40-Man Royal Rumble Match: Winner receives a championship match at WrestleMania XXVII
His name…? His name is Alberto Del Rio but you already know that he won this year’s Royal Rumble match because he was destined. Well, destined may be too strong a word. Yet, what else can you call it when someone, who came into WWE with a clean victory over a former two-time World Champion, placed Christian on the injured list, bested Rey Mysterio in their feud, was welcomed into the WWE with Sweet Chin by the Legendary Shawn Michaels, and has appeared nonstop on all of WWE’s major programs goes on to win the Royal Rumble to headline WrestleMania? The former Dos Caras Jr. may have been reluctant on trading his mask for a WWE contract, but his victory at the Royal Rumble means that he was destined for greatness. Will”The Aristocrat” go after the “Big Gold Belt” at WrestleMania like his “amigito” Rey Mysterio, or will he bring Latino Heat to the WWE Championship match?
While there can only be one Royal Rumble winner (to the exception of 1994), the Royal Rumble had plenty stories to tell. C.M. Punk outdid his performance in last year’s Royal Rumble by entering in at number 1 and surviving more than 35 minutes of the Royal Rumble match thanks to his New Nexus. He eliminated (2) Daniel Bryan, (14) Chris Masters, (16) Tyler Reks, (17) Vladimir Kozlov, and (18) R-Truth. Then after (20) Mason Ryan eliminated (16) The Great Khali, C.M. Punk appeared well on his way to headline WrestleMania, however, it was (22) John Cena, with the electricity from Boston’s TD Garden, that shattered Punk’s dreams by eliminating him and the remaining members of Nexus.
Then the family comedy portion of the night ensued when (23) Hornswoggle and John Cena teamed up to take on the likes of (24) Tyson Kidd and (25) Heath Slater. The segment was very comedic indeed, especially with Hornswoggle performing various finishers and signature moves from Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Eddie Guerrero, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Then it came time for the adults to laugh when (28) Sheamus launched Hornswoggle over the top turnbuckle with the Brogue Kick.
The Royal Rumble also featured several mark-out moments for the fans and even the announcers. “Can you dig it, sucka!” (21) Booker T shocked wrestling fans as he attacked The New Nexus band with the Axe-Kick, the Bookend, and topped it off with the Spin-a-Roonie. Booker T had not missed a step since he departed from WWE in 2007, but someone who did not appear as form-fitting was fellow surprise entrant (32) “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel. Regardless of the insane reaction from the TD Garden and fans around the world, truthfully, Diesel was fatigued throughout his 2:44-minute venture in the Rumble match. But before making his way back to the locker room, Diesel encountered (35) The Big Show and the two stared each other down in passing. The Giant and Kevin Nash certainly have history together dating back to WCW, and if Diesel does come back full-time, it didn’t take long to find an enemy.
The biggest mark-out moment for “Internet” fans was (1) C.M. Punk being joined by (2) Daniel Bryan at the start of the Rumble bout. It was an ROH dream match taking place before our very eyes, but before the crowd could really start brewing with 50/50 chants of “C.M. Punk!” “Daniel Bryan!” the moment was gone as more entrants appeared in the ring. If anything, Punk vs. Bryan would be a guaranteed crowd pleaser at WrestleMania.
Recall the Royal Rumble moment when Shawn Michaels was sent over the top rope, but both feet did not touch the floor at the same time? Recall when Shelton Benjamin tried accomplishing the same moment and it almost backfired? Well this year, John Morrison created the Royal Rumble moment when he was launched over the top rope, and like Spider-Man, grabbed the barricade, cat-walked over it, and jumped to the stairs. That was the spot that will be remembered in Royal Rumble highlight reels to come.
And a special recognition to (10) Chavo Guerrero who brought Latino Heat into the Royal Rumble match through a series of Three Amigos that laid out the entrants in the Rumble match. With that tribute, Rey Mysterio participating in the Rumble, and Alberto Del Rio winning, Eddie Guerrero must be proud that Latino Heat still lives in the WWE.
WWE Divas Championship Fatal Four-Way Match: [C] Natalya vs. Michelle McCool vs. Layla vs. Eve Torres
For reasons unknown, Raw’s General Manager requested for the Divas match to be changed into a Fatal Four-Way because he does not condone an event where a team could co-hold a singles championship. And while fans were anticipating the debut of Awesome Kong, instead we were disappointed when Eve Torres appeared as the surprised fourth competitor. The finish of the match was horrible as the referee witnessed only Eve covering Layla and disregarded Michelle McCool covering Natalya. Why in the world did the GM invite Eve Torres to participate? Melina would have been the obvious choice with her recently having a championship bout, or Kong to dominate the field and walk out Divas Champion on her first night, or even Beth Phoenix. The five minutes that took to put on this match set women’s wrestling back about a decade.
WWE Championship Match: [C] The Miz vs. Randy Orton
If it wasn’t for Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler would be WWE Champion. If it wasn’t for Alex Riley, Randy Orton would be WWE Champion. And if it wasn’t for C.M. Punk, Randy Orton would have been WWE Champion at the Royal Rumble. What deal did The Miz make with C.M. Punk and Nexus, or was this on Punk’s own accord? What does The New Nexus have to gain with The Miz as champion? Only time will tell.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: [C] Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler may have been in the best shape of his young career, and his girlfriend Vickie Guerrero may have banned The Spear, but that did not stop “The Ultimate Opportunist” from living out his moniker. Dolph Ziggler put on one hell of a match against Edge, but underhanded politics will not help win championships, it is veteran instincts as displayed by the retaining World Champion that makes champions. With the referee knocked out, and Vickie Guerrero having undergone an assault by Kelly-Kelly (more on that in a bit), Edge took the opportunity to hit Dolph Ziggler with The Spear and play dead as the referee came-to. As Edge also “came-to” he cunningly winked to the audience and struck Ziggler with Christian’s Killswitch. Hopefully this means an E&C reunion down the road.
Who the hell sent out Kelly-Kelly to attack Vickie Guerrero? She’s currently wrapped in a storyline with Drew McIntyre, what did Vickie have anything to do with her? The only Diva to make some sense in attacking Vickie would be NXT Season 3 winner Kaitlyn who actually has a history with Guerrero. Was WWE short on Divas that night and decided to just wildly send out Kelly-Kelly to attack Vickie and Eve Torres to win a championship?
Final Thought: Insanely psyched about Alberto Del Rio headlining WrestleMania.