The 242 Royal Rumble Preview!
Welcome, once again, to another weekly installment of the 242 Raw Re…wait, that’s not right.
Welcome, once again, to another semi-annual installment of a random 242 article! As I’m sure you are all aware, it’s RUMBLIN’ SEASON, which marks my favorite time of the year next to March Madness, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the end of February. Y’know, that time when coked out hookers realize that their rent is due 2 days earlier than usual and desperately drop prices. They pass the savings on to you!
This year’s Rumble is more exciting than ever! We’re back down to 30 combatants which, after last year, was a controversial move that upset absolutely no one! The roster is filled with talent, fighting furiously for the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to headline WrestleMania! By headlining WrestleMania, we of course mean the participating in the third or possibly fourth most important match on the card! It’s like kindergarten here, every match is a Main Event!
I’m so excited, I just can’t keep the words in. It’s basically Tourette’s for wrestling. So rather than write some sort of coherent article with a natural flow that’s pleasing to the reader, I’m just going to list a bunch of dudes on the roster and tell you some stuff that may or may not have to do with them. Cool? Cool.
The future starts…NOW!
They’re not in it, are they?
Below you shall find a list of wrestlers who Johnny Ace himself wouldn’t even refer to superstars. Chance of one of them winning? 0.1%. Chance of me writing about what would happen if they won just for fun? 100%!
Curt Hawkins – Kyle’s favorite of the bunch, last seen on actual real TV being demolished by some sort of disco dancing dinosaur (you laugh, but I did not make that up). Curt shocks the world by eliminating Jey Uso after 20 minute showdown of mat-based wrestling skill. Suddenly, JR goes berserk (fuck off, it’s my scenario I can have JR) as Vance Archer’s music hits! Where did he come from!? Why is he here!? What does his music sound like anyway? No one knows. But can we say EPIC ‘MANIA FEUD!?!?
Hornswoggle – If history has shown us anything, it’s that if this thing goes down to Swogz and Sheamus, Swogz is going to WrestleMania. His opponent, of course, is Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. Celebrities and midgets, c’mon, you think Vince is turning that down!?
Johnny Curtis – Upon victory, JC realizes that he has the same initials as Jesus, and resigns to use this inspiration to found the Church of Wait What’s The Point of NXT Again?
JTG – JTG wins the battle of stereotypes against Jinder Mahal, but…wait…what’s this? Is that SHAD’S music!? Actually I just did this joke.
Michael McGillicutty – The Marty Janetty to Otunga’s Shawn Michaels. Read that sentence for a second, and let it soak in. Yeah. Otunga is Shawn Michaels. I’m not even entertaining this one.
Trent Barreta – Trent? is left in the ring after a Randy Orton and Wade Barrett double elimination. The fans don’t know who he is, but thankfully the name on the ass of his shorts solves that problem. Years later, “Trent?” becomes the new “What?”
Tyler Reks – Reks finally becomes the dominant force we all know he can be, and is the first man to win the Rumble by actually throwing out 29 other guys. Unfortunately, security sees the hippie dreadlocks and mistakes him for an Occupy protester. Riot police ensure that we never seen poor Reks again, until his return as Robo-Reks of course, but that’s another story.
Tyson Kidd – The least attractive contestant to ever win the Rumble, Kidd is offered a title shot only if he undergoes facial reconstructive surgery. He agrees, and is unfortunately operated on by Chyna’s plastic surgeon. 10 years and 3 amateur porn tapes later, Kidd still hasn’t received his title shot.
William Regal – The once mighty King Regal has been relegated to a list with Tyson Kidd and other guys I pretend I actually know about. Regal decides “fuck this, I’m William fucking Regal”, goes rogue, and eliminates a shocked Heath Slater to win his dream of a WrestleMania main event. He then goes on to face his former protege Daniel Bryan, and it’s a fantastic match, and NO ONE FUCKING COMPLAINS. WHY WWE WHY!?!?
Yoshi Tatsu – After booking a tour to Japan, Yoshi Tatsu has the title thrown on him in a cheap attempt to draw a crowd that almost certainly would have come anyway. Of course, I am just making light of silly internet allegations of the past. Or are these allegations from an extraterrestial origin? Ancient astronaut theorists believe that internet smarkiness may actually be fueled by the aliens’ desire to bring back the Attitude Era…
Not bloody likely
These guys aren’t superstars either, but they make more money than you. For this elite group, I will compare them whatever 80’s song they remind me of.
Alex Riley – “Are You Ready For the Sex Girls” by Gleaming Spires. Mostly because his original gimmick was basically Stan Gable from Revenge of the Nerds. And he should totally go back to that, because being a generic face sucks, and that movie had vajeje in it.
Epico – How about “epic NO!?!?” HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA. Also “Epic” by Faith No More, because it’s in his name, and I’m not that creative.
Primo – “Anything by Menudo” by Menudo. And how about “prim NO!?!?” HAHAH….
Jey, Jimmy Uso – “Iko Iko” by Belle Stars. Just to put that awful song in your head again.
Drew McIntyre – Wow, remember when this guy was the Chosen One? Now I’m labelling him with “In A Big Country” by Big Country in a joke column. Although I always felt that Drew looks like he should be the front man of a contemporary power metal band. The kind that produce crazy guitar used for high difficulty songs in Rock Band and not much else. I guarantee though that somehow, Drew could even make THAT boring.
Ezekiel Jackson – Smiley Slammy isn’t doing too much of either these days, and is instead exploring the wonders of hair growth. But cheer up Smiles, I’m giving you “Hearts on Fire” by John Cafferty from the greatest movie ever made (Rocky IV), because you’re just the type of guy who can make noise in this thing.
David Otunga – “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!, because I hated it for a long time, but eventually came around and said “dammit this is catchy, but still terrible”. Which is exactly how I feel about you, Mr. Hudson.
Evan Bourne – The obvious choice here is “You Spin Me Right Round”, but that’s a little too cool for Evan. How about “Cry” by Godley & Creme? It represents how I feel about the tag division.
Goldust – “Express Yourself” by Madonna. Seems appropriate.
Heath Slater – “All I Need is a Miracle” by Mike & The Mechanics. Seems appropriate.
Hunico – “You Were Way Better As Sin Cara Negro” by ok I made that up.
The Great Khali – “Mad About You” by Belinda Carlisle. Just add “having to be referred to as a former World Champion” to that title.
If everyone else fails the wellness test…maybe
This category is for the guys who actually get regular television time in some form, and might actually pretend to be a threat for several minutes before being eliminated by someone who’s actually famous. Also, you can tell that the Rumble is reaching its climax once all the numbers have been drawn, and all of these guys have been eliminated, so use that as a measuring stick.
Brodus Clay – Because of my discontinued Raw review, I wasn’t able to express my flurry of emotions upon the Funkasaurus’ debut, but it went something like WTFIDUNNOOKAWESOME. Seriously, who can complain about this gimmick? Would you rather he come in as a generic monster heel, destroy jobbers for six weeks, feud with Kofi Kingston and then disappear into obscurity? Or would you rather be entertained on a weekly basis, as he destroys jobbers for six weeks, feuds with Jinder Mahal and then disappears into obscurity while dancing? You know my answer.
Anyway, I expect some fun out of Brodus, and a few immediate eliminations (his entrance is going to be a big deal), but not much else.
Jack Swagger – If he’s not defending the US championship, that is. Given that his feud opponent is currently more involved with Cena/Kane/Eve/any 90’s horror movie director, I would expect Swagger to represent Team Vickie in the Rumble. But unless the Swagger Soaring Eagle makes a cameo, I’m not interested. I always feel bad for the guys with submission finishers in these things.
Jinder Mahal – Mahal has gone from “this guy might have some potential”, to “another foreign heel stereotype gimmick, really!?”, to “wait, why does he have an Indian accent now?”, to “underneath all that horrible gimmick bullshit, there might still be some potential”. Unfortunately, we won’t see any of it this Sunday.
Justin Gabriel – I want to like Justin, I really do, but I’m convinced that the WWE was his second choice after Project Runway turned him down. To me, he seems like less of a good wrestler, and more of a guy who everyone thinks should be a good wrestler. Having a “high flyer” style, without any speed or fluidity, isn’t a great combination. If he doesn’t use this opportunity to pull off a Morrison-esque moment, he’s dead to me. His career upside right now is basically this next guy…
Kofi Kingston – …yup. Actually, I do really like Kofi in a tag-team role, and I wish the WWE would utilize more mid-card talent (especially the faces) in this way. I mean, it’s entertaining, it’s a division that needs to be rejuvenated, and if your writers are lazy there’s a built-in feud that can be pulled out at any time. I also just realized that Evan would so be the heel in that feud, and that just made me a little giddy. Anyway, there is ample room for a Kofi spot in this contest, so we can hope for that.
Mason Ryan – You can’t see it, but I’m actively trying to type this sentence around Cewsh’s growing boner. This is awkward, let’s move on.
R-Truth – Probably the biggest name in this category, Truth has actually been teased as a possible winner of this thing, which has been met with groaning cynicism from everyone except possibly fans who are as crazy as he is. Sorry Truth, you couldn’t draw in the height of your heeldom against John Cena, and now you’re basically Perry Saturn 2012.
Santino Marella – You know this guy, he’s the one on the posters. That’s right, Santino Marella is selling you the Rumble. That should be evidence that the damn thing sells itself.
To be honest, I’m not sure what to expect out of ‘tino this year. Although he’s clearly comic relief, he’s also become so associated with the Rumble that there’s a legitimate running subplot here. The crowd was ready to explode when he almost eliminated Del Rio last year (which, in hindsight, could have been a better way to go). Then again, I believe he also holds the fastest “official” (read: kayfabe) elimination time (I’m sure MichaelC could tell you the real fastest time). What do they do with him this year? I really don’t know. But it’s a way bigger deal than it should be, and I love it.
Ted DiBiase – Ted is basically the grown-up version of that douchey rich kid you remember, that no one really liked but people hung out with because he had a Sega CD. His music brags about his family being rich, and women throwing themselves at him because of it. His entire gimmick is based around buying his friends. And he’s a face, meaning they expect you to cheer for this guy. How can this fail?
I’m throwing up a disclaimer right now. Surprises are one of my favorite parts of wrestling, and in today’s WWE, the Rumble is one of the few places where a significant surprise can happen. So why rob myself of that feeling just for a slightly more accurate article that you’ve probably stopped reading by now? Nope, like most things in life I did zero research for this, so enjoy my random throwing of names that follows.
Mick Foley – I hope this is the least surprising name on this list, because it was confirmed on Raw that he’s actually participating. I can’t expect much (let’s just say his conditioning is probably less than stellar), but give me a chance to root for one of my favorite all-time hardcore heros and I’ll take it.
Booker T and/or Jerry Lawler – I group them together because they really fall in the “announcers who could throw the boots on at any time” sub-category. And of the two, I’m sincerely pulling for Lawler, who has somehow become more entertaining as a wrestler than a commentator. And that’s not a compliment.
Undertaker – No. A Rumble return isn’t the way to do it. After all, what does a Rumble victory accomplish for Taker? A title shot? Please. This is the only man who can overshadow the title at WrestleMania just by showing up. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Taker, but I don’t think we’ll see him this soon. If you had Michelle McCool at home, you’d be in no hurry to rush back either.
Mario Batali – Tell me you can’t picture him in tights and a mask, and I’ll tell you you’re a damn liar.
Brock Lesnar – People treat Brock’s return as a foregone conclusion. I think that a part-time appearance is the best we could hope for, and even that’s pushing it. Brock has unfortunately been dealing with health issues for the past several years, all the while competing in a rival sport with a lighter schedule. His reasons for leaving were clear and sensible, and further, they make even more sense now than they did then. Still, stranger things as happened, and this would indeed be a surprise. To those not holding up “WELCOME BACK BROCK” or “I’M DRINKING A COORS LIGHT” signs, anyway.
RVD – Ok, I’ll admit it, I never watch TNA. I know that as a wrestling writer that makes me ill-informed and sensible, and….wait…you don’t watch it either? No one does!? Wow…that makes me feel much better, thanks guys!
I have no idea if RVD is under contract to TNA or not, but with all the WWE rumors that have been going around lately (and the fact that he seems to remain on good terms with them, despite doing absolutely everything they normally hate), I’m putting him here because I can’t rule him out. But I’m telling you, if he cut that awesome hair I am so out.
Lou Diamond Phillips – Who wouldn’t be down for the LDP!?
Check the IR, you like it so far?
When it comes to Rumble time, the WWE is more tight-lipped on injuries than Bill Belichick. After all, why spring for a nostalgic talent when you can rush someone back from injury and get almost the same effect from the crowd? As a result, I have zero idea if these guys are anywhere close to a return, and some of them are only kayfabe injured, so fuck it, they all go here. I DON’T DISCRIMINATE.
Alberto Del Rio – Could back-to-back Rumble victories be in the works for one of the most awkwardly booked champions in recent history? If so, could they say “quick, move him to Smackdown” any faster?
Christian – I seem to be the only person over 7 years old who liked Christian less after his heel turn. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the instant losing of the title and eventual obsession with it was interesting. It made the title meaningful again, something you can even see today with Daniel Bryan following a similar path. However, even after his hard work and consistently solid matches…
Ok, y’know what, it’s the tiny chicken leg tights. There, I said it, we’re all thinking it, let’s move on.
Kevin Nash – Well, he won’t get the BIGGEST POP OF THE NIGHT AGAIN, but he’s serviceable for a few minutes in the Rumble before being eliminated and finding his next venture to underachieve in.
Rey Mysterio – Poor Rey, no one remembers you exist, even though you were finally putting over new talent and becoming a solid part of the mid-card in your veteran years. I, for one, would love to see a return here, and I’ll explain why.
Sin Cara – This is why. Sin Cara vs. Rey Mysterio as WrestleMania? I couldn’t think of a better use for either guy. Although the WWE will probably give us some bullshit “dream team” tag match instead. Rey/Sin Cara/Mario Lopez versus Hunico/Del Rio/Screech.
That is, of course, assuming Sin Cara doesn’t botch his entrance and blow both of his quads. Ok, that would never happen.
Triple H – How great would it be for HHH to come in at number 2 and win the Rumble, breaking all Rumble records along the way? The WWE seems to take joy in poking fun at the smarks lately (which I can’t deny is hilarious), and wouldn’t this really be the Michael Jordan of pokes? In fact, I fully support this happening now. Followed by the title match being bumped by a surprise Diva Search.
Randy Orton – In fact, this is as close to confirmed as it gets, so I’m bumping you up, Randy.
At last, here we are. On a roster full of talent, it’s a shockingly small number of people who could actually win the whole thing. But these men are who I propose can do it. Let’s visit them, one by one.
Randy Orton – Orton is as close to a contender as it gets, and I would find it hard to argue with him as a your pick. Before disappearing from TV, they were laying low with him, quietly booking him at mid-card level. His feud with Barrett never felt like a full-on “bad blood” feud, it felt like something for Orton and Barrett to do before moving on to other things. Barrett and Sheamus seem to be made to feud with each other. Where does that leave Orton?
That depends. Do you think Daniel Bryan holds on to his title? Do you think Bryan faces either Show or Henry at WrestleMania as champion? If you answered “yes” to the first and “no” to the second, that puts Orton in a prime spot for a memorable feud with an up-and-comer, doesn’t it? The cards line up too nicely here.
Big Show or Mark Henry – Ok, they’re both in another match, but it’s unclear if last year’s double duty entrants were a side effect of the ill-advised 40 man contest, or something that they intend to keep doing. Regardless, they should probably be listed here. Meaning that we have to go through the whole spiel of commentators asking the question “WHO CAN ELIMINATE THESE MONSTERS!?” to which we reply “pretty much anyone, since it happens every year”.
I can’t see Henry taking it. Show? It might be a nice lifetime achievement award. But he’s already been in the title picture regularly (including on this very card), so it would be bafflingly redundant. Unless he went to Raw, and I don’t even want to think about that.
Chris Jericho – Upon his return, Y2J was facing a problem. How do you hype your return, while wanting to remain a heel, knowing that the crowd is filled with salivating smarks just waiting to cheer your ass clean off? Easy…don’t be Y2J! And this is exactly what we’ve been treated to for the past few weeks, in a brilliance that I didn’t even know was possible.
However, if you’re the WWE, do you really want something who’s 19 words into a return to win this thing? Wouldn’t you rather embarrass everyone who called a Punk/Jericho ‘Mania match from the get-go, just because you can? Is Jericho really that much of a draw anyway? Hmm….
Cody Rhodes – There are few people on the roster that I love more than Cody Rhodes. He’s young, he’s skilled, he’s charismatic…it’s all upside with Cody. He’s taken a myriad of gimmicks that would have killed anyone else (such as his former running buddy, Ted DiBiase), but Cody somehow made it all work. Now he’s been rewarded with a gimmick of just being a generally awesome guy, and winning the Rumble is something that a generally awesome guy would do.
However, I’ve made the argument before that guys like Rhodes and Ziggler don’t need to be skyrocketed right away. That white strap he’s holding is exactly why. Can you think of a better Intercontinental Champion? The counter-argument is, of course, that he’s so perfect that no one in the mid-card level can give him a credible feud (or if they can, they’re a heel).
So, is now the time to elevate Cody? I could think of worse winners.
Sheamus – Sheamus has been a popular pick. I don’t see it. That’s not to say I don’t like Sheamus, I adore him, but he’s shown that he can get to that main event status on his own. He really doesn’t need this. Besides, winning certain contests (i.e. King of the Ring) hasn’t done him any career favors.
To channel Don King, I’m pulling for a Sheamus/Barrett feud of atronomicadocious proporsivities, so I cannot endorse Sheamus here. For political purposes, I also cannot endorse someone known as the Great White, it just looks bad.
The Miz – Poor Miz. It looked like he was finally “the guy” around this time last year. We all knew he wasn’t, but we wanted him to be so badly. How many people have worked harder to get to where they are? How many people have been able to shed what was essentially a joke character, go on to main event WrestleMania as champion, win, and yet be the distant third most important person involved in the match? You can’t help but feel for the guy, he’s peaking at exactly the wrong time.
A Miz feud could absolutely work against, say, Punk. And it would be a surprise, just like it was a surprise that Miz carried the title in and out of ‘Mania last year. But I foresee more shenanigans with R-Truth instead.
Wade Barrett – Woide Bahred just can’t grip me like he used to. Maybe it’s type-casting, but it feels like he needs to be some sort of faction leader. Either way, he’s got the ability, and he sure as hell as the mic skills, but I don’t think it’s his time just yet. I base that on nothing but a feeling. I do see him holding the belt by year’s end, regardless.
Zack Ryder – Ok, ok, Zack in no way belongs in this group. But I did make an argument awhile ago on why Zack would be a perfect winner his year. The basis of that argument was as follows. Since the main event of WrestleMania has already been set in stone, the Rumble isn’t actually as big a deal this year as people think. Ryder’s at the height of his popularity, and it’s not going to last forever, so why not ride the wave? Why not give us the first truly unexpected winner, sell the “anyone can win!” gimmick (which hasn’t been sold since Rey won, and he was a favorite to win that year anyway), and give us an amazing underdog story that people would just eat up? What’s the downside here?
Well, the downside is that Zack’s momentum already seems to be in a plateau, and could easily dip by the time ‘Mania comes out. One US title run, and one Kane storyline later, there’s not much room for him to go anywhere for awhile.
Also, the fact that he probably will be selling his injuries against Kane by not showing up this Sunday hurts his chances slightly too.
John Cena – If they truly wanted a Cena heel turn, a Rumble victory would be a great start. There would be pure vitriol from the live audience. Not only that, but no one would see it coming. In case you haven’t heard, he’s a little busy at WrestleMania already. But try telling me that you wouldn’t be at least a little interested in seeing how this situation (Cena with the #1 contendership and a match with The Rock) would end up playing out. And yes, I know that Cena is busy on Rumble night, which means that I should probably include…
Kane – …no, just no.
So, after vomiting all that opinion on you all, I now feel compelled to make my pick. My track record for picking at PPV’s is along the lines of Charles Barkley’s winning record at casinos, but here goes.
And my pick is….
If you had asked me a week ago, I would’ve said Orton. But I wouldn’t have felt good about it. Not because it’s not plausible, it certainly is, but I just can’t imagine an Orton victory being exciting. I was in fear that his “surprise return” was a cheap trick to try and make it feel exciting. And I was ready to feign excitement while deep down feeling that they just didn’t know what to do with the Rumble this year. I should have more confidence in the WWE than that.
Which is why I’m going with Jericho. I’m not even sure it makes sense, but it feels right. The timing of his return, the nature of his messages, and most of all, his ominous words on Raw all seem to be adding up to something big. What could be bigger than a Rumble victory this Sunday? If he returns to the Rumble and is promptly eliminated, isn’t that sort of a buzzkill? I have to think that they’re going somewhere with this. I mean, he has abs for the first time in a decade, he must be excited about something, right?
Of course, this would probably lead to the Jericho/Punk feud that everyone was predicting. I’m going off the deep end now, but what if they did something else with Jericho’s victory? What if he wanted to try and use it to go after a bigger prize, namely, Undertaker’s streak? Doesn’t that explain why he returned? Doesn’t it also explain the creepy videos? I need to think about this.
And that wraps up another…wait, there’s other matches? Fine.
Kane vs. John Cena
Cena overcomes the hate. The WWE continues to take joy in blueballing the fans by pulling the heel turn tease. Kyle’s happy.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry
Bryan continues his wily ways, until AJ comes back, reveals she’s pregnant, and I’m done with Smackdown.
CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler
Punk wins with a shady call, and they continue the anti-authority storyline they planned for him months ago, except this time replacing HHH with Laurinaitis, because HHH made no goddamn sense.
What I would like to see, however, is Laurinaitis screw Punk, then HHH side with the EVPoTR on Raw. Feels like we’ve been robbed of HHH being an awesome authority heel this whole time. That’s just me.
Alright, that’s all I have to say about pretty much everything. Enjoy the Rumble everyone!
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