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Cageside Countdown: Best of WWE Royal Rumble 2016

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Royal Rumble 2016 has come and gone. By many accounts, it was a good show, but your feelings probably largely depend on how you feel about the Royal Rumble match. And it probably should; after all, the show's featured match is ONLY THE TITLE OF THE PPV. But this year's edition, the 29th if you're scoring at home, produced more than a few good moments.

But what was the best moment of the 2016 Royal Rumble event?

Last week, we asked you, the Cagesiders, to tell us. Through a community vote spanning two days, I'm proud to present...

The top 10 moments of Royal Rumble 2016.

But before we get to the best of the best, here are...

Ten honorable mentions. Because these... these were good too.

1. After Rusev did a running splash off two tables on to a prone Roman Reigns, Rusev wanted to give Vince McMahon a big hug because he did something awesome. That you did, Rusev. That you did.

2. If it's the Royal Rumble, Kofi Kingston is going to do something outlandish to save himself. One year, he pogostuck himself back in using one of the announcer's chairs. Another year, he stopped himself from elimination using the steps. Last year, he was saved by Adam Rose's Exotic Express. This year, Kofi goes on a piggyback ride on Big E to keep himself in the Rumble.

3. After AJ Styles (who will get quite a few mentions in this countdown-SPOILER ALERT) gets eliminated, Luke Harper rubs the new kid's face in it by waving bye-bye to him. One less person in the way of the world title, amirite?

4. Roman Reigns, regardless of what you think of him, is a terrifying man, and would probably kill you if you were to fight him head on. One fan quickly realized that when he hid his "IF REIGNS WINS WE RIOT" sign just as the then-WWE champion was making his entrance right in front of him.

5. One of the better lines from the Royal Rumble came from of all people Mike Mizanin. When he entered the Royal Rumble, he took the Jerry Lawler approach, waiting it out for a bit on commentary, where he dropped this line on Brock Lesnar: "I'm gonna turn Suplex City into Mizneyworld". I hate The Miz on a shoot level, but that line's pretty good.

6. But not nearly as the line one John "Bradshaw" Layfield gave on the debuting AJ Styles. The first fact mentioned about him: he's a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion, the same belt once held by Brock Lesnar. If you do anything Brock Lesnar did, you've done something.

7. You know, it would have been a pretty awesome feud had it come to pass, but late in the Royal Rumble saw an intense staredown between Bray Wyatt and Triple H. It'll probably never come to pass, but damn that tease for a few seconds was pretty good.

8. So we all assumed that some combination of Roman Reigns, Triple H, and Brock Lesnar would be the final two (stop lying, you did too). Well, Triple H was one half of the final two. The other half: Intercontinental Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Dean Fucking Ambrose. The outcome was never in doubt, but it did make us wonder for a bit.

9. Leave it to Kevin Owens, family man (and Royal Rumble booker extraordinare), to take the opportunity to tell his fellow man how he really feels about him. When Owens saw Dean Ambrose for the second time during the Rumble match, Kevin took the time to tell Dean he hated him. Pretty sure the feeling's mutual.

10. Big E Langston is strong. Not Roman Reigns strong, but really strong nonetheless. E clinched the tag title victory when he caught a flying Jey Uso on his shoulder and dropped him with a Big Ending.

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, here are...

The top ten moments of Royal Rumble 2016.

As voted by you, the Cagesiders. So if this list sucks, blame yourselves. Also, unless noted, all GIFs courtesy of wrestling-giffer.tumblr.com.

10. Kevin Owens has a chair around his neck.

What is it with The Shield creating moments with chairs? In 2014, it was Seth killing the group (and the company by proxy) with a chair to Roman Reigns. In 2015, Roman Reigns dropped a chair in the cage and it landed upright. In 2016, Dean threw a chair at Kevin Owens and it landed perfectly around his neck. Because of course it did. And he walks around with it and takes a couple of free shots. Hey, nothing Kevin hasn't done in suburban Montreal before, amirite?

9. Kevin Owens flies into Michael Cole.

A rare nod of continuity here. Kevin Owens to say the least has no love for Michael Cole (in his defense, does anyone? I mean, anyone not named Vince McMahon?). He consistently gives Cole a hard time because let's be honest, Cole is annoying as all hell and is sometimes dense. So when in the Last Man Standing match's early moments Dean chucked Kevin into the announce table, Kevin made perfectly sure to accidentally on purpose land on Michael Cole. Oh, you gonna tell me it was an "accident"? Really? Kevin had that moment planned in his mind for weeks. Maybe months. Maybe even years for all I know. But thanks Kevin. For all of us.

8. Alexander Rusev, television champion.

So Rusev is pretty awesome, you know when he's not losing matches and such. Rusev didn't have a good showing in the Royal Rumble match. He was the first man out after finishing as first runner-up a year ago. But he did have an impact on the match's outcome later. After he ran across two tables to splash a prone Roman Reigns through a third announce table, he hugged Vince McMahon, then for some reason, grabbed one of the monitors and took it with him. I'm sure he has his reasons why. Maybe high-definition television hasn't come to Bulgaria. Maybe he has a bunch of A/V cables that he needs something to do with. Or maybe he just needs a small television. I dunno. But he's since declared himself the television champion. I would welcome a reboot of that championship, but only if the symbol of it is an actual television. No, Alberto Del Rio. You can't have Rusev's television. It's Rusev's television.

7. The many feuds of Kevin Owens.

6. Sami Zayn eliminates Kevin Owens.

5. Kevin Owens welcomes AJ Styles to WWE.

4. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have a hockey fight.

Yup, I'm lumping all these together as they pretty much all happened within like five minutes of one another. It begins with Kevin Owens, about two hours removed from the last man standing match, entering the Royal Rumble at #18. Well, not so much entering as he is limping. Kevin's first act: go all hockey fight on AJ Styles. After AJ nearly Styles Clashes Neville (nearly because of a Kevin Owens superkick), Kevin takes the time to welcome AJ to WWE... by throwing him over the top rope.

But Kevin had little time to enjoy the moment as less than a minute later, #19 emerges. And it's Dean .Fucking. Ambrose.  The man that beat Kevin Owens in said last man standing match. Surely enough, they picked up where they left off two hours earlier.

Then #20. Kevin Owens' former BFF and biggest rival, Sami Zayn. No Kevin. It never ends. After all, you put him on the disabled list. And they waste no time in picking up where they left off, as the two Canucks go full hockey fight on one another. Kevin tries to eliminate Sami, but it's reversed, and it's the prizefighter with the Dad bod that goes over instead. It's Sami's only elimination in the Rumble, but as far as he was concerned, it was a good day.

In a span of five minutes, Kevin Owens went from having one feud to three. And there's a good chance by the end of the year, Kevin will have a PPV match with all of them. Fight Owens fight.

3. Sasha Banks returns and makes a statement.

So Sasha Banks was inexplicably gone from WWE television for a while. Likely due to injury, but Sasha herself refuted this, but whateves. The conclusion of the WWE Divas Championship match between Charlotte and Becky Lynch (a conclusion I will not even bother to talk about) saw the return of everybody's favorite boss/Sailor moon fan/Snoop Dogg cousin Sasha Banks. Sasha drops her brass knuckles, then the glasses. Then kicks away Becky Lynch. Looks like we have a BFFs reunion.

Then... backstabber. Crossface. Bank statement. Keep the change, you filthy animal. Friendship be damned in the name of championship gold.  (GIFs via jimdrugfree on the Tumblr)

2. R-Truth conquers his fear of heights.

So Ron Killings, former NWA world heavyweight champion—twice—is a bit of a crazy person. He thinks spiders are all around him, Little Jimmy is out to get him, and there's a conspiracy afoot. But his craziness in recent years has been at the very least charming. He's always butts in on promos that have nothing to do with him whatsoever (case in point, that one time he thought he was in the Money in the Bank ladder match when he really wasn't, and that one time R-Truth was gonna win the WWE world title tournament he wasn't even a part of).

R-Truth entered the Royal Rumble at #12, and he immediately went under the ring to grab a ladder. Seizing the opening, he climbs the ladder and retrieves... nothing. Because you see, kids: this wasn't the Money in the Bank ladder match he wasn't in. It also wasn't TLC. It was the Royal Rumble. He could have used it as a weapon; there's no rule against it. But... no. Kane yanks him off the ladder, then shoves him over and out. And Kane tosses the ladder right out with him. EVIL WELDER KANE does not have time for your shenanigans. Look, R-Truth was never a threat to win the Royal Rumble. You might as well get a laugh in, because wrestling's supposed to be fun damnit!

1. AJ Styles' debut.

Like you need words for this. Just listen to the crowd at the Amway Center. Or just watch random people react to the debut for 20 minutes.

And that's the list. Any we missed? Or you missed? Sorry for the lack of pics and vids.

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Also, this is gonna be the last Cageside Countdown for a bit. Gonna give it a rest for the next few weeks and bring it back in time for Wrestlemania. I have a project that needs finishing. And I think you know the one I'm talking about. In the meantime, you can check out Cageside Countdowns from months past.

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