Monday, 28 January 2013
IT IS SOMETIMES SAID THAT WRESTLING IS A (PRETEND) SPORT WITHOUT AN OFF-SEASON BUT THAT IS TOTALLY FALSE BECAUSE I DON'T WATCH IT AT ALL BETWEEN LIKE A WEEK AND A HALF AFTER WRESTLEMANIA AND THE ROYAL RUMBLE OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR SO WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU CALL THAT AS WE GATHER HERE UNITED IN OUR ENTHUSIASM AND AFFECTION FOR THIS THE SHINING GOLDEN HALL TO LAST FOR ALL TIME OF WRESTLING SHOWS THE ROYAL RUMBLE I DON'T KNOW ANY OF THE STORIES THAT ARE GOING ON RIGHT NOW BUT HAVE DEEPLY HELD CONVICTIONS ABOUT WHICH GUYS OWN LET'S GOOOOOOO
Let me begin by saying that I am pleased that this first match is for a prestigious championship as big stakes often lead to big performances and let me further say that Alberto Del Rio is tremendous and I have loved him ever since he broke a guy's arm with a throw and then also got kicked in the head in the radically inferior sport of mixed martial arts but I would hasten to add that the Big Show is kind of awful and last-man standing matches don't do very much for me OMG IT IS BRET HART HE IS MY FAVOURITE WRESTLER AND HE IS TELLING ALBERTO DEL RIO HE IS PRETTY MUCH A MEXICAN BRET HART AND THE BIG SHOW IS A BIG TUB OF GOO HE IS PROBABLY RIGHT ON BOTH COUNTS THIS IS GREAT ZOMG HE PUT THE HITMAN GLASSES ON RICARDO THIS IS SUCH A START TO THINGS
(I guess there was a pre-show match but as a busy executive and actually quite possibly the busiest executive I have no time for such trifling matters and I am glad that the generous soul that put this up on youtube has not troubled me with it.)
Michael Cole who I guess is not doing the heel play-by-play thing that was always awful and never even a little bit OK is not doing that anymore. He is joined by Justin Bradshaw Layfield who showed up with a nice suit one night and all of a sudden wasn't a blackjack or acolyte or whatever anymore but was a force to be reckoned with because of capitalism and also Jerry Lawler is here as a vestige of our feudal past and the social integration it represents in a complicated way. Cole reminds us this match recognizes neither pinfalls nor submissions which is awesome because both of those things are boring and nobody likes them; what the people want to see is guys pretend to be hurt for a long time and then the bell ring. Fundamentally if you find that you are a wrestling match and that you recognize the authority or neither the pinfall nor the submission nor yet the disqualification nor count-out you had really better be the Royal Rumble or I am going to take issue with you and you will probably be dismissive of that and however that plays out in the end we will not have enjoyed our time together.
This match is fine given the constraints that bound it structurally but it is not to my taste except for the parts where Del Rio threatens with his tobi-juji-gatame finishing maneuver or pummels his glandular foe to a chant of SI SI SI which suggests to me that Daniel Bryan is still well liked? I am exceedingly glad if that is the case because he is far and away my favourite wrestler of the right now period. Since we last spoke I watched a number of the Ring of Honour matches contested under his christian name and they were uniformly tremendous; as I have mentioned previously I saw him wrestle in a triple-threat match in Oshawa where he leaned out between the second and middle ropes and yelled at a heckler "I WILL FIGHT YOU RIGHT NOW" in a way that felt timeless and real. It was awesome how he lost in like a minute at Wrestlemania last year and it basically made his career. I have his t-shirt, the one with the taped hands in an s-grip because it speaks to me though in truth I do not wear it. In short, I admire him greatly and find him excellent and wish him every success.
Del Rio and the Big Show are doing all kinds of things that they totally should be doing like hitting each other with chairs and getting thrown off of things and through other things but I am unmoved. Ricardo duct-taped the Big Show to the ropes whilst Del Rio attacked with juji-gatame (or cross arm-breaker if you must) for the win and I mean I guess.
Cody Rhodes who as I recall is *excellent* at this is paired with Damien Sandow and they are billed as the Rhodes Scholars and I see that Cody Rhodes has spent the time since the previous Royal Rumble crafting a fine moustache which is largely how I have spent the last twelve months as well also I value scholarship. They are here to challenge Team Hell No for the Tag Team Championship and to my delight Team Hell no consists of Kane which is fine but also DANIEL BRYAN who is the best and whose beard is gross as hell and therefore exquisite.
Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes open the match by being tremendous at disingenuous grappling in exactly the fashion I am ready to enjoy. When Kane and Damien Sandow enter the ring I am less into it but I have no real problem with Kane and Sandow I have no feel for either way but I suspect he is way less awesome than for example let's just say Daniel Bryan who just flew betwixt the second and third rope atop his rivals in a way that had a real kind of fuuuuuck uuuuuuu feel to it; it does not feel perfunctory.
This is probably silly to go on about at length because it is so obvious but Daniel Bryan is the *best* at this right now and I don't even see how anybody else is close.
Is Damien Sandow supposed to be like Dean Douglas? Has there been a story arc about Kane and Daniel Bryan and anger management, am I hearing this right? I am assuming my impressions here are accurate but I really legitimately haven't watched any of this in months; it is not an air I am taking on to seem superior and above the fray.
It's not great that they don't call it the Lebell Lock any longer when Daniel Bryan secures a crossface from a sankaku-garami (plz consult pg. 200 of Best Judo by Nobuyuki Sato and Isao Inokuma for more on this suite of techniques) but I am pleased to see it is still a finishing maneuver that dudes will tap too; to my relief, it has not been Walls-of-Jericho'd. Unless dudes are back to tapping to that one, too, in which case fine then.
ALRIGHT OK THIS IS WHAT WE ARE HERE FOR IT IS THE ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH ITSELF I WATCHED ALL TWENTY-FIVE OF THESE THIS TIME LAST YEAR AND FORMED OPINIONS ABOUT THEM INDIVIDUALLY BUT NOW THEY ARE ALL JUST ONE BIG AWESOME THING IN MY BRAIN BUT HOW WILL THIS ONE PLAY OUT HOOOOOOOOW?
Dolph Ziggler at number one is a *great* idea and holy smokes he and AJ are kissing like a ton right now. The dramatic possibilities for a lady on wrestling are pretty limited obviously but AJ seems to be pretty good at it if I am remembering the Daniel Bryan stuff of a year ago with any accuracy at all. Dolph Ziggler is a show off, and nobody likes a show off. It's perfect. Things should never be more complicated than that on wrestling, Roland Barthes once argued (he did not).
JERICHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO holy shit Ziggler and Jericho at one and two is the best one and two since I don't know Demolition or something. The crowd is going nuuuuts which suggests maybe Jericho is a surprise? I didn't know he was away so the impact on me here is less I guess except that I really, really like Jericho because I am a person on the internet and last year I was so sure it was finally his year to win it but alas Sheamus alas alas. I would like Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho to wrestle for like fifteen minutes before anybody else comes in but that might not happen. Oh ok so there is a grudge here in that Jericho lost to Ziggler in a loser-leaves-town-esque situation some time ago and this is his first appearance since then. Good job, wrestling! I like that plenty.
These two guy are the best THE BEST I hope Ziggler in particular stays around for pretty much the whole time and just bounces all over the place for whichever dude comes in and bounces dudes around for a bit before pairing off with somebody in the corner with pushing.
Cody Rhodes is out and ok awesome awesome awesome Jericho has him in the walls of Jericho of an earlier time the kind you do when you use Jericho on the n64 and it is siiiiiiick. Kofi Kingston has done some cool Royal Rumble things so I welcome his appearance as the number four entrant but I do not like his chances long term as traditionally high fliers do not fair well in this match with the notable exception of Rey Mysterio I suppose. Again, Cody Rhodes has a really nice moustache right now. "Dolph Ziggler's in trouble," Jerry Lawler tells us, and I hope he has cause to say that every twenty seconds all night.
SANTINO! Santino is a genius of a performer, a clown for the ages. I am saddened to see that he is already out however he did get the cobra out, which is unfailingly delightful. I have no doubt mentioned to you that Marella is in fact legit as hell and it is no mistake that every now and again he busts out a killer uchi mata for his way is the gentle way of judo.
Heath Slater is the dullest guy on that very good cartoony wrestling game that came out a year ago oh wait this is actually Drew McIntyre I guess and that is who I mean with regard to that very good cartoony wrestling game. They are both non-entities and I will not concern myself withe the meaningless distinctions between them. Titus O'Neil? I don't know who he is but maybe he is awesome who knows! Jericho has corner-dropkicked McIntyre out which is for the best. Goldust is a surprise entrant at number eight and goes right after his brother when really solidarity would no doubt serve them both better but there is probably a lot here I don't know. lol ok Michael Cole informs me that Goldust has been very critical of his brother on twitter.
David Otunga who remains built like a god in addition to being a shoot lawyer with a Harvard degree thus shaming us all "hits the ring" as is said and so far let me say that this is a pretty low-key Rumble but I have every confidence that business will pick up considerably in the very near future and I will have a great time.
OK here is Heath Slater for real this time. I bet the thinks he has great hair but in my view it doesn't really look that cool. I am told that AJ calls Dolph Ziggler "my Ziggy" which is actually what I call him too so that's kind of neat.
I like Sheamus. He was actually kind of scary when he was a heel, and while he is of course less appealing as a rip-a-dip-doo baby face, I still think he's good. Again, I'm sure I've told you this already, but my brother and I went to a house show at the Halifax Forum (it is historic) and my brother hadn't seen any of this stuff in forever but five minutes into the Sheamus match he was like "who is this magnificent beast" and I have felt much the same way for some time now. A couple of guys are out, Otunga and somebody else you did not expect to win.
Albert is apparently still being Tensai, a semi-Japanese of some kind. It's a living I guess so good for him. I am pleased that Brodus Clay is here but it's totally possible that his charms might be lost on me had I watched him do his dance and whatnot for the last eight months or whatever. It is still fresh enough for me though.
CODY RHODES HAS ELIMINATED HIS OWN BROTHER FROM THE ROYAL RUMBLE don't act so shocked MIchael Cole. Here's Rey Mysterio in at number fourteen. I'm sure kids love this little fella still but I don't feel that much for him as he does his 619 thing on both Ziggler and Jericho, better men both. I saw a really quite old lady at a wrestling show in Toronto wearing a "wine me dine me 619" t-shirt in probably 2004 or 2005 and I don't feel any better about it now than I did then to be honest.
I know that race is fake and a fraud and nonsense to even talk about but I have no idea how to contextualize my experience of Darren Young without recourse to descriptions involving expectations surrounding race because this dude is seriously confusing to me and weird. Kofi Kingston, by the way, just jumped onto Albert, who had been eliminated, and then onto the announce table, and now he is going to use an office chair to hop his way back to the ring. This is totally what I am here for, thank you for doing that. It is for not, though, as he is soon thereafter dumped from behind by Cody Rhodes. Bo Dallas is in, Darren Young is out.
The Godfather is a surprise entrant at seventeen and people are pretty into it but I am a feminist so this does nothing for me frankly and I find his appearance here regressive. At least it is short-lived as Dolph Ziggler dropkicks him over and out the moment he arrives.
I am not trying to be gloomy or anything but as Wade Barrett arrives at number eighteen I regret to inform you that this isn't terrific or anything yet. It's cool that Wade Barrett is Intercontinental Champion, though, because he is pretty good. Who knows what they are doing with that belt these days though. It has not always been Savage and Steamboat, Hart and Hennig, has it friends?
JOHN CENA and it occurs to me that oh actually ok if the Rock beats CM Punk tonight and John Cena wins the Royal Rumble there could totally be a Wrestlemania rematch couldn't there! I wonder if that is what they're going to do! I am not being ironic none of this occurred to me until John Cena came in and got rid of a bunch of guys! Let's see, who do we have here: Cena, Bo Dallas, Barrett, Sheamus, Jericho, Ziggler, Mysterio, and now Damien Sandow. Barrett eliminates Mysterio. I should mention that JBL messed up and was like NOBODY HERE IS ON THEIR FEET when Cena arrived and then was like lol sorry that's not what I meant to say in fact very much the opposite.
DANIEL BRYAN IS THE BEST WRESTLER CURRENTLY AND HERE HE IS AND HE IS KICKING PEOPLE AND THE CROWD CHANTS YES YES YES YES YES YES YES WITH GREAT VOLUME AND ENTHUSIASM AND I JOIN THEM IN SPIRIT BUT NOT IN MY HOUSE BECAUSE I DO NOT LIVE ALONE AND IT'S LATE AND I HAVE TO RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE YEEEEAHHHH
It's probably old hat but I like the let's go Cena/Cena sucks dueling chants I think it's cool. Antonio Cesaro is in and also he is your United States Champion; he defended this title successfully on the pre-show but again I did not watch it. Here's the Great Khali who legitimately killed a person while learning how to pretend to fight if memory serves. JBL suggests that the Great Khali is a different species so actually I guess he is a legit racist not just a pretend kind like when he did that thing in Germany to get *heat* so let's denounce him. Kane is in, and he is actually way smaller than Khali, like waaaay smaller which is surprising to me.
I had totally forgotten about Zach Ryder but I like him. OH MY GOODNESS DANIEL BRYAN ELIMINATED KANE FROM BEHIND lol ok then Bryan gets dumped over the top but falls into Kane's arms and they are having a spirited discussion as to whether or not Bryan is to be returned to the ring itself but in the end he is not. That was pretty good!
Randy Orton hears voices in his head they talk to him etc. and he is our next competitor to enter this seriously not-that-great-yet Royal Rumble and he tosses Ryder. I used to have a Flip camera like Ryder used to bring out and it was totally good but I just use my phone now and it's a really cheap phone but the videos are fine unless there isn't much light but at that point forget about it really because how many cameras are good at all like that. Cesaro is out. JBL is making a lot of mistakes.
The Miz is terrible. I have never enjoyed him. Jindar Mahal is out and it would seem I have failed you in that I did not note when he entered. But time is an arrow. Sin Cara is here and I kind of lost track of the Sin Cara situation to such an extent that I don't even know if this is Mistico or not, not that I really know anything about Mistico either, sorry. Bo Dallas has eliminated Wade Barrett which is not Maven v. the Undertaker or anything but still. Wade Barrett does not care for this and plays Hulk Hogan to Bo Dallas' Sid Eudy or whatever.
RYBACK IS A GUY WITH ACCESS TO BODY BUILDING DRUGS WHO IS IN AT NUMBER THIRTY AND I DON'T REALLY GET HIS DEAL OTHER THAN THAT HE CHANTS "FEEEED MEEE MOOOORE" lol codebreaker eat shit everybody chris jericho is aweome OH SHIT he hit a lionsault that never happens and then a codebreaker on Ziggler who oooooooh shiiiiiiiiiiiit recovers and kicks Jericho in the face *sooooo* well that was awesome and Jericho is out. Good job Jericho! Great job Ziggler, too! Ryback threw some guys out so we're down to Orton Sheamus Ryback Cena Ziggler and this is pretty exciting now! Orton is wrecking dudes for a minute but Ryback clotheslines him out. BROGUE KICK BROGUE KICK DOES THAT REFER TO THE ACCENT OR THE SHOES I HAVE NEVER KNOWN BROGUE KICK ZIGGLER IS OUT and this has been awesome since Ryback showed up even though honestly I don't think this Ryback guy is much of anything but everybody is doing SUCH COOL THINGS NOW
Sheamus and Cena team up on Ryback which I mean who could withstand that? This has got to spell the end for Ryback. But wait! Sheamus and Cena have pointed at the sign that says Wrestlemania and have come to blows! A Five-Knuckle Shuffle is interrupted by a MEAT HOOK CLOTHESLINE and then Sheamus hits Ryback with that emerald frosion thing that he does (yeah I've played some Fire Pro I kind of know some things a little). Looks like Ryback is about to get his shit Brogue kicked OH NO RYBACK SAW IT COMING AND DUMPED SHEAMUS OVER THE TOP THAT WAS ACTUALLY PRETTY GNARLY IF ANYTHING SHEAMUS' MISTAKE WAS CHANTING BROGUE
People are pretty into this "feed me more" chant but I don't know it seems pretty lame to me. Credit where credit is due, though, Ryback has a pretty good spinebuster, so he's not all bad! Maybe I have misjudged him? I don't want to commit one way or another on Ryback at this point really as he doesn't seem like that much to me but everything has been *so awesome* since he showed up that I should probably just stifle it. Cena has Ryback out with an STF which apparently does that I guess. OH NO RYBACK IS BACK NO WAIT CENA IS PUSHING HIM OUT AND OVER YOUR TIME IS UP YOU WILL FIND THAT JOHN CENA'S TIME IS NOOOOOOOOWWWWW and that Royal Rumble was not particularly good at all until Ryback showed up and then it was really good until the end! Also I like it when John Cena wins things because then guys who complain on message boards that John Cena doesn't wear wrestling boots will be upset. Cena finds a dude with an anti-Cena t-shirt in the crowd and does funny things with him. Have I mentioned that I think John Cena is probably totally nice for real? I really think he is. Like, I would be stunned if you met John Cena and came away thinking he was anything but a genuine guy. If these thoughts make me a fool so be it.
AND NOW FOR THE TITLE MATCH ISN'T IT CRAZY THAT CM PUNK IS STILL THE CHAMPION I honestly had no idea that he had been the champion this whole year man it's really something. Somewhere along the line he acquired a Paul E. Dangerously which is cool by me too. I don't like the Rock's STRICKEN BY CANCER STRICKEN BY CANCER promo all that much as I really don't think it plays to the Rock's strengths which is a weird thing to actually say because I would have told you that the Rock's strengths are all of the things human people can say or do. He is the most charismatic megafauna having edged out polar bears some time ago. But what I am suggesting here is that if the Rock really wants to draw money in this game he will listen to me about how he should do that. CM Punk is about a squillion times better as a heel than a face which is true of so many but extremely true of CM Punk like super extra true of him so this could be pretty great even if I am not nuts about the particular kind of thing the Rock is doing here in terms of saying things. I think it's garbage that CM Punk comes out first yeah that's right GARBAGE even if they switch it up for the actual old-timey in-ring introductions. GARBAGE.
IN WHAT I BELIEVE USED TO BE CALLED MAIN-EVENT STYLE or maybe I am misapplying that term the match begins with a fair bit of brawling on the outside that is all totally good and honestly I come into this match with every expectation that everything they do will be totally good because these guys know what's up. You could be a very reasonable person and contend that the Rock is the best faux-grappler of all time in that his best matches are tremendous and he is as good at saying things (tonight notwithstanding) as anybody ever so what more do you want? And CM Punk is well he is a tricky one isn't he in that he sure does have some great matches and he can be a *great* talker like he was a couple summers ago (he can also be truly awful like during that period in which he kept referring to Johnny Ace as "clown shoes" for some reason) and he does a ton of cool things in the ring but a lot of his moves look so fuckin shitty man like just so fuckin shitty. Take his Randy Savage elbow, for example. It is brutal, just loose and awful. That said, I used to follow him on livejournal and I have a t-shirt of his that I do not wear but it's in the drawer man it's in the drawer. He never should have stopped coming out to that Killswitch Engage song in my view as it was super exciting whereas "Cult of Personality" is a solid song but insufficiently exciting.
This match is really good! They are teasing a number of their neat moves like the go-to-sleep and the rock bottom and the sharpshooter and the anaconda vise and the crowd is pretty into it! It's worth noting that there is some pretty egregious calling of moves and stuff though and I think this is exacerbated by the fact that neither of these guys have any hair at all to hide it when they lean in to say things by holy hell it looks bad. Did you know that I have been shoot rock bottomed before? It can happen a number of ways when you are grappling for real and the not-so-greatness of getting thrown (not that getting thrown is a big deal or anything but you know what I'm saying) is immediately mitigated by the fact that you have been rock bottomed an you and your pal are about to laugh about that and maybe even insist that something or other DOESN'T MATTER. True story true story I got rock bottomed a couple weeks ago and when we got back up my bro said something like "what do you think of the new IJF rules anyway?" and when I began to answer he goes "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK OF THE NEW IJF RULES" and I was like lol because I didn't see it coming at all and then he was like lol and we had a blast you should do judo or wrestle or do bjj or whatever man just get out there and grapple that's what I want to convey.
Possibly because the Rock is almost certainly more than like 250 pounds of ridiculous physique these days -- seriously it is indecent how this guy is built right now -- he and Punk just totally fell through the Spanish announce table *before* the Rock could get him up for the rock bottom and yikes man that looked really bad. I guess they're not hurt or anything though because they sort it out pretty quickly and a plain old rock bottom on the floor follows.
SPINEBUSTER SURELY THE PEOPLE'S ELBOW WILL FOLLOW! You have to give yourself over to the people's elbow and in so doing give yourself over to artifice. Do not resist. BUT NOW THE LIGHTS ARE OUT! UNDERTAKER? UNDERTAKER? IS IT THE UNDERTAKER? NOTHING HAS GONE *BONG* SO IT CAN'T BE. THE SHIELD HAS TRIPLE POWER-BOMBED THE ROCK THROUGH THE TABLE! I DON'T KNOW WHO OR WHAT THAT IS OH YEAH OK IT IS A GROUP OF DUDES THAT IF THEY INTERFERE ON PUNK'S BEHALF HE WILL STRIPPED OK YEAH I REMEMBER THAT FROM THE VIDEO PACKAGE OK I'VE GOT IT NOW THANKS
The announcers are yelling that it was the Shield and CM Punk goes "the *who?*" in a pretty great way lol I like this guy. AND THAT'S IT HE GOT HIM THERE'S THE PIN IN THE CENTRE OF THE RING THE ROCK IS OUT AS HELL CM PUNK HAS DONE IT BEST IN THE WOOOOOOOOOOOOORLD THE ROCK'S MOM LOOKS SAD AND I UNDERSTAND WHY THAT WOULD BE
ooooooh shiiiiiiit Vince is out and so now it would seem no chance ah-that's what cm punk's got-ah well I guess it was pretty crazy that I believed they were gonna do anything other than Cena and Rock at Wrestlemania however I would ask you to note once again that I legitimately didn't realize that's the way things were headed until Cena showed up in the Royal Rumble match and started straight-up tossin' dudes so my head for this business is questionable. Vince wants to strip the belt but the Rock is like HECK NO RESTART THE MATCH so they do and Punk hits his awesome knee in the corner and his soooo shitty macho man elbow HOWEVER HOWEVER HOWEEEEEVVVEER THE ROCK ESCAPES THE GTS AND IT IS SPINEBUSTER PEOPLE'S ELBOW AND IT WAS A SPECIAL PEOPLE'S ELBOW ACTUALLY WHERE HE BOUNCED UP A LITTLE AND THAT IS IT THE ROCK HAS DONE IT AND REALLY THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT MATCH THEY DID A REALLY GOOD JOB IMO
Was this kind of like how CM Punk won the match against Cena in Chicago, the greatest match in forever basically? Well no I guess not as that one was like Cena had a chance to get out of it because of Vince shenanigans but was like no no not like this and then Punk beat him I guess.
ANYWAY THIS WAS A PRETTY GOOD SHOW! Even if the Royal Rumble match itself wasn't spectacular or anything for the most part, once everybody was in it got really exciting even if the very last elimination wasn't the terrifickest and then the main event was a good match so what can you say man what do you want they can't all be 1992 or 2002 some of them are just going to be good ones and this was a good one! Also it was all up on youtube the next day and you can't fuckin beat that.
SO YEAH FRIENDS I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN NEXT YEAR FOR FURTHER ROYAL RUMBLE FEELINGS AND WORDS UNLESS IN THOSE INTERVENING DAYS SOMETHING HAPPENS TO ONE OF US BECAUSE I MEAN FOR A BRIEF WHILE OUR STRENGTH IS IN BLOOM BUT IT FADES QUICKLY AND SOON THERE WILL FOLLOW ILLNESS OR THE SWORD TO LAY YOU LOW OR A SUDDEN FIRE OR SURGE OF WATER OR JABBING BLADE OR JAVELIN FROM THE AIR OR REPELLENT AGE OR OUR PIERCING EYE WILL DIM AND DARKEN OR WHATEVER MAN A LOT CAN HAPPEN BUT FOR NOW THOSE DOOMS ABIDE STAY SAFE EVERYBODY TAKE CARE HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE ROYAL RUMBLE WE ARE ON THE ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA NOW WOULDN'T YOU AGREE