Another Royal Rumble has come and gone. My favorite night of the year mostly lived up to what I had hoped it would. That there are two Royal Rumble Matches on the show each year makes it that much better for me. I cannot wait to attend another Royal Rumble PPV at some point in the future, though I know I could never handle an arena as large as the one they were at in Phoenix. I truly hope to be able to attend again, but until then, I will write about it with all the passion I have for this particular show.
I came in on the middle of the Raw Tag Team Championship Match and was extremely confused. I’m the one who reported on Akam being injured, but Spud was outside the ring and Rezar was in the ring and I was incredibly confused. Then, Dawson was in there and I thought it was a Triple Threat Match, but there were other people missing. So confusing! Either way, it wasn’t a bad match, just a bit confusing. I thought it was a great way to keep all three teams in our minds while filling a small wrestling spot with few fans in the stands. I thought it worked for what it was, but honestly, I’m waiting for Roode to turn on Gable and give us what we need most, Roode as a ruthless heel.
Not Rusev Day
I hadn’t noticed before, but Rusev has lost some serious weight. He was looking positively svelte in this match. He looks fantastic! Of course, Lana looked fantastic, but she’s Lana and is beautiful even when she isn’t trying. I was shocked that Nakamura won this one as he’s been booked so badly for so long that it feels as though there was no way he would win this strap back. I’m hoping he’s booked better this time around. Then there’s Rusev who the fans love, but he keeps getting pushed back behind everyone else. It’s sad to see how these superstars have been handled since being called up to the main roster. If it was them, or Trip, I’d be livid at McMahon’s way of trashing all the superstars who were so great in NXT.
I know I’m going to catch crap for the grade of this match, but I had such serious issues with one of the wrestlers that I cannot give it a better grade, something the Cruiserweight Division usually deserves. It was just one person who brought this whole match down for me.
Itami has never been a favorite of mine and I saw exactly why in this match. Murphy and he were the only two in the ring and going back and forth. Itami ended up sitting on the mat waiting for Murphy to kick him in the back. Itami’s face showed that he was waiting for the kick. He telegraphed that he was very obviously waiting for the kick and it completely killed the vibe of the match for me. It’s impossible to suspend disbelief when the superstar himself is completely out of the moment. Further into the match, Itami took a hurricanrana really wrong and landed on his head and face. From there, he was obviously supposed to roll out and stay on that side for Tozawa to fly out on him, but he moved to the ramp side and Tozawa had to find him to fly.
Beyond Itami, I really enjoyed much of this match. The other three were tight in the ring, really worked it hard and left it all out there. All of the greatness came from Murphy, Tozawa, and Kalisto.
Becky got new extensions for the Royal Rumble and her hair looks amazing! Sadly, Asuka didn’t do anything with her lighter roots, but she might have a longer-term plan for it, so I’ll hold off from complaining too much. What I will complain about is that Becky’s ring gear rode up way too much for this almost PG Era. I, personally and shockingly, found it distracting.
Wow, that move off the apron looked sick! I honestly feel bad for Becky believing at this point in the show that Becky would lose this match and win the Royal Rumble Match. Knowing she’d have to go into the Royal Rumble Match after that move, I cannot imagine, though they do this every day of their lives, so it’s what they do. These two left it all out there and while I’m thrilled Asuka went over clean here, I’m also surprised. Having Becky tap made her look weaker than I expected it would. I honestly didn’t think it would bother me ask much as it did. Becky played off the ending of this match beautifully. She looked emotionally destroyed after she took the loss. Becky knows how to sell.
We have been so focused on Becky that we really haven’t talked much about Asuka. She’s amazing in that ring, and it feels as though she is finally moving forward in the WWE after her loss to Charlotte at WM last year. This is something Asuka needed. I cannot wait to see who she faces at WrestleMania, and I really want to see her in a solid feud with Ronda, culminating in a big four PPV match.
The Bar Falls
The Bar in purple? Don’t like it. Don’t like it at all! That color isn’t for either of them.
I know a lot of people are unhappy with this feud, that The Bar has been treated badly, and that Shane shouldn’t be involved in matches or holding any straps, but the WWE knows what the casual fans want. A lot of those casual fans were mortified by McMahon being involved in the 90s and 00s, so it’s only natural for Shane to be doing the things his father did at his age. I’m not saying it’s the right direction to go, but this is the Road To WrestleMania and part of that are the McMahons being involved more often than not. It’s a personal thing for people, but for me, I’d rather see Shane, Vince, Steph and Trip do bits and pieces on all brands of WWE TV this time of the year than have The Authority dominate one show for an entire year. It’s not as if The Bar won’t come back fighting, or there will be issues and they will break up and have a great feud. Either way it’s not like they’re completely done because they lost the straps. Lastly, Shane and Miz won last long as champs or as a team.
Ronda is so good at being floppy! Beyond that, this match was sick! I loved Ronda trying to hit the three amigos on Sasha of all people! Eddie was Sasha’s idol and inspiration, so that was an interesting idea. Further Ronda talking smack at the fans about her wrestling was fantastic!
They were so wonderfully physical in this match, not the same as Asuka vs Becky, but just as hard-hitting and solid. Sasha pulling her ring gear off that right arm is something I’ve never seen before in any of her matches. It was a great addition to show just how strong and serious these moves and holds really are. The back and forth between them was amazing. Proof I’m writing this as the match happened, Sasha used those arm straps of her ring gear to cheat in a great way.
This was a killer match for both of them, but I love how Ronda tended to Sasha in the ring after the match. The moment was really sweet and lovely to see. It looked wonderfully real from Ronda and Sasha looked like she was right there, until that final moment when the four fingers went up. Here is the start of the 4 Horsewomen versus 4 Horsewomen feud. The very first fingers were thrown, and it’s what we have been waiting to see for a while now. The rumor going around about Ronda’s uterus had me worried as the other two MMA Horsewomen are not ready for this feud – last I saw – and so I was not expecting it to happen for at least six months to a year. Now that we know the truth, it appears that the time is there for that huge feud. I’m thrilled.
Twists And Turns
I know a lot of people thought this match started slow and didn’t really pick up until the very end, but I disagree. Seeing Lacey Evans in the ring in such a huge match impressed me. I’ve not been big on her, at all, but I’m much more interested now.
I was not surprised that Nattie was in early and lasted as long as she did. She’s a workhorse of the WWE and continues to impress, even though she’s been there so long. Ember Moon is another workhorse (who is sadly injured) who really impressed in this match and worked her bum off. I loved her hanging by her toes from the bottom rope. It was a great save and looked wonderful on TV.
Even though I knew the IIconics were in this match, I wasn’t prepared for Billie Kay’s screeching. I’m so over her and she needs to go away. Further, Peyton needs to get away from Billie Kay, because she’s so much better than Billie will ever be.
Nikki Cross is a force and she proves that each and every time we see her on TV. I cannot get over how hard she works and how she embodies her character.
Sarah Logan, Kairi Sane, Mandy, Naomi, Candice LeRae, Sonya DeVille, Bayley, Tamina, Nia Jax, and Carmella looked solid in the ring but were nothing special. The Royal Rumble Match needs wrestlers like this to carry the match along between those amazing moves and specific storylines, and they did a great job of it.
Maria, Foxy, Vega were funny and added a lot of humor to this match, though I thought it sucked that Maria might have taken the slot of someone who will actually stay with the WWE and really wrestle.
I was blown away by Xia Li, Io Shirai, and Kacy Catanzaro. They all stepped out there in front of more casual fans and proved that they belonged there. I knew Li and Shirai would kill it when they came to the ring, bit I didn’t know Catanzaro and I was floored! Her move on the corner post was astounding, I cannot wait to see more from her, and soon.
Alexa Bliss looked great returning from injury and didn’t seem to have any ring rust on her. I was thrilled to see her return in such a solid way. Ruby Riott looked great out there and made sure her team worked for every bit of what they got and hopefully started new feuds and storylines for themselves. I know a lot of people will disagree, but I thought Dana looked great out there. She’s slimmed down and looked quite svelte, but she also has obviously been working hard on improving in the ring and her character. I adore her and hope they start using her in a better way. Then there’s Rhea Ripley! That woman needs to be on the main roster and should be brought up right after WrestleMania. Ripley could really change things on Raw, give Tamina and Nia a run for their money, and blow the fans away in the process. I’ve loved her from day one and think she would fit in wonderfully on either Raw or SD roster. I get a very Luna Vachon vibe from her. She’s not a cute, petite girl, so she went in the other direction and it works for her. She really seems to have a handle on who she is, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Lastly there’s Lana, Charlotte, and Becky. We all know Lana isn’t injured but she played it off wonderfully. Becky also played off Finley in a great way. Her work in that ring with Charlotte wasn’t just fantastic, but it set up for further changes to Charlotte’s character heading for WrestleMania. Those two women are at the top of their game in the WWE and are a huge part of why we tune in each week to see the women over the men much of the time lately.
I’m very confused. I reported on Rowan being re-injured at the Performance Center just recently, yet there he was looking really muscly and much slimmer around the middle, without injury. So his injury must not have been that big of a deal which is, of course, wonderful. Now, I don’t think anyone saw that coming, but it was the best part of the match for me. I keep saying that this feud between Bryan and AJ should be stellar, but has been falling apart on second thought. At the moment the promos and vignettes were good until I looked back on them and realized that they really were not as good as they should have been, from either of them. Well, this match didn’t need any looking back to bring me down, I was down on this match the whole way through. It wasn’t just something that didn’t work, this match actively sucked. Two great superstars in the WWE, but they do not work together well. I don’t know why or what isn’t working, but it isn’t and it’s time to either really change things up, or let them go their own ways because this isn’t a feud that should continue. Further, it’s killing the WWE Champion’s run toward WrestleMania. Any other time of the year I’d roll my eyes and move on. We already have a crap champ on Raw who cannot be bothered to do anything for the fans, we don’t need a mess of a champ on SD as well. What a screwy mess! Anyway, with Rowan being added in, I’m expecting to see The Good Brothers getting involved too, and possibly Harper. If they do it right it could help, but I think I fell that way because of how bad things have been.
Get Your Gut Juices Flowing
I’m really not sure what to say here. Everything I’ve been talking about for years has come to fruition! Brock Lesnar got the corner of one of the announce tables to the gut and he struggled to come back from it in any way he could. That he was again slammed into that same corner again, harder than the first time, made it so that he had little chance of coming back from the pain inflicted there.
Let me back up a bit for those of you who were not in the Royal Rumble Dignified Discussion. Last week I was at an appointment with one of my doctors and we were talking about wrestling, Becky to be specific. Then the discussion turned to Brock Lesnar. Chuck told me that because BL had that leaking gut for over a year it took a lot out of him and that serious blows to his gut could really injure him, possibly rupture something. Basically that BL not taking care of his leaky gut made it so that he’s much more susceptible to serious problems if he gets hit in the gut in any real way. As we saw last night BL really hurt his gut, to the point that his string of cuss words had to be bleeped out of the show. There was no question that while BL might have gone out there to give his all, he absolutely didn’t after those blows to his gut.
I was really wondering if Balor was going to win that match seeing how much honest pain BL was in. even Heyman looked freaked out by it all. I know Heyman is great at selling, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t show true emotion when someone is honestly hurting.
More Twists And Turns
I love Elias, but sticking him with Double J is just evil. Elias is better than that and deserves so much more than he’s been getting lately, especially since he’s now stuck with Jarrett! Since I’m starting off on a negative note, I need to add Nakamura, Angle, Mahal, Hawkins, O’Neil, No Way Jose, Shelton Benjamin, Baron Corbin, Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, and Bobby Lashley did nothing more than take up space and use up time from those who were actually good in this match.
I love Gargano and was thrilled to see him in this Royal Rumble Match and think he did a solid job in there. New Day also looked solid and had a lot of fun in there, but I have to say that Kofi’s save this year wasn’t as exciting as years past. Aleister Black looked great in there, but that doesn’t shock me at all. He needs to be up on the main roster sooner than later. Apollo has really stepped up his game lately and looked solid in there. Speaking of young superstars, Mustafa Ali was beautiful there! He’s been killing it in everything he’s done and continues to blow me away at every turn. Then there’s Pete Dunne who is a strangely built man, but downright scary for his size. He’s a force to be reckoned with and watched closely. Lastly in the young and amazing category, I have to mention Andrade. That man has grown by leaps and bounds since coming up to the SD roster and I cannot wait for him to turn face so we can see how he handles that too.
I was really bummed that Drew McIntyre didn’t win this Royal Rumble Match, but I did know that Rollins was most likely to win. The sad thing is that looking back, I don’t recall anything great that the greatest superstars in the ring did. Braun Strowman, Dean Ambrose, Drew McIntyre, and Samoa Joe are of the greatest on the rosters and then didn’t leave me with any lasting memories. I plan on going back and watching again as I feel like I must have missed a lot more from them than I’m remembering.
The two who impressed the most at the end of the match were Seth Rollins and Nia Jax. Rollins is always impressive and Nia was totally unexpected. I really wasn’t expecting her in this Royal Rumble Match, but that’s why it worked. Yes, the intergender thing has been flying around since then, but that’s something I addressed on the Royal Inquisition this past Monday on the WR FB page, check it out and let me know what you think.
I really enjoyed this Royal Rumble, which was made better by watching with Natalie who has only just returned to watching pro wrestling. She brought me back to the joy that brought me to wrestling in the first place, reminded me of why I love watching it. She also gave semi-newbie insight that I don’t normally get as I either hang out online with smarks or personally with people who don’t watch at all, very little between. I loved the majority of this Royal Rumble PPV, other than the WWE and Universal Championship matches. They were, by far, the lowest points of the night.