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WWE Royal Rumble Review
By Sean McCaffrey

Welcome everyone to another blog here on DOINOW.com.  I enjoy writing. I enjoy writing about things I enjoy. Writing about Francesacon or the Rangers is fun and comes easy to me. I’ve been a wrestling fan my whole life. For 10+ years, I wrote about professional wrestling, during both the good times and bad. It is always easier and more fun to write about a good wrestling show than a bad wrestling show.

For 8 out of those previously mentioned 10 years, I either booked or promoted wrestling. Some shows were homeruns, some shows were a swing & a miss. While running or booking shows, I always tried to listen to the fanbase, especially at the independent level. Fans not buying your product, whether it be through tickets or DVDs (which was my company’s bread and butter) can cripple you. While the WWE is at a level my company would’ve never attained, the same principles and rules apply. The customer, or fan, always comes first. Many wrestling promotions over the years have booked for the promoter first, the fan second and that piece of business never leads to profits.

For a while, I feel the WWE has been booking to Vince McMahon’s interests. From the start of Batista winning the Rumble last year, to the fiasco we got tonight, there have been many times the WWE has not listened to their audience. Vince can give all the lip service he likes and Triple H can say how twittter & live crowds is their test market sample, but at the end of the day, when you produce a show like the 2015 Royal Rumble, all I get is that Vince & HHH are speaking in cliches and feeding everyone a line of shit.

It seems that many customers/fans had the same feeling as I did after the 2015 Royal Rumble. Imagine my shock when I went to cancel the WWE Network after the event, only to get a message telling me that the page was not found. In essence, either the page to cancel crashed due to a server overload or the WWE cowardly took the page down. When I went to investigate, I feel it was the latter because #CANCELWWENETWORK was the number 1 trend on twitter in the world. I wish I could see Vince’s face, especially because of how much stock he puts into twitter.

All I’ve seen on twitter is this picture, from hundreds of accounts:

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Since I got to the page late, and it was taken down. I had to cancel through paypal. I found out I wasn’t the only one, as this image also popped up all over twitter:

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Don’t take my cancellation of the WWE Network as a knee-jerk, butt-hurt reaction. In my WWE reviews on this site, I’ve been saying all along, that the WWE is not geared for me. It is marketed for 9-10 year olds, while the WWE Network, with their archive footage, is marketed for people like me, in their 30’s. I don’t understand how the WWE wants to protect their Mattel deal, by going PG, but promotes a network to adults with the credit card to purchase the network. I’ve just finally had it. I’m not one of these people who will say “I’M NEVER WATCHING AGAIN!’, because wrestling has always been in my blood. Watching WWE is just like watching another episode of a tv series. However, I just refuse to pay for it anymore.

If enough people cancel, perhaps WWE will get the message. The kids they are marketing their product for can’t buy the network because they don’t have a credit card. It is up to the adult fans to cancel. Losing money is the only way to make conversation with Vince McMahon. You can bitch and moan if you want, but if you’re giving him money, there is no reason to change the course. Plus, February is a free month, because they are desperate for customers, so you can get all of next month free anyway, which is great if you are really starved for 73473043754745 different documentaries, all using the same clips, about the Attitude Era.

I watched the Royal Rumble with two friends. One of them is a current independent wrestler who knows his shit. The other is a life-long fan and will watch anything that’s on TV, whether it’s Smackdown or TNA. Before the show started, I commented that whatever the WWE does tonight, they will be second and third guessed. I thought that going in either a Bryan vs Cena or Bryan vs Rollins direction would’ve been best. I thought the worst scenario would be  Reigns vs Lesnar direction, especially if Lesnar is going into Mania as a lame-duck champion. Of course, Vince once again went in the direction of what he wanted the most, not what the fans wanted.

Of course, you can say this is just another obstacle and WWE can change their plans. That’s fine and true. However, this is the second biggest “Free-Per-View” of the year. The network is their life-blood. If they can’t give me what I want all year long, I’m going to cancel my subscription. If a TV show is bad 85% of a season, I’m not going to watch and I’m surely not going to pay to watch it. This is where WWE falls for me.

WWE needs to listen to their audience. If they want to say UFC isn’t their competition (It is) and TNA isn’t their competition (it’s not), that’s great. However, HBO GO, Netflix, Hulu, Crackle and any other VOD service is their competition. For the time and the money, I’m just not going to waste it on WWE anymore.

If there was anything I took out of the Royal Rumble this year, it was the fact that WWE does not learn from their history and will make the same mistake twice.

Talk about an intro. Let’s get into it:

January 25, 2015
Philadelphia, PA

Please notice where this show took place. There are three markets in the United States that will let you hear it if you are fucking up. New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Why the WWE would book the Rumble match the way they did is beyond me. You had to know the crowd was going to revolt.

Also, who starts a show off with four straight tag matches? Terrible format.

Additionally, whose bright idea was it to put Booker T in a prominent role on commentary? Is it an affirmative blacktion thing? He is fucking horrendous. It would be like pumping John Madden for Shannon Sharpe for a Superbowl broadcast. Even the stuff he brings up is not effective. He was talking about a C-level UFC show at one point, and then went on to talk about how Rusev was Bulgarian, despite being promoted as a Russian for the last year. Is Booker’s employment a rib on someone?

Tyson Kidd & Cesaro d. The Blacks
Glad to see Kidd & Cesaro get a win. I would enjoy Cesaro more, but he’s Swiss. He is just not connecting with me. At least that’s what Vince McMahon wants me to think. Ok match, but what a waste of Cesaro. The “make a faction of a certain race” crap is so dated.

Let’s get #CANCELWWENETWORK trending world-wide

The Ascension (Connor & Viktor) d. The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & Road Dogg)
Billy Gunn looks amazing at 51. He looks better than half the roster today. Speaking of good looks for someone aging, Lilian Garcia doesn’t look like she’s gained a day since the 1990’s.

This match was indicative of WWE’s current problems. The NAO are more over than anyone not named Bryan or Cena. All these guys they bring back come from the Attitude Era where they had all the lee-way in the world. Vince then wonders why guys don’t connect in their tight scripted PG world. A Stone Cold or Rock would never exist under today’s conditions or environment. Sad.

I’ve talked about the Ascension before, so not going to rehash my previous points. Check the archives for that. They suck, the gimmick sucks and they belong on WCW Saturday Night. They get a cheap win, that will not turn the fans to accept them as something to care about.

For the WWE Tag Team Titles
(C) Uso’s d. Miz & Mizdow
Same match you’ve seen for the last two months. Every Uso match is the same, but this was particularly boring and repetitive. Biggest story of the match was Miz refusing to tag in Mizdow. I hope this is a slow burn, as they deserve a Mania match, not a TV show feud that culminates on Smackdown.

Jey splashes Miz for the win. Remember when Miz was world champion? Remember when Cena wasn’t allowed to beat Miz cleanly at a Wrestlemania?

The Bella Twins d. Nattie & Paige
Who cares? This match had a crappy build and was full of botches. Someone PLEASE, PLEASE, give Paige a toothbrush and show Paige how to use it. I haven’t seen worse teeth since the last time I saw Balls Mahoney.

Sloppy match with Nikki giving Nattie a forearm for a finish. This match felt longer than most matches. Nattie was also blatantly calling out spots.  Bellas are improving in the ring, but the level of women matches in the WWE has dropped since AJ’s sabbatical.

For the WWE World Title
(c) Brock Lesnar w/Heyman vs John Cena vs Seth Rollins w/Stooges
Very good match. I enjoyed this, although I didn’t care for the finish. Unless Lesnar is staying, I don’t want to see him go to Mania as a lame-duck champ. I also don’t like the WWE title never being on TV. I would’ve rather seen Cena win, and Rollins do the cash-in on him.

Lesnar going over aside, this was a dramatic match with many twists and turns. I read the Vegas odds before, so I expected Lesnar to win. However, I still was never 100% sure. In this day and age, if I can’t predict a finish, that’s a good thing. I want to be tricked. I want the rollercoaster ride of a good story.

One thing that got on my nerves a bit was everyone no-selling Cena’s AA. This isn’t a video game or a Young Bucks match, finishers should matter.

Rollins put Lesnar through an announcers table, via a top rope elbow. Don’t know if Lesnar was really hurt or not, but the announcers claimed he broke a rib. It did seem Cena & Rollins were stalling for time, as doctors checked out on Lesnar. If it was gimmick doctors, I just feel the camera would’ve focused on it more.

Cena had the match won, until Lesnar ran in and went into beast mode. Lesnar pins Rollins after a F-5. Lesnar vs Reigns is a match I do not give two shits about. I do not want Lesnar as a lame-duck champion. I would like to see a lame-duck Lesnar vs Rock or a staying Lesnar vs Bryan. Since I’m not getting either, I canceled my subscription. The customer is always right.

Royal Rumble Match
Vince McMahon’s Chosen One Gets Booed out of the Building to become #1 Contender at Wrestlemania

The Good:

Bubba Dudley. A total legit surprise. I think I enjoyed this more because it hurts TNA and I just want them to go out of biz already. I know, I know, the more competition and companies the better, but TNA is a wasteland and has been for some time. Let them go out already, and open up opportunities for another company to start up. Bubba does alot of backstage work for TNA, so this is a major blow. Firing his girlfriend, in hindsight, was probably a reason why he was here tonight. Bubba has been politicking to return for sometime. Since they were in Philly, the crowd ate it up huge.
– The What’s Up Spot: Did R-Truth forget to say “WHAT’S UP” on purpose? Bubba & Truth’s spots were perfectly booked. Don’t play the race card here, R-Truth was perfect because of the what’s up shit.

– Boogeyman, DDP & Ryder were your returning surprises. I was glad not to have suffered through Orton or Sheamus. RVD was rumored, but it’s been done. Ditto Jericho. I heard rumors about Scott Steiner. That would’ve been cool. Bubba Dudley was the ECW guy, killing the effective bWo fan movement. It would’ve been cool to see a genuine good guy like Blue Meanie get a payday, but Bubba was the right call for the nostalgia pop. Plus, he probably has a run in him and WWE could use a guy that is over, considering they are having trouble creating new stars.

The Bad:

Bray Wyatt – it’s run its course. He’s not over. People just like doing the cell phone shit. He will never draw. Is he another HHH creation that is shoved down our throats because everything else he’s backed has failed?

Rusev- I DO NOT WANT TO SEE RUSEV VS CENA OR RUSEV VS ROCK AT WRESTLEMANIA. Apparently, that’s the direction they are going. That is a good reason why I’m part of the #CANCELWWENETWORK movement. Nationality angles never have long shelf-lives. How long will this be dragged out? Once Rusev becomes the next Khali or Koslov, Rusev will be shit-canned to doing tags with Santino. Then Rusev can talk to Marc Mero about how their girls became bigger stars than them and dumped them for a bigger name.  This Russian shit can only go so far and for so long. I would never would want to waste a legit draw like Cena or Rock doing a patriot angle.

The Ugly:

Daniel Bryan’s elimination – how come myself and every other customer in the WWE Universe could predict that if you eliminate Bryan, you will have the same reaction you had last year, when Misterio came out at #30? The second Bryan was tossed, the crowd deflated like a Bill Belichick football. The match literally died like a Benoit family member. Everything else got booed out the building.

Roman Reigns– It’s not his fault, just like it wasn’t Batista’s fault last year. He was booked in a terrible position. He’s getting X-Pac heat now. Fuck, the whole match got X-pac heat the second Bryan was tossed. Put it this way, you had Reigns do the same formulaic bullshit, pointing at the Mania sign. You had the Rock endorse him. You had HHH/Steph come out to try to make him a babyface. NOTHING WORKED. THE CUSTOMERS DID NOT WANT THIS. Why not give the customers what they want?

Even worse – Reigns did a whole lot of nothing until the end. With the Bryan reaction already against him, he was booked to look like he was overcoming the odds against two guys in their mid-40’s. How could the WWE think this was good?

Kane & Big Show in the Final Four – Really? I’m also sick of the announcers, every year, saying “HOW DO YOU ELIMINATE THE BIG SHOW?” Go watch the last 15 or so fucking Royal Rumbles.

Ambrose & Ziggler – two guys the fans didn’t boo out the fucking building after Bryan and they are fodder for Show & Kane? Where is this company going? Who knows, I just won’t pay to see it.

The Rock – why would you not advertise him? Wouldn’t that benefit WWE network subscriptions? You could hear the crowd half-groan when Ziggler was number 30, as WWE tweeted the Rock was in the building right before the show. Once Bryan was eliminated, it was a forgone conclusion that Reigns was winning. However, there was that glimmer of hope that Rock would enter and win. Even if he won, he may have been booed. THINK ABOUT THIS: EVEN IF THE ROCK WON THIS MATCH, HE MAY HAVE GOT BOOED BECAUSE OF DANIEL BRYAN. And they think Bryan isn’t over? Roman Reigns winning this rumble would be like booking Ken Shamrock to win the 1998 Royal Rumble instead of Austin. LISTEN TO YOUR FUCKING FANS, they pay the bills.

Going forward, unless WWE corrects their mistakes like they had to do last year, Mania shapes up as this:

Lesnar vs Reigns for the WWE title – a match that will do Reigns no favors if Lesnar is gone the next day.

Sting vs HHH – only HHH and his family care about this match. Half the crowd doesn’t even know who Sting is, because they are all young. The money match is Taker vs Sting, but since it’s the customers idea and not WWE’s idea, that won’t happen.

Wyatt vs Bryan or Taker – Bryan looks like the back-up plan if Taker can’t go. I could care less about either match. Wyatt doesn’t do it for me.

Cena or Rock vs Rusev – I would rather see Cena/Rock 3 then see a blockbuster main eventer wasted with a cheap nationality match.

Rollins vs Randy Orton – I feel like I’ve seen this match a 1000 times already.

WWE can still book themselves out of this hole, but to do so, they will have to admit they are wrong again. They may say Philly is just a weird crowd. The only way I see WWE trying to fix their mistakes is if people keep canceling their subscriptions or future crowds react the same way this one did.

Paying $9.99 was too much. I would’ve rather put the Pro Bowl on my main TV and not even stream this show on my smaller TV.

– The NHL All-Star & NFL Pro-Bowl games were no better. It was just a disappointing day of Sports & “Sports Entertainment”. The fantasy draft crap kills these all-star games. The NHL was such a disgrace and I really hope those goalies don’t get some mental issues after that game. What’s the point of having all-star games if the elite players go half-speed and don’t care?

The northeast is supposed to be clobbered with a blizzard on Monday night-Tuesday morning. If the Rangers & Islanders play Tuesday night, I’ll be back here. Until then….

Sean McCaffrey
[email protected]
@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter