Zach Looks Back: Royal Rumble 2011

In Zach Looks Back, your humble wrestling fan takes a look at classics found on the WWE Network.
We’re using the term ‘classics’ loosely.

Hey everybody! and welcome to the third installment of Zach Looks Back. As you may recall, in my previous articles, I’ve tried to find the good in some of the most, um, unique matches and PPV’s. For example, the Batista-Great Khali match was so amazing that WWE has yet to have another Punjabi Prison match! Ditto December to Dismember: it was so good there was never another ECW-only pay per view to be held, unless you count the TNA Hardcore Justice PPV. And if you count that PPV, I’m not totally sure we can be friends. Sorry, just the way it is.

So on that note, I thought it would be interesting to look at the 2011 Royal Rumble match. The match is interesting for a few reasons. First, it was the only match to feature 40 participants. Second, this was the first PPV to feature an announcer using the phrase, “I’m marking out, bro.” Also, looking at the participants, in just four short years after this match took place, only 10 wrestlers of the 40 are currently non-injured, active members of the WWE. So, as the famed video tells us, let’s take a look by the numbers:

1 – CM Punk. At this time he was leading the New Nexus. New Nexus was just like New Coke: a good idea in theory and that’s it. Punk gets jumped by the Corre aka Crystal Pepsi before the match; New Nexus attacks and the crowd goes… mild. Shield-Wyatts this was not. Anyhow, the ring is cleared by the, um, Anonymous GM. Glad to see Punk at #1, will always be a fan of his, but we all know how his story played out. (Future Endeavor: 0-1)

2 – Daniel Bryan. Love Bryan at 2, ROH fans salivated at the prospect of this. Unfortunately the main announcer for this was Michael Cole, who proceeded to say some wonderful things about Internet fans here. Everyone loves D-Bry, good showing here. Since announcing his in-ring return and Royal Rumble candidacy with a great promo on the last RAW of 2014, he might very well be the favorite for the 2015 Rumble. (Active: 1-1)

3 – Justin Gabriel. A member of the Corre group, and not the kind that went with Bruce Willis to destroy a comet headed for Earth while Ben Affleck provocatively used animal crackers with daughter. Armageddon it on, right ?!? Sorry, where was I? Oh yea, Gabriel was a good choice stylewise at 3 to go against Punk and Bryan, but he gets dumped by D-Bry pretty quick. As for today, he makes an occasional appearance on NXT (MIA: 1-2)

4 – Zack Ryder. Woo-Woo-Woo, at the end of this year, Ryder was a huge star. I would know, I chanted loudly for him at the Survivor Series during a Ziggler-Morrison match. Everyone did so much so that WWE sent him out at the end of the match just to shut us all up. Ryder gets dumped out by Bryan. Long Island Iced Z is currently on the shelf where his Internet title sits. (Injured: 1-3)

5 – William Regal. Blackpool’s favorite son gets in the ring and immediately gets into an uppercut match Cesaro would be proud of with the two indie stalwarts of Punk and Bryan. Cool moment and Regal is doing what he should be doing as GM of NXT (Retired: 1-4)

6 – Ted Dibiase. He came from money, he came from cash, he got back bodydropped out of the match later on by two dudes named McGillicutty and Harris. Hey remember when he was in Legacy and nearly turned on Orton to a massive pop? Good times…He subsequently quit WWE and I believe was recently marketing stuff for colleges now? (Quits: 1-5)

7 – John Morrison. Like Dibiase, he’s an Accidental Jannetty. What’s an Accidental Jannetty? Well, if I were to tell you there are three tag teams: Miz and Morrison, MNM and Legacy, you would look at those teams and think the bigger stars would be Morrison and Dibiase. Well, Miz is a former WWE champ, Mercury is getting a ton of screen time now, and Rhodes has made a nice career for himself. Anyways, besides for the incredible Spider Man leap onto the guardrail, the future Johnny Mundo gets dumped by New Nexus. (Quits: 1-6)

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