TJR Review: WWE Royal Rumble 2011
The 24th Royal Rumble is one that I wrote live in 2011. It's historic because it's the only Rumble match that had 40 entrants. When you consider that the Rumble in 2012 and the one coming up this year are having 30 entrants that should tell you how well it went.
I wasn't a fan of the 40 entrants idea because that just meant 10 more people in the match that had no chance of winning. When you do these matches with 30 people and you know only about five of them have a chance of winning you're not enhancing the match by adding ten names. If anything it hurt it a bit. That was my feeling going into it. Once again I wrote it live so it seems different at points that's probably why. Let's get to it.
WWE Royal Rumble
January 30, 2011
The announcers are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker.
The #1 spot belongs to CM Punk. We don't know who #2 is because all The Corre guys come out. They jump Punk and all the Nexus guys come out as well. They start brawling. It's a battle of the factions. The Raw GM has buzzed in. The GM types faster than me. The GM orders them to break it up and go back to the locker room. Let's start again.
The #1 guy is CM Punk as we know and #2 is Daniel Bryan. I would be fine if both of these guys lasted near the end. Two of the best workers in the company. Bryan hits a nice dropkick here as I worry about my site crashing due to traffic. It seems to be functional. The #3 spot is Justin Gabriel. Bryan hits a back suplex on Gabriel to eliminate him leaving us with the first two guys again. It's Zack Ryder at #4, who is a huge threat to win. Cole points out his #1 contender status. Hilarious that they always mention that. Bryan eliminates Ryder with a hiptoss. By the way, I'm informed via twitter that they went 73 seconds to get Gabriel in there. It's not at 90 seconds like WWE might tell you. The #5 entrant is William Regal as Striker calls him the best superstar to have never held a WWE or World Title. I don't agree although he's still very talented. I'd put Curt Hennig, Owen Hart and British Bulldog ahead of him. RIP to all of them. He hits suplexes on Bryan and Punk. Very physical knee to the head of Punk. Bryan comes back, putting both guys down as we await the next guy.
Ted Dibiase is in at #6 as I ask that they do more close-ups of Maryse. That doesn't happen, much to my dismay. It's John Morrison at #7. He gets thrown out, but he is able to stay in the match. Regal gets thrown out. Morrison's feet don't touch the floor as he gets pushed out. He hangs onto the barricade with his feet at the bottom of the barricade. He climbs the barricade, then jumps onto the steps. That was freaky. I'm still marveling at Morrison's spot. I don't think I can do it justice with a written description. One of those things you have to see. The #8 guy is Yoshi Tatsu. Not a whole lot happens. Here's Husky Harris at #9 as he stands in front of CM Punk to block him from a beating. Striker mentions he's the youngest guy in the match at 23 years old. The #10 man is Chavo Guerrero as we are a quarter of the way through in this 40 person Rumble. Cole doesn't like Chavo's chances. Not exactly a stretch to say that. Chavo hits the Three Amigos suplex, but Punk breaks it up and then Chavo hits the suplexes on Punk. Then he hits them on Morrison. Now Daniel Bryan's turn. He has hit two suplexes on 4 guys and then he hits the third on Bryan. He does the Eddie Guerrero shuffle to a good pop. Chavo hits a missile dropkick on Husky.
In at #11 is Mark Henry as Striker wonders how you can eliminate Mark Henry. I don't know Striker, but he's never done well in a Rumble. So I think they know how. They say it EVERY YEAR because he's a THREAT TO WIN. Mark dumps Chavo out rather quickly. Mark hits a clothesline on Tatsu. That's two eliminations for Mark. #12 is JTG as the ring is getting full with jobbers. I'm sorry if I miss some eliminations and small things like that. It's #13 Michael McGillicutty, who dropkicks JTG out. What a shock that JTG didn't last longer. The crowd is pretty quiet at this point. It's Chris Masters at #14. I have no idea what the time is between entrants, but there's no way it's at 90 seconds. Nobody gets eliminated during this period as we have 7 guys in the ring. More Nexus time as David Otunga is #15, giving us 4 Nexus guys in the match. Punk eliminates Bryan after 20 minutes of action. That sucked. I wanted Bryan to last longer. They eliminate Dibiase. I think it was him. They get rid of Morrison too. Now it's four Nexus guys plus Mark Henry. They dump him out. Four Nexus guys in the ring as #16 comes down.
The #16 spot is Tyler Reks. They throw him out in about 30 seconds. Cole points out that they are going to bulldoze their way through the match by working together to throw everybody out as soon as they get in the ring. It's one half of the tag champs Vladimir Kozlov at #17. They pound him down. Punk waves bye bye to Kozlov and easily throws him out after about a minute. Cole points out it might be the greatest strategy in Rumble history while Striker wonders who can stop this. What's Up for #18 R-Truth. They attack him like a swarm of bees, says Lawler. I would come out Undertaker style by taking a minute to get out there. They dump out Truth after about one minute as well. Here's the returning Great Khali at #19. It's his return from being on a Big Brother like TV show in India. He's a threat to win of course. He chops all of the Nexus guys down. Khali eliminates Harris. Punk escapes his grasp. That was good booking because it neutralized the group mentality that was dominating. Now we're onto the next guy. It's another Nexus guy at #20, newcomer Mason Ryan. Khali misses a clothesline and Ryan eliminates him. That's an impressive debut. Smartly booked first half of the Rumble because it really elevates this Nexus group.
It's a big pop for Booker T as the surprise entrant at #21 as Striker says he's marking out bro. That was a great moment for one of my fave wrestlers ever. He hits a sidekick on Ryan as Cole calls it vintage Booker. He gets a Scissors Kick and a Bookend. Spinarooni by Booker. Mason Ryan dumps out Booker. I wish he could have lasted longer. A massive pop for #22 John Cena, who was my pick to win. Cena eliminates Mason Ryan fairly easily and then he clotheslines McGillicutty and Otunga at the same time to get rid of them. The crowd is going nuts as Cena faces off with Punk one on one. The #23 man is Hornswoggle. He's a big threat to win! He's the shortest entrant in Rumble history, of course. Punk boots him down. I marked out for that, bro. Cena eliminates CM Punk rather easily with the Attitude Adjustment. That sucks. Now the Nexus group is out, but The Corre group will be in there for the second half of it. Cena spends some quality time with Hornswoggle as they await #24. My boy Tyson Kidd is #25 and he has to sell for Hornswoggle, which is a damn shame. Hornswoggle hits the Attitude Adjustment on Kidd thanks to Cena putting him on his shoulders. Cena throws Kidd out. I'm sad that Punk didn't last longer.
It's the Wendy lookalike Heath Slater at #26. I think The Corre's music is terrible, by the way. Cena and Hornswoggle do the double Five Knuckle Shuffle. That made me want to puke. Hornswoggle hits the Tadpole Splash on Slater. And Cena throws Slater out. There goes my idea that The Corre would get a good push late in the match. We get another babyface with Kofi Kingston at #27 as he takes his time getting in the ring. They each look up at the WrestleMania sign. They barely wrestle at all. There's Jack Swagger at #28. He puts down both guys, hitting his corner splash off the ropes. He says he's going to WrestleMania. Swoggle hits Swagger low (where else can he hit him?) so Kingston hits a crossbody. Kofi hits a Boom Drop legdrop on Swagger while using Hornswoggle as a step ladder. Sheamus is in the #29 spot. He puts down Cena with a backbreaker. Hornswoggle goes HBK on Sheamus as he warms up the band. He kicks Sheamus in the shin. Cena saves an attack on Hornswoggle, who is still in the match. Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick to eliminate Hornswoggle. He was sitting on the top. That's my fave elimination so far. Rey Mysterio is #30, which used to be the last spot. Not this year. There are five guys in the ring at the moment, by the way. He hits his high flying spots on everybody, but Sheamus slows him down with a clothesline. I'm told most entrances are about 90 seconds now while the time check is at 10:18 meaning we got another 30 minutes or so to go. Kingston hits Trouble in Paradise on Sheamus. Rey eliminates Swagger with a 619 after Swagger holds on.
The #31 spot, first time ever, is Wade Barrett. We have five guys in the ring right now: Cena, Sheamus, Kingston, Mysterio and Barrett. There's no elimination. Here's Dolph Ziggler at #32 even though he lost the World Title match earlier in the show. They mention the power of his girlfriend Vickie Guerrero to get him in the Rumble match. Ziggler and Barrett try to eliminate Cena, but Rey saves him. It's Kevin Nash coming out as Diesel in the #33 spot. That was a spoiler from the weekend. His hair was black unlike the usual gray as the guys in the ring all turn around in shock. I knew he'd be there, but didn't think they'd go the Diesel route since he worked as Kevin Nash in WWE for a few years in the mid 2000s. He got a really good pop coming out. The crowd knows their history. He hits some power moves on everybody, but no eliminations. There's Drew McIntyre at #34. I had to run to the bathroom quick. I missed Diesel getting eliminated, so he didn't last too long. The Miz is out there as Alex Riley is in the ring too. Show throws out The Miz. Sorry for missing a bit there.
The #36 man is Ezekiel Jackson, who doesn't come out to The Corre's music. Show eliminates McIntyre. Zeke throws out Big Show. They are supposed to have a feud. The six guys in the ring are Cena, Sheamus, Barrett, Jackson, Kingston and Mysterio. There are 4 people left in the match. Santino is #37. He lasts longer than 2009 already! He goes after Jackson, which is a bad idea. Sheamus boots down Santino, who slides under the bottom rope. Cole mentions that Cena's been in the ring for 25 minutes at this point. Jackson nearly gets rid of Cena, but he hangs on. The #38 man is a big favorite Alberto Del Rio. He gets the introduction from Ricardo Rodriguez as they don't even show the happenings in the ring. That's always fantastic. Striker mentions that Riley got eliminated although we never saw it or who did it. Del Rio takes time to get out there. Miz hangs around on commentary. I assume that means Cena is winning to set that feud up immediately following this match. The #39 entrant is Randy Orton. That means both title match losers are in the Rumble. RKO on Del Rio. RKO on Sheamus. RKO on Kingston. Cole references six RKOs in 2009 when Orton won. He throws out Kingston and clotheslines Sheamus out. We have the Orton-Cena showdown. The announcers always try to sell this as if they never wrestled each other before. Cena points at the WM sign again. He sure loves doing that. No Triple H at #40. It's Kane at #40.
We've got the hoss showdown with Jackson and Kane. Jackson charges at Kane, who ducks. There goes Jackson. The six guys left are Kane, Barrett, Del Rio, Mysterio, Orton and Cena. I still pick Cena to win like I said the whole time. Kane goes for a chokeslam, but Rey eliminates him with a headscissors. Barrett knees Mysterio in the back to eliminate him.
Final four: Cena, Barrett, Orton and Del Rio (and Santino, who I originally forgot about in the live writeup). Two babyfaces from Raw, two heels from Smackdown. We are at the 65 minute mark. We have some near eliminations, but Cena fights Barrett off with a Gutwrench suplex. Cole keeps talking about the dream of headlining WrestleMania. It's like Orton and Cena haven't been there many times before, huh? Cena can't get AA on Orton. Now the heels take control of the faces in respective corners. Cena comes back with the AA on Del Rio. Here comes Riley to distract Cena. Miz runs in the ring to throw Cena out. There's the typical elimination where they protect the top guy. The story is that Miz didn't want to face Cena at Mania. Of course that ended up happening anyway. Orton throws out Barrett. Del Rio throws out Orton! I marked out! Del Rio wins…we think. The music plays. Wait a second. Santino comes back in. He never got eliminated. Santino hits The Cobra on Del Rio. Cole is going nuts calling it a huge upset. He goes to throw out Del Rio, but Santino gets thrown out. It's official. Del Rio wins.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
The match ended at 69:11.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
- It was a solid Rumble using the typical formula they always do. The first half was dominated by CM Punk and the Nexus group. The middle part was a showcase for Cena. The end put over Del Rio huge by giving him the win from the #38 spot.
- I wish somebody lasted over an hour or that somebody eliminated a record number of guys. If you're going to do the "biggest Rumble ever" you need to make it historic in some way. There wasn't anything special about this match other than there were 40 people in it.
- The story of CM Punk and the Nexus dominating the first half of the match was awesome. Once they got eliminated the match lost a lot of the momentum it had and started to get a little boring.
- The tease of Santino ending was pretty fun for a second, but then when you realize it's Santino you know it's not going to really happy. I'll give them points for being creative, at least.
- The match was too damn long at 69 minutes. I remember watching it the first time and being bored by it because it just kept going and going. I'm glad they don't do a 40 person Rumble again.
FACTS & OPINIONS
Person that lasted the longest: CM Punk at 35:22.
Most Eliminations: CM Punk & John Cena with 7.
Best Performers (3): CM Punk - Lasted the longest and threw out the most guys. Carried the first half of the match.
John Cena - One of his better performances in a Royal Rumble match.
Alberto Del Rio - Wasn't a clear number three star, so I'll give it to the match winner.
Best Elimination: Sheamus kicking Hornswoggle while he was on the top rope. That made me happy.
Match Rating: ***
Ranking the Rumble matches in terms of star ratings:
Here's a link to previous Rumble recaps:
1988 Royal Rumble won by Hacksaw Jim Duggan
1989 Royal Rumble won by Big John Studd
1990 Royal Rumble won by Hulk Hogan
1991 Royal Rumble won by Hulk Hogan
1992 Royal Rumble won by Ric Flair
1993 Royal Rumble won by Yokozuna
1994 Royal Rumble won by Bret Hart & Lex Luger
1995 Royal Rumble won by Shawn Michaels
1996 Royal Rumble won by Shawn Michaels
1997 Royal Rumble won by Steve Austin
1998 Royal Rumble won by Steve Austin
1999 Royal Rumble won by Vince McMahon
2000 Royal Rumble won by The Rock
2001 Royal Rumble won by Steve Austin
2002 Royal Rumble won by Triple H
2003 Royal Rumble won by Brock Lesnar
2004 Royal Rumble won by Chris Benoit
2005 Royal Rumble won by Batista
2006 Royal Rumble won by Rey Mysterio
2007 Royal Rumble won by Undertaker
2008 Royal Rumble won by John Cena
2009 Royal Rumble won by Randy Orton
2010 Royal Rumble won by Edge
One more "retro" Rumble post. That's 2012. I only saw it once when I wrote about it live and didn't re-watch it. I will again when post it next time.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org