Hello, and welcome to the last edition of AOB’s WWE Week in Review before the Royal Rumble! The event takes place tonight (27th January), live from the US Airways Centre in Phoenix, Arizona. Before we get to witness the excitement that goes into the Rumble, it’s time to talk about everything that’s happened in the WWE this week, leading up to the event. Let’s get to the week’s highlights!
After defeating Zack Ryder with the WMD on Raw, Big Show decided to take to the mic, and attempt to play mind games with Alberto Del Rio. He began counting, referring to the Last Man Standing match between them that will take place at the Royal Rumble, and halfway through the count, Show felt the crowd was being too disrespectful, so he decided to leave. The World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio was in action later that night when he defeated Tensai with an Enziguiri. He then cut a promo on Big Show, before counting to 10 in Spanish.
At the beginning of SmackDown, Big Show interrupted Kane and Daniel Bryan, who were talking about the Royal Rumble. Show said that he had a 100% chance of winning back the World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble and that he’d squash Del Rio like a bug. He said that he’d squash Team Hell No if they got in his way. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes came out, and suggested forming an alliance to take care of Bryan and Kane. Alberto Del Rio came out to even the odds, and Booker T made a 6-Man Elimination Tag-Team Match for the main-event. Team Hell No and Del Rio cleared the ring.
When the main event came around, the eliminations came in the order of Damien Sandow, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Big Show and then Cody Rhodes to leave Alberto Del Rio as the last man standing (coincidentally). After the match, Del Rio was attacked by Big Show, who sent him flying out of the ring before hitting him with a WMD. Big Show tipped the table over on Del Rio and counted to 10, similar to the way that Alberto won the championship 2 weeks ago. He counted again in Spanish, to end the last WWE broadcast before the Royal Rumble.
The final build-up to this match was satisfactory, as although I think the result is predictable, I’m still intrigued to see how it plays out. The ‘Last Man Standing’ aspect will certainly add a hint of excitement, as we’re bound to get a much better match than the one we saw on SmackDown 2 weeks ago, just because everything’s supposed to be bigger and better on PPV. Big Show knocking out Alberto Del Rio at the end of SmackDown was a very good idea, as I’m sure a lot of people are doubting whether Show will have a chance in this match or not (and rightfully so). The fact that Show got the upper hand on the way to the Rumble shows that he’s still a threat and that anything could happen when you face him in a Last Man Standing match.
Ziggler Beats the Clock
This week’s Raw saw a series of 3 ‘Beat the Clock’ matches, where the winner would supposedly get to choose their own number in the Royal Rumble match. The first bout saw Randy Orton take on the United States Champion, Antonio Cesaro. In what was a very good match, Cesaro’s desire to beat the clock ended up being his downfall and he succumbed to ‘The Viper’, who delivered an RKO to set the time at 11:36.
The next match was between The Miz and Dolph Ziggler, who was accompanied by AJ Lee and Big E Langston at ringside. This was a very entertaining, fast-paced match, which saw a lot of impressive counters, pin-attempts and changes in momentum. In the bout, The Miz attempted to lock in the Figure Four Leg Lock, but for some reason, he screwed it up, however Ziggler still sold it very well. The match ended with Dolph hitting the ZigZag after a distraction from Langston, to set the new time of 10:56.
The final match of the challenge saw Sheamus take on the Intercontinental Champion, Wade Barrett. In yet another entertaining match, we saw Sheamus and Barrett hit a lot of their finishers and signature moves, resulting in a lot of false finishes. In order to maintain his time, Dolph Ziggler came to the ring with AJ and Langston to stop either participant from winning. AJ got in to the ring to block the Brogue Kick, which led to Sheamus and Barrett’s match ending in a draw when the clock ran out.
With Ziggler winning the ‘Beat the Clock’ Challenge, he, AJ and Big E went to see Vickie Guerrero backstage. He said that he was choosing the Number 30 spot in the Rumble, but Vickie pulled out a swerve, saying he would only be able to pick number 1 or 2.
Some of the guys who weren’t successful in the challenge competed again on SmackDown. Sheamus defeated Wade Barrett in a rematch from Raw, and Randy Orton got the victory over Drew McIntyre by DQ when Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater interfered. The Miz defeated Darren Young in a match with Antonio Cesaro on commentary, and it was announced that Miz would take on Cesaro for the United States Championship on the Royal Rumble pre-show.
The ‘Beat the Clock’ Challenge was a nice surprise, and resulted in some excellent match-ups. Dolph Ziggler winning, and ending up being 1 of the first 2 participants in the Rumble was a nice swerve, because I think we’re really going to see his talent if he can last a long time in the match. I have no doubt that Ziggler could be the most impressive participant, and if he loses, he could still win the award for longest time lasted, which is no small feat. Antonio Cesaro taking on Miz will be great, considering we’ve gotten a decent amount of build-up to it over the last few weeks. Overall, I think the ‘Beat the Clock’ aspect was an astounding success.
This past Monday was Graduation Day for Kane and Daniel Bryan, who attended a big ceremony in the ring, where they received certificates for their successful completion of Anger Management Therapy. Dr. Shelby was back (and in the ring for the first time), and he was happy to announce that Team Hell No were the first students to graduate his class. Shelby talked about how far they’ve come, before giving them their diplomas and doing the tassel-change on their graduation caps. Since Shelby doesn’t give grades, he decided to let Bryan and Kane choose who would be valedictorian, and talk about their feelings. After arguing about it, they all agreed that they should have a group hug instead! Isn’t that nice? Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler had to hug, Dr Sampson and Justin Roberts had to hug, as well as several members of the WWE Universe in attendance, before Bryan, Kane and Dr Shelby hugged it out to end the segment.
Team Hell No came out to open SmackDown this week and wanted to address the rumours of them “going soft”. They said that the rumours couldn’t be further from the truth, and Kane said that when they defeat Rhodes Scholars, he’s going to win the Royal Rumble match. Bryan disagreed with him and said that he was going to win, and they argued back and forth for a bit. Big Show interrupted, saying that nobody cares about their plans. They argued some more before Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes came out, and said that Bryan and Kane were putting the cart before the horse. To put it simply, Cody said that Rhodes Scholars would leave the Royal Rumble with the Tag Team Championships. They suggested an alliance with Big Show, but Alberto Del Rio came out, which led to the 6-Man Elimination Tag-Team main-event I mentioned earlier.
In spite of both being eliminated, Daniel Bryan and Kane officially “won” the tag-team match, giving them the upper hand on the way to their championship defence against Rhodes Scholars at the Rumble.
With Team Hell No finally graduating from Anger Management Therapy, it might not be long until we see this hilarious duo break up. The ceremony on Raw felt a lot like closure to me, and I can’t shake the feeling that if they lose the WWE Tag Team Championships, it won’t be long until they go their separate ways. Regardless, I think the Graduation was pretty funny, and Team Hell No never fail to put a smile on my face. Happy Graduation, guys!
Black Ops, Black Outs and Blow-Up Dolls?
This week’s Raw ended with John Cena addressing the WWE Universe, in a segment that was hyped throughout the entire episode. Cena hit the ring, and began to talk about Sundays, and why it’s the best day of the week. I’ve always enjoyed Saturdays, but whatever you’re into. He talked about the kid in the front row spending his Sundays playing video games and beating Cena on Black Ops.
Apparently, his username is candypants84 or something… Then he turned his attention to a woman in the front row, saying that she spends her Sundays recovering from the night before, trying to remember what happened. Lastly, he talked about some guy, also in the front row, who apparently spends his Sundays waking up with tattoos of Judge Joe Brown, next to a bunch of blow-up dolls! He changed the subject to the Royal Rumble match and said that he’s going to win, so that he’ll end up in the main-event at WrestleMania 29. He was interrupted by some others, like Sheamus, Prime Time Players, Randy Orton, The Miz, Team Hell No, Antonio Cesaro and 3MB, who all thought they were going to win the Royal Rumble. Eventually the ring was filled with most of the locker room, half of whom won’t even be in the match tonight. The show ended with a huge brawl in the ring.
It was certainly one of John Cena’s strangest promos, and that’s saying something. It may not be as weird as the Star Wars one, but it was pretty bad. Anyway, it didn’t do that much for me, until the Rumble participants started to come out and engage in a huge brawl in the ring. Overall, the segment got me excited for the Royal Rumble match, but Cena on his own was just stupid. Talk about your desire to win the match, and your passion for competing at WrestleMania, not for Sundays… Sundays suck. The only time when Sundays don’t suck is when there’s a PPV on. Yeah, that’s pretty sad, but who cares? And that Candy Pants crap? Spare me. He did that before, too. Come on, John, you’re handed main-event after main-event, so you’d think you’d try to come up with some good material to sell the PPV! Some people…
CM Punk and The Rock
This week’s Raw was opened by Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman, who came to the ring to address The Rock’s concert from last week. They talked about the things Rock said about them, showing videos of The Rock singing about Heyman’s penis and Vickie’s appearance. Guerrero said that due to his actions, if he tried to get into the arena, he’d be arrested by the San Jose Police Department. We cut to the parking lot or something, where Rock was talking to some police officers. After insulting CM Punk, Paul Heyman and Vickie Guerrero, he vowed to get into the arena at some stage during the show. Back to the ring, Guerrero screamed “If you smell… what the Vick is cooking”.
Later on, we saw Paul Heyman talking on the phone in the back when Brad Maddox approached him, with a cameraman in tow, to have Heyman appear on his web show. He suggested that he could help Heyman, who surprisingly said that he was wrong about Maddox. Paul offered him a job, and Brad accepted. Back in the parking lot, The Rock was still trying to convince the cops to let him in. Guerrero came in, and they told her that they can’t arrest him until he tries to enter the building by force. Vickie made things easy, saying that Rock could enter the arena if he said sorry, but he called her a ‘beeyotch’ instead.
CM Punk came to the ring carrying the WWE Championship, and said “what I hold here, I hold more dear to my heart than most men hold their families”. He went on to say that his championship reign is far from over, that Rock chooses to be the People’s Champion because he can’t win an actual title, and that he will remain the WWE Champion after the Royal Rumble because he is the Best in the World.
Later on, Paul Heyman came to the ring after telling CM Punk to sit in his own personal sky-box to watch him speak. Heyman said that he was going to be Punk’s interpreter, because it seems that the people are too dumb to understand half of what the champ says. He said that The Rock concentrates too much on Heyman and his genitals, and not enough on Punk. He proceeded to call Rock and the people stupid, before the Great One came out to interrupt. Apparently, Rock bought a ticket from one of the cops, which somehow granted him access to the backstage area. I guess that means I can get into the ring the next time Raw comes to Dublin, because I have a ticket for that. Seems legit.
Rock ordered Heyman out of the ring, and went on to say that this was Punk’s last Raw as WWE Champion, because he’s taking the gold at the Rumble. Rock intertwined some Martin Luther King quotes into his promo, saying he had a dream, and that they are free at last. Out went the lights, and when they came back on, Rock was being beaten up by The Shield. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns went to work on the Brahma Bull, finishing with a huge three-man powerbomb. They left the ring with blood pouring out of Rock’s mouth. CM Punk got on the microphone from his sky-box, saying that “this Sunday, you’ll find out the Great One just isn’t great enough”.
Walking backstage later on, CM Punk and Paul Heyman encountered Vince McMahon. The Chairman didn’t want to hear any of Punk’s excuses, and proclaimed that if The Shield interfere in the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble, CM Punk will be stripped of the title.
Things continued over on SmackDown when Paul Heyman and CM Punk came down to the ring. Punk explained that he is afraid, not of The Rock, but of The Shield, who could potentially end his championship reign by simply showing up during his match. CM Punk grabbed a steel chair, and called out The Shield. It didn’t take long for Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns to make their way to the ring through the crowd. They surrounded the ring, and Punk began to explain how he never asked for their help against Ryback or The Rock. He vowed to win at the Rumble, saying that it’ll be the biggest victory of his career, and he’s going to do it alone. Punk said that if The Shield really want justice, they will never have to cross paths again. The 3 men dropped down from the apron, and left the way they came.
Punk then began to speak about The Rock and their match. Rocky came out to join the fun, and said he believes that Punk is a liar, that he’s working with The Shield, and that Rock is going to put his boot up Punk’s ass at the Royal Rumble. He said that when he delivers the Rock Bottom to Punk, only one thought will be going through the champion’s mind, and that will be the realisation that his title reign is over. He got up close in Punk’s face and said his killer catchphrase – “If you smell… what The Rock… is cooking!!”
This match received some excellent build-up this week. The Rock may have been making his jokes when he was with the police officers, but when he got in the ring, it was all business. He had that seriousness I’ve been talking about for weeks, and I’m really happy about that. It really did a great job of selling the PPV. There was some great mic-work from both Punk and Rock on Raw and SmackDown, so I can’t wait for tonight’s match. It’s going to be awesome!
Some of the other notable moments from this week in WWE were:
Ryback defeated Heath Slater – Raw
Kaitlyn defeated Alicia Fox – Raw
Bob Backlund was announced as an inductee into the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame – Raw
Natalya defeated Rosa Mendes – SmackDown
All in all, I thought it was a great week in the WWE. They did a great job of selling tonight’s Royal Rumble PPV to those who were hesitant, so I’m sure a lot of people were persuaded to buy it. The Rumble should be great, and it’ll be the first time I go out of my way to specifically see the pre-show, just for Antonio Cesaro and The Miz. That should be a great match. The Rock and CM Punk is the biggest match going into it, but the Royal Rumble match itself is also going to be huge, so there won’t be many WWE fans who will want to miss this show!
In case you were wondering, here’s the final card for tonight’s Royal Rumble PPV:
Pre-Show Match for the United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro (c) vs The Miz
WWE Tag-Team Championship Match: Team Hell No (c) vs Rhodes Scholars
Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto del Rio (c) vs Big Show
WWE Championship Match: CM Punk (c) vs The Rock
30-Man Royal Rumble Match where the winner gets a WWE/World Title match at WrestleMania 29
It’s bound to be a great night! I’ll be live-tweeting during the PPV, so if you follow me, it’s sure to be a lot of fun! If you were curious as to whom I predict will win the Royal Rumble and other matches, be sure to click here to see them! Also, it’s not too late to join the SLTD Wrestling Predictions League! Click here to join that! It only takes a minute and it’s a lot of fun!
With that said, that’s all for this week! I hope you all enjoyed this edition of my WWE Week in Review, and if you did, be sure to like it Facebook, tweet it to your followers or leave a comment below. They really help us out! If you want to talk to me about wrestling, my writing or anything at all, follow me on Twitter @AdamOB96! Thanks for reading!