Tonight will mark the WWE’s 25th anniversary of the Royal Rumble PPV, and in my opinion this year’s event could very well be the most memorable in years. Most years, the Royal Rumble features around four matches, with the 30 man over the top rope, Royal Rumble match being the main event of the night. Many years we see the other matches on the Royal Rumble card, not carry a whole lot of significance in comparison to the actual Royal Rumble match itself, however this doesn’t seem to be the case this year. In my opinion, there are four matches tonight that are going to be huge going into the next couple months leading up to Wrestlemania.
In the first of these important matches, Daniel Bryan defends his heavyweight title against the Big Show and Mark Henry inside of a steel cage. Over the past month, Daniel Bryan has grown to be despised by wrestling fans that are even remotely interested in the Smackdown brand. Week after week, the notoriously boring champion has squeaked by with his championship still around his waist in matches that he should be losing it in. It would seem that tonight, it would almost be impossible for Bryan to Houdini his way out of a steel cage while competing against both the Big Show and Mark Henry, but something tells me this is exactly what’s going to happen.
For the past month, I and many other fans have been tuning into Smackdown excited to see somebody beat Bryan for his heavyweight title, and week after week, I have been disappointed. With a Smackdown storyline that is still actually grabbing people’s attention, I don’t think it is smart for the WWE to give this story up quite yet, and I think they know this as well. However, if I see either of the other two walking out of the Rumble with the title, it’s Mark Henry. This would open the door for Mark Henry to carry on a championship rivalry with somebody else, while still allowing for the Big Show and Daniel Bryan to continue their already heated feud.
The next of the important matches for tonight’s PPV is John Cena vs. Kane. Though this match might not have a championship at stake in it, it is still just as important in other ways. John Cena is two months away from what will possibly be the biggest pro wrestling match of all time, I’m of course talking about his match with the Rock at Wrestlemania 28. Over the past month and a half, Kane has targeted John Cena, in an attempt to get him to give up his “rise above hate,” gimmick and “embrace hate,” as Kane does. Week after week, Kane has targeted John’s good friend Zack Ryder in an attempt to fuel a fire in John Cena and in the past couple of weeks, we seem to see it working.
If John Cena wins this match tonight, this could provide much-needed momentum to carry him through the next couple of months as a baby face leading into his match with the Rock in April. However, if he loses, I’m afraid we may see a heel turn for John Cena in the near future. I have expressed my opinions, on this in previous articles, so I wont say anything besides the fact that this would be a huge disappointment to myself and every other wrestling fan who was the looking forward to a generation vs. generation match. Wrestling fans don’t want to see a hero vs. heel match at Wrestlemania, they want to see a hero vs. hero match.
The next match on the agenda is CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE championship with Johnny Ace (Yes, I’m going to call him that) as the special guest referee. I honestly can now say that I have no idea how this one is going to play out. Cm Punk has been on fire over the past 7 months, and having him remain champion going into Wrestlemania just seems to make sense at this point. On the other hand Dolph Ziggler could be a promising main event caliber wrestler for the future and giving him the belt now would give him a couple of months to gain both popularity and momentum going into a Wrestlemania title defense.
Now aside from all of this, the John Laurinaitis storyline does add another dimension to this match. We found out last week that Johnny Ace, is skating on thin ice with the board of directors and any indication that he intends on still screwing CM Punk out of his championship tonight will probably result in him being removed from his position as interim GM of Raw. Whatever happens tonight will definitely have implications for who walks into Wrestlemania with the belt, and where each of these storylines goes heading into April.
The last match, and quite possibly the biggest match of the night is the Royal Rumble match. Here is the first thing I will say: I am going to be pissed if Jericho comes in and wins this thing! He is washed up, and completely irrelevant now, it would be a waste to see him win this and bore us at Wrestlemania with an uninteresting title match.
The weird thing about this one is that it’s hard to predict a win for anyone because we don’t even know who is going to be in it other than Mick Foley, and the Miz. Whoever wins this one tonight, I don’t see a disappointing win. Whoever wins this match will, as always, go to Wrestlemania to wrestle for whichever title they chose. With the Rock and Cena on the same card, I think they are going to need a Hell of a co-main event, and whoever wins the Royal Rumble could be the one to make that happen.
I will be watching intently tonight to see how the WWE is going to begin what is sure to be one Hell of a 2012!