Sunday, 30 January 2005

WWE Royal Rumble 2005 - TV Review

It's a known fact that after Wrestlemania, the Royal Rumble is my second favourite pay-per-view of the year, which is why I've decided to take a more in-depth look at this year's show.

The show started off with a good, solid opener between Edge and Shawn Michaels. I've been really impressed with the way they've handled Edge's turn, glad with the way that he's gradually gone over to the dark side. Maybe they've learned something after the Randy Orton rush job. Of course, this bout probably would have happened a lot earlier had Michaels not injured his knee last October. After some hard fought action, Edge reversed a Michaels roll-up, with the help of a handful of tights and an armful of ropes.

Next up was the massively hyped casket match between the Undertaker and Heidenreich, which was a major let down for me. Their previous match at the Survivor Series last November was one of the highlights of the card for me, although it seems I'm in the minority as far as that's concerned. Not even the psuedo-homosexual segment between Heidenreich and Gene Snitsky, and the appearance of Kane, saved this bout from being a complete let down. Of course, the Undertaker won again, and you have to wonder just how big Jon is meant to be portrayed as an unstoppable monster after this defeat.

Then came the three-way dance for the WWE title, as JBL defended against the Big Show and Kurt Angle. As I mentioned in previous columns, I couldn't help but feel a little confused by the build-up to this event. Everything seemed a little jumbled up for me. The match was okay in it's own way, but it didn't really set my pulse racing, if you know what I mean. JBL emerged with the belt again, pinning Angle after a clothesline from hell. At least they're doing a good job of building JBL up as a champion.

Then it was the turn of the Raw side of things as Triple H defended the World Heavyweight title against Randy Orton. If you believe all the rumours, this was originally scheduled to be the main event at Wrestlemania 21, but that kind of went out of the window with Orton's rushed face turn, just a few days after he won the title from Chris Benoit at Summerslam last August. The talking point of this bout will probably be Orton's apparent concussion. Whether this was work or shoot I'm not going to comment on. I've seen a few reviews that said this match was slow, which made it boring at times. For me, this was a great deal better than the WWE title match. It had a good build-up, some good psychology, and towards the end you really wanted Orton to overcome all the odds, to shake off the cobwebs after the failed DDT attempted which caused his injury. These two will probably meet again over the next few weeks, and who knows, this match may main event Wrestlemania after all. A lot can
happen in the next sixty days or so.

Then came the Rumble match itself. Those of you who have read my reviews over the past few years will know that while I enjoy these kind of matches, I don't really enjoy reviewing them. For me, this was probably the most enjoyable Rumble of the past few years, and the entertainment began with the first backstage segment which saw Eddie Guerrero stealing Ric Flair's number.

With the way things had been going in the past couple of weeks, it was kind of telegraphed to me that the final two in the match would be John Cena and Batista. I couldn't tell who would win though. The way Batista has been pushed lately, and the way that he's starting to face the villains of the Raw brand showed that he was going to be his brand's number one man going on. Cena's speech this past week on Smackdown also got me thinking that perhaps this was going to be his year, because I don't recall any other Smackdown making a similar announcement in the past few weeks.

So what were the highlights of the show. Early on we had Daniel Puder getting the crap kicked out of him but Guerrero, Benoit, and Hardcore Holly, and given Holly's reputation, you have to wonder if Holly was shooting on the former shooter. The performances of Benoit and Rey Mysterio will probably be remembered the most, but it will be Batista's win which will remain with most fans. This could be the making of Evolution's animal, and should Triple H allow it, he could be the next big thing as far as the WWE are concerned.

So going into Wrestlemania 21, it looks like we're going to get the Undertaker and Kane against Snitsky and Heidenreich, Triple H v Batista, and something of a dream match for fans, Shawn Michaels v Kurt Angle.

In conclusion, an okay show. The Smackdown brand didn't really deliver as far as it's pre-Rumble matches were concerned, which proved once again that the Raw side of things is certainly the best brand at the moment. As for match of the night, well, that has to go to the Rumble bout itself. It couldn't be any other way really, could it?
It's a known fact that after Wrestlemania, the Royal Rumble is my second favourite pay-per-view of the
year, which is why I've decided to take a more in-depth look at this year's show.

The show started off with a good, solid opener between Edge and Shawn Michaels. I've been really impressed with the way they've handled Edge's turn, glad with the way that he's gradually gone over to the dark side. Maybe they've learned something after the Randy Orton rush job. Of course, this bout probably would have happened a lot earlier had Michaels not injured his knee last October. After some hard fought action, Edge reversed a Michaels roll-up, with the help of a handful of tights and an armful of ropes.

Next up was the massively hyped casket match between the Undertaker and Heidenreich, which was a major let down for me. Their previous match at the Survivor Series last November was one of the highlights of the card for me, although it seems I'm in the minority as far as that's concerned. Not even the psuedo-homosexual segment between Heidenreich and Gene Snitsky, and the appearance of Kane, saved this bout from being a complete let down. Of course, the Undertaker won again, and you have to wonder just how big Jon is meant to be portrayed as an unstoppable monster after this defeat.

Then came the three-way dance for the WWE title, as JBL defended against the Big Show and Kurt Angle. As I mentioned in previous columns, I couldn't help but feel a little confused by the build-up to this event. Everything seemed a little jumbled up for me. The match was okay in it's own way, but it didn't really set my pulse racing, if you know what I mean. JBL emerged with the belt again, pinning Angle after a clothesline from hell. At least they're doing a good job of building JBL up as a champion.

Then it was the turn of the Raw side of things as Triple H defended the World Heavyweight title against Randy Orton. If you believe all the rumours, this was originally scheduled to be the main event at Wrestlemania 21, but that kind of went out of the window with Orton's rushed face turn, just a few days after he won the title from Chris Benoit at Summerslam last August. The talking point of this bout will probably be Orton's apparent concussion. Whether this was work or shoot I'm not going to comment on. I've seen a few reviews that said this match was slow, which made it boring at times. For me, this was a great deal better than the WWE title match. It had a good build-up, some good psychology, and towards the end you really wanted Orton to overcome all the odds, to shake off the cobwebs after the failed DDT attempted which caused his injury. These two will probably meet again over the next few weeks, and who knows, this match may main event Wrestlemania after all. A lot can
happen in the next sixty days or so.

Then came the Rumble match itself. Those of you who have read my reviews over the past few years will know that while I enjoy these kind of matches, I don't really enjoy reviewing them. For me, this was probably the most enjoyable Rumble of the past few years, and the entertainment began with the first backstage segment which saw Eddie Guerrero stealing Ric Flair's number.

With the way things had been going in the past couple of weeks, it was kind of telegraphed to me that the final two in the match would be John Cena and Batista. I couldn't tell who would win though. The way Batista has been pushed lately, and the way that he's starting to face the villains of the Raw brand showed that he was going to be his brand's number one man going on. Cena's speech this past week on Smackdown also got me thinking that perhaps this was going to be his year, because I don't recall any other Smackdown making a similar announcement in the past few weeks.

So what were the highlights of the show. Early on we had Daniel Puder getting the crap kicked out of him but Guerrero, Benoit, and Hardcore Holly, and given Holly's reputation, you have to wonder if Holly was shooting on the former shooter. The performances of Benoit and Rey Mysterio will probably be remembered the most, but it will be Batista's win which will remain with most fans. This could be the making of Evolution's animal, and should Triple H allow it, he could be the next big thing as far as the WWE are concerned.

So going into Wrestlemania 21, it looks like we're going to get the Undertaker and Kane against Snitsky and Heidenreich, Triple H v Batista, and something of a dream match for fans, Shawn Michaels v Kurt Angle.

In conclusion, an okay show. The Smackdown brand didn't really deliver as far as it's pre-Rumble matches were concerned, which proved once again that the Raw side of things is certainly the best brand at the moment. As for match of the night, well, that has to go to the Rumble bout itself. It couldn't be any other way really, could it?