Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Royal Rumble 2014
Date: January 26, 2014
Location: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler
Aside from the title match and Rumble itself, we also have Brock Lesnar facing the Big Show. This would be another match on the list of matches that we’ve seen far too often but keep seeing anyway for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. Lesnar has regularly destroyed Big Show in the past and now he gets to do it again. Let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Tag Team Titles: Goldust/Cody Rhodes vs. New Age Outlaws
The Outlaws reunited as a nostalgia act and pinned the champs to earn this shot. Dogg and Cody get things going with Dogg hammering away, only to miss his Shake Rattle and Roll punch. Cody misses the Disaster Kick but sends both Outlaws to the floor. The champs hit dives on the Outlaws as we take a break. Back with Goldust in trouble as Dogg puts on a chinlock.
The Outlaws double team Goldust for a bit until he hits a jumping sunset flip for two on Dogg. Gunn charges into a powerslam and there’s the hot tag to Cody. A missile dropkick drops both Outlaws and Cross Rhodes plants Dogg for two with Billy making the save. Gunn makes a blind tag and hits a Fameasser on Cody for the big upset win.
Rating: C. This was fine for an opener and the fans were into the nostalgia. The Outlaws were only transitional champions anyway as the Usos would get the belts before Wrestlemania. Cody and Goldust had them back before the year was over too so no one was really hurt by this.
The opening video talks about working to achieve your dreams. Sometimes there’s a very thin line between almost getting there and getting everything you want. We also focus on Orton vs. Cena because that’s the real main event here. The Rumble itself gets a quick mention too.
Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt
Daniel joined the Wyatt Family on the last Raw of the year but then rejected them a few weeks later, leading to one of the loudest YES chants you’ll ever hear. Bryan punches out of the corner to start but Bray drives knees into his ribs and blasts him with an elbow. That’s fine with Bryan as he kicks the knee out but has to go after Bray’s followers Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. A suicide dive drops Harper but the referee ejects both monsters.
Bray huddles with his Family on the floor, allowing Daniel to take him down with a plancha. Back in and a high cross body gets two on Wyatt but he chops Daniel off the middle rope and out to the floor. Bray charges at Daniel but drives the bad knee into the steps to put him back down again. Back in and Daniel starts kicking at the leg before snapping off a dragon screw leg whip. A modified curb stomp gets two for Bryan but Bray drives him back into the corner.
They slug it out to the apron with Wyatt snapping Daniel’s shoulder down in a big crash. Back in and Bray hits his release suplex slam and we hit the chinlock. Bray puts Daniel’s head against the post and drives in forearms to follow up on Bryan’s recent concussion. Back in again and a kick to the face gives Bray a few near falls. A big release Rock Bottom plants him again and Bray does his Spider Walk out of the corner. Bryan finally avoids an elbow drop and hits a running clothesline.
Some kicks stagger Bray and a drop toehold sends him into the middle buckle. Daniel kicks away in the corner and nails a top rope hurricanrana for two. Another running clothesline is countered by a running elbow to the chest as Bray takes over again. Bryan low bridges him to the floor and hits a running tornado DDT off the apron. A running dropkick sends Bray into the barricade and a missile dropkick puts Wyatt down in the ring.
The YES Kicks get two but Bray turns him inside out with a clothesline for two. Sister Abigail is countered but Bray bites his way out of the YES Lock. Daniel scores with more kicks and hits a top rope splash but Bray ducks to the floor to avoid the running knee. The Flying Goat is blocked though and Bray hits Sister Abigail into the barricade to knock Bryan silly. Back in and another Sister Abigail is good for the pin.
Rating: A. This was considered a match of the year contender and it’s easy to see why. These two beat the tar out of each other with each move getting harder and harder than the previous. Bryan lost here but came out looking like a star. Bray on the other hand looks like a killer and that’s exactly what he’s supposed to be.
Paul Heyman says Brock Lesnar is going to challenge the winner of Orton vs. Cena for the World Title. However, first he has to make an example out of Big Show.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is here.
The expert panel of Jim Duggan, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair aren’t sure who to pick between Lesnar and Big Show.
Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar
These two have had a feud for years and this time Big Show has been getting the better of it through pure power. Lesnar takes Show down before the bell and pounds on him with fists and then a chair. As Big Show is down, Lawler says Big Show gave Lesnar his first loss at the 2002 Royal Rumble, which would be three months before Lesnar debuted. We get the opening bell with Lesnar getting another chair but Show nails him with the KO Punch. Lesnar is rocked and Show takes him outside for a whip into the barricade. Back in and Big Show loads up another KO but Lesnar ducks and throws him up for the F5 for the easy pin.
Lesnar beats on him with the chair even more after the match. He’s broken two chairs over Show’s back.
Shield says they have 27 enemies tonight and it’ll be the three of them left standing. Only one of them can stand tall at the end but Reigns thinks he has the winning number. He won’t say what it is though. Dean offers to tell him his if Reigns tells his. Dean: “What if I have two numbers? I have ALL the numbers!” They agree to believe in the Shield.
Orton says he’s going to beat Cena and put him to the back of the line. Renee Young asks about Batista, Brock Lesnar and Bray Wyatt wanting title shots but Orton laughs it off and calls Wyatt a deranged hillbilly Duck Dynasty reject.
We recap Orton vs. Cena. This is more about their short term history, focusing on the titles being unified back in December. Orton seems to be cracking under the pressure of being champion and even attacked Cena’s father at Raw recently.
WWE World Title: Randy Orton vs. John Cena
No countout and no DQ with Orton defending.. The fans loudly chant for Daniel Bryan before and after the bell. They hit the mat and the fans are already bored less than twenty seconds in. Cena fights up and gets two off a bulldog but charges into an elbow in the corner. Now a Randy Savage chant starts up and Orton stops for a second before kicking Cena even more.
Off to a chinlock as the fans chant for Y2J. After fighting out, Cena catches on and tries a Boston crab. Orton kicks him to the floor during a brief Undertaker chant and now it’s just the standard boring chant. A clothesline puts Orton back outside but he sends Cena into the steps. Back in and a DDT gets two for Orton as the fans just say both guys suck. Cena comes back with shoulder blocks and the ProtoBomb, only to take too long jawing and walk into a powerslam for two.
A half nelson slam into a neckbreaker gets two for Cena but he gets caught on top. He headbutts his way out though and hits the top rope Fameasser for two. Orton counters the AA attempt into his backbreaker for two as the fans have calmed down a bit. The Elevated DDT off the apron to the floor gets two more on John. Orton’s RKO is countered into the STF but Randy is too close to the ropes. He grabs the ropes to block an AA as well but the refereee gets bumped.
There’s the STF again and Orton taps but there’s no referee. Orton uses the opportunity to nail Cena with a title belt for two. He stands around too long again though and takes an AA for two more. The RKO gets the same and now the fans want Divas. Orton misses the Punt but pulls Cena down into an STF. John counters that into a Crossface but Orton rolls into a cover for two.
Back up and Orton hits Cena with an AA, followed by Cena grabbing an RKO for another near fall. With nothing left to do, Cena loads up a middle rope AA but has to settle for a tornado DDT. The STF goes on in the middle of the ring….we’ve got Wyatts. The lights go out and come back on to reveal all three on the apron. Cena goes after them but walks into an RKO to keep the title on Orton.
Rating: B. This matchup has suffered from brand damage. We’ve seen it so many times over the years that even if the match is good, like it was here, people just do not want to see it. The guys got the crowd to calm down a bit about halfway through the match, but there’s just nothing left to see from these two. They’re both hard workers and try every time they’re out there but the interest is just gone.
The fans chant for Bryan as the Wyatts destroy Cena even more.
Tribute video to the recently passed away Mae Young.
The New Age Outlaws celebrate but tell Renee that she isn’t invited to the party.
We get some classic Rumble promos.
Miz will win because he’ll do whatever it takes to headline Wrestlemania again.
The Usos are cool with having to fight each other.
Intercontinental Champion Big E. says headlining Wrestlemania is where it’s at.
Fandango thinks he’s the only one worthy to headline the big dance.
Batista just says exactly.
Damien Sandow says it’s insane to try the same thing and expect different results. He won’t make the same mistake again.
Ryback says there are 29 superstars and one Human Wrecking Ball.
Mysterio will shock the world again.
The expert panel makes their picks. Duggan likes Ziggler, Shawn goes with Shield or Punk and Flair takes Batista.
90 second intervals with Punk at #1 (as ordered by Kane) and Seth Rollins at #2. Punk takes him into the corner to start for some shoulders to the ribs. Some kicks stagger Rollins but he comes back with a big kick of his own. A clothesline drops Rollins again but he pops back up with an enziguri. Both guys are down as Damien Sandow is in at #3. The fans loudly chant for Punk as he DDTs Sandow and drops Rollins with a neckbreaker at the same time.
The heels stomp Punk down until Cody Rhodes is in at #4. Cross Rhodes plants Sandow but Rollins stops an elimination attempt. Punk dumps Damien a few seconds later though and it’s time for Rollins to get double teamed. Kane comes in at #5 and cleans Punk’s clock. He loads up the chokeslam but Punk kicks him in the head for a surprise elimination. The debuting Alexander Rusev is in at #6.
Rusev kicks Rollins and Rhodes in the face but can’t eliminate either guy. Instead he just beats everyone up until Jack Swagger is in at #7. It’s Swagger vs. Rusev now but everyone opts to gang up on Rusev instead. Cody and Swagger break off and Kofi Kingston is in at #8. Everyone fights by the ropes until Jimmy Uso is in at #9. The announcers are noticing how fast the clock is going by.
Jimmy goes after Kofi in the corner as Rusev works on Swagger. Punk puts Rusev in a sleeper and Goldust is in at #10, giving us a group of Punk, Rollins, Goldust, Cody, Jimmy, Swagger, Kingston and Rusev. Goldust hammers away until Rusev nails him in the jaw. A group of people gang up on Rusev and dump him out, which isn’t quite a great debut for him. Kofi gets thrown out as well but Rusev catches him in mid air. He drops Kofi on the barricade and it’s time for the great return. Kingston stands up, uses the barricade as a balance beam and jumps back to the apron in a pretty cool save.
US Champion Dean Ambrose is in at #11 and goes right after Punk. Things slow down again and Dolph Ziggler is in at #12. The fans are entirely behind Dolph as the ring is getting too full. Punk has to hang onto the apron as R-Truth comes in at #13, only to be dumped in about thirty seconds by Ambrose. Rollins knocks out Jimmy and Kofi steals Swagger’s boot while literally hanging on by his feet. Jack comes over to him but gets nailed by the boot as Kofi gets back in.
Kevin Nash makes a required return at #14. He eliminates Swagger with ease and goes after Ambrose and Rollins. Punk has Ziggler dangling but Dolph gets his feet back in. Roman Reigns completes the Shield at #15, giving us Punk, Rollins, Rhodes, Kingston, Goldust, Ambrose, Ziggler, Nash and Reigns. Roman cleans house with punches and spears before launching Kofi out.
Ziggler puts Roman down with a DDT but eats a spear to cut him in half. Reigns throws Ziggler out with ease and the fans suddenly hate him. Nash gets the same treatment as Reigns now has three eliminations in less than two minutes. Great Khali is in at #16 and goes after the Shield but gets tossed by Reigns. Goldust eliminates Cody to make up for the last two years but Reigns gets rid of Goldust a second later. That leaves the Shield alone with Punk but Sheamus returns after being out six months with an injury at #17.
Sheamus cleans house and gives Dean the ten forearms followed by an Irish Curse to Rollins. Reigns eats a Brogue Kick as Miz is in at #18. Punk is just laying in the corner and making almost no effort to get back up. Miz hammers away on Reigns in the corner and Fandango is in at #19. The entire crowd starts doing his dance but Miz sends him to the apron in just a few seconds. Fandango gets back in though as Shield slowly takes over again. Reigns motions to Punk in the corner but doesn’t go after him. Punk hasn’t moved from there in at least five minutes now.
El Torito is in at #20, giving us Punk, Rollins, Ambrose, Reigns, Sheamus, Miz, Fandango and Torito. Of course the bull cleans house until Punk stands up. Punk grabs him by the head but takes a headscissors, only to have Fandango run Torito over. The referee checks on Punk as Torito dropkicks Fandango out. Reigns catches Torito with ease and dumps him out for his sixth elimination. Punk gets back up as Cesaro is in at #21. He immediately starts swinging Miz but Shield breaks up a Swing attempt on Punk. Instead Rollins gets swung a ridiculous THIRTY TIMES. Luke Harper is in at #22 as Reigns spears Cesaro down.
Rollins and Cesaro slug it out until Jey Uso is in at #23. The brawling slows down a bit now and JBL is in at #24. Cole: “The JBL character has never entered the Royal Rumble.” Good grief. JBL wears his full suit into the ring but asks Cole to go get his jacket, allowing Reigns to dump him out. Fans: “YOU STILL GOT IT!” Erick Rowan is in at #25 as JBL tries to talk about ANYTHING but being in the Rumble. Rowan kicks Miz out to clear things up a bit but everything slows back down again.
Harper tosses Jey Uso but the Wyatts turn around to see the Shield. Ryback is in at #26 and goes right for Cesaro as the fans chant Goldberg. Alberto Del Rio gets lucky #27 and things slow down yet again. Batista is in at #28 and the fans just rip him apart. He quickly dumps Rowan and has a staredown with Ryback before dumping him as well. Del Rio, the man who has been going after Batista since he returned, superkicks him down but gets lifted into the air and dumped with ease.
Intercontinental Champion Big E. is in at #29 to almost no reaction but the fans like him for suplexing Batista. The fans are chanting for Bryan and get even louder as the countdown clock comes on. The clock runs out….and it’s Rey Mysterio. To say the fans aren’t pleased with this is the understatement of the year. We’re going to pause for a second here and look at this.
First of all, Rey Mysterio is a fine choice for #30 in the Royal Rumble. He’s a multiple time World Champion, he’s held nearly every title in WWE history, he’s going to be in the Hall of Fame one day, he’s the most successful cruiserweight of all time, he’s won the Royal Rumble before and he’s one of the most popular wrestlers ever. However, he’s not the right choice for this spot.
There are two schools of thought here. The first and more prominent is that WWE just did not understand the fans and thought they would accept Batista as the big star making his return and embrace him with open arms. Then they heard the reaction and changed course to make Wrestlemania all about Daniel Bryan. The other school of thought is Bryan not being in the Rumble was planned from the beginning, they knew where they were going at Wrestlemania the entire time and the stories about Orton vs. Batista headlining the show were false rumors. I’m in the middle on that but I lean more towards the second.
Now Bryan didn’t have to win the Rumble here. You could have had a bunch of different ways to get rid of him, even down to having Kane run out and eliminate him if need be. However, he should have been in the main event. It makes sense that he at least has a chance to be in there, even if it’ sjust to get screwed over again.
Anyway, we have a final grouping of Punk, Rollins, Ambrose, Reigns, Sheamus, Cesaro, Harper, Batista, Langston and Mysterio. Rey hurricanranas Punk to the apron as the fans are booing the heck out of the match. Sheamus clotheslines Langston out to end his worthless Rumble. Cesaro hammers on everyone in sight and Rey hits the 619 on Rollins just to make everyone even madder. Rollins enziguris Rey out for a nice pop and we’re down to eight.
Dean and Seth put Harper on the apron but Reigns Superman Punches him out to give him eight eliminations. Ambrose tries to put out his Shield mates but Cesaro jumps he and Rollins. That’s fine with Reigns who dumps Cesaro, Rollins and Ambrose all at once to tie Kane’s record for eliminations in a single Rumble.
We’re down to four now and everyone hits a finisher. Reigns takes the GTS but Kane sneaks in to eliminate Punk. That would be Punk’s last WWE match to date. Kane goes off on Punk outside and chokeslams him through the announcers’ table. We’re down to Sheamus, Batista and Reigns but all three are down. Another Daniel Bryan chant starts up as Batista takes over, turning it into a NO chant.
Sheamus cleans house and points at the sign before loading up a Brogue Kick. He misses Batista though and gets backdropped to the apron. Reigns elbows Sheamus out to set a new Rumble record for eliminations with twelve. That leaves Reigns vs. Batista and all of a sudden everyone is a Reigns fan. Reigns wins a slugout and clotheslines Batista down as the people chant for Roman. Batista comes back with his own horrible spear, only to have Reigns show him how it’s done….and then get thrown out a few seconds later to send Batista to Wrestlemania.
Rating: D. This just wasn’t a very good Rumble though its moments. Batista came in at the wrong time and it killed any kind of comeback he could have had. The fans did not want to see what the company was offering them at this point and they let them know about it. In their defense though, this Rumble was kind of awful. The comedy and returns felt forced, Rusev’s debut went nowhere and they might as well have given it to Batista and put on an hour of Mighty Mouse cartoons to save everyone’s time. It’s not a good match but the crowd reaction is certainly interesting.
Batista is booed out of the building as we see a highlight package to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. The Rumble really hurts this show as it drags down two good matches and an entertaining Lesnar squash. The problem is that’s the lasting memory of this show: the fans booing the heck out of Batista as WWE seemed to think he was exactly what WWE wanted. The show isn’t horrible but it leaves a really bad taste in your mouth.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. We are proud to offer our popular Wrestling Rumors app and encourage you to download it for an optimized user experience. It is available for Android and also on iOS. Thank you for reading!