Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The History of WWE Royal Rumble (2012)

The 2012 Rumble was notable for one solid match and the final ten minutes.....

Royal Rumble 2012 - Scottrade Center - 1.29.12

What a phoned-in show this was.  Considering the company had two excellent World Champions in January 2012 they sure put on a shoddy Rumble PPV.  An undercard with only one really good match (which was underwhelming), and a Rumble match featuring one of the worst lineups in history.  Let's examine this turd.  God, even the poster for it sucks.

The show opened, as so many PPVs of the time did, with the World Title match.  New Champion and smarmy dickish heel Daniel Bryan defended in a steel cage against two of the biggest men on the roster, Mark Henry and The Big Show.  The match told a good story and much of it consisted of Bryan using any weasely tactic possible to evade a toe-to-toe fight.  But at under ten minutes and with two massive opponents Bryan was hardly put in a show-stealing position.  This was okay, and the right guy won.

The obligatory Divas match was next as Beth Phoenix and Natalya (dubbed The Divas of Doom) teamed with the Bella twins against Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Alicia Fox and Tamina Snuka.  The DoD were the primary focus of the division at this point and seemed poised for a good heel run which would lead to a Beth vs. Natalya match at WrestleMania.  Alas none of that came to fruition and Natalya was saddled with an "uncontrollable gas" gimmick (who wouldn't get over with that?) while Beth got the privilege of being pinned cleanly by talk show host Maria Menounos at 'Mania 28.  Lovely.  This match was what it was, i.e. five minutes of "meh."
The ill-conceived John Cena vs. Kane feud was kicked off third.  Typical WWE nondescript brawl ending in a double countout, necessitating a rematch in February.  Given how thin the Rumble roster was, couldn't these two have just been included there?

Do I have your attention now?

Oh lovely, a squash match is next.  Brodus Clay (Remember him?  He was gonna be a huge deal.) destroyed Drew McIntyre (Remember him?  He was gonna be a huge deal.  Oh wait, he went away and came back and eventually was a pretty big deal.) in 65 seconds.  Thus began the disturbing 2012 trend of routinely including squash matches on PPV.

The one highlight of the evening was the WWE Title match pitting CM Punk against Dolph Ziggler, with GM John Laurinitis serving as the guest ringside enforcer.  I'm not sure what company officials were smoking when they elected to give Johnny Ace an on-air role, but he was terrible.  Like embarrassingly bad at everything.  And this is a guy who used to be a moderately successful wrestler.  This match was fine but the Johnny L bullcrap got in the way and they weren't given enough time to knock one out of the park.  Punk retained at about 14:30.

Now for that weak-ass Rumble match.  This was clearly coming down to one of two guys - Sheamus and Chris Jericho.  And they both entered in the final third.  That meant there were over 20 midcarders to slog through first.  The Miz carried the early parts of the match, but he'd been so badly damaged over the previous three months he was a non-factor.  There were seven surprise entrants, including three legends, former women's wrestler Kharma, and all three announcers.  Yup. All. Three. Goddamn. Announcers.  This whole match stunk until the last 12 minutes or so.  Much like the 2007 edition, the exchanges involving the final two were spectacular.  Jericho and Sheamus traded near-eliminations for several minutes before the big Irishman took it down (and won me $25 in our Rumble pool).  Sheamus was later rewarded for this Rumble victory with the privilege of curtain-jerking WrestleMania 28 and winning in 18 seconds with what was essentially a sucker punch, thus launching a poorly-received mega-face run.

Ring time at Royal Rumble: 22:21
Ring time at WrestleMania: 00:18

Participants: The Miz, Alex Riley, R-Truth, Cody Rhodes, Justin Gabriel, Primo, Mick Foley, Ricardo Rodriguez, Santino Marella, Epico, Kofi Kingston, Jerry Lawler, Ezekiel Jackson, Jinder Mahal, The Great Khali, Hunico, Booker T, Dolph Ziggler, Jim Duggan, Michael Cole, Kharma, Sheamus, Road Dogg, Jey Uso, Jack Swagger, Wade Barrett, David Otunga, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Big Show
Final Four: Sheamus, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Big Show
Long Man: The Miz (45:39)

So yeah, other than the last 12 minutes of the Rumble, a decent Punk-Ziggler match, and seeing a successful World Title defense by Daniel Bryan, this show was pretty much half-assed drivel.  The star power was lacking in the main event, most of the undercard felt like a weak RAW episode, and it didn't seem like a proper start to WrestleMania season.  WWE was just treading water until The Rock showed up I guess.

Best Match: CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler
Worst Match: Brodus Clay vs. Drew McIntyre
What I'd Change: Put Cena and Kane in the Rumble to beef up the field of participants a little, find better surprise guests, cut the squash match, and give Punk-Ziggler a full twenty minutes.
Most Disappointing Match: The Rumble
Most Pleasant Surprise: Nothing really.
Overall Rating: 3/10
Better than WrestleMania XXVIII, SummerSlam '12 and/or Survivor Series 2012? - Nope.

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