I didn’t catch the Rumble this year. Didn’t feel like putting money in the pocket of the McMahon family if I could get all the info I needed on the internet and on the following edition of RAW.
Now there had been talk of a big swerve going into the event. Initially, I thought there might be dual winners like they did back in 1994 with Bret Hart and Lex Luger. Then I thought the swerve would come in the championship match between Punk and Ziggler. Maybe Laurenitis would screw Punk over and force Punk to participate in the Rumble to get a rematch at Wrestlemania? There needed to be something strong, unique and cause an impact – but did we get it? Hard for me to judge considering that I didn’t watch the event live. But now I’m rather curious because the final result leaves us somewhat miffed considering that there is no creative backing to support any interest leading into Wrestlemania.
For weeks we were teased about the return of Jericho. Fans knew who the cryptic messages were meant for and they wanted it. Fans knew that Jericho was being prepped for Punk to co-headline Mania, and they welcomed it. After all, Jericho is a seasoned veteran, an electrifying entertainer, and one of the few talents who can go toe to toe with the leader of the new generation. It’s a paring of main event caliber talents for a match worth paying for.
So upon his return, Jericho has yet to utter a word to the WWE Universe. As stupid and annoying as the gimmick has been, we all expected Jericho to break his silence the day after on RAW to announce his earned challenge to the WWE champion at Wrestlemania. But with Sheamus winning the Rumble, what will Jericho have to say now?
I don’t mind Sheamus winning the Rumble…if there was something in the creative cards for him. He’s one of the top stars who has been underutilized in the last year. But as we get closer to April 1st, how can Sheamus be built up as a qualified opponent for the Wrestlemania main event? It just doesn’t work…because it’s forced.
Now here’s where the catch 22 comes into play… The point of the Royal Rumble is that ANYONE can win and go off to headline Wrestlemania. So in theory, I love what they did by giving Sheamus the victory. But if the build up for Jericho was so important, and the match between Punk and Y2J was designed to give the card some much needed strength – then why change it now? Especially with a guy who has the tools but who has been creatively absent and lost in a shuffle of meaningless feuds throughout the year. As good as Sheamus is and as much as I think he’s one of the WWE’s top guys – do you really think he has enough stock value to warrant fans to pay for the biggest show of the year? Does he have the appeal? Does he have the drawing power? And can he hold a solid match with Punk?
Then again, who is to say that Sheamus is going to challenge Punk? Maybe this was a way to make the Smackdown title more valuable. Perhaps Jericho will face CM Punk and Sheamus ends up challenging Daniel Bryan? Does that work better for all parties? I think so… I guess we’ll find out tonight!