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Reviewing The Rumbles: 2015

January 27, 2017 | Posted by Rob Stewart
WWE Main Event WWE Royal Rumble Roman Reigns The Rock
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Reviewing The Rumbles: 2015  

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The 2014 Royal Runble’s crowd turned toxic because Daniel Bryan, the fan favorite of this era, was not entered into the match. One year later, WWE decided to put Daniel Bryan in the Rumble, so that would certainly turn out better, right?


1. The Miz
2. R-Truth
3. Bubba Ray Dudley
4. Luke Harper
5. Bray Wyatt (this gets called his first Rumble ever, which is odd because most guys get their whole career counted. During Rikishi’s run, commentary counted his years as Fatu and Sultan towards his then-current count)
6. Curtis Axel Erick Rowan (Axel certainly isn’t the first guy this ever happened to, but he’s the first to go somewhere with it)
7. The Boogeyman
8. Sin Cara
9. Zack Ryder
10. Daniel Bryan
11. Fandango (who had his music changed in a glorious attempt to stop anyone from ever caring about him)
12. Tyson Kidd
13. Stardust (Ooookay. Commentary also says this is HIS first Rumble, And not in a “This is Cody’s first Rumble AS STARDUST” kind of way. They just say “This is his Royal Rumble debut!”. Who says kayfabe is dead?)
14. Diamond Dallas Page
15. Rusev
16. Goldust
17. Kofi Kingston
18. Adam Rose
19. Roman Reigns
20. Big E
21. Damien Mizdow
22. Jack Swagger
23. Ryback
24. Kane
25. Dean Ambrose
26. Titus O’Neil
27. Bad News Barrett
28. Cesaro
29. The Big Show
30. Dolph Ziggler

The Final Four

3rd (tie) – The Big Show and Kane (eliminated simultaneously)
2nd – Rusev
WINNER – Roman Reigns


-JBL starts us off with an interesting statistic: Only 13 of the previous 22 Royal Rumble winners actually won the title at WrestleMania. That’s only a 59% success rate.

-Philly ERUPTS for Bubba at #3 and dusts off an ECW chant. Bubba and R-Truth team up against Miz (because black people are interchangeable in wrestling, I suppose), and Bubba even orders R to “GET THE TABLES!” Bubba then starts a “Tables!” chant, but no table ever materializes before Bubba ends up getting Truth and Miz out.

-Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt double-team Bubba, inspiring a “We Want D-Von!” chant. Instead, Bubba is easily eliminated by the heels. And so begins the first chorus of what will be many jeers for the night.

-THE WYATT FAMILY EXPLODES as Erick Rowan steals Curtis Axel’s spot. There is a brief tease by Harper that he’ll work with Rowan against Bray, but as soon as Rowan’s back is turned (hey, remember when his angle was that he is a genius?), Harper jumps him instead. For all the good it does him… Bray ends up flipping them both out of the ring.

-Bray goes on a dominance push, making short work of The Bogeyman and Sin Cara. He messes up his timing at #9, however, and makes a big “open challenge” on the microphone to the next guy to come out, and it’s… Zack Ryder. That big speech was obviously meant to lead into Bryan’s entrance, and Bray is visible frustrated at this.

-DDP is already the third Returning Old Guy entrant by #14, and he looks essentially the same as how he looked in 1997, but with shorter hair. This leads me to spend a minute or so pondering if he looks great for a man his current age, or if he looked super old back during his main event run in WCW. As he enters, everyone involved gets Diamond Cutters (except DB, who was on the outside).

-Just some the absolute most tone-deaf booking in history sees Daniel Bryan inconspicuously eliminated, after about 10 minutes of doing nothing, by Bray Wyatt. Nobody as over as Daniel was at this point had ever just so pointlessly tossed in a way that would lead to NO storyline for them (excepting maybe for Eddie back in 2005). It is utter nonsense. This elimination DESTROYS the environment of the match, as the fans realize that WWE just has no agenda than propping up Roman. Hogan, Hart, Michaels, Stone Cold, Rocky, Cena… none of them ever had nearly as pointless and unproductive of a Rumble appearance at their career highs as Bryan was thrust into in 2015. It is a completely baffling scene.

-After DB’s elimination, the ring has four heels (Rusev, Stardust, Goldust, and Bray), so of course the fans are using all their energy to alternate between booing and chanting for Bryan. Nothing like making sure the fans have several minutes to stew in their anger, WWE (though given the treatment of Rey the previous year, this may have been done to save any babyfaces from getting turned on).

-Kofi’s moment this year is getting saved by the Rosebuds. Maybe the least worthwhile of all of his saves.

-Fans are still pissy and booing by the time #19 buzzes, and oh look… it’s Roman Reigns. The arrival of The Chosen One makes the fans even saltier.

-It’s finally Damien Mizdow at #21 who gets some positive energy from the crowd… and he lasts less than a minute before Reigns pitches him. The crowd goes back to shitting all over the match. This was more shit booking because Mizdow was largely over by this point in time, but I can admittedly understand it, because he was basically just a lower midcard comedy act. But it’s the second example of “Oh, you fans like something? Fuck you” of the night. And to have Reigns eliminate him? That’s just actively sabotaging the guy at this point.

-The fans apathetically take part in Swagger’s “WE! THE PEOPLE!” battlecry, but settle right back into an angry murmur afterwards. The next cheer of the match isn’t until Ryback hits a clothesline on Reigns.

-The lull between Ryback and Kane sees a “CM PUNK!” chant break out. Those have tapered off somewhat in recent times, but for a while, it seemed like they would be around as long as Austin’s “What?”

-Fans finally pop again for Dean Ambrose at #25. He gets a good enough newbie push in the match, but as he settles in for the haul, the fans return to their naturally displeasured state.

-Almost as soon as Show emerges at #29, a “WE WANT ZIGGLER!” chant starts. This Rumble is on the tail of the 2014 Survivor Series, and Dolph was riding about as high as he’d ever reached. When he then hits the ring at #30, it’s to the loudest reaction since D-Bry way back at #10. Ziggler’s run is exciting, but short. An ill-advised top-rope move is turned into a KO Punch by Show, and then Dolph is treated like a literal sack of shit as Show and Kane drop his lifeless body over the top. Then they do the same to Bray Wyatt, and the fans are fuming.

-As much as the fans like Dean, there was never any chance he was winning this match, and when Dolph and Bray go out, it’s 100% clear that Roman is getting this Rumble. Hope springs eternal, though…

-…Until Big Show and Kane out Dean just like they did Dolph and Bray. Immediate chants of “BULLSHIT!” from the fed-up crowd.

-Idiotically, Roman Reigns doesn’t even get to look strong as the end draws nigh. Instead of just beating the hell out of Kane and Show like a superhero, Reigns lies on the mat until the two way-past-their-prime giants turn on each other near the ropes (which feels like more sabotage booking since the duo worked in cohesion to get out the fan favorites, but as soon as they are left with the guy the crowd hates, they can’t do it any longer), allowing Roman to sneak over a dump them. It’s just more weirdness, because if the fans are supposed to buy this guy against Lesnar, why make his win a fluke?

-“WE WANT REFUNDS!” is the response to Romans’ fake victory.

-Show and Kane return to beat up Roman, and AGAIN instead of allowing Reigns to look strong against these two old men, he goes down to them until The Rock makes a surprise appearance to fend them off for him.

-Rusev pointlessly returns from not ever having been eliminated, but Reigns is finally allowed to shine against Rusev–a young up-and-comer–by just breezily Spearing the fuck out of him and chucking him out.

-The Rock returns to share in Reigns’ moment of having an entire arena tell him how much they hate him.

As I rewatch this Rumble and talk about it now… this is the worst one. This is even worse than the 1995 Shit Roster Rumble and the 1988 “We Don’t Know What We’re Doing Yet!” Rumble. This one is just an hour of befuddling nonsense booking.

For starters, Daniel Bryan didn’t even need to be here. For all the entire WWE Universe knew, he was still very hurt and out indefinitely. Bringing him back and putting him in this Rumble when there was previously only a slight glimmer of a shadow of hope that he might appear was a terrible decision if THIS is what they were going to do with him.

Despite this Rumble being just two months after Survivor Series, it made the prior event feel like years ago, because WWE just dug a hole and threw Dolph Ziggler’s forward momentum into it. The Survivor Series was never meant to be a career-reviving moment for Dolph after all. It was just WWE saying “Oh, you like this guy? Well here’s your bone: we did a thing with him. Shut up about it forever now, okay?”. And it took Dolph until his current angle with The Miz—a year-and-a-half later—to become relevant again.

Kane and The Big Show were booked like mythical gods EIGHTEEN YEARS INTO THEIR CAREERS and at a time when no one would have bought them as a threat to win this (hell, Kane was a full-fledged Jobber To The Stars throughout 2014 leading up to this), so why tease their dominance? Reigns is helplessly wrecked by them, but then treats like Rusev like a bag of irrelevant garbage? Just… why?

The only thing I’m getting out of this Rumble is that it fits my narrative that Roman Reigns is intentionally booked to be the perfect heel because he’s one the fans will never start cheering. Even when I started devising that, however, I never imagined it had started so early, but… it’s the only way most of the decisions here make any sense. I always thought that was a post-WrestleMania 31 decision on their part, but as I rewatch this… maybe it was always the plan? Or I’m just giving them too much credit.


1. 2001 (Austin III) – 10/10

2. 2010 (Edge) – 9/10
3. 2004 (Benoit) – 9/10
4. 1992 (Flair) – 9/10

5. 2007 (The Undertaker) – 8/10
6. 1997 (Austin I) – 8/10
7. 1998 (Austin II) – 8/10

8. 2008 (Cena I) – 7/10
9. 2002 (HHH I) – 7/10

10. 2005 (Batista I) – 6/10

11. 2003 (Lesnar) -5/10
12. 1989 (Studd) – 5/10
13. 1996 (Michaels II) – 5/10
14. 2011 (Del Rio) – 5/10
15. 1999 (McMahon) 5/10

16. 1993 (Yokozuna) – 4/10
17. 1990 (Hogan I) – 4/10
18. 1994 (Hart/Luger) – 4/10
19 2013 (Cena II) – 4/10
20. 2009 (Orton) – 4/10

21. 2012 (Sheamus) – 3/10
22. 1991 (Hogan II) – 3/10
23. 2014 (Batista II) – 3/10
23. 2006 (Mysterio) – 3/10
24. 2000 (The Rock) – 3/10

25. 1995 (Michaels I) – 2/10
26. 1988 (Duggan) – 2/10

27. 2015 (Reigns) – 1/10

The final score: review Extremely Horrendous
The 411
Yep, it's the worst one. There's virtually nothing about this affair that isn't a befuddling choice.