Royal Rumble in WWE PROGRAMMING Posted January 27, 2014 The Rumble got off to a great start with Bray/Bryan. That was a legit MOTYC and the easy frontrunner for now. The match structure and spot ideas seemed like they were all Bryan, but Bray really stepped up and held his own in there. His timing was great, he was in good position for Bryan's moves and delivered all of his own moves perfectly. Definitely looked like he belonged in a high end match. And if you told me 3 years ago that Husky Harris would be in a ppv match getting "This is awesome" chants, I would've thought you were crazy. While there will be plenty of time for bemoaning the misery of being a Daniel Bryan fan, I am quite happy for Bray getting a big moment here. The Show/Lesnar post-match went on way too long, but the pre-match and all 2 minutes of the actual match were great. Lesnar getting in with a quick sucker punch, then taking Show down with ease and going to the G&P was beautiful. He also ate the fuck out the KO punch during Show's comeback. Looked like he was straining a little bit more with the F5 than he was in 2003, but he still hit it nicely. Also, how much do you think Show hated hearing the match layout from the agent? "So, we're thinking you need to take about, oh... 100 chair shots from a guy who is notoriously stiff and has been bumping like a freak the past two weeks to get you over... This is the only time we're giving him to get any heat on you..." Anyway, at this point, I'm thinking we're on pace for an all-time great ppv. Excellent MOTYC level opener, decent (if not long) heat grab for Lesnar, and Bryan jobbing to set up a triumphant return later... Well, you know what happens. Cena and Orton had no chance to get over in their match and they both knew it. You can tell they gave up after about 30 seconds. Terrible performance by Orton who has no business making to Mania with the strap(s). I've been a big defender of Orton in the past (and this by no means invalidates his previous good works), but he has been truly abysmal since HIAC. barring the one good Raw match with Bryan. Not one of his ppv matches since then has had an ounce of heat and two of them feature the crowd actively shitting on it. He's booked terribly and is beyond mailing it in inside the ring. Cena wasn't particularly good here either, but I can't blame him for not trying. The crowd wasn't having any of it, right or wrong. Going to the Rock/Cena MOTY-winning formula of no-transition finisher exchanges was the diarrhetic icing on this shit sundae. The Rumble was pretty much what I expected. Solid stuff as usual for the early stages, and the overall impression would be determined by Bryan winning or not. Reigns was a house of fire, and most of the Shield stuff was pretty good. Sheamus looked solid in his return. Nash gingerly lowering himself to the floor and still clutching at his knee when he touched was sickly hilarious. Kofi's jump was amazing. That Rusev guy didn't look half bad, way better than Bo Dallas at least. Of course, the lasting memory was the crowd's vile hatred of Batista. I knew people would turn on him eventually if he got pushed over Bryan, but I didn't think it would be undeniable by his second appearance. I never wanted to see Batista back, now he's immediately my least favorite guy on the roster, below the Miz and Curtis Axel. Overall, I'm glad we got Bray/Bryan and the Lesnar/Show bit was good until the second bell, but let's just say I'm not as enthused about my Wrestlemania ticket purchase as I was 3 months ago... After tonight, they have to at least contemplate Bryan/Taker for something to put on last. Batista/Orton for the title will be a Lesnar/Goldberg clusterfuck at best. There can't be anybody who seriously thinks running that match in front of a Mania crowd is a good idea, especially after the Rumble. I know I personally will partake in every effort to make the DVD-editing guy earn his paycheck if that's actually the main.