2013 WWE Royal Rumble Match
There's a reason the Royal Rumble match is the most anticipated event of the pro wrestling year. It's unpredictable from start to finish, the winner stamps his ticket to the main event of WrestleMania, and so many stars are made throughout the night. Those who think Cena is the only guy that got put over here are delusional. There were 30 Superstars mixing it up for over 55 minutes; I assure you, more stories were told than the age-old classic, "Cena Wins Again".
Chris Jericho's return stands atop the mountain as my favorite moment of the Rumble match. Dolph Ziggler's pre-match promo reminded me of the Miz's unexpected delivery at Money in the Bank years ago; a promo that would lead him to victory, if you remember. Rehashing their rivalry from the start was a great idea, and instantly threw another big name into contention. It also provided Ziggler with his stand-out moment: a picture-perfect superkick to the jaw, sending Y2J to the floor, and out of the match.
Cody Rhodes also looked impressive, having his moment in the spotlight during a brief – albeit hilarious – exchange with Goldust. I love that WWE brought back Goldy for this match, and I respect even more that they used him properly, to eventually put over his up-and-coming little brother. I'm not sure what kind of shape Dusty is in these days, but I still think they missed out on one hell of a moment, having all three of them in the ring at the same time.
Great to see Rey Mysterio back in action after a short time away to take care of some personal business, although Sin Cara at #29 – knowing Ryback was then the only man left – has to be considered the greatest killjoy in the history of the Rumble match. I've never cared about the Godfather, but he got a decent reaction and JBL marking out the entire time certainly allowed me to buy into the moment. I'll tell you, JBL can sell me on anybody, and anything.
I thought, on the whole, it was good of WWE to limit the special appearances, and the pacing of the match definitely got the better of it. I swear they fly in random stars every year, just to mess with the internet and add more speculation. Wouldn't you? Chris Jericho was a big enough swerve to make up for Shelton Benjamin, Carlito and Chris Masters' absence. The first half hour wasn't about big stars having the potential to win, it was about showcasing the roster and telling an entertaining story with guys like Titus O'Neil, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, etc.
Has there ever been a final six bigger than the 2013 Royal Rumble match? Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Ryback and John Cena; in order of elimination. At that point, I think any of them could have walked away victorious, and it added a huge boost of momentum to the closing moments. Orton had his anual RKO-fest, Ziggler got a few good shots in, and even Jericho got to hit finishers on just about everyone in the ring. Sheamus was a beast throughout the entire match, and the final confrontation between Cena and Ryback was, I thought, handled well. Cena's victory was slightly anti-climactic, but the final six was so well thought-out I can forgive them for a pretty minor transgression.
There's going to be complaints about WWE not putting over young guys, and resorting back to their main event talents. There always is. Let me tell you something: there are 363 other days on the calendar to put over the younger guys. The Royal Rumble and the main event of WrestleMania are not the places to showcase ANYTHING but the biggest and best main event Superstars. You should be happy that Dolph Ziggler made is far as he did, and looked as good as he did before being eliminated. You should be grateful for his pre-match title unification promo; the Rumble was one of his first true moments of greatness.
Welcome to the big leagues Dolph Ziggler, and welcome back to the Road to WrestleMania…John Cena.
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