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CALDWELL'S ROYAL RUMBLE PPV REPORT 1/25: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Lesnar vs. Cena vs. Rollins for WWE Title, Royal Rumble, post-PPV Network show

Jan 25, 2015 - 9:50:06 PM


WWE Royal Rumble PPV Report
January 25, 2015
Philadelphia, Pa.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

Live PPV First Hour

Video Package: Various wrestlers were spotlighted on the annual quest to win the Royal Rumble and advance to WrestleMania. Soundbytes from The Rock were included with the main roster stars. Who will be The One? The video transitioned to hyping Brock Lesnar, who defends the WWE Title against John Cena and Seth Rollins tonight. "The Road to WrestleMania starts now," the voice-over man said.

Live inside the Wells Fargo Center, fireworks shot off to signal the start of the PPV. Michael Cole introduced the show along with JBL and Jerry Lawler.

In-ring: The New Age Outlaws's music played to bring out Road Dogg and Billy Gunn sporting Philly Phanatic head gear representing the Phillies's mascot. Dogg said on the way to the ring that "the pop's automatic with the Philly Phanatic." In the ring, Dogg asked the crowd if they're ready, then Dogg did his standard ring intro. Dogg handed the mic to Gunn, who told the crowd that if they're down with that, they have two words. Notably facing the hard camera was a "Watch More NXT" sign and a Colt Cabana head-poster like at a college basketball game.

The Ascension was then introduced as the opposition. Before the match started, WWE replayed events on Raw when The Outlaws, APA, and NWO made sport of The Ascension after Konnor and Viktor acted too big for their britches.


Gunn started things off working on Viktor. Tag to Dogg, who lost control and the heels began working him over. Konnor struggled to execute offense, so he settled for a headlock, but Dogg broke free. Viktor then tagged in, Dogg ducked a clothesline, and Gunn took a tag. Gunn tossed Konnor over the top rope, then dropped Viktor with a swinging slam. Gunn tried the Fameasser on Viktor, but he ducked and tagged in Konnor. Ascension with a high/low combo, Fall of Man, on Gunn for the pin and the win. As the crowd booed the result, JBL said this was impressive for a team that had yet to win him over.

WINNERS: Ascension at 5:32. Basic deal with the Legends putting over an upstart heel team, but Ascension just doesn't look ready, especially Konnor. The crowd seemed to recognize that, too, disengaging during Ascension's work on Dogg setting up the hot tag. (*1/2)

Stone Cold plug: Triple H joins Stone Cold on WWE Network next Monday, February 2 for a live podcast. This is WWE's way of trying to retain subscribers at the beginning of the month, like McMahon on Austin's podcast on December 1.

Video Package: Sting made his first in-person Raw appearance to help Cena beat Rollins to win back the jobs of Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and Erick Rowan.

Authority's Office: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were at a loss for words. What they were trying to talk about was how Sting has been able to get in the building to mess around with him. Steph vowed to take care of Sting and anyone else who helped him, because this is not WCW. Paul Heyman walked in to a big pop from the live audience. "E-C-W" chants followed. Steph said she did not invite Paul to this conversation. Paul said he is here to solve their problems. Problem #1 - John Cena. Solution - Brock Lesnar as WWE World champion. Problem #2 - Sting. Solution - Brock Lesnar. Basically, Heyman wanted to make sure The Authority did not have Seth Rollins pull a fast one on Lesnar in the title match in exchange for Lesnar taking care of Sting.

In-ring: The Miz's music played to bring out The Miz to boos and Damien Sandow to loud cheers for the Tag Title match. The Usos were then introduced on-stage to a tepid reaction since they're more cool to casual fans/kids, and don't have a big cool factor with hardcore fans. Once everyone was in the ring, Miz and Sandow compared crowd reactions, which was of course pro-Sandow.

2 -- WWE tag champs THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) vs. THE MIZ & DAMIEN SANDOW -- WWE Tag Title match

Miz started things off against Jey, who worked over Miz as the crowd chanted for Sandow. Miz regained control and teased tagging in Sandow, but pulled his hand away to boos. Miz got knocked down, so Sandow bit his lip and resumed his position stunt-doubling for Miz. Uso tagged in and the crowd went quiet. Running butt bomb to Miz, who tried to respond with a roll-up and hook of the tights, but Uso kicked out. Miz planted Uso with a DDT, but Uso kicked out.

"We Want Mizdow" chant from the crowd as Miz worked over Uso's leg to set up for the figure-four leglock, but Uso kicked away. The Usos started flying around on the outside, knocking down everyone, including Jey, who landed hard on the floor when Miz wasn't in position to take the fall, or Uso came up short on his landing spot.

Back in the ring, Uso missed a top-rope splash and Miz hit the Skullcrushing Finale for a close two count. Miz angrily punched Uso in the face, then told the crowd to focus on him. Miz tried a corner attack, but Uso superkicked him. Up to the top for a Superfly Splash. Sandow broke up a pin to a loud pop, then Sandow sold like he wasn't supposed to be doing moves, per Miz's instructions. Sandow nailed the Skullcrushing Finale anyways, then positioned Miz for the pin, but Uso kicked out.

Reset at 8:00. Miz wanted a superplex on Jey Uso, but Jey broke free and kicked Sandow off the ring apron. Jey then kicked Miz to the ground, Jimmy tagged in, and Jimmy hit a top-rope Superfly Splash for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Usos at 9:20 to retain the Tag Titles. Solid tag match, but The Usos continue to be after-thoughts in this prolonged feud. WWE eventually has to shift Miz-Sandow to a stand-alone issue and separate The Usos into a feud actually centered on the Tag Titles. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro are a good choice. (**1/2)

Speaking of which, WWE replayed Kidd & Cesaro beating New Day on the PPV pre-show.

Locker Room: Joey Mercury was playing "WWE Immortals" on his tablet, prompting questions from Jamie Noble. Seth Rollins barged in, wondering what they're doing right now. "You two are playing games right before the biggest match of my career?" he shouted at them. Seth told them to focus because he is not The Future, but The Now.

Next was a WM31 video package starting the countdown. WrestleMania is 63 days away.

In-ring: The Bellas were introduced to the ring for the Divas match of the show. Still no explanation for why Brie has re-affiliated with her sister, as the announcers focused on why Paige is affiliating with Natalya. Natalya's music then brought out Natalya by herself in a Hart Foundation-esque robe. Natalya waited for Paige, who was introduced to her music. As they made their way to the ring, Nikki held up the Divas Title belt to remind the opposition who the champ is.


Paige and Natalya dominated Nikki early on, then Brie tagged in and took a similar beating. Natalya lost control, then The Bellas started working her over. Paige tried to cheerlead from the ring apron, but Natalya remained on the defensive. An "Ole!" chant broke out, then faded out, so Paige tried to cheerlead again.

Nikki got cocky and blew a kiss toward Paige, allowing Natalya to cut off Nikki. She had the tag lined up, but Brie yanked Paige off the ring apron. Nikki then forearmed Natalya in the throat and scored a pin for the win.

WINNERS: Bellas at 8:05. This did not play to the strengths of the involved participants. It doesn't help that WWE continues to avoid the big question of why Brie suddenly re-joined her evil sister two months ago. (*1/2)

Video Package: Royal Rumble participants talked up their Rumble match goals. WWE aired soundbytes from Roman Reigns, Goldust & Cody Rhodes, Rusev with Lana, The Miz & Damien Sandow, Big Show, Fandango with Rosa Mendes, and finally Daniel Bryan, book-ending the series of promos with Reigns and Bryan.

Video Package: WWE Title feud involving champ Brock Lesnar and challengers John Cena and Seth Rollins.

Live PPV Second Hour

In-ring: John Cena was introduced first as the original challenger to Brock Lesnar in the title match. Cena emerged to boos and the crowd singing "John Cena Suuuucks" to his theme music. JBL said this Philly crowd is "always unique." Cena conducted the sing-song, then stormed the ring and posed for the crowd as Cole noted that Cena can tie Ric Flair's title record if he wins tonight. Cena pointed out some fans in the crowd, then Seth Rollins's music played. Seth emerged to a lot of cheers, then held up his MITB briefcase. Cole and JBL discussed Seth being able to cash in MITB if he does not win the title match if he chooses to. Lawler noted he can save it, though, and cash in any time before next year's MITB event.

After a pause, Brock Lesnar's music played to bring out Lesnar to a loud reaction. Lesnar popped off the screen in fight mode with the title belt around his waist, MMA gear, and Paul Heyman standing next to him. Lesnar marched to the ring in a domination mode. Once everyone was in the ring, Lilian Garcia formally introduced the participants. 90 percent boos for Cena, solid cheers for Rollins, and loud cheers for Lesnar. Quite the mix for a top babyface, top heel, and heel-leaning-face champ, respectively. "Lesnar, Lesnar" chants before the bell. Cole noted he doesn't think he's ever seen Lesnar in this shape.

4 -- WWE World Hvt. champion BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman) vs. JOHN CENA vs. SETH ROLLINS (w/J&J Security) -- one fall WWE World Hvt. Title match

Rollins bailed from the ring as soon as the bell sounded, so Lesnar dropped Cena with a German Suplex. Then, another, flashing back to Summerslam. J&J hit the ring, so Lesnar smashed them. Cena tried to sneak up behind Lesnar, but Lesnar threw him off and suplexed Rollins. A German to Cena put both Cena and Seth down on the mat. Paul smiled as Brock stood tall to cheers. Lesnar supexed Cena across the ring, then stalked Seth for another German. JBL said Brock is going to hurt one of these guys.

Lesnar stalked Cena for the kimura lock, but Cena powered to his feet, giving Seth an opening to springboard knee-smash both Lesnar and Cena. Lesnar took the worst of it, so Seth went to work on Lesnar. Cena also tried to capitalize, then Cena and Seth double-suplexed Lesnar to try to neutralize him. Cena wanted the AA, and he connected, but Seth tossed Cena out of the ring. Seth covered Lesnar, but only got a one count.

Lesnar immediately popped to his feet and knocked both men out of the ring, re-establishing his dominance. But, on the outside, Seth dropkicked Lesnar and The Champ ate the ringpost shoulder-first. Seth and Cena returned to the ring, where Cena ripped off his signature offense to boos. Cena smirked toward the booing crowd, then wanted the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Seth tried to kick him. No matter, as Cena scooped him up for another sit-out slam. Cena tried to complete the Shuffle, but Lesnar snatched him from behind for a German Suplex. Seth kicked Lesnar out of the ring, though, only to take a Michinoku Driver from Cena for a two count.

Reset at 7:30 with all three men in the ring. Lesnar punched Seth around, then chucked him out of the ring. Cena tried to fire off right hands to Lesnar, but Brock no-sold. A third clothesline knocked down Lesnar, though. Seth yanked Cena out of the ring, then tried a springboard to Lesnar, but Lesnar caught him in mid-air and dropped him with the F5. Lesnar covered, but Cena broke up the pin with a desperation dive from the outside.

Reset at 9:00, then Lesnar dropped Cena with another German suplex. Lesnar left the ring to smash the announce table, then returned to the ring, where Cena dropped Lesnar with three consecutive AAs, but Seth pulled Cena out of the ring to break up the pin. Seth returned to the ring to give Lesnar the Curb Stomp, but Cena broke up the pin as Lesnar rolled a shoulder to avoid a three count. Heyman sold needing to catch his breath on the outside.

All three men sold on the mat, then Lesnar wandered out of the ring, limped around a bit, and was blind-sided by Cena, who tackled him through the gimmicked barricade in front of the timekeeper. After Cena and Lesnar sold the effects, Lesnar got up, so Cena chucked Lesnar into the ring steps, nearly taking out Paul Heyman in the process. Lesnar got up, though, so Cena picked up ring steps and bashed them into Lesnar's face, sending Lesnar onto the Spanish announce table. From back in the ring, Seth saw an opening to take out Lesnar on the table. So, Seth went flying off the top turnbuckle with an elbow into Lesnar, taking both men through the table to the floor. Seth got some serious air on the move.

Reset at 14:00 with all three men selling on the floor. Cena scooped up Seth and rolled him back into the ring, where Seth rolled up Cena for a close two count. Standing kick, but another kick-out by Cena. Cena answered with a sit-out powerbomb, but Rollins kicked out. Meanwhile, Heyman screamed for a doctor for Lesnar. Back in the ring, Cena took Seth to the top turnbuckle. He wanted a top-rope AA, but Seth blocked and tried a sunset flip powerbomb. No, he transitioned to a running Bucklebomb across the ring for another two count.

As Seth and Cena sold in the ring, the ref left the ring to check on Lesnar's condition. The ref returned with some instructions for Seth and Cena. For now, the remaining wrestlers came to their feet, where Cena slapped on an STF, but Joey and Jamie hit the ring to attack Cena. In the background, a stretcher was brought over to Lesnar. In the ring, Seth and J&J executed a triple powerbomb to Cena. Seth covered Cena, but he kicked out. More medical attention to Lesnar, dividing the audience's attention.

Rollins tried to use the MITB briefcase on Cena, but Cena tossed him out of the ring, then delivered a double AA to Joey and Jamie. Seth then took an AA from Cena, who covered him for a super-close two count. More medical attention to Lesnar on the outside. Cole relayed info that Lesnar is suffering from "at least a broken rib." Back in the ring, Cena and Seth traded bombs from a standing position. Another AA tease from Cena, but Seth slipped out and kicked Cena in the back of the head. Curb Stomp to Cena. Seth covered, but Cena kicked out again.

Rollins sold shock over the latest kick-out, then contemplated his next move. Seth climbed to the top turnbuckle for a moonsault, which he turned into a twisting corkscrew splash. Sick. But, Lesnar stormed the ring out of nowhere and nearly ended Seth with a German suplex. Lesnar took out Cena, then Seth landed on his feet on a second German. Seth smashed Brock twice with the MITB briefcase, then tried a Curb Stomp, but Brock grabbed Seth and smashed him to the mat with the F5. Brock, after making the big heroic babyface comeback, covered Seth for the pin and the win, completing Seth's role being added to the match to take the fall.

Afterward, the announcers sold not knowing who could possibly beat Brock after this super-human performance. Big set-up for the heat transfer at WrestleMania. Lesnar left the ring with Heyman and the WWE Title belt, essentially canceling out a MITB cash-in. After a replay of how the match unfolded, they cut to a shot of Seth in the ring clutching his briefcase as he recovered to his feet. Lawler said Seth doesn't want any more of Lesnar tonight.

WINNER: Lesnar at 22:42 to retain the WWE World Title. Very strong story-telling, they re-emphasized Brock Lesnar as a monster, and the action was top-notch. Rollins was really good and he more than held his own belonging in the spot, not just a tack-on to the original Lesnar vs. Cena match. As has been the case in recent WWE Title matches, though, too dependent on the finisher kick-outs. (****1/4)

Video Package: Fast Lane is coming to PPV next month. Brock Lesnar was advertised in the video package.

Video Package: Royal Rumble By the Numbers.

5 -- 30-MAN ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH -- Winner advances to WWE Title match at WrestleMania 31

After Lilian Garcia announced the Rumble rules, entry #1 was revealed as ... The Miz, who was met by indifference. Entry #2 was revealed as ... R-Truth. The crowd was less-than-impressed by WWE's selection to start the Rumble. After Truth rapped and shouted "What's Up?" over and over, Miz dramatically removed his shades and the bell sounded. Basic opening exchange, then 1:30 expired to bring out Bubba Ray Dudley as #3. Huge pop for the recent Bully Ray, who emerged in his Bubba Dudley gear, complete with glasses, camo, and boots.

Bully subdued Miz, then spotted Truth hanging out on the top turnbuckle. So, Truth delivered the diving heabdutt to Miz's crotch a la Devon. Bully looked around the ring, then slapped Truth and told him to get the tables. "Tables, tables" chant from the crowd. Miz tried to cut if off, but he walked into a 3D from Bully and Truth. As Luke Harper was introduced at #4, Bully tossed out Miz and then Truth.

*** Miz eliminated by Bully at 4:00, Truth eliminated by Bully at 4:12 ***

Bully and Luke Harper battled next. Bully got the best of the exchange, then Bray Wyatt was introduced as #5. The lights went out for Bray to enter the ring and confront Bully. Harper attacked Bully from behind, then Harper and Bray re-united to beat down Bully. "We Want Devon" chant from the crowd. Bray then chucked Bully over the top rope, eliminating him. The crowd booed, then cheered Dudley as he walked to the back.

*** Dudley eliminated by Bray at 6:53 ***

Curtis Axel was out next at #6 to face Bray and Harper. Suddenly, Erick Rowan attacked Axel and smashed him into the production area. Cole said Rowan is not an official entrant, but he entered the ring to confront Bray and Harper. Suddenly, Harper and Rowan were on the same team against Bray, but Harper attacked Rowan from behind. That was a lot for one moment. Wyatt eventually dumped Rowan and Harper over the top rope, leaving him by himself in the ring.

*** Harper eliminated by Bray at 8:48 ***

Out next as #7 was The Boogeyman, whose entrance took a while before he confronted Bray Wyatt in the ring. Bray and Boogeyman got weird, then Bray chucked Boogeyman over the top rope for another elimination.

*** Boogeyman eliminated by Bray at 11:03 ***

Out at #8 was Sin Cara. Bray tried to eliminate Cara, but he out-quicked him. No matter, as Bray dropped Cara with Sister Abigail, which Cole said is a tribute to Bray's late sister. Bray chucked Cara over the top rope, then grabbed a mic and said he hopes everyone in the back got the message that this is Bray Wyatt's world. Bray sang about having the whole world in his hands before the countdown clock flashed.

*** Sin Cara eliminated by Bray at 12:18 ***

Zack Ryder returned to action as #9 to answer Bray Wyatt's challenge. Ryder got in signature offense, then set up Bray for the Broski Boot, which missed, but Bray sold anyways. No matter, as Bray got up and chucked Ryder over the top rope for his fifth elimination.

*** Ryder eliminated by Bray at 14:02 ***

After Bray waited for his next opponent, the countdown clock expired to bring out Daniel Bryan at #10. Bryan got in signature offense on Bray as the crowd roared. JBL told Bryan to pace himself. Yes! Kicks in the corner. Bray sold being worn out as Bryan worked him over. Top-rope huracanrana from Bryan led to the countdown clock expiring to bring out Fandango at #11. He was joined by Rosa Mendes.

Fandango went after Bryan, snapping off a dropkick as some of the crowd picked up Fandango humming, flashing back to the pre-salsa days. Fandango danced a bit, then found himself in D-Bryan's airplane spin. Bryan tried to spin him over the top rope, but Fandango held on. The clock expired again to bring out Tyson Kidd at #12. Kidd took out Fandango in the corner, then battled Bryan mid-ring. Big mid-air collision put both men down on the mat. All four men were down on the mat leading to another entry.

Out at #13 was "Stardust" Cody Rhodes. Cody worked on everyone, then tried to toss Fandango, but Fandango skinned the cat back into the ring. Cody also skinned the cat to avoid elimination. Bryan then back-suplexed Kidd over the top rope for an elimination. Bray suddenly found himself on the outside and Bryan met him with a suicide dive. Neither went over the top rope, though, so they're both still in the match.

*** Kidd eliminated by Bryan at 21:04 ***

Out next at #14 was Diamond Dallas Page sporting a DDP Yoga tank top. Not a huge pop for DDP, but everyone threw up the Diamond Cutter. "D-D-P" chant once he hit the ring, though. Page dropped Stardust with a Diamond Cutter, then he delivered a top-rope Diamond Cutter to Fandango. Bray scrambled back into the ring, where he also took a Diamond Cutter. DDP threw up the Bang! before the countdown clock expired again. It was Rusev at #15. Rusev quickly eliminated DDP, then Fandango.

*** DDP eliminated by Rusev at 24:30, Fandango eliminated by Rusev at 24:36 ***

Bryan returned to the ring to attack both Bray and Rusev while Stardust sold on the floor. Rusev tried to eliminate Bryan, but he held on. So, Bray bounced Bryan off the ring apron, eliminating Bryan to boos. Very unceremonious ending to Bryan's night. Cole said Bryan's dream ended much sooner than he expected. (There is still the deal of Bryan never losing the WWE Title, being stripped of the title when he was injured.)

*** Bryan eliminated by Bray at 25:30 ***

Goldust was out next at #16. Cody tried to eliminate his brother, but Goldust held onto the top rope. Goldust then rocked Cody with right hands as Bray and Rusev watched in the background. "Daniel Bryan" chant from the crowd. The crowd booed a bit as the action continued.

Next out at #17 was a New Day member, which drew boos. It was Kofi Kingston. Kofi entered the ring to boos as the crowd was starting to sound like last year's Rumble crowd upset over how Bryan was booked (or not booked). Bray tried to eliminate Kofi, but Kofi held on and knocked down Bray. Another "Daniel Bryan" chant as the action continued.

Next out at #18 was Adam Rose, with the Rosebuds. Rose eventually hit the ring and Kofi went flying into the Rosebuds, who hauled Kofi around the ring and put him back on the ring apron to help him avoid elimination. Rusev suddenly eliminated Rose, who did not have the Rosebuds in-place to save him. Rusev then eliminated Kofi Kingston.

*** Rose eliminated by Rusev at 30:30; Kingston eliminated by Rusev at 30:40 ***

Out next at #19 was Roman Reigns to loud boos. Reigns walked through the crowd to hard shoves more than friendly pats on the back as he walked down to ringside. Loud boos as Reigns hit the ring and went after the Rhodes Brothers. Reigns quickly discarded them for a double elimination.

*** Goldust eliminated by Reigns at 32:36, Stardust eliminated by Reigns at 32:40 ***

Out next at #20 was Big E. to more boos. The crowd doesn't like anyone right now. The four in the ring were Rusev, Big E., Reigns, and Wyatt. More boos as the countdown clock expired to bring out Damien Sandow to Miz's music at #21. But, Miz showed up and told Sandow that he's taking his spot. Sandow initially backed down, but decided to enter the ring. Sandow went right after Wyatt, then Big E. But, Rusev tossed Sandow over the top rope for another elimination.

*** Sandow/Miz eliminated by Rusev at 36:00 ***

Out next at #22 was Jack Swagger, who went after his 2014 enemy, Rusev. JBL referenced Zeb Colter watching Swagger at home. Rusev and Bray then isolated Swagger while Big E. and Reigns battled in the background. The clock expired again to bring out Ryback. Ryback knocked down Rusev, then Wyatt, then Swagger, then Big E., then Reigns to a pop. Ryback measured Rusev for the Meathook Clothesline, and he connected. But, Bray cut off Ryback from behind. A loud "C-M Punk" chant broke out before the next countdown clock expired.

Out at #24 was Kane, looking to pad his elimination stats. Kane tried to eliminate Ryback, but Ryback held on. Swagger also held on as Big E. tried to eliminate him. The clock expired again to bring out Dean Ambrose at #25 to a loud reaction. Ambrose and Wyatt quickly went at it, with Ambrose delivering a big lariat. Kane targeted Dean, but Dean booted him in the face as the crowd picked a new favorite to get behind. Lawler noted that on commentary.

At the 43:00 mark, entry #26 was revealed as Titus O'Neil. Titus marched down to the ring, entered, and was quickly eliminated by both Ambrose and Ambrose. Titus avoided a new record because he couldn't get himself over the top rope, so Ambrose & Reigns needed a second try to complete the spot.

*** O'Neil eliminated by Reigns & Ambrose at 43:34 ***

Out next at #27 was IC champion Bad News Barrett, whose presence generated a decent reaction from the international portion of the audience. Barrett hit the ring as Cole noted they have a lot of entrants in the Rumble right now. No eliminations, then the clock expired again to bring out Cesaro at #28. Dolph Ziggler is still out there, plus another entrant. Everyone battled it out in the ring, then Rusev dropkicked Big E. off the ropes for the next elimination.

*** Big E. eliminated by Rusev at 48:14 ***

Out next at #29 was Big Show. So, no Rock if Dolph Ziggler's in this match. Big Show hit the ring and was met by everyone trying to eliminate him. But, Show survived and then joined Kane to eliminate Ryback. Swagger was also eliminated by Kane.

*** Ryback eliminated by Show & Kane at 49:35, Swagger eliminated by Kane at 49:40 ***

Out last at #30 was Dolph Ziggler. So, no Rock, Cena, or Rollins. Ziggler entered the ring and started throwing superkicks. Included was an elimination of Barrett.

*** Barrett eliminated by Ziggler at 51:00 ***

Cesaro immediately put Ziggler in the Big Swing, but Ziggler avoided elimination. Ziggler and Cesaro then battled on the ring apron, where Ziggler superkicked Cesaro off the ring apron for an elimination.

*** Cesaro eliminated by Ziggler at 51:59 ***

Ziggler tried to come off the top to Big Show, but Show intercepted with a KO Punch. Show and Kane then scooped up Ziggler and casually dumped him over the top rope to loud boos. The duo then casually dumped Wyatt over the top rope to end his 50-minute run.

*** Ziggler eliminated by Show & Kane at 52:51, Wyatt eliminated by Show & Kane at 53:14 ***

The Final Four was Reigns, Ambrose, Show, and Kane, which drew boos. Ambrose and Reigns tried to combine to eliminate Show, but Kane cut off Reigns. Show and Kane then double-teamed Ambrose to boos. They prepared to scoop up Ambrose and lightly toss him out, which they executed. The crowd booed, which WWE could spin as the crowd booing the heels eliminating favorites. But, it was because they knew Reigns was winning at this point. Also worth noting is WWE putting two heels, Show and Kane, at the end who wouldn't get cheers over Reigns, like Bray Wyatt would, but the crowd was just going to boo everything.

*** Ambrose eliminated by Show & Kane at 55:11 ***

Loud "bulls---" chant from the crowd. Reigns tried to fight back against Kane and Show, but they cut him and tried to dump out Reigns. Show and Kane suddenly bumped into each other, angering the big men. Show and Kane started fighting as the crowd booed, sensing what was next. Reigns dumped both Kane and Show over the top rope, feeling like it was the end of the match, especially since the bell sounded, but there was no music and Rusev was still somewhere. So, technically the Final Four included Rusev.

*** Show & Kane eliminated by Reigns at 57:14 ***

WWE had Show and Kane storm the ring to attack Reigns, trying to quickly present this as the fans booing The Authority heels attacking Reigns. As the crowd chanted for Rusev (who was off-camera somewhere) because they wanted someone else to win, The Rock's music played. Rock stormed the ring and took out the heels as the announcers tried to sell excitement over Rock's presence. Then, Reigns delivered a Superman Punch to loud boos.

Rock cleared the ring with a Rock Bottom to Big Show, then Reigns was left alone in the ring to boos. Rusev suddenly came to life on the floor when he got a cue from a ringside ref and stormed the ring, but Reigns saw it coming and speared him. Reigns then tossed Rusev over the top rope to get his music and the win.

WINNER: Reigns at 59:31 (totaling the first bell at 57:14 and time until the second bell when Reigns eliminated Rusev). Apparently it will be babyface Brock vs. heel Reigns at WrestleMania, at least to a vocal portion of the audience, which will be ... interesting. There is the wild-card of Bryan never losing the title, so perhaps he gets in the mix to make it a three-way to save the Mania main event for the second straight year, but they sure dismissed him in this match. In any event, pretty good first-half until things bogged down at the end and the crowd turned on the match when they saw the writing on the wall for how it would end. Also, Bubba Dudley was a good surprise return, Bray Wyatt had a strong showing, and there were some other good moments overshadowed by the ending. But, not enough star power with an underdeveloped mid-card and only a few wrestlers given a chance to talk up their Rumble opportunity on TV leading into the PPV. (***1/4)

After the match, they cut back to Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman watching the finish on a monitor. Rock then entered the ring and pointed to the WM31 sign before embracing Reigns to loud boos. Rock held up Reigns's hand to boos. Rock heard the boos and tried to help out Reigns, but it wasn't working.

Suddenly, The Authority walked out on-stage. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were not pleased with Rock being out here. Rock raised Reigns's hand in the air to more boos. Reigns then pointed to the WM banner to boos. Cole said The Authority is going to have to live with it being Lesnar vs. Reigns at WrestleMania. Hunter and Steph eventually walked to the back as Rock celebrated with Reigns again to more boos. Reigns posed in the corner to loud boos. Fireworks then shot off over the WM banner as Cole tried to cover for an anti-climatic ending to the Rumble. Reigns then looked around the arena, which moved from boos to silence. Reigns raised his fists in the air to boos, then posed in another corner to boos. The PPV signed off at 10:44 p.m. EST.


(1) The Miz
(2) R-Truth
(3) Bubba Ray Dudley
(4) Luke Harper
(5) Bray Wyatt
(6) Curtis Axel
(7) The Boogeyman
(8) Sin Cara
(9) Zack Ryder
(10) Daniel Bryan
(11) Fandango
(12) Tyson Kidd
(13) "Stardust" Cody Rhodes
(14) Diamond Dallas Page
(15) Rusev
(16) Goldust
(17) Kofi Kingston
(18) Adam Rose
(19) Roman Reigns
(20) Big E.
(21) Damien Mizdow
(22) Jack Swagger
(23) Ryback
(24) Kane
(25) Dean Ambrose
(26) Titus O'Neil
(27) Bad News Barrett
(28) Cesaro
(29) Big Show
(30) Dolph ZIggler


(1) Miz eliminated by Dudley at 4:00
(2) Truth eliminated by Dudley at 4:12
(3) Dudley eliminated by Bray Wyatt at 6:53
(4) Axel removed by Erick Rowan
(5) Harper eliminated by Wyatt at 8:48
(6) Boogeyman eliminated by Wyatt at 11:03
(7) Sin Cara eliminated by Wyatt at 12:18
(8) Ryder eliminated by Wyatt at 14:02
(9) Kidd eliminated by Daniel Bryan at 21:04
(10) DDP eliminated by Rusev at 24:30
(11) Fandango eliminated by Rusev at 24:36
(12) D-Bryan eliminated by Bray at 25:30
(13) Adam Rose eliminated by Rusev at 30:30
(14) Kofi Kingston eliminated by Rusev at 30:40
(15) Goldust eliminated by Reigns at 32:36
(16) Stardust eliminated by Reigns at 32:40
(17) Sandow eliminated by Rusev at 36:00
(18) O'Neil eliminated by Reigns & Ambrose at 43:34
(19) Big E. eliminated by Rusev at 48:14
(20) Ryback eliminated by Show & Kane at 49:35
(21) Swagger eliminated by Kane at 49:40
(22) Barrett eliminated by Ziggler at 51:00
(23) Cesaro eliminated by Ziggler at 51:59
(24) Ziggler eliminated by Show & Kane at 52:51
(25) Wyatt eliminated by Show & Kane at 53:14
(26) Ambrose eliminated by Show & Kane at 55:11
(27) Show eliminated by Reigns at 57:14
(28) Kane eliminated by Reigns at 57:14
(29) Rusev eliminated by Reigns at 59:10

Post-PPV Show: WWE picked up a Network post-game show with John Cena backstage being interviewed about not winning the WWE Title match. Suddenly, an angry Rusev jumped into the interview location. Cena took exception, then Cena and Rusev had a stare down and pull-apart, setting the stage for their likely WrestleMania 31 match.

After Cole, Lawler, and JBL recapped events, they cut backstage to Tom Phillips.

Phillips caught up with The Rock and Roman Reigns. Rock stumbled over his words trying to talk up his role in the Rumble match, saying he was there to look out for family (Reigns). Phillips asked Rock another question, but Rock cut him off and told Phillips to talk to the Rumble winner. Reigns made a weird facial expression like, "Yeah, what's wrong with this guy?" trying to be cool with Rock. Reigns offered a few thoughts, then Rock continued to joke at Phillips's expense. Reigns talked about needing to study some tape to prepare for Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, then Rock wrapped up the interview endorsing Reigns and offering some more jokes at Phillips's expense. This was a pretty awkward interview.

Back to Cole and Co. to wrap up the PPV broadcast.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


Wade Keller, editor

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