Mt. Killamanjaro: WWE Royal Rumble Review
Caution: this review is overwhelmingly positive in nature, and features topics including (but not limited to) "mark out" moments, forward progression for the business, and great wrestling matches. If you are easily offended by cheerful opinions, or find yourself, at times, incapable of being happy with anything a wrestling company does, I encourage you to go read something else.
Last Man Standing for the World Heayweight Championship
The first time I watched this match – live, of course – I was too busy hyping the Rumble on Twitter, and talking with everyone about how excited I was for the events to come. My second viewing – this morning over a cup of coffee – was much better. The first thing that stands out is the absolute intensity of the World Champion. A typical babyface spends the majority of his time on the mat, getting beaten up and tossed around by the heel. Alberto del Rio went into that Last Man Standing match fired up, and he never lost an ounce of momentum throughout.
The only guys that get to manhandle the Big Show are the physical powerhouses: Mark Henry, Kane, John Cena, etc. It was awesome to see del Rio have such explosive offense in the early-goings of the match. What's better is every maneuver he executed seemed to make sense, slowly chipping away at the 7-foot giant until he went down. Their back-and-forth seemed realistic, and they never exhausted the 10-count gimmick; the cardinal sin of most Last Man Standing matches.
After the TLC pay-per-view in December, and this brutal train wreck (in a good way!) of a World Title match, I feel like WWE has found a way to bring hardcore stipulations into a PG-ish product. And while I originally cringed at the finish – when Cena did it to Batista I freaked out – the dynamic between del Rio and Ricardo, plus the earlier physicality between Ricardo and Big Show, merited the spot. It's not my favorite way to end a match, and I prefer to never see it again, but it did make some sense here, and if that's my biggest complaint on the night we're doing just fine.
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