Monday, January 28, 2008

Inside The Squared Circle: Royal Rumble Recap, Wrestlemania Predictions, Much More

The Royal Rumble pay-per-view last night was awesome! The overall show built itself up quite well from the opening contest between Ric Flair and M.V.P. through the shocking finale, and what an ending it was with John Cena being the 30th man to enter the Rumble match and coming out on top.

I wrote in a prior post that I was not sure about what was going on with John Cena. I had read that Cena had made enough progress in rehabbing his completely torn pectoral muscle that W.W.E.’s writing team was keeping him in their plans for Wrestlemania. But it was a longshot that he would wrestle at the big event in March and most likely Cena would be involved to a lesser degree by serving as a special referee or in some sort of non-wrestling role.

Then I read that Cena himself told a newspaper that he was going to be starting work on a movie and wouldn’t be back until June. But he did say "never say never!" Oh if only I picked up on that one, someone might be asking me to pick stocks for them! Anyway, when Cena’s music blared over the loudspeakers at Madison Square Garden, I was completely shocked. Before I saw Cena, I thought it might have been some kind of ripoff, like an imitator much in the same way that the W.W.E. has used the diminutive Gillberg for the hulking Bill Goldberg in the past. But nope this was the real thing and what a shocked look on the face of Triple H when Cena walked toward the ring.

For the last few months – with Cena being injured – all I heard was that Triple H would definitely be winning the W.W.E. title at Wrestlemania. There were so many people saying that Triple H would win the Royal Rumble, but it wasn’t to be. From what I have read thus far, John Cena was a surprise to virtually everyone backstage. Somehow they were able to keep him hidden in the bowels of Madison Square Garden. Of course, though, the guys in the match had to know he was coming because he eliminated a bunch of wrestlers from the match. Here are the results from last night and some other thoughts on the show:

Ric Flair used his patented figure-four leglock to force M.V.P. to submit. This match was a good opener.

JBL beat Chris Jericho via disqualification. There was a botched bulldog attempt in the match that got a round of boos from the M.S.G. audience, but it was still a good match. The feud goes on a little longer and I think it will culminate at some point in a bullrope or dog collar match.

Edge defeated Rey Mysterio. I was SHOCKED that Edge was cheered while Rey was booed. This match featured some outstanding moves by Mysterio and some great counters by Edge.

Jeff Hardy dominated Randy Orton but lost cleanly anyway. I don’t buy into the return of Cena being the reason why Hardy didn’t get the W.W.E. Championship. I don’t think Vince McMahon has any faith in Hardy carrying the belt, even if it were for a short time.

Here are my Wrestlemania predictions based off of what I saw last night:
W.W.E. Champion Randy Orton vs. John Cena – Cena had to relinquish the title due to injury, so he’ll most likely choose to face Orton to get his belt back.

World Heavyweight Champion Edge vs. Ric Flair. For a while now I have thought that The Undertaker would put his undefeated Wrestlemania record on the line against Edge for the World Title. But if Flair faces Mr. Kennedy at No Way Out in February and presumably wins – he would have to be considered a number one contender for either World Title. Although I would love to see Flair win the "gold belt" once more and then retire the next night on Monday Night Raw, he's just so past his time of being a great performer. But hey why not...

Triple H vs. Batista. It’s been a match that has been rumored, albeit one that would involve a championship at stake. The two, along with Cena, were the last three standing last night!

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker. If this match is indeed made, it has the potential to be “match of the year.” The two were the first entrants into the match last night and as expected put on a great show for the crowd.

--I loved that nobody knew about Cena returning last night. It threw so many people off and has the potential to really change the direction of some things.
--I also really enjoyed how Hornswoggle was not a big part of the show, nor were the women (except for a funny in-ring vignette with Maria, Ashley and Santino Marella).
--Somehow the W.W.E. was also able to do an incredibly smooth job with all six announcers from the three different brands calling the Rumble match!
--Michael Buffer as ring announcer was really cool also.
--The Great Khali had a small role as well, which made me happy.
--No Big Show, but I expect him on Raw tonight.
--Cena looks HUGE!
--The Giants will have to win the Super Bowl Sunday night to match the excitement level that I had after last night's Royal Rumble. I was so wound up I didn't fall asleep until 1 a.m. I can only equate the feeling to one of my teams winning dramatically in the playoffs! Money well-spent in my book!

Keep it in the Ring!

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