"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." — echoing sentiments representing the majority of viewers Sunday night and even into perhaps today about the 2015 Royal Rumble.
|My tweet after watching the 2015 Royal Rumble.|
For two straight years, the first pay-per-view of the year has left wrestling fans dumbfounded and shaking their heads.
|The same reaction a year ago after watching the Royal Rumble|
Coming off one of the best triple threat matches in WWE history and a start to the rumble that featured some great returns, the Royal Rumble was set up to be one of those pay-per-views you would remember for a lifetime.
At the end of the day, yes, it was one you will remember the rest of your life, but for all the wrong reasons.
Bubba Ray Dudley had just returned to a huge pop and the crowd was into it. Bray Wyatt looked strong and continued his upward ascension (excuse the pun). Everyone's favorite B+ superstar, Daniel Bryan, looked like he was on track to main-eventing his second straight WrestleMania.
And like most things in life, it was too good to be true.
You know the rest, as Bryan was unceremoniously knocked off the ring apron and onto the floor, setting off the series of unfortunate events.
Not even The Rock—the only wrestler before Bryan who consistently got those massive of a crown pops—could save Roman Reigns from becoming 2015's Batista.
It's clear that WWE expected a backlash from the fans, which is why The Rock came back to help his relative, hoping he could put Reigns over.
Mission unaccomplished, as Reigns is now the biggest default heel in the industry.
If WWE felt that Reigns is the man to fight Lesnar in 60 some odd days, then the process which got them to where they are now was extremely flawed.
Of the past four Royal Rumble winners, three of them have been obvious and leaked onto the Internet months in advance.
- Sheamus in 2012—but Chris Jericho was slated to win and finished 2nd
- John Cena in 2013—obvious rematch with The Rock
- Batista in 2014—who showed up on Raw less than week before
- Roman Reigns in 2015—triggering the #cancelwwenetwork movement
Is it apples and oranges in this comparison that a TV show doesn't leak which character dies in an episode months in advance? The winner of Survivor or The Amazing Race doesn't seem to circulate the "dirt sheets" like potential WrestleMania main events or Royal Rumble winners.
Even in this Internet age, things do happen which nobody sees coming. You would think the higher-ups would make it a priority to make sure these type of big leaks don't happen.
Had the entire smart mark community not known of these obvious outcomes, would we be more receptive of the winners?
What if Bryan was one of the last few wrestlers remaining? Would that have helped?
And what was the point of Bryan returning for the Royal Rumble? To milk some PPV buys from followers of the YES! Movement. Yet they say they don't believe Bryan is a draw.
Besides that, there was no reason for Bryan to enter the Rumble if he didn't stay to the end or win.
But we don't want to see Bryan in the main event two years in a row, some would argue. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Triple H have all main-evented WrestleManias in consecutive years. Hell, we even saw The Rock vs John Cena for two years straight when it was billed a "once in a lifetime" event.
Another notion thrown out there was that it isn't believable for Bryan to beat Lesnar. If you believe in that theory, then Big Show should have held the title for years in his prime. If Bryan going over Lesnar isn't conceivable, why can't we have Lesnar beat Bryan to cement himself as the greatest champion of all time? He can vacate the title the next night on Raw.
Daniel Bryan vs Brock Lesnar was and is still the biggest main event WWE could book for this year's WrestleMania and unfortunately, it looks like they dropped the ball, again. What they can't do is add Bryan to the main event in the same fashion, as it would probably make even less sense than the main event now. Not to mention, it would spoil fans into thinking we can book pay-per-views for WrestleManias to come. Cherish that power from 2014, because this is 2015.
Lost in the shuffle was a triple threat for the ages. Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins and John Cena were all at the top of their game. It was one of those matches where you stood up in your living room to see what would unfold next.
It also unfairly derailed the rise of a young and promising superstar who may never recover from this. What was supposed to be a shining moment in his career is now tainted with venomous boos. Now, the former member of The Shield is the poster boy for the #cancelwwenetwork movement.
In his interview on Monday Night Raw, Lesnar summed up the thoughts of everybody watching when Michael Cole told him he'd be facing Reigns at WrestleMania. Lesnar responded simply, "Who?" When the two then met face to face, Lesnar said, "I don't respect you." Sadly, it doesn't seem anybody does at this moment.
To pour more salt in the wound, Daniel Bryan said last night. "I was disappointed that Roman Reigns won, not because it's Roman Reigns, but because it wasn't me."
Did Monday night's studio sessions with Reigns, Bryan, Lesnar and Paul Heyman help diffuse the situation a bit? Was it a step in the right direction to make the best out of a bad situation? Absolutely.
But would that have played out the same way in front of a LIVE crowd? No.
Good heel heat is when the crowd is booing with you, not booing at you. Even though Vince McMahon loves this type of controversy, it can't be what's best for business.
Lesnar fought Goldberg at WrestleMania XX and the 18,000 in attendance booed both individuals from start to finish.
11 years later, it looks like Lesnar will be in the same match. The only difference is Goldberg will be played by Reigns and there will be over 70,000 fans spewing their hatred for the main event.
If a three count happens and nobody cares, does it make a sound?