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Published: January 31, 2011
By Jared Silberkleit - After a primarily lackluster second half of 2010, the WWE kicked off 2011 with a bang with the annual Royal Rumble. Featuring the first ever 40-man Royal Rumble match, the PPV was a lot of fun from start to finish, though as is typical for the event, your opinion on the show will depend highly on what you thought of the Rumble match itself. That being said, the PPV also delivered two very solid, lengthy world title matches, with the only blemish on the card being the obligatory Divas match (sigh). Overall, this was a thumbs up show that set up some new programs heading into Wrestlemania 27.
1. World Heavyweight Championship match: Edge(c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
I can’t remember the last time a WWE PPV that didn’t have an Elimination Chamber or Hell in a Cell match on the card opened up with a world championship match. This was a very good choice as the opener and was a great way to start off the show. Vickie Guerrero comes out before the match to remind us of the stipulation that Edge will lose the match and forfeit the title to Ziggler if he uses the spear. Edge takes it to Ziggler at the start with some punches but Ziggler comes back and takes Edge into the corner with some punches of his own. Edge hits a series of knee drops and a gutbuster before following it up with some more offense and taking Ziggler to the outside, where he slams him into the barricade. Ziggler eventually brings it back into the ring, where he scores a near fall and works over Edge’s neck. Ziggler chokes Edge against the ropes and applies a headlock. Edge fights out and whips Ziggler into the corner but runs into a boot. Edge rolls out of a sunset flip attempt and slingshots Ziggler into the corner. Ziggler gets a near fall after a neckbreaker and works over Edge again. Ziggler hits an elbow drop and puts Edge on the apron, before knocking him off and sending him into the barricade. Ziggler continues to work the neck back in the ring, but Edge fights to his feet. Both guys go for a cross body and are down after a collision.
Ziggler charges in the corner a couple times but Edge drops him face first. Edge starts to make a comeback before Ziggler attempts a Famouser, but Edge counters that with a powerbomb for a near fall. They fight on the top rope, with Edge sending Ziggler to the mat after some head butts. Edge goes for a cross body off the top but Ziggler rolls through for a near fall. Ziggler hits a dropkick, only for Edge to kick out of the cover and lock in a modified Sharpshooter. Ziggler makes it to the ropes and Edge breaks, but Edge gets hung up in the ropes when he charges Ziggler, allowing Ziggler to hit a Famouser. Edge sets up for the spear as Vickie screams, but Ziggler puts Edge in the sleeper hold. Edge counters out and hits the Impaler DDT, but Vickie pulls out the ref. Vickie gets on the apron and slaps Edge, but another distraction leads to Edge rolling up Ziggler for a near fall. Vickie keeps slapping Edge on the apron, but Kelly Kelly comes down to beat up Vickie. Ziggler hits the Zig Zag for a near fall and puts on the sleeper again, but Edge ends up sending him into the ref. With the ref and Vickie down, Edge hits a huge spear before playing dead in the middle of the ring. Once the ref is up, Edge hits a Killswitch for the win. Very strong world title match that made Ziggler look like he was at Edge’s level. There was overbooking, but all of it made sense and it had a feel-good ending. Edge’s best match since the Jericho feud in the first half of 2010. Match Time: 20:45 Star Rating: ***3/4
2. WWE Championship match: The Miz(c) vs. Randy Orton
While not up to par with the opener, this ended up being a solid, if slow-paced, world title match that actually ended up being a bit above expectations. Orton is all over Miz at the start, taking him into the corner and laying into him with punches. He throws him outside, where he throws him into the barricade and hits a clothesline. Orton brings Miz back into the ring, where he slingshots him into the ropes and stomps on him. He continues the beatdown by choking Miz against the ropes and stomping his midsection. Alex Riley cheap shots Orton from the apron while the ref wasn’t looking, allowing Miz to take a brief advantage before Orton clotheslines him out of the corner. Miz avoids a charging Orton in the corner and starts kicking at him. Miz distracts the ref, allowing Riley to get another cheap shot. Miz hits a knee to the gut and a running kick to the face for some near falls. Miz works over Orton for a bit and goes to the outside, where he takes it to Orton while he’s on the apron. Miz wears down Orton with a headlock, but Orton applies a sleeper. Miz fights out but Orton counters a back suplex attempt. Miz hits a big right hand and both guys fight up top, with Orton connecting with a superplex. Orton takes control and goes for the spike DDT, but Miz backdrops him over the ropes to the floor. Riley stomps on Orton on the floor as Miz distracts the ref. Miz rams Orton into the barricade and the apron before bringing him back into the ring. Miz hits some more offense and gets some near falls before applying a long chin lock. Miz eventually throws Orton to the floor, where they fight for a bit before Miz catapults Orton into the ring post.
Orton beats the count and starts pounding away at Miz back in the ring. Miz tries to come back with some shots, but Orton hits a pair of clotheslines and a powerslam. Orton hits a knee drop but Riley is on the apron for another distraction, allowing Miz to hit a neckbreaker. Orton kicks out and goes for the RKO, and Miz counters that and goes for the Skull-Crushing Finale, but Orton counters that with an Angle Slam for a near fall. Miz rolls out, grabs the title, and tries to leave, but Orton clotheslines him on the floor and tosses him into the ring. Miz retakes the advantage after a Riley distraction, hitting a DDT for a near fall. Orton scores a near fall off a roll-up attempt and hits the spike DDT, then pounds the mat as he sets up for the RKO. All of Nexus (minus CM Punk) then comes down the ramp and stares down Orton as the ref stands in front of them, trying to get them to leave. Riley tries to sneak attack Orton from behind in the ring, but Orton had him scouted and throws him outside onto the Nexus members. The ref, who was outside the ring, was never hit but plays dead next to the steps. Orton drops Miz with an RKO, but CM Punk runs into the ring and hits Orton with the Go to Sleep. Miz covers as the ref comes back into the ring to get the win. Another long world title match, but it ended up being good despite the weak pacing. It was a little weird to have back to back matches end with screwy, overbooked finishes, but I liked this angle as it sets up Punk and Orton for Wrestlemania. Not the best WWE title match, but good enough. Match Time: 19:49 Star Rating: ***
LayCool and Natalya then separately make their way out to the ring for the scheduled Handicap match for Natalya’s Divas Championship. But Michael Cole then reads aloud an email from the Raw General Manager, where he announces that the match is being changed to a Fatal 4 Way for the title. Cole said it would be between Natalya, Layla, Michelle, and “the following Diva”, which everyone on the Internet assumed to be the debuting Amazing Kong. Nope. It was Eve….
3. Fatal 4 Way match for the WWE Divas Championship: Natalya(c) vs. Layla vs. Michelle McCool vs. Eve
This was your typical Diva fare with some really bad booking. I’m already annoyed at WWE for trying to mess with the fans by teasing Kong before Eve entered. LayCool works together at the start, double teaming the faces. Natalya comes back and slingshots Layla into Michelle, scoring a near fall. Michelle takes out Natalya and Eve before having a faceoff with Layla in the ring. The faces take out LayCool, but Natalya takes down Eve and tries for a double Sharpshooter on Eve and Michelle before Layla breaks it up. Natalya retakes the advantage and puts Eve and Layla in a double Sharpshooter. Eve gets sent outside and Natalya takes it to Layla, sending her into the corner and hitting a spinning clothesline. Michelle accidentally kicks Layla, and Natalya throws her out of the ring. Eve takes out Natalya and hits a moonsault on Layla and the ref counts 3 while Michelle has Natalya pinned with a roll-up. So Eve is the new champion after that confusing finish where the BABYFACE got the cheap win and the HEEL got screwed over. The match was pretty bad and there was no reason for Eve to win the title. Match Time: 5:12 Star Rating: *1/4
They then did a stupid backstage segment with Gail Kim, Daniel Bryan, and the Bella Twins, where the Bellas apologized, and then dissed Gail and Bryan before inexplicably turning heel and attacking Gail as officials and Bryan separate the girls. I’m not sure what they were going for but this was just dumb.
4. 40-Man Royal Rumble match
Due to the increased number of participants this year, the Rumble started just about midway through the PPV. CM Punk is the #1 entrant this year, but the Corre comes down after his entrance and circles the ring before attacking Punk, with the Nexus coming down to make the save. An e-mail arrives from the Raw GM ordering both groups to stop brawling and to head to the back, stating that Punk is the only one who should be in the ring. The two stables leave and Daniel Bryan comes out as the #2 entrant, sending the Internet Wrestling Community into a frenzy! Bryan and Punk go back and forth, running the ropes before Bryan hits a big dropkick. Punk avoids being eliminated and tosses Bryan onto the apron, but Bryan reenters by climbing up top and hitting a missile dropkick. Punk avoids a corner dropkick as Justin Gabriel comes out as the 3rd entrant. Gabriel lands some quick offense on both men until Bryan eliminates him. Zack Ryder enters at #4 and beats down on Bryan in the corner. Ryder hits a boot to Punk’s face in the corner but eats some uppercuts from Bryan. Bryan eliminates a charging Ryder, then hits some kicks to Punk’s back. William Regal is out next and hits a suplex and a running knee to Punk. Regal and Bryan trade uppercuts, Punk kicks Regal in the head. Ted DiBiase enters 6th and hits dropkicks to Bryan and Regal. Ted takes a kick from Punk but takes him out with a running clothesline. Ted beats Punk down as Bryan lands a series of kicks on Regal. John Morrison enters at #7 and takes down Regal and DiBiase. Morrison hits a second rope kick on Punk and a takes down Bryan as well. Morrison ends up on the apron and avoids being eliminated by DiBiase, but Regal knocks him off the apron. However, Morrison clings to the barricade, never touches floor, leaps onto the barricade, walks across it, jumps onto the ring steps, and reenters the ring. That was awesome.
Yoshi Tatsu is the 8th entrant and hits some offense on DiBiase. #9 is Husky Harris, who starts cleaning house until everyone beats on him in the corner, with Husky’s ass in Punk’s face. That was funny. Husky and Punk start working together as Chavo Guerrero comes in as the 10th entrant. And after being treated like a completely worthless dumbass for so long, Chavo finally got time to shine in WWE. Chavo hits the Three Amigos on DiBiase, Punk, Morrison, and Bryan respectively. Chavo and Husky brawl as Mark Henry enters at #11. Henry catches Chavo in mid air and dumps him over the ropes for an elimination. Henry tosses out Tatsu as well, but gets double teamed by Punk and Husky. JTG enters next and starts hitting some quick offense on everyone before trading blows with Husky. Michael McGillicutty enters at #13, quickly eliminates JTG, and double teams DiBiase with Husky. They eliminate DiBiase as Chris Masters enters the match. Masters hits a spinebuster on McGillicutty and goes for the Masterlock on Punk. David Otunga enters at #15 and Nexus starts cleaning house, eliminating Bryan, Masters, and Morrison. They then beat down Henry and eliminate him as well. It’s now just Nexus in the ring. #16 is Tyler Reks, and he’s quickly beaten down and eliminated. Vladimir Kozlov enters at #17 and suffers the same fate, as does #18 R-Truth. The returning Great Khali enters 19th, cleans house on nexus, and eliminates Husky Harris. Punk begs Khali for mercy as the clock winds down, and Mason Ryan enters at #20. Khali hits a brain chop but Ryan is able to throw him out for an elimination, and it’s again just Nexus. The clock winds down again, and entrant #21 is Booker T, making his WWE return and getting a huge pop! Booker takes some shots from Ryan, but takes him out with a kick and lands the scissors kick on Otunga. Booker hits a Book End on McGillicutty and does the Spinaroonie, but Ryan ends the fun by eliminating Booker.
John Cena then enters at #22 and runs wild, eliminating Ryan and double clotheslining Otunga and McGillicutty to the floor. Punk and Cena then go at it after a stare down, and then Hornswoggle enters at #23. Punk kicks Hornswoggle to the mat and beats on Cena. Punk goes to eliminate Cena, but Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment to Punk over the top rope to eliminate him. You’ve got to be kidding me. Cena is in the ring with Hornswoggle as they await the next entrant, who turns out to be Tyson Kidd. Cena and Hornswoggle each hit the AA to Kidd and Cena eliminates him. Heath Slater enters 25th and also gets beaten up by Cena and Hornswoggle before being eliminated. What kind of moron is booking this crap? Kofi Kingston enters at #26 and faces off with Cena before they trade blows. Jack Swagger comes out next, hitting a Vader Bomb to Cena but taking a diving cross body from Kofi. Kofi then jumps off of Hornswoggle’s back to hit the Boom Drop on Swagger. Sheamus enters 28th and cleans house, hitting the Irish Curse backbreaker on Cena. Sheamus shoves Hornswoggle, but Hornswoggle “tunes up the band” and kicks him in the shin. Sheamus puts Hornswoggle up top and Cena makes the save, but Swagger takes down Cena, allowing Sheamus to eliminate Hornswoggle. Why the hell was Hornswoggle in there for so long? Rey Mysterio is out next, and takes a clothesline from Sheamus. Kofi hits the Trouble in Paradise on Sheamus, and Rey ends up confusing Swagger and eliminates him with a reverse 619. Wade Barrett enters at #30 and cleans house before Dolph Ziggler comes out as #31 in a surprise. The faces all go after Barrett, but Ziggler and Barrett team up against Cena.
In another surprise, Diesel comes out as the 32nd entrant, getting a monster pop similar to the one Booker T received. Diesel starts to land offense on everyone, sending Ziggler into the corner, clotheslining Cena, and hitting the knees on Sheamus in the corner. Drew McIntyre enters at #33 and beats down Diesel in the corner with Sheamus. Rey hits the 619 on Diesel, and Diesel goes at it with Barrett as Alex Riley enters the match. Barrett eliminates Diesel. Big Show comes out at #35 and jaws with Diesel at the top of the entrance way. Big Show starts head butting everyone, chokeslams Barrett, and eliminates Ziggler. Riley is eliminated by Cena and Kofi. Ezekiel Jackson enters 36th and Big Show eliminates McIntyre, only to be eliminated quickly by Jackson. Santino Marella is out next, takes a big boot from Sheamus, and rolls under the bottom rope and out to the floor. Jackson and Barrett try to eliminate Cena as the clock runs down, and Alberto Del Rio enters at #38, even coming out with his car as Ricardo Rodriguez introduces him. Del Rio takes his time and is still walking on the ramp by the time the clock expires again. Randy Orton, in another surprise, comes out at #39 and attacks Del Rio on the outside, throws him in the ring, and hits him with an RKO. Orton also hits an RKO on Sheamus and Kofi before eliminating both men. Orton and Cena then face off, and although WWE tries to play it up like a Rock/Stone Cold stare down, the crowd reaction says otherwise. Kane comes out as the final entrant at #40.
Kane hits a side slam on Orton and pulls down the ropes to eliminate Jackson. Mysterio is able to eliminate Kane, but is eliminated himself by Barrett. Barrett tries to eliminate Cena while Orton works over Del Rio. Orton and Cena trade blows, with each going for their finisher before Barrett breaks it up and suplexes Cena. Cena is able to catch Del Rio with the AA, but Alex Riley comes back down and jumps on the apron. Cena knocks him off, but while the refs are dealing with Del Rio, The Miz sneaks in from behind and throws out Cena. The refs tell Cena he’s eliminated and get him to the back. Del Rio and Barrett team up against Orton, but Orton clotheslines both men and powerslams Barrett. Orton is able to eliminate Barrett, but Del Rio is right behind him and dumps him over the ropes to apparently win the Rumble. However, Santino, who was never eliminated, sneaks back into the ring and hits the cobra on Del Rio. He goes to toss him out, but Del Rio reverses and eliminates Santino to officially win the match. Really stupid, goofy way to end the match. Overall people are going to have mixed feelings on this Rumble, depending on how much the comedy stuff bothered you. The first 20 minutes of the match were awesome, and even the Nexus stuff was good, but then once Punk was eliminated and they did the stuff with Hornswoggle it quickly went downhill. Once Hornswoggle was out, the match recovered with a lot of star power entering near the end, and Booker T and Kevin Nash/Diesel’s appearances definitely gave the match some memorable moments. I really liked Del Rio winning, even if he has barely been in WWE for a few months, because it appears he’s going to challenge for the Smackdown world title at Wrestlemania, and Smackdown’s main event scene is pretty empty right now, so it’s not like he’s leapfrogging a ton of main eventers to get this spot. They did rush this, but Del Rio is over and he has all the tools to be a megastar in the future. He was just born for the business. Overall the Rumble delivered and was very fun despite some really cheesy, unnecessary comedy within the match. Match Time: 1:09:52 Star Rating: ****
Overall PPV Rating: 7.75/10
My name is Jared Silberkleit. I am from Orange, CT and am a huge fan of pro wrestling. I mostly follow WWE and TNA but I also watch the smaller promotions such as ROH and DGUSA. I have been a lifelong WWE fan and have become a TNA fan over the past few years. Aside from wrestling, I also really love baseball and football and follow many other sports such as hockey and MMA. I have written for www.sportsgrumblings.com for over two years.
Tagged with: Against The Ropes, Apron, Barricade, Blemish, Divas, Elbow Drop, Elimination Chamber, Gutbuster, Hell In A Cell, Knee Drops, Last Time, Punches, Royal Rumble, Second Half, Spear, Stipulation, World Heavyweight Championship, World Heavyweight Championship Match, Wrestlemania, Wwe Ppv