So, let’s get back to some written stuff. Yeah, I like the videos and want to transition more to a video only format. But I have heard the critique and am here to give more! Regardless, the Royal Rumble!
(Spoilers in the review)
Overall, I have to say that the Royal Rumble this year was satisfying in a way that I haven’t experienced in some time. The Royal Rumble is my favorite WWE event. I love the 30 wrestler over the top rope challenge, I love the stories that can be told, I love everything about it! And since the Daniel Bryan snub and the Batista controversy, WWE has seemed to take some sort of odd glee in making the Royal Rumble a farce to troll fans. FINALLY! After years of waiting, I have a Royal Rumble that I can watch again and again from start to finish. There may be some skeptics out there, but this may be one of the best Royal Rumbles I have seen in my life time. As far as story, as far as characters, and as far as performance, it had everything! AND THERE WERE TWO! There was a men’s and women’s Royal Rumble! MY WILDEST DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE AND THEY WERE BOTH SOOO SATISFYING!!!! If that isn’t a precursor to what I’m about to write, I don’t know what is! But let’s get into the matches!
(No Preshow ratings because I didn’t get a chance to see them.)
Handicap Match for the WWE Championship
AJ Styles (C) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
This match was as good as it was going to be. Sadly a handicap match for the WWE Championship is not exactly something that can ever go over well. You either make your champion lose and devalue the belt by having “co Champions” in what would have obviously been a gimmicky and jokey story or you have your team of Owens and Zayn look ineffective because they can’t take down one man against two. With that said, the match was still good. The action was smooth and the finish didn’t detrimentally hurt Zayn, Owens, or Styles. Zayn and Owens play off on each other REALLY well and made a great bad guy act. AJ Styles was at his best as he is in every match. At the end of the night we had some great spots and a continuation of a feud with Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Shane McMahon while AJ Styles gets to go on to the smarkiest WrestleMania feud in history. Overall, nothing gained, nothing lost.
Best 2 out of 3 Falls for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (C) vs. Gable & Benjamin
This match was ‘eh’ incarnate. The action was good as the four men have proven to put on in the past and at least managed to maintain my attention. That being said though, there is little to no reason that this match couldn’t make it onto the preshow. Gable & Benjamin looked ineffective falling 0-2 falls to the Usos and the ending of Gable on the top rope with the roll up from the Usos felt like more of a mistake then anything fluid. Not saying that is bad if that is what they are going for. But it was a thing that didn’t look good. Ultimately, Gable & Benjamin look unable to defeat the Usos and another team must step up to dethrone the WWE chosen golden boys of the Tag Team division.
The Men’s Royal Rumble Match
This was one of the best Royal Rumbles I have ever seen and I mean that with zero hyperbole. It is EASILY the best Royal Rumble I have seen in the past decade. The two that even come close in my mind is 2010 with the return of Edge or 2006 with the Iron Man story of Rey Mysterio. It is, without a doubt, THAT AMAZING! Yes, I do say this knowing that a smark wrestler in Shinsuke Nakamura. But I don’t give a rats ass. This did it for me! Everything about it did it for me! Everybody in the match looked strong! It told multiple stories and at the end of the day I was just in love with the whole match. What all was great about it?! Let me count the ways.
(This will be long)
Rusev and Finn Balor looked like beasts! Rusev lasted 30 minutes from number 1, Finn Balor went to the final four to have an ultimate smark vs. WWE babe moment of Nakamura & Balor vs. Reigns and Cena!
Baron Corbin went out early but still stayed in character and destroyed the field on his way out.
Heath Slater got the butt of many jokes being on the outside and getting his ass kicked BUT STILL getting an elmination in Sheamus.
Elias looked like a beast, holding through until the end and ultimately being eliminated by John Cena.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens had a great heel moment by taking out Tye Dillinger to “enter” themselves.
Andrade “Cien” Almas and Adam Cole came across as SERIOUS contenders from the NXT landscape.
Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy continue their amazing feud in something that honestly REALLY works for me.
The New Day New Dayed their way into some great moments, including pancakes everywhere and a Kofi Kingston rumble shenanigans. There was also some great psychology when Almas, who eliminated Kingston, saw the New Day on the outside and said “NO!” And threw him out on the opposite end of the ring!
Cesaro and Seth Rollins pulled double duty and looked great doing it with Seth pulling 20 minutes and Cesaro pulling 5.
Jinder Mahal did good with the time given to him and built into a feud against the New Day.
Apollo Crews, Titus O’Neil, Goldust, and Aiden English had good showings for being more minor mid card acts.
THE HURRICANE SHOWED UP
The final 6 between Mysterio, Orton, & Cena as well as Nakamura, Balor, & Reigns worked for an old school versus new school style finish.
WWE properly teased having Orton, Reigns, and Cena in the finals for another “WWE Finish” but ultimately gave us Nakamura as the champion.
Nakamura is taking on Styles at Wrestlemania! THIS MATCH WAS THE TOTAL PACKAGE!!!!!!
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Rollins & Jordan (c) vs. The Bar
And now comes the bad. I think WWE at least had the where-with-all to know that these would be the two drag matches of the night and put them in between the two rumble matches. With Jordan hurt and Sheamus having a semi neck injury, Rollins & Cesaro did most of the heavy lifting. The action was “fine” but nothing to really write to any great extent. At least Rollins looked good in the Royal Rumble because nobody looked great here.
WWE Universal Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane
So, here comes some TMI. This was my bathroom break match and I spent 75% of it in the rest room. I later watched it again and I didn’t miss anything. As a matter of fact, I got more satisfaction from that bathroom trip then I did from this match. In the end, I think that Balor being pulled from this match was less of a “fuck you” to Balor and more of a “let’s protect Balor from an utterly worthless match.” This isn’t helped by the fact that I really don’t like Brock Lesnar no matter what smarks say. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how good Lesnar looked or how good Braun Strowman looked. The overall quality was poor.
The ending was telegraphed from a mile away. Brock Lesnar wins pinning Kane. The match was exactly what you expected with not surprises or great performances. Braun Strowman still looks fine and will eventually be a champion. But today, it was nothing but crap.
Women’s Royal Rumble
This was another phenomenal Royal Rumble and a perfect introduction to the inagural Women’s Royal Rumble. I love the fact that it went on last even if it was expected, and the finish of the match was exactly what I hoped it would be. There were some flaws, don’t get me wrong, and there were some hiccups. But overall it was a good showing. Here is a number of different areas that I enjoyed and disliked about the Women’s Royal Rumble.
Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch were the right choice for number one and number 2. With Charlotte being the champion and Bayley being the underdog and “fourth” of the Four Horsewomen, it was the right move to make to put Banks and Lynch as 1 & 2.
The Hall of Fame wrestler and big name appearances were a mixed bag of happy and sad. It was SO GOOD seeing Lita and Trish Stratus in the ring again. It was even interesting to see Michelle McCool play the monster heel. I also love the fact that Molly Holly came back for a couple of bumps. There were some though that kind of… well sucked. In particular, I am quite upset that Alicia Fox doesn’t get into the Royal Rumble, a woman currently signed by WWE and instead positions are taken up for a Vicki Guerrero comedy bit and Kelly Kelly, who I am sad to say, have never been a fan of. Sorry to the wrestler Kelly Kelly, I’m sure you are a lovely person. It also kind of sucks that over a third of the entrance were there for only a one time show.
Most of the wrestlers looked good in the match. There were some growing pains for working a Royal Rumble match. But that can be forgiven.
Ultimately all the wrestlers looked good. They had great performances and everyone was booked to perfection with only a few looking weak at the end of the night.
The fact that Rhonda Rousey showed up irritated me. The winner of the Royal Rumble, which I am going to talk about after this because SHE deserves the spotlight not Rhonda Rousey, should have been the big send off. The culmination of everything. Instead the finale is Rhonda Rousey showing up in a Roddy Piper-esque shirt steal her thunder. There were other ways to include Rousey in this without having her come in to steal everyone’s thunder. Also, not an attack on Rousey as a person, an attack on WWE’s decision to include her to overshadow the true winner.
With that said… ASUKA was the ABSOLUTE right choice and it was book perfectly! I liked the fact that the Bellas were the final three along with Asuka. It may have been the same show as Shinsuke with Roman Reigns and Cena. BUT IT WORKED! Overall, I cannot think of someone more deserving of the first win then Asuka!
This Royal Rumble had some serious ups and a few downs. Overall it was great showing with only a few areas dragging. The Royal Rumble matches were some of the best that I have seen in quite some time and rank as some of the best ever!
Final Score: 4/5