Battle royals bring me great joy as a wrestling gimmick match. When the YouTube machine conjured up its magic to recommend a 41-man affair in WWE, I couldn’t resist. I’m glad I watched, because it was an amusing flashback down memory lane to October 14, 2011 with a young Cody Rhodes and other familiar faces. 12 years ago feels like it was another world in the history of professional wrestling.
Push play and soak it in. The context was the battle royal winner earning a championship match of their choosing.
Playa, playa, playa. Teddy Long opened the proceedings, and John Laurinaitis joined him to loud boos from the crowd. Big Johnny was a guilty pleasure during his People Power days.
A chipper CM Punk was first to run to the ring. Randy Orton carried up the rear as the biggest superstar in the match.
Cody Rhodes was the first participant eliminated. Its amazing to see how far he has come in his career from being tossed in under ten seconds to competing in the main event of WrestleMania 39. To be fair, it wasn’t all sad times for Cody back then. He was the reigning intercontinental champion at the time of this battle royal.
Johnny Curtis had yet to find his love for dancing as Fandango. JTG sighting. Nice to see him actually on the show instead of collecting a paycheck on the down-low. Derrick Bateman was a rookie in NXT who would later become EC3. Oh shit, remember that hot storyline alliance between Miz and R-Truth when they were fired by Triple H? Anyway, they worked together to eliminate Daniel Bryan. It’s funny how the crowd had no reaction to the man that would eventually lead the Yes movement.
Mason Ryan was the powerhouse beast of the match. Too bad he never panned out. Sheamus had a strong showing as well.
Punk was eliminated by Miz with six men remaining. Orton cleaned house in the end tossing out Wade Barrett, a cutter to Jack Swagger before elimination, and a cutter to Jinder Mahal to send him packing. Miz had been hiding on the outside, but his sneak attack failed. Orton rallied for back and forth fisticuffs on the apron. Orton hit an RKO and both fell down to the floor. Officials ruled that Miz landed first, and Orton was granted the win. That was a pretty exciting ending for a battle royal.
Orton chose Mark Henry and the world heavyweight championship. That bout is also included in the battle royal video. That match was thrown out when Cody interfered. Big Show made the save for a thunderous shoulder tackle on the World’s Strongest Man. That heavy duty collision of beef shook the ring.
Good times down memory lane.
What are your reactions to this 41-man battle royal?