton is on fire. While Ryback eats the post, he drops Ziggler, Cena, and Sheamus with the RKO. Draping DDT on Ryback! He looks for the RKO, but Ryback shoves him off and clotheslines him out, giving us our final four!
Final Four: Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, John Cena, and Ryback. Sheamus prevents the jumping DDT and puts Ziggler on the apron for the BROGUE KICK to send him packing. Dolph’s time is clocked in at 49:46. Cena and Sheamus double-team Ryback with a double suplex. They then try and take out each other, which Cena gets the better end of that exchange. He goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Sheamus when Ryback interrupts with a clothesline. SHELL SHOCKED to Sheamus gets countered to WHITE NOISE. Time for the Brogue Kick, but Ryback catches him charging and sends him over the top to the floor. Now it’s down to Cena and Ryback. Feed Me More chants start up. Ryback nails Cena with a spinebuster and I start to hear some boos. He charges into the STF, which just makes it harder for Cena to toss this guy out. Ryback fires back on Cena and lifts him up over his shoulder to throw him out, but Cena gets free and shoves out Ryback for the win. (55:04) Definitely a lack of star power in this one. I did like seeing Chris Jericho, but Ziggler’s Flair ’92-type performance was a bit underwhelming. Plus, the ending could be seen a mile away and solidified that Rock was indeed leaving Phoenix with the belt. Nothing really bad about it, just a little underwhelming for a Rumble match, even though it’s still a fun watch. ***
In the back, the Rock cuts a LONG promo that would maybe pull on your heart strings if it weren’t for the fact that he would glance over at the prompter every now and then.
- WWE Champion CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman) vs. The Rock
With Punk’s legit bad knee, I wasn’t expecting a lot out of this. They trade blows to start and head to the floor. Rock clears off the Spanish announce table, but Punk puts it back together. Heyman gets involved and tries to jump the Rock. That’s enough of a distraction to help Punk clothesline Rock down. Should he use the SAT or not? Punk decides to not use it. Punk hangs Rock out to dry on the barricade to do more damage to the insides of the Rock after the recent Shield attack. Back in, Punk works a body scissors and then a form of an ab stretch on the mat. Rock fights out, but Punk cuts him off with a dropkick. He hangs Rock out to dry again – this time on the top rope. With Rock rolling to the apron clutching his midsection, Punk delivers a springboard dropkick to send Rock to the floor. Looks like Punk has hurt his knee again, as he comes off the top rope with an elbow smash. Back in, Rock immediately kicks at the taped knee. That’s when Punk yanks out Rock and gives him a suicide dive. Back in again, Punk misses the Springboard Clothesline to do further damage to the knee. Rock slams the knee to the mat and follows up with a Russian legsweep for two. They trade attempts at their finishers. Rock then wants the Sharpshooter, but Punk counters to the ANACONDA VICE! Rock won’t tap and counters to a cradle for two. DDT by Rock leads to a shot at the Rock Bottom, but Punk escapes into a crucifix. Rock rolls through *that* and locks in the Sharpshooter. He couldn’t possibly power out and reaches the ropes for the break. On the floor, Rock clears off the Spanish announce table, and this time he takes out the monitors. You KNOW it’s business time now. ROCK BOTTOM, but the table gives way before the move is really executed. That’s not good for anybody’s knees. Rock settles for a ROCK BOTTOM on the floor instead. Back in, Rock covers for 1-2-NO! They come up fighting, but Rock gets the better end of the deal. Spinebuster and just before the People’s Elbow, the lights go out. Michael Cole proclaims that the Shield – who are barred from ringside – have appeared to TRIPLE POWERBOMB the Rock through their announce table! Now the lights come up and nobody is the wiser. Punk and Heyman have huge grins on their faces. He rolls Rock into the ring and covers for the 1-2-3! Rock’s mom is confused, but Punk and Heyman are CELEBRATING! And that’s when Vince McMahon comes out and reminds us all that if the Shield showed up, that Punk would be forced to vacate the WWE championship. Rock won’t win that way. He wants to BEAT Punk. Since he is Vince’s biggest suck up, Rock gets Vince to restart the match. Punk destroys Rock in the corner and hits the running knee. Flying Elbow gets 1-2-NO! Rock pushes off the GTS, catches Punk with the Spinebuster, and delivers the PEOPLE’S ELBOW for the win and his eighth WWE title. (26:42) Not the epic it could have been. Rock is a great personality, but he’s not exactly known for having classic wrestling matches like CM Punk. He always had to be in the ring with somebody better than him to have a great match: Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, few others. We just didn’t get CM Punk at his 100% that could have made this to the next level of greatness. ***¼
Final Thoughts: Nothing bad about it, just as average as average gets. “Thumbs in the middle” for Royal Rumble 2013.