The WWE began to close out its pre-Network era on pay-per-view with the 2014 Royal Rumble. The Rumble winner and results were about as predictable as it could get yet the event did feature a few surprises that helped lay out the road map to WrestleMania 30.
The other big story here was Daniel Bryan or the lack of Bryan in the match. The Pittsburgh crowd loved him as evident by the first match. Once Rey Mysterio was announced at 30 and Bryan wasn’t coming the fans immediately turned on the match. I have never seen anything like it in a Royal Rumble. Quite honestly those fans probably did more to hurt the cause of Bryan than help him.
The Rumble had a good pace with a good mix of surprises to keep the crowd alive throughout the match. It wasn’t what I’d call a great Rumble but it was fun at times. CM Punk and Seth Rollins started out 1 & 2 and opened up hot. Damien Sandow entered three and was the first person eliminated by CM Punk. Corporate Kane entered the Rumble at #5 as the first surprise entrant. Punk eliminated in about a minute after nailing him with a roundhouse kick. Alexander Rusev from NXT entered at #6. The announcers put him over pretty good throughout the Rumble. He was eliminated by a group of wrestlers. Kofi was thrown over the top but never hit the floor. Kofi wound up leaping from the barricade to the ring apron to get back into the ring. Dolph Ziggler entered at #12 to a big ovation. R-Truth was another guy in and out of the match. Kevin Nash was the first big surprise at #14. Nash got a big pop from a very hypocritical Pittsburgh crowd. Roman Reigns hit the ring at #15. He eliminated Kofi, Dolph, and Nash in a minute. Talk about an easy pay day for Nash. The Shield eliminated Khali as a unit. Sheamus returned at #17 to a big ovation. Punk, The Shield, and Sheamus were the only ones standing at this point. Sheamus laid out all three members of The Shield. JBL entered at #24 to a huge pop from the crowd. JBL as the JBL character had never wrestled a Rumble match. JBL was immediately dumped out by Roman Reigns. Ryback entered at #26. Alberto Del Rio entered at #27. A smaller Batista returned and entered at #28 and was booed. Batista eliminated three guys within a minute including Alberto Del Rio. Big E. entered at #29 and went right after Batista. Rey Mysterio entered at #30 to the disappointment from the crowd who were waiting for Daniel Bryan. Sheamus eliminated Big E. Rollins eliminated Mysterio. Reigns wound up eliminating Rollins and Ambrose at the same time after Ambrose failed to eliminate Reigns. The final four came down to Punk, Reigns, Sheamus, and Batista. Kane pulled Punk over the top rope and eliminated him. Kane beat down Punk on the floor after the elimination and left him lying after chokeslamming him through a table. The crowd booed the rest of the match. I have never seen a crowd react like this and it’s not a compliment. Reigns eliminated Sheamus and broke Kane’s record with 12 eliminations. It came down to Reigns and Batista. The crowd finally came back and got behind Reigns. Batista nailed Reigns with a spear. Reigns returned the favor. Batista tossed Reigns out to win the match and a championship shot at WrestleMania 30.
Randy Orton defeated John Cena to retain the WWE world heavyweight championship. This match didn’t have a chance. The crowd hated both of them. The fans chanted “You both suck!” at one point as well as boring several times throughout the match, quite a contrast to the “This is awesome” chants Bryan and Wyatt received in the PPV opener. They worked hard but never won the crowd over. The big story tonight will be how much over Daniel Bryan was (and he was super over as was his match) as compared to these guys. “This is awful” rang out towards the end and to be fair, it wasn’t awful. JBL said “they’re having fun here in Pittsburgh tonight” and they certainly were.
The match was nothing special as it was your typical back and forth with the usual trademark spots out of each guy. The finish came when Cena kicked out of an RKO (Orton kicked out of Cena’s finisher earlier). Orton rolled through an AA attempt into an STFU (Orton applying the move). Cena reversed the submission. Orton went for the AA and got a two-count. Cena popped up and hit the RKO for a two-count. This would have been great if the crowd wasn’t dead for most of the match. Cena tried an AA from the second rope, missed, hit a tornado DDT instead. Cena cinched in the STFU once again and the arena went dark. The Wyatts were on the apron when the lights came on. Orton then hit an RKO and got the pin. The Wyatts beat up on Cena after the match. Bray laid Cena out with Sister Abagail. It looks like the Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena WrestleMania match is indeed a lock.
Full WWE Royal Rumble 2014 results and winners…
Batista eliminated Roman Reigns to win the 2014 Royal Rumble
Randy Orton defeated John Cena to retain the WWE world heavyweight championship
Brock Lesnar defeated The Big Show
Bray Wyatt defeated Daniel Bryan
The New Age Outlaws defeated the Rhodes brothers to win the WWE tag team championship