[PPV Recap] WWE Royal Rumble 2013
One of the WWE’s biggest shows of the year, Royal Rumble, has concluded and if you have a Twitter account you’re probably being bombarded by some harsh comments in your feed. Take a break and read my recap-ish of the show, plus my own thoughts.
Quick Match Results:
- [Pre-Show] Antonio Cesaro (c) pinned The Miz to retain the WWE United States Championship after The Neutralizer (7:39).
- Alberto Del Rio (c) defeated The Big Show in a “Last Man Standing Match” to retain the World Heavyweight Championship after Ricardo Rodriguez duct-taped Show’s legs to the bottom rope (16:58).
- Team Hell No (c) defeated The Rhodes Scholars to retain the WWE World Tag Team Championship when Daniel Bryan made Damien Sandow tap out to the No! Lock (9:25).
- John Cena won the 2013 Royal Rumble, last eliminating Ryback (55:05).
- The Rock pinned CM Punk (c) to win the WWE Championship after the People’s Elbow (around 24 minutes including the restart).
Tony Dawson and Matt Striker welcome the home audience to the pre-show, then take it backstage to Josh Matthews who is with The Big Show. We see clips of Alberto Del Rio‘s win three weeks ago and then says…I don’t know. The feed froze. After that the pre-show launched into the “Royal Rumble Stats” video package you’ve been seeing for the past few weeks.
Pre-Show Match: Antonio Cesaro (c) pinned The Miz to retain the WWE United States Championship (7:39).
- IN A NUTSHELL: Cesaro was in control for most of the match, catching Miz with a backbreaker out of nowhere early in the match. Cesaro went through his usual moveset, including the deadlift gutwrench, until Miz made his comeback. An awkward landing on Miz’s knee from the top rope looked ugly but didn’t slow him down. Miz attempted the Figure-Four but Cesaro kicked him off and fell to the outside. Miz followed out and Cesaro rammed Miz into the steel structure under the ring. Cesaro then rolled Miz back into the ring and finished him off with the Neutralizer to retain the championship.
- MATCH THOUGHTS: A decent opener, but nothing special. Miz landing on his knee awkwardly appeared to stop the match short, and Cesaro never got a chance to show off the Swiss Death or his missile European uppercut which was a shame because those are his coolest maneuvers. Glad Cesaro won.
The pre-show then concluded with a video package highlighting the CM Punk/Rock main event.
The Main Show
After a really good intro video, Royal Rumble cut live to the US Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ pyro a blazing. Michael Cole welcomed the home audience and The Big Show immediately made his way out for the opening contest. It then cut to backstage where Alberto Del Rio and Robert Rodriguez were making their way towards the gorilla position, Rodriguez nervous about his chances. They are stopped dead in their tracks by the appearance of Bret Hart who calls Del Rio a Mexican version of him. Del Rio then said Hart was a Canadian version of him and they shook hands. Rodriguez proceeded to mark out wildly until Hart took out a pair of his shades and put them on Rodriguez. After a brief shot of the announce table where Cole introduced his partners for the night Jerry Lawler and JBL, Del Rio finally made his entrance.
Match #1: Alberto Del Rio (c) [w/ Ricardo Rodriguez] defeated The Big Show in a “Last Man Standing Match” to retain the World Heavyweight Championship when Rodriguez duct taped Show’s legs to the bottom rope.
- IN A NUTSHELL: Show started on offense with his loud chops, but Del Rio played the plucky underdog hitting him with quick kicks and moves. After reversing a power bomb into a hurricanrana, Del Rio then connected with a top-rope seated senton. Show would regroup and grab a chair on the outside but Del Rio caught him with a dropkick, took the chair, and proceeded to beat his much bigger challenger repeatedly as the crowd chanted “SI!” in unison. Show regrouped and landed a Chokeslam, and Del Rio rolled out of the ring. Show followed suit and they fought their way up the aisle, Del Rio catching Show with a kick right to the groin followed by a kick to the head. After narrowly avoiding the 10 count, Show regained the offense and the fight ended up on the entrance stage. Show cracked Del Rio with a florescent light bulb (which didn’t shatter) then set up a table. Show climbed part of the structure, picked Del Rio up by the hair, then threw him through the table. Del Rio made it to his feet at the 9 and a half count, but fell right back down. They eventually brawled back to the ring. Show set up for the K.O. Punch but Del Rio rolled out to avoid the strike. Show followed him out and launched the ring steps at Del Rio, but he ducked and they cracked against the ring post. Rodriguez tried to get involved, but Show threw him into the barricade to get him off. Turning his attention back to Del Rio, Show went for a spear but the champion side stepped and Show went through the barricade. Del Rio grabbed another chair at ringside and commenced another chair beatdown. With Show’s arm draped in the ring steps, Del Rio would then crack the chair over his arm before spraying him with a fire extinguisher for…some reason. Show rolled back in and Del Rio followed suit and applied the Cross Armbreaker on Show while Rodriguez duct taped his legs on the bottom rope. With no way to get up, the ref counted to ten and Del Rio retained the championship.
- MATCH THOUGHTS: I’m 99% sure that’s how John Cena beat Batista in the same sort of match a few years back but I could be wrong. It was a decent garbage match with a really cool spot (Del Rio flying off part of the entrance structure through a table). But honestly after Del Rio won by pushing the announce table on Show having Rodriguez duct tape his legs in the rematch just seemed so…anticlimactic.
A commercial aired for Slim Jim and their new campaign to send their snack to the troops stationed around the world.
Matt Striker interviewed Dolph Ziggler backstage, who was joined by AJ Lee and Big E Langston. Ziggler announced that he would enter as #1, win the Rumble. Striker questioned his ability to do so and Lee and Langston scared Striker away. Langston grabbed the mic and conducted the rest of the interview in a goofy announcer’s voice. Ziggler announced his intentions: to win the Rumble and along with his Money in the Bank contract would win both World Championships at Wrestlemania 29, unifying them.
- THOUGHTS: Langston’s white announcer voice was completely unexpected and took me off-guard in a good way (meaning I laughed my head off). Good intense promo from Ziggler who offered a truly unique and interesting possibility for April.
We then cut to a bunch of pre-taped interviews featuring Royal Rumble participants. Antonio Cesaro, The Prime Time Players, Randy Orton, John Cena, Wade Barrett, Sheamus, and Ryback all weighed in.
- THOUGHTS: Awesome. Reminded me of the old days when they would have pretty much every entrant say a little something before the match took place. The Prime Time Players (“Ain’t nobody got time for that!”) and Ryback were the highlights.
Match #2: Team Hell No (c) defeated The Rhodes Scholars to retain the WWE World Tag Team Championship when Daniel Bryan made Damien Sandow tap out to the No! Lock (9:25).
- IN A NUTSHELL: The tag champs held court over their challengers for the opening few minutes (including a surfboard on Rhodes from Bryan) before they finally got the better of Bryan and turned the tide in their favor. Sandow connected with the Elbow of Disdain and the Scholars did everything in their power to prevent Kane from tagging in. But after a DDT onto Rhodes from Bryan, Kane got the hot tag and cleared house. The finish came when Bryan blind tagged himself in while Kane took a double suplex from The Rhodes Scholars. Bryan launched off the top with a Missile Dropkick and Kane chokeslammed Rhodes out of the match. Bryan then applied the No! Lock and Sandow soon tapped to end the match.
- MATCH THOUGHTS: It was a technically competent match but to be honest I wasn’t feeling this at all despite having two of my favorite guys (Bryan and Sandow) involved. Not surprised that Team Hell No retained but I don’t expect their partnership to last for too much longer.
An ad for the Elimination Chamber PPV next month airs, followed by the Royal Rumble Stats video that aired on the pre-show. We then cut to Team Hell No who were celebrating their win. Vickie Guerrero interrupted and handed them envelopes containing their entry number into the Royal Rumble match. Bryan showed Kane his but Kane didn’t reciprocate and it turned into a giant penis joke in the end (show me mine if you show me yours or whatever).
- THOUGHTS: Ha ha penises.
Time for the Royal Rumble match and no I didn’t accidentally write this up out of order. Justin Roberts announced the first participant out, Dolph Ziggler, who then grabbed a mic and cut a promo promising his victory. He then called out for the second entrant to make his way out. After a brief moment of silence…
“BREAK THE WALLS DOOOOOWN!”
The Phoenix crowd went crazy as Chris Jericho made his way out, light-up jacket and all. Jericho soaks in the adulation from the crowd and the bell finally rings, starting the Rumble off proper.
- THOUGHTS: A helluva good surprise to open the Rumble match; I did not see Jericho’s returning coming at all. Respect. Not really all for Jericho returning, but respect.
Match #3: John Cena won the 2013 Royal Rumble, last eliminating Ryback (55:05).
In lieu of doing an “in a nutshell” for this, I’ll just give an order of entry, elimination, and highlights for it before getting to my thoughts. Here we go.
ORDER OF ENTRY:
- Dolph Ziggler
- Chris Jericho
- Cody Rhodes
- Kofi Kingston
- Santino Marella
- Drew McIntyre
- Titus O’Neil
- David Otunga
- Heath Slater
- Brodus Clay
- Rey Mysterio
- Darren Young
- Bo Dallas
- The Godfather
- Wade Barrett
- John Cena
- Damien Sandow
- Daniel Bryan
- Antonio Cesaro
- The Great Khali
- Zack Ryder
- Randy Orton
- Jinder Mahal
- The Miz
- Sin Cara
ORDER OF ELIMINATION (ELIMINATED BY):
- Santino Marella (Cody Rhodes)
- Drew McIntyre (Chris Jericho) – second rope dropkick to McIntyre who was on the apron.
- Titus O’Neil (David Otunga) – Otunga was thrown into O’Neil by Sheamus
- David Otunga (Sheamus) – Brogue Kick
- Goldust (Cody Rhodes) – whipped into ring post on the apron
- Brodus Clay (A group of guys)
- Tensai (Kofi Kingston)
- Darren Young (Kofi Kingston)
- Kofi Kingston (Cody Rhodes) – Disaster Kick on Kingston who was the apron.
- The Godfather (Dolph Ziggler) – Godfather was immediately eliminated via dropkick
- Heath Slater (John Cena)
- Cody Rhodes (John Cena)
- Rey Mysterio (Wade Barrett) – side kick
- The Great Khali (Kane)
- Kane (Daniel Bryan)
- Daniel Bryan (Antonio Cesaro & Kane, sort-of)
- Zack Ryder (Randy Orton)
- Antonio Cesaro (John Cena)
- Jinder Mahal (Sheamus) – kneelift
- Wade Barrett (Bo Dallas)
- Bo Dallas (Wade Barrett) – Barrett then hit a Bull Hammer on Dallas on the floor.
- Damien Sandow (Ryback)
- Sin Cara (Ryback)
- The Miz (Ryback)
- Chris Jericho (Dolph Ziggler) – superkick
- Randy Orton (Ryback)
- Dolph Ziggler (Sheamus) – Brogue Kick
- Sheamus (Ryback)
- Ryback (John Cena
- The Phoenix crowd going nuts for the return of Chris Jericho.
- Jericho’s superplex on Dolph Ziggler.
- Goldust entering and going immediately after his brother Cody Rhodes.
- Mysterio’s 619 on Jericho.
- Kofi Kingston landing on Tensai and jumping to the commentary booth after being thrown over the top. Kingston then used JBL’s chair to hop his way back to the apron but was immediately eliminated by Rhodes.
- Daniel Bryan sent out by Antonio Cesaro into the arms of Kane, whom he just eliminated. Bryan begs Kane to not drop him, but Kane does so out of anger.
- Randy Orton’s double hanging DDT on Bo Dallas and Dolph Ziggler.
- Bo Dallas eliminates Wade Barrett; Barrett responds by having Dallas eliminated and dropping him with the Bull Hammer.
- Randy Orton hits the hanging DDT on Ryback, and gives the rest RKOs.
- Ryback ducks a Brogue Kick from Sheamus and eliminates him.
MATCH THOUGHTS: It’s the first Rumble I’ve watched live in quite some time and the nostalgic side of me was super excited. Unfortunately, outside of some big highlights, I found it pretty underwhelming. People kept throwing airballs in terms of punches and kicks and the slower moments of the match were really slow. It wasn’t a bad Rumble, it was just unexciting. And as much as I’m eh on Cena winning, it makes sense business-wise. I just wish Ziggler got a more involved elimination than simply getting tossed by Sheamus; they built his involvement up so much and the conclusion was flat. He didn’t win nor did he beat the record for longest in-ring time.
A video airs to hype Wrestlemania 29 in 70 days followed by the CM Punk/The Rock video that concluded the pre-show. It then went back live as Josh Matthews introduced The Rock. Rock chased Matthews off and took over, talking about how he had a rough life growing up and how he was doing everything for the people.
- THOUGHTS: The promo was well-delivered and the best thing The Rock has done on the mic since returning. However there’s a reason for that: it was all but a rip-off of the classic Dusty Rhodes “Hard Times” promo from the 80’s. He even did the “my hand is touching yours” thing to cap it off. Ridiculous. But people seemed to really respond well to it (outside of those who are like “UR HOLLYWOOD U DON’T HAVE BAD TIMEZ”) so it did what it was intended and I really did love the passion. It was just…I mean it was a ripoff.
Main Event: The Rock pinned CM Punk (c) [w/ Paul Heyman] to win the WWE Championship with the People’s Elbow after Vince McMahon restarted the match (24:00).
- IN A NUTSHELL: Punk and Rock went right at each other the second the bell sounded, with repeated strikes and kicks coming from both men. The action spilled to the outside and after a Heyman cheap shot distracted The Rock he was floored with a running clothesline by Punk. Punk then proceeded to suplex Rock onto the barricade and continued to work over Rock’s midsection which was “injured” on Monday. But after a dropkick, Punk started favoring his surgically-repaired knee and Rock started focusing his offense on that weakness. Rock went for the Rock Bottom, but Punk elbowed out and set up for the GTS. Rock blocks it and grabs the leg looking for the Sharpshooter, but Punk rolled through and locked on the Anaconda Vice. Eventually Rock escaped with repeated knees to the back of Punk’s head. Rock went for the Bottom once again but Punk escaped and went for a crucifix pin but Rock rolled through and finally locked on the Sharpshooter. After a decent amount of time Punk finally made it to the ropes. The action spilled back to the outside and Rock floored Punk with a short-arm clothesline. Rock cleared of the Spanish Announce Table but his attempt at a Rock Bottom is thwarted by the table caving in before he even gets him up. They regroup and Rock connects with the Rock Bottom on the floor instead. The action found its way back into the ring and after a strike shootout, Rock connected with a spinebuster and went for the People’s Elbow. But before he could complete the move, the lights went out and as the arena remained dark The Shield made their way out and triple powerbombed Rock through the regular announce table. The lights turned back on and Punk rolled Rock in and pinned him for the 1…2…3. Punk’s celebration was cut short by the arrival of Vince McMahon. McMahon went to strip Punk of the championship, but Rock interrupted and asked for the match to be restarted. McMahon made it so. Punk immediately went on the attack and set up for the GTS but Rock slipped out and hit another spinebuster. One People’s Elbow, delivered emphatically, later and Punk’s long reign as WWE Champion came to an end.
- MATCH THOUGHTS: Admit it; when Punk got the pin on Rock there was a brief moment where you were in shock…which was then squashed by “No Chance in Hell” and the restarting of the match. Punk and Rock had a big-fight feel to it and the match lived up to it for the most part, outside of some minor botches and the airball offense of Rock (it looked like literally none of his punches connected, nor did any of Punk’s spinkicks to the face). But I was really entertained and after a somewhat lackluster show it was nice that the main event lived up to most of its potential. So Rock is champion and literally no one should be shocked by this. I’m not and while I don’t really like it I understand the motives and I know the casual fans are eating it up which matters more in the long-run. Let The Rock’s Reign commence.
Overall Show Thoughts:
- As an overall experience, I felt a little underwhelmed by the Royal Rumble. The undercard was lackluster and the Rumble, while fun (it’s impossible for it not to be), lacked in anything memorable or surprising. The main event, however, did deliver and I’d say lived up to the big-match build. It’ll be interesting to see what happens now as we inch closer to Wrestlemania 29. But outside of Punk/Rock and the Rumble (on the basis of it being the goddamn Royal Rumble), this was merely a “meh” show and absolutely does not necessitate a replay buy. Wait for DVD/Blu or for it to show up on WWE Classics later this year.