Good day everyone! Welcome back to the Royal Rumble series with the milestone 25th edition. There was no tagline for Royal Rumble 2012, and unlike the match from the previous year, it fell back on tradition by featuring 30 competitors instead of 40. All 24 editions of the Royal Rumble series are linked below.
#1 (’88) – #2 (’89) – #3 (’90) – #4 (’91) – #5 (’92) – #6 (’93) – #7 (’94) – #8 (’95) – #9 (’96) – #10 (’97) – #11 (’98) – #12 (’99) – #13 (’00) – #14 (’01) – #15 (’02) – #16 (’03) – #17 (’04) – #18 (’05) – #19 (’06) – #20 (’07) – #21 (’08) – #22 (’09) – #23 (’10) – #24 (’11)
Royal Rumble 2012 – Scottrade Center
I didn’t watch the undercard, but it sounds like one of the worst. And this was at a time when Daniel Bryan & CM Punk were WWE & World Champions:
- Daniel Bryan retained his title in a steel cage by escaping from Big Show and Mark Henry, lasting little under 10 minutes.
- The Divas carried on with getting hardly any airtime. Beth Phoenix, Natalya and The Bellas defeated Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox, Tamina and Eve Torres in five minutes. Beth had been the Divas Champion for a few months, so naturally she got the pin over former champion Kelly Kelly.
- John Cena & Kane ended in a draw. Kane dragged an injured Zack Ryder to ringside to bury him with a Tombstone Piledriver.
- Speaking of burials, Brodus Clay squashed Drew McIntyre in a minute. Funny how things change, huh?
- The best match of the night was CM Punk retaining the WWE title against Dolph Ziggler. But many won’t remember it because we know Ziggler has never been a serious threat. Even more so with Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger banned from ringside.
It’s been a long time since WWE’s had a decent undercard for the Royal Rumble. It’s like they don’t try on purpose, just so the Rumble stands out more the next day. With that said, let’s move on to the main event of Royal Rumble 2012.
Like the previous year, we begin Royal Rumble 2012 with another heel on the mic. The Miz tries downplaying the fact he’s the #1 entrant, but no one cares and chant “WHAT?!”. A short and typical promo from him is followed by poor Alex Riley making his entrance; this is not a good start to a Rumble. Miz gets rid of Riley after a minute… and there goes his push. Luckily, we get things rolling with R-Truth as #3, bringing some much-needed entertainment value.
It’s not long til #4 makes his way, the Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes doing things for himself. The intensity ramps up as Cody & Miz work Truth over. Entrants are coming thick and fast as Justin Gabriel runs down to help Truth. The crowd is pretty quiet in the early going and I can’t blame ’em. Another wild jobber appears… it’s tag team champion Primo. Miz eliminates Truth, so the crowd loses the only face they care about. Truth is a sore loser and pulls Miz out of the ring and drops him, but Miz went under the bottom rope and is still in the match.
First big pop of the night goes to Mick Foley entering at #7, who gets a better reaction than six of the previous entrants combined. He can barely even run and won’t take any bumps, but the crowd doesn’t give a crap and chant for him anyway. Primo does all the work to help Foley eliminate him. Some faint “You Still Got it!” chants (he really doesn’t) as he drops Cody with his underhook DDT. Seeing as Alberto Del Rio is out with a groin injury, they decide to put Ricardo Rodriguez in his place.
Surprisingly, the crowd chants “Ricardo!”. OK, I’ve decided that this is proof he was always more over than Del Rio. Ricardo won’t go after Foley… so he beats down on Cody a bit. Then Justin Gabriel unexpectedly wrecks him with a dropkick. Foley changes allegiance from Gabriel to Rodriguez, and they double team to eliminate Gabriel. This is one big joke of a Rumble so far.
Speaking of which, Cole calls this situation goofy as Santino Marella power walks to the ring. I feel sorry for Santino’s talent as he works with Ricardo while Foley watches. They do a rolling thing… which Cole calls “chain wrestling”. And then Santino gives Ricardo a wedgie and eliminates him. This match might be hilarious if you’re 3-7 years old. An epic battle is about to take place! In one corner we have The Cobra, and in the other we have Mr. Socko. Ok, so I admit this is pretty funny and needed to happen. Epico is #10 and jobs out to the Sock & Snake Connection in 11 seconds (Did you Know?! Epico & Primo are the tag team champions).
Cobra and Socko lock up as the heels finally, after selling for what feels like forever, make their way back in to the ring. Despite being on the cover of the Rumble poster, Santino lasts a grand total of two-and-a-half minutes before Cody eliminates him. Meanwhile, Foley has The Miz in the Mandible Claw, opening the door for Cody to get rid of him as well. It’s tough to have any faith in the babyfaces at the moment. Kofi Kingston is #11, and he’s definitely from Ghana, not Jamaica. The action picks up considerably and Kofi hits a double boom drop.
When Jerry Lawler’s music plays, it reminded me which Rumble this was. Cole is irate about the hypocrisy of him taking a spot from a full-time superstar. King’s got some pretty sweet dropkicks, I’ll give him that. He hits the vintage fist drop on Miz and Cody immediately dumps him over the top to the floor. What a ridiculous match this is so far. Eh, we get a bunch of guys who make barely any impact in the grand scheme of things.
Ezekiel Jackson, Jinder Mahal, The Great Khali and Hunico take us up to entrant #16. This is painful… Khali gets rid of Jackson & Mahal. Guess what? Booker T is #17 and the crowd goes nuts. They LOVE Booker T, and it’s dumb how all these returning legends are millions times more over than the full-timers. By the way, it’s not the legends or the fans fault they suck. Cole says he should be doing his job as a commentator. Kofi Kingston is eliminated… oh wait! He does a handstand and walks on his hands to save himself! Kofi is awesome at finding ways to stay in Rumbles.
Dolph Ziggler enters and is looking dejected after losing to Punk not even an hour ago. HOOOOO! Jim Duggan enters at #19 and the place goes bonkers. “USA, USA, USA!” I’m from the UK and even I’m chanting USA. Such a huge pop for Duggan… but again, Cody sucks all the life out of the room by ensuring Jim lasts just under a minute. I gotta say, Cody is like the new legend killer! And then Cody & Ziggler eliminate Khali & Booker, leaving fans feeling dejected. After talking a lot of crap about King & Booker, Michael Cole enters the match as #20.
Cole gets in and acts like a boxer, but no one inside or outside the ring is paying him any attention. Oh oh, here comes Kharma (AKA Awesome Kong)! Only the third time a woman has entered the Rumble, and she floors Cole with a clothesline. He gets up and climbs over the top rope and stays on the apron. Kharma gets ready to eliminate him, but Booker T and Lawler do it instead. Back in the ring, Kharma hits the Awesome Bomb on Ziggler! Vickie Guerrero fails to distract her.
Hunico tries his luck and is launched over the top to the floor. Meanwhile, Ziggler’s recovered quickly from the finisher and eliminates her! Well that was underwhelming, she only lasted a minute. Sheamus is out next and gets a decent pop. He takes the fight to everyone and Kofi Kingston’s gone. Business has definitely picked up as we get in to the latter stages. Next up is Road Dogg with another sweet pop for a legend. Booker T marks out for his shake, rattle n’ roll. He moves like he can still go and is deserving of the “You Still Got It!” chant.
The announcers are loving these nostalgia entrants a bit too much. Also, Cole says Kharma isn’t a woman… she’s a diva. Jey Uso is in next, but his brother is not part of the match. By the way, The Miz & Cody are still in there. The All American American Jack Swagger joins the fray and straight on to Sheamus. King is surprised Road Dogg remains and I don’t blame him. My guy Wade Barrett is #26, looking mean and ready to make an impact. He goes after everybody and eliminates Road Dogg! Well, at least he got five minutes.
This match is such a downer in so many ways. David Otunga is #27. Did you know he’s a lawyer? I’m serious. Ohh! #28 is Randy Orton and it’s his hometown… what a pop! Ok, so this has gotten better. Double rope DDT to Cody & Dolph. Orton eliminates Jey Uso, RKO’s Barrett, and eliminates him too. “Break The Walls Down!” Chris Jericho is out with his light up jacket. Looks like they kept some of the bigger names for later. Y2J sees to it that Otunga takes no more part. Booker T says Jericho “leads his own ship”, which is ironic considering he does cruises now. Oh man, Big Show is #30. Sheamus & Show say goodbye to Swagger.
Big Show takes over proceedings and eliminate both Cody & The Miz at the same time! His elimination spree continues with Ziggler, leaving us with four guys remaining: Big Show, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton & Sheamus. Understandably, the three smaller guys team up on Show. After Jericho gets chokeslammed, Sheamus clubs him with a double axe handle and Orton follows with the RKO! They pick him up to eliminate but he fights Sheamus off. Orton lifts him over the top by himself! Jericho recovers and throws Randy over! We’re down to the final two. I think the crowd is a little split on who they want to win. Sheamus & Jericho get to brawling and the Celtic Warrior gains the advantage.
Jericho goes for the facebuster, but Sheamus reverses and almost launches Y2J over the turnbuckle. He clings on and survives, making his way back in with a flying dropkick. “Y2J” chant. Jericho makes a mistake and takes an Irish curse backbreaker. He reverses a Celtic Cross and almost eliminates Sheamus. Springboard dropkick and Sheamus still manages to hang on.
They’re doing an amazing job in the closing stages, sometimes it’s already over by now. Sheamus flies back in with a Mike Awesome-like shoulder barge. He goes for a Brogue Kick, but Jericho reverses in to the Walls Of Jericho! Sheamus gets to the rope, but there are no breaks. Y2J decides to relinquish the hold anyway, so he can showboat. They fight on the turnbuckle and Jericho knocks Sheamus off, straddling the top rope. Codebreaker! He goes for the pin… but there’s no pin-falls in a Rumble.
Jericho again, gets so incredibly close to eliminating Sheamus. When that doesn’t happen, Jericho slaps his opponent. An irate Sheamus throws him off and misses another brogue kick. He stops Jericho’s codebreaker and dumps him over the top, but Y2J is hanging on! He gets back on to the apron, but finally… Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick and eliminates him! He’s going to WrestleMania, and his celebration concludes Royal Rumble 2012.
You might have been able to tell by my tone, but Royal Rumble 2012 was a proper letdown for the majority. It wasn’t the worst ever, but it sure used several legends at the expense of making the current roster look average. Jim Duggan, Road Dogg and Mick Foley got the biggest pops, and yes it’s nice to see a legend or two, but there were a few too many. I can’t recommend this to anyone til Randy Orton hit the ring. The latter stages had some of the best action and a sense of urgency. Sheamus & Chris Jericho worked very well together and kept us guessing who would win right til the end.
I think most fans would’ve preferred Jericho winning, but because they put in the time and effort to sell the victor as someone who earned it, the fans accepted Sheamus going over. However, the biggest kicker is the fact that Sheamus went on to WrestleMania and challenged for the World Heavyweight Championship in the opening match! I won’t tell you what happened, because I’m sure you’re already remembering what happened. Let’s just say it made Royal Rumble 2012 feel irrelevant. If you can’t remember? You can find my old review (from 2016) on Wrestlemania XXVIII at the shared link. Thank you for reading! — WrestleMania XXVIII