Let’s not beat around the bush here. Daniel Bryan is the most over guy in WWE right now. There is no denying it. But in all my years of watching WWE, I have never seen the reaction to one superstar of that magnitude at a PPV. First, Daniel Bryan started off with a match with Bray Wyatt that was FAR more entertaining than I expected it to be. I mean, did you see that Tornado DDT on the outside of the ring? Now, the right man won in this match. But props to both men for putting on an entertaining show for the first match of the night. However, the Royal Rumble told a completely different story. Before we get to the Rumble, however, we must address the Cena/Orton match first.
Now, if we are honest with ourselves, the Cena/Orton match wasn’t bad by any stretch. It was an above average matchup. Plus, seeing Orton lock in the STF, do the Atttitude Adjustment, Cena doing an RKO legitimately shocked me. The match, however, was drowned out by the crowd as dominant chants of “BORING”, “THIS IS AWFUL”, and the most dominant one of all “DANIEL BRYAN” drained any energy both men had in the match. Both men and the announcers tried to play off the boos and the chants, but there is no denying that the fans were not pleased of Bryan’s current standing in WWE. Now I thought that the constant boos echoing around the match for this match was bad. But the Royal Rumble ending…..let’s make no delay here.
29 superstars entered the Royal Rumble, and i think its safe to say that only CM Punk, JBL, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Kevin Nash (hope he didn’t tear a quad falling out the ring) and Batista (though boos were dominant) got decent reactions at that point. There was no Chris Jericho, and shockingly, no Rob Van Dam (but they can waste a spot on El Torito). With only one spot remaining, the crowd chanted “YES!” in anticipation for Daniel Bryan to come out. When the countdown ceased, and the buzzer rang, WWE fans were saddened to see that the final entrant was Rey Mysterio. Now I knew that Rey was going to be the last one to come out because they showed his face in the hype for the match and he hadn’t appeared in the match at that point. Rey Mysterio, one of the greatest faces in WWE history, was given the worst reaction in his career bar none. I have never seen someone that popular with the fans over the years get booed so heavily. God rest his soul, because its not his fault. They just wanted the one with the beard and long hair and the exciting matches.
The final four was Sheamus, CM Punk, Roman Reigns and Batista (three of the final four was pretty predictable). Now, I also predicted that Kane would screw Punk in the Rumble match because Punk had the upper hand on Kane on RAW. So now we are left with Batista, Roman Reigns and Sheamus. At this point, nothing but boos fill the arena. God knows that at this point the fans didn’t want Batista or Sheamus winning the match. So they were hoping that since WWE didn’t give them Bryan, they’ll give them Roman Reigns (another guy heavily over with WWE fans) as a consolation prize. After Sheamus was eliminated, Roman Reigns and Batista were the final ones left standing. Now, WWE said Reigns’ push was going to be bigger than anybody thinks. Now I thought that meant that he would win the Rumble, because I already was under the assumption that Reigns would already eliminate lots of guys (setting the record tonight). But when Batista reversed Reigns and threw him out, cue the boos. Tell me of a time you saw a Royal Rumble winner, especially a returning popular face, booed that hard. Believe me when I say it. Look at the past Royal Rumble winners. Randy Orton, John Cena, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, Stone Cold, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, Batista (in 2005), Chris Benoit…None of them got as booed as heavily as Batista now.
Not only was the match predictable, but never before in my eyes has it been clear what WWE fans want. When WWE put out advertisements for Batista’s return (which I think would have been much more received if he returned at the Rumble and not on RAW), WWE was expecting for the crowd to go nuts. And the crowd did on RAW. But at the Rumble, they didn’t forget Bryan’s match. And when Reigns was the only one left besides him, fans were chanting “ROMAN REIGNS”. They didn’t want the 45 year old Batista headlining WrestleMania. They wanted Reigns. They wanted Bryan more. Cole and Lawler can ignore it all they want. Triple H and Vinnie Mac can ignore it all they want. But one thing all those people have in common, is that they know who the real hero of the WWE fan base is at this point.
Here’s the thing though. Vince knows that Daniel is the most over guy in the business. He’s not deaf. He hears the chants of Daniel Bryan. But when Vince says he doesn’t care what hardcore fans want, he means it. He is going to have things his way, and even if the fans don’t like it, he couldn’t care less. He has his millions. He’s already successful. The reactions the crowd gives at this point are at the footstool of his concerns at this stage in his career.
I haven’t seen a crowd, or a fanbase get behind a wrestler this much since The Rock. Fans love Daniel Bryan, and tonight a message was sent loud and clear to the office. Despite whatever headphones they were wearing at the time, the sounds of Daniel Bryan was just impossible to ignore. WWE is starting to tread some dangerous waters if the fanbase in every arena continues to sabotage their shows just like they did tonight. The bottom line is that Bryan is backed by an army of people, but they don’t have the power. In Vince’s monarchy, we will continue to see the same men who tickles his fancy until otherwise. This crowd reminded me of ECW One Night Stand in 2006, except everybody was booed. WWE was fortunate that they didn’t start throwing chairs in the ring. Right now, fans are only opted to do one thing if this man doesn’t get treated the way he deserves: sabotage.