You know things are messed up when the arrival of the well-respected and legendary Rey Mysterio causes 15,000 fans to blow a gasket and react with genuine anger. The problem wasn’t Mysterio – it’s just that Pittsburgh was expecting somebody a little taller, much thinner, more pale, and not wearing a mask. That’s why the city of Pittsburgh kept counting down with the Iron Man clock at Extreme Rules – they were hoping Daniel Bryan would materialize once they made the buzzer sound.
WWE fans were not ready for Bryan to be shunted back down to the upper midcard, judging by the ungodly reaction he received weeks earlier when he turned on the Wyatt Family. Many figured that, Batista’s big return be damned, WWE needed to have Bryan win the 2014 Royal Rumble match, advance to WrestleMania, and conquer the evil Authority en route to regaining the WWE Championship. Of course, WWE felt much differently, and when “BOOYAKA BOOYAKA” blared after the final buzzer, the scene grew surreal.
The lack of Bryan in the Rumble match wasn’t even the only controversy of the weekend, as another underdog-turned-WWE Champion wrestled what is to now his final match ever, before walking out the next day. Anger hung heavy in the air, from fans and performers alike.
10. The Gunn Show
The only title change on the night took place on the Rumble’s pre-show, as The New Age Outlaws came together once more, defeating Goldust and Cody Rhodes to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship. It felt as though “The American Nightmare” had wandered into an Attitude Era fantasy camp (perhaps the same feeling Ronda Rousey had in the WrestleMania 34 mixed tag), but the Outlaws would parlay this win into a minor resurgence.
And for Billy Gunn, the moment marked a special occasion, as he became the third man in WWE history to win his 11th different WWE/World Tag Team title. Gunn previously reigned five times with Road Dogg, as well as twice with Chuck Palumbo, and three times with kayfabe brother Bart. He tied Kane’s total of 11 reigns, but still sits behind Edge’s all-time WWE record of 14.