The first pay-per-view of 2015 was always going to be one of the biggest, it was the first event that was live on the WWE Network in the UK and WWE knew they had to deliver to keep the fans on board.
The Royal Rumble means we are officially on the Road to WrestleMania and if last night was a sign of things to come, a U-turn needs to be made immediately.
It feels weird even saying it, but The Royal Rumble match wasn’t the highlight of the night, there wasn’t even a match really that stood out, for me it was one man and that was Seth Rollins.
I will get onto why in a second, but to start off at the beginning, the night began with a shock as the team of Tyson Kidd and Cesaro claimed a clean win over The New Day. I thought the trio would pick up the win here, but evidentially we all underestimated how far WWE are willing to push Kidd and Cesaro, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The show itself kicked off with The New Age Outlaws against The Ascension; the veterans shockingly are the first team to land any kind of offence against the newcomers and this actually turned out to be a pretty decent match. It looked like Conor botched the ending slightly and Billy ended up taking a bigger bump than expected, but The Ascension might have finally gained some credibility.
The amount of tag matches on the show was pretty horrific, I can’t remember the last pay-per-view that didn’t feature a one-on-one match, but the one tag match that actually had something on the line was The Usos defending their titles against former champions Miz and Mizdow. Many predicted the face turn for Mizdow, but that didn’t happen and The Usos retained in what was a fairly decent bout. I’m still holding out for that face turn though.
For the second Royal Rumble in a row, the Divas Championship wasn’t defended and instead it was a tag match, this time including all the Total Divas. The chemistry between Paige and Natalya was evident and the two looked to be rolling in the match at one point, but ultimately the Nikki/Brie sister partnership prevailed and Nikki Bella finally has a bit of momentum as a champion.
The match of the night was without doubt the world title match, Seth Rollins lifted that match to heights that were beyond predictability. The German Suplex machine that is Brock Lesnar was once again on the prowl and he landed more than 12 suplexes on his two opponents, Rollins and John Cena. Seth then put Brock through the Spanish announce table and it looked like Lesnar was out of the match as a stretcher was brought down to ringside.
Seth and John continued the back and forth inside the ring with Seth landing on his feet from an AA before he delivered an incredible Phoenix Splash from the top rope, but before he could get the cover Brock ran in and German suplexed him and John and shockingly Seth again landed on his feet from a German suplex. He went for the win with a kerb stomp on the briefcase but Brock caught him and delivered a thunderous F5 to retain.
If that was a match of the year candidate, what we saw next will probably be candidate for ‘build-up of the year that failed to deliver’. The Miz and R-Truth started the Royal Rumble match in the one and two spots and it pretty much went downhill from there.
Boogeyman made a random three minute cameo while Bubba Ray Dudley and R-Truth teamed up to be the new team 3D for a few minutes too before they were both eliminated.
Bray Wyatt came in at number five and looked as dominant as ever as he took out everyone in his way; Sin Cara and Zack Ryder mainly until Erick Rowan took out Curtis Axel and stole his place in the Rumble and the Wyatt family faced off.
It looked like Luke Harper was on Rowan’s side for a moment until they both turned on Rowan and Bray eliminated them both in one swift move. Daniel Bryan was another early addition and the first guy to really take it to Bray, my heart was in my mouth when Bray was thrown to the outside and Bryan flew out after him, they both went through the ropes, so it was fine.
DDP was the next big surprise and showed us what we were missing without Randy Orton in the Rumble when he hit Diamond Cutter after Diamond Cutter, before Rusev made a very dominant entrance and made light work of him. Kofi Kingston’s Rumble moment saw Rusev throw him out of the ring and he was caught by The Rosebuds who took him to the other side of the ring where he was actually eliminated.
Roman Reigns made his entrance at number 19, just moments after Bray had eliminated Daniel Bryan and the fans were not happy about it. Boos rang around the arena and WWE never got the fans back.
Damien Mizdow’s entrance pulled them back into it but The Miz ran out and stopped him, only for Damien to knock him out of the way and enter the Rumble, but was quickly ejected.
Dean Ambrose was the next big name at 25 and he got a great ovation from the fans before Dolph Ziggler rounded the entrants off with number 30, but when Big Show joined up with Kane the two started handing out knock-out punches and just dropping people like Bray, Dolph and Dean over the top rope it was pretty much game over.
It wasn’t fun to watch and again WWE built Roman up to overcome the two men who had just taken out three of the rising stars, and Roman did it. Little did he know that Rusev had rolled under the bottom rope and wasn’t eliminated, so we had a bit of a scare but he eliminated him after a spear.
Kane and Big Show attacked Roman after he won and he was saved by his cousin, The Rock, after all the rumours that he was in Philadelphia, he finally arrived and the fans were ok with cheering for him but they were not impressed with a bloody Roman Reigns. It seems he had taken a legit punch when everyone crowded Big Show and it had caused a bit of bleeding. But he was fine to celebrate and let the moment sink in, he was going to the main event of WrestleMania, and the Philadelphia crowd were not happy about it.
So the first pay-per-view of 2015 has been and gone and while it was underwhelming, what did we really expect?
As I stated above, Seth Rollins stole the show and he proved that regardless of the fact that WWE are booking him to look weak and not be able to win without help, once he cashes in that briefcase, the sky is the limit for him and the hope that that day is some day soon will get me through all the disappointment surrounding last night.