The biggest story coming out of the 2014 edition of WWE Royal Rumble wasn't Randy Orton's successful defense of his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Nor was it Roman Reigns' record setting 12-elimination performance. Nor was it Batista's triumphant return to win the Royal Rumble Match.
Instead, the crowd inside the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh heavily booed the match between Orton and John Cena, voicing their opinion that it should be Daniel Bryan in the match. Then, when Bryan did not enter the Royal Rumble Match, the crowd booed the remainder of the match, only turning in favor of Reigns when he squared off with Batista.
This wasn't what's happened the day after WrestleMania the last two years, where fans went into business for themselves, chanting things to amuse themselves. This was a flat-out revolt.
The fans aren't interested in seeing the 167th installment of Orton/Cena. They want fresh faces. As much as I like him, the fans aren't into Batista. That's why Bryan has been cheered loudly. That's why the crowd chose Reigns at the end. And these fans showed how sick they are of what WWE's been shoving down their throats. The fact of the matter is, a match between Orton and Batista at WrestleMania XXX will probably get a similar reaction, especially considering the large international makeup of that crowd.
The fans WANT Daniel Bryan. They want to see him succeed, mainly because WWE has told us time and time again that he's too small, or he has no personality, or he can't do this, or he can't do that. Guess what? No one in your company is getting bigger reactions than Daniel Bryan right now. The fans want Bryan to be champion. You never know what WWE has planned, but I can certainly surmise it does not involve Bryan being WWE World Heavyweight Champion, mainly because of what the last six months of their product has been. They've done almost everything in their power to squash Bryan's popularity, but the fans are not letting it go. Nor should they.
For a company that spouts "best for business" on television each week, it certainly seems like they don't know talent if it came up and slapped them in the face. I'm not usually in favor of crowd hijacking shows like they did tonight, but when this happens, it's usually just the crowd trying to get themselves over. That was not the case tonight. This was passion. This was vigor.
Vince McMahon, Triple H: It's time to wake up and smell the roses.
Batista wins Rumble Match
Batista's big win was overshadowed by the crowd's intense hatred of Bryan not being involved in the match. It's tough to say the former champion looked good, but he will face the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania by virtue of winning the Royal Rumble Match.
Batista entered at No. 28 and had a good run of eliminations. But the story of the Rumble, other than the crowd, was Roman Reigns, who broke Kane's record of eliminations (11, set in 2001), by throwing out 12 men, including his Shield stablemates Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. CM Punk entered at No. 1 and lasted until the final four, where he was eliminated by a vengeful Kane.
Sheamus, who made his surprise return at No. 17, was in the final three before being eliminated by Reigns. Other surprise entrants including Kevin Nash at No. 14 and John "Bradshaw" Layfield at No. 24.
Other highlights include El Torito entering the match and eliminating Fandango, and I must mention Antonio Cesaro, as well, who impressively executed a long giant swing on Seth Rollins. This man is great.
Raw tomorrow will certainly be interesting.
Crowd turns on Orton/Cena XLCVIII
Even before the word "go," the crowd in Pittsburgh made it known they were not pleased to have to watch Randy Orton and John Cena battle for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It what WWE billed as "the most anticipated rematch in WWE history," the crowd spat on that, chanting "Daniel Bryan" before the match even started and "boring" about five seconds in, and then several more times. In the ultimate ethering, the crowd chanted "We want Divas" at the match. For those of you who are not familiar, the Divas match is regularly seen as the snack/bathroom break of the show.
Yeah, Orton and Cena worked hard, but nobody cared. And how could they? It's the same old stuff. The crowd chanted for Randy Savage, they did the wave, they did everything under the sun except care about this match.
If we never have to see these two face each other again, it'll be too soon.
Oh yeah, Orton won. Woo?
Lesnar decimates Big Show
Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar returned to the ring for the first time since August, as he beat up the Big Show before, during and after their match. Lesnar attacked Show with a chair before the match, but Show railed to hit the KO Punch, but Lesnar survived and then was able to hoist the nearly 500-pound Show on his shoulders for his signature F5. After the match, Lesnar destroyed Show with a chair again, leaving pieces of it around the ringside area.
In the end, this wasn't a whole lot, but it reestablishes Lesnar heading into WrestleMania season. We'll see who WWE pairs him with.
Wyatt upends Bryan
Bryan and Bray Wyatt kicked off the show in a big way with a real hot match. In retrospect, you could see the groundswell of support for Bryan in this match. The ovation he received to open the show was incredible and the crowd didn't let up the whole time. The match received two "this is awesome" chants, including after Wyatt delivered Sister Abagail to Bryan into the barricade. And see, the crowd didn't reject Wyatt winning because the match was so great. Definitely Wyatt's best match to date.
Complete WWE Royal Rumble 2014 Results:
WWE Tag Team Championship: New Age Outlaws d. Cody Rhodes & Goldust (Pinfall/New Champions)
Bray Wyatt d. Daniel Bryan (Pinfall)
Brock Lesnar d. Big Show (Pinfall)
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton d. John Cena (Pinfall/Retains Championship)
Batista wins 2014 Royal Rumble Match