The Rock is your new WWE champion and John Cena is the 2013 Royal Rumble winner. The two are on a collision course for their rematch at WrestleMania 29 on 4/7/13. While folks online are ragging on the predictable nature of the card, you have to remember that sometimes, predictable is what’s best for business.
Of course, the nitpicker in me has to object to a few things such booking the people’s elbow as the finish to the Rock/Punk match. I’ve never liked that move and using it as a finish would be the equivalent to using the five knuckle shuffle to put someone away. The people’s elbow was also the finish when Rock went over on Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 18 so at least it has been done before.
WWE deserves a lot of credit for the way the main event came off. The Rock’s pre match promo energized the crowd while CM Punk’s entrance was beautifully shot and helped give the match that big fight feeling. The transition between establishing shots, full shots, and close ups not only gave off a vibe of here comes the best in the world, but there was also a hint that this was his swan song as champion.
The match was full of action with some key spots including the botched Rock Bottom through the announcers table which turned into a Rock Bottom on the floor. The lights went off and The Shield interfered which was brilliant because you couldn’t see them due to the lights being off.
Rock talked Vince McMahon into restarting the match and two minutes later we have a new champion. The finish received a huge pop in the arena and Rock sold winning the title like this was the greatest moment of his life. It’s nice to see that championship matches can still be done right in 2013.
John Cena went over in one of the best booked rumbles in quite some time. The unannounced entries of Chris Jericho, Golddust, and The Godfather were not only genuine surprise but a lot better than the rumored mystery entrants of John Morrison, Carlito, and Shelton Benjamin. Jericho’s “I never lost it, baby” was the perfect response to the crowd’s “You still got it” chants.
Conventional wisdom suggest John Cena and Dolph Ziggler should have been the final two in the rumble but I thought Ryback being in there with Cena was the right call. Not only did it give the former NXT standout a little bit of a rub going toe to toe with an established name but Ryback’s presence made you question the outcome more than you would have if Ziggler was the last guy in the ring.
Overall, this was a fun show that paved a definitive road to WrestleMania. Next stop, the Elimination Chamber in three weeks.