Once again we're going to dip into the ever-growing pile of DVDs sent to me by the good people at Fremantle Media and Fetch Publicity for our latest deja vu review, and this time around we're taking a look at the Great One's first major title challenge in years at Royal Rumble 2013.
Title action began the proceedings as the Big Show challenged Alberto Del Rio for the World title in a last man standing match.
Now this is one I really enjoyed, mainly because of it's highly imaginative ending. Before that these two spent a great deal of time beating the you know what out of each other, and after his win in their previous last man standing match it looked like ADR was fighting an uphill battle.
The champion managed to get in some good blows, but whenever Show took control the big man looked in top form, especially when he chokeslammed Del Rio from the entrance set and through a table.
Del Rio barely survived that particular move, but when Show crashed through a barricade after missing a spear at ringside things looked up for the Mexican. After a shot with a fire extinguisher and a chair shot to his shoulder while it was placed on the steel ring steps Big Show rolled into the ring.
Then came the great ending. As Del Rio sought to capitalize on his man's damaged shoulder with his cross armbreaker his buddy Ricardo Rodriguez taped his feet to the bottom rope. Del Rio eventually released the hold, but with his shoulder injured he couldn't sit up to release his feet from the ropes, so the referee counted to ten, and the champion retained his title.
The title action continued with Team Rhodes Scholars, Damian Sandow and Cody Rhodes, challenging Kane and Daniel Bryan of Team Hell No for the Tag Team titles.
This was about as entertaining as you can get for a tag team match, and even though the various members of these teams have moved on to other things it still seems a shame that both of these units are no more.
Kane and Bryan looked great early on, but it wasn't long before old goat face took the punching bag treatment as Rhodes and Sandow showed just how good they were as a team.
Inevitably Bryan managed to get the hot tag to the monster in his corner as Kane briefly cleaned house, but just as the challengers were about to take him over with a double suplex Bryan got the hot tag. A missile dropkick from the top rope took care of Sandow before he applied the yes lock to the brainy guy for the submission win.
Then it was on to the Royal Rumble match itself.
By now you should know how these matches work, unless you've been living in a cave for the past thirty years. Beginning with Dolph Ziggler and the returning Chris Jericho, we had the usual surprise entrants in the form of Goldust and the Godfather, NXT's Bo Dallas putting in a good stint and eliminating IC Champ Wade Barrett, and the aforementioned Ziggler and Jericho putting in near fifty minute shifts.
After nearly an hour it got down to the last two, John Cena and Ryback. These two monsters basically beat the snot out of each other until Ryback passed out to Cena's STF. But when Cena put him on the top rope Ryback regained his senses before putting Cena on his shoulder and moving towards the ropes. It was then that Cena countered, sliding off and landing behind the big man before throwing him over the top rope for the win.
The main event saw the Rock challenging Paul Heyman guy C.M. Punk for the WWE title.
Watching this for the second time it kind of reminds me of when Randy Couture came out of retirement to beat Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight title. It had that big fight feel about it, with the former champion whose last title reign was over a decade before looking to regain the big prize.
It began as a brawl before it settled down into a nice piece of storytelling as our esteemed announcers pondered if the challenger was in good enough ring shape to win the prize. Rock was certainly putting in a good effort, but Punk, despite his left knee bothering him, kept coming back.
Then came the big guns, and a slightly iffy moment when the Rock tried to put his man through the Spanish announcers table. Obviously shoddy workmanship meant that the table collapsed under their combined weight, which made me wonder if the furniture makers had ever been featured on an episode of Watchdog. Mind you, it was a nice piece of improvisation when Rock finally took Punk down with the rock bottom on the floor.
Back in the ring a few minutes later it looked like Rock was about to take Punk out with the most electrifying move in sports entertainment. The people's elbow never happened though. Just as he was about to connect the lights dimmed as the Shield attacked the challenger and put him through the other announcers table with a triple powerbomb. When the lights came back on Rocky was lying in the wreckage, and Punk and Heyman had big smiles on their faces. Punk then dragged the lifeless Rock back into the ring for the title retaining pin.
As Punk and Heyman celebrated Mr. McMahon appeared on the scene, reminding the champion of the stipulation that if the Shield got involved in the match he'd strip him of the title, but just as he was about to carry out that particular act the Rock stopped him, demanding that the match be re-started. It was a request Mr. McMahon was happy to grant.
Punk went back to work as soon as the bell sounded, connecting with the running knee in the corner and the Macho Man elbow, but just as he was about to connect with the GTS Rock countered with a spinebuster. One people's elbow later and it was all over, with Rock taking the three count and the title.
As for the extras there's only one, with John Cena giving his thoughts on winning the Rumble and heading to Wrestlemania.
In conclusion - they say that second time's a charm, and I have to admit that's certainly the case with this particular show.
I enjoyed pretty much everything about this, from the two undercard matches, the Rumble match itself, and especially the main event. That match definitely seems a lot better second time around and nearly one year on.
Having said that you can probably already tell which of the four matches here gets the no-prize, and you'd be correct if you said the Punk/Rock title match.
So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing to do, and that's to give the Royal Rumble DVD release the thumbs up.
With thanks to Fremantle Media and Fetch Publicity for supplying a copy of this release. WWE Royal Rumble 2013 is available to buy online at www.wwedvd.co.uk.