We kick off the show with a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute with some famous names of African Americans from history. Classy.
The power couple are in the ring to start the show. Hunter is about to introduce Batista back to the WWE, but Randy Orton interrupts before that can happen and comes to the ring. Stephanie reminds Orton of his loss to Kofi Kingston last week and attack on John Cena’s father and scolds him. She threatens his job for what he did. Orton blames them for bringing back Brock Lesnar and Batista, and for giving John Cena a rematch at the Royal Rumble. Hunter bickers with Orton and tells him he needs to fix a lot of things, and it starts tonight when he faces Kofi Kingston again and confronts John Cena upon his arrival. Cue Batista’s music and out he comes. I still don’t care much for Orton’s acting; it feels overdone.
Batista tells Orton he’s back for the WWE World Title. He says some other stuff too, but we don’t care. He leaves to his music and Orton is steamed. At least he kept it short. I could dig that Mania main event right there, Orton vs Batista.
Seth Rollins pins Big E. Langston as the Shield defeat Langston and the Rhodes Brothers. Great wrestling. Fairly long(11+ minutes). I could see Rollins getting a Title show at Langston for getting the pin here. I’d welcome that one on one match!
Daniel Bryan comes out and talks. He says he planned to take out Bray Wyatt all along and had it set up. Wyatt comes on the screen and talks about everything that happens to Dbry from here on out being Dbry’s own fault. Excellent promo work from both guys here. It’s a believable rivalry and their match will take place at the Royal Rumble now.
Fandango defeats Xavier Woods with R-Truth on commentary. Too short to matter, and not a good way to make Mr. Woods look good as a main roster guy. At least Fandango got the proper win.
Kane and Brad Maddox bicker. Stephanie kicks Brad out and scolds Kane for slamming CM Punk on Smackdown. She says he can’t put his hands on any WWE Superstar. He apologizes, but she wants him to go apologize to CM Punk. I love Kane’s character. He’s done it all and has always been entertaining. Watching him act totally “normal” with Stephanie was impressive to see.
Kane comes to the ring and asks CM Punk to come out. Punk comes out grinning. Kane apologizes in a roundabout way. Punk attacks Kane and knocks him out of the ring and Kane comes back ripping his jacket off. Brad Maddox comes out and stops Kane from going after Punk. Maddox says Punk will face one of the two New Age Outlaws right now. Fun segment between Kane and Punk. Both are excellent characters.
Billy Gunn lost Rock, Paper, Scissors to Road Dogg and has to face Punk. Road Dogg does commentary for the match. Punk wins the match with GTS in a competitive match.
Maddox comes out after the match but Kane takes the mic and congratulates Punk on winning the match, and then tells him he will be the number one entrant in this year’s Rumble match. I like it!
Brock Lesnar is shown walking into the arena with Paul Heyman.
Video tribute for Mae Young. Good memories.
Rey Mysterio comes out for a match. He’s facing Alberto Del Rio in the third match of their series together after each defeated the other on Raw and Smackdown last week. They tell us that two men have won the Royal Rumble from the the number entry, but they don’t say who(HBK and Benoit, that’s why). Del Rio and Mysterio go back and forth with some lucha style wrestling. Del Rio wins a highly competitive match with the cross armbreaker. Excellent match from these guys!
Batista comes out after the match while Alberto Del Rio is celebrating. Looks like they’ll go at it right now! Batista gets in Del Rio’s face and stares at him while Del Rio rants. ADR goes after Batista and gets nailed with a spinebuster. It’s like seeing the Ultimate Warrior all over again. Batista gives Del Rio a Batista-Bomb.
Big Show comes to the ring and mocks Paul Heyman(very well, infact) before calling out Brock Lesnar. Paul Heyman comes to the stage, but instead of saying anything, he looks and Lesnar comes out to his music. Lesnar walks to the ring, and then turns around and walks back out. That was fun. Show grabs a mic and tells Lesnar to get back out here and get in his face. Lesnar comes back out and back towards the ring. Lesnar gets in the ring and goes face to face with Big Show. They go at it and Show tosses Lesnar out of the ring. That looked rough. Lesnar clears the table and gets back in the ring with a steel chair. Show steps on the chair and Lesnar slides out of the ring. Brock throws one of the TV monitors in the ring and Show has the chair. Lesnar walks away on the advice of Paul Heyman. I love the confrontations these two have had. I sincerely hope Lesnar ends up facing Batista at WrestleMania and not the Undertaker or Randy Orton. Hell, I’d be happy to see Dbry and Lesnar as long as Taker gets to work with anyone BUT Lesnar. I just don’t see those two giving us a five star classic at this point in Taker’s career. Taker needs fast guys in the ring with him.
AJ Lee and Tamina are defeated by Cameron and Naomi when AJ is pinned. It’s the divas; I’m just not interested.
Rowan and Harper take on the Usos with Bray Wyatt at ringside. Bray cuts a promo on Dbry during the match. Dbry runs down and attacks Bray and it allows the Usos to get the rollup win on the distraction. Excellent work here from all six men! I’m a little surprised Dbry is performing with the concussion, but it’s such a great rivalry with Wyatt! The Usos seem to finally be getting the recognition they deserve; I hope to see them as Tag Champs in 2014.
Randy Orton wins by DQ against Kofi Kingston in the main event. Orton is distracted by the arrival of Cena and they end up brawling. Orton leaves in a random vehicle to get away from Cena. Cena celebrates to end the show. Kofi and Orton looked good together in this one, but the story here is supposed to be the hype for the WWE Title match. I’m really not interested in the WWE Title match on Sunday. I don’t expect Cena to win.
So the show was full of wrestling from start to finish, and nothing stood out as being too awful. I’m going to give the show a solid 7/10. The road to the Rumble hasn’t been incredible and the odds on favorite to win the Rumble match itself is clearly Batista, but the show was packed with good wrestling. Thanks for reading!