Last night was the annual WWE Royal Rumble, and if live crowd and internet reactions are to be believed, it was one of the biggest failures in recent memory for the WWE.

In terms of major events for World Wrestling Entertainment, the Royal Rumble is one of the biggest of the year, second only to Wrestlemania itself, with the winner of the Royal Rumble match getting a shot at the World Title in the main event at Wrestlemania.  It was recently revealed that former WWE Superstar Dave Bautista (“Batista”), star of Marvel’s upcoming ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, was set to return to the company and participate in the Royal Rumble match.  Batista’s arrival was meant to be kept secret but leaked promotional material for post-Rumble events revealed his presence.  It was then officially announced that Batista would return to the WWE to not only participate in the Royal Rumble, but be a regular WWE performer.  This lead a lot of fans to believe Batista would end up winning the Rumble and going on to the title match at Wrestlemania.  As a former multi-time champion and friend of current executive Paul Levesque (“Triple H”), Batista’s past and current status as Marvel movie star made him a prime candidate for such a spot.  Unfortunately, the fans had someone else in mind.

Over the past few years, Bryan Danielson (“Daniel Bryan”) has become a major fan favorite in the WWE.  His “YES!” chants not only regularly break out during WWE events, but have even spilled over to other televised sporting events.  Unfortunately for Bryan, his 5’10”and 210 lb build is not what the powers-that-be at WWE have in mind for the face of the company and have regularly prevented Bryan from maintaining a top spot, occasionally placing him in main event storylines and then writing him out, even using the real life disputes with the creative powers in WWE as storylines.  Nevertheless, his popularity with the fans is undeniable and he’s cheered for more than any other performer on WWE.  Bryan’s match against Bray Wyatt was the first official match for last night’s Royal Rumble, but Bryan’s impact was felt for the rest of the night.

During the WWE World Heavyweight Title match between John Cena and Randy Orton, the fans on hand expressed their distaste for the match by chanting various things like “This is awful” and “We want Divas” (Divas matches are regularly the worst on the event, so that should tell you how bad this match was if they preferred the Divas), and chanting for various people not involved with the match such as Daniel Bryan, commentators, and even deceased wrestlers.  As the surprise of Batista’s return had already been spoiled, and as WWE has altered plans in the past after internet leaks, hope was that Daniel Bryan would make a surprise underdog appearance in the Rumble and win instead of Batista.  During the 30-man Royal Rumble match, fans began chanting for Daniel Bryan when the 10-second countdown clock began for the last few entrants with Bryan not entering.  With the final countdown for the 30th entrant, the crowd was chanting for Bryan louder than ever only to be disappointed at the appearance of fan-favorite Rey Mysterio.  The crowd not only booed Mysterio, they continued to boo the rest of the match all the way up to Batista’s eventual win.  The commentators didn’t acknowledge the fan response and Batista’s music was reportedly played louder than usual to drown out the crowd reaction.  Fans in attendance reported a very frustrated tone among the audience on the way out of the arena, and many people took to the internet to express their feelings.  The most poignant comments actually came from a WWE Legend, Mick Foley, who earlier vowed to throw a brick through his television if Bryan didn’t win the Rumble.  Foley commented on Twitter,

Foley, who is still under contract with the WWE for another month, has also been contacted by TMZ to film his brick throwing response to the Royal Rumble.  WWE regularly posts a poll on Facebook following a major event, asking their fans to give the event a Thumbs Up or a Thumbs Down.  As of the writing of this article, almost 7,000 have given the show a Thumbs Up, but just over 25,000 have responded with a Thumbs Down.

At this point there’s no word of how the WWE plans to continue after last night’s negative reaction.  Odds are they will act like it never happened and edit the booing out of rebroadcast, but nothing is certain.  Reports are Batista became visably angered by the crowd after the live feed ended, mocking the crowd for their Daniel Bryan cheers and flipping fans off.  The smart move for WWE would be to acknowledge the negative reactions, reassess their plans, and give the audience what they want, not just what the WWE wants them to want.

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