WWE Royal Rumble 2017: 5 Disappointing booking decisions
Despite being better than the last three Rumble PPVS, the 2017 Rumble failed to live up to the hype...
The 2017 Royal Rumble was supposed to be one to remember. At least, that was per the tagline for the event that had been pushed for months on end. Given how much hype was put into this year’s event, the general mindset going into the event was that it would be different from past Rumbles.
And it had to be. Not only was this the 30th annual Royal Rumble event, but the past three rumbles had all been plagued by at least one dismal booking decision.
Up until the actual event itself, this PPV looked like it would break away from the mold and end up being surprising in the best way possible. For the first time in years, the Rumble match itself wasn’t too predictable, with several theoretical winners and surprise entrants circulating the internet.
There was also major hype for other matches on the card, with Cena vs. AJ Styles pegged as WWE’s first big chance to out-do the now-historic Wrestle Kingdom 11 main event between Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada.
Everyone wanted something new and fresh in the 2017 Royal Rumble. What we got was more or less the status quo.
Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns in controversial fashion once again, following an interference from Braun Strowman. It’s painfully obvious that Owens simply cannot win any title match cleanly, and must rely on others helping him win.
If you had any doubts Owens was a weak champion, this match proved that theory true. It’s hard to call yourself a true champion when you can never win a big match on your own.
John Cena captured the WWE Championship for the 16th time, tying WWE’s interpretation of Ric Flair’s record. It was a fantastic match, but it too had problems in the underlying story being told. In the end, Cena’s victory amplified a major problem that WWE seems to be determined to ignore for as long as possible.
Finally, Randy Orton won the 2017 Royal Rumble. This made him the fourth repeat winner of the Rumble since 2013, joining the ranks of John Cena, Batista and Triple H. While this was a better choice than having the #30 entrant Roman Reigns win, it was another case of failing to utilise the Rumble’s significance to elevate someone new.
So while the 2017 Rumble match wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the 2014 or 2015 Rumble matches, and featured more excitement than the 2016 edition, it still had several flaws. Here are the five worst booking decision of the 2017 Royal Rumble PPV.
#5 A tease that won’t go anywhere
Under normal circumstances, the Rumble match acts as the starting point for major feuds leading to WrestleMania. A common case is one member of a tag team eliminating their partner, only for that partner to also be eliminated, setting up a personal rivalry between them.
We got a glimpse of this last night when Sheamus eliminated Cesaro, only for Sheamus to be eliminated immediately afterwards.
This was the perfect opportunity for Cesaro and Sheamus to end their dubiously-put-together tag team and start a feud. Even though they already wrestled several times last year in a Best of 7 Series, that rivalry was much better than their tag team, which hasn’t succeeded in replicating the oddball pairing of Booker T and Goldust.
Instead, they stood nose to nose, and then simply walked to the backstage area. Given WWE’s recent track record of not breaking tag teams or alliances when they should, the likely scenario will go as follows.
Sheamus and Cesaro will tease breaking apart, only to reunite the following week. Then they’ll have another major confrontation and tease splitting up again, only to reunite after ‘reconciling their differences’. By the time they actually do, no one will care, because the moment will have lost its significance.
WWE did this two years ago with the Miz and Damien Mizdow. They had so many perfect opportunities for Mizdow to break away from the Miz, and the fans would’ve loved it. Instead, the duo had a singles match on RAW that ended without any fanfare.
This is the likely direction they’ll go in with Cesaro and Sheamus, instead of making this feud hotter than it is currently.
And speaking of the Miz...