The first WWE pay-per-view (if we can even call them that anymore) of 2015 was essentially a one match card. That might not be the end of the world on a Royal Rumble show if that one match is the Rumble itself. That was most definitely NOT the case on this occasion.
The one match that truly shone was the WWE World Title Match pitting the man with the most gruelling championship schedule since the 1970’s, Brock Lesnar against challengers Seth Rollins and John Cena. It made sense to add a “youngster” to proceedings as the individual rivalry between Lesnar and Cena had long since peaked (or if you are being less kind, gone past the point where most cared) and a strong showing here for the Money In The Bank holder Rollins would keep his momentum going. Of course the cynical amongst you could also argue that it was a convenient way to avoid Cena taking the pinfall loss at the end of the match but regardless of that, the match delivered one of the most memorable and exciting World Title matches in recent history in the WWE. Brock brings an aura to his matches that simply isn’t replicated by anyone else in the WWE. His matches stand out (in a good way) and he brings the best out in his opponents to as they can’t phone in a normal effort when opposite the Beast Incarnate. This was an excellent match which delivered everything a big title match on the second biggest show of the year should have.
The undercard was far less convincing. After the somewhat muted way they had shown up on the main stage in WWE it was a pleasant surprise that the Ascension were able to pick up the win against the aging, or perhaps by now it’s just “aged”, New Age Outlaws. However it was too competitive to do any good to the new team, and JBL’s praise for the duo on commentary did little to negate the mockery that had come their way in the build up. It’s almost as if someone didn’t really want to get the Ascension over and thus continue to believe that NXT is not the future of the WWE’s business.
The Tag Team title match pitting The Uso’s against Miz & Mizdow was fun, but it was more akin to something you’d expect on a decent episode of Raw or Smackdown rather than something worthy of being on the second biggest WWE show of the year. Mind you, it was a HUGE cut above the Diva’s tag match, pitting the Bella’s against Paige and Natalya. You can talk about giving Diva’s a chance all you want, but eight minutes of the Bella’s rudimentary routines is at least twice as long as they should get. I cannot fault the effort they have made to improve, but they are still mediocre at best. Quite what difference swapping Natalya for AJ will make at ‘Mania is beyond me.
Of course, a fun and exciting Rumble could have saved the day, but the 2015 version was far from that. Forget for a minute that there’s a large proportion of the audience who seemingly wanted anyone BUT Reigns to win (I refuse to rage on a whole match simply because I don’t agree with the winner), but the match was just so lacking in drama, excitement or storylines that it probably counts as one of the worst matches of it’s type in years.
The way that many stars were just tossed aside, almost as afterthoughts, was just plain disheartening. Daniel Bryan’s in and out appearance seemed simply a way to punish fans for supporting the wrong man last year, the likes of Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler were equally easily eliminated and the list of surprise entrants was generally poor too. As fun as it was to see “Buh Buh” Dudley back in a WWE ring, the Boogeyman’s return wasn’t exactly one people were clamouring for.
That the final four included Big Show and Kane, both of whom should have retired a long time ago was just another kick in the teeth. If the bookers really thought that Roman Reigns overcoming the odds by being in a final four with these two and Rusev would win the respect of the fans they were sorely mistaken. As it turned out, not even the Rock’s “rub” could help Roman on the night.
There is an argument that whatever had happened in the match it would have been a disaster simply because Roman Reigns won. But I think that’s far from the case. With an exciting Rumble, that pushed more people that fans actually had an interest in and actually tried to sow the seeds of doubt surrounding the “inevitable” outcome, Reigns win might not have been treated with quite so much derision as he was. But really, as soon as Bryan was sacrificed so early and easily, this was always going to fall flat and there is no getting away from the fact that the Rumble match was poor.
The DVD adds the fun kick off match between Kidd & Cesaro and The New Day (which is actually the second best thing on the show) as well as an interview with Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman, a backstage altercation between John Cena and Rusev and a terrible post-Rumble chat with Roman Reigns and The Rock which certainly doesn’t make Reigns look “strong”.
The blu-ray also adds Daniel Bryan’s major announcement from Raw, the World Title contract signing and three TV matches. Daniel Bryan Vs Kane in a No DQ match is a sterling effort considering one of the participants is Kane and that Bryan has only just come back off a long injury absence. A six man with Bryan, Reigns and Ambrose against Rollins, Show and Kane is typical TV fare, whilst the three-on-one handicap match pitting Cena against Rollins, Show and Kane is exactly what you’d expect from a scenario of this type involving Cena.
With only one “must-see” match it’s difficult to recommend this show. Quite apart from any issues with the winner of the Rumble, that match is just plain dull. A rocky start on the Road to WrestleMania for sure.
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch.fm for providing our review copy of WWE Royal Rumble 2015. WWE Royal Rumble 2015 is available DVD & Blu-Ray from Monday, April 6th 2015. You can pre-order your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.