WWE: Royal Rumble 2014

RR14

WWE: Royal Rumble
January 26, 2014
Pittsburgh, PA
CONSOL Energy Center

The current WWE champs are as follows:
WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton (12/15/2013)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Big E Langston (11/18/2013)
WWE U.S. Champion: Dean Ambrose (5/19/2013)
WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (1/26/2014)
WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee (6/16/2013)

Not even going to bother recapping the pre-show match. In 2014, the New Age Outlaws defeated Cody Rhodes and Goldust for the WWE tag titles. Yes, that happened. I don’t know why I’m surprised. I mean, it’s one thing though for something like this to have happened in 2006 when Ric Flair and Roddy Piper won the tag titles, but at least now it seems like they are putting SOME effort into the tag team scene, and then *this* happens.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler. I guess it should be noted that Ricardo Rodriguez has joined the Spanish announce table. At least we know he’s not been “future endeavored” yet.

  • Bray Wyatt (w/Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) vs. Daniel Bryan

Huge pop for Daniel Bryan to start the show. Bray is talking to himself a lot. They charge at each other and meet in the center of the ring for the old-fashioned collar and elbow tie-up. With the weight advantage, Wyatt pushes Bryan back into the corner only for Bryan to fight out with punches. Just so I won’t have to mention it for the rest of the match, the crowd is right along with every punch, every kick, every move he makes. Bray fires back and levels Bryan with a running elbow, but then Bryan goes after the leg with a kitchen sink to the thigh. Bryan lays in some more knees, but gets distracted by the Wyatt family members, which ultimately gets them kicked out of ringside. When Bray gets finished telling them that he doesn’t need them to fight this war for him, Bryan leaps onto Wyatt from the top rope. Back inside, Bryan delivers a flying bodypress for two. Bryan gets chopped down to the floor, but then sidesteps a charge from Wyatt who runs his knees into the steps Undertaker-style. Back in the ring, Bryan works the leg and even delivers a Curb Stomp. SUPER DRAGON! SUPER DRAGON! SUPER DRAGON! They fight over a suplex on the apron and when Bryan winds up on the apron, Wyatt pulls him down to the floor by his arm. With Bryan stuck in the corner and his head up against the ringpost, Wyatt avalanches Bryan’s head in a nasty moment! As Bryan is writhing on the floor clasping his head, Wyatt delivers a jumping senton to take his air away and possibly break a rib or two. Back in, Wyatt continues to injure Bryan’s head and neck. When Bryan tries to mount a comeback, Wyatt blasts him with a uranage. Now we get the creepy crab walk and the avalanche in the corner. Bryan lands his running elbow strike, hulks up, and kicks away at Bray. Headscissors from the top gets two. Backflip out of the corner from Bryan, he ducks under the clothesline, but then gets wiped out with a back elbow. Just nasty.

Bryan then avoids a suplex and sends Wyatt to the floor for a flying tornado DDT off the apron. Bray has busted his mouth open. Back inside, Bryan lands the Owen Hart missile dropkick and kip-up. YES Kicks and the Knockout Blow connects for 1-2-NO! He hits a pair of running dropkicks in the corner, but then Wyatt blasts him with a clothesline when he tries a third. HO-LEE CRAP. That only gets two. Time for Sister Abigail, but Bryan counters with a rollup for 1-2-NO! Bryan wants the YES Lock, but Wyatt bites Bryan’s hand to escape and then rains down on him with punch after punch. Bryan headbutts away a superplex and settles for a flying splash when Wyatt doesn’t fall far enough away for a flying headbutt. When Bryan sets up for the Busaiku Knee Kick, Wyatt flees to the floor. Bryan sees an opportunity for a suicide dive, but gets caught in mid-air and receives a SISTER ABIGAIL that takes him face-first into the barricade! Well, that does it. Back in, Wyatt delivers one last fatal SISTER ABIGAIL for the win. (21:32) After the bell, Harper and Rowan both come out and escort their leader backstage, and that’s that. In a record previously held by Edge and Dolph Ziggler in 2011 at 20:44, this is officially the longest opening match in the history of the Royal Rumble PPV. What a brawl this was. Plenty of nasty moments that really put over how sadistic Bray Wyatt could be in a singles match setting. This was a necessary win for him especially since it appears he’s going to be in a big match with John Cena at WrestleMania. While his promo work is incredible and his cronies have been impressive in their own right, Bray Wyatt himself needed this win to prove – and I know this sounds cheesy and cliché but – that his bite was worse than his bark. Great, well-timed comebacks from Bryan. I loved it. The first MOTYC, indeed. ****

In the back, Renee Young speaks with Paul Heyman. He promises that tonight is the dawning of a new era where WWE will be conquered and subjugated by Brock Lesnar the Conqueror. Heyman REALLY wanted to get over the fact that Brock will “conquer” the Big Show here.

Hey look, Ben Roethlisberger is in the audience tonight, because clearly neither Jerry Rice nor Deion Sanders wanted him anywhere near Honolulu.

Over at the expert panel, Josh Mathews, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Shawn Michaels, and Ric Flair voice their picks on the Lesnar/Show match. First off, despite delivering Sweet Chin Music two times to Daniel Bryan in the last three months, Shawn puts over both Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt as the future of the business. As for the picks, Duggan goes with the Big Show while HBK and Flair pick Lesnar. This might actually be the best way to use the legends. Just keep them away from the ring is all I ask.

  • Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. The Big Show

Lesnar immediately shoots on Show before the bell and punches him real good. Heyman tosses in a chair that gets abused all over the Big Show’s left arm and back. This assault continues on for a good three minutes. Finally, ref Mike Chioda sneaks the chair away from Lesnar and heaves it up the aisleway. When Chioda is not supposed to be looking, Heyman hands Lesnar another chair. All Heyman had to do was press C-Up to retrieve another chair, I suppose. The bell rings and as Lesnar charges Show with a chair, he gets a right hand to the jaw. Show does his best to fight off Lesnar with just one good arm. Unfortunately, Lesnar is fresh and manages to hoist up Show for the F-5 to not just conquer, but also subjugate the Big Show for the win. (2:03 bell-to-bell, 5:15 total) One might even say Lesnar trounced the Big Show here. The beatings continue after the bell as Lesnar breaks a chair over the Big Show. Not much of a match, but the barrage of chairshots certainly backs up everything Heyman said here in this performance. ¾*

Backstage with the Shield, they guarantee that the Royal Rumble match will come down to the three of them. Dean Ambrose wants to know what number Roman Reigns has, but Seth Rollins tries to remind them of what matters.

Elsewhere, Randy Orton is with Renee Young. She mentions all the fierce future competitors looking to take his WWE world heavyweight title: Brock Lesnar, Batista, the winner of tonight’s Royal Rumble, and now even Bray Wyatt. Orton calls Wyatt a Duck Dynasty reject, not “face of the WWE” material, and a deranged hillbilly who sits in a rocking chair. Tonight, he plans to show the world that John Cena is not “face of the WWE” material either.

  • WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs. John Cena

Only way to win this one is by pinfall or submission. “Daniel Bryan” chants go up after the ring introductions. During the feeling out process, the crowd does the dueling “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” chants. Oh boy. No reaction whatsoever for Randy Orton – the WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. Orton takes over with a chinlock, but Cena fights out and tries a Boston crab. Because he’s from Massachusetts, I suppose? Orton brings him back into the ring with a suplex and clamps on another chinlock. Yeah, that’ll win over this crowd. To the floor, Cena takes a bump into the stairs. That gets two. Cena pops up with a shot at the Attitude Adjustment, but Orton counters with a nice DDT. Orton plays to the crowd and pays with an electric chair drop for two. Two shoulderblocks and the Protobomb gets delivered, but Orton kicks away the Five Knuckle Shuffle and powerslams Cena. Doesn’t matter much though as Cena gives Orton that half nelson slam into a neckbreaker for another nearfall. Flying Famouser gets 1-2-NO! Again he tries the AA, but Orton counters with the over the back neckbreaker. Orton can’t hit the DDT through the ropes, but DDTs Cena from the apron onto the floor instead. Back in, Orton gets two. Cena ducks the RKO and locks in the STF. He makes the ropes, but Cena comes back with the Protobomb and the Five Knuckle Shuffle he wanted earlier. He can’t get the AA this time either and the ref gets knocked down. STF is applied and of course Orton taps. While a trainer checks on ref Charles Robinson, Orton nails Cena with the world title belt. Cover, 1-2-NO! Crowd chants “This is awful”. Cena pops up and hits the AA, but Orton kicks out at two. RKO connects for 1-2-NO! Orton goes to punt Cena’s head off, but Cena moves and grabs Orton for another AA. Unfortunately, Orton escapes and locks in the STF! Cena finds a way out and applies the Crippler Crossface. Orton rolls out of *that* and executes an AA on Cena! Cover, 1-2-NO! As Orton picks up Cena, he gets blasted with an RKO. BANG! Cena covers for 1-2-NO! Now Cena wants a Super AA, but has to settle for a tornado DDT. STF looks to put Orton away and just as he could tap, the Wyatt family signal blares and the lights go off. When the lights come back on, the Wyatt family is on the apron bugging Cena. That allows Orton to jump on Cena with an RKO for the win. (20:57) Orton slinks out through the crowd, leaving Cena to take a beatdown and Sister Abigail. Even though this was clearly the wrong audience for this match, it still managed to be entertaining due to the way they responded to it all. I’m not sure they could have done anything to win this crowd, and I’m not sure that’s not a bad thing. Aside from all that, it’s only a marginally decent match that just didn’t get violent or passionate enough considering Orton put Cena’s dad in the hospital. **

Backstage, Renee Young gets a word with the New Age Outlaws. Billy has two words for her: new champs. Ugh.

A few guys do the obligatory “I’m going to win the Rumble” string of promos. All Batista says is, “Exactly.”

Over at the Legends panel, Duggan picks the dark horse Dolph Ziggler, Shawn says one of the Shield members or CM Punk, and Flair says Batista. WOO!

  • The Rumble

CM Punk and Seth Rollins are your first two entrants. Punk tries to put away Rollins early with the running knee, but Rollins enziguri kicks him when he tries the Go2Sleep. Damien Sandow draws #3. He joins Rollins in trying to take out Punk, but they both wind up receiving a DDT/neckbreaker combo for their troubles. #4 is Cody Rhodes. Sandow goes after his old partner and nemesis, but gets Cross Rhodes. Once Rollins pairs off with Rhodes, Punk backdrops Sandow to the floor. Just as Punk joins Cody to take care of Rollins, shirtless Kane enters in at #5. He boots away Rhodes and goes to work on Punk. He hits the Side Slam, but Punk kicks away a shot at the Chokeslam and dumps Kane to the floor! Next up, Alexander Rusev from NXT makes it to the show! If anybody in WWE right now is a throwback to the 1970s WWWF by just looking at him, I would say it was this guy. He manhandles everybody, but doesn’t eliminate anyone. #7 is Jack Swagger. He comes in and starts pump splashing people. He has a brief exchange with Rusev, but that goes nowhere. Kofi Kingston enters the Rumble at #8. He tries to eliminate Punk and gives up before blending in with everyone else. Jimmy Uso joins us at #9. He Bubba Bombs Rollins and starts tagging the other five guys. #10 is Goldust. His hot streak is stopped by Rusev, who then gets bombarded by a few guys to get thrown out. Back to NXT with you! Punk places Kingston on the apron and then elbows him into Rusev. Luckily for Kingston, he gets caught. Unluckily for Kingston, he gets dropped on the barricade so he can do his Royal Rumble parkour stunt of the night. Kofi runs down the barricade and leaps back onto the ring apron to make it back inside. I think everyone stopped in the ring to see if he would slip up.

Dean Ambrose is the #11 entrant. More near eliminations ensue, but no one goes out. Dolph Ziggler enters the Rumble at #12 to a big pop. He drops some bombs on the Shield and then gets nearly tossed out. #13 is R-Truth. The Shield take care of him by sending him home early. Rollins manages to eliminate Jimmy Uso as well. Swagger tries to get rid of Kingston, but he hangs off the bottom rope by his feet! While Swagger pushes him down by his foot, Kingston pulls off his boot and hits Swagger in the face to get him to chill out so Kingston can make it back inside. And what do you know? As if this show isn’t full enough of Triple H’s buddies, Kevin Nash appears at #14. He eliminates Swagger and boots down the Shield. Be careful with him, boys. He’s an antique! #15 is Roman Reigns. All three members of the Shield are officially in the Rumble. He’s got spears and clotheslines for everybody. Kingston lunges at him and gets thrown out. Ziggler stuns Reigns with a jumping DDT and goes for Zig Zag, but gets shoved off and eats a Spear. See ya, Dolph. Nash charges Reigns and falls out to the floor. Watch that quadricep, buddy! The Rhodes brothers try to get rid of Reigns, but Rollins makes the save. Great Khali is #16. WHERE IS JAKE THE SNAKE? He’s got Brain Chops for the Shield, but they dump him out. We now have the Rhodes brothers and CM Punk against the Shield. Ambrose backdrops Cody to the apron and then sidesteps a charge from Goldust who knocks his little brother to the floor. Whoops. So disappointed in himself, Reigns manages to clothesline Goldust out to the floor as well. That leaves CM Punk all alone with the Shield. Next thing you know, Sheamus returns at #17. He handles the Shield pretty well and pounds the crap out of Ambrose’s chest. Irish Curse to Rollins! Brogue Kick to Reigns! The Shield swarm on top of Sheamus though before any eliminations can occur. Here’s the guy I thought MIGHT have been the Iron Man of the evening. Turns out I was wrong. The Miz is #18. There’s a lot of punches and kicks traded here. Fandango enters in at #19. He almost gets eliminated right off the bat and proves no real threat to anyone. EL FREAKING TORITO comes in at #20. WHERE IS THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR? I can’t believe anyone is selling for a midget in a bull costume, but they are. Fandango runs him down, but gets eliminated by him. So much for your career. Thank God for Roman Reigns because he throws the little guy out onto Fandango.

Antonio Cesaro is the #21 entrant. Giant Swing on the Miz! Giant Swing on Rollins! He spins Rollins around so much, the crowd can’t even count that high. #22 is Luke Harper. Everybody is trying to dump somebody out, but nothing happens. Jey Uso enters in at #23. Still, nothing much happening. Another surprise entrant and it’s not Warrior or Jake the Snake. It’s JBL at #24. He makes the mistake of reaching over the top rope to hand his jacket to Michael Cole and gets flipped out to the floor by Roman Reigns. Totally worth it? #25 is Erick Rowan. He tries to get rid of Miz, but Harper helps him out with the assist. Rowan puts Jey Uso on the apron and can’t get rid of him, so Harper has to boot him off to the floor. The Wyatt boys and the Shield start brawling with each other as Ryback comes in at #26. “Goldberg” chants go up. Nothing really happening. Lots of punches and kicks. Alberto Del Rio gets statistically the best number you can get at #27. Crazy how he make no impact. He just blends in with the other guys. #28 is Batista. He starts nailing guys and the crowd boos every move he makes. He sends out Rowan and Ryback, but then gets clipped by Del Rio. He sets up for the Cross Armbreaker, but Batista lifts him up onto his shoulder and tosses him out. The VERY OILY Big E Langston joins us at #29. Belly to Belly Suplex on Batista! He nails Sheamus with a pair of backbreakers and nearly tosses him out. With the final number, the crowd REALLY hopes it is Daniel Bryan. Too bad for them that it’s just Rey Mysterio at #30. The old man gets booed out of the building. He hits some of his signature moves, but can’t eliminate anyone. On the other hand, Sheamus clotheslines Langston to the floor. Rey hits Rollins with the 619, but then eats an enziguri kick and falls off the apron. Crowd LOVES it. By the way, Punk is still in this match. Reigns Superman Punches Harper off the apron to send him back to the showers or wherever it is he goes after a match. With Reigns gloating over that, Ambrose tries to eliminate his partner in crime! WHOA. As Reigns just falls on the apron, Rollins pushes Ambrose back and tries to get his head straight. Cesaro seizes the moment and tries to push out both Ambrose and Rollins, but can’t quite make it happen. They wind up bullying Cesaro up against the ropes when Reigns walks over and dumps all three of them out.

FINAL FOUR: CM Punk, Roman Reigns, Sheamus, and Batista. After Reigns puts the badmouth on his partners, he turns around into a Spinebuster from old reliable Batista. Brogue Kick to Batista! Go2Sleep to Sheamus! Reigns looks to Spear Punk, but gets kicked in the face and given the Go2Sleep. Next thing you know, Kane appears out of nowhere and pulls Punk over the top rope to the floor! Punk leaves the ring at 49:14 as tonight’s Iron Man. He continues to punish Punk and then gives him a Chokeslam through the Spanish announce table! Just like old times. Batista starts to rule the ring, but then Sheamus settles him down with the Rolling Fireman’s Carry Slam. Why not just throw him out instead of just getting your *crap* in? Sheamus points to the WrestleMania XXX sign and starts beating on his chest while the crowd chants “NO!”. This crowd is unbelievable. Brogue Kick to Batista, but the crowd boos everything. Batista Bomb fails, but Sheamus winds up on the apron where Reigns runs him down to the floor with a Spear. Reigns now holds the record for the most eliminations in a Rumble match with 12. Batista tries to dump him out, but Reigns lands on the apron and slides back inside. There’s a brief staredown and they exchange blows. Reigns gets whipped into a corner, but explodes on Batista with a clothesline. He sets up for the Superman Punch, but Batista counters that with a Spear of his own. That looked awkward. Batista starts to give Reigns two thumbs down, but turns around into a SPEAR. It’s time to toss him out, but Batista reverses and sends out Reigns to win his second Rumble match. (55:09) Very uninspired, lame surprises, and an obvious winner that no one wanted to see. If they are smart or at least wanted to turn this around, they should consider turning Batista heel. Why would he even come back anyway? Didn’t he leave because of the PG era? If he didn’t like working PG, I can’t imagine he would want to be the hero. Just everything about his return seems unnecessary to me – except that he needed a job and he’s pals with Triple H. If the crowd hadn’t been as entertaining as they were, I would go even lower on my rating. **½

Final Thoughts: It started off great with the Wyatt/Bryan blowoff, but it went way down hill after that. I still hope that WWE will do the right thing and that they are just trying to work all the impatient little marks out there who have been programmed for the last twenty years with monthly PPVs and instant payoffs. I really want to think that Triple H is trying to take the booking paradigm back to the way it once was where you build towards the huge payoff. I want to believe that is what they are doing here. I really hope for the best. Thumbs down for the Royal Rumble 2014 unless listening to a very unsatisfied vocal crowd interests you at all. I’m sure that opener will be on a DVD at some point.

You know, Ricky Steamboat didn’t beat Ric Flair for the NWA world title until 1989. Just throwing that out there.

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Posted on January 28, 2014, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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