WWE Royal Rumble
U.S. Airways Center
I love the Royal Rumble. Now don't get me wrong, I love WrestleMania and it may well be my favorite PPV event each year. But I love the Royal Rumble. There's no other PPV like it. One of the most unique concept matches in wrestling, with the ultimate prize on-the-line. It is one of the first events designed to help make new stars in WWE. It is one of the resume-building events in WWE. The winners list reads like a who's who in wrestling: Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Edge, Triple H, John Cena. A win in the Royal Rumble match solidifies a superstars standing as the next top star. But, as WWE.com was kind to remind, the event also features some of the best matches of the year. This year's edition shows promise, but can it stand and deliver?
While this is the 1st Preview of 2013, let's take a quick peek back at the TLC preview results. I smell bragging rights...
Me- 6 for 7----- @PaulHcle
Victor- 4 for 7-- @weenusenvy
United States Championship:
Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. The Miz
Maybe I'm the only one, but I'm enjoying Miz as a babyface. It's a nice change of pace. Plus, unlike everyone in the Internet Wrestling Community, I realize face turns take time. Cesaro is so mind-numbingly boring at times on the microphone that it's easy to overlook just how good he is between the ropes. His variations on the time honored European Uppercut are visually devastating. But good god that finisher sucks! The Neutralizer? What the hell does that thing actually do? On a super heavyweight it is impressive. On a guy like Miz? Eh. Good work Cesaro, you lifted him off the ground by his crotch. Good for you. Anyway, this little mini-feud needs another month. This will be a good way to get the crowd hot, but there's no reason to take the title off Cesaro, yet.
My Prediction- Antonio Cesaro retains.
Victor's Pick- The Miz wins.
Team Hell No (c) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
I'm really sick of seeing this idiot Dr. Shelby show up on Raw. So let's just have Hell No retain and then postmatch beat the living crap out of this idiotic character. As for the feud, I don't see this ending until WrestleMania.
My Prediction- Team Hell No retains!
Victor's Pick- Team Rhodes Scholars wins.
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Big Show
Del Rio's recent babyface run is a nice change of pace. His heel gimmick was incredibly stale & boring. Plus, everyone wants to cheer his ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez. The Title change on Smackdown earlier this month was a nice surprise, but having the same match stipulation for this PPV match is a risk. All that in mind, Big Show was so boring as World Champion I found myself falling asleep during Smackdown. This one is easy to predict, but that stipulation has me thinking of Dolph Ziggler "cashing in" Money in the Bank which is going to make this match fun to watch. For the record, I don't expect Ziggler to "cash in" until WrestleMania.
Our Prediction- Alberto Del Rio retains!
CM Punk (c) vs. The Rock
The reason many are tuning in this Sunday; this match was on the card since July of last year. The promo work by Rock, Punk, & Paul Heyman on Raw Monday really helped sell this one. Punk is out to keep the Title he has held for over 430 days, the longest reign in 25 years. Rock is looking for one more run with the Title, and has spent the last 10 years filming movies and waiting for the right opponent to give him his best match. Punk is unquestionably that opponent. Easily the top candidate for match of the night, this will be Rock's 1st match since defeating John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII last year. That match erased many doubts of ring rust on The Rock. While those doubts may creep back to the surface at the Rumble, they were never mentioned during this entire build. The easy pick is Rock winning, especially after the announcement on Raw by Mr. McMahon that any interference by The Shield in this match will result in Punk being stripped of the WWE Championship. But, there is more money in Rock winning at the Elimination Chamber event next month. And it would look bad if Rock came in like a tornado, had one match, won, and then took the Title off the house show circuit for 2 months. Seriously, why is a house show ticket for Smackdown $95??? The regular TV show isn't worth a $95 ticket! Sorry, I digress. Point is Rock is running 3 PPVs, why not give the most dominant Champion in 25 years one more bullet in the gun to fire on the Road to WrestleMania?
Our Prediction- CM Punk retains.
Royal Rumble Match:
Winner gets a WWE or World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania
I got goosebumps just typing that. That is what this match means to WWE & its fans. It is the match where Ric Flair won the WWF Championship. Where "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan won the 1st event. Where Austin 3:16 was sent into the stratosphere, thanks to a guaranteed Title match at Mania. Each time, this match has delievered a moment; some big, some small. But always something. This year the top contenders to win appear to be: John Cena, Randy Orton, or Sheamus. And if any of those 3 win, I will be yelling at my tv in anger. I don't want Cena anywhere near a 2nd Rumble match win. Orton is a 9-time World Champion; he doesn't need a 2nd Rumble match. Sheamus won the match last year, and I'm not a huge fan of back-to-back winners (Toronto Blue Jays of 1992 & 93 excluded). Plus, none of those 3 will provide shock value when they win. So who does that leave? I will give you 3 different choices who need a Rumble win.
#1- Dolph Ziggler- His Money in the Bank win & subsequent burial at the hands of John Cena deserves a eulogy at this point. But a Rumble win gives him 2 title shots, one guaranteed at WrestleMania. He could lose the match at Mania, have a postmatch attack, "cash in" Money in the Bank & win. He would be the 1st superstar to compete for the World Title twice at Mania & 1st to "cash in" at Mania. That would be a shocker.
#2- The Miz- Holy crap, who did he piss off in WWE? If we discuss burials, we have to add Miz. He went from main eventing WrestleMania XXVII, to announcing on WWE Main Event? How did that happen? His face turn is a little slow in developing, but a Rumble win could easily help him get over and reestablish Miz as a top superstar.
#3- CM Punk- There's a very good chance Punk loses the Title, even though we predict against it. But imagine the final 3 are John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, & Randy Orton. The clock is ticking to entry #30, the buzzer sounds, and "Cult of Personality" hits. Big reaction. But then, the lights go out. Punk hasn't hit the ring, but when the lights are up, The Shield is in the ring laying out all 3. They toss out Orton & Ziggler, then leave. Punk hits the ring & dumps Cena out to win. How pissed would you be? Victor & I would be marking like kids and what an exciting way to start the Road to WrestleMania! The questions heading into Raw would be many.
Those would be exciting, unique, different. Alas...
My Prediction- Randy Orton wins.
Victor's Pick- John Cena wins. "Cena sucks"
No matter what happens this Sunday, WrestleMania season is upon us, which is a great time to be a wrestling fan.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia & WWE.com
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