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Kevin’s Random Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 2012

February 9, 2018 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s Random Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 2012  

WWE Royal Rumble 2012
January 29th, 2012 | Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri | Attendance: 18,121

There’s a soft spot in my heart for 2012, as it’s a year I liked more than most. I remember being pumped for this event and I had a blast watching it live with my family, but I haven’t seen it since. Coming into this show, there were a few things to note. Chris Jericho was fresh off a strange return, CM Punk was in the early stages of his epic WWE Title run, Zack Ryder had been buried (and I don’t use that term loosely) within a month and Daniel Bryan was World Champion for the first time. This was a rather historic landmark, as it was the 25th Royal Rumble event.

The opening video package hyped the Royal Rumble match. Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T were in the booth.

World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match: Daniel Bryan [c] vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry
No AJ Lee with Bryan, as I believe she was still recovering from Big Show running her over. Bryan instantly tried escaping, but was stopped. He attempted again while Show was beating up Henry, and again failed. Smart strategy, though. A lot of the focus got placed on Bryan/Show, with Henry kind of just being there. Show kind of showed sympathy towards the beaten Bryan, but the champion responded with a slap. It led him to get thrown around some more. Bryan did get to bust out a sweet tornado DDT at one point. Show knocked out Henry with the WMD, but Bryan broke up the pin. Bryan sprinted up the cage, only to get caught by Show. Show grabbed by the wrist, preventing him from reaching the ground, but Bryan eventually slipped free and touched the floor to retain at 9:01. Like a lot of WWE Steel Cage matches, this was completely forgettable. Henry served almost no purpose, while Show’s offense was just boring. The finish was creative, but came off kind of flat. [**¼ ]

A crazy long video package for John Cena was shown next. It tried so hard to make fans cheer for him against the Rock, showing all the Make-A-Wish stuff he does and how he supports the troops. Things like that.

The Bella Twins, WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix and Natalya vs. Alicia Fox, Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly and Tamina
Shout out to the heel girls for wearing matching colors. If you’re gonna be a team, even for one night, why not try to look the part? Nattie and Tamina started, so Cole could get in the obligatory THEIRDADSUSEDTOWRESTLE stuff. When Eve did her booty pop moonsault, Cole’s call on it was amusing. Cole angered Booker by saying the Bella Twins reminded him of Harlem Heat. This broke down so everyone could brawl outside, leading to a Kelly dive off the top. Once back inside, Beth tagged herself in to end Kelly’s momentum and beat her with the Glam Slam in 5:27. Harmless match, with the girls doing the best they could. The Bellas never became incredible wrestlers, but watch them here and again 3-4 years later, and there’s clear improvement. Beth bossed it here and I’m disappointed they ended her dominant run like nothing. [*½]

Clips were shown of Zack Ryder getting his ass kicked by Kane in recent weeks. He arrived in a wheelchair, and was given his own locker room (WITH FREE CATERING!) to watch tonight’s show, by John Laurinaitis. Eve Torres came up and ran down Big Johnny, saying she hoped he got fired tomorrow.

John Cena vs. Kane
This feud was total garbage, but the crowd was rather loud for the opening moments. Go figure. After some basic brawling in the early stages, Kane resorted to the DREADED chinlock. That’s exactly what I expect from Kane vs. Cena. Kane went to the weird finisher he was trying out at this time, where he just basically grabbed his opponent’s face. Cena fought out and went for the STF, but had that countered. Their fight took them outside, where the brawling continued. As they made it to the aisle, the referee counted to ten for the lame DQ finish in 10:56. That was shit. I don’t think these two ever had a good match together. This was lifeless and not at all like the heated feud they tried to bill it as. It was just a Kane/Cena match you could see on almost any house show, except the finish was worse. [*]

They continued their brawl to the backstage area. Kane took out Cena with a chair, before bursting into Zack Ryder’s room. He used the glove of death to apparently choke Ryder out. How does that work exactly? He wheeled Ryder to the ring and planted him with a Tombstone. Eve came out and watched in horror. Cena tried making the save but got chokeslammed. The crowd sat on their hands for the entire thing. Look, there have been some great Cena moments in his career, but there’s also been a lot of shit like this.

Another long video package ran, this one in favor of The Rock.

Brodus Clay w/ The Funkettes vs. Drew McIntyre
Brodus Clay was set to debut as a monster, but they threw a last minute curve and had him appear as the “Funkasaurus.” Meanwhile, Drew was losing on a weekly basis and kept getting fired, but continued to have a job. I didn’t get it. Anyway, Brodus no sold some of Drew’s offense and won with a cross body in 1:04. Too short to be offensive, but didn’t belong on PPV. [NR]

WWE Championship: CM Punk [c] vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ Vickie Guerrero
John Laurinaitis was guest referee here. That was mainly because heel Dolph couldn’t draw his own heat, so either Vickie got it for him, or he was secondary in a rivalry. Worried about what Triple H would do to him if he screwed Punk, Big Johnny became guest referee outside, leaving the big stuff to a regular official.

The match saw Dolph hold the early advantage. His taunting nearly got him locked in the Anaconda Vice, but he wriggled free. They worked some great counter wrestling between the sleeper and AV. It looked like a true struggle, which was good. Speaking of counters, Punk had the best one, turning a Fameasser into a spinning powerbomb. After Punk hit the Macho elbow, there was a ref bump. Johnny checked on him, missing Punk winning via submission and pinfall. More shenanigans came when Punk went for the GTS and the spin knocked Johnny outside. That’s three visual wins for Punk. Dolph countered a GTS, but couldn’t win. The frustration was evident and it led to him making another mistake. Punk capitalized and won via GTS in 14:30. I wanted to like this a lot more. It was good, but got overbooked down the stretch. Dolph was also made to look way out of his league, which didn’t help things. It still had high quality wrestling and some good moments, just not enough to make it great.[***¼]

The “By the Numbers” video package was shown.

Royal Rumble Match
#1 was Miz, who lost to R-Truth for that spot. He got the AWESOME bubble letter treatment. He cut a promo about proving everyone wrong. His former mentee, Alex Riley, drew #2. The shine had already worn off of Riley, who was only over for a short time due to Miz’s excellence as a heel. Before #3 arrived, Miz ducked a Riley charge and he went over and out. Miz’s confidence waned when former partner and new rival, R-Truth, arrived. So, Truth beat Miz to avoid the #1 spot, yet drew #3. Ha. #4 was Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes, who instantly hit Truth with the Disaster Kick. He and Miz teamed up on Truth for a bit. Justin Gabriel arrived to no reaction at #5. He got off a cross body before taking a beating from Cody. #6 was Primo, to even less reaction than Gabriel got. Personally, I always liked Primo. Truth got eliminated, but took out his frustrations on Miz with Paydirt outside. Mick Foley was a surprise #7, getting the best pop so far. He dumped out Primo. The fans popped again, when Alberto Del Rio’s music hit at #8. He’d been out with injury. A beat up car pulled out, driven by Ricardo Rodriguez. He did the complete Del Rio entrance, with towel, gestures and gear. He was greeted with “Ricardo” chants. He worked out a deal with Foley and together, they eliminated Gabriel. Ricardo celebrated like he won the World Title. #9 was Santino Marella, fresh off a year where he nearly upset Del Rio to win the Rumble. He used wacky offense and eliminated Ricardo via wedgie. With him and Foley together, it became SOCKO VS. COBRA! At #10, Epico came out and got hit with both, getting tossed in quick fashion.

Cody and Miz interrupted the Socko/Cobra battle and eliminated both. Before Cody and Miz faced off, Kofi Kingston came out at #11. He did hot babyface stuff, including a double Boom Drop. Booker lost his damn mind popping for Kofi, including using a horrible Jamaican accent. JAMAICANMECRAZY! Jerry Lawler got up from the desk to enter at #12. That didn’t work well for him in 1997. He did a bit better this time, but still was gone before #13, Ezekiel Jackson. He pounded away on everyone until #14 arrived. FUTURE WWE CHAMPION JINDER MAHAL! I still can’t believe that’s a thing. Up next was FUTURE BUDDY OF FUTURE WWE CHAMPION JINDER MAHAL, THE GREAT KHALI! Cole said they were related through marriage, which I totally forgot about. Khali gave out his big chops and eliminated Jinder. Ezekiel tried his best, but also got thrown out. Hunico came out at #16, continuing the trend of guys barely getting reactions. Someone finally got a pop, as #17 was Booker T, getting up from commentary. Cole chastised him, like Lawler, for taking a spot from the roster. Booker kicked Cody’s ass, but got taken down by Khali. Miz nearly eliminated Kofi, but we got our first “Kofi avoids elimination” spot, where he landed on his hands and handstand walked to safety on the stairs. It’s been years and that’s still my favorite Kofi spot. Loser of the WWE Title match, Dolph Ziggler, entered at #18. Can he take another visual loss? The first Rumble winner, Jim Duggan, entered at #19. The announcers and Duggan got bigger pops than everyone in the WWE midcard. That should tell you something about how those guys were booked. After the nostalgia pop wore off, Cody eliminated Duggan. Cody snuck up and also eliminated Khali and Booker at the same time. #20 was Michael Cole, who even wore his absurd WrestleMania singlet and headgear.

Cole avoided fighting, choosing to point to the WrestleMania sign, while others fought. Cole’s excitement waned when Kharma showed up at #21. She ran him over with a clothesline that knocked his headgear off. Cole hopped over the top to the apron to avoid her, before getting pulled off by Booker and Lawler. Dolph went after Kharma and ate an Implant Buster. She then threw out Hunico, before Dolph flipped her over the top to boos. #22 was pale Cena himself, Sheamus. He ran wild, eliminating Kofi and beating on the heels. At #23, we got THE MAN WHO RUINED SMACKDOWN, Road Dogg Jesse James. He got all his shit in for another nostalgia pop. Jey Uso drew #24, accompanied by Jimmy. He did the Umaga ass attack, which prompted Cole’s usual, “PAYING HOMAGE TO RIKISHI” call. US Champion Jack Swagger was #25, also getting little to no reaction. #26 was Wade Barrett, who was in a high-profile feud with Randy Orton. Guess what reaction he got. He did manage to eliminate Road Dogg, so that’s a plus. The luckiest number in Rumble history, #27, went to David Otunga. He’s 20-0 as a lawyer, which is much better than his in-ring record. Commentary finally stopped hyping themselves and noted that Dolph was pulling double duty. The ring filled up in time for hometown boy Randy Orton to come in at #28. Lots of people for him to run through. He got most of his shit in, before the crowd came unglued for Chris Jericho at #29. Big Show entered at #30 to round things out. Swagger got eliminated during his entrance, so Show hit him with the WMD, because screw your midcard champions, right? Show then said, THERE’S TOO MANY MIDCARDERS AROUND, dumping out Miz, Cody and Ziggler. I’m so glad those pesky guys trying to break the glass ceiling got kept in their place.
The final four were Jericho, Orton, Sheamus and Show. Why did Show get a spot, but not Henry? Orton threw out Show, before Jericho snuck up and eliminated Orton, disappointing the St. Louis faithful. Jericho did the required Mania sign point, while Sheamus was all, “COME ON FELLA!” I don’t believe this match had ever happened, so it was fresh and their interactions were good. Jericho nearly won with both a clothesline over the top and springboard dropkick. Sheamus kept holding on, making for great teases. Back inside, Jericho applied the Walls to a pop. Sheamus got free and they teased Jericho going out. He came back with the Codebreaker and covered Sheamus like a buffoon. He went for another Codebreaker, but Sheamus caught him and tried dumping him out. Jericho hung on, only to take a Brogue Kick that eliminated him, giving Sheamus the win at 54:54. Everyone talks about Taker/HBK at the end of 2007, but this was probably the second best battle involving the final two. This was a very good Rumble. There were the expected nostalgia moments, as well as cool stuff involving Kharma and Kofi. A few too many people involved did nothing and the commentator stuff wasn’t interesting, which brings the score down, though that ending saved it somewhat. [***½]

The final score: review Poor
The 411
The undercard for this particular Royal Rumble event was very lackluster. You typically hope for at least one great match, but we didn’t get it. Ziggler/Punk was good, but underwhelming. The Steel Cage felt like filler, while Cena/Kane sucked badly. The squash and women’s matches were kind of just there and didn’t add much. The Rumble itself was the highlight, though even that wasn’t among the best.