Royal Rumble 2011 PPV Review
By Phil Allely
The annual Royal Rumble event is a great one for fans of wrestling, the main event being one of those things that we all love simply for the spectacle of it. This year the Rumble itself was its biggest yet, featuring 40 performers all of which were to enter the ring at 90 second intervals and take their chances against their peers for a shot at winning a place in a Wrestlemania Main Event for a WWE World Title.
The fun part of the rumble as always is the trying to work out who may win the over the top battle royal and head to this years Mania. Of course along the way there are usually a few shocks, surprises and perhaps even a mix up or two. This year was no exception as some surprise entrants joined the match and a man nobody thought would win the match did just that.
Things started with a bang as World Heavyweight Champion Edge put his belt on the line against Dolph Ziggler. Edge was on top form as usual here and opened proceeding well against his younger and quicker opponent, Vickie Guerrero at ringside to assist Ziggler helped things along too. After many near falls, underhand tactics and outside interference from Vickie all things went to pieces, the ref went down, Vickie fell too and Edge struck a nice spear to put Ziggler away and keep his gold.
Next up Randy Orton challenged The Miz for his WWE Title, of course where there The Miz is, normally there are a few people to help him out too. Miz having not only Alex Riley by his side, but Nexus and CM Punk on his side too. Orton was all over Miz for most of the bout, each trading the advantage and vying for the win, but the numbers game and eventual Nexus run-in caused Randy to lose his place in things and miss CM Punk’s appearance. As Orton RKO’d Miz, Punk ran in and hit his GTS finisher to allow Miz an easy pin and to retain his strap.
The planned Diva’s title handicap match became a fatal four way brawl thanks to the e-mail-aholic Raw General Manager , leaving champion Natalya to face not only the team of Layla and Michelle McCool, but Eve Torre as well. Lay-Cool worked as a unit for most of the bout, attacking both Natalya and Eve, although McCool did accidentally nail her partner at one point. After a nice looking double sharpshooter by the champ and some near falls, the finish came when Eve’s moonsault put down Layla down for the three count (controversially at precisely the same moment McCool was pining the defending champion), the referee spotting Eve’s pin and awarding the gold to her.
Finally it was Royal Rumble time and it started well as CM Punk and he found himself in between a gang war as his Nexus group took on the recently formed Corre faction. The Raw GM luckily sent an e-mail to ban both teams from ringside and competitor number two Daniel Bryan entered the fray. The action went back and forth and as each new man entered alliances and old feuds began to rear their heads. It was fun to see guys like William Regal, John Morrison and Mark Henry face off against Nexus up and comers like Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris as well.
Eliminations were timely and as the ring filled there was a distinctly Nexus heavy side to things. The surprises were this fewer in number, but overall better than expected, first up Booker T made his return to the WWE (he will now work as a colour commentator and sometime wrestler), Hornswoggle took to the ring and alongside John Cena had a fun series of exchanges working in tandem with Cena. The biggest pop of the night came as Kevin Nash strolled down the aisle as his former WWE incarnation Diesel (complete with old ring outfit and jet black hair).
Booker and Diesel were never going to threaten the outcome of the match, but it was good to see them back in the WWE (especially since both were heavily hinted for a TNA return this very month). Diesel’s face-off with Big Show may lead to a match down the line, perhaps alongside one with Wade Barrett who he also took a disliking too during the match, plus Booker is now back for another run it seems.
Back to the match itself and the biggest Rumble in WWE history quickly started losing people as they got sent packing over the top rope to the floor, some hanging on for dear life and scrambling back in, others falling to hit the unforgiving floor and see their dream Wrestlemania match gone for yet another year.
As the numbers lessened a few fan favourites remained, Rey Mysterio, Cena and Kane amongst them, but that soon changed as Kane fell to Rey, and he went out to Barrett, Cena got taken out by a run-in from Miz leaving Barrett, Alberto Del Rio and Orton. The match itself form there seemed to be Orton’s, he threw Barrett out, scuppering his plans for a Mania title shot and then he went to Del Rio. Del Rio’s celebrations were short lived but, Santino Marella (who had slipped under the ropes earlier was still and active participant and tried to sneak in and steal the win. Santino of course had bitten off more that he could chew with Del Rio and soon he went sailing over the top rope to leave the shock winner of the rumble to be relative WWE new boy Alberto Del Rio the man who can pick and chose his WWE Championship match at the biggest PPV of the WWE calendar.
The 2011 Royal Rumble was a great way for the WWE to open its PPV year, the matches were all very good and built nicely to the battle royal main event. The rumble itself had it all, thrills, spills, surprises and a shock finish that few saw coming. It was also good to see the younger and newer roster members get a look in over the more established ones, the returns of Booker T and Diesel were fun too. Let’s now see what else we get as the road to Wrestlemania rolls on.