I begin this column on a somber note, just hours ago, WWE Hall of Famer, wrestling legend and icon, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka passed away. While embroiled in legal issues towards the end of his life, Superfly was a known entertainer and famous wherever he went. While his final year was filled with controversy regarding an alleged murder, many will miss the legend greatly.
Congratulations to former Ring of Honor World Champion Kyle O’Reilly on winning the ECCW Championship by defeating El Phantasmo in the main event of their show.
You should be watching the WWE United Kingdom Tournament.
Two shows, both with recent title changes.
Over on the RAW brand, Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns in a handicap match, which saw Jericho get the winning pinfall to become the new United States Champion. Things could have taken a turn if Owens somehow won the belt, but that feud is best left to boil slowly. Dethroning Reigns is a good move. Maybe this will free up Reigns for another feud, or tease of a possible Rumble win? I was happy with the match outcome. Jericho deserving of a title, finally capturing the one which eluded him for his career. One may say the victory was tarnished since he could “only do it with Owens” but please, let’s remember, the show is scripted. A win is a win.
Over on SmackDown, Dean Ambrose had defeated The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. The win is clutch, has Miz chasing belts as an evil heel has been very entertaining. It would appear with each loss, the character gets a bit edgier and more intensely focused. I know it was not that long ago where The Miz was WWE Champion, and at the top of his prime, but this might be a second coming for him and Maryse. Her too, before she was just an annoyance, but her character too has evolved in a more concrete persona. I’ve said it before, but I believe her to have channeled “Sensational” Sherri Martel.
Our main feuds are building towards the Royal Rumble. Rich Swann will defend the Cruiserweight Championship against Adrian Neville. I like Neville, and I like the heel character. A lot. This is the most personality I have seen from him since his debut. However, I wonder if he just the “heel of the month” routine, and like Brian Kendrick, once the feud his over, he goes to being enhancement talent. If he wins, I worry the Cruiserweight Championship might be viewed as just being passed around to “the next guy.” If Neville wins, who is next? Cedric? Noam Dar? Kalisto?
Getting to the Royal Rumble, we know a lot of big names are in the match. Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, the Undertaker, along with Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Dean Ambrose, and more are to follow. Even with this stacked roster, this Royal Rumble, I believe to be the most unpredicted one in recent memory. Past years, we knew, or had a pretty solid guess as to who would win. It could be one of the big names, or it could be someone unexpected.
The other interesting note, it is not clear the “prize” for the winner. In the earlier years of the brand split, going back to 2004, the winner of the Rumble could challenge either main champion of Raw or SmackDown. Is it the same, or is it now dependent on what brand they are on? Answers hopefully will be incoming.