Last night, the road to WrestleMania kicked into high gear with the Royal Rumble. In a night full of great moments, once again fans felt disappointed towards the end of the actual Royal Rumble match. Lets start with the main event.
Unfortunately, I was wrong: Chris Jericho did not win the Royal Rumble. In fact, he barely competed in it. He was in the match for 61 minutes, but spent the majority of the time outside the ring hiding from everyone, including the camera. As I predicted on The Main Event, Sami Zayn worked hard in this match, lasting over 48 minutes. Fans went home happy though knowing that Tye Dillinger debuted on the main roster at number 10. That was an awesome moment for him, and he deserved every minute of it. In the end, Randy Orton won the Rumble for the second time, but the story leading to that victory is something to discuss.
The main theme of the show was veterans taking over. Goldberg, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker dominated this match. The funny thing was that we knew this would happen. Brock Lesnar was destroyed (again) and eliminated by Goldberg immediately as the latter entered the ring.
*Side note- Goldberg OWN’S Lesnar and its not even fair. Where do they go from here? Even if Lesnar beats Goldberg, will it matter considering the record? Do we even need them to fight each other anymore? SO MANY QUESTIONS!*
As the clock was winding down to number 30, fans were getting excited. Who would show up? Kurt Angle? Finn Balor? Samoa Joe? Well, a Samoan came out, but not the one you were expecting.
Roman Reigns entered the match, and the fans immediately displayed their displeasure (once again). This appears to be the third or fourth Rumble that fans have not enjoyed, and up until the last 5-10 minutes the entire show was pretty great. Reigns eliminated The Undertaker (not helping his cause with the fans) before Randy Orton eliminated him to win. Fans cheered, mainly because Reigns didn’t win the Rumble. It was a nice moment for Orton overshadowed by a controversial few minutes.
How did Reigns get into the Rumble match? If Roman won the Universal Title, would he have been in the Rumble match anyway? Why didn’t AJ Styles get a chance to be in it since he lost the WWE Title to John Cena (more on that later)? Why did the idea of Reigns in the Rumble seem good compared to anything else? These are questions I’ve asked during and after the event.
On the positive side: There are some interesting opportunities that can come out of this: Reigns can face Strowman or Undertaker, and Owens can still face Jericho at WrestleMania (with a lot or rumors going around, I’m not sure it will be for the Universal Title). Bray Wyatt can win the WWE Title at the Elimination Chamber and face Orton at WrestleMania in a teacher/student showdown. That’s the beauty of the Royal Rumble: at any moment you see a story being made.
Other notes from the event:
– I am very happy for Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, who finally won the WWE (Raw) Tag Team Titles from Cesaro and Sheamus. I was very surprised the change happened on the pre-show, but something exciting like that can probably get fans to watch additional coverage of the event (in WWE’s mind at least).
After trying to figure out what to do with them, WWE decided to pull the trigger and make the “Good Brothers” in charge of Raw. The original members of The Bullet Club have officially left their mark in WWE history.
– Once again Charlotte has won a PPV match, competing in a pretty good bout against Bayley. Opening the PPV, these two women set the tone for the night, with a lot of emotion mixed into the match. I wish the match was longer (it was about 13 minutes), but they did their best with the time they had. It looks like Bayley has finally connected with the casual fans, and just in time. Her time to shine is coming, and it will be great when WWE gives “The Huggable One” her much-deserving moment.
– Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns to retain his WWE Universal Title. I forgot to mention: Chris Jericho was in a SHARK CAGE the entire time. This was a brawl from the beginning, and the use of weapons was well done, especially the stacked chairs spot outside the ring.
In the end, Braun Strowman interfered on Owens’ behalf, allowing the champion to beat “The Guy”. I ranted about Roman enough above, but this was definitely the right move/match to help solidify Owens’ title reign.
– Neville defeated Rich Swann to win the WWE Cruiserweight Title. The CW division needed a spark after not grabbing everyone’s attention before, and a Neville win was badly needed. This is the most popular he has been with the fans in quite some time, and he’s supposed to be a bag guy. The King of the Cruiserweight’s has his crown, and I for one am happy for him. Here’s hoping that Neville can keep up the momentum.
– Finally, John Cena defeated AJ Styles to win his 16th World Title, tying “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. It was going to happen eventually, but I would have loved to see Styles keep the title here. It’s not that I’m fully against Cena winning the title, but I see it as a “back to basics” move that doesn’t always work out. That’s especially true when you know Cena has to film a movie/tape a TV show. I also consider Flair’s title reigns to be more impressive than Cena’s, which I will discuss at another time.
HOWEVER, these two put on a great match. There are those who are saying that their match was better than the Kenny Omega/ Okada bout from Wrestle Kingdom 11 (including the IWGP Champion himself), but the styles are so different its hard to debate. Cena did impress me, especially when he performed moves fit for “Indie darlings” and not the WWE’s number one star. For now, congrats to “Big Match” John, and kudos to you for an awesome moment with a Make a Wish kid.
There you have it. A lot of good mixed in with some bad. WWE’s “New Era” is on hold at the moment, but we’ll see how long that lasts. WrestleMania is fast approaching, and last night proved that anything can happen.
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