Royal Rumble XXV - Wrestlemania XXVIII: Looking ahead..
by, 01-26-2012 at 12:43 AM (2550 Views)
Before i get into this i would like to explain a few things about me as a wrestling fan and as a person. I say both but the two are basically one in the same. Ive loved Pro Wrestling since a very early age, my first memory being that of The Million Dollar Man trying to buy off Big John Studd at the 1989 Royal Rumble. In saying that at the time i would have only been 2 years old, but seeing it year or so later it not only became one of my first wrestling memories but one of my first memories ever. Being a kid i loved the big flashing lights, the over the top personalities and the comical ramblings of The Brain and Monsoon, to the point where i had my Mum's (or Mom depending on where you are) friend make me a wrestling ring so i could play with my whole set of WWF Hasbro figurines. I would set up the collectors cards i got from all those packets of gum around the ring so i could imagine the banners of each wrestler hanging from the rafters as i axed and smashed (see what i did there?) these pieces of plastic together as if i had the WWF right in my bedroom.
What im basically trying to say is. Im one of you. Im one of the die hards.
And thats why i feel like now is a great time for me to write my first blog, about the thing i love, and the thing i want to see thrive so that my own kids can have the same enjoyment out of Pro Wrestling as i did at their age.
At the moment i see the WWE at a critical stage. Their talent right now is on the cusp of being that great set of personalities that can draw you in. Vince McMahon seems to have taken a small step back from his previous thinking pattern, and seems intent on building new stars for the future. Stars that he can hang his hat on and say that this latest generation of 'Superstars' are something to be proud of, while in the last stage of his legacy that he may leave behind sooner that i assume even he, himself thinks.
Thats why i think this year, above any other in recent times is the most important year for the WWE to hit home with everything it presents. Starting with the 25th anniversary of the Royal Rumble.
From here il go into a few personal booking scenarios that i think are fair enough to the WWE standard at the moment while also incorporating some things that i think can help build on the stars and stories looking ahead.
Based off of last years Royal Rumble i can assume that we will get 3-4 matches then the rumble match itself. While 3 matches have already been confirmed i would like to see a Tag Tittle Match added to the card so here it goes:
Match 1: WWE Tag Team Tittle Match
Epico and Primo vs The Uso's
Now i know this match was just done on RAW, but i really think that having a strong Tag Team division going forward can only do good things for the WWE, and i know im not the only person who thinks this. Im really into E & P at the moment, their moves are fluid, they seem to be getting a better crowd reaction each time they go out with little to no promo time and they actually feel like a real tag team. Maybe im reading too much into this or maybe its because im feeling nostalgic for the great 91' match between The Rockers and Orient Express, but a good fast paced tag team match between two young up and coming tag teams seems like the perfect opener to me.
I still feel like its a little early taking the belts off E & P and going forward i would love to see a solid feud between these two teams, so ild have E & P go over with some sort of interference from Rosa.
Winners: Epico and Primo
Looking ahead: Like i said earlier i would really like to see some sort of feud come out of this. Maybe have Primo cut a few promos about how their Dad never made it to the level of World Champion, and draw comparisons to Carlos Colon and Rikishi's over seas ventures with one being greater than the other, or something to that extent. Also with the recent face turn for Tamina you could try and get her involved to combat Rosa, since theres the history there with the Uso's.
Match 2: World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match.
Daniel Bryan © v Mark Henry v Big Show
The set up here has been done brilliantly in my opinion. Bryans heel persona is being pushed along perfectly and goes beyond the chicken sh*t heel that we've seen done so many times in the past by WWE. Bryan is a thinking mans villain, and if you listen to him closely you can tell he thinks about all the little things in his promos, and manages to twists his words so that it better fits his agenda. The more and more i think about it, the more im liking the idea of Bryan vs Orton at Wrestlemania.
While Bryan has been making a slow turn heel, its starting to seem like Henry is making a slow turn face almost by default. Without changing his personality Henry would be a great face and could have some great back and forth with someone like The Miz. In the end though i would love to see Bryan sneak out of the cage while Show and Henry are beating the piss out of each other completely oblivious.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Looking ahead: Bryan should hopefully build his heel character a little more. If he keeps this up, by Wrestlemania people would be clamoring to see him drop his tittle, and like previously said Orton would be a great baby face to take it. As much as i love Henry at the moment, its starting to draw close to the end of his Career, and i think its only fitting that he goes out as a baby face while he has the respect of a lot of the wrestling fans out there. Plus as a baby face he would be perfect to put over a debuting new superstar like Claudio Castagnoli on his way out. For Show, at the moment i can give or take the guy. He, like Henry should be out of the ring sooner rather than later, however i still see value in a win over Big Show. It would be great for Bryan to eventually pick up that clean submission win and solidify himself as a higher card guy.
Match 3: Kane v John Cena
As much as i dislike this storyline at least its doing one thing. Establishing a new darker character for John Cena. While i don't think we're going to see him go heel any time soon, i think the WWE are smart enough to know that he's going into Wrestlemania as the bad guy. What we should see is Cena go all out crazy and Kane getting what he wanted since the start of this program (i cant even bring myself to write it, its that cheesy). Cena's Ultimate Warrior face aside, ive always preferred the serious Cena to the cheesy, one liner Cena, so for me personally im liking the direction this has taken him. I wonder if they could use this storyline to write off Kane for good. Not everyone can have a Ric Flair storybook send off, and from what i understand Kane has a good head on his shoulders, going out at the hands of John Cena isn't necessarily a bad thing. Also i think a good way to write Cena out of the Rumble (thats if they are putting the guys from the earlier matches in there) is for him to be disgusted with his actions and leaving the arena, or Laurinaitis banning him from the arena after the match.
Winner: John Cena
Looking ahead: Seeing Cena become this angry man in the build up to Wrestlemania should be fun to watch. If portrayed correctly. I think maybe keeping him off TV for a couple weeks after the Rumble could really help sell his 'decision' in turning a bit darker. Plus it would be interesting to see what the numbers (cause we all know how we live by these numbers) would be like with Punk as the top guy at a time where the product is generally quite hot coming out of the Rumble. Cena needs a shot in the arm or something to help drag him out of this funk he's been in for the last few years. While i don't think turning him heel is the right thing to do, adding a few dimensions to the guy can only be a plus.
Anything for Kane after this, unless the WWE plans on running this again at the Elimination Chamber, will probably be a let down. I honestly believe that after the Rumble Kane should be out of the picture for good. Theres not a lot left you can do with the guy to be honest, and while he has been awesome over the years, i would hate to see him become this sad washed up man in the ring. Sad but true. Kane would be perfect working behind the scenes, especially helping the bigger guys that go through FCW.
Match 4: WWE Championship
CM Punk v Dolph Ziggler
This should be the match of the night. I would love to see these guys go a solid 25-30mins. Ive always been a huge fan of Dolph and over the last few months he's just proved why i always thought he could be a top guy. While the build for the match between the two guys in the ring has had to take a backseat to the Punk/Laurinaitis stuff over the past weeks, i still think there is enough of a story to build around. In a perfect world i would love to see Dolph go face here, based on his performance on the night. I would love to see him take Punk to the limit and then Punk acknowledge Dolphs passion and perseverance, leading to Dolph leaving Vickie which in turn would give him a huge pop on the night. Probably. However given RAWs lack of top level heels right now i just cant see this happening, plus a turn like that should be played up a bit on the TV before just throwing it out there cold. When its all said and done though i cant see Punk without the tittle going into Wrestlemania, and while theres still a PPV in between, him dropping the belt to get it back next month seems really weak.
Winner: CM Punk
Looking ahead: Punk is THE man to lead the WWE into the next few years. It may take a while though and if the WWE were to realize that theres gunna be a few bumps in re-establishing a different fan base without going hot and cold all the time then Punk is the guy who's gunna be making the WWE all their money. Dolph can only go up from here, surely. Unless something really stupid happens in the next few months Dolph should be getting established at the top of the card. Although i have a few scenarios played out in my head for him at Wrestlemania (that will be my next blog!), i think the best thing for him would be to get away from Punk and Cena on RAW and build himself up over on Smackdown! where the roster is pretty thin right now. Dolph is this generations dynamic performer, much like Jericho and HBK before him, i think Dolph will be the guy stealing the show in years to come.
Match 5: The Royal Rumble
Okay. This is the big one. Personally i gotta say, im pretty pumped for the Royal Rumble match this year. I can see a handful of people actually going in there and taking this thing out. While i don't really agree with WWE leaving the list of competitors completely blind to us, it does add a bit more mystery about who may make an impact in this thing.
So, i wont try going over every guy in the Rumble, il try to just highlight the more important things i can see/would like to see happen. As for returns, i have three that spring to mind (minus Orton who im not counting since he's been announced for Smackdown!) Christian, Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio. Christian should be a fun entrant in the Rumble and i can see him lasting a while, maybe even until the end. I would love to see the interaction between him and Jericho given their history. Christian would be perfect as a leading guy for the MITB match at Mania so i wouldn't try and involve him in any stories in the Rumble match itself. I still think his 'One More Match' gimmick has some legs and would fit in well with him getting put into the MITB match.
Del Rio and Mysterio i think should have some interaction and storyline coming out of this match. I know that this has been done before, however i think a Mania match between these two based off their Lucha history would help tie into that mask record the WWE seem adamant in breaking. If the rumors are true and Vince wants Del Rio to come back more menacing than cocky, then it will add a different dimension than their previous matches.
I still think theres something to a Shamus/Barrett match at WM and i would love to see the two go old school like Bad News Brown and Piper. Just tearing each other apart after they have been eliminated at ringside. I loved that visual at WCW World War 3 where Goldberg and Bam Bam Bigelow got into a massive brawl on the outside and all the refs and security had to come down to split them. Classic.
I hope Dolph finds his way into the Rumble and maybe start something with Mick Foley. Something big needs to happen for Dolph at Mania and i think a match with a legend like Foley could really help this guy. It seems like some seeds were planted the other week on RAW, so hopefully theres something behind this.
Now i have a few ideas that could be mystery guys. I can see them throwing out a couple guys like Duggan or maybe even Windham based on the Horsemans Hall of Fame induction, for nostalgia reasons like the do every year and it seems a given this year considering its the 25th anniversary. However i would be as bold to say that i think someone like RVD will make a surprise entrance much like Booker did last year. Or maybe even Matt Hardy making a return to the WWE given that he just went through WWE sponsored rehab. In saying that i wouldn't want to see Matt back myself, but i can see it as a possibility. I really hope if they do throw surprises like that out, that it isn't anyone huge like Brock or Batista because it would totally detract from the fresh new talent that should hopefully be showcased in the ring.
My pick for winning the 2012 Royal Rumble though is 'Y2J' Chris Jericho. I really think this whole thing is setting up Punk/Jericho at Wrestlemania and who wouldn't want to see that? The 'casual' fans get the big Cena/Rock match, while us more die hard fans get Punk/Jericho. It seems like a win/win to me. Winning the 2012 Rumble seems like a perfect step to 'ending the world as we know it', working in some Mayan prophecy angle (which im sure is what this whole thing is about), and bringing what many have called since the beginning, the subliminal messages about Punk in the return videos to the forefront.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Looking ahead: I don't wanna dive too much into this because most of the things ild have looking ahead would be for Mania and i want to make a separate blog based on that. I would however like to throw out an idea for the Elimination chamber. For me ive always hated big level angles happening at Elimination Chamber, things like tittle changes and starting feuds only 6 weeks out from the biggest PPV of the year. IMO it should all be semi set in stone from the Rumble onwards. In saying that, what i would like to see happen is that the challenger for the tittle that the Rumble winner doesn't go after (in my scenario the World tittle) be decided in Elimination Chamber. Reason being is that it should be a lot harder to win, its a lot more dangerous match, the risk of being 'injured' going into Mania should be a lot higher and there aren't nearly as many slots. Plus i think having two Elimination Chamber matches in one night is a little bit overkill (much like this blog!). I also don't think that Punk, as the champion being challenged by Rumble winner should have to defend his belt before Wrestlemania, giving you more build time. This i think would also be the perfect time to do Punk/Laurinatis, but thats just me.
So there you have it. My predictions. My fantasy booking. My first Blog. Hopefully its not too much of a read, though looking back.. maybe it was little over kill. This should be part 1 of 2, with the 2nd part as previously mentioned looking ahead to this years Wrestlemania. Thanks for taking the time to read this! i really truly appreciate it.
Until next time. Take care… you know the rest.