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If you look in my man cave right now, you’ll see a original Nintendo, a Super Nintendo, an N64, a Playstation and a PS2 in the same area that you see my PS4 and PS3. What does that tell you about me? Well, I somehow have a wife, so it’s not that I’m a virgin! No, it tells you that I like my retro-gaming. If it’s in a cartridge, I’m all over it. So, when Triple H won the WWE title for the ninth time (and the first time in seven years) at the 2016 Royal Rumble last night, I was pretty happy. It’s time to play the retro game!


Some members of the Internet Wrestling Community (no, it’s not a real thing, it’s just what we call whiny wrestling fans on the web) out there are probably going to be mad about this result. Triple H is too old! They should be elevating new stars! Anybody but Cena, but not this! Daniel Bryan should have come back from his many concussions to risk his life to entertain us! A.J. Styles should have won the title in his debut! Where’s Finn Balor?! I hate this but I refuse to present a better story line! Mom! I’m working on my podcast! Just leave the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and my Dr. Pepper at the top of the stairs and I’ll get it when I’m good and ready!… Although some of those points are valid, I think the WWE did the best they could with what they had available, and they are in the midsts of telling an awesome story that we should all get behind.


The fact of the matter is that WWE is very low on high-level talent right not. It’s not because they haven’t been doing their best to develop talent, either. It’s because some very top guys are very injured right now. Over the last few months, they’ve seen the roster hit very hard by the injury bug. Seth Rollins was champion for about 8 months, and the top heel in the company, until he blew his knee out in November. He probably won’t be back for Wrestlemania. John Cena, the face of the company, is out with a bum shoulder and might not be around for Wrestlemania either. Cesaro, a guy who has made great strides into the upper midcard this past year, is out and probably won’t be at Wrestlemania. Randy Orton, one of the top stars of the last decade, is also out with injury. It’s hard to build stars in general, but cobbling together stars out of guys who aren’t quite ready yet–and having to do it in a hurry–is very difficult.


Triple H, HHH, Roman Reigns, Royal Rumble
Reigns goes toe to toe with his boss, and the would be Champion.


If Rollins were still around, the Authority would still be using him to screw Roman Reigns over. They wouldn’t need Sheamus and the League of Nations, and they wouldn’t need Triple H. However, in the context of what went on last night, I almost feel like Trips was the only thing that really made sense in the terms of following along with the current main story lines. I mean let’s think about it. Reigns has been in a months-long battle with The Authority, with Triple H at the forefront of it all for the evil organization. About a month ago, Reigns became so fed up with Triple H, Vince and Stephanie screwing him over, that he threw a beating on Trips the likes of which we haven’t seen in maybe 10 years. Did you think the man who once dressed up as Kane and had sex with a dead body just to spite Kane would take that shit sitting down? He had sex with a corpse! Kane never even beat him as unmercifully as Reigns did last month. What did you think he was going to do? This time, HHH didn’t have sex with any corpses… thankfully. Instead, he went home, licked his wounds and began training, while planning the family’s ultimate revenge with Vince.


The plan kicked into gear early in the match, before anyone even knew Trips was going to be involved. Vince brought out the aforementioned League of Nations mid-match and had them throw a thunderous beating. Each guy hit their finisher on the big Samoan, then they set him up on the French announce table and had Rusev run across the other two tables and splash him into oblivion. Visually, it was one of the better moments of not only the Rumble match, but of the entire show. Total stretcher job; although Reigns refused to be stretchered out, and stumbled backstage under mostly his own power.


Triple H, HHH, Royal Rumble
Trips backstage after his big title win. (


Now, you knew Reigns was coming back later on to get revenge, probably win the match and gloat in the faces of all of the Authority members. That’s why Vince and Triple H had their backup plan. Much like they rigged the drawing to have Reigns enter first overall, they somehow managed to get Triple H to come in at number 30, fresh as a daisy for the final moments of the match. The two squared off in the middle of the ring for a bit to give the crowd a thrill, and eventually became involved with other people in the match.


Not too long after, however, a moment of lost concentration cost Reigns everything he’s worked so hard for. Reigns eliminated Sheamus, who was standing on the apron at the time, and took one quick second to gloat about his revenge from the beating earlier in the rumble match. That’s when Triple H, the cagey veteran, lept into action. In one fell swoop, The “Cerebral Assassin” snuck up from behind Reigns and dumped him over the top rope, ending the Reigns’ title reign just like that. Trips still had Dean Ambrose left to eliminate to complete the evil plan and, despite some good teasing that Ambrose might win, Trips old-man-eliminated him too. We had our new champ.


The Authority has now completed the ultimate screwjob. Not only did they successfully take Reigns’ belt, they now possess the most coveted championship in the industry. Good luck getting that back, Roman! This HHH win makes sense for many reasons. Trips is the easy heel here, with no love lost from fans who have been booing him in a suit for a few years now. Secondly, it sets up a beautiful Wrestlemania main event. Reigns is set up nicely to get screwed again at Fastlane, before gaining his ultimate revenge at the granddaddy of them all, Wrestlemania. I fully expect the Reigns to win this belt back in April, and it’s going to be pretty good. At least until Rollins comes back to take back the belt he never lost.


Overall, the Rumble was a great show. A.J. Styles debuted, was pushed like the big star he is and lasted 28 minutes before being eliminated by Kevin Owens. The fans went nuts for Styles, and for when these two went at it. If the WWE wants him to be, Styles should be a big star for them heading into ‘Mania season. Some think Brock Lesnar should have won the rumble, but I liked that it took the entire Wyatt family to eliminate him, and I expect this to be another major ‘Mania feud moving forward. Finally, the tease of an Owens vs Sammy Zayn feud created an electric moment in the ring, and the fans reacted with one of the biggest pops of the night. I hope this is a ‘Mania feud, but maybe they hold off on it until the summer. Either way, it’s going to be awesome. Those two were born to work with each other in a WWE ring, and I can’t wait till it happens.


Anyway, that’s all from me about the Rumble. I hope you guys watched it on the network (did you know it’s only $9.99?). If you haven’t, you should. For fun, take a look at HHH’s first Rumble win, in 2002.


Martin Stezano

About Martin Stezano

Uruguayan born and American raised with a unique perspective on the domestic and international sports scenes. It will both tickle your funny bone and enlighten your mind. Love it or hate it...just read it.

2 thoughts on “Time to Play the (Retro) Game

  1. Gotta disagree with you Stezano. HHH s win in isolation isn’t that bad but when you look at the direction of the company, it’s a reminder of the bigger problem. Yes, they have a shortage of stars due to injuries but when you think of how bad they have mismanaged their young guys and how they’ve just plopped older stars into the big ‘Mania spots, it’s disappointing.

    Bray Wyatt “new the face of fear” has lost every feud he’s been in other than ambrose. He lost convincingly to Daniel Bryan, undertaker, cena, and anyone else, yet we re suppose to take him seriously against Brock.

    Cesaro won the andre the giant battleroyal 2 years ago…they put him with Paul heyman, then proceeded to remove heyman, take away his swing, take away his shirts and music and March him out to lose every week.

    Ryback….huge winning streak. Put in a feud he can’t win against punk..losing each match or winning by dq….then jobber to freaking mark Henry at mania.

    CM Punk…destroyed his summer of punk angle…then got a lesser spot at Mania so Batista could be in the title match….who had won the rumble after being back for 2 weeks…a rumble Bryan wasn’t even in. Ended up costing them punk all together in addition to the other reasons.

    Luke Harper..directionless. he and rowan are so dangerous yet can’t win the tag titles once….but the new age outlaws can. Held the IC title for about 2 weeks.

    Rusev….total cluster f of a storyline with ziggler. ..he has never recovered from this

    Romance Reigns…a Samoan bad ass who only started getting booed when they had him smiling and saying goofy lines and jokes….no one was booing him before he got hurt last year…then they change his character and he’s been ice cold since….got cheered when he was eliminated.

    It’s 2016 and an evil authority storyline is still happening….

    They have the league of nations…and no one cares…doesn’t even seem that wwe cares since HHH has the belt and none of them could have it….or even seem to interested in going after the belt

    Sting hhh…spent a few weeks explaining explaining it’s not wwe vs wcw….then proceeded to have a wwe wcw themed brawl at mania that sting loses then shakes hhh s hand…what?

    Big Show and Kane in the final 4 of the rumble last year. Bryan ziggler ambrose and Wyatt all eliminated with minimal effort.

    There are more…but notice how all the guys they f up with are young guys who at one time or another had serious momentum. THIS is why their guys just “aren’t ready “…way too many start and stop pushes that kill each guys credibility and they are then replaced by a part timer (how much did it help anyone that Jericho lasted 50 min in the rumble….how many network buys does Jericho add in 2016?).

    They got a lot of new blood that are amazing just need this crazy thing called “time”…and not in years but time meaning actual character and storyline development.

    Looking at the examples I listed, why would the casual fan have any reason to invest in these guys if they are always come up short or are inconsistent? Of course hhh would make sense to be champ then….can you imagine if this happened to rock in 1998…

    1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the overall product is hurting, and it’s because of Vince’s propensity to lean on older talent and part time guys. I am not disagreeing with anything you have said above. I just think HHH winning the rumble was something that I enjoyed, and it makes sense in the current story line they are playing out. Now, is that the correct story line? Maybe not. Should we be having something other than the evil authority figure story line? Probably. I just liked this Rumble way more than last year’s, and the year before last year’s too.

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