WWE Royal Rumble 2015
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1/25/15
1.) Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (with Adam Rose & Natalya) vs. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingson with Xavier Woods): ***
Our pre-show match on this PPV sees Cesaro & Tyson Kidd taking on The New Day. This was when Adam Rose was in the middle of getting a more-heelish character (he had just had his feud with The Bunny), and actually joined up with Cesaro & Kidd (calling themselves The Brass Ring Club). This was a pretty solid pre-show match. The New Day were still babyfaces at this point, and had yet to morph into The New Day we all know & love now, but they still had a good match here with Cesaro & Kidd, who are always on-point when it comes to their in-ring work. In the end, Cesaro & Kidd get the win.
1.) The Ascension vs. The New Age Outlaws: *¼
So after “getting chased out the territory” (leaving NXT) following their loss to Hideo Itami & Finn Balor at NXT TakeOver: [R] Evolution, The Ascension made their debut on the WWE Main Roster, and kind of took on a Road Warriors-esque gimmick, complete with shoulder pads with face paint. Here they’re taking on The New Age Outlaws, who somehow are still wrestling in 2016. There really wasn’t much to this match. It went five minutes, and The Ascension won (as they should have). Moving on...
2.) WWE Tag Team Titles - The Usos vs. The Miz & Damien Mizdow: **½
So between TLC 2014 and this show, The Usos won the WWE Tag Team Titles (I think on RAW, I can’t remember), and now, The Miz & Damien Mizdow are getting another shot. This was a fine match. As expected, the crowd in Philadelphia LOVES Damien Mizdow. In the end, The Usos retain their WWE Tag Team Titles, as tension between The Miz and his “stunt-double” builds.
3.) The Bella Twins vs. Paige & Natalya: **
Of course, Nikki Bella is the WWE Diva’s Champion, and she’s teaming up with her twin sister Brie Bella to take on Paige & Natalya. This is also the 4th straight tag team match on the card (counting the pre-show match). While the crowd was disinterested at various points, this was an ok match. They did a nice little story where Nikki & Brie kept isolating Natalya, until eventually, they took out Paige, and just pinned Natalya for the win. It was interesting that this was a tag team that went differently than you would think, as Natalya never got to make the hot tag to Paige, and just got pinned. Again, the match was decent.
4.) WWE World Heavyweight Title - Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (with J & J Security): ****3/4
I found it really weird coming into this match that Seth Rollins, who was still holding the Money In The Bank Briefcase at this point, was in a WWE World Title Match. It just didn’t seem right. However, in the end, it worked out for the better. This was an incredible Triple Threat Match!! From start to finish, this match had a ton of incredible action. What’s amazing is that John Cena felt like he was just the third guy, in that he didn’t stand out compared to Brock Lesnar & Seth Rollins, who were on FIRE in this match!! Lesnar is just a beast, tossing people around left & right. He’s a monster, and he’s awesome in this match! For Seth Rollins, this was a really a coming out party for him. He was all over the place, putting Brock Lesnar through one of the announce tables, and breaking out the PHOENIX SPLASH for the first time in WWE! In the end, Lesnar gets the win, and retains his WWE World Title in an incredible match!! Lots of great action in this one, and the crowd in Philadelphia loved it!
5.) 2015 Royal Rumble Match: *
Well, everyone is usually excited for The Royal Rumble Match, and this was no exception, at least coming into it. Plus, Daniel Bryan had just made his return, and would be in the match after getting snubbed the year before. Well, to say that the 2015 Royal Rumble Match was terrible would be an understatement. I won’t go over every entry and elimination, but I’ll give some highlights. Surprise Entrants in this Royal Rumble included Bubba Ray Dudley, The Boogeyman, and DDP. This match also saw the start of Curtis Axel’s “AxelMania” gimmick, where he was supposed to enter the match, but got taken out by Erick Rowan before he could enter. Axel would go on for the next year protesting that he never been eliminated from the Royal Rumble, which was fantastic.
However, the turning point of this match was when Daniel Bryan got eliminated by Bray Wyatt. From that point on, the crowd revolted against the match, and rightfully so. The remaining story of the match was Roman Reigns fighting “against the odds”, while The Big Show & Kane (not even demon Kane, but corporate Kane), working for The Authority, eliminated pretty much everyone else from the match, dumping out Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, & Dolph Ziggler like they were jobbers. The Big Show & Kane beat up Reigns after he had eliminated both of them, until The Rock came out and made the save. Then Rusev came back in (who had been outside the ring, but had never actually been eliminated), but was soon tossed out by Roman Reigns for the win. The Rock held his hand high as the Philadelphia crowd booed Reigns out the building. This was easily one of the worst Royal Rumbles of all time. It was a bad idea to have both Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns in this match to begin with, because if Bryan wasn’t winning it (which he never was going to), the crowd was going to turn on it. What made it worse was that the booking insisted on “telling a story” with two over-the-hill monsters eliminating all of the younger talent that people actually care about, and forcing Roman Reigns, who the crowd doesn’t like as “the next guy” to begin with, to “overcome the odds” ala John Cena. It just didn’t work.
This really was not a good showing from WWE at all. The Royal Rumble is usually one of the most anticipated shows of the year, but it ended being (for the most part) a massive disappointment. The undercard was really uninspiring, but things turned around with an incredible Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Title that was a legitimate Match of the Year Contender, and at the end of the day, was one of the best matches in 2015. Then the Royal Rumble Match itself happened, and it was trash. The booking was just so bad on so many levels. What is usually one of WWE’s bright spots ended up being one of the most disappointing matches of 2015.