My Two Centsss - If Batista Wins The Royal Rumble, I'll Be Very Disappointed
By Super Chrisss
Jan 11, 2014 - 2:29:05 PM
(Tom Jenner is the man!)
I've been saying it for years, and I'll say it for years - the Royal Rumble is my favourite Pay-Per-View of the year. The reason being, even if we're presented with a less-than-spectacular card (this year's non-Rumble matches, although stacked with star power, might be an early example of that), you always have the traditional 30-Man Battle Royal to look forward to. There's just something about the Royal Rumble match that's so much. Whether it's counting down with the clock before the next participant comes out, or the potential never-before-seen mini-matchups that take place inside the ring, or picking your 'final four' - the Rumble always reminds me why I'm such a huge wrestling fan, even if The Great Khali vs. Damien Sandow in a 2 out of 3 Falls match makes the main card.
Last year, the Royal Rumble was rather underwhelming, both the match itself and the rest of the card. Which is a shame, because CM Punk vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship was reason alone to order the show. In recent years (mostly post-Attitude Era), the WWE had relied on the Rumble match selling the show, and allowed less established stars - i.e. upper midcarders - challenge for one of the two (or three, if you count ECW) world titles. I thought it was a smart move because WWE knew their fanbase would buy the show regardless of the undercard, which allowed them to introduce the more casual viewers to new faces. A good example of this format was the 2007 edition, which saw Umaga, Mr. Kennedy, and Test all unsuccessfully challenge for a world title. Or even 2010, with Ezekiel Jackson and newcomer Sheamus competing in world title matches.
In 2012, Dolph Ziggler got a chance to compete for the WWE Championship against CM Punk, but things have changed since then. Last January, both The Big Show and a returning Rock wound up in the two world title matches. This year's show is shaping up to be like last year's, with the "old guard" pencilled into the co-main-events. In the sole world title match, Randy Orton will defend against John Cena, and in a rematch from the 2003 Royal Rumble, The Big Show will face off with Brock Lesnar.
I hope you can forgive me if I'm not jumping up and down with excitement over those two matches. While neither of those two matches sound as awful as, say, most of the Wrestlemania 29 card, they don't make me want to dish out $45+ to see them, either. In fact, if it wasn't for the Royal Rumble match, I would most likely pass on this one, as it's two matches that have been done to death in the past. What does worry me is the outcome of the Rumble match. For months, I've been convinced that either CM Punk or Daniel Bryan would outlast twenty-nine other men and challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XXX. But now I have my concerns.
As it stands right now, CM Punk is still my top pick to win the Rumble. After all, he hasn't competed for a/the world title in nearly a year, and what better way to get him back into the title picture than a guaranteed championship match at Wrestlemania? Furthermore, the last two things Punk has left to accomplish in WWE is to win the Royal Rumble and main-event Wrestlemania, both of which can be accomplished on January 26th. However, there have been rumours running rampant that Punk vs. Triple H is a 'lock' for Wrestlemania, and obviously, I don't see either man becoming world champion anytime between Monday's Raw and March. I didn't believe them at first, but I think Punk's recent alliance with the New Age Outlaws will ultimately result in Billy Gunn & Road Dogg turning heel on Punk and setting up Punk vs. HHH at 'Mania. Personally, I would love to see that match - especially if/when Punk wins - but that would also mean no Rumble win for Punk this year.
Poor Daniel Bryan. There's part of me still holding out hope that his heel turn and angle with The Wyatt Family is all a swerve and leading to Bryan finding himself in either a world title match or singles match with Triple H at Wrestlemania, but it's hard to overlook the facts. When Bryan reluctantly joined The Wyatts on the final Raw of 2013, he mentioned in his promo that "these people's words mean nothing!". To me, that's a pretty good indicator that you're turning heel, at least for a while. Then when you take into consideration his Raw and SmackDown appearances this past week, when Bryan mercilessly attacked babyfaces like Rey Mysterio and The Usos, it felt like he was trying to cement his new character. I hope I'm wrong on this one, but best case scenario, Bryan lands himself a match with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania (which would be awesome, even if Bryan stays heel). Worst case scenario, Bryan faces or teams up with Bray at the event. So yeah, I don't see Bryan winning the Rumble, at least not at this point in time.
Which is why I have a bad feeling Batista is going to win the Rumble and go on to challenge for the only world title at Wrestlemania XXX. Now, I have no problem with Batista returning to the 'E. He may not be the best at cutting promos or have the ability to work a four-star match on any given occasion, but the man is a star. He adds value to the company just by being there. I'm not saying he'll single-handedly pop ratings or boost buyrates, but his presence will freshen up the product. He's been gone for nearly four years, and there's plenty of new opponents for him to feud with. Batista coming back is what's best for business.
But you know what isn't, at least in the grand scheme of things? Giving Big Dave a world title opportunity after his first match back. I'm all for a Batista/Randy Orton or a Batista/Brock Lesnar match at Wrestlemania, but I don't want it to be for the sole world title. Imagine this: we could be looking at a scenario where Orton, Lesnar, and Batista all emerge victorious at the Royal Rumble. To me, this screams 2013 all over again. Instead of pushing new and future stars, WWE is yet again relying on part-timers to sell Wrestlemania. Guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler - who have been busting their asses night in and night out for years - stand a good chance of being pushed down the Wrestlemania card for the second year in a row. If the rumours of Hulk Hogan and Rob van Dam returning to compete at Wrestlemania XXX are indeed true, that's even worse news for those guys. I understand that a card with the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Triple H, RVD, maybe even Hulk Hogan or Chris Jericho, is nothing short of stacked, but that doesn't leave a lot of room for the rest of the roster, does there?
Batista winning the Royal Rumble match after years of in-ring inactivity, instead of (give or take) twenty-five full-time wrestlers is WWE's way of saying they don't feel confident in most members of their current roster headlining Wrestlemania. Rather than using the Rumble to launch someone's career (names like Ziggler, Damien Sandow, a member of The Shield, or Antonio Cesaro come to mind), or insuring one of their top guys like Punk or Bryan don't find themselves lost in the shuffle come Wrestlemania season, they seem complacent to put Batista back in the spotlight, almost as if he never left. I know some people will argue that this can always be done next year, because it's Wrestlemania XXX, therefore WWE wants to make this year's card a big deal. But if memory serves correctly, didn't Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero compete in world title matches at that year's Wrestlemania? WWE had the perfect balance of certified top stars (Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kurt Angle) facing off with main-eventers waiting to happen (Benoit, Eddie). So why can't they replicate that formula this year? Why do I have a bad feeling the top three-four matches at Wrestlemania XXX will be dominated by part-timers or guys who have already made it in Cena and Orton?
Maybe I'm jumping the shark, and Batista is this year's red herring Rumble winner, but I can't shake the feeling that plans are already in motion for Batista to win it, go over Alberto del Rio at Elimination Chamber to kill time/remind fans why The Animal is a top contender, and main-event Wrestlemania XXX. I would be willing to accept Batista vs. Orton as the world title match at Wrestlemania if it means we get Cena vs. 'Taker and Punk vs. HHH, but where would that leave Brock Lesnar and Daniel Bryan? Or the rest of the roster, for that matter? Once again, they will be fighting for scraps, just struggling to even make it on the Wrestlemania card.
You could say I'm being too pessimistic by treating a Batista win at the Royal Rumble as a sure thing, and I probably am. But after last year's Road to Wrestlemania, I can't help but feel skeptic when it comes to WWE's plans for their biggest PPV of the year. As it stands, I'm going to take a step back and let things play out. For all we know, Batista's 'Royal Rumble moment' will be nothing more than having a staredown and brawl with Roman Reigns or something. The Wrestlemania XXX card could shape up to be one of the best ones in recent memory. After all, anything could happen between now and April.
However, if Batista does end up winning, it will again show how WWE cares more about the present than the future. Someday, they won't be able to fall back on Cena, Batista, and Lesnar during the most important time of the year for them. They'll probably wish they spent more time trying to build up new faces, instead of giving us the "John Cena & Friends Show" on repeat for the past decade.
Your Two Centsss: Would you be okay with Batista winning the 2014 Royal Rumble? Why or why not?
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