Hello everyone. For those of you that didn’t follow me on Twitter, I was in Pittsburgh for the Royal Rumble this past weekend. I have a few in person thoughts from the show and just my general thoughts about where things are going from here in the WWE.
-First off, Pittsburgh is a nice city to visit. It is what I would love Buffalo to be. A nice downtown with plenty of restaurants and bars within walking distance. I would love to go back and visit during the summer and check everything out.
-While it may not have been a Wrestlemania like crowd, I would say a handful of people traveled to the Rumble. Not the majority or close to 50/50, but there were definitely a good amount of people at the hotel I was at there for the Rumble, and I saw a lot of people walking to hotels after the show. That probably played a lot into the crowd reactions for the night.
-I swear, I’ve been to multiple sporting events, concerts in 60,000 seat arenas and concerts in the same size venue as the WWE, but the WWE always seems to be the only people who have a problem letting people in on time. The doors were scheduled to open at 6:30. When I got in line at 6:45 the line was down the street. Then five minutes in they randomly stopped letting people in for about 10 minutes before they resumed. I just don’t get why the WWE has problems with this at every event.
-This one goes for every merchandise stand, but they need to be better organized. When you just lump everything together with no organization you have people waiting for 20 minutes.
-I will say that The Usos seem to be growing in popularity. Every fifth or sixth person I heard waiting was asking for an Usos shirt. Hopefully they continue to get a strong push.
-Once again, the pre-show match did a great job of getting the crowd into the show. I would say the majority of the arena popped when The Outlaws won the Tag Titles. Hopefully this is just a brief run for them. While I was initially not on board at first, I can live with the win as long as they end up losing to The Usos. As I said above, they are really growing in popularity and they deserve a run with the Titles.
-There’s no doubt that the Daniel Bryan/Bray Wyatt match was the Match of the Night. I don’t think I have ever been a part of a live crowd that has been so behind one wrestler like Daniel Bryan. It just simply amazes me that the WWE refuses to get behind him. They pushed him during a down time for WWE with football back. Now with the debut of the WWE Network, there should be little reason to not get behind Bryan again. But the WWE is so damn stubborn in their ways that I really don’t think they give a damn what their fans think. Bray Wyatt also showed a lot at the Rumble. There were a lot of people who were starting to doubt Bray, but he showed he can hang with the best of them and he delivered against Bryan.
-I think had it been anyone other than Brock Lesnar, the crowd would have turned on his match with the Big Show. But I think the crowd had enough respect for Lesnar and Paul Heyman to not turn on them. I think the crowd wants to see more of Lesnar. We all know that probably isn’t happening. Lesnar and Big Show weren’t going to put on an entertaining match, so this was the best use of their match. The crowd jsut doesn’t want to get behind Big Show anymore.
-Man, where do I begin with the Cena/Orton match? I was at the RAW the night after Wrestlemania where the crowd took over the show. To me, however, this crowd was better. Why? Because at Mania the crowd just did what they did for the hell of it. Here, it was the crowd actually shitting on the product. I said in every RAW Report and HTCPulsecast leading up to this match that it was quite obvious that the WWE was grasping at straws with this build. They had no story left to tell. And the crowd knew that, and adding to the fact we were seeing Cena/Orton version #7247290, they were fed up. There were the usual chants, but when you get a “We Want Divas” chant, you knew things were bad. I haven’t re-watched the match. I was so enamored with the live experience of the crowd that I couldn’t tell you if the match was good. All I know is the crowd gave a clear message that they want change at the top, and it is up to the WWE to make that happen.
-Now, on to the Rumble Match:
-I don’t know if he was injured, but CM Punk just didn’t seem like he did a lot once the match got into the teens. I noticed him talking to one of the referees a good amount at some point. But it seemed like Punk was just kind of there at times.
-Speaking of that, Kane was hiding by ringside for a good 20 minutes or so before he actually did something. I have no idea what the thought process was there, but he was by the ringpost on the camera side near the entrance until he did his thing with Punk. That was just weird.
-I would say that by about 22/23, the crowd started to sense that Daniel Bryan would not be in the match. I think it took full effect once Erik Rowan came out. Myself, like most of the crowd, was probably thinking Bryan might attack either Harper or Rowan and take their spot.
-Sheamus received a pretty good pop during his entrance. I don’t think the crowd minds him, they just wanted Daniel Bryan so badly that they booed him when he was around at the end.
-The WWE may have screwed up Daniel Bryan, but the have a chance at redemption down the line with Roman Reigns. I’m fully convinced, this guy is going to be money down the line. Here’s a guy that has the look the WWE wants. He has improved his in ring move set and added moves the fans love. Then he breaks Kane’s elimination record. And once the crowd realized it was either Reigns or Batista, they chose Reigns. Once again, a sign that the WWE audience wants new talent on top. Even the next night on RAW, the crowd cheered him. And he looked strong in the main event powering out of the STF. I know it is a year away, but Reigns would be my Royal Rumble pick if I was forced to choose who would win next year.
-Now on to the Batista win. I think the crowd, like myself, has no problem with Batista being back. The bigger problem that myself and the crowd had was that he was being thrown right into the main event picture on his return. That’s something that he in no way, shape or form deserved. He was never a huge ratings draw. And while he did some good work in the WWE in his first run, he just didn’t do enough to warrant being pushed to the top right away. At least with The Rock he had a proven track record as a draw and made a pretty big name for himself outside of wrestling. Batista hasn’t. I think that is the main reason everyone booed him winning, and why he is now a villain of the WWE audience.
-Not only that, but there is absolutely no way the WWE can get away with a Batista/Randy Orton match at Wrestlemania. Orton is known for his slow offense, while Batista was practically out of breath by the time the Rumble was over. That’s a bad combination for a match right there. While I’m sure everyone would love the crowd booing the match, the bigger message that could be sent would be the crowd just leaving during the match (assuming it’s the main event). If I’m the WWE, fans leaving would be more of a problem than boos and chants.
-There was a lot of negative reaction leaving the arena, and this is coming from someone who went to Battleground. (Man, my PPV track record is not good: Wrestlemania 27 and 29, Night of Champions 2011, Battleground, Great American Bash 2005, Fully Loaded 1999. At least I have Armageddon 2008 to brag about!)
-I don’t know if the Royal Rumble did anything to change the WWE’s mind for Wrestlemania. But it is pretty obvious that the crowd is going to crap on anything that does not have Daniel Bryan in the main event/WWE Title match. The crowd wants new stars made. It is so obvious but the WWE is just oblivious to it. The WWE Network should give those guys a shot, especially now that you don’t have to worry about PPV buys as much.
-Overall, I had a fun weekend in Pittsburgh. I went with three friends. Only one other, my friend Heather, is a big wrestling fan like me. My two other friends, Kevin and Sabrina, came for the weekend and had a fun time at the Rumble. If you ever want to have your non-wrestling fans watch a show, I always recommend the Rumble. (They wanted me to mention them by name in the blog, so I did.)
-The Road to Wrestlemania is definitely filled with more questions than we are used to at this point. And I think that is a good thing for now. Part of me thinks the WWE is just teasing their audience and then at the Elimination Chamber will shove it back in our faces and stick to the plan. I don’t know. All I know is that despite the shitty booking of the Royal Rumble, I’m still intrigued to see where things go.
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka