Last night's (Sun., Jan. 27, 2013) Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) from the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona, featured the usual surprises in the Rumble match. Leading up to the show, there were rumors flying off who would and wouldn't show up and nearly all of those rumors were proven wrong.
Maybe not by accident either.
Let's take a look at who came back and who didn't.
- Chris Jericho
This was the big one. WWE managed to play this so close to the vest that absolutely no one, not one single dirt sheet, even reported the potential for his being there. The storyline was great too because he got to start at number two alongside Dolph Ziggler, the man who sent him packing last we saw him, and he lasted for over 45 minutes to once again establish himself as a top guy.
This one was a shocker for fans who haven't seen him in a while and for those who follow the backstage goings on because he was fired by WWE not too terribly long ago for a series of mishaps while working as a producer. Also liked the storyline with him coming in and everyone clearing out so he could go at it with his brother, Cody Rhodes. Goldust really wanted a WrestleMania match with him and while I still doubt they do it, it's at least on the table and the crowd reaction for it was positive.
Cheap nostalgia pop and it was worth every second. He didn't take up any unnecessary space in the ring and played his part to perfection. I absolutely loved his coming in and getting eliminated in a matter of seconds and his music never turning off. That was a great touch. He won't be sticking around but it was fun to see him again. CHOO CHOO!
- Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Santino Marella
These are all technically returns but they're all members of the active roster who were out hurt. Mysterio in particular was a surprise because no one actually thought he would be there. Sin Cara was expected and Santino is just our funny guy, so it doesn't really matter with him either way.
Who Didn't Return
- Shelton Benjamin
Looking back, I'm not sure where he would have fit in well with how the match played out. They could have had him be the guy who saves himself in some interesting way but Kofi Kingston might have that on lock now. He made a joke about not appearing on Twitter shortly after the match ended.
Wanted to see this one. Not cool.
- Hurricane Helms
He was active on Twitter all throughout the evening, dropping as many hints as possible that he would be in the match. He had also revealed he traveled to Phoenix with Benjamin, Carlito and Chris Masters, leading everyone to believe all four would be in the match. He later said he'll return to WWE eventually but timing is everything and now's not the time.
- Chris Masters
As mentioned above, he was rolling with other names who were rumored, so he was too. There are plenty who believe he deserves a spot on the WWE roster, myself included, but he's not back just yet.
I know, I know. But there were very real discussions about him coming back here to set up his WrestleMania 29 match. It would have been nice to hear the gong hit after the lights went out but he can always come back later. Tonight, even.
An interesting thing to consider in all this is that WWE could have intentionally leaked names like Benjamin and Carlito, who it was thought were confirmed for the Rumble, just to preserve the names they actually had planned, Jericho chief among them.
Because, really, none of the surprise returns who didn't happen would have had any kind of effect like Jericho did.
Were you Cagesiders upset at not seeing a few of these folks?