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The Royal Rumble is this Sunday, and I want to spend some time discussing that, so best to get the rest of the week out of the way first.
Lucha Underground is still just one of the more enjoyable things I watch each week, and I love that many of their matches are elimination instead of first pinfall or submission. There was also a really awesome table spot this week, and the plots are all progressing at a decent pace. I was a bit excited to see that Alberto Del Rio will be joining in the action. TNA’s Impact Wrestling felt like a momentum shift for the show, continuing from last week with the setup of the Beat Down Clan—which I do not think I like the name of—and drawing a few more lines in these new feuds. I was quite surprised at what was almost a clean sweep of all the faces losing, which set up a dark and defeated tone for the next episode, with the beat down of Lashley being the end punctuation on that. Feast or Fired is next week, which is something I love for the action and possibilities the match presents. Sign me up!
NXT had some good action of course, with Tyson Kidd and Finn Bálor tearing the ring up, and Baron Corbin finally locking up with Bull Dempsey. I think the better man won in that last match, but I am curious to see how much life this feud could have. The last match between Neville and Zayn was quite good; a worthy title defense that did not end in interference, thankfully. Kevin Owen’s actions came afterwards, and it felt good. It says something about NXT that they have more matches with actual finishes and overall seem to handle their storylines better. Smackdown was not quite as good. I liked what they did with the misleading promos and having Daniel Bryan and Kane as the first match, only to do a different main event. I am happy to see Bryan back. I have missed seeing the man work, but why is Michael Cole already saying, “vintage Bryan?” Stop it. Paul Heyman also had a good promo, so not all was lost.
Before we continue I wanted to address what Stephanie McMahon recently said that the reason for getting rid of the Elimination Chamber PPV and match, about it being purely logistical, noting that the structure weighs more than ten tons and the height of it was a problem for many arenas that had structures like scoreboards and such that may make it difficult to use the chamber in those places. I get that; I really do, but screw that noise! Elimination Chamber was one of my favorite events, and the match type I play the most in the games. It is one of the more interesting concepts WWE had, and was ripe for surprises and swerves. The only thing that I agree with is that I know many wrestlers have said that the match can potentially cause more realistic injuries and pain, which is important to consider, but I for one am tremendously sad to see this match type go and hope that it makes a return.
Raw was interesting in many parts but rather annoying as an overall episode. I saw a lot of people say it did not feel like a go-home episode, and I think that is because there was not enough focus on the actual Royal Rumble match, which for myself and many others is the favorite (single) match WWE puts on all year. I should not have to explain that. Even if the victor is easy to predict, a rumble match is the best form of organized chaos and guess who around. It could be argued though that the rumble match being what it is needs less build than a normal event, and I personally get hyped just from those by the numbers promos.
I have a note here for some reason about why Brock Lesnar should never say the word ‘baby’ again, but I lost my train of thought on it. I was distracted by Cole going back to explaining how to install the WWE app. I thought we were done with all of that. As my other side note: I am not a fan of kids, but the story about Triple H breaking character to talk to the boy was kind of cool.
As ‘fun’ as the segment with all of the legends and The Ascension was, I hate it happened. I know The Ascension is not working, but I think there are a lot of elements as to why. I have said a lot of times before that this gimmick worked better in NXT, but it had much more potential there. They need a good feud, and this match against the New Age Outlaws coming up will not be that, but they will most likely win, so there is that.
The main event was fun I guess? As cool as it was to see Sting, but it felt unnecessary. Lesnar—or hell maybe the guys whose jobs were being saved, they could have come from the crowd—could have run interference to give Cena the win and that feel good moment at the end. Sting needs to be used carefully to make his appearances mean more. This last bit was all a tad overbooked and chaotic, which is how the entire episode felt. Nostalgia for the legends is good, but was it needed? The show also could have been cut down in a lot of places, with some of these entrances and backstage segments happening during commercial breaks or on the app respectively. The show did not have a great pacing and could have benefited from some more wrestling.
So who will win the 2015 Royal Rumble? It looks like Roman Reigns is a lock for this year, with Daniel Bryan having the next best chance at it. I am actually… okay with both of these. Maybe Batista made me happy just to see a younger talent win it who does a full schedule? My dream of seeing Zack Ryder win is out the window with him still rehabbing an injury, but my dark horse pick to win is Dolph Ziggler, with a fantasy booking of Cesaro going on to challenge Seth Rollins. I am sure not many support me in that, but that is why it is fantasy booking. I would love to see Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T, or maybe even Bully Ray and Devon make surprise appearances, as all of those have been rumored, and I would hope to see members of the NXT roster (at least one, like Rusev last year) make an impact. I think we will see returning superstars like Bo Dallas and Sheamus, with a possibility of Randy Orton as well. As for the triple threat match, I honestly don’t think the winner matters because it will almost certainly change hands at Wrestlemania. Ideally though, seeing Daniel Bryan win to face Seth Rollins at WM31 would be completely awesome.
I guess I should ask what you guys think, who you want to see show up?
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