Breaking Down The 2012 Royal Rumble Live From St. Louis

Nick Paglino

*The CM Punk/Dolph Ziggler match was mostly good, but suffered from an overbooked finish. Johnny's involvement took away from the match and made the story more about Punk and him than it was Dolph challenging for the title. The end of the match didn't do Dolph any favors as he was basically beaten three times in a row. He isn't ready for the Championship yet, but 2012 can be a big year for Dolph Ziggler if WWE allows it and he needs to look stronger than they let him look Sunday night.

*Why was Mark Henry even in that match? If he's that injured, WWE could have come up with a way to get him out of it. I don't think fans would have held it against anyone, especially if it could have made the match better as a result. Rather, we got a triple-threat main event with only two active participants. At first, I thought Big Show and Bryan messed up the finish. I figured Show was supposed to lift him back in so the match could continue. From what I'm hearing, that was the planned finish. It was bit anti-climactic and the live crowd reacted accordingly…or "didn't react would probably be more appropriate.

*Brodus Clay was Brodus Clay. I guess Vince is adament about getting his entrance over, so he kept him out of the Rumble in order to give him the full amount of time needed. More likely, Vince just wanted everyone focused completely on Brodus, rather than him get swallowed up in the Rumble and lose his first pay per view match. It's been a few weeks now and although the crowd reaction in St. Louis wasn't nonexistent, it wasn't amazing either. Then again, it's hard to get too excited about squash matches you know are coming week in and week out.

*Beth Phoenix looked good on Sunday and Kharma's return was a pleasant surprise. It makes sense that WWE will now be doing everything they can to make Beth Phoenix look strong if the plan for 'Mania is still for the two of them to face each other. And for a Diva's match, Kharma vs Beth Phoenix will be MUCH better than what we've recently been getting.

*I hated the double count-out with Kane and John Cena, but it doesn't surprise me either. They have one more pay per view to burn before 'Mania, so a screwy finish seemed inevitable Sunday. Kane's promo on Raw was yet another bold tease by WWE. He claims Cena will have to "truly embrace the hate" before he can beat Kane OR the Rock. That makes me guess that John Cena will in fact embrace the hate at Elimination Chamber in order to go over Kane. However, that does NOT mean he has to turn heel officially in order to do that. Who the hell knows what "embrace the hate" really means? It could just as easily be an over-the-top act of aggression like they've been doing with Cena lately. Don't get your hopes up that Cena will turn heel soon. It could happen and, in my opinion, SHOULD happen, but I have a hard time believing WWE is ready to pull that trigger.

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