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Flashback: WWE Royal Rumble 2011 – A Cynical Look

Alberto Del Rio won the 2011 WWE Royal Rumble-My first running diary for pro wrestling since TNA Sacrifice 2010 nearly scarred me for life. However, much like Jake Roberts’ demons, I refuse to relent and I don’t go away that easily. No, I am here. And for the seven of you that read my work and get enjoyment out of it, I WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN!

-Unlike last year, instead of a four man crew, it’s been halved. Dave hasn’t had the temerity to watch wrestling since his hero, Bret Hart, staggered like a zombie at WrestleMania; whereas Rob has a case of the flu so bad, he’s been hacking up chunks of green. And we all thought he’d been watching TNA’s best of 2010. So it’s just brother Josh and I at his shack, and that means less questions from Rob (“When did Kane shave his head?!?” “….the first Bush administration….”)

-So we’re live in Boston for the 2011 WWE Royal Rumble, and we’re in HD! That never happens! Is this a first for WWE? Michael Cole rips off Brent Musberger with “You’re looking LIVE…..” No word if he’s going to cameo in The Waterboy just to hang out with Dan Fouts’ beard.

-Oh wow, Edge is jerking the curtain, defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler, accompanied by Vickie Guerrero and her surprisingly attractive ass. Seriously, if they didn’t give her the evil “Wicked Queen” make-up job, she’d be the third or fourth hottest woman in WWE behind Maryse, Kaitlyn, and Heath Slater.

-Vickie gets on the crowd’s nerves by coming out and reiterating the entire “NO SPEAR” angle for the crowd. How low must Smackdown’s ratings be that they have to recap the stories so arcanely? Actually, don’t answer that.

-Crowd sign: “WHAT A MANEUVER!” And they say Vince McMahon wields no influence on the youth of America.

-Dolph gets a rope-hung neck breaker, which looks pretty sweet. Then he locks on the Randy Orton Memorial Chin lock to keep the crowd from getting too excited. It’s why some schools ban colored chalk; can’t have the kids getting overstimulated.

-Speaking of overstimulated, any more shots of Vickie’s ass and I’m going to have to have Josh take over my note-taking. If he gets mad over the condition I leave his bathroom in, I’ll remind him who bought the Tostitos. Well played, Justin.

-Ziggler tries for a rocker dropper, and Edge counters with a powerbomb. Wow, what a spot! It’s like a TNA style spotfest, except they’re actually precise in their execution.

-Edge can’t use his spear, so he settles for his Edgecution DDT that gets two when Vickie stops the ref from counting. The ref seems annoyed; either by her disruption, or the fact that she stole Linda McMahon’s “COUGAR” necklace. Or both.

-Kelly Kelly comes out here to display little talent, er, have a catfight with Vickie. I should note that Vickie’s playing dead after a slap that came careening in at 2 MPH. I’d hide my face too if I was being made legally obligated to have to sell for Kelly Kelly.

-Edge kicks out of the Zig Zag, mostly because there’s a rule that main eventers like Edge don’t lose to moves called the Zig Zag. Then the referee gets knocked out. So there’s interference, a rule that bans a certain move, a catfight with two women who can’t work, and a ref bump, all in the opening match. Somewhere, Vince Russo’s ears are burning.

-With the ref possibly dead, Edge hits the spear anyway, and then plants Ziggler with the Killswitch (lifted from his fake brother Christian) and retains the title. Hey, despite my jokes, that was a damn good match. Ziggler’s the ideal over-selling heel, and Edge is enough of a pro to hold it all together. Despite the overbooking, I’m pleased.

-Sidenote: Dolph’s “I am Perfection” theme may be the song I come out to at my eventual wedding, possibly edging out my perennial pick of Rob Conway’s “Just Look at Me”. And THAT is hard to do.

-Ad for Wrestlemania 27, featuring various highlights from last year. Where’s Vickie’s Hog Splash?

-Michael Cole was none too pleased about Edge’s chicanery, but he IS pleased that his hero, The Miz, is up next. I think Cole’s blind devotion to Miz is as enjoyable as Bobby Heenan’s outright impartiality toward Ric Flair twenty years ago. Excuse me while the internet collectively gives me an electroshock.

-Yes indeed, we open with two World Title matches, as The Miz defends the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. Cole gushes about Miz, talking about how even the little kids he talked to earlier are thrilled with Miz as champion. Matt Striker: “Who let you talk to little kids?” Was that line directed toward Cole or Jerry Lawler?

-Please fire Justin Roberts. You can buy Miz a second jacket with the surplus.

-Crowd seems a bit dead for Miz/Orton. It’s not like they exhausted the crowd with sheer overbooking in the opening match, right? Oh wait, they did. My bad.

-Orton and Miz are doing their basic offenses, so I’ll take a moment to note that Jack Doan, the referee, is still employed by WWE after twenty years. This is the kind of information you don’t get on other sites. All you get is “CENA IS GAY!” You might get that here as well, but you get this too.

-Miz with a chinlock on Orton. That’s like hitting Undertaker with a Tombstone. Or spending Ric Flair’s life savings on booze. You just don’t steal another man’s move like that.

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-Matt Striker: “Randy Orton’s arms are so long; you’re in jeopardy if Randy can grab you!” Not true, Matt. He’s got that Darth Vader choke in his arsenal somewhere, I’m sure. Also, if Miz can grab you, you’re probably in jeopardy as well. Not as much as when Randy and his longer arms grab you, but still….

-Randy Orton busts out the superplex in honor of his dad, Cowboy Bob. I hope that’s the only thing of his dad’s that he busts out. No sense in bleeding on Miz and giving the champ Hepatitis C.

-Orton busts out the Christy Canyon flying mount-and-thrust, or the Lou Thesz Press to the rest of us. Then he adds the Garvin Stomp for good measure. When you absolutely, positively need to push someone as a top good guy that will only shoot himself in the foot with outdated and/or sexually awkward looking moves, call Randy Orton. I’m waiting for him to add the Killer Bees ear-clap to his moveset.

-Orton hits Miz with a mediocre Angle Slam. HE’S UP TO 1999! Next week, we might see a Twist of Fate! Well, we might see one on Impact, but who in the Hell watches Impact?

-Orton goes into the setup for the RKO, and the crowd’s happy because that means we might see the match end, bringing us one step closer to the real main event. Ahh, but wait, Nexus is on their way to the ring, probably to protest that crappy Angle Slam that Orton did. Orton responds by throwing Miz’s toady, Alex Riley, approximately 75 feet across the arena into them. But CM Punk screws Orton with the Go to Sleep, allowing Miz to sneak out with the win. Decent match, made better by Michael Cole’s insanely biased commentary. Nothing’s sucked tonight, which is a winning proposition.

-Note on Michael Cole: those of you who hate the man with passion and won’t shut up about it, congratulations: you’re keeping him on the air. NO ONE gets thrown off of WWE TV if they get this kind of hate. Wanna see Cole vanish? STOP TALKING ABOUT HIM! Being ignored erases you faster than a Chris Benoit match. But for my sake, keep the hate flowing. Cole’s just fine by me in this role.

-Elimination Chamber hype video. Did the voiceover guy call it the “Chamber of Horrors”? THE REFER-EYE CAM IS COMING BACK! AND SO IS THE CHAIR OF TORTURE! WWE GOT MY LETTERS!

-Cody Rhodes, meanwhile, can’t compete tonight because he’s ugly. Oddly enough that never stopped his dad.

-A handful of fans are asked to pick a winner, and one guy picks Big Show to win because he’s the biggest guy in there. He was also the biggest guy in there…well…every other year he was in it. It’s fans like that that keep Vince McMahon rich. As well as the one fan who picked John Cena for representing West Newbury, and bugged his eyes out for full effect. Even Abyss thought that guy’s acting was way over the top.

-To waste time before the Rumble, we have to have the women wrestle, and the Mystery Raw GM (my money’s on Bushwhacker Butch) changes it to a four way with Eve now involved. The crowd is confused. I’m just happy to see Eve.

-So Eve joins Divas Champion Natalya, Michelle McCool, and Layla in a hastily assembled match. The highlight is Natalya locking Eve and Layla in a double decker Sharpshooter. WWE may be PG, but they’ll bust out the contortionist porn when needed.

-Matt Striker properly calls a Michinoku Driver, and Jerry Lawler’s never heard of it before. In addition to the Wellness Policy, does WWE provide day care for Alzheimer’s patients?

-Eve scores the upset pin on Layla with a perfect moonsault, which makes her the “Anti-Lita”. Decent spots, not much else, crowd didn’t seem to care. You can almost smell the “Will they just get to the Rumble?” scent in Boston right now.

-Meanwhile, Gail Kim and the Bella Twins fight over Daniel Bryan. Now’s a good a time as any for Bryan to bust out Tommy Dreamer’s “I’M HARDCORE, I’LL TAKE ALL THREE!” speech, paraphrased. Hey, if you’re going to push someone, give him a REAL push.

-Thanks to Finger Eleven and their non-PG sounding name for providing tonight’s music.

-And now, after the annual statistical video package, IT’S TIME TO RUMBLE! Vince McMahon decided to up the stakes and put forty entrants in it this year, because things are always better when they’re bigger. Other examples include Mariah Carey and….well, that’s about it, really.

-#1 is CM Punk, but before we can begin, his Nexus stable and The Corre have a skirmish. Michael Cole sends everyone else back to the locker room on behalf of the mystery GM. Well, that was pointless.

-#2 is Daniel Bryan. We get a weather update on the bottom crawl, warning of a flash flood all throughout America due to the smarks wetting themselves. Not to worry; I have my waders in the truck.

-Punk and Bryan work fluid to start, though they disappoint the ROHbots by not activating some force with a pair of interlocking rings, and then burning John Cena alive. Oh well, maybe next year. Justin Gabriel of The Corre is #3, and because he never worked for ROH, the ROHbots will be happy to know that Bryan tosses him first. Linda really wants that G4 vote in 2012, doesn’t she?

-Zack Ryder is in at #4, and Striker drops a Nasty Boys reference. *checks list* Ok, they’re not currently in TNA, so no reprimand from Vince necessary. Out goes Ryder. #5 brings us William Regal, and he and Bryan exchange European uppercuts and forearms. Flood waters rising….nerd piss flowing…..

-Ted Dibiase is #6, followed by John Morrison at #7. Morrison proceeds to steal the show by getting knocked off the apron by Regal, but he catches the rail, walks the rail, jumps to the ringsteps, and walks back in. I predict 2011 is going to be Morrison’s year. YouTube is going to keep this man alive.

-#8 brings us Yoshi Tatsu, and #9 is Husky Harris, thus bringing an end to the smaller technician streak. Regal was dumped out a little while ago, but since everybody else was in awe of Morrison’s Spiderman impression, it kinda went unnoticed. #10 is a surprise, Chavo Guerrero, and he unloads some Three Amigos on the group. #11 brings us Mark Henry, who dumps Chavo and Yoshi just to clear some space. For himself, obviously.

-#12 is JTG. If anything important happens, you’ll be the first to know. *hums to himself*

-#13 gives us Junior Perfect, aka Michael McGillicutty. Can’t they just call him Joe Hennig? Or give him an easy last name, like Jones? Here’s Mike Jones! Would anyone object? Anyway, he dumps JTG. Sadly, he doesn’t swat his gum into the crowd. Dibiase is gone as well. Imagine that: the son of the Million Dollar Man is tossed by the son of IRS and the son of Mr. Perfect. It’s a shame they pulled British Bulldog’s son for being even blander than all three of them combined.

-#14 is Chris Masters, and #15 is David Otunga. The Nexus quartet teams up. Sing along everyone: bye bye Bryan, bye bye Masters, bye bye Morrison, bye bye Mizark. #16 is Tyler Reks. Bye bye Tyler. #17 is Vladimir Kozlov. Bye bye Vlad. Nexus is turning into a Jobber Momentum Prevention Task Force. I like them.

-#18 is R-Truth. Bye bye Truth. They even do charismatic midcarders as well!

-#19 is Great Khali, who chucks out Husky. Maybe his dad wouldn’t let Khali join the Varsity Club. That said, Khali should add the Rick Steiner headgear to his look. Would that be too much to ask?

-#20 is Mason Ryan, recompleting Nexus as a foursome, and he dumps Khali to make a name for himself. They’re going full gore with this Batista thing, aren’t they? All he needs is about six tricep injuries and the willpower to deflower half the Divas locker room. Also, he needs to injure his arm while jogging. Don’t give me that look, it actually happened to Big Dave!

-CAN YOO DIG IT…..SUH KAH!!!!! Booker T is #21 and the place goes berserk! He cleans house for a while and gets off the Spinarooni, but Ryan dumps him to further his hardcore push. Booker was all “WE NEED SOME PERSONALITY IN HERE!” and Nexus, minus Punk, was all “nah”.

-Meanwhile, Punk’s facials are a hoot. He’s got that disturbed cult leader thing down to a science. His sudden, serious glare when John Cena is #22 sells the moment perfectly. Ryan, Otunga, and Junior Perfect are gone within six seconds of each other. CENA’S GOING TO OVERCOME THE ODDS! Well, it’s about TIME they went in that direction! Then, to turn the tide, Hornswoggle meanders in at #23. Then Cena dumps Punk. Goodbye, G4 vote.

-#24 and #25 are Tyson Kidd and Heath Slater respectively. Both get embarrassed by Cena and Hornswoggle before being eliminated. The piss flood has stopped, and now I’m seeing traces of blood. God I hope Bob Orton’s not responsible; it’s up to my shins…

-#26 is Kofi Kingston, and he and Cena exchange words while Cena points at the WrestleMania logo in the rafters. I think Cena said to him “Good luck in your third straight Money in the Bank match.” And then they fought. Easy to see why; that hurt.

-#27 gives us Jack Swagger to create the illusion of starpower, and then my boy Sheamus is #28. Why’s he my boy? Because he threw out Hornswoggle. MY BOY! #29 is Rey Mysterio, who takes Swagger out of the match. Hey, remember when Swagger was World Champion for 3 months? How long ago was THAT? What do you mean it was last year? Really? Wow, things go south quickly.

-#30 is Wade Barrett. I believed I was almost done this rant, but no; Vince had to expand the match. This will be good for Barrett; for once, he gets to main event a show where the buyrate will be good. He should try and take credit for it.

-#31 is Dolph Ziggler, trying to earn another shot, and #32 is Kevin Nash’s crippled, slightly brain-damaged older brother. Oh, wait, sorry, that actually IS Kevin Nash. Good lord. Next time CM Punk wants to show the horrors of leading a life of excess, he should just show footage of Nash coming to the ring. Nash does boot Mysterio in the face for old time’s sake. Kinda wish he lawn-darted him into a trailer again as well.

-Crowd chants “LET’S GO DIESEL!” There was a time when I’d help Red Sox fans beat up Yankees fans, but now I’m not even sure about that.

-#33 is Drew McIntyre. He and Nash should have a walking race. That would be a nice three hour PPV: who can walk from their couch to the fridge in the fastest time? We may even need an overrun.

-#34 is Alex Riley, who brings Miz with him to do commentary. Wade Barrett dumps Diesel, which improves the median pace considerably. Not to worry, Big Show is out at #35 to slow things down again. He and Nash have a staredown in passing. I hope Show remembered to lock his 144 oz cooler; Nash can’t be near that thing unsupervised. #36 is Ezekiel Jackson, because somebody distinctly yelled “KEEP THE PACE SLOW!” Show tosses Ziggler, and then to make me happy, throws out McIntyre. Then Jackson dumps out Show. If I alternate between happy and annoyed any more, people are going to mistake me for Naomi Campbell.

-#37 brings us Santino Marella, who gets mauled and knocked under the bottom rope. This may become important later.

-#38 is Alberto Del Rio, whose entrance takes up the duration of the next time frame. That’s just in time for Randy Orton at #39, who attacks Del Rio on the way in, and then Kingston and Sheamus are history. Also, Alex Riley went out somewhere in there, but like you, I don’t really care how either.

-#40 is Kane. So this gives us Kane, Cena, Orton, Del Rio, Barrett, Mysterio, Zeke, and Marella who is still dead on the floor. If you had this as your final eight, you either work for WWE, or you’re the guy from the Dead Zone and you touched Vince’s clammy hand. If you’re fortelling death, please do something, man. Especially if I’m involved in any way.

-Kane dumps Ezekiel. Never woulda guessed.

-Mysterio eliminates Kane, but then Barrett dumps Mysterio to bring it down to a final four. Well, technically, final five with Marella still as a corpse. Orton and Cena have the epic staredown, which was epic in the sense of “Listen to the crowd epically not react!” I think everyone was still waiting for Triple H to come in. I love when rumors raise expectations, and then they get killed.

-Oh wow, Riley provided a distraction for Cena, and then Miz ran in to toss Cena out! Cena promises Cole that this isn’t over and then leaves. If that was Hogan, he would have dumped everyone out and posed for fifteen minutes. I’m glad it’s not 1988 anymore.

-Out of nowhere, Barrett chucks Orton, and then Del Rio throws out Barrett to win! BUT WAIT! Santino slides in, making this the most bizarre final pair since, well, probably One Man Gang and Jim Duggan in 1988. HISTORY IN THE MAKING! Santino lands the Cobra on Del Rio and over celebrates, leading to Alberto eliminating Santino to win the Rumble. Wow. Never would have guessed that, and it shows the kind of faith WWE seems to have in ADR. Rumble was slow in spots, exciting in others, and never terribly boring. Will be interesting to see where they go with Alberto as the face of a new generation.

-CYNIC SAYS: Well, that was certainly a different show. The two World Title matches were good (especially Edge-Ziggler), the Women’s match didn’t suck, and the Rumble provided some great moments and jaw-dropping surprises. I’m sure the road to Wrestlemania will have many more twists and turns, but for the time being, the Rumble stands as a welcome attraction, as it tends to do.

Thumbs up, easily.

Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.

2011 WWE Royal Rumble DVD

WWE: Royal Rumble 2012

WWE: Royal Rumble – The Complete Anthology

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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