The road to Wrestlemania 28 got a little clearer after last Sunday’s Royal Rumble. The annual January spectacular is the second biggest event of the WWE calendar and serves as a preview of what lies ahead for the next two months leading up to Wrestlemania. This year’s 30-man Royal Rumble match was won by Sheamus.
Personally, I was rooting for Chris Jericho to win, but wasn’t disappointed at all with Sheamus emerging victorious. On the surface, it does appear that Sheamus has a heck of a lot more upside than Jericho. While Jericho is one of the best performers to ever step foot in a ring, he’s largely accomplished all there is to do in wrestling and clearly has nothing to prove to anyone. Looking back, it almost made perfect sense for Sheamus to go down to the wire with him. Jericho is an unselfish headliner who always does his best to elevate new talent. And the final few minutes of the Rumble match wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable had Sheamus finished with someone other than Jericho.
Sheamus is a young buff who the company is really getting behind to carry the future. He’s been the recipient of a notable push over the last several months and is often protected as far as his wins and losses are concerned. He’s a very good big-man type of worker and his unnaturally pale skin does allow him to stand out as something unique in the current WWE landscape.
There are still two months to go until Wrestlemania and things are always subject to change, but it’s pretty safe to say that Sheamus will be challenging for the world heavyweight title in one of the main matches at the biggest stage of the year. Hopefully, he will win the title since the winners of the last four Royal Rumble matches were unsuccessful in capturing their respective brand’s title at Wrestlemania (thus rendering the Rumble as kind of useless).
Apparently, there are big plans in store for Sheamus and I’m happy for him. I’m always thrilled to see new blood rise to the top. Last year was the year that C.M. Punk finally broke through into the upper echelon and it appears that Sheamus will join him at that level in 2012.
Smackdown was quite the show this week. I thought the two main things that stood out were the continuation of the Matt Hardy heel turn and the good main event of HHH/Undertaker vs. Edge/Big Show. The Hardy turn has been handled well so far as he continued it up after his phenomenal promo last week with a good beatdown on fan favorite and fellow North Carolinian Shane Helms. Hardy is doing a good job of coming across as the cold, uncaring and totally humorless heel just like Chris Jericho did during his feud with Shawn Michaels last year. Jeff returns on next week’s show and it should be highly interesting to see how things play out.
The main event tag match was good. I can’t recall too many times over the years where Taker and HHH have teamed up so that was pretty special. The action was good and the finish was laugh-out-loud hilarious as Show ended up decking Edge with his new patented knockout jab. Edge did the best job of selling that blow out of anyone that I’ve seen since Show started doing it. Taker finished Edge off with the tombstone piledriver for the pin. Afterwards, HHH and Taker had a staredown. The SD Elimination Chamber match for No Way Out should be pretty good considering who is in it. Koslov, HHH, Jeff, Edge, Show and Taker. Of all those, Koslov is by far the weakest link, but he shouldn’t stand out too much as long as the others carry out their end of the match.
I must also say that the six-man tag between Carlio, Primo & R-Truth vs. Miz, Morrison and Kendrick was sweet. The finishing sequence was crazy and I rewinded it like five times! Those six guys always give a strong effort and they have good chemistry together. I will be back on Tuesday with thoughts from this coming week’s edition of Raw.