- Broadcasted live, on Pay-Per-View, on January 26th, 2014, from Pittsburgh, PA. Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and JBL are calling the action from ringside, while Josh Mathews has a "Hall of Fame panel" consisting of Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan... one of these things just doesn't belong.
Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from this: Maybe 10-minutes of Wyatt dominating and big finish. Well, I was in total shock to see them take the ball and run to the end zone with an early touchdown. Bryan's aggressive attacks, especially the leg after a collision with the ring steps, was a breath of fresh air from a babyface, especially that surfboard/curb-stomp move. Wyatt took over, slowing things down a bit, but was constantly targeting the shoulder and head, possibly to play into the "rumors" of Bryan having a concussion (f*ck you, Cole). Bryan mounts his comeback, only to eat a vicious body tackle. Wyatt ends up on the floor, and Bryan follows with a Tornado DDT from the apron! The YES Kicks gets two. Bryan with his signature running dropkicks, but a third is interrupted by a brutal clothesline, complete with over-sell. Sister Abigail gets countered with a roll up, for two. Yes-Lock applied, but Wyatt escapes by biting the hands. They fight into the corner, trading headbutts until Bryan knocks Wyatt down, and comes off the top with a splash. Wyatt to the floor to avoid the knee, then blocks a Suicide Dive and gives Bryan Sister Abigail into the security wall! Wyatt throws Bryan's limp body back in the ring, hits a second Sister Abigail, and it's enough for the three count at 21:29! ***1/2 I'm still having a hard time getting into a Bray Wyatt match from start to finish, but he brought the goods here, and Bryan was working his ass off for a man who is recovering from a concussion. The middle portion dragged slightly, but that closing 5-minutes really pulled this from "pretty good" to REALLY good. If not for those lengthy chinlocks, I might've gone 4-stars, but after watching it twice, I'm set on my rating.
As already announced, CM Punk is #1, and as I predicted, Seth Rollins gets #2. Thankfully we didn't get Ambrose and Reigns to follow. Damien Sandow enters at #3, and Cody Rhodes is #4. They do a mini-sequence, ending with Sandow eating a Cross Rhodes and getting tossed by Punk. Corporate Kane is #5, goes after Punk, and gets dumped as NXT performer Alexander Rusev comes in at #6. I'm not a fan of the "muscle-headed grappler" gimmick, but I'll give him time before I get overly critical. Jack Swagger is #7, and gets face pops slugging it out with Rusev. #8 is Kofi Kingston, #9 is Jimmy Uso, and #10 is Goldust. Rusev gets tossed by a gaggle of Superstars, and Kofi winds up in his arms, only to be rested along the security rail. It's not the most creative spot, but Kofi jumping that distance with little momentum was still f*cking cool. Dean Ambrose is #11, Dolph Ziggler is #12, and R-Truth is #13. He lasts about 30-seconds and gets tossed by Ambrose. Jimmy Uso follows shortly after. Kevin Nash makes a surprise appearance as #14, but I don't give a shit. #15 is Roman Reigns, so it's time for some Shield House Cleaning™: Kofi and Ziggler gets dumped by Reigns, and Nash misses a charge and gingerly tumbles to the floor.
Great Khali is #16, throws some awkward chops, and gets triple-teamed and tossed by the Shield. Cody ends up on the apron and "accidentally" eliminated by Goldust, and he is dumped as well, courtesy Roman Reigns. Sheamus returns at #17, saving Punk from a 3-on-1 beating. He spends the next 5-minutes laying in a fetal position in the corner. The Miz is #18, Fandango is #19, and OH MY GOD, El Torito is #20. A goofy midget comedy act is #20. Seth Rollins and CM Punk have to sell for him, and he gets to eliminate Fandango! Reigns continues becoming my hero, tossing Torito like a sack of Mexican potatoes (Editor's Note: "saco de patatas"). Antonio Cesaro is #21, and works in his Giant Swing, tallying roughly 30 rotations on Rollins. Luke Harper is #22, and Jey Uso is #23. JBL makes a pointless appearance as #24 and is gone in seconds thanks to Reigns. Cue the conversation about Santino and Bushwhacker Luke. Erick Rowan is #25, and makes short work of Miz and the other Uso. Ryback is #26, and nobody cares. Alberto Del Rio is #27, and somehow even less people care. Batistais #28, and proceeds to toss out Rowan, Ryback, and Del Rio, to little fanfare. I actually missed Del Rio's elimination at first. #29 is Big E. Langston, and #30 is Rey Mysterio...
And then the match f*cking died. No, Daniel Bryan wasn't advertised for the match, but neither were roughly a third of the field, including pointless appearances by JBL and El Torito. The crowd turned on the match so hard, Rey Mysterio was the victim of the most crowd backlash, mercilessly boo'ed until being dumped by Seth Rollins, possibly to the best babyface pop of the match. Reigns Superman punches Harper out, but then Ambrose tries to sneak up and toss him, but it doesn't work. Cesaro, Rollins, and Ambrose tangle up, allowing Reigns to toss all three in a giant pile, leaving a final four of Batista, CM Punk, Roman Reigns, and Sheamus... oh, wait, sorry, Kane returns and tosses Punk, then chokeslams him through a table. Would've been a surprise had he NOT missed his cue and appeared at ringside when JBL made his "surprise" entrance into the match from the broadcast table. With Sheamus, Batista, and Reigns struggling to get to their feet, the crowd rained upon them loud chants of "NO!" and "Daniel Bryan." Everyone works in a KO spot, but the crowd doesn't care. Sheamus points to the WrestleMania XXX banner and gets told where to go (BOO-VILLE), and gets to be the 12th elimination for Reigns, breaking Kane's record of 11 from 2001. The crowd shits all over everything Batista, but actually pops huge for a Reigns spear and start a "Roman Reigns" chant. Then Batista wins at 53:07, pissing the crowd off even more. Turning up the music and trying to talk as loud as possible isn't enough to drown out the crowd's displeasure with the turn of events. *** Decent, if unspectacular Rumble, and again, the crowd backlash makes it hard to rate, as my enjoyment for the last 10-minutes was the nuclear meltdown from the crowd and the lack of Daniel Bryan.
- And we end the night with Michael Cole saying, and I quote, "Batista is going to WrestleMania, deal with it."
Final Thoughts: I don't think I've ever experienced a show quite like this before. I found enjoyment out of pretty much the entire show, but for different reasons as the show ran deeper into the night. We were treated to a show-stealing performance between that scamp Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt, and got to watch Brock Lesnar treat the Big Show like the useless lump of goo he is. Then someone hit the switch that changed everything, and the live crowd completely turned on Cena vs. Orton Part 691. It was an OK match, but the crowd's response more than made up for it. Finally, we got the Rumble Match: Again, it was OK, but once that final entrant came out, and there was to be no last minute change of plans, it became a spectacle, the kind I've never seen before, especially on the second-biggest PPV the WWE has to offer. The continued ignorance and lack of common sense has me scratching my head trying to understand the logic behind this stubborn "don't push him, let's push this guy instead" when live crowds, on a regular basis, have voiced their opinion in the direction that doesn't fit with what WWE wants us to accept. I'm not going to play the "boycott" WWE card, because Raw and Smackdown are free to view, but even without the WWE Network coming out, I don't see myself committing to a product that continues to insult my intelligence as a paying fan. Thumbs Up, Highly Recommended, to see WWE push it's audience too far and watching everyone take a collective dump on the brain-dead decisions presently being made.