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Home arrow Blog arrow Gimme Five arrow Gimme Five arrow G5: The Royal Rumble, The Rock, CM Punk's reign & more
G5: The Royal Rumble, The Rock, CM Punk's reign & more
Written by NZPWI G5 Panel   
Feb 01, 2013 at 06:00 PM

WWE's first ppv of 2013 is behind us - how did the Royal Rumble stack up? What do we think of our new WWE Champion? Is he going to be able to hold a candle to CM Punk's epic reign - described by Jim Ross as having “added more stature and credibility to the WWE Title than any other reign that I can recall in recent memory”?

This week we are joined by a special guest - one of New Zealand's favourite homegrown talents and newly returned from training in Japan - Travis Banks. Welcome aboard Travis!

1) Did you enjoy the 2013 edition of the Royal Rumble?  What did you think of the pay-per-view and the titular match?  Match of the night? Dud? And who’ll get your MVP award for the Rumble itself and the PPV as a whole?

Travis:
Yes I enjoyed the Rumble. I may not have been overjoyed with the results but I think they made a good decision in the long run. Cena vs. Rock was good business last time and seeing as that’s what wrestling is about, why not try it again? I’ll say Ziggler for MVP because WWE keep showing they have faith in him and he doesn’t let us down.

David:
I was annoyed by the card order. It's not a big deal, but I would have much preferred John Cena's Royal Rumble win to close out the show. Great Rumble match itself though, and CM Punk vs. The Rock really delivered in terms of a big fight feel. I didn't care much for Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz, but it was never going to be anything wonderful when it was put on the pre-show. Dolph Ziggler is my MVP for holding the Rumble match together from number one all the way through to the final four.

Craig:
Regretably I am on assignment overseas and have not seen it yet but I have read the reviews. Royal Rumble is by far my favourite PPV and I think I will be fast forwarding through it when I get home. I absolutely hate the result of the Rumble and the title match. So let me guess, Rock vs. Cena II and we know Dwayne ain't hanging around after WrestleMania so how can you have any interest in the biggest PPV of the year when the main event's result is a given? UNLESS, Punk is thrown in for a triple threat. We can only hope. The Rumble itself always has a couple of workhorses MVPs, last year it was Miz and Cody, this year it was Ziggler and Jericho. Thrilled Team Hell No retained but they've now waited too long to pull the trigger on Ziggler cashing in. He certainly won't be defending the strap at WrestleMania so it's not going to be until April now to see him cash in. I am starting to lose interest...

Kirsty:
I loved it. One of my favourite ppvs to come out of WWE for a long time. I was surprised to see Del Rio retaining the World Heavyweight Championship in such a heel-ish manner though - but the match itself was epic.

CM Punk and the Rock put on a great match and I loved the finish - some excellent booking there, added lots of drama.

The Rumble match itself was one of the better ones I've seen in recent times, and I think a joint MVP award has to go to Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho for being two of the hardest working guys in the ring. In G5 last week we were asked who we'd like to see as a surprise entrant and I wistfully hoped for Y2J - to hear his music and see him come through the curtain was a real treat.

Zak:
I enjoyed it, especially the Rumble match which I thought was one of the better ones in recent years. Not only did we get the return of my all time favourite wrestler in Chris Jericho, but I also loved seeing the Godfather and Goldust back at it again. MVP probably has to go to Ziggler, who is so close to breaking through and becoming a star. I'd love to see him and Y2J go head to head at WrestleMania, could be a career-making match for Dolph. Rock/Punk was great, although I'm not 100 per cent sold on the convoluted finish.

Blake:
There weren't any really surprising results unfortunately. The matches were good and there were a nice few Rumble surprises, but the majority of the Roundtable were right on the majority of matches. Great to see Jericho back in time for 'Mania though! B+

Dion:
I really enjoyed it - it was another great PPV from WWE for mine.

The Rumble match itself was fantastic with just the right amount of surprises. Fantastic to see Chris Jericho back, with he and Dolph Ziggler undoubtedly the MVPs of the night. And I don't think I've ever seen a better final 6 in a Rumble. It really was anybody's from that point on.

Rock and Punk delivered big time, too. Two thumbs up!!

Steph:
Thoroughly amazing. Right up until the point Cena won the Rumble and it became entirely obvious how the main event was going to go down. Up until that... 5 stars.

Scott:
The matches themselves were a lot of fun, but the outcome of both the Royal Rumble and the WWE Championship match were both what I was expecting but also what I didn’t want to occur. The outcome that was delivered, which will surely see Cena use the Rumble win to face Rock in “Once in a Lifetime II” for the WWE Championship is just so… unnecessary. And for me means that the Royal Rumble 2013 ultimately has become a meaningless pay per view. Great to see Jericho back, though. Jericho and Ziggler’s iron man efforts in the Rumble match were absolute highlights.

Luke:
I thought the main event was a solid effort from both CM Punk and The Rock. Rocky definitely proved that he has what it takes to hang in the top leagues in today's landscape and Punk looked better than ever against The Great One. I didn't see the entire PPV but I felt the endings of both the main event and the Rumble itself was a little flat even though the outcomes were both pleasant in my opinion.


2) He’s a movie star, a part-time wrestler and now the WWE Champion once again.  Do you think The Rock holding WWE’s most prestigious championship is a good thing?

Travis:
Yes, because The Rock transcends just wrestling, he also dips into other markets. Cashing in on The Rock’s popularity is a smart move.

David:
I do. I wouldn't have had the same response last year, but The Rock is back to being a full-time wrestler (not that he'll actually wrestle much) in the lead-up to WrestleMania 29, so I've got no problem with him holding the belt. And, as Travis has said, there will be far more media attention on The Rock than you could get on anyone else holding the WWE Championship, which ultimately means more eyes on WWE, and more buys for WrestleMania.

Craig:
I read some comments by JR and he said this business (wrestling) is all about making money. So in that way, Rock as champion makes complete sense. It creates mainstream exposure that Vince craves. These things seldom work though. There maybe a passing interest with some people tuning back into wrestling to see Rocky but really, it's the Cenas, the Punks, the Ortons and the Del Rios that will ultimately keep them tuning in week after week. Its two fingers to the true fans. Rock doesn't need the belt just like Undertaker and Shawn Michaels never did. I'm disappointed because it appears we're in for bland predictability heading into WrestleMania and wrestling is only ever entertaining when it's unpredictable.

Kirsty:
Yes and no. Yes because he's The Rock, and if anyone deserves to be a part-time champion it's him. We're lucky that Rocky makes time for the WWE Universe once again (yes, I know he's being paid a fair few dubloons), and I don't think that he'll take the belt home and visit us via satellite. I think that he'll retain it until WrestleMania (or even beyond) and that in that time he'll be a good champion.

No because in simple logistics he CAN'T be more than a transitional champion; his committments in Hollywood are too great. He won't be able to hold the belt for long, but it would be amazing for whomever defeats him for it. That said, given the outcome of the Rumble, it sure looks like it'll be Cena, and really - as much as I love the guy - hasn't he had his time in the championship spotlight? It'll take alot for Cena to live up to the epic reign of CM Punk.

As much fun as it is to see Rock with the belt, I can't help but feel that WWE have booked themselves into a corner. Let's face it - he will want to keep it until WrestleMania, but probably not beyond, and yet I can't see Rocky losing the belt on the grandest stage of them all. It'll be tricky.

Zak:
It'll be nice for Rock to have a proper send off as champion, so I'm not too bothered by him winning the belt. He's still got it in the ring, so no complaints there, and you can't deny that it's generated some serious buzz having him back and competing.

Blake:
As long as he doesn't hold it for too long; it needs to be transitional. It gives a good amount of notoriety to WWE and gets people tuning in. If this translates into a larger audience learning of and caring about the product, perfect.

Dion:
Absolutely. The Rock is an outstanding talent and can still hang with the best of them. His injection into the 'E should have a positive short term effect, and one that will hopefully have longer term repercussions for the 'E's popularity.

Steph:
This all depends on whether he'll be a fighting champion. I don't see it. If he is going to stay on TV, can someone please just write him ONE original line of dialogue?

Scott:
I’m sure it’ll sell lots of PPV buys and bump the ratings nicely. But The Rock would’ve done that anyway. He doesn’t need to hold the title; it’s wasting a useful plot device on a character who doesn’t need it.

Luke:
Yes and no. It's a great thing as it brings more eyes back onto the product. Not just fans but media too. The Rock as champion sells the entire company to multiple avenues as well as bringing back the fan base from the Attitude Era. On that flip side, we have guys who bust their asses all year around and still haven't had a touch of gold. Though, lets face it. If they had the spark that guys like Orton, Cena, Rocky have... then Rock wouldn't have to be champion today.


3) Jim Ross has written that CM Punk’s 434 day WWE Championship reign “added more stature and credibility to the WWE Title than any other reign that I can recall in recent memory.” Do you agree or disagree?

Travis:
I agree. I've always been a fan of long title reigns. It shows that undoubtedly he’s the man to beat, and when someone finally dethrones him it means a lot more.

David:
How recent is recent memory? I imagine I'll be in the minority here but I think I disagree. Had Punk spent most of his reign at the top of the card then I'd be in the same mindset as JR, but Punk was treated as an afterthought for at least the first half of those 434 days, playing second-fiddle to John Cena. He may have done more for the title when he won at Money in the Bank 2011 than he did most recently.

Craig:
Didn't see this question while writing the previous answer! The facts speak for themselves. Punk didn't always main event PPVs as champion. Therefore can you honestly believe JR when he says this? Stature and credibility is main eventing PPV after PPV. I take with a grain of salt what he says because he's a company man and always kicks for touch on controversial subjects. All JR is doing here is "putting Punk over".

Kirsty:
Absolutely agree. There's no doubt that CM Punk's reign will go down as one of the greatest of all time. The only trouble with it is that they're not going to be able to top it. And if they put it back on Punk again at any point, there'll be unreasonable expectations of him.

Zak:
Definitely. A year long reign is a special thing in the modern era, and Punk was the right guy to do it. I felt it would have been better had he lost the belt cleanly, but I definitely think that he's restored some credibility to the WWE Championship.

Blake:
In recent memory? Define recent. I think the JBL's '04-'05 reign added a great deal of prestige, not to mention it did a great deal for the business when Cena defeated the Wrestling God. But Punk's reign certainly made it feel like it mattered again, after it's been thrown around like a dog's chew thing for years. Anyone remember Rey Mysterio was a WWE Champion?

Dion:
Absolutely agree. It was great to see a long run with the title.

It surprised me to hear the stat that The Rock's longest reign was only 120 or so days. But the WWE Championship has often been lost and won far too often for my liking.

I'm hoping the hints around a potential title unification come true. One BIG title for the organisation will give it more credibility still.

Steph:
Loved the long reign, and completely agree. I don't think every reign should be a year-long one, but it was a really nice change and it kept things unpredictable.

Scott:
Ross’ statement would hold true if it weren’t for Punk’s championship being squarely in the mid card for the time he was a babyface, and then after his heel turn being set against fan favourites with only moderate support. Most of Punk’s time as WWE Champion saw the WWE Championship being an unimportant thing. If it’d been 434 days of main event Championship matches, that’d be a sign of credibility.

Luke:
I definitely agree. The WWE Championship was plagued for years like a game of "pass the parcel" and CM Punk restored real prestige to the championship with his long reign. Some will argue it was too long but most of his reign wasn't boring at all and he kept himself fresh for the majority of the run.


4) What is your favourite Travis Banks match?

Travis:
Can I pick more than one? Me vs. Rufguts: It was my hometown show and I don’t think I could have asked for a better crowd, it was 200 of my friends and family coming out to support me. I thought the match was one another level from anything I had done up until that point.

Me vs. Liam Fury: Dal Knox was supposed to be in my place but got injured beforehand. I was still new to IPW, so I felt it was my chance to prove to everyone that I belong here. We had a killer match and I’m very proud of it.

Me vs. Kohei Sato: It’s hard as a foreigner to try and find your identity in the ring over here and it wasn’t until I faced former world champion Kohei Sato that everything really connected. I felt on that day I embodied the fighting spirit, as this dude is one of the most badass guys in the history of the sport. Since then I have increased in popularity over here and I owe it all to this one match.

David:
It's Banks vs. Rufguts at Live Pro Wrestling in Bulls for me. I was one of the aforementioned 200 in a very partisan crowd, and both men delivered right up until their time-limit was reached, with Rufguts on the verge of submitting to the Lion Clutch. Some great wrestling, and obviously a special match for Travis, which made it all the more enjoyable.

Craig:
I have not seen him wrestle.

Kirsty:
One that I was lucky enough to help referee - IPW Rival Turf in 2010. Banks and JC Star fought to the end, planting the flag for NZWPW. It was awesome being that close to the action - that whole match was a nail-biter.

Zak:
I thought the six man tag team match featuring Damian Slater, Hartley Jackson and Dave O'Connor vs Travis Banks, T.J Rocket and Taylor Adams was one of the best matches of 2012 and a great showcase of some of the best talent in Australasia.

Blake:
I think I've only ever seen one Banks match... I think he teamed with Knox to lose to Emerald Justice... Can't remember...

Dion:
There have been many, but the one that sticks out for me is the Nightmare B4 Xmas 2011 match where he, Liam Fury, Dal Knox and Alexander battled for the IPW NZ Heavyweight Championship.

It may not rate as the greatest ever Travis Banks match, but seeing he and Liam step up in the biggest IPW event of the year was a pleasure to watch.

Even though Travis slapped his submission finisher on me...

Steph:
I am, tragically, a Travis Banks virgin. *saucy look*

Scott:
Well, my favourite Travis Banks memory is when I first saw him. I’d heard talk about this new guy making waves on the scene, so went onto YouTube to see what I could see, and the first clip was Banks facing Dreamcatcher. It was filmed in the hall of my old secondary school, and it started with Banks charging out from between the curtains and diving off the stage onto Dreamcatcher. It was bloody impressive, because I know how high that stage is and how hard that floor from a misjudged crowd surfing moment many years ago.

Since then, every time I’ve seen Banks in action it’s been a superb show; but my favourites have been every time I’ve been lucky enough to see him face Liam Fury. What a hard hitting, hard fighting pair.

Luke:
I have a few. His bout against his rival Rufguts in our hometown of Bulls was a great encounter and had some emotional and memorable moments. Banks and Fury tore the joint down at Armageddon in the semi finals of 2011, which saw Banks lose to his adversary in a spectacular match. In more recent times, I have throughly enjoyed his work against PWA's Brian Seeker and his matches in Zero-1 against Kojiei Ontai. Banks has risen to the top and proven time and time again that he is one of the best in this country. And now, to be unselfish, it's time to see him make his mark internationally, full time.


5) Soon NZPWI will be putting out to the vote the annual People’s Choice awards, an award Travis Banks took out last year for "Best New Zealand wrestler." But time to put your money where your mouth is - who do you think was the best New Zealand professional wrestler of the last twelve months?

Travis:
The thing for me is looking at the New Zealand wrestling scene and seeing so much talent it's so hard to recognise just one, so here are a few stand outs in my eyes. Kingi - how can you go past Kingi? He's been around for a decade and is a true master of his craft. Always entertaining and athletic, you probably won't find a greater mix of both in NZ!

Johnny Idol. From 14-year-old Zodiak to NZWPW Heavyweight Champion, if you want to talk about dedication to wrestling - as much as you may not like him - this kid is the definition of just that. I have been fortunate enough to see him grow every step of the way and for me the NZWPW title is just the beginning for him.

Jakob Cross, the loud-mouthed Englishman who really knows how to make you hate him. It’s no secret him and I use to be friends but I can't help but give him his due. In two short years he has gone from commentator to top of the Wellington scene, and that needs to be recognised.

Liam Fury. If there is anyone out there who works harder in the ring than Liam Fury I am yet to see it. The way the dude moves is amazing to watch. He and I have had some of my greatest matches, as I have said, and I don't want him to get overlooked.

David:
If I were voting in this year's awards I'd probably have to give the nod to James Shaw. He's not necessarily better or worse than any of the other candidates but he's perhaps the most dedicated New Zealand wrestler. Everyone in the New Zealand wrestling scene seems to spend most of their time with one promotion, but Shaw has managed to wrestle on almost every IPW and NZWPW card held in the past year, making him one of the most sought-after and busiest workers in the country.

Craig:
I have not watched any NZ wrestling in the past 12 months but I'm going to have to sort myself out aren't I or I will be booted off the G5. I get the message!!

Kirsty:
Unfortunately I haven't seen as much of the NZ Scene as I'd like over the past year, but based on the reports I've seen coming through I have to say Evie. That girl is waving the flag for New Zealand and making us proud. She is without a doubt one of the best in the country, male or female.

Zak:
Well Kingi has been the centre point of the IPW roster since winning the title early in the year, and continues to be one of the most popular wrestlers in NZ. Of course Evie has been terrific as well. Tough choice!

Blake:
Kingi has had one hell of a year, but in my view, Evie is the best New Zealand wrestler. I don't know if she's in the best wrestler category or not, but she is the best.

Dion:
Of course I'm a big Travis Banks fan, and Dal Knox is my boy, but it's hard to look past Kingi this year.

Holding the IPW NZ Heavyweight Championship from May, touring the States and Australia, he's really leading the charge in NZ and the future is looking up and up for him.

Always exciting to watch in action.

Steph:
Again, I am no expert (nor novice) on the NZ scene. Something I hope to correct this year!

Scott:
I can only go on the handful of shows I went to, which were all in the Wellington area and mostly at the start of the year. But, even so, James Shaw stands slightly ahead of the likes of Banks and Fury for his willingness to travel the country and wrestle his heart out day in and day out. I’ve always enjoyed any match of seen James Shaw take part in. (And never not winced and said “ouch, that gotta hurt!” at least once, also).

Luke:
If I had to put a label on who the best in this country is today I say it's Kingi. Kingi has years of experience, several tours in Australia and the United States under his belt and has wrestled some of the biggest names in the industry. Like a good wine, Kingi had gotten better with age and is a perfect example of what a total package is. He has the look, mic skills, ring psychology and can work both as a crowd favourite or a heel. That's why he is the IPW champion and why he is still the measuring stick in New Zealand today.

Saturday, April 19
- WWE Raw (10.15am, the BOX)

Sunday, April 20
- WWE Raw (3.45pm, the BOX)

- WWE Main Event (6.15pm, the BOX)

- WWE SmackDown (7.05pm, the BOX)

- WWE Main Event (11.50pm, the BOX)

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