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This column would have been posted yesterday, but I was en route back to my humble abode here in Arkansas. After a grueling six hour drive, I made it just in time for Monday Night Raw. St. Louis was good to me. A mediocre pay per view was made slightly better by being there live and an after-party with X-Pac and Billy Gunn completed the weekend with a bang. More on the after-party in tomorrow's "Cashbox" feature, but for now, let's take a look at the Royal Rumble from Sunday night...
The Royal Rumble Match
*Sheamus is over. He deserved to win the Rumble as much as anyone and although he's been racking up plenty of victories lately, there's been very little substance involved. He needed a win with meaning and relevance and he received it Sunday. I understand the criticism by some, but I don't blame Sheamus for that. I honestly believe most would have been fine with Sheamus winning the Rumble if WWE (and specifically, Chris Jericho) would have delivered more in general, as Jericho promised the previous Monday. More on that in a minute...
*Mick Foley may have received the biggest pop of the night from where I sat. Go back and watch the pay per view - notice how the entire audience that was opposite the hard camera never sat down again after Mick Foley entered the Rumble. That's great for Mick, but I happened to be sitting - or standing, rather - on that side of the Scottrade Center and my feet certainly didn't think it was great. Mick looked like Mick. If you're a Mick fan, you loved it. If you're not, you probably didn't. I'm a fan.
*Road Dogg was a fun addition to the match, but I have no idea why WWE wouldn't use Billy Gunn as well to complete that nostalgic moment. He was already in St. Louis.
*WWE certainly didn't do any favors for Wade Barrett, did they? I know it's "only" the Royal Rumble, but how they can allow Orton to toss him so quickly is beyond me. This is one of the major storylines on Smackdown and Barrett needs to look strong everytime he's on television, IF we are take him more serious going forward. Orton still could have been the one to eliminate him, but why not give Barrett at least SOME offense after Orton's initial explosion.
*I was fine with some of the comedy they implemented into the Rumble this year (Mick/Santino moment was fun), but there did seem to be more than usual. The right amount can add to the annual event while too much takes away from it.
*Sheamus, Miz, and Cody Rhodes are really the only three guys that I feel gained "something" from the Rumble match.
*There was a lack of MAJOR star power in this year's Rumble match and that certainly didn't help matters in the end. WWE seemed to bank solely on Orton and Jericho to carry that part of the match. Orton wasn't gone long enough and when Jericho didn't do anything during the Dolph/Punk match, you expected him to be a participant in the Rumble. Big Show being number 30 was even ill-advised as we had already seen him earlier in the night and the live crowd, realizing that he was the last entry, seemed to die down a tad after he came out up until the final minutes of the match.