From section 218 in the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona, it was my first live wrestling event since a WCW Monday Nitro in the 90s two weeks after Vince Russo got too much creative control over the Turner wrestling brand.
The "Road to WrestleMania" began last night (Sun., Jan. 27, 2013) with the Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV). Click here to check out full results and the live blog.
After some pre-gaming at a local pub and eatery where attractive young women serve you adult beverages, here are some reactions from the 2013 Royal Rumble:
- There were so many CM Punk fans in the building last night. Everywhere we went before and during the event everyone was picking Punk to go over Rock. After the promos and entrances the crowd felt like it settled into a 50/50 split. Would not have been satisfied with a "Punk def. Rock via aid of the Shield" finish. When Vinny Mac's music hit, the crowd went bananas. I liked the restart finish and believe by the crowd reaction that 90-percent didn't mind Rock winning. Happy ending for a living legend in WWE and all those warm/fuzzy feelings and all that.
- Post-match, Rock thanked first his fellow superstars for working so hard, second his family and friends in attendance and third the live crowd and the WWE Universe for welcoming him back.
- John Cena is so polarizing. Everything he did from the time his music hit and his number was called drew some sort of reaction from the crowd. The heat then love then more heat on him whipped the crowd into a frenzy. "Cena Sucks" chants seemed to get the better of "Let's go, Cena" chants from where we were sitting. I don't know if the crowd was worn out by the time Cena won it but the reaction seemed like a light mix of boos with more cheers when he was the last man in the ring. A half hearted hat tip moment from the Phoenix fans to Super-Cena.
- The Sheamus, Ryback, and Cena final three trio was a pretty cool moment, though.
- Y 2 "freaking" J! When his music hit the roof came off of the US Airways Center. Pro wrestling fandom at its purest form, everyone lost their minds all at once and marked out like 8-year-old kids. It was amazing.
- Still jaw dropped surprised/overjoyed that Jericho came back at Royal Rumble. Props to WWE for keeping it under wraps.
- Rumble was pretty damn good. Not too many moments of lagging action. Seemed like the pacing was good. Really enjoyed the moments where there were seven or eight guys all in the ring at one time. Jericho got his moment. Randy Orton cleared out the ring. Kofi Kingston's hopping chair save and quick elimination got the crowd popping. Ryback was cheered a lot more than I expected.
- Counting down along with the big Rumble clock is just as much fun as you expect it to be. Rumble clock > New Year Eve's ball drop.
- Missed Big Show's walkout because I was buying a cheese steak sandwich. I do not regret this decision.
- Can we all agree that Alberto Del Rio works better as a face? The spot with Show tossing "ADR: like a ragdoll through a table really made the match pop and got the crowd even more on the champ's side.
- Before the event we hit a bar about one block from the arena and partook in adult beverages. Yeah a bar packed full of rowdy wrestling fans, good times. This may have affected both my grade and memories of the evening.
- Three stars from the bar before the Royal Rumble: 1) Guys dressed in El Generico masks who everyone chanted constantly "Ole! Ole! Ole!" at....they were later booed when we discovered one was wearing a Tony Romo jersey. 2) Guy dressed as Damien Sandow who worked the three question shtick on drunk people in the bar 3) Guy dressed in full Ric Flair wig and robe who was "WOOOO'd" at so much I almost felt bad for him (almost).
- Honorable mention to Guy who put on the Cobra sock puppet and walked about 12 feet across the bar to poke Guy dressed as Sandow.
How did the show come across on TV? Despite Cena and Rock going over, the wrestling community seemed to be generally hyped after last night's event. Ready to kickoff WrestleMania season? Thoughts?