Last Sunday, WWE held the 28th annual Royal Rumble. Next to Wrestlemania, it’s the biggest event on WWE’s calendar and it’s always been a personal favorite of mine. The rumble itself is a great way to show off a roster. 30 participants entering the ring at a staggered pace allows for all the frenetic fun of a standard battle royale and makes for a great opportunity to try new and different match ups. It’s hard to screw up completely and I wouldn’t say they did.
This year’s rumble was just so intensely average. It’s kind of a perfect example of why WWE needs competition to truly thrive. TNA has never really done much for WWE in that regard, but in 2015 it reached a new low. With Hulk Hogan, Sting, and now Bubba Ray Dudley abandoning the Carter administration, and Impact moving to a channel that I’m still not sure actually exists, WWE’s ratings supremacy is the most secure it’s ever been and it shows.
Look at the fan reaction to Roman Reigns winning the rumble. Last year, the crowd tried to will Reigns into winning the match. Sure, he was just a last resort after it became clear that Daniel Bryan wouldn’t be in the match, but when he lost to Batista, it seemed like there was going to be a riot. This year he won and got booed harder than Bootista did!
It’s not that people don’t like Reigns. He was relatively over going into the PPV. But a year late on a second choice is just too hard to get excited about. Daniel Bryan had been gone for nine months and he still came back red hot. I cannot understand what purpose it serves to have him unceremoniously eliminated in the middle of the match. Expertly crushing the hopes of an entire stadium full of fans is a part of wrestling, but when you do it in the middle of an hour plus match, what reason does anybody have to keep watching?
The whole event was plagued with these half assed attempts at fan service. Daniel Bryan’s in the match this year, but he doesn’t really do anything. Bubba Ray does a 3D with R-Truth and doesn’t get the tables. Kofi Kingston’s big show stealing number was crowdsurfing.
There wasn’t anything horrible. The storyline seems to be moving in direction that make sense and will lead to some decent matches. The Lesnar/Cena/Rollins three way was pretty great too, but there’s so much potential in the ring just going to waste. It is such a slog watching something not happen for three hours.