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I have been a professional wrestling fan since I was eleven - I sort of drift in and out of it now mainly watching the big events although my hubbie is a huge fan. I have recently updated our WWE DVD in the massive Silvervision closing down sale, and am slowly working my way through the collection. However, the Royal Rumble has always been my favourite main event and Royal Rumble 2011 found its way to the top of the pile first! This review will contain spoilers, as the event is over 2 years old there shouldn't be any real shocks!
The Royal Rumble is WWE's first main event of the year, being held in January. The event usually features about half a dozen matches ending with the rumble itself, which is a battle royale style match where a superstar enters the ring every few minutes and is eliminated by being thrown over the top rope and both feet touching the floor below. It is a really fast paced exciting match, and they normally through in a few wildcard wrestlers for entertainment. I love the fact that it is the one main event which normally features every superstar on the roster so regardless of who you are a fan of, you are likely to see them in action!
The Matches (Spoiler Alert)
There were only 3 additional wrestling matches, all of which were title matches
The opening bout was Edge vs Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship. The storyline featured the rivalry centred on Vickie Gurrero who in WWE-land was Edge's ex-wife and Ziggler's current girlfriend - and as Vickie was General Manager of Smackdown at the time she banned Edge from using his signature move, the spear. This was a great match, mainly due to the wrestling talents of Edge covering up any short-comings from Ziggler. That said, I was impressed with the relatively green Ziggler - as this is one of his earlier ventures into the main event following stints in the Spirit Squad and in his current guise in the lower mid card. However it was hard to believe that Ziggler was going to be any threat to Edge in this clash, and he wasn't. A great opener which probably deserved to be further up the card than the opening bout.
The second match was The Miz vs Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. This Miz had cashed in his Money in The Bank briefcase to beat Orton for the belt back in November and had successfully defended it again at TLC. This match lacked the excitement of the previous match, and despite mixed reviews on whether the Miz was a credible frontman for the Raw brand's championship, I personally believe that his run was a good one. I did not feel that Orton had to carry Miz in any of their bouts and was pleased to see him retain the title. I think at just under 20 minutes the match went just a little too long for both men.
The final Championship was a fatal four way match for the Diva's championship. Natalaya faced off against Michelle McCool, Layla and Eve and despite outclassing all of them in wrestling ability Natalya eventually dropped the belt to Eve in five minutes. This match was pure filler, as are most of the women's matches. WWE has some great female wrestling talent who are often underutilised in place of model types who's wrestling moves are cringeworthy if not dangerous!
The 2011 Royal Rumble was unique as it is the only one to feature 40 superstars instead of the usual 30. In order to keep it fast paced the gap between entrance was shortened from 2 minutes to 90 seconds (although in reality the wrestlers enter the ring when they are instructed according to the action rather than adhering to a strict timetable) The main rivalry of the match was The new Nexus lead by CM Punk vs The Corre (aka the old Nexus) lead by Wade Barrett. CM Punk was the first competitor to the ring who was promptly attacked by the Corre and defended by Nexus, causing a delayed start to the match up. Once the match eventually got started CM Punk was the stand out performer of the night for me, lasting the longest and eliminating the most Superstars.
The two surprise (or gimmick) wrestlers were Kevin Nash in full Diesel get up, and Booker T. Nash was quite lacklustre in his performance, although it was great to see him as Diesel as it reminded me of watching in my younger years. However, as I had watched his deteriorating performances for TNA I was not that surprised by his underwhelming performance! Booker managed a spinerooni before being ceremoniously dumped over the top rope by Mason Ryan. I would have liked to have seen a few more surprise entrants, but these two were ok.
The low point of the match was when Punk and the Nexus ganged up and eliminated every one attempting to get in the ring, as it seemed to drag. This was made even worse when John Cena came out and defeated the Nexus pretty much single handed. This lame superhero status of Cena makes it impossible to take him serious as a credible wrestler (well that and his wrestling ability!)
The highs of the match for me was when John Morrison mananged to save himself from elimination by using his agility to spring onto the stairs, and the end when Santino Marella almost won it and thought he was going to Wrestlemania. I was pretty surprised that Alberto Del Rio won the match as a relative newcomer - and I am normally pretty good at guessing the winner, but it's nice for WWE can think outside the box occasionally and Del Rio's career has continued to grow from this!
Special features are an interview with Eve and Del Rio's victory celebration - pretty disappointing!
I actually enjoyed Royal Rumble 2011 more than I thought I would. It wasn't perfect but it is one of 2011 main events. I would give it 9 out of 10, and as I can't give it 4 and a half, it will have to be five stars from me!
From the years 1989-2010, the WWE staged their Royal Rumble event and match every January. The mentioned years saw 30 men compete in an over the top rope battle royale, where entrants came out every 90 seconds or so. The 30 man concept was an update from the 20 man concept the WWE had done just once in 1988. Come 2011, the match is still one of the most popular the WWE promote, seeing as it's the only one they do just once a year, but with it's large roster, the WWE took the gamble to add 10 more men to the fray. The last time WWE tried to update the Royal Rumble was in 1995, where intervals were placed at 1 minute instead of 90 seconds to 2 minutes. That resulted in a messy and uninteresting match. However, the chances that 2011's match would be better were high, seeing how much star power was in this match.
In the opener, Edge defended his World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler. Seeing how Ziggler upped his game in the previous year and how Edge was on fire in the ring at this point, I had high hopes for this match. Happily, this is a cracking opener, mixing a fast pace with some good story telling. The whole plot line of Edge not being allowed to use the Spear at the risk of losing the match and title only added to the drama. Both men deserve credit for lighting up what was a thin looking card.
The Miz, in the midst of his unflattering WWE Championship reign, was then set to defend the belt against the man he beat for it, Randy Orton. While this match was nowhere near the quality of the previous one due to the much slower pace, it isn't too bad. Watchable but not entertaining would be the best way of putting it, that is until the fun finishing sequence.
To call the Fatal 4 Way for the Divas Championship pitting the champion Natalya against Eve, Layla and Michelle McCool, a filler and worthless match is harsh, as this match was pretty much going to be the worst from the 4 presented. That's not the ladies fault involved, seeing as they got a paltry 5 minutes, but seeing how one of the entrants was a surprise, she's a darn disappointing inclusion, as the WWE had just recently had a high profile signing, as well as there being more deserving females on the roster, this match could have been a lot better.
To ask the audience to watch for over an hour, as opposed to around an hour or just a little over it, in the previous years was going to be a challenge for the wrestlers and the WWE. Thankfully, this is one of those times everybody got it right, as this was one of the most entertaining Royal Rumble match in years. The standout man of the previous year's Rumble was once again the star performer this year as CM Punk shone throughout his stay in the match. In addition to that, the first 10 or so entrants were dynamite together, with some being worthy winners in their own right. The sensational parkour skills of John Morrison have to be seen to be believed. Even the 2 surprise entrants provoked nostalgia, even if they were there for a very short amount of time. That twist right at the end of the match was classic too, but all in all, the right man prevailed. If there were any low points of this match, it had to be the lack of any Nexus vs Corre action, the rival 2 stables who went nowhere after this show. And as usual from him, John Cena managed to stink up the joint with his cartoonish comebacks. Seeing and hearing the total silence and crowd apathy to the Cena vs Randy Orton stare off was hilarious as this rivalry had been promoted for pretty much 3 quarters of 2009 and a quarter of 2007, with some of 2008 thrown into the mix.
There are 2 versions to this show. The standard DVD, which comes with 2 extras. A bland post-match interview with the winner of the Divas match, as well as a long but okay celebration from the winner of the Royal Rumble winner the next night. The second version is on Blu-Ray, so it comes in the smaller and skinnier case, but is in HD, has the 2 extras and includes an extra disc which includes the full Raw and SmackDown shows prior to the event itself. From what I remember, not too much happened on these shows, but it's well worth spending extra on the Blu-Ray for the HD.
Prices for the DVD version are anywhere from £11 on Silvervision, Amazon and Play or just under £12 from TheHut online to £20 in store from HMV. The Blu-Ray's will set you back maybe £3 or £4 extra from the same sites, except Silvervision which will take £7 extra from you. Of course, seeing as it's the only site to offer next day delivery provided you order early, you might prefer to part with the extra cash.