Monday, January 27, 2014

The Unreality of the WWE: A 2014 Royal Rumble Review

Three! Two! One!


The spoon fed catchphrase issues forth as the 26th entrant in the 2014 Royal Rumble comes barreling down the entrance ramp, shirt exploding as he enters the ring. A year removed from being one of the last men standing in the Royal Rumble with the full support of the crowd to beat John Cena for a chance to headline Wrestlemania, Ryback now induced an arena-wide cringe. Though Ryback has fallen from grace in the eyes of the fans and the WWE, the anxiety that his entrance brought was due to the fact that only four more entrants were left and there was no sight of the most over superstar on the WWE roster.

Daniel Bryan.

According to the pizza-math that the entire audience was doing at that moment based on the Rumble promo played earlier, the last four spots were the following in no particular order: Batista, Rey Mysterio, Big E. Langston and Alberto Del Rio. But wait, where is Daniel Bryan? Where is the superstar that deserves a trip to the big dance more than anyone? Where is the justice?!

Last minute rationale then started to set in as the WWE Universe tried to come up with some way that Daniel Bryan can still emerge and claim what is rightfully his. But when the WWE makes up it's mind about what WE want, there is no going back. Rumors had permeated the internet that the deal Batista signed was for two years of appearances which included a Wrestlemania main event. Once again, the WWE is bringing in a "transcendent" movie star to pimp Wrestlemania to the uninitiated. Like the Rock, Brock, and Hogan, Batista is this year's superstar to come in and steal the championship from one of the superstars on the WWE roster that deserves it. Once this fact truly set in beyond the point of no return when Alberto Del Rio entered, the hot crowd of Pittsburgh knew what was in store. And then the Daniel Bryan chants started.

Once it was down to the last three combatants, Roman Reigns, Sheamus and Batista, the crowds displeasure had reached a crescendo. Sheamus was set up for the Brogue kick by smacking her pearly white chest and shouting Brogue with the crowd, or so he thought. In reality the crowd was chanting "No!", another of Bryan's catchphrases that devolved into boos. Sheamus looked out to the crowd in disbelief as they had lost the WWE Universe to their own system, leaving only hate and dissatisfaction. The fact that the crowd and the WWE Universe as a whole could hold on to hope that Reigns might win was only enough to stem the tide of boos for a few fleeting moments until Batista dispatched him.

And it isn't the fact that the WWE Universe hates Batista, it has nothing to do with him as a superstar or a celebrity. It's what he represents in the WWE and the Wrestlemania system that Vince employs when the Royal Rumble comes around. It's the fact that Batista can come back and steal the coveted title shot without even seeing one of the men that truly earned it throughout the year. Batista is just the scapegoat for this problem. It wouldn't matter who won the Rumble, as long as it wasn't Daniel Bryan. The fans were going to be unhappy.

The fact of matter is that the WWE Universe doesn't need to get what it wants all the time. If it did, Cena wouldn't be working in the company and Raw would consist of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk matches over and over again. But the disconnect between what the WWE thinks the fans what and what they give them is so off that the fact that JBL, Fandango, Alexander Rusev, and the Uso's got a spot in the Rumble over Daniel Bryan is sickening.

To really sum up what the WWE did last night to it's fans and itself, one needs only to look at what happened as Batista left the ring. Showered with boos from the crowd, Batista made his way out of the arena while high-fiving fans. One fan in particular flipped him the bird twice and Batista stopped in his tracks, returned the favor and stood there for 20 seconds staring the fan down. This in essence it was the WWE machine does at this time of year. It is saying f you, this is what you want and this is what we are giving you. You will like it, pay for it, and accept it because we are in control and you are not.

This is the sad unreality of the WWE when on the Road to Wrestlemania. Vince and the machine reaches across all mediums and news platforms to grand his company and saturate the market as much as possible with the show of shows. It works, which is unfortunate for the WWE Universe. But what is most unfortunate for fans is that they will always come back for more, hopeful that they will finally get what they want.

But if this Royal Rumble is a sign of things to come, the fans are once again set up for disappointment.

Rumble Rating: 4 out of 10

Disappointment Rating: 10 out of 10

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