Triple H, October 2011:

“When I grew up, I hated Hogan. I thought he was terrible and didn’t like to watch him. I was like Punk in a way. I liked the Steamboats and Flairs and the ones that could go. Would I be right in saying that Hogan was the wrong guy to go with, and they should’ve changed directions and gone with Steamboat because he was the better wrestler? Ludicrous.” - Triple H. October, 2011.

Royal Rumble 2015

Friday, January 01, 2016

The build is here.

The 26th annual Royal Rumble comes to you from Philadelphia.

(Dark: Kenta v. Devitt
            Steen/Generico/Pac d. Kalisto/Crews/Callihan

As has been the case, Devitt’s match is not shown on the network or discussed on any WWF platform.)

Clips from each Rumble main event:
1989: WWF Title: Savage d. DiBiase
1990: WWF Title: Hennig d. Rude
1991: WWF Title: Hennig d. DiBiase (Savage attacks Hennig)
1992 WWF Title: Flair d. Davey Boy
1993: WWF Title: Bret d. Tenryu
1994: WWF Title: Bret d. Undertaker
1995: WWF Title: Shawn d. Diesel
1996: WWF Title: Bret d. Owen
1997: WWF Title: Bret d. Shawn (The reformation of the Hollywood Blonds)
1998: WWF Owen d. Austin
1999: WWF Title: Owen d. Cactus (Barbed wire match, this is the first WWF Title switch in Rumble history)
2000: WWF Title: Cactus d. Taz
2001: WWF Title: Benoit d. Jericho
2002: WWF/ECW Title: Angle d. Flair
2003: Undisputed Title: Angle d. HBK
2004: Undisputed Title: Angle d. Eddy (a title switch here)
2005: Undisputed: Benoit d. HBK
2006: Undisputed: Rey d. Crazy d. Psychosis
2007: ECW Title: Punk d. Matt
2008: WWF Title: Benjamin d. Rey (a title switch)
2009: WWF Title: Jericho d. HHH-M
2010: Christian d. Punk (This is the cage match where Matt and Edge aligned and Maria got killed; Rumble 2010 might be my favorite event in terms of storyline)
2011: WWF Title: Edge d. Booker
2012: WWF Title: Danielson d. Nemeth (title switch)
2013: WWF Title: Danielson d. Dos Caras, Jr. (Lesnar and Swagger form Paul Heyman Guys)
2014: WWF Title: Danielson d. Punk/Brock/Swagger (the Montreal Match where Punk left the promotion)

Your announce: Joey (his 38th PPV) Regal (8th) Christian (3rd)

We begin with the glass crashing; one-third of the championship committee, Steve Austin, comes to the ring.

An announcement from Austin was promoted in the build, he has two.

Austin says back in ’89, he wasn’t watching the first Royal Rumble, he was just getting started in the sport down in Texas, and down there, they watched the NWA.

Over the years, Austin says, almost all of the great World champions who started in the NWA made their way to WWF.  Race.  Flair.  Funk.  Steamboat. Dr. Death. Vader. Pillman Benoit.  Malenko.  Jericho.  Mysterio.

Austin says since 1982, there are only two NWA World Champions who didn’t also wrestle here in the WWF.

This year, the night of Summer Slam there are going to be some pre-show matches, just like tonight.  

And wrestling in one of those matches, for the first time ever in the WWF – will be this man –

And on the video wall, a package highlighting Jushin Thunder Liger.

Austin says Jushin Liger – for one night only, coming to the WWF. 

But, Austin says, that still leaves one man.  And we won’t need to wait until Summer Slam.  He’ll be here.  On  RAW.  Tomorrow night.

That leads to a highlight package for Sting.

Tomorrow night, Austin says, on RAW, there will be a celebration for one of the all time greats – hosted by his former tag team partner Mick Foley – tomorrow night, Sting, will be in a WWF ring. 

Fans react, one assumes, and we’re off.
1.       Usos (Reigns/Jimmy) d. Wade Barrett/Damien Sandow
-For the last year, Sandow’s been in sort of a fog; he can have flurries of decent work but then seems to be in a daze, that manifests itself here and he takes the fall.  Sandow just wanders away postmatch, leaving an aggravated Barrett shaking his head.

2.       Rusev (w/GHB and Lana) d. Truth Killings
-Squash.  Killings thinks he’s the Iron Sheik and Rusev is Nikolai and that he’s turned on him.  Killings, wearing the pointed boots (real world note, it’s a goofy coincidence that Xavier Woods wore them in the WWE December PPV) getting in Rusev’s face, telling him he’s going to make him humble. 

Rusev kills him in just a couple of minutes, pins him in a really arrogant way, it’s total destruction. 

There’s a shot from the back, Steen, Pac, Generico are leaving the building, Steen saying “if the champ says he wants to go it alone, he goes it alone.  The WWF Champ gets what he wants.”

3.       Tyson Kidd d. Ka$h Kingston
-Dr. Xavier Woods, PhD watches the match from the ramp at some point; this feud has gone on since the build to Mania, with Kidd now becoming a babyface.  Woods is new, dressed like a college professor, talking about a “new day” for marginalized professional wrestling populations.  He gets some fuel to the fire here when Kingston clearly has his foot under the ropes during the pinfall, but it’s missed by the referee. 

4.       Women’s Title: Paige (w/4-Ground) d. Natty Neidhart
-Natty became the first WWF Women’s champion of the PPV era at Survivor Series, but loses here to Paige.  Postmatch, she takes a beating from 4-Ground (Charlotte, Sasha, Becky).  There isn’t a women’s match at Mania, so this is the last time you’ll see them until the Summer Slam build.  4-Ground’s gonna keep stomping people out. 

5.       Jack Swagger d. John Cena
-The stip is that Bray/Dustin/Luke Harper/Cena can’t interfere in each other’s matches tonight, or they’re off the Mania card; that means Cena’s going it alone here and he loses to Swagger.

6.       IC: Luke Harper d. Dustin Rhodes
-It’s Dustin’s last, best chance at a singles belt after 25 years, he changed his name back to Dustin Rhodes in the build, so close he is to tasting gold.  Even though he’s the heel, he fights from underneath, just desperately so, probably attracting some fan support despite his brutal attack on his dad and Roddy Piper before Summer Slam. 

He can’t quite do it; Harper’s too young, too brutal, and he goes over. 

Postmatch, as Harper exits, he’s passed on the ramp by Cena – there’s a moment when it’s unclear what Cena’s doing, but what he’s doing is going to the ring to kick the hell out of Dustin – the announce explains, Dustin’s getting kicked out of the family.  Cena attacks a defenseless Dustin – save by Cody.

Cody and Dustin have been feuding for a year now, Dustin beat him pretty good at Summer Slam and Cody’s been gone since; Cena retreats – Dustin rises – and then he and Cody start punching each other.  Cody and Dustin fight each other, spilling out of the ring, fighting each other around the ring, fighting up the ramp.  What will need to happen to end this feud?

7.       Bray Wyatt d. Nick Nemeth
-The way the stip on Wyatts interference was explained (each member named as opposed to a blanket statement that the Wyatts couldn’t interfere) comes into play here as we get a new member of the Family.  Harper.

Not Luke Harper, that’s the IC champ.  Harper.  It’s Damien Sandow doing a Luke Harper impression.  A year ago at the Rumble, Sandow lost to Bray and got carried off by the Wyatts – that pays off here, as we understand that the reason for his year  in a fog is he was under some type of control of Bray – and here, after a ref bump, he comes to the ring, hits Nemeth with one of Luke Harper’s moves, and Bray gets the pin.

Postmatch is a beatdown by Bray/Harper, face save by Swagger, he and Nemeth clean house, Bray and Harper celebrate their win in the aisle, Nemeth and Swagger hit the buckles triumphantly in the ring.

8.       Tags: Philly Street Fight: The Shield (Black/Ambrose w/Langston d. DDP/Bubba Ray Dudley (w/Booker)

The Shield wins, they’ll go into Mania on a 2 year tag title run.  Their opponents were a mystery team made up of former tag champs that Booker would lead.  Page held the NWA tag title with both Saturn and Kanyon, Bubba, as Joey will point out, is a 12 time tag champ (WWF, ECW, IWGP, TNA) and maybe the greatest tag team wrestler who ever lived.  He wears the tie dye here, the Philly fans probably react well.

It’s a match with lots of plunder, 2x4s, thumbtacks, barbed wire – there’s a diamond cutter and a 3D and Rhyno makes an appearance, goring Langston through the retaining barrier.

But in the end – it’s the Shield, Ambrose gets the fall on Page – and the Shield will, again, go into Mania as tag champs.

9.       WWF Title: Brock Lesnar (w/Heyman/Kenta) d. Claudio Castagnoli
-Lesnar wins his second WWF Title.  It’s a physical match, which is dumb to say, because it’s Lesnar, but Claudio is much bigger/stronger than either Punk or Danielson (and much better than Swagger, and these have been Lesnar’s opponents in this run) so Brock has to deal with some strength that he has not seen.  Spots showing how strong Claudio is are woven throughout the match; the psychology here is more like the Swagger psychology than Punk/Danielson – in those matches they fought from underneath against the mighty Brock – but the Swagger match had to sell the possibility that given Swagger’s youth he might have an advantage; the same idea is true here, the combination of Claudio’s skill and strength make him seem the better of the two for much of the match.

Until he’s not, Brock takes over late, establishes dominance, gets the better of the finishing sequence and walks away with the strap.

Postmatch, Heyman nods to Kenta in Claudio’s direction – and he enters the ring to get some retribution (recall, in the build, Steen attacked Kenta) and we know the GDI crew is not here, having seen them leave.

Kenta lays in a couple of kicks to the prone Claudio – when he is tackled by a crazed, hairy, Bryan Danielson.

Danielson’s been unseen for six months; his career seemingly ended along with Sydal and Tatsu when all 3 were attacked by Lesnar and Kenta at the battle royal.  Danielson is frenzied, lays in multiple shots to Kenta who is able to scramble from the ring.

Heyman grabs Kenta on the outside to prevent him from re-entering.

Lesnar is open mouthed, he’s frozen in place – he looks over to Heyman as if he wants Paul to fix it. 

Lesnar can’t quite comprehend what he’s seeing – like a dead man or a fictional character is standing in the ring.

Danielson’s still crazed – yelling at Kenta, yelling at Lesnar, yelling at Heyman to get into the ring and fight. 

That’s the end of the show – Heyman grabs Lesnar along with holding onto Kenta, Lesnar isn’t moving, stunned into motionless.  Danielson in the ring as the show ends.

Next month, the build for Wrestlemania 31.  Your main event…

Bryan Danielson vs. Kenta


Jesse Ewiak said...

Despite the injuries to Bryan, Cesaro, and Rollins, I bet you've got to be kind of salivating if all the New Japan guys are actually coming over.

Jim said...

It opens up a lot of possibilities. I don't have a main event yet for 32, so this may impact that.

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