The Road to WrestleMania officially started on Sunday night, with one of the most memorable Royal Rumble pay-per-views in a long, long time.
On a show with surprising returns, shocking finishes and a WrestleMania main event being set, it is hard to nail down just a few select moments that really stand out. But that is exactly what we will try to do.
The Royal Rumble is a show that is designed to provide singular moments because of the unique nature of the Rumble match. When an unexpected wrestler returns, it gets everyone more involved in the match.
Here is our ranking of the best singular moments from the 2013 WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
No. 3: Kane Finds a Daniel Bryan
Comedy spots in the Royal Rumble, for the most part, drive me nuts. I understand they are part of the match, so you have to either take it or leave it. But this is a match for the main event in WrestleMania. Why distract from the importance of that with some (usually) stupid comedy bit?
That said, the spot where Daniel Bryan eliminates Kane and then gets thrown into Kane's arms on the outside, begging for his tag team partner to put him back in the ring, was spectacular. It was made even better by the fact that Kane just dropped Bryan.
Bryan and Kane have had a lot of bad angles hurled their way as Team Hell No, but this was actually a good way to put more distance between them to tease the inevitable breakup that is coming soon.
No. 2: Hello, Chris Jericho
While I hate comedy in my Rumble, surprise returns can be great for the match. Never was that more obvious than seeing Chris Jericho come out as the No. 2 entrant, going against rival Dolph Ziggler for two minutes before more wrestlers started coming in.
It takes something, or someone, truly special for a moment to feel big. In the past, with stars like Diesel or Booker T, there was a nostalgia pop they got when coming out, but it wasn't something that was going to last.
Because Jericho is still so great in the ring, the audience has a connection with him. When his music hit, the arena exploded. As the match kept going on, and Jericho was still in there, he was the one fans wanted to see come out on top.
Even though Jericho didn't end up winning the match, his return was one of the great WWE moments of the year. I say that with confidence even though we are only 28 days into 2013.
No. 1: The Rock Wins the WWE Championship
Reviews seem to be mixed about the finish of the match, with CM Punk pinning Rock after the lights went out and the challenger was attacked by The Shield only to see Vince McMahon restart the match at Rock's request.
However, even though the outcome of this match has been a foregone conclusion ever since it became obvious this is the direction the story was going, just seeing The Rock as WWE champion again seems a bit surreal.
For a long time, it seemed like Rock was done with WWE. His movie career was, and still is, booming. He had done everything he possibly could in WWE, established himself as one of the biggest stars in the history of the sport and always gave everything he had when he was here.
Then last year Rock came back to work a match at WrestleMania against John Cena. It seemed to be a great way to bookend his wrestling career, but he told everyone the night after that show he wanted to win the championship.
Now, nearly 10 months after that night and 11 years since he last held the WWE championship, Rock is back on top of the mountain. It is surreal to think that it would happen in 2013.
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