Held on January 30, 2011 in the TD Gardens in Boston, Massachusetts, the WWE Royal Rumble 2011, the 24th time that the WWE has run the event, was one of the best in some time. This pay per view event did a good job of bringing together a few of the key storylines that had been running throughout RAW over the months prior, the biggest one being the rivalry between Randy Orton and The Miz, the latter of whom held the WWE Championship title when this event took place. But let's not jump the gun.
The first match of the night was the Singles Match For The Heavyweight Championship Title in which Edge got into the ring with Dolph Ziggler (with some help from Vicki Gurrero). These two had a rivalry going on for some time before this match took place so there was a good bit of anticipation in the air as to who would walk away with the belt. The ending was a surprise and both men gave their all here, something that the audience definitely seemed to appreciate. While the rest of the matches that would take place over the course of the night are very good, this one is great and it stands as the best of the matches included in this event.
Up next was the aforementioned Miz versus Orton bout for the WWE Championship Title. Both men wanted to go home with the gold, and it was obvious that Orton was going to do everything that he could to take Miz out and claim the title. It was also obvious that Miz wasn't going to let Orton do this if at all possible. The rivalry and build up here was done very well ahead of time and it was obvious that Miz was thinking about how the results of this match would affect Wrestlemania. Though there was some irritating interference from Miz's buddy, Alex Riley, this was all about the showdown between the two wrestlers. The match keeps you interested throughout and while it doesn't quite reach the tension that the first match did, it's a very solid effort from all involved and some strong wrestling.
The third match of the night was a Fatal Four Way For The WWE Divas Championship Title that put Eva Torres in the ring with Layla, Natalya, and Michelle McCool. This was a better than average Divas match to be sure but it was still very much the weakest of the night. Natalya was the defender here, and she does a good job of trying to keep off the opponents but you know where it's all going. There's some good tension and some nice moves and the girls are always fun to look at but it never reaches the intensity of the other matches in the event.
Last but not least was the Royal Rumble match, the biggest in the history of the WWE and now up to forty men strong. The participants in this match, listed in the order in which they enter the ring, are:
CM Punk / Daniel Bryan / Justin Gabriel / Zack Ryder / Willian Regal / Ted DiBiase / John Morrison / Yoshi Tatsu / Husky Harris / Chavo Guerrero / Mark Henry / JTG / Michael McGillicutty / Chris Masters /
David Otunga / Tyler Reks / Vladimir Kozlov / R-Truth / The Great Khali / Mason Ryan / Booker T / John Cena / Hornswoggle / Tyon Kidd / Heath Slater / Kofi Kingston / Jack Swagger / Sheamus / Rey Mysterio / Wade Barrett / Dolph Ziggler / Diesel / Drew McIntyre / Alex Riley / Big Show / Ezekiel Jackson / Santino Marella / Alberto Del Rio / Randy Orton
Overall this is a good match and the win was a surprise, but there were a few problems. The commentary goes nowhere and doesn't add what it should and there are just too many times where things are played for laughs. There's also the chaos factor, with forty guys involved it's a bit more hectic than usual. The good does outweigh the bad here, however. As stated, the win comes as a surprise but it's a well earned one and that was good to see. John Morrison, however, should get the MVP award this time around for his amazing moves and for giving what was arguably the best performance of the entire night.
This pay-per-view event was broadcast in anamorphic 1.78.1 widescreen and that's how it's presented on this DVD, even if the picture is interlaced. The quality is pretty decent, not showing any annoying compression artifacts e during any of the matches and only showing some minor shimmering in some scenes. Color reproduction looks alright and skin tones are fine but the black levels can sometimes be a little less than perfectly defined. If you've seen any of the recent WWE DVD releases, you'll know what to expect here - it's on par with those presentations.
WWE Royal Rumble 2011 has a strong Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix. There are no alternate language dubs, subtitles or closed captioning options. The audio here is fine, there aren't any obvious problems to report. The dialogue is always easy enough to understand and there are no issues with hiss or distortion worth complaining about. The 5.1 track sounds nice and full, with some nice crowd noise coming from the rear channels but it remains front heavy for the most part. There's nothing reference quality here, but the sound is good.
Aside from menus and match selection, there's a ten minute bit in which Alberto Del Rio decides on his Wrestlemania opponent and an interview with Divas contender Eva Torres who talks about how she wound up on the card at the last minute.
WWE Royal Rumble 2011 is a solid release through and through. The four matches that make up the night are all quite good with the first one pretty much widely regarded as a classic. The quality of the disc is fine and there's a bit more in the extras department than most recent WWE releases. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.