Well it’s that time of the year for my all-time favourite WWE pay per view; actually my favourite annual wrestling pay per view. The last few years haven’t been as memorable as years past, but this pay per view still delivers plenty of surprises, which are always nice to see.
Without any further ado, let me get things started with my thoughts and predictions from start to finish…
Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars for the WWE Tag Team Championships
The WWE has placed a lot of emphasis on its tag team division over the last year. While the focus on the division has kind of faded away over the last few months, these two teams have been pushed to the moon. As long as Kane spends the majority of this match on the ring apron, this could be a very hot opener to get the crowd into it, with plenty of near falls in the closing sequence. I see the end come where Team Rhodes Scholars are double teaming Daniel Bryan, who has just made a blind tag to Kane. As Bryan is being set up for the beautiful disaster, Kane tosses Sandow out of the ring and shoves Bryan out of harm’s way, only to take the move himself. This leads to Sandow hitting the Terminus and picking up the win for his team to claim the Tag Titles. As Team Rhodes Scholars celebrate, Bryan and Kane argue in the ring.
[The announcers throw to the back, where The Rock is about to cut a promo]
The Rock: FINALLY, THE ROCK HAS COME BACK TO PHOENIX! And The Rock has never meant those words as much as he does tonight, because tonight, FINALLY THE WWE TITLE COMES BACK TO THE ROCK! And these fans along with The Rock, we can all feel it, we can taste it, and most importantly we can smell it. But I have to give the devil his due, because to hold the WWE Championship for over the year is one hell of an accomplishment. But what does that make you, Punk, after I take that title from you tonight? It makes you nothing more than a statistic in history. And The Rock hopes you’re a history buff Punk, because tonight, Professor Johnson is going to teach you things that can’t be taught in any classroom. Oh you can bet your ass that we’re going to school, and against all odds, I promise…no, I guaran-damn-tee you that The Rock will stand tall as the new WWE Ch…
[The Rock's eyes suddenly wander off screen, as he locks eyes with John Cena]
Cena: You mentioned something about one year? There’s been something that’s been eating away at me for the entire year as well. Let me refresh your memory. WrestleMania 28! I had victory well in hand. But something happened that night that I’ve had trouble living with: I lost. And I don’t want to take anything away from you, because you beat me fair and square. But that was one night. Tonight, I wish you good luck, but let’s make one thing clear. That title that you’re after doesn’t belong to CM Punk or to you, or even to me. It belongs to those people, whom you keep claiming that you fight for. So again, I wish you good luck in your match tonight. Because after I win the Royal Rumble, I will be the main event at WrestleMania. And on April 7, make no mistake about it, THE CHAMP IS HERE! I just hope you can live with that.
Rock: Well then I wish you luck tonight too. Because at WrestleMania, you’re gonna need all the luck you can get. IF YA SMEEEEELLLLLLLL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKIN’
Katelyn vs. Layla for the Divas Championship
This match hasn’t been officially announced yet, but I’ve heard that there is supposed to be a divas match at the pay per view, and they did subtly tease something on Smackdown last week between these two. Katelyn has improved by leaps and bounds since graduating from NXT, but it’s been kind of the opposite for Layla, who hasn’t impressed me at all since she came back last year, which is quite disappointing, since she was one of the divas that I was would hoping would be the future of the division. At least this match will be short, which is a good thing. I pick Katelyn to win clean with the spear, after Layla misses her springboard crossbody. After the match, Katelyn offers to shake Layla’s hand, and Layla is a little reluctant, but eventually accepts the handshake.
[Daniel Bryan and Kane are arguing, on their way to the Royal Rumble drawing room, as Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara are shown picking their numbers inside]
Bryan: What is wrong with you? Why do you always do this?
Kane: Do what? What are you talking about?
Bryan: You cost us ANOTHER match! And not only that, you cost us the Tag Team Titles this time!
Kane: I COST US?!?
Bryan: YES! You were the one who was pinned out there.
Kane: I was pinned, trying to save you
Bryan: I had everything under control!
Kane: You were getting your ass kicked!
Kane: ENOUGH! Why can’t we be more like these two (points at Rey and Sin Cara)?
Bryan: Like these two? They don’t even speak English. And they wear masks. I’m sure you can relate.
Kane: Well at least neither of them has a goat face!
[As the argument continues, Mysterio interrupts]
Mysterio: Look guys, you may not be the best of friends, but in the Royal Rumble there are no friends anyway. Good luck tonight, boys.
[Mysterio and Cara walk off]
Kane: You know Rey’s right. It’s every man for himself tonight.
Bryan: Great, because the only person I can depend on is myself.
Kane: What are you doing?
Bryan: I’m picking my number. What does it look like I’m doing?
Kane: Tallest one goes first
[Dolph Ziggler, AJ and Big E. Langston walk in]
Ziggler: Look guys, it doesn’t matter which one of you go first, because neither one of you are going to win. You’re both looking at the winner right here in front of you. But in the off chance that I’m wrong, it really doesn’t matter. Because this right here (holds up MITB briefcase) is my fail safe. So whether you like it or not, you’re looking at the future World Heavyweight Champion. As a matter of fact, you’re looking at the winner of tonight’s royal rumble. Don’t you boys agree?
[Bryan and Kane both look at each other and then back at Ziggler]
The Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio in a last man standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship
I agree that this match should have a stipulation, since the previous match did. However, why do we need to see the exact same match type? I don’t get it, but this could be a decent match. I see Del Rio getting up after the WMD, and then tries to flip the spanish announce table on top of Big Show again. This time, Show is able to get up in time. They fight through the crowd and end up coming back to ringside, where Big Show levels Del Rio with a chair. He then stacks up the steel steps and delivers a belly-to-back suplex to Del Rio off the steps and through the English announce table, but as they fall, Show ends up landing on the chair, which Rodriguez places on the table, right before the two of them go through it. Neither man is able to get to his feet, and the match is ruled a draw.
[Randy Orton is drawing his number backstage, as he is approached by Sheamus]
Orton: What do you want?
Sheamus: Easy fella. I just want to talk to you. Look, I know things have been a little crazy on Smackdown lately and the competitive juices have been flowing. But we are entering the road to WrestleMania tonight. We’ve both won Royal Rumbles in the past, but the only thing better than winning the Royal Rumble match is winning it twice.
Orton: I agree. So may the best man win.
[Sheamus and Orton shake hands, but then Sheamus smirks and turns back]
Sheamus: You know I was thinking fella, this Royal Rumble match is already a special one. But how about we make it a little more interesting.
Orton: What do you have in mind?
Sheamus: $100 cash bonus to which ever one of us wins the rumble match?
Orton: You’re on. But if you keep rolling the dice Sheamus, sooner or later, you’re gonna get snake eyes (for some reason, this line sounded a lot better in my head).
The Royal Rumble match
Dolph Ziggler and Sin Cara start things off as numbers one and two. The match goes back and forth at a quick pace, with Cara eventually missing a high risk move, which Ziggler takes advantage of and dumps him out. Brodus Clay is out at number three. Clay pretty much has his way with Ziggler, and sets him up for a running avalanche. AJ momentarily distracts Brodus, which allows Ziggler to move out of harm’s way and dropkick Clay, whose own momentum takes him out. As Ziggler takes a breather and awaits his next opponent, it is none other than a surprise entrant, Shelton Benjamin at number four. This match is very competitive and the pace quickens. Benjamin almost gets a surprise elimination, but Ziggler is able to avoid hitting the floor. AJ then distracts Benjamin, and Ziggler dropkicks him from behind. Benjamin goes over the top, but tries to skin the cat, only for Big E. Langston to hit him in the breadbasket, forcing Benjamin to the floor. Afterwards, the referees demand that both Langston and AJ return to the back. Daniel Bryan comes out next at number five, and Antonio Cesaro enters at number six. The Great Khali is out at number seven and is immediately triple teamed by Ziggler, Cesaro and Bryan. They each hit a move on Khali, with Cesaro powering him up with the neutralizer, and then drapes him on the top rope. Cesaro follows up with a running uppercut, knocking Khali to the floor. The ring then starts to fill up with Cody Rhodes at number 8, The Miz at number nine, Darren Young at 10 and Sheamus at 11. Jinder Mahal is out at number 12. He comes in one side and is immediately tossed out on the other side by Sheamus. Titus O’Neill is out at 13, followed by another surprise entrant in The Road Dogg at 14, and yet another one in Mr. Ass at 15. The reunited New Age Outlaws simultaneously eliminate the Prime Time Players, but they end up celebrating too long, as they are both clotheslined out by Sheamus. This leaves Ziggler, Bryan, Miz, Cesaro, Rhodes and Sheamus still in the ring, to be joined by Rey Mysterio at 16 and Drew McIntyre at 17. McIntyre goes right after Sheamus and tries the future shock DDT, but end up being elevated over the top rope and out. R Truth is out next at 18 and is quickly eliminated by Cesaro. Damien Sandow enters at 19, followed by Kane at 20. This leaves Kane, Sandow, Rhodes, Bryan, Sheamus, Cesaro, Miz, Ziggler and Mysterio. Randy Orton enters at 21 and dumps out both Miz and Cesaro, as they attempt to eliminate each other. Heath Slater comes out at 22 and is immediately brogue kicked out by Sheamus. Kofi Kingston enters number 23, followed by John Cena at 24. Cena eliminates both Kingston and Mysterio. Bryan is being double teamed by the Rhodes Scholars on one side, so Kane comes to his rescue. Kane is elevated over the top by both Rhodes Scholars, but manages to land on the apron. He then grabs Sandow by the throat and forces him out on the other side. Bryan then hits a sliding dropkick to eliminate his own partner, Kane, who was just about to climb back in. As Bryan taunts Kane from the ring with ‘Yes’ chants, he’s forgotten about Rhodes, who attacks Bryan from behind and eliminates him. Still in the ring are Cena, Ziggler, Orton, Sheamus and Rhodes. Wade Barrett comes out next at 26, followed by another surprise entrant in MVP at 27. Ryback comes out at 28 and goes elimination crazy, taking out Barrett, Rhodes and MVP. Hornswoggle comes out at 29 and is immediately sent packing by Ziggler. The last entrant is the returning Christian. Ryback basically runs through everyone and hits a series of power moves. Eventually, everyone tries to get Ryback out. But as they have Ryback in trouble, Orton leaves his post to eliminate Sheamus. As Orton and Sheamus exchange words, Ziggler dropkicks Orton from behind and eliminates him. This leaves your final four as Ryback, Cena, Ziggler and Christian. Christian tosses Ziggler out, but Ziggler skins the cat and eliminates Christian from behind. Ziggler then starts getting cocky, as he struts around the ring. Cena then tosses Ziggler out on the other side, but he is able to skin the cat again, but this time, he is met with a vicious clothesline from Ryback, which sends him out. So it’s now down to Cena and Ryback as the last two. They exchange holds and counters back and forth. Ryback is eventually able to hit shell shocked. But as he goes to pick Cena up to throw him out, Cena is basically dead weight. But it turns out that Cena was playing possum, as he loads Ryback up in AA position and quickly dumps him out. So your winner of the 2013 Royal Rumble match: John Cena!
[A video airs to hype Raw Roulette for the next night on Raw]
[John Cena walks back through the curtain and is congratulated by several Superstars and Divas. At the end of the line, Cena comes face-to-face with CM Punk, who gives him a sarcastic clap]
Punk: Well, well. Here we are. One half of the main event at WrestleMania 29. Congratulations, John! You really deserve it. But I doubt that you’ll be getting a similar reaction after our match at WrestleMania. In fact, I’m gonna tell you right now to challenge for Alberto’s World Heavyweight Championship, because it’s the only World Title that you have any hope in hell of winning. Let’s face it John. 2012 was not good to you. And I’m gonna make sure that 2013 is even worse, if you dare challenge me for this (holds up title) at WrestleMania. The last two or three times that we’ve faced each other for the WWE Championship, you’ve come out on the losing end. What makes you think it’s gonna be any different this time.
Cena: Well, Punk, you bring up some pretty good points there. But I’m just curious as to what makes you think you’ll still be the WWE Champion at WrestleMania.
[Punk's smirk quickly turns into a scowl, but just as things look like they may get physical, Cena is attacked from behind by The Shield. The Shield elevate Cena up for their triple powerbomb through a table backstage, as Punk looks on. The Shield then turn their attention to Punk and Heyman, and it looks like they may be the next targets. Suddenly, all of them break out into laughter]
Punk: I guess there’s no sense in covering up anymore. Another one bites the dust, huh? Hahaha.
CM Punk vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship
The build for this match has been great, and I’m expecting both guys to bring their A-games, as this could be an early candidate for best match of 2013. I see each guy kicking out of the other one’s finisher. Following a ref bump, The Shield start to make their way to the ring, but are cut off by John Cena. Cena and The Rock clean house of the Shield. Then, just as Rock is about to deliver the Rock Bottom to Punk, Ambrose tries to nail him with a chair. Cena rushes into the ring and grabs the chair from Ambrose with such force, that it swings back and Cena accidentally hits Rock in the back, without realizing it. This causes Rock to stumble forward, right into the GTS, as Cena chases The Shield off. Punk then drags his body on top of the Rock, as the referee makes the three count. So Punk is still WWE Champion.
After the match, The Rock gets up and delivers both The Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow to Punk.
So there you have it.
Here are my match predictions and booking ideas for Elimination Chamber:
CM Punk vs. The Rock vs. Randy Orton vs. Ryback vs. Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler in the elimination chamber for the WWE Championship - Ryback, Orton and Sheamus qualify by beating The Shield in a six-man tag; Ziggler qualifies by beating John Cena, after interference by Big E. Langston (Cena basically had nothing to lose in the match, since he already has his title shot. The match was set up by Vickie Guerrero to punish Ziggler. If Ziggler lost to Cena, he would have lost the briefcase); The Rock qualifies by beating CM Punk in a non-title match on Raw.
Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett vs. Christian vs. Zack Ryder in the elimination chamber for the WWE Championship - Big Show qualifies over The Great Khali; Kingston qualifies over Antonio Cesaro after interference by The Miz; Barrett qualifies over The Miz after interference by Cesaro; Christian and Ryder qualify over Team Hell No.
John Cena vs. Big E. Langston
Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz for the US Championship
Team Rhodes Scholars vs. Team Hell No vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. 3MB vs. The Prime Time Players in tag team turmoil for the WWE Tag Team Championships
*As far as the chamber matches go, I’m thinking Punk loses the title to The Rock in his one, but then has the Shield take out Christian or someone and just do what Edge did, where he enters the other chamber at the last minute, and wins the World Title.