Sorry for the delay, I just haven’t been able to find the time to do this review. I was hoping to be over this sickness I have; so I could do an audio review of the Rumble, but no such luck. I now have a cough. Also, I’m not reviewing the matches on the pre-show, because I didn’t watch them. I tried to watch them, but they just couldn’t hold my attention. Sorry. So, let’s get into this.
AJ Styles(c) vs. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens
Winner: AJ Styles
All three wrestlers did the best they could considering the circumstance of the stipulation. There was no real drama at any point during this match. The monkey flip hurcanrana that AJ pulled off was pretty sick. Other than that, there wasn’t really anything noteworthy about this match. The finish with Owens getting pinned despite not being the legal man in the ring, was kind of lame. They did a finish similar to this a few weeks back with the Usos vs. Benjamin and Gable, and the refs came out and restarted the match. They didn’t do that here. It just seemed extremely inconsistent.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
2-Out-Of-3 Falls Match
The Usos(c) vs. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable
Winners: The Usos
The crowd did not give a shit about this match which was kind of sad, because both teams were working extremely hard to put on a good match. The Usos ended up winning the match in 2 straight falls, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion. The only issue is how it happened. They took forever to get the first fall, then the Usos got the 2nd fall super quick after that. It just wasn’t a good ending. Especially considering that Benjamin and Gable are now completely stalled as a tag team. Apparently, the Usos are moving on to a feud with The Bludgeon Brothers, which isn’t a bad thing. A few years back the Usos had a top notch feud with Rowan and Haper which lead to some great battles. Though, I was kind of hoping they would continue to push Benjamin and Gable.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
This was as good as a Royal Rumble match can get. It had comedy, good performances, and great spots. The surprise entrants were especially entertaining. They had a couple NXT wrestlers(Almas, and Cole), The Hurricane, and Rey Mysterio. They all served a purpose and looked good doing it. Rey Mysterio was in fantastic shape. I would love to see him and Almas work a match in NXT before Almas gets called up and ruined by the main roster. The Iron man of the match was Finn Balor. He lasted almost an hour. Kofi had another great rumble moment. Though, I would love for him to actually stay in the match after one of these moments instead of getting eliminated right away. The coolest moment during the match was with the final six competitors. It ended up coming down to Finn, Nakamura, Reigns, Mysterio, Orton, and Cena. They end up having a stand off with the Old guard(Mysterio, Orton, and Cena) on one side, and the new generation(Finn, Nakamura, and Reigns) on the other. Then after that, Mysterio and Randy Orton ended up getting eliminated. Then it came down to Finn, Nakamura, Reigns, and Cena. Then they had those guys did a square off with the two Vince guys, Reigns and Cena vs. Triple H’s guys, Nakamura and Finn. Then after Finn got eliminated by Cena, Cena and Reigns end up teaming up and putting a beat down on Nakamura. Which got massive heat. After that, Cena got eliminated, and it came down to Reigns and Nakamura. Which had everyone on the edge of their seats. Personally, my stomach was in knots the entire time. It was Royal Rumble drama at it’s best. There were a couple of close calls with Reigns almost eliminating Nakamure, but in the end Nakamura hit a flying knee strike on Reigns, then tossed him out of the ring. It was fan-freaking-tastic. I can’t say this was the best Royal Rumble of all time, but it was pretty damn close.
After the match, Renee Young interviewed Nakamura in the ring in which Nakamura stated his intentions to face AJ Styles at Wrestlemania for the WWE Championship, much to the crowds delight. This is the first time since he debuted on the main roster that Nakamura actually felt like the star he should have been all along. I can’t wait for his match with AJ. If it’s half as good as their Wrestle Kingdom match, it should be the match of the night.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Jason Jordan & Seth Rollins(c) vs. The Bar(Cesaro & Sheamus)
Winners: The Bar
Kudos to Seth Rollins for working both this match and the Royal Rumble back to back. Honestly, that’s the most impressive thing about this match. Apparently, Jordan has a neck injury, so while they didn’t use the neck as an excuse, they just wrote him out of the match after he got his head rammed into the ring post. So Seth pretty much worked a handicap match. The crowd was completely dead and rightfully so. It wasn’t anything special.
Triple Threat Match
Brock Lesnar(c) vs. Kane vs. Braun Strowman
Winner: Brock Lesnar
They tried to make this match fun with weapons and tables, but it didn’t work. The crowd was still exhausted from the Royal Rumble, and it just wasn’t that fun to watch. Brock Lesnar predictably pinned Kane after one F5.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
I’m surprised by the ammount of people that prefered this match to the men’s match. While it was really fun, and the right person went over, it just lacked the drama that the men’s match brought. The first two competitors were Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch which was pretty cool. They tried to start the match off as hot as possible. Sasha ended up being the Iron Woman in the match with over 54 minutes. This match was packed with surprise entrants: Lita; who will ended up getting the first elimination in Women’s Royal Rumble history by eliminating Mandy Rose. Kairi Sane from NXT, Torrie Wilson, Molly Holly, Michelle McCool, Vickie Guerrero, Kelly Kelly, Jacqueline, Ember Moon from NXT, Beth Phoenix, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, and Trish Stratus. Michelle McCool was booked extremely strong. She ended up getting 5 eliminations, which was the most in the match. Molly Holly looked really good. Beth had a sequence with Nia Jax, then was helped out by Nattie. Which subsequently led to Nattie eliminating Beth after they hugged. Asuka and Ember Moon reignited their feud, as did Mickie James and Trish Stratus. You can tell that none of the surprise entrants had practiced the over the top rope bump which lead to a few awkward looking elimination. The final 4 were Sasha, Asuka, Nikki & Brie Bella. Sasha did a bit of a heel turn earlier in the match by eliminating Bayley. So she ended up teaming with the Bellas and they put a beating on Asuka. They ended up setting Asuka in the corner and Sasha was going to go for her double knee move, but as she went for it, the Bellas dumped her over. After that, Asuka fought back a little, which lead to Brie somehow going over the top rope and landing on the apron. While Brie was standing their awkwardly, Nikki ended up eliminating her. So it came down to Nikki and Asuka. It kind of felt like a re-hash of the men’s rumble. By taking the fan favorite in Asuka, and pairing her up with the company women, Nikki Bella. Personally, I would have had the final two be Asuka and Sasha. I think the split crowd reaction would have done a lot more for the ending. The ending of the match didn’t look that good. Asuka and Nikki were fighting on the apron, then Asuka hit Nikki with a knee and knocked her off. It just didn’t look that good.My thoughts on the match were that I felt they were relying too much on the legends as opposed to the current crop of stars.
While Asuka did win, they didn’t do her any favors by having her moment get interrupted by Ronda Rousey. Rousey’s debut was kind of awkward. She came down pointed at the WM sign then starred down Asuka, Charlotte, and Alexa, then tried to shake Asuka’s hand. Asuka slapped it away and then Rousey pointed at the WM sign again. Then she left the ring, went over and shook Stephanie’s hand, then she pointed at the WM sign again. Then after that she walked up the stage, and pointed at the WM yet again. It was an awful debut. It got WWE in the headlines, but I can’t imagine anybody thinking that debut was cool.
Show Grade: B
The Royal Rumble’s were extremely fun to watch, but nothing else really delivered. If you haven’t watched the show yet, just skip everything else but the Rumbles.