Royal Rumble 2012 Preview/10 Best Matches in Royal Rumble History

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Survivor Series preview was here.

The Rumble is Sunday from St. Louis; there's reason to be enthusiastic.

The main reason is its the Rumble; like pizza, even a bad Rumble is enjoyable (except for here; don't eat there if they pay you; if Brodus Clay eliminates Danielson this year, ripping every ligament in both Bryan's knees in the process, it still wouldn't be as bad as that pizza).  But this year is a possibility for a really good (perhaps top ten of all time worthy, the current list is at the bottom of the post) title match, and the Rumble match itself has some booking intrigue.  I'm looking forward to the event.(I was overly optimistic)

WWE ChampionshipCM Punk © vs Dolph Ziggler:
When last we left, Punk was taking the title from Del Rio at Survivor Series; subsequent, the primary storyline has been his Austin/Vince type battle against authority figure Johnny Ace (brother of Road Warrior Animal, the lesser half of a good American mid 90s tag act in Japan).  Ziggler's a good young worker with a good act; he dropped his secondary title to Zach Ryder in order to get this upper card push, and has beaten Punk with Ace related screwjobs to get into this title match.  Ace is the guest referee here; they've thrown a returning Mick Foley into this angle on Punk's side, they've set up a returning HHH as possibly firing Ace from his leadership position - so outside interference would not surprise.  This is going to be the best match of the night with a possibility of cracking the 10 best all time Royal Rumble matches; Punk's going to keep one assumes, although if the plan remains to get the belt to Cena for his Mania match against Rock, that has to happen at some point, and if the rumored Jericho/Punk program for Mania is going to happen, that has to launch at some point.  One could see a scenario where they really heavily book the finish and Jericho costs Punk the belt, then Ziggler drops to Cena no later than the February PPV.  In fact, what the hell, that's what I'll say happens.  

Punk has the best matches in the WWF and Ziggler's the kind of act you're glad to see pushed - this is a match you look forward to seeing.(3 stars, they had 7 good minutes and then the booking kicked in, Punk kept after beating Ziggler like a half dozen times)

Smackdown Title: Daniel Bryan © vs Mark Henry vs The Big Show: Steel Cage Match
When last we left, Mark Henry was a monster heel champion feuding with the babyface Big Show while babyface Bryan Danielson (aka: the Best Wrestler in the Hemisphere) held possession of a title shot via the Money in the Bank Briefcase.  Subsequent - Show took the strap from Henry but was incapacitated postmatch leading to Danielson cashing in his briefcase and taking the title.  If you consider that's not a babyface move you'd be right, and Danielson's morphed into a chickenshit heel.  Now, he's good at it, he's getting over with it, and if you're a Bryan Danielson fan you'd much rather see him in this spot than Tyson Kidd's spot.  But as a resource, taking your best worker and giving him a gimmick where he isn't a very good wrestler is less than ideal use.  I think he keeps in a match that will be worse than almost any conceivable Bryan Danielson PPV match and probably better than any match either Henry or Show has ever been in.  There are a couple of things going on here; the speculation is Show is going to be programmed at Mania against Shaquille O Neal, which would require a Show turn at some point (does Shaq show up in the crowd and get piefaced LT style?) and Henry owes a receipt to Randy Orton before he turns face (which one assumes he does, with Danielson as a heel and presumably Show needing to turn).  Could be that Henry takes strong, Orton wins the Rumble and Orton beats him at Mania.  But I'll say they ride this Danielson thing a little longer, that he takes advantage of the Show/Henry rivarly to weasel his way toward keeping his belt.  (Didn't make 3 stars, a 9 minute mot much going on match with Danielson escaping the cage and keeping)

John Cena vs Kane
John Cena is why football is better than wrestling.  When there's a guy who can't really play but he has with the right look and a shtick that brings people who don't care about workrate into the tent; if it's football he's Tim Tebow and still loses in the playoffs if he can't hold onto the ball and complete half of his throws  If it's wrestling - you get John Cena on top for a decade.  Everytime Tebow bows his head he may as well start flashing his hand in front of his face, "hey non evangelical Christians - you can't see me!"  Kane's been brought back to draw the hardcore out of Cena - the Rock criticism of Cena (that he was just for children) became the Punk criticism of Cena (that he's a corporate puppet) has become the Kane criticism of Cena (that he denies the inner rage he must feel at the ungrateful fans who care about things like his inability to throw a punch).  Cena's either going over or getting DQ'd for being too violent, this is designed to give him some type of violent edge as they heat up the Rock program.  Unless Cena's in a program where he's with a worker he's unbearably awful.  #Tebow'sLadyParts.(Double countout, just nothing worth watching, Kane got a postmatch beatdown in to continue the program)

30-Man Royal Rumble Match
We don't know a lot about this - Miz is No. 1, Foley's supposed to be an entrant.  It's Orton's hometown; my pick's him to win - I'd be completely good with an Orton/Danielson program, even though their face/heel dynamic is backward.  Orton/Christian had a really good program last summer; I'd look forward to a series of those matches.  There are rumored nostalgia acts; Mason Ryan getting the Diesel/Kane eliminations spot makes sense.  Miz getting the Backlund ironman spot makes sense.  (Only salvaged by the Sheamus/Jericho sequence at the end.  I like a Rumble that ends with a wrestling sequence.  The rest of the match was filled with comedy and novelty acts; you maybe want to see Kofi's spot, but if the only part of the whole show you see is Sheamus/Jericho, that's plenty)

That's the show - the Rumble is the only match of the year I go in assuming 3 stars; the gimmick alone is a guarantee of a match worth watching.  Add the possibility of a 4 star match with Punk/Ziggler and a likely 3 star Smackdown title match, and now you've got a good card.  I'm in on Rumble 2012.  (I shouldn't have been.)

10 Best Matches in Royal Rumble History:
1. Angle v. Benoit ('03)
2. HHH v. Cactus ('00)
3. Jericho v. Benoit ('01)
4. 2004 Rumble Match (Benoit)
5. 1992 Rumble Match (Flair)
6. Bret v. Diesel ('95)
7. Quebecers v. Bret/Owen ('94)
8. Rockers v. Orient Express ('91)
9. Hardys v. Dudleys ('00)
10. HBK v. HHH ('04)

Past Winners:

2011 - Alberto del Rio #38

2010 - Edge #29

2009 - Randy Orton #8

2008 - John Cena #30

2007 - Undertaker #30

2006 - Rey Mysterio #2

2005 - Batista #28

2004 - Chris Benoit #1

2003 - Brock Lesnar #29

2002 - Triple H #22

2001 - Steve Austin #27

2000 - The Rock #24

1999 - Mr. McMahon #2

1998 - Steve Austin #24

1997 - Steve Austin #5

1996 - Shawn Michaels #18

1995 - Shawn Michaels #1

1994 - Bret Hart #27, Lex Luger #24

1993 - Yokozuna #27

1992 - Ric Flair #3

1991 - Hulk Hogan #24

1990 - Hulk Hogan #25

1989 - Big John Studd #27

1988 - Jim Duggan #13

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