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.
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.
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.
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