Well hello, Cagesiders. It’s been a long time.
It’s been months, in fact, yet it seems like only just yesterday I was here spouting off about Triple H being the best heel in the business, and how his turn on Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam was going to be the start of one of the best angles in years.
I, uh, I may have been slightly off on that one.
So after that flub, I would have to be an absolute moron to come out and once again try to defend something that so soon afterwards is clearly a terrible idea, right? Well, lucky for all of you, I have some odd fetishes and verbal abuse clearly gets me going, so it’s time to step back into the Contrarian Corner and start defending…no, wait. This can’t be right. Batista? HE won the Rumble? Why?? Because he popped a big rating on Raw once? During a week where there was zero competition of any form? NO. No no no. There’s no way I can defend that.
Ugh. Deep Breath. I can do this.
You know what, I can’t really defend the choice. It just reeks of backroom politics and shady deals. I’m sure Batista said in no uncertain terms that he would only come back for a title run and a Rumble win. So it goes. There’s really not much else to say about it.
However, I can defend the card as a whole, one that may have left a bit of bitterness on the tongues of many readers here. Specifically, I’m here to play Devil’s Advocate to that most egregious of middle fingers to wrestling fans everywhere.
Where the hell was Daniel Bryan?
Well, he kind of got his ass beat (in what will probably stick as one of the best matches of the year) by Bray Wyatt, who came out of the match looking like the best heel since, well, since Triple H in the early 2000s. Bryan put the young guy over, and in doing so has helped create a villain with some honest-to-Sister Abigail staying power. Bray looked strong, and Bryan put on another classic when it was needed. If this match wasn’t a preview of World Title matches to come, then we’re all terrible people and this is our punishment.
And let’s be clear, Bryan didn’t come out looking weak in this one. This was classic booking, plain and simple. Put on a hell of a match, and it doesn’t matter if you lose. It’s the type of booking WWE has forgotten in recent years. Instead of an awful finish to try and make both men look strong, they just let them fight, which -whodathunk- made both men look strong. Bray destroyed our hero in frightening fashion. How did he follow it up? By destroying that other big hero, John Cena. Tonight was a night for the bad guys, a point that was further driven home with Roman Reigns beating the all time Rumble eliminations record and being the man to stare down Batista. And because it was Batista who knocked Reigns out of the match, the crowd is going to be ever ready to embrace Roman Reigns when he does eventually break from his Shield compatriots.
So where do we go from here? Do we think Bryan is done? Will Vince (or Triple H) get bitter once again at the crowd derailing their show, their story, and shove the Beast so far down our throats Stephanie gets flashbacks to the late Macho Man? Or have these crowds finally gotten to a point where they just cannot be ignored, yet stories still needed to be told?
We’ve all been bored with Orton as our top heel. Even Cena seemed disinterested, going through the motions of a feud that he’s done time and time again. Well, what now? Batista garnered one of the biggest heel reactions of the night, and he did it by eliminating a heel. Triple H isn’t a fool when it comes to this business(ah), and he had to have recognized that this was always a possibility. Batista, as a heel, is douchier, meaner, and more threatening than Heel Orton could ever be. And don’t forget, we still have Elimnation Chamber to look forward to. Who knows what to expect over the next few weeks?
Back in 2001, The Rock beat Kurt Angle at No Way Out to go to Wrestlemania. It’s certainly not unprecedented for the main event of ‘Mania to change from what it appears to be at the end of the Rumble. Booking is always subject to change.
Granted, all of that is a long shot, and I know it. So what is there to defend? The chances are pretty high that we’re getting Orton vs. Batista at WM30. That is pretty no bueno.
So let’s look past the Road to WrestleMania. Let’s take a look at the stars that were made last night. Bray Wyatt is now THE monster in WWE. He’s the man who takes our heroes and crushes them. If Daniel Bryan had entered the Rumble and won, then what was the point of Wyatt destroying him? Yeah, he beat him for that match, but now it’s time for the Rumble, so just forget that ever happened. That’s the kind of booking that many of us have complained about for the past so many months. From a storytelling perspective, it just wouldn’t make sense. WWE now also has an out for Orton being so, well, boring the last couple months. Every hero needs a monster, and now, potentially, WWE has two.
Expect our 2014 Rumble winner to be met with boos tonight on Raw. And know that if that happens, Dave is just unhinged enough to go full heel-shoot on that crowd, and if he does that, Bryan is going to look like a bigger star than he has his entire career. We’re lucky, in a way. Orton would just ignore that kind of treatment, but Batista seems to revel in it, a jacked-up pig rolling in the crowd’s proverbial shit. If WWE doesn‘t make him a heel, Batista will force their hand. The man just plain doesn‘t care what the crowds think of him, and we need a good heel like that. We’ll be afraid of Bray, which is what WWE wants, and we’ll hate Batista, which is probably what he wants.
Better still, we’ll want Bryan to take down Batista.
Now here’s hoping they don’t screw it up this time. Thanks Brock for removing Big Show from the picture. We owe you one.
No matter what happens, it’s going to be an interesting year.