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CALDWELL'S WWE ROYAL RUMBLE REPORT 1/29: Complete "virtual time" coverage of live PPV - Rumble match, Punk-Ziggler, Cena-Kane, steel cage

Jan 29, 2012 - 9:47:05 PM
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WWE Royal Rumble PPV Results
January 29, 2012
Live from St. Louis, Mo.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


On the PPV pre-show hosted by Scott Stanford, they aired a "locker room promo" from Ezekiel Jackson talking about why he plans to win the Royal Rumble and advance to WrestleMania, which is the type of promo that should have aired on TV leading to the PPV. Mid-way through the pre-show, Stanford introduced 2011 runner-up Santino to talk Rumble "strategy" and his "preparation" for the 2012 Rumble. Santino went on and on for perhaps his longest career promo. At the end of the PPV pre-show, Stanford editorialized that he hopes Brodus Clay is in the Rumble.

WWE's first PPV of 2012 opened with a video package on the Royal Rumble starting with close-ups of Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, and then a sea of humanity and fast-action clips. The Road to WrestleMania 28 begins. The video then transitioned into historic Rumble clips focusing on the likes of Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, The Rock, Stone Cold, John Cena, and Triple H.

Live inside Scottrade Center, full pyro shot off before Michael Cole introduced the show and they focused on the customary WrestleMania logo hanging above the arena. Cole, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler were then shown on-camera to set the stage for the show. Booker said he's hot and ready to begin. Cole then announced they're starting with the World Title steel cage.

In-ring: Lilian Garcia announced the rules for the World Title steel cage match before the champ, Daniel Bryan, came out first to loud boos. Cole ripped Bryan and Booker defended Bryan, who did a victory lap around the ring before showing off his title belt in Cole's face. Bryan continued his celebratory ring entrance all the way around the ringside area before Mark Henry's music played.

Henry slowly made his way toward the ring before gingerly walking inside the cage to go face-to-face with Bryan. Big Show came out last and fired up the crowd before entering the cage. After a video recap of the Smackdown build-up to this title match, Cole said Bryan is dedicating this match to his injured girlfriend, A.J. From outside the cage, Lilian handled formal ring introductions for all three men before the bell sounded.

1 -- World Hvt. champion DANIEL BRYAN vs. BIG SHOW vs. MARK HENRY -- World Title match -- steel cage match

Once the bell sounded, Bryan tried to escape, but the two big men yanked him down to the mat. Big Show then squished Henry in-between a cage wall and ropes with consecutive splashes. No, Henry did not fall out of the cage due to the "collapsing cage wall" gimmick. In the background, Bryan tried to run out, but Show grabbed him and landed a chop to the chest. Bryan avoided a WMD strike, but ate a cage wall from Henry. The two big men took turns trying to wear down Bryan while keeping the other at bay. Meanwhile, the announcers played up the Bryan/A.J. relationship.

Bryan suddenly came back with a DDT on Show, followed by a LeBell Lock. The crowd called for Show to escape, then Henry took care of it for Show with a kick to Bryan's head. Show suddenly KO Punched Henry, then made a cover, but Bryan made a desperation save. Bryan then tried a desperation escape to a strong reaction, but Show climbed to the top of the cage to grab Bryan. Show actually made it to a sitting position on top of the cage and tried to hold onto Bryan, but Bryan fell to the floor, winning the match.

Afterward, Bryan celebrated his "crafty" victory while Show remained stunned sitting on top of the cage. Bryan celebrated a bit longer before they cut to a replay of Show losing his grip on Bryan, leading to Bryan crashing to the floor to escape the cage and win the match. They went back to Show selling frustration and Bryan celebrating a World Series-like victory on the stage. PWTorch correspondent Michael Cupach noted Henry had to be helped to the back after the match due to his pre-existing injury.

WINNER: Bryan at 9:08 to retain the World Title. Fine opening match with good heat to advance Bryan's heel title run story. The match appeared to be kept short due to Henry's limitations. (**)

Elimination Chamber hype: Cole said if Bryan can survive the Elimination Chamber next month, he could be World champ at WrestleMania. They went to a hype video on the Chamber PPV narrated by Sheamus.

Back live, Cole plugged "the biggest match in the history of sports entertainment" between The Rock and John Cena at WM28. They rolled a video package on Cena's media cross-over and WWE moments, then aired soundbytes from WWE fans talking about why they love and hate Cena. The video transitioned to more focus on Cena in and out of the ring set to the WM28 theme, "Invincible," by Machine Gun Kelly. This was a very lengthy video for a PPV broadcast. Back live, the crowd could be heard booing.

2 -- Divas champion BETH PHOENIX & NATALYA & BELLA TWINS vs. KELLY KELLY & EVE & ALICIA FOX & TAMINA -- eight-Divas tag match

After the Cena video aired, Beth Phoenix's music played to bring out the heel Divas for an eight-Divas tag match. Kelly Kelly's music then brought out the face Divas, including Eve, who was selling concern over Zack Ryder's condition from Raw. On cue, the match settled into the heels wearing down a "distracted" Eve. Fox, then Kelly Kelly took hot tags and the action broke down, then spilled to the outside. Kelly got her shine with a big splash onto everyone. But, back in the ring, Beth nailed the Glam Slam on Kelly for the win.

WINNERS: Team Phoenix at 5:29.

Announcers: Cole and Co. set up a video package on John Cena vs. Kane, then showed Kane chokeslamming Zack Ryder through the stage on Raw.

Backstage: Zack Ryder was shown arriving in a wheelchair sporting a backbrace. John Laurinaitis then walked up to Ryder and tried to offer him some amenities to make up for Kane's attack on Raw last week. Eve interrupted, though, and told off Laurinaitis before saying she hopes he's fired on Raw tomorrow night. Laurinaitis muttered a one-liner response before walking off.

In-ring: John Cena's music played to bring out Cena to loud boos. Cena pointed to his Rise Above Hate t-shirt, then stormed the ring to face Kane. Cole hyped Cena by saying "people are interested in him," before comparing his Facebook followers to celebrities. Once Cena's music stopped, the crowd serenaded him with strong boos. Cena smiled, then pyro shot off and Kane emerged on-stage in a red haze. Kane slowly made his way to the ring as Cole described Kane as more ruthless than any other time in his career.

3 -- JOHN CENA vs. KANE

Once the bell sounded, Cena tried to blast away with right hands to make this look like a fight more than a match. The crowd picked up a loud dueling chant that was heavy on "Cena Sucks" versus "Let's Go Cena." The match moved to the floor, where Cena rammed Kane into the guardrail. Kane sold a right knee injury before limping back into the ring. Cena immediately went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Kane fell on top of his back. Kane then went to work on Cena, trying to wear him down.

Cena found an opening with a drop toe hold, then went for a bulldog, but Kane flung him away into the ropes. Kane then ran over Cena with a big clothesline before Kane peered down at his hand, as if to sell he was thinking about his mandible claw-like maneuver. Kane tried the un-named mouth-stuffer, but Cena blocked. Suddenly, Cena transitioned into the STF center-ring. Kane flung him away, though, and dropped Cena with a sidewalk slam.

Next, Kane set up for and connected with a top-rope clothesline. Kane then measured Cena for a chokeslam, but Cena ducked and delivered a sit-out slam. Cena then called for the Five Knuckle Shuffle to loud boos, but Kane blocked the You Can't See Me part with a chokeslam tease. Cena escaped, but ate a big boot to the face. Kane made a cover, but Cena kicked out. The match moved up-top, where Cena blocked a superplex before connecting with a top-rope Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop. Cena then wanted the AA, but Kane emphatically elbowed out before tossing Cena to the outside.

On the outside, Kane landed right hand blows as the referee applied a ten count in the background. As expected, the fight continued ringside with Kane ignoring the referee. Kane and Cena continued to brawl after the bell rang for a double count-out, then Cena blasted Kane with a portable light fixture along the entrance ramp. The fight moved to the stage area, then to the production area.

The fight spilled backstage, where Cena threw Kane into a row of trash cans. Kane went underneath a table, though, and retrieved a chair to jab into Cena's mid-section. Cena took a chair shot across the back, then another. Kane wasn't done, though, as he spotted Zack Ryder's locker room. He kicked down the flimsy door, finding Ryder alone in his wheelchair. Kane tried choking Ryder with his mandible claw before wheeling Ryder out of the locker room, past Cena. Kane scared away stagehands before wheeling Ryder back into the arena area. The cameras picked up Kane wheeling Ryder down the entrance ramp before throwing him out of the chair on the ground.

Kane flung Ryder into the ring, then Eve suddenly jogged into the ring. Eve begged Kane to have mercy on Ryder, but Kane lifted up Ryder and delivered a Tombstone Piledriver for a nostalgia pop. Eve covered her mouth and sold tears before Kane turned toward Eve. Suddenly, Cena re-emerged and charged the ring to blast away at Kane. He tried an AA, but sold a back injury. Kane then chokeslammed Cena mid-ring. Eve was left alone, but Kane decided his work was done and left the ring. Kane's music played and he disappeared to the back as Eve checked on a fallen Ryder.

Kane's music stopped, then referees, Eve, and WWE's ringside doctor were shown checking on Ryder. They went to a replay of Kane's destruction before returning to the ring, where Ryder was placed on a stretcher as Eve cried. In the background, Cena recovered as he watched Ryder being placed on a backboard. Booker solemnly said this could be the end of Ryder's career. A light "Cena Sucks" chant could be heard. WWE then faded to a BA STAR video package.

WINNER: Double count-out at 10:56. This was more of a match than expected, but the non-finish was expected. Clearly, the Cena-Kane feud will continue on TV until they hit the big WM28 hype. (**)

Announcers: Cole solemnly recapped what just happened before noting this is a lot for Cena to handle two months before WM28. WWE then introduced a hype video/documentary on The Rock, similar to the earlier video on Cena to promote their Mania match. Back live, the crowd applauded.

Suddenly, Drew McIntyre's music played. No music video intro, though. Cole set up the back-story that McIntyre went to Smackdown GM Teddy Long earlier in the night to request a match tonight since he's not in the Rumble match. Brodus Clay's music then played to bring out the Funkasauras to face McIntyre. Ringside, McIntyre complained about Clay making a mockery out of his business.

4 -- BRODUS CLAY vs. DREW MCINTYRE

"Funk-a-sauras" chant when the bell sounded. Clay shook and jiggled to intimidate McIntrye, but Mac nailed him with strikes to drive Clay to the corner. Clay started to "Jiggle Up," though, and delivered his signature offense before nailing his "What The Funk?" finisher for the win. Cue up Clay and Funkettes with a post-match celebration.

WINNER: Clay at 1:05. Well, there you go.

Video package: After a word from Slim Jim, they aired a video package on John Laurinaitis's questionable judgment and abuse of power leading to his "performance evaluation" by Triple H tomorrow night on Raw.

Back live, the announcers talked up the WWE Title match between C.M. Punk and Dolph Ziggler with Laurinaitis as special referee up next. Cue up another video package on Laurinaitis and his TV feud with Punk leading to the Rumble PPV.

In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the WWE Title match, starting with interim Raw GM John Laurinaitis, who walked out sporting a cut-off referee t-shirt. No music for Laurinaitis, who entered the ring and introduced himself. He said that even he has been assigned special referee (by himself), he has decided to over-see the officiating from outside the ring. And, officiating inside the ring will be handled by a standard WWE referee.

After a standard ref entered the ring, Dolph Ziggler's music played to bring out Ziggler sporting an A.J. Styles-style shiny hoodie and flanked by Vickie Guerrero, who was not supposed to be ringside. Meanwhile, Laurinaitis picked up his phone and tweeted ringside. After a pause, Cult of Personality played to a strong reaction to bring out WWE champion C.M. Punk also sporting a hoodie jacket, but not as shiny as Ziggler's. Punk then entered the ring and held up his title belt before Justin Roberts handled formal ring intros. The ref was about to call for the bell, but Laurinaitis stepped into the ring and kicked out Vickie Guerrero from ringside. Cole noted the back-story of Vickie and Jack Swagger being banned from ringside based on the stipulation set up on Raw.

5 -- WWE champion C.M. PUNK vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER -- WWE Title match -- John Laurinaitis ringside enforcer

Once the bell sounded, Cole accused Booker of being jealous of Laurinaitis dating back to WCW and said Laurinaitis was a better "worker" than Booker. As for the match, Ziggler "showed off" early on, drawing a smirk from Punk. Punk tried a quick submission afterward, but Ziggler escaped to the ropes. Punk then knocked Ziggler to the outside and landed a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Ziggler cut off Punk and began wearing down the champ. Ziggler stalked Punk for a Fameasser, but Punk countered with a nice spinning sit-out powerbomb for a close two count.

The match reset with Punk landing a chop to the chest, then right hand strikes. Punk followed with a corner knee and running bulldog before calling for the GTS. Punk set up for his finisher, but Ziggler elbowed out. Ziggler and Punk then traded holds before Punk grazed Ziggler with a kick to the head for a two count.

Punk followed with a top-rope Macho Man elbow drop, but Ziggler kicked out in time. "Randy Savage" chant from the crowd, then the ref was bumped out of the ring. Laurinaitis tried checking on the ref ringside while Punk and Ziggler battled in the ring. Punk locked in his submission finisher and Ziggler tapped out, but there was no ref. Punk then released the hold and yelled at Laurinaitis, who said he's helping the ref. Punk then scored a visual three count, but still no ref. Laurinaitis dragged the ref back into the ring, then Laurinaitis took a kick to the head as Punk hoisted Ziggler into position for the GTS. Punk delivered the GTS again, then scored another visual three count. Punk argued with Laurinaitis, telling him he had the match won three times. Punk went for the GTS again, but Ziggler countered with a mid-air Zig-Zag. He made a cover, but Punk kicked out just in time of the ref's three count, drawing a big reaction for the nearfall. Ringside, Laurinaitis sold frustration.

Ziggler tried to follow up with right hands, but Punk scored with a catapult that sent Ziggler flying into the top turnbuckle. Punk followed up with the GTS and Punk made a cover. The ref began his count, Laurinaitis slid into the ring, and both men counted to three, giving Punk the win. The announcers debated whether Laurinaitis did that simply to keep his job tomorrow night or whether he's really a good man. They went to a replay of the various visual falls for Punk, Ziggler's close pin attempt, and Punk's eventual victory. Back live, Punk was shown sitting down in the ring with his title belt. On the stage, Laurinaitis flashed a smile and applauded.

WINNER: Punk at 14:32 to retain the WWE Title. Below expectations in terms of match length and reaching "show-stealing level" Punk and Ziggler talked about in interviews ahead of time. The match story involving Punk and Laurinaitis fit the TV build-up, but didn't feel like a PPV match. Ziggler essentially taking four losses shows where he stands in this program. PWTorch columnist Greg Parks pointed out in a tweet, "So, Ziggler had four wins over Punk coming into this one, and Punk had four pinfalls in that match. Even-steven." (**1/2)

This Wednesday: WWE joins forces with YouTube to provide new video content. They flashed logos for a bunch of new shows on the screen and the voice-over lady said nine new shows will debut.

Rumble video: Cole introduced the "Rumble by the numbers" hype video looking at the history of the Rumble match.

In-ring: Justin Roberts stood center-ring to introduce the Royal Rumble and the match rules. Roberts noted the last man standing will be declared the winner and will receive a title match at WrestleMania.

6 -- 30-MAN ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH

Cue up The Miz's music as the #1 entrant, per the final Raw before the PPV. Miz emerged through his "Awesome" bubble letters from WM27 last year as Cole declared that Miz will go coast-to-cast tonight. In the ring, Miz took the mic and said everyone backstage is laughing and snickering at him for being #1. He said those same people doubted him when he first set foot in WWE and he will prove everyone wrong tonight. Alex Riley came out as #2 to begin the match. After a brief exchange, Miz dumped Riley over the top rope, eliminating Riley. Miz then danced around in the ring, waiting for his next foe.

Conveniently, #3 was R-Truth, another former Miz tag partner. No eliminations, then #4 was introduced as IC champion Cody Rhodes. Booker grumbled as Rhodes charged the ring and delivered a Disaster Kick to Truth. Rhodes and Miz then double-teamed Truth before Rhodes pointed to the WM28 banner. No eliminations, then #5 was Justin Gabriel to no reaction. Gabriel tried some offense, but Rhodes quickly cut him off. No eliminations, then #6 was Primo. No sign of Rosa Mendes, which Lawler of course pointed out on commentary. In the sea of humanity, Miz chucked Truth over the top rope for an elimination at 7:12. Truth popped up, though, and yanked Miz under the bottom rope to deliver his finisher. Miz was not eliminated, though.

At #7 was Mick Foley, who emerged to a strong reaction. Foley, sporting a red flannel shirt and Cactus Jack t-shirt, popped Primo with right hands. Foley then eliminated Primo, earning his first elimination of the night. Foley followed with a corner knee to Rhodes's head before delivering a double-arm DDT. Next up at #8 was Alberto Del Rio returning from a one-month absence due to injury. Instead of Del Rio, though, it was Ricardo Rodriguez in a beat up car doing Del Rio's gimmick. So, Ricardo is the official #8 entrant. Ricardo did Del Rio's shtick before slowly entering the ring. "Ricardo, Ricardo" chant as he approached Gabriel and Foley before pounding away on Rhodes. Suddenly, Ricardo and Foley double-teamed to eliminate Gabriel at 11:26.

Santino came out at #9, setting up a battle between Santino and Ricardo. They did a comedy bit rolling across the ring before Santino gave Ricardo a wedgie and tossed him over the top rope at 12:51. So, it was Socko vs. Cobra with Miz still on the outside. Foley and Santino dueled with their respective hand-puppets before #10 was revealed as Epico. Epico was promptly eliminated by Foley's Socko at 13:56. Foley and Santino tried to resume their duel, but Rhodes and Miz jumped them. Rhodes eliminated Santino at 14:28, then Rhodes eliminated Foley at 14:47. That left Miz and Rhodes in the ring before #11 was revealed as Kofi Kingston. Kofi tried to eliminate Miz, but Rhodes helped out Miz.

At 16:30, #12 was revealed as Jerry Lawler, who stripped off his non-wrestling gear and left the announce table to enter the Rumble. Lawler and Miz resumed their feud from last year and the end of 2010 before Lawler went up top for a fist drop on Miz. Suddenly, Rhodes dumped Lawler over the top rope at 17:31. "Dammit!" Booker said. Next, #13 was revealed as Ezekiel Jackson. Zeke stormed the ring as Lawler returned to the announce table. No eliminations, then #14 was Jinder Mahal to an even smaller reaction than Gabriel. Jinder took a good, long walk to the ring as they hit the 20:00 mark. No eliminations.

At #15, Great Khali made his big return right after Jinder's entrance. Khali waddled to the ring to resume his feud with Mahal, but not after chopping down the other Rumble entrants. Khali then dumped out Mahal at 21:40. Ezekiel Jackson was the next cut at 21:55. The crowd came to life for #16, which was Hunico on his lowrider bike. In the ring, Hunico flew at Kingston before delivering some high-impact offense. No eliminations, then #17 was Booker T, who stood up, took off his dress clothes, and hit the ring, much to Cole's chagrin. Booker went after Rhodes, then came face-to-face with Khali's gut. "Booker T" chant as the six men in the Rumble traded control. For this year's John Morrison Spiderman moment, Miz dumped Kofi over the top rope, but Kofi did a handstand across the ring, hit the ring steps, and re-entered the ring to avoid elimination. Big reaction for Kofi's feat.

At #18, Dolph Ziggler entered the ring fresh off a WWE Title match loss. Cole resumed his praise for Kofi avoiding elimination as Ziggler worked on Kofi. No eliminations, then #19 was revealed as Hacksaw Jim Duggan to a huge nostalgia reaction. Duggan promptly cleaned house to "USA" chants before clotheslining Hunico. Duggan got in his spots, but Rhodes eliminated him at 28:31. Booker and Khali were then eliminated simultaneously by Rhodes and Ziggler at 28:55. At #20, Michael Cole excitedly had his name called. Cole dropped his clothes, put on his amateur wrestling gear, and hit the ring as Booker joined the announcers. Cole proudly entered the Rumble, pointed to the WM28 sign, posed in the ring, danced around, and waited for someone to face him.

At #21, Kharma's music played to a big reaction. And here comes Kharma back in a WWE ring. Cole started crying as Kharma approached him and dropped him. Booker went nuts as Kharma stalked Cole before Booker and Lawler yanked Cole out of the ring at 31:25. Suddenly, Kharma dropped Ziggler with a butterfly suplex, prompting Vickie Guerrero to confront her. No matter, as Kharma eliminated Hunico at 31:55. But, Ziggler eliminated Kharma from behind at 32:02. Out next at #22 was Sheamus, who cleaned house on folks. Sheamus then cut Kofi at 33:12. Next, Rhodes took ten forearm strikes to the chest. Miz was next to take the strikes to the chest.

At #23, Road Dogg Jesse James returned to action. Dogg, in DX gear, cleaned house on the heels before delivering rapid-fire jabs to Rhodes. Miz then took a pumphandle slam. Dogg got in his signature moves and remained in the match past another entry. At #24, Jey Uso came out, accompanied by Jimmy Uso. Cole name-dropped Rikishi as Uso landed a corner splash on Dogg. No eliminations, then #25 was revealed as U.S. champion Jack Swagger to groans. Swagger joined the group, which still included #1 Miz. No eliminations. At #26, Wade Barrett came out to random new music. It does not fit Barrett at all. Barrett stormed the ring and attacked everyone in the ring before dumping Road Dogg at 39:05. Down to the final four entrants, starting with David Otunga as #27. Otunga took his sweet time entering the ring as Cole noted they hit the 40:00 mark with Miz still in the Rumble.

Out next at #28 was Randy Orton to a huge pop in Orton's hometown. Business picked up real quick with Orton storming Barrett and cleaning house. Rhodes cut off Orton, but Orton set up Rhodes and Ziggler for a double spike DDT from the second rope. Uso tried to get Orton, but Orton chucked him out at 42:37. Orton then tossed Barrett at 42:45. And, out at #29 was Chris Jericho after the lights went out in the arena momentarily. Jericho then promptly tossed Otunga at 43:33. The men remaining in the ring struggled for eliminations leading to the final entry.

And, out last at #30 was Big Show. No Cena, Kane, or Henry. Show stormed the ring and Swagger was eliminated at 45:08, then KO Punched by Show. In the ring, Show eliminated both Miz and Rhodes at 45:40. Show then tossed Ziggler at 45:55. And, the Final Four is Sheamus, Jericho, Big Show, and Orton. The other three tried to gang up on Show, but Show fought them off. Orton suddenly dropped Show with an RKO, though. Suddenly, Orton lifted Show up and over the top rope at 47:11. Jericho then tossed Orton right after at 47:16, shocking the hometown crowd. So, it was Jericho vs. Sheamus.

Jericho and Sheamus circled the ring as the camera focused on the WM28 banner hanging atop the arena. Jericho pointed to the logo, then the two men circled each other again. Sheamus landed elbow strikes, then Sheamus teased eliminating Jericho, but Jericho held on to the top rope. Jericho avoided elimination, then came off the top rope with a missile dropkick. At 50:00, Sheamus came back with an Irish Curse backbreaker, then tried a Celtic Cross over the top rope, but Jericho blocked. Jericho then clotheslined Sheamus, but Sheamus held onto the top rope. A step-up kick didn't eliminate Sheamus, either.

Jericho reset, but Sheamus launched himself with a springboard shoulder tackle from the ring apron back into the ring. Sheamus then tried to eliminate Jericho, but Jericho held on. A Brogue Kick missed, then Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho center-ring. Sheamus reached the bottom rope for a break, and Jericho saluted himself to boos. Jericho was nearly eliminated next, but Jericho pulled himself back into the ring. The action moved to the top turnbuckle and they crotched themselves, teasing a double elimination. Back in the ring, though, Jericho nailed the codebreaker. The crowd was hushed, anticipating a final elimination, which they teased again fighting near the ropes.

Sheamus held on to the top rope to avoid elimination, then Jericho slapped him across the face. Sheamus got The Look in his eyes and shoved Jericho across the ring, but missed with a Brogue Kick. Jericho went for another Codebreaker, but Sheamus blocked and tried to throw Jericho over the top rope, but Jericho held on. Jericho then balanced himself on the ring apron and Sheamus blasted him with a Brogue Kick. Jericho fell off the apron, landing on the floor, and Sheamus is the winner.

Post-match: Sheamus pointed to the WM28 banner before they went to a replay of the ending involving Jericho and Sheamus. Back live, Sheamus was shown celebrating as Cole asked which title Sheamus will go after. Fireworks shot off near the WM28 logo, then pyro shot off on the entrance stage behind Sheamus as he celebrated. Credits came on and the PPV ended at 9:47 p.m. CST.

WINNER: Sheamus at 54:54 to win the 2012 Royal Rumble. And, Jericho's tease of the "End of the World" falls flat. Apparently he's the Harold Camping of WWE. Just an okay Rumble before a strong finish. There were a few of the "memorable Rumble moments," but the Final Two seemed to come too soon and there were too many non-stars in this match, which exposed WWE's lack of roster depth. Assuming Sheamus doesn't "lose his WrestleMania spot" at the Chamber PPV or sometime else, it looks like Bryan vs. Sheamus for the World Title at WM28 on the Smackdown side. Or, WWE could switch the title to Henry and set up the Henry-Sheamus rubber match dating back to 2011. But, that's all to be sorted out in the weeks to come. (***1/2)

ORDER OF ENTRY

(1) The Miz
(2) Alex Riley
(3) R-Truth
(4) Cody Rhodes
(5) Justin Gabriel
(6) Primo
(7) Mick Foley
(8) Ricardo Rodriguez
(9) Santino
(10) Epico
(11) Kofi Kingston
(12) Jerry Lawler
(13) Ezekiel Jackson
(14) Jinder Mahal
(15) Great Khali
(16) Hunico
(17) Booker T
(18) Dolph Ziggler
(19) Hacksaw Jim Duggan
(20) Michael Cole
(21) Kharma
(22) Sheamus
(23) Road Dogg Jesse James
(24) Jey Uso
(25) Jack Swagger
(26) Wade Barrett
(27) David Otunga
(28) Randy Orton
(29) Chris Jericho
(30) Big Show

ORDER OF ELIMINATION

(1) Riley at 1:15 (Miz)
(2) Truth at 7:12 (Miz)
(3) Primo at 8:34 (Foley)
(4) Gabriel at 11:26 (Foley & Ricardo)
(5) Ricardo at 12:51 (Santino)
(6) Epico at 13:36 (Foley)
(7) Santino at 14:28 (Rhodes)
(8) Foley at 14:47 (Rhodes)
(9) Lawler at 17:31 (Rhodes)
(10) Mahal at 21:40 (Khali)
(11) Jackson at 21:55 (Khali)
(12) Duggan at 28:31 (Rhodes)
(13) Khali at 28:55 (Rhodes & Ziggler)
(14) Booker at 28:55 (Rhodes & Ziggler)
(15) Cole at 31:25 (Kharma)
(16) Hunico at 31:55 (Kharma)
(17) Kharma at 32:02 (Ziggler)
(18) Kingston at 33:12 (Sheamus)
(19) Road Dogg at 39:05 (Barrett)
(20) Uso at 42:37 (Orton)
(21) Barrett at 42:45 (Orton)
(22) Otunga at 43:33 (Jericho)
(23) Swagger at 45:08 (Show)
(24) Miz at 45:40 (Show)
(25) Rhodes at 45:40 (Show)
(26) Ziggler at 45:55 (Show)
(27) Show at 47:11 (Orton)
(28) Orton at 47:16 (Jericho)
(29) Jericho at 54:54 (Sheamus)

***

Follow along with PWTorch columnists Greg Parks (@GregMParks) and Sean Radican (@SeanRadican) with live PPV tweets tonight.

Follow three PWTorch correspondents at the Rumble in St. Louis with live Tweets tonight - BTuckerTorch , @RoQnRollMartian , and @MJCupach .


Join PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell & Greg Parks for a post-Royal Rumble PWTorch Livecast at 11:30 p.m. EST on BlogTalkRadio.com taking your phone calls on the event.

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here or email us at pwtorch@gmail.com.


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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)


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