Viewing Wrestling Through an Analytical Eye #4

Hello everyone, and welcome back once again to another edition of “Viewing Wrestling”.  Now, I know that this is a very long series to get through, these Royal Rumble looks.  But, we’re going to get through it.  After all, we’re at the very end! Last several winners to go! Let’s get right down into it!

John Cena

2008 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 7-1-0

WrestleMania result: Loses in WWE Championship Triple Threat Match vs Randy Orton and Triple H

In October of 2007, John Cena tore his pectoral muscle after giving a move in a match.  Early word was that he was supposed to be out for months, with the possibility of missing WrestleMania.  But, that wasn’t to be the case.  Cena would come back within three months, and be the 30th entrant into the Royal Rumble match.  After winning, Cena didn’t want to wait, instead wanting to have Orton at No Way Out.  However, it would be at WrestleMania where John Cena would get his opportunity at the title, however, he won his way into the match, in which rightful #1 contender Triple H (who won the RAW Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out).  Cena would go on to face Batista at SummerSlam, but would have to sit out again due to surgery for a herniated disc.

Randy Orton

2009 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 1-1-2

WrestleMania result: Lost WWE Championship Match vs Triple H

Orton was out for a while after WrestleMania XXIV, getting injured at One Night Stand, and would be out until November.  Just before the Rumble, Orton started targeting the McMahon family, and proceeded to feud with them over the course of the Road to WrestleMania, before ultimately losing at Mania to Triple H.  He would win the title at Backlash in a match of very special rules, but would only hold onto it for a short while before losing it to Batista.

Edge

2010 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 2-0-1

WrestleMania result: Lost World Heavyweight Championship Match vs Chris Jericho

Edge made his return at the Rumble, in which he came back from suffering an Achilles tendon tear back in July of 2009.  Edge would quickly start a feud with his former partner, who he threw out of the Rumble, and it lead to a match at the Rumble for the World Heavyweight Championship (Jericho won the WHC at Elimination Chamber). Edge would dive right back into the thick of things, winning the World Heavyweight Championship in December.

Alberto Del Rio

2011 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 3-5-0

WrestleMania result: Lost World Heavyweight Championship Match vs Edge

Del Rio gets the distinction for being the only man to win the Rumble with 40 competitors in it.  Granted, this was the ONLY Rumble match that had 40 competitors in it.  Del Rio started out hot, only to quickly lose steam and slide his way into WrestleMania.  Del Rio would lose to Edge, which would be Edge’s last match in WWE.  Del Rio would later go on to win not only Money in the Bank for Raw later that year, but also get in part of the mix during the Summer of Punk, cashing in on Punk at SummerSlam.

Sheamus

2012 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 11-4-0

WrestleMania result: Won World Heavyweight Championship vs Daniel Bryan

Oh.  This year.  Going to keep it short and sweet.  Sheamus defeated Bryan in 18 seconds to open Mania XXVIII.  Sheamus would keep the WHC until Hell in a Cell, where he lost it to The Big Show.

John Cena

2013 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 4-1-0

WrestleMania result: Won WWE Championship vs The Rock

Yeah. This year.  Well, The Rock ended Punk’s 434 day WWE Championship reign at the Royal Rumble.  Just before that, John Cena won the Royal Rumble.  Most fans collectively groaned at that because we all knew that it was going to be Cena vs The Rock at Mania again.  And we weren’t wrong.  Cena would go on to lose the WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam before having to go for surgery on his triceps.

Batista

2014 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 2-5-1

WrestleMania result: Lost WWE Championship Triple Threat Match vs Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton

Poor Batista.  Never did get that opportunity to go in and get his 1 vs 1 match for a title.  Probably one of the most negative reactions to a Rumble winner ever, Batista would get an opportunity to challenge for the WWE Championship at Mania XXX.  However, the crowd spoke, and in a rare moment, WWE actually listened.  Bryan would end up beating Triple H in order to be added into the Mania main event, and would win the WWE Championship.

Roman Reigns

2015 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 12-2-0

WrestleMania result: Lost WWE Championship “Triple Threat” match vs Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar

And the other pretty negative response for a Royal Rumble winner, WWE expected the fans to embrace the Samoan, but were sadly mistaken.  Reigns would suffer his first pinfall loss during this stretch, but that didn’t stop him from stepping over Daniel Bryan, and into the ring with Brock Lesnar.  However, Seth Rollins had other plans.  Rollins would cash in his Money in the Bank contract DURING the match, turning the one on one into a Triple Threat, and Reigns would end up on the losing end of the match while Seth Rollins stood tall.  However, that wouldn’t stop Reigns from getting crowned WWE Champion; That would happen first at Survivor Series, then later on in December.

Triple H

2016 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 2-1-0

WrestleMania result: Lost WWE Championship to Roman Reigns

Hunter would enter himself into the 2016 Royal Rumble, where he would win the WWE World Championship (since Roman Reigns, the champions, would be in the match to defend the title).  Triple H would wrestle only a few times, instead hiding behind his suit and tie.  Hunter would lose at Mania XXXII, to Roman Reigns who would become the #1 Contender at Fastlane.  Hunter would largely stay out of the ring minus for a brief appearance in the Universal Championship match on RAW that would crown Owens as champion.

Well, that’s the last of them folks! Are you going to be watching this year’s Royal Rumble? Who do you think is going to win? Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Viewing Wrestling Through an Analytical Eye #3

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of “Viewing Wrestling”.  Now, I have to say, this is probably the most research heavy series that I’ve done, and that’s including the early editions of “So, You Think You Know Diabetes”.  This is that large of a project.  But, I’m well up to the challenge (especially on a well-rested day off).

So, we’re going to dive right on into part 2 of the series.  We are going to be looking at Rumble winners from 2000-2007.  Thank you to cagematch.net for compiling all the stats into one place.

The Rock

2000 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 12-9-2

Wrestlemania result: Lost in Championship Match (Last pinned in Fatal 4-Way)

Oh. The poor Rock.  He’s the first man on this list to have more than 7 televised matches, thanks to the addition of Smackdown to the televised roster.  Rock also had the “misfortune” to win and be on the road to WrestleMania 2000, in which there were no tried and true singles matches.  Don’t worry though.  The Rock would go on to win the WWF Championship at Backlash a little over a month later.

Steve Austin

2001 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 6-2-0

WrestleMania result: Won WWF Championship vs The Rock

Austin became the first, and so far only, three time winner in Rumble history.  This lead up to one of the best WrestleMania in history, topped off with Austin turning heel and forming the Two-Man Power Trip with Triple H.

Triple H

2002 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 6-4-1

Wrestlemania result: Won WWF Undisputed Championship vs Chris Jericho

The last non-brand split Rumble winner for at least 8 years, Triple H had a very interesting journey to get to the Rumble.  Mainly, he was injured for the latter half of 2001, after tearing his quad trying to perform a Pedigree on an announce table.  So when he came back in 2002, it was huge.  His feud with his on-screen ex-wife made for his win at Mania X8 all that more meaningful.  He would lose the WWF Championship a short time later to Hulk Hogan, but would be crowned the World Heavyweight Champion in September after the brand split was complete.

Brock Lesnar

2003 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 5-1-0

WrestleMania result: Won WWE Championship vs Kurt Angle

Holy cow man.  If there is anyone that had a more dominant “rookie” year in the WWE, it’s this man.  Debuting after Mania X8, Lesnar went on a tear, winning the King of the Ring in 2002, and won the WWE Championship at SummerSlam 2002, only to lose the title at Survivor Series 2002.  Lesnar had to wrestle the first match of the Rumble card in order to enter the Royal Rumble.  Lesnar would enter at #29, and eliminate his rival from the previous fall, The Undertaker.  Lesnar would win the title from Kurt Angle at XIX, only to lose it at Vengeance 2003 to Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat match also involving The Big Show.

Chris Benoit

2004 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 4-2-0

WrestleMania result: Won World Heavyweight Championship vs Triple H and Shawn Michaels

Oh.  The blight on WWE’s memory.  Ignoring the man’s “future”, we’re looking at his accomplishments for the 2004 Rumble to Mania XX.  Well, Benoit was the first Superstar to swap over brands because of their Rumble win. Benoit’s feat is significant because he was the second Superstar to win the Rumble match from the #1 position, and would be have the second-longest time in the Rumble match, at 61 minutes and 31 seconds, only surpassed by a later winner.  Benoit would win the World Heavyweight Championship at Mania XX, and would hold on to the title until SummerSlam, where he would lose the title to the only member of Evolution that he didn’t beat on the RTW, Randy Orton.

Batista

2005 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW Record:

WrestleMania result: Won World Heavyweight Championship vs Triple H

Mired in controversy, as both Batista and John Cena went over the top rope at the same time.  However, according to reports, unlike the 1994 event, the double-elimination finish was not supposed to happen.  However, this didn’t derail either man from their tracks.  Both men would win their respective brand championships at Mania, after Batista decided to go after the World Heavyweight Championship vs Triple H.  In fact, Batista would be forced to drop the title after getting injured in a match vs Mark Henry in January.  In fact, this title reign would be the longest in the championship’s history, passing Triple H’s 280 day reign by 2 days before having to relinquish the title.

Rey Mysterio

2006 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 4-5-0

WrestleMania result: Won World Heavyweight Championship vs Kurt Angle and Randy Orton

The first Rumble winner to sport a losing record on the RTW, Mysterio’s win is mired in a lot of poor choices on WWE’s part, and which can mainly be blamed on exploiting Eddie Guerrero’s untimely and unfortunate passing in November of 2005.  Mysterio entered the Rumble at #2, and was the longest lasting competitor in any Rumble at 62 minutes, and 12 seconds.  Mysterio would originally lose his opportunity at No Way Out to Randy Orton, but thanks to Theodore Long, he was re-added to the match.  Mysterio would win the title, and hold onto the title until The Great American Bash 2006 and later feud with Chavo Guerrero Jr, and losing an “I Quit Match” which was a way to write Mysterio out while he underwent knee surgery.

The Undertaker

2007 Royal Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 7-1-0

WrestleMania result: Won World Heavyweight Championship vs Batista

Last man on our list today is the Phenom.  One of the very few accomplishments at the time that this legendary competitor hadn’t accomplished, the Undertaker went in at #30 and won the Rumble.  During this time, he spent a lot of time going back and forth on RAW, as both champions and top challengers wrestled against one another, or together at the same time.  Taker would lose the title in May of 2007, after Edge cashed in his second Money in the Bank contract on a man who had already wrestled in a steel cage match minutes prior, and was assaulted by Mark Henry just moments before.

Well, that’s all the Rumble winners for this blog entry.  Next time, we’ve got the final third of the winners as we are a night out of the event.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Viewing Wrestling Through an Analytical Eye #2

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of “Viewing Wrestling”.  Now, I’m sure that long time followers of the blog know that I love to play with numbers when it comes to wrestling.  Televised win/loss records, time spent in the ring, etc.  So, I want to give that back to you folks, in terms of this:

My look at the success/failure of Royal Rumble winners on the Road to Wrestlemania (RTW), and maybe even beyond.  Well, beyond might be a look at their title reigns after the event itself.  Now, since we’ve been on this road for 23 years…yes I did say 23 years.  I didn’t explain it, did I?

I’ll be looking at every Royal Rumble winner since 1993, right about the time RAW was starting up on television screens across the United States on the USA Network.  Since there are 23 winners, how about breaking it up into three parts, shall we? We’re only going to look at televised records for this time frame.  Why? Simple.  House shows are usually a testing ground, and will usually run the same result for weeks at a time.

Thanks to cagematch.net for having all of this data collected in one handy to navigate website.

Yokozuna

1993 Royal Rumble winner

RTW TV record: 7-0-0

WrestleMania result: Won and lost the WWF Championship.

Yes, I did say that Yokozuna both won and lost the WWF Championship.  Simply put, Yokozuna beat Bret Hart to win the WWF Championship, with some interference from Mr. Fuji and some salt.  Hulk Hogan, who had a match earlier in the show, came out and asked Bret if he wanted Hogan to take Yokozuna down.  Bret waved him on, and 9 seconds later, Hogan was the new WWF Champion.  Yokozuna would go 7-1 (this includes two European tour shows listed as TV shows) until he won the WWF Championship at the King of the Ring 1993.

Bret Hart

1994 Rumble Co-Winner

RTW TV Record: 2-0-0

WrestleMania result: Lost to Owen Hart in the opening match, won the WWF Championship from Yokozuna in the Main Event.

’94 Rumble was a weird Rumble, because this is the only Rumble in which we got two winners after a controversial elimination.  So, the decision was made to give both men a shot at the championship.  Bret, getting the second championship opportunity, faced off against his brother Owen in a fantastic match (seriously, go watch Bret vs Owen at WMX, one of two stellar matches between the brothers).  Then, Bret would go on to win the title at Mania from Yokozuna, and would hold on to the title until Survivor Series 1994, losing to Bob Backlund (with some help from Owen there).

Lex Luger

1994 Rumble Co-Winner

RTW TV Record: 2-0-0

Wrestlemania result: Lost championship match by Disqualification

And here’s our other co-winner.  And poor Lex.  He got his title shot, and lost thanks to some grief from the special guest referee, Mr. Perfect.  Then, he kinda falls out of the title picture.  He gets into a couple of feuds here and there, but that’s about it.  There’s nothing of note in his post-Mania X stint in 1994.

Shawn Michaels

1995 Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 3-1-0

Wrestlemania result: Lost championship match

This is an interesting entry because Michaels was the winner of the shortest 30-man Royal Rumble match (since there was an entrant every minute).  And it helped tie into the story of Shawn Michaels and Diesel, who was the WWF Champion at this time.  Since SummerSlam of 1994, these two had been slowly breaking apart, with some miscues here and there, until it imploded at Survivor Series.  So, at Mania, what better way for there to be a wrap-up of the feud that a title match? In which Michaels lost.

Shawn Michaels

1996 Rumble Winner

RTW Record: 7-0-0

Wrestlemania result: Wins the WWF Championship.

But he makes up for it here.  Bret Hart wins the title from Diesel, and it sets up a showdown of epic proportions.  Yes, this is the Ironman match.  60+ minutes between these two that sets up a win for Michaels.  Michaels will hold on to the WWF Championship until Survivor Series 1996, where he loses it to Sycho Sid.

Steve Austin

1997 Rumble Winner

RTW Record: 1-3-1

Wrestlemania result: Lost Submission Match to Bret Hart (not for the title)

It’s the first Rumble winner to have a less than stellar television record.  Granted, a good chunk of those losses did come by disqualification.  However, this helped catapult Austin into the stratosphere with the double turn with his loss to Bret Hart at Mania 13.

Steve Austin

1998 Rumble Winner

RTW Record: 4-0-1

Wrestlemania result: Won the WWF Championship from Shawn Michaels

This is where Austin really gets his chance to shine.  His feud with Vince McMahon spans from this Royal Rumble clear through the next few years.  This is also Austin suffered his fateful neck injury from the botched piledriver at SummerSlam 1997.  Austin would win the title, but Michaels, the champion, wouldn’t wrestle for four years after suffering a very serious back injury against The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble.

1999 Rumble Winner

RTW TV Record: 1-1

WrestleMania result: Did not compete.

This would have been Austin’s third WrestleMania to win. But, thanks to a whole lot of shenanigans, Austin would get cheated out of his third Rumble win, and instead, have to fight McMahon at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to get his WrestleMania appearance.  Vince would stay out of the ring, while Austin would pick up his 3rd WWF Championship reign.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this round.  Tune in next week for Round #2.  Until then, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Viewing Wrestling Through an Analytical Eye #1

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first edition of “Viewing Wrestling Through an Analytical Eye”, or “Viewing Wrestling” for short.  This is the replacement series for the recently ended “So, You Think You Know Diabetes”.

Now, this is going to be a different sort of series.  I’ve watched a lot of professional wrestling, especially WWE, and I’ve learned to analyze everything through both the good and the bad.  So, we’re going to take specific decisions, usually when it comes to booking, and determine if it was a good or bad decision.  So, we’re gonna start it off with…

Image result for WWE Brand Split

The second edition of the WWE Brand Extension.

Let me back up and give you some history.  After the Invasion angle in 2001, Ric Flair had come out and stated that he was now 50% owner of the WW(F)E.  On March 25, 2002, just 8 days removed from WrestleMania X8, WWE held their first draft to determine which superstars would go to which brand.  For the next 9 years, male and female Superstars would generally compete on their own show, and once a year, they would become eligible to get traded over to the other show.  In 2006, WWE reintroduced “ECW” as a brand, which was thrown into the mix for the subsequent drafts until ECW was disbanded in 2010.  And a year later, the brands meshed together in a quiet end to the brand extension.  For almost five years, WWE, with their ever-growing roster, struggled to feature all of their talent on TV.  So, in July of 2016, coinciding with Smackdown’s move to be Tuesday nights (and being a live program), we now have a new Brand Extension.

Now, there are a lot of similarities between the two brand extensions.  First off, the announce table positions for both shows are the exact same.  RAW’s announce table moved up to a spot by the entrance ramp, while Smackdown’s stayed ringside.  Each show has four major titles; the “Heavyweight”, the mid-card, Tag Titles and a Women’s Title.  From 2oo2-2007, the WWE had different divisions on different brands.  The Women’s Title was on RAW, while the Cruiserweight Division was on Smackdown.  After WWE dropped the Cruiserweight Division, they implemented the Divas Championship on Smackdown to balance out the shows.  Now, the revived Cruiserweight division is on RAW, with it’s own title, and it’s own show, 205 live, which airs on Tuesday nights.

The one major difference between the two shows is the camera angles.  RAW keeps up the normal camera angles that we have been used to for years, with the standard hard camera on the bottom of the ring (most of the time, the arena setup has the entrance ramp appearing off on the left hand side of the frame of the hard camera).  Smackdown has a different camera set up, with one of the main camera angles coming off of the bottom right corner (again, using RAW’s main hard camera look). This is good because it does give the show a different feel.

However, the thing that bugs me THE MOST about the entire brand extension this time around, are the titles.  Seriously.

WWE Universal Championship belt 2016.pngWWE World Championship belt 2016.png

WWE Womens 2016 Championship.pngWWE SmackDown Women's Championship.jpg

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship belt Red.pngWWE SmackDown Tag Titles.jpeg

ANYONE else see a pattern here? Instead of the two brand getting their own identity and branding with the championships, instead, we’ve just re-colored schemes for three of the four titles.  Yes, the I-C and US titles are the same as they were, but don’t put it past WWE to change up those titles in the future.  Because they totally would do that too.  Just watch them.  But, seriously.  Can we get some more variety here.  I KNOW that they are supposed to represent the same divisions across the two shows, but…c’mon.  The first brand split had FAR more uniqueness when it comes to the design of the titles.

Anyway, my point is.  WWE, get your act together.  If you want your brand to be completely separate, then don’t try to make them the exact same.  You started out right with the camera angles, but there needs to be more identity division.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today.  Next week, we’re going to start looking at the Royal Rumble winners since the the debut of RAW, and see just how good/bad they ended up getting booked (spoilers, there are some that really get the shaft).  Until then, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.