You know, a funny thing happened as I sat watching the Royal Rumble with my keyboard comrade, Chris Cash. We were well into the 30-man bout and trying to keep count on the number of unfilled spots remaining, wondering who would be coming out to fill them.
The match was more than half over when I said, â<80><9c>You know, wouldnâ<80><99>t it be something if Cena were to suddenly show up for this thing and all the talk about being out of action well past Wrestlemania was just a big disinformation campaign to throw guys like us off?â<80>
We contemplated this for all of 10 seconds before shrugging it off as a near impossibility.
We were floored the instant the first notes of Cenaâ<80><99>s music hit the arena â<80>” as were apparently most of those attending.
So, the first order of business in this Take? Give MAJOR props to WWE for pulling off quite the media coup. As badly kept as the secret was regarding Chris Jerichoâ<80><99>s return, this was the complete opposite. I donâ<80><99>t recall even hearing a serious whisper about Cena coming back at the Rumble.
Iâ<80><99>m sure Stephanie must be quite pleased.
As far as the overall PPV is concerned, I say this: Although there were certainly spots that could have been improved or were even disappointing, the overall product was a good one.
And I didnâ<80><99>t do too bad on my predictions, either!
The show started off with MVP vs. Ric Flair, and I called this one perfectly. MVP tapping out to Flairâ<80><99>s patented Figure Four was a great way to end this match, and a great show of respect to a man who has been winning matches lately in anything but clean fashion.
The match wasnâ<80><99>t bad, and God knows I love Flair, but it wasnâ<80><99>t quite as good as the bout between Flair and Triple H recently. It appears as though Flair is getting winded a bit easier these days and it seemed to show a bit more during this match. But you know what? I donâ<80><99>t care. Flair is one of, if not the, greatest showman to ever grace the ring with his presence and he deserves to go out in nothing less than a spectacular blaze of glory.
Unfortunately, the match between JBL and Chris Jericho was, for the most part, a bore. The crowd sure was unforgiving of the missed move by Jericho and fall by JBL. Chris sure bled during this one, though, and it ended with a lot more excitement as Jericho returned the favor by having JBL strung up by power cables over the top rope.
While I was dead on in guessing this one wouldnâ<80><99>t see a clean finish, they did at least have a match. (If you recall, I predicted a no-contest brawl.) But this rivalry is far from over, and Iâ<80><99>d bet money weâ<80><99>ll be seeing them go at it again soon, most likely in a no-disqualification match.
Another one I called dead-on, Edge defeating Rey Mysterio with outside help. Vickie Guerrero stopped the ref from finishing a three-count when it looked as though Rey had it won and â<80>” even though Edge was the eventual victor â<80>” she paid the price for her interference by catching a 619 in Edgeâ<80><99>s stead.
This one was a pretty good match, and for a moment Rey had me believing that his knee injury might be legit. That is, until, Edge started going after the knee brace.
While the bout did hold true to my prediction, it was still one that was fun to watch.
The match between Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy caught me by surprise. I imagined that Orton would retain the belt by disqualification, or that there was a small chance Hardy might actually be granted a title reign and win the thing. Never did I dream that they would give Orton a clean win over the high-flying crowd fave.
This match was exciting to watch, but seemed very anti-climactic in the end. I was expecting a significantly longer match, and one where more signature moves would be used and â<80><9c>shockinglyâ<80> kicked out from.
Unfortunately, it appears as though the clean win in a short match may have taken some of the steam out of Hardyâ<80><99>s main-event momentum. Weâ<80><99>ll see what the creative folks have in store for him.
The Royal Rumble bout was a roller coaster, full of many different emotions.
There were the â<80><9c>Wow, that was great!â<80> moments.
There were the â<80><9c>Wow, that was stupid!â<80> moments.
And then there were moments where all you could say was â<80><9c>Huh?â<80>
Iâ<80><99>m not going to go into great detail here, but just throw out a few of the highs and lows in my book.
First, I though it was great storyline to start the battle off with the last two men standing in last yearâ<80><99>s event, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.
A very disappointing part? Well, whatever you think about Hornswoggle, I think the build-up and storyline regarding him being in the Royal Rumble was a complete waste. They could have done so much more with him than what they did, and having him just suddenly leave with Finlay was a complete let down.
But you know, according to the rules of the Royal Rumble, Finlay and Hornie were never eliminated. Could they suddenly show up during a Cena mic session on Raw to finish an otherwise incomplete Rumble bout?
Another downer â<80>” Iâ<80><99>m a huge fan of Roddy Piper and respect Jimmy Snuka, but they both looked terrible. I know the tolls that have been taken on them, age, a fight with cancer, but their time in the ring was extremely disappointing to me.
And if youâ<80><99>re reading this, Piper, make no mistake about it â<80>” still love ya man! No one holds a candle to Piperâ<80><99>s Pit.
Watching the match, I was pleased with, of all people, Cody Rhodes. He spent a significant amount of time in the fight and made a good showing of it. I think this kidâ<80><99>s really coming along.
Then, as I said earlier, the complete shock factor kicked in when John Cena strolled out in the #30 spot. Having him, Triple H and Batista as the last men standing was a great way to build the crescendo toward the ending.
But the fact remains that as soon as the shock factor settled a bit, you knew from the moment his music hit who was going to win this thing. No way was Cena going to return in a huge rumor-defying fashion to lose.
Final props definitely have to go to the New York crowd which was way into this one. One couldnâ<80><99>t help but laugh out loud at the respective â<80><9c>Boosâ<80> and â<80><9c>Yaysâ<80> that rang out with each punch from Cena and Trips.
The crowd was an unusual sort, for sure, which seemed to have trouble making up their minds at times despite how well into it they were.
HUGE pop when Cena showed up, boos for him during the match, and a respectable pop after he won. Go figure.
Rey Mysterio being booed and Edge being cheered? Didnâ<80><99>t see that one coming.
Either way, I canâ<80><99>t say enough for WWEâ<80><99>s job of keeping the Cena return a secret. Great job there, folks!
Don’t like my take? Let’s hear yours! Send me your e-mails to