WWE – Royal Rumble 2013 (Cert 12)
1 Disc Blu-ray / DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 167 minutes approx.
One of the “big four” shows of the year steaming back to the “good old days” before PPVs were a monthly concern, the Royal Rumble has a been a firm favourite among wrestling fans since it’s inception in TV debut in 1988 and move to PPV a year later. The big selling point is of course the 30 man over the top rope Rumble match, a battle royale where instead of all entrants being in the ring at the start of the match, they enter at regular intervals. The excitement was built around who was competing, what number they would enter at and most importantly who would win.
In 1992 the Rumble was used to decide a new WWF champion (the winner of course was Ric Flair) while 1993 was the first year it became the way to determine the challenger for Wrestlemania. This took some of the fun out of the match as it soon became apparent who the winner was long before the show even took place due to the way certain wrestlers were being built up on TV. Sadly only a few surprises have occurred at the Rumble over the past five years or so and this year was no exception.
The show took place on January 27th at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona in front of 15,748 fans and your commentators are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL.
Onto the matches and as usual, no results but loads of opinion.
World Title Last Man Standing Match – Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Big Show
Del Rio, who suddenly turned face at the TLC PPV in December 2012, needed a bit of shove to get the fans behind him so he defeated Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match on SD on New Year’s Eve. This clearly helped as the reaction to both Del Rio and his personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez for the rematch was very healthy, helped a little bit by the pre-match endorsement from none other than the legendary Bret “Hitman” Hart! The match itself was pretty good with some innovative spots while the finish is either ingenious or silly as is your wont. Good start to the show.
WWE Tag Title Match – Team Hell No (c) vs Team Rhodes Scholars
Highlighting once again just how little the WWE cares about the tag team division, we get what feels like the fiftieth match between these two tandems. Rhodes and Sandow earned this title shot in a Tables Match at TLC and were seeking revenge for Kane injuring Rhodes during a tag match on The Main Event in November. Solid match but its familiarity hurt its impact and doesn’t feel like a must see PPV worthy bout.
Royal Rumble Match
Prior to this show Vickie Guerrero exercised her GM/Executive Consultant/whatever the hell she is now powers on ex-beau Dolph Ziggler – who hooked up with AJ Lee after her “shock” heel turn at the TLC PPV and muscle man Big E. Langston – by forcing him to chose either no 1 or no 2. Yes WE know they are both the same but WWE have only just realised this. Anyway Ziggler chose No 1 and No 2 was…quite the surprise! Over the years a number of “surprise entrants” from the past show up in the Rumble but this year there were only two other outside of the chap at No 2 (who since went on to return to the full time roster). The match itself was an entertaining with a few new faces to add an element of intrigues such as the unstoppable Ryback or the mammoth Brodus Clay. Kofi Kingston added another inventive elimination save to his collection while Daniel Bryan and Kane sought to top that with the latest instalment of their endearing “odd couple” comedy act. As you know, I don’t like to spoil the results for anyone but John Cena was in this match. I’m saying no more….
There was supposed to be a Divas title defence by Kaitlyn against Tamina Snuka which was dropped at the last minute due to “time constraints” so it’s straight to the main event which was….
WWE Title Match – CM Punk (c) vs The Rock
Back at Raw 1000 The Rock made one of his rare appearances to issue a challenge to whomever should be WWE champion come the Rumble PPV. Confident it would be him CM Punk laid the foundation for his heel turn and this match by attacking Rock on said episode of RAW. Seven months later and 434 days into his title reign, Punk faced off against The Rock in a match which Vince McMahon decreed Punk would be stripped of the title if The Shield should interfere (they attacked Rock on RAW prior to the PPV). A strong and eventful main event which saw Punk turn up the heat on Rock, who still looks good in the ring if a little weak on the stamina front. One scary moment comes during an attempt at a Rock Bottom on the Spanish announce table otherwise this was a well executed match. I may not spoil match results but unfortunately the cover of this release does.
A solid start to 2013 for WWE albeit a predictable one that does little to break the status quo that is currently blighting the WWE’s creative direction. One can’t fault the effort of the wrestlers – those that are given a chance at least – but forward motion does not seem to be on the horizon just yet.
Best match – CM Punk vs The Rock
English subtitles for the hard of hearing
John Cena shares his thoughts – January 27th 2013
RAW – 21st January 2013
Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman address The Rock
Ryback vs Heath Slater
CM Punk proclaims victory at the Royal Rumble
Kane and Daniel Bryan graduate from Anger Management
The Rock confronts Paul Heyman
Alberto Del Rio vs Tensai
John Cena proclaims victory at the Royal Rumble
SmackDown – 25th January 2013
CM Punk addresses The Shield
Rating – ***
Man In Black