No big introduction this week, folks. Everything that can be said about the Royal Rumble has already been stated, both by others and by myself. I don't wish to rehash anything here, so let's jump right into the nights festivities.
Punk! Johnny Ace! Ziggler! Trips! WWE Championship! Control of Raw!
CM Punk retained the WWE Championship in a shenanigan filled finish last night (Sun., Jan. 29, 2012). The match was less about him facing Dolph Ziggler as it was to further his issues with John Laurinaitis. It accomplished that in spades. The new face of the WWE hates the man in charge of Raw, and these two have been absolutely great together. The big issue with tonight is that Triple H will make his return to our television. Is he going to hit the brakes on one of the best feuds, or will he continue the story as the second coming of Vince McMahon? As much as I am afraid of everything coming crashing down, I still have hope. Maybe I am an idiot for it, but after last night I feel encouraged. Johnny Ace did not screw Punk out of the title, but he made himself a part of the match in the best way possible. There are plenty of ways that this can go bad. But there are plenty more that this could work wonderfully, as well.
And for everyone complaining that Ziggler got the worst end of the booking stick, calm down. He was always the third wheel in this. Dolph is a role player, and he played it exceptionally well. Admire him for what he did with what he was given. His time will come soon enough. I don't expect him to be tossed out of the title picture just yet.
The rest of the show after the jump.
Cena! Kane! Ryder! Eve! Destruction!
I have to admit, last night's match was fun. It did everything it needed to do. John Cena took a beating like a champ, Kane showed that he is a monster, and Zack Ryder got destroyed in the crossfire. How many people thought that Cena would no sell everything and deliver an Attitude Adjustment on Kane to end the proceedings? Every time I get sick of what they are doing, they find a way to move the story along. Cena will eventually emerge as the hero, but how many people will be hurt because of it? Ryder being crushed just by being Cena's friend pushes him past the one note gimmick he has been stuck on. This will continue, and I am looking forward to both Cena's and Kane's next step.
As a side note, how amazing was the crowd last night? They cheered for Kane and booed the crap out of Cena. This is what more fans need to be doing. Being actively engaged in the product instead of sitting in their seats in silence. Raw has had such bad crowds of late that it is refreshing to hear some emotion.
Jericho! Loser! Amazing!
I said it many times over the weekend, but I will say it once again: Chris Jericho is brilliant at what he does. To paraphrase Brandon Stroud's Best and Worst over at With Leather, Chris Jericho is going through every professional wrestling cliche in the book. His promo last week was not to foreshadow that something will happen at the Royal Rumble. It was to *mock* what every wrestler does in order to promote a PPV. It is as meta as you can possibly get. Everyone who is disappointed with him losing should check their expectations at the door. It is completely unfair to celebrate how great his coming back was, and then be bitchy about him getting eliminated. He went through every Rumble troupe. He hung from the ropes. He almost fell off the top turnbuckle. He get kicked off the apron. He even added in trying to get Sheamus to tap out and *went for a cover*! This is poetry in motion, folks.
Smackdown! On Raw!
Sheamus is the Royal Rumble winner. Again, I've said my piece on it so I wont fill up space here. It should be noted that Cole ended the night wondering aloud if The Great White will be chasing the World Heavyweight Championship or the WWE Championship. I don't particularly expect that Sheamus will migrate over to Raw, but I could see it happening. They pull Punk away from the strap to focus on his feud with Laurinaitis, a heel such a Ziggler becomes champion, and they need someone to face it up. I am not a fan of fantasy booking, but I am simply laying out a possibilities. Worst case, we get Daniel Bryan and Sheamus on top of Smackdown. I cannot say I hate that.
Hopefully this has helped get you prepared for the nights activities. Leave a comment about what you are looking forward to, make sure to follow the action @Cagesideseats and please join Geno, myself, and the whole Monday Night gang during the live blog here.