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Royal Rumble: Winners and Losers

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This type of column has become a bit cliché, but after the controversial and intriguing Royal Rumble on Sunday, I couldn’t help myself. Everyone is quick to jump at Vince, Stephanie and Triple H as they shout accusations of burying Daniel Bryan and being disconnected from their fan base. But, were they actually “losers” after the Royal Rumble? Or do they have a concise, calculated plan we’re all in the middle of? Admitting this is shortsighted, and it lacks giving any type of credit to WWE, let’s examine the winners and losers of the Royal Rumble.

Winners:

Roman Reigns – I’m all in on Reigns, and I’m buying all the stock I can. At first, I felt the Kool-Aid being shoved down my throat, but after the Rumble, I’m a charter member of his bandwagon. When it came down to Batista and Reigns, the Pittsburgh crowd was clearly pulling for Roman. They booed every offensive move from Batista, and broke out into a huge Roman Reigns chant. Further, he broke a damn record; most eliminations in a Royal Rumble is now held by Roman Reigns. Cheers, man.

Bray Wyatt – Not only did he participate in the match of the night, but he won it cleanly over the top babyface in the company. The chemistry between Bray and Bryan was on point, and this will be the type of match you watch again on your WWE Network subscription. The night did not end there for Wyatt, as he got involved in the championship match, attacking Cena to set up his next feud. By association, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are also winners here, since they show up on-screen with Bray during these high-profile segments.

Daniel Bryan – Sure, he wasn’t in the Royal Rumble match, and he lost to Bray Wyatt. But, when the crowd verbally spits on a show’s main event solely because you weren’t in it, you win the night. I can’t remember a night like that in WWE history. Sure, Steve Austin and The Rock were insanely over, but was the end of a pay-per-view ever booed because of their lack of involvement? Did they ever ruin a superstar’s return so badly that an impromptu heel turn could be necessary? I don’t remember that being the case, but correct if I’m wrong, humans.

The Authority – Strange, right? Sadly, The Authority comes out a winner. They can use this to their advantage, and we saw that already. Triple H and Stephanie were brilliant in the opening segment of Monday Night RAW (“Aww, did someone not get what they want?” – Triple H). I doubt they planned for this, at least not to this extent, but they can absolutely take this ball and run with it. Throw in the bonus of creating the CM Punk/Kane feud as a band-aid until Wrestlemania, and The Authority is in solid shape.

Kofi Kingston – In a refreshing, non-controversial wrestling moment, Kofi Kingston proved yet again that he dominates Royal Rumble spots. For a guy that gets heat for not having what it takes to get completely over, he has a nice little niche in Rumble matches. Before the match starts, if you think “I wonder what Kofi Kingston is going to do,” then he’s relevant.

Losers:

Batista – The word that comes to mind is awkward. That final sequence in the Rumble was so uncomfortable, I was tempted to hit the mute button a couple of times. At the very worst, I thought I’d feel indifference about Batista’s return, but sympathy? I felt bad for the guy. Here he was making his triumphant return, supposedly as a face, and he gets booed off after his Rumble victory. It wasn’t his fault, which might be the saddest part. There are maybe five people in the world that wouldn’t have received the same treatment. Also, #Bootista is the best hashtag of 2014. Book that Slammy, and kudos to the creator of that sign. Addendum: for what it’s worth, I thought Batista handled his RAW segment beautifully. All things considered, it could’ve gotten weird real fast, and it moved along nicely.

Rey Mysterio – Poor Rey.

Vince McMahon – Wait, The Authority wins but Vince loses? This is somewhat the case, but it’s not just Vince. It’s WWE’s actual off-air creative minds that write each show. How do they handle this? The crowd was starting to dictate the story on Sunday, and that can’t be a comfortable feeling. I am picturing a cranky Vince McMahon breaking computer monitors is his office, yelling at temps through his speakerphone.

I chose not to relegate them to the cliché “winner” category, but the crowd in Pittsburgh deserves a ton of credit. They were fantastic on Sunday, and like it or not, made the 2014 Royal Rumble a memorable event. #Bootista!

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