The 2012 WWE Royal Rumble winner was probably not the guy you expected. Sheamus won the Royal Rumble and a trip to the WrestleMania 28 main-event against a WWE champion of his choice. Sheamus eliminated Chris Jericho to win the Rumble and earn his title match in Miami.
Sheamus was certainly one of the dark horses to win the Rumble. I had him at 50-1 odds in my predictions blog. It was a great way to elevate Sheamus back to the championship status he had a couple of years back. I have no problem with Sheamus winning, especially eliminating Jericho and Orton.
The Rumble itself was one of the most disappointing Rumble matches in recent memory. A combination of a lack of big time superstars and a dead crowd made for a boring Rumble. It just felt like a long RAW or SmackDown battle royal for awhile. It was nowhere near as exciting as last year’s Rumble.
The Miz entered the Royal Rumble at #1 as a result of losing to R-Truth on this past Monday’s RAW. The Miz’s former partner Alex Riley was number two. Riley was eliminated quickly by The Miz. R-Truth entered at #3. So wait a second? Truth and Miz wrestled on RAW for the 1 and 3 spot? I just assumed Truth got a late number for the win. Why bother?
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Cody Rhodes entered at number 4. Miz and Rhodes teamed up on Truth for the 2-on-1. Justin Gabriel came out to even things up at number five. It wasn’t very exciting at this point to see these four starting off the Rumble. The WWE really has a serious issue with talent depth and it showed all throughout the match starting early.
Primo entered at number six. The Miz eliminated R-Truth at this point by simply throwing him over the top rope. Truth pulled Miz out from underneath the bottom rope and laid him out on the floor. Michael Cole made it a point to clarify that The Miz had not been eliminated as he didn’t go over the top rope.
Mick Foley entered at number 7, bringing the crowd back to life. The crowd loved him! Foley immediately eliminated Primo. Foley paired off with Rhodes for awhile. Ricardo Rodriguez entered at number 8, entering the arena in a 1983 Datsun! The fans were into Ricardo and greeted him with cheers. Ricardo entered the ring and went to town on Cody. Foley and Ricardo teamed up together to eliminate Gabriel.
Last year’s runner up Santino Marella entered at number 9. Santino gave Ricardo a wedgy (what about the anti-bullying campaign?) and eliminated him. Foley and Santino squared off with Cobra vs. Socko. Epico entered at number ten to break up the Socko vs. Cobra match. Epico was quickly thrown out of the ring and eliminated while The Miz recovered and returned to the match. Cody Rhodes eliminated Santino during the melee. Rhodes eliminated Foley as he held a mandible claw on The Miz.
Kofi Kingston entered at number eleven. Kingston wound up paired off with both Miz and Rhodes. Jerry Lawler entered at number twelve. This was pretty cool as Lawler’s music played and he left the announcer’s table and entered the match. The crowd loved it! Lawler dropped the fist on The Miz and then was quickly dumped over the top by Cody Rhodes.
Ezekiel Jackson entered at number thirteen. Remember when this guy was the flavor of the month last spring? Jinder Mahal came in at fourteen and I have to admit that by this point I was ready to rank this as one of the worst Rumbles in history. I also can’t remember a crowd this dead during a Rumble, not that I could blame them.
The Great Khali returned at number fifteen to pick up where his feud left off with Mahal. Yep, you remember that one don’t you? Khali immediately threw Mahal over the top rope and eliminated him. Jackson was next courtesy of a Khali clothesline.
Hunico entered at number sixteen and you would have thought that they were holding this Rumble in a closet by listening to the crowd. Booker T entered at number seventeen similar to Lawler. This was another pretty cool moment. Booker went right after Cody. The crowd came alive with “Booker T” chants.
The spot of the match was The Miz eliminated Kofi Kingston who wound up landing on his hands and hand walked over to the ring steps. Nowhere near as dynamic as John Morrison’s wall-walk last year but pretty cool nonetheless.
Dolph Ziggler entered at number eighteen. Lucky guy got to lose five times tonight. The second (first televised) Royal Rumble winner Hacksaw Jim Duggan returned and entered at number nineteen to a huge crowd pop. He didn’t last long as Cody Rhodes eliminated with a clothesline from behind pretty quickly.
Michael Cole entered at number twenty. Yep, three spots wasted on announcers. Kharma returned and entered at number twenty one. She eliminated Michael Cole. Well he actually eliminated himself by going over the top rope. Ziggler wound up taking her finisher. Oh man, this guy is in someone’s dog house. Kharma also eliminated Hunico. Ziggler came up from behind and dumped her over the top rope.
Sheamus entered at number twenty two. That guy needs new music. He eliminated Kofi Kingston pretty quickly by simply dumping him over the top rope. The Road Dogg returned and entered at number twenty three. It’s been a long time. Dogg did his usual punching and jiving spot. Jey Uso entered at number twenty four. Jack Swagger hit the ring at number twenty five.
Wade Barrett entered at number twenty six. He quickly threw Road Dogg over the top rope. David Otunga entered at number 27, which is the number that holds the most winners in Rumble history. The hometown hero Randy Orton entered at number 28, going right after Wade Barrett. Orton was a one man wrecking crew at that point. Orton eliminated Uso and then nailed Barrett with an RKO, followed by an exit over the top rope.
Chris Jericho entered at number twenty nine. Jericho immediately eliminated Otunga. The Big Show rounded it off entering at number 30. Unfortunately no real big surprises this year as you could see. It was pretty underwhelming at this point as compared to most Rumbles with a whole lot of midcarders and very little superstars.
Show came in and began eliminating guys right away. The final four came down to Show, Sheamus, Randy Orton, and Chris Jericho. All three decided to attack Show. Orton delivered a pretty nice looking RKO to Show. Orton dumped Show, who was then dumped by Jericho. It came down to Jericho and Sheamus.
The best action of the Rumble came during the final minutes between Sheamus and Jericho. They had a great back and forth with a lot of near eliminations. Sheamus nailed him with the Brogue Kick, Jericho fell to the floor, and Sheamus won the match and a championship match at WrestleMania 28.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The rumor appears to be that Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk will be wrestling for the WWE championship. Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan is interesting only because they just wrestled last year at WrestleMania in a dark match. I can’t ever recall two guys wrestling a dark match at WrestleMania and returning the next year in one of the main-events. My hunch tells me that it won’t be either of them, not that I would have any problem with watching Sheamus wrestle either guy in Miami.
Daniel Bryan retained the WWE world heavyweight championship in the opener against Mark Henry and The Big Show in a Steel Cage Match. It was fun but hardly what I’d call a great match. It wasn’t bad by any means, but a bit of a waste of Bryan’s great talent. Regardless, hats off to Bryan for making this one entertaining.
Bryan won the match by falling to the floor. Bryan spent most of the match trying to escape. He tried going over and The Big Show caught him at the top. Bryan climbed over but Show held on to his wrist for a few seconds. Show finally released his grip and Bryan fell to the floor, winning the match, and retaining the WWE world heavyweight title. I took this as almost a lock that Randy Orton was winning the Rumble and challenging Bryan at WrestleMania at that point.
As an aside, the announcing here was horrible. On the one hand, you have Bryan now working as a heel while at the same time you have heel Michael Cole continuing to bury Bryan on commentary. It was a mess but it isn’t as if it hasn’t been for well over a year now.
On another side note, Mark Henry didn’t do a whole lot in the match. Henry is working hurt right now and took a backseat for most of the match to Show vs. Bryan. I was surprised not to see any kind of gimmicked cage for a big Henry vs. Show spot.
John Cena vs. Kane ended in a count out. Cena was booed out of the building which was ironic since they played a 3-4 minute video earlier doing their best to make sure that Cena was cheered. It’s just not working right now and it’s going to get ugly for him in Miami. Cena was dominated for most of the match which the announcers brought up at one point. One thing that did surprise me was that I expected more of an all-out brawl than the actual match, although it did break down into a brawl at the end.
Kane had Cena dominated on the floor and the referee just simply counted them out. Cena fought back and the two fought through the backstage area, almost like out of one of the WWE video games. Cena threw Kane into some trashcans. Kane responded with a few chair shots to the back and laid him out.
Kane then wound up going into Zack Ryder’s dressing room. Zack was there in a wheelchair. Kane attacked him and wheeled him out to the ring. Kane then dumped Ryder out of his wheelchair to the ringside area. Eve ran in to beg Kane off. Kane wound up tombstoning Ryder anyway. Cena finally returned to the ring just as Kane was about to attack Eve. Kane chokeslammed him and left.
This got pretty ridiculous as you could imagine towards the end there. I don’t mind the angle but the fact is that the WWE fans have seen Kane for over a decade and let’s be honest. Kane hasn’t always been this strong. So the idea of a guy they have seen relegated to ECW champion dominating Cena isn’t just very believable. I don’t get it but the WWE appear committed to seeing this angle play out for a few more weeks.
CM Punk defeated Dolph Ziggler (well four times) to retain the WWE championship with the GTS. I liked the match but they appeared a gear short from making this a great one.
John Laurinaitis came out and said in the interest of fairness that he would only officiate outside of the ring, so the match got a real WWE official. Laurinaitis sent Vickie Guerrero to the back. However, the referee wound up getting bumped in the middle of the match. Punk had Ziggler in the Anaconda Vice, Ziggler tapped, and Laurinaitis ignored the move. Laurinaitis then rolled the WWE official back into the ring who was unconscious. Punk then got in Laurinaitis’ face. Laurinaitis missed another cover. Punk got Ziggler up for the GTS but wound up kicking Laurinaitis with Ziggler’s feet. Again, no referee made the count. Laurinaitis and Punk then yelled back and forth. By this time the referee recovered.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Punk later covered Ziggler once again for the GTS and Laurinaitis slid back in and made the three count with the real official. The whole idea here is that Laurinaitis wanted to prove that he wasn’t biased.
I liked the finish but man was Ziggler buried here or what? Ziggler was pinned and submitted about four times during the match. Of course Laurinaitis didn’t make the counts, but it was a bit much for a guy that is really starting to develop some nice chemistry to start the year. Laurinaitis went to the locker room clapping for Punk as Punk celebrated in the ring. Of course this one will pick up again on RAW when Triple H gives Laurinaitis his evaluation.
2012 WWE Royal Rumble results:
Daniel Bryan defeated Mark Henry & The Big Show to retain the WWE world heavyweight title in a Steel Cage Match
The Bella Twins, Natalya, & Beth Phoenix defeated Eve, Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox, & Tamina
John Cena vs. Kane ended in a double count out
Brodus Clay defeated Drew McIntyre
CM Punk defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE championship
Sheamus won the 2012 Royal Rumble
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