Wednesday, 30 January 2013

January Wrestling Thoughts: In Praise of Big Show/Del Rio and why Dolph Ziggler reminded me of Rick Martel

So I haven't posted a new review since the end of 2012 due to a whole bunch of computer problems and other stuff nobody cares about.

Indeed, because nobody cares about that stuff, I won't go on about it. Though since I haven't posted anything for a while, I felt compelled to talk wrestling and that's exactly what I'll do.

In praise of Alberto Del Rio and Big Show
It may not have been the out-and-out Greatest Show on Earth from an in-ring standpoint, but I must admit I enjoyed this year's Royal Rumble very much.

It occurred to me half way through the Del Rio vs. Big Show Last Man Standing match that both men had a mighty task on their hands and that, indeed anybody would have in that undercard spot.

Such is the legacy and aura surrounding the 'Rumble and the whole Road to Wrestlemania thing that 90% of people tune in or buy a ticket for the sole purpose of seeing the Royal Rumble match itself. Heck, even a great deal of title matches at these shows are often little more than a welcome bonus to the big battle royal itself.

So when the show begins, it isn't always easy to get too excited about the preliminary matches; nobody else is either.

Thus it seems to take something special to really capture the audience's attention in the first part of the show and actually entertain them, rather than, as is often the case, help them to kill time before the 30-man action commences.

This year, with the addition of a blockbuster main event in the form of Rock/Punk, the job of the warm-up acts was particularly tough. Yet, all praise to both Del Rio and Big Show, they succeeded.

Sure, this wasn't the greatest match of all time (it wasn't even the greatest Last Man Standing match of all time), but in the space of fifteen or so minutes my interest in both men and their battle went from being less than nothing to being utterly compelled in how this one would turn out.

I can't help but feel that had this bout main event a caliber show (perhaps a B-Level pay per view would suffice), that Show and Del Rio would have delivered even more, but for an opening match, this was very enjoyable stuff and, if I were wearing a cap right now, I would certainly doth it to both combatants.

The Royal Rumble Match - Expecting the unexpected
It came as little surprise that star-on-the-rise Dolph Ziggler shone brightly in this year's over-the-top-rope encounter. His performance in some ways reminded me of Rick Martel's 1991 showing; the arrogant heel working his backside off to back up his claims and deliver the performance of the evening.

My only disappointment with Ziggler was that he didn't go all the way to the final two.

In my mind, the outcome of this match was a foregone conclusion. For weeks (possibly months) leading into the 'Rumble, I had no doubt that John Cena would emerge victorious; it was a conclusion which made sense and I have no problem with him winning.

That said, it was at least my hope that Ziggler would cement his status as headliner-in-waiting by grappling his way from number one spot to a final showdown with Cena which would surely bookmark their rivalry so that it could be picked up again after 'Mania season and giving The Show Off even more to brag about as he continues his rise up the WWE food chain.

Along with the return of Chris Jericho, Dolph's elimination was one of the rare moments that my emotions were jolted by this pay per view and I was sucked away from the world of cynical smarkdom and back into the pure enjoyment of being a wrestling fan.

The Rock Wins WWE Title to the surprise of just one guy on the Internet. 
Really, did anyone genuinely believe that CM Punk would leave Phoenix with the WWE title still around his waist?

It would have made very little sense in the grand scheme of things, and at least we got a riveting main event out of it.


But hey, apparently this guy didn't think so. I know I shouldn't laugh, but I did. And the follow-up video is even funnier.

Other wrestling I've been watching lately
I may not have been able to review anything lately, but I've still been watching some older pr-wrestling shows, notably Fully Loaded 2000 which was a pretty good show throughout, and WCW Starcade 1999 which was anything but.

I'll eventually sit down to review both those shows, probably in the next couple of weeks, but for now thanks  for reading. If you enjoyed this post, feel free to come join me on Twitter at @allpwrestling or on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/allpwrestling/

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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.