Welcome to the WWE Royal Rumble Reaction, where I offer my take on the show at Minute Maid Park in Houston. You can check out John’s full in-depth review here.
I did not see the two hour pre-show. Two hours seems to be overkill for the four hour show, only to place two matches on that card. A one hour pre-show would be sufficient. As for the matches, Sheamus and Andrade won their respective matches, as expected. I would expect Humberto to snag the US Title at WrestleMania.
Nice opening video narrated by Stone Cold Steve Austin to start off the main show.
Our opening match was the Falls Count Anywhere Match between King Corbin and Roman Reigns. They only spent a couple of minutes in the ring until the action spilled into the crowd. The battle went around the arena before ending up at International Row, as Cole called it, where the foreign language announcers are stationed. Roman puts Corbin through the Mandarin and French announce tables. They fight some more over to the tech area where Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode show up to attack Roman. The Usos eventually arrive to save the day and battle Ziggler and Roode. The focus turns to the four of them so Roman and Corbin can take a break. Once Ziggler, Roode, and Usos are eliminated, the focus shifts back to Roman and Corbin. They battle some more around the tech area to a conveniently placed porta-potty that was on wheels. Roman tossed Corbin in and flipped it over. Vince sure does love his toilet humor. Corbin stumbles out, surprisingly clean, and Roman beats on him more, eventually ending up on the Astros dugout. Roman spears Corbin for the win and hopefully ends his boring feud.
We are treated to a few Royal Rumble participant promos before a graphic is displayed to honor Kobe Bryant.
The Woman’s Royal Rumble was up next. Alexa Bliss and Bianca Belair started off as numbers one and two respectively. The match itself saw some good action with a few surprises along the way. The first half of the match was all about making Belair look like a star. I think they did a good job of it ahead of her title match next month at Takeover. The Lana/Liv Morgan interaction and eliminations of each other means that feud must, sadly, continue. Somewhere along the line, Beth Phoenix got a cut on the back of her head and her hair was all bloody. All four brands had decent representation in the match. The final four came down to Natalya, Beth Phoenix, Charlotte Flair, and Shayna Baszler. Once Natalya and Beth were disposed of, Charlotte and Shayna had a decent interaction before Charlotte eliminated Shayna to win the Rumble. I was hoping Shayna would win because we need another Charlotte/Becky match like we do Orton/Cena. I guess Charlotte could copy the Becky/Asuka story since it’s been over a year since she last defeated Becky.
Up next is the Smackdown Woman’s Championship (or is it Smackdown Championship?) match between Bayley and Lacey Evans. Lacey played up to her daughter Summer at ringside during her entrance. The match was okay for what it was. The fans just didn’t seem to care that much. I think that horrible promo on Smackdown may have dwindled interest in Lacey’s face turn. Bayley retained her title with a weak pin while pulling the tights. I suspect this will just spin its wheels until Lacey’s title win at WrestleMania.
The Universal Title Strap match between Daniel Bryan and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt is next. It appears the dreaded red light has been wished well in its future endeavors and was not turned on during the match. Bryan took multiple strap shots throughout the beginning of the match. The action spills outside and Bryan gets the upperhand with multiple low blows and starts whipping Fiend with the strap. We get some really great back and forth action before The Fiend puts Bryan down with the Mandible Claw to retain the title in a great match.
The last title match for the night, the Raw Women’s Championship, is up for grabs between Beck Lynch and Asuka. We got the expected physical match between the two. They battled back and forth throughout before going for the submissions. The ending was set up with Becky kicking Asuka in the chest, causing her to spit the green mist into the air and on her own face, and Becky following up with the Disarmher submission. Kairi Sane was at ringside the entire match but did not try to get involved in any way, which was good to see.
The Men’s Royal Rumble is our main event. Brock Lesner and Elias are numbers one and two respectively. Brock tears through the first 13 competitors before Ricochet busts out Brock’s kryptonite, a low blow, and Drew McIntyre Claymore Kicks Brock out to eliminate him. Once Brock was finally out, things picked up and so did the match quality. Edge made a surprise return at #21. AJ Styles appeared to get hurt and was abruptly eliminated by Edge (feud please?). Seth Rollins entered last and had AOP and Buddy Murphy help him until the trio was run off by Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, and Aleister Black, leaving Rollins in the ring with Roman Reigns, Edge, Randy Orton, and Drew McIntyre. Rollins was quickly dispatched and a feud between former Rated RKO teammates Edge and Randy Orton leaves us with just Drew and Roman as the last two. Drew fought hard and eliminated Roman to win the Royal Rumble. They actually did it and finally used the Rumble to make a new star. Drew’s celebration closed out the show.
Let’s look at the Highs and Lows:
Drew McIntyre actually won the Royal Rumble. Roman was basically a lock until he beat Corbin in the opener.
The Universal Title match was really good, too. The addition of the strap made great storyline sense.
Welcome back Edge! He looked great and it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.
The Bayley/Lacey match was a bit flat. I think that terrible promo on Smackdown cooled people to her.
The Brock Lesner Gauntlet match was a bit boring at times. It did set Drew up good.
That’s all I’ve got, until next time.