By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Big Show and Rey Mysterio def. The Real Americans
It was a decent enough tag team match, but the ending outcome could be seen from a mile away. I understand they want to make Show look strong going into his Royal Rumble match against Brock Lesnar, but does it really need to come at the expense of The Real Americans, a tandem with actual potential? The loss didn't do much damage to the act, but it was still unnecessary. On the bright side, I like the idea of Mysterio feuding with the duo, but he would need a partner. Sin Cara, perhaps? Paul Heyman's post-match promo was good, but I am still not looking forward to Lesnar vs. Show.
The Miz def. Brodus Clay
No one was going to care about the match anyway, but did they really need to have Bad News Barrett go out there and crap all over it? Maybe it is because I am a fan of both Miz and Clay and see them as competitors with upside, but this was just flat out stupid. People couldn't care less about Miz or Clay as it is right now, yet they had to have Barrett remind us all of that. Job well done, WWE.
Divas Champion AJ Lee def. Cameron (Non-title)
It annoyed me that the match was only a minute long, but then again, then again, Cameron isn't the best in-ring worker, so perhaps it was for the best. I have been enjoying the feud between AJ and Naomi thus far, but how does WWE expect fans to care about it if their matches run short and they aren't given any mic time? When AJ eventually loses the belt, the title change should mean something. I have a feeling that Naomi will be the one to beat her for the title sooner rather than later, so if they want fans to react, then they need to invest more time into her title chase.
Curtis Axel and Ryback def. Los Matadores
Axel and Ryback are a terrible team, and Los Matadores are a comedy act. Therefore, I was not at all surprised that the match was only a few minutes long. The only thing I remembered from this match was that Los Matadores lost and their undefeated streak was finally snapped. I am not going to say that it should have been built up at all because it didn't mean anything to begin with, but at least Los Matadores have finally suffered a loss. I think it is just my disdain for the act (not the wrestlers themselves) that has wanted me to see them lose so badly for so long.
Kane Interrupted CM Punk
Finally! Hype for the Royal Rumble match! Seriously, the hype for the annual battle royal is bad every year, but it has been basically nonexistent this time around. I am beyond glad that Punk finally made the match feel meaningful with his great promo. Bonus points for him alluding to his original pipebomb promo by referring to Triple H as Vince McMahon's "doofus son-in-law". I like the idea of Punk having to go through Kane first before taking on Triple H at 'Mania. Above all else, it is great to see Punk feuding with The Authority and I look forward to where the rivalry goes from here.
Luke Harper and Erik Rowan def. The Prime Time Players
We have seen the match multiple times before, so I have no problem with it being cut short. As much as I enjoy The Prime Time Players, they aren't doing anything substantial at the moment, so it was logical for them to be the ones to take the quick lose. The post-match promos from Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan were both solid and did an effective job of building towards their upcoming matchup.
Kofi Kingston def. Fandango
This was yet another example of a match that has been done to death and means less every single time. What a pointless match. Fandango scored a quick win over Xavier Woods on Raw, yet his momentum was cut short with a loss to Kingston on SmackDown. How does that make any sense? I realize both Superstars are participants in Sunday's Royal Rumble match, but this was a filler bout more than anything else.
Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston, The Usos and WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Shield and The New Age Outlaws Went to a No Contest
It looked to be a great match on paper and ultimately lived up to my expectations. The early goings of the match were slow, but they picked up the pace down the stretch with a fantastic few minutes. The contest was given good time and I didn't mind the non-finish, as it protects both teams. I expected to see the annual brawl that we get before the Royal Rumble on Raw, but I guess it was SmackDown's time to host it this year. Sure, it has grown tiresome, but at least it provided the hype that the Rumble match desperately needed.
While there was some good build for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, most of the matches were meaningless and/or pure filler. I didn't expect anything different going in, honestly, so I wasn't left disappointed. It surely isn't a show worth watching in its entirety, but the main event match was fun and Punk's promo was also a must-see in my opinion. Regardless, I still look forward to the Royal Rumble as I do every year.