Pre-show saw Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado, and Kalisto defeated TJ Perkins, Drew Gulak, and Jack Gallagher in a nice match. Second up saw The Revival get a deserved win over Gallows and Anderson. One time I was happy to be wrong. Lastly, Bobby Roode retained the United States Championship against Mojo Rawley. Yeah, Rawley answered the invitational. Yawn.
Pre-show gets a 2 out of 5.
AJ Styles defeats Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to retain the WWE Championship
Really good match. Tons of close moments, it looked like we would have co-WWE Champions. Zayn gets my vote for MVP this match. I wonder what it would have been like had they won. The finish was interesting, a faux tag, Styles shoulders might have been on the mat, and an argument backstage with Shane McMahon.
4 out of 5
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Usos defeated Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin in a Best 2-out-of-3 Falls.
I’m taking a guess they called an audible and cut the match short. This went two falls, and Usos retained. Decent match, but the abrupt end was a bit of a bummer.
3 out of 5
Men’s Royal Rumble Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
This one had everyone glued to the ring. It came down to Reigns and Nakamura. This was the moment where we wondered if we would get “the same #$%@” or maybe something to make fans happy. We got the happy, but not before a number of close moments, many gasping. Acheivement Unlocked by WWE Creative, wondering if the dirtsheets were true and our hearts would break.
The final six were Nakamura, Balor, Reigns, Orton, Cena, and Rey Mysterio. Two eliminations brought it down to Cena and Reigns, standing off against Balor and Nakamura. The boos for Reigns and Cena were hilarious. Comedy spots featured Heath Slater attempting to enter the ring, but getting clocked by a few entrants. But then, Sheamus rolls him in, and winds up being eliminated for his mitzvah. The Hurricane shows up, only to be eliminated by John Cena. Tye Dillenger was supposed to be #10, but was beaten up by Zayn and Owens. Zayn steals the spot and enters the Rumble.
Rusev and Balor drew #1 and #2. Balor lasted all the way to the end. Rusev is way over. Who would have thought that?
Almost forgot, PANCAKES! Pancakes saved Kofi, plus were active throughout the Rumble match.
NXT entries were Andre Cian Alamas and Adam Cole. Both did very well. Following the bout Shinsuke was asked about which championship he will go after at WrestleMania, and he choose the WWE Championship held by AJ Styles. This will be one hell of a match. He choose wisely.
Men’s Royal Rumble earned the 5 out of 5. It was great. Well paced, and the right people in the ring at the right time. Some entrants such as Dolph Ziggler and The Miz could have been put to better use, but overall one of the better rumble matches in recent history.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: The Bar defeated Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan to be four-time champions
Not much to watch. Too much energy spent being anxious over the final moments of the Rumble. Jordan “got hurt” and sat out the rest of the match. The conclusion, saw Jordan tag in, get dizzy, and tag out. Sheamus and Cesaro hit a number of double-team moves on Rollins, pinning him as Jordan sat outside moping.
Meh, 2 out of 5
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar defeated Kane and Braun Strowman
Early on, Strowman blasted Lesnar with a running dropkick, and then rammed a knee into Lesanr’s face. This was the part Lesnar may have gone slightly off-script and punched Strowman right in the side of the face. You can see Lesnar was a bit pissed off and may have uttered some expletives. Lesnar tossed some German suplexes, Braun threw Lesnar with one of his own. Match broke down into carnage, chairs, steel steps, and lots of tables. Braun is plowed through an announce table, and then Lesnar flips the table over on top. As expected Kane was the sacrificial lamb, with Lesnar F5-ing him for the win. Strowman remains untouched and Lesnar keeps the Universal Championship.
3 out of 5, if not for the destruction of property, this would have scored lower.
The First-Ever Women’s Royal Rumble:
As expected, a lot of women from the past entered. Nice showdown between Nia Jax and Beth Phoenix, appearances by Torrie Wilson, Molly Holly, Michelle McCool, and Jacqueline. An early surprise to the match, Lita seemed to carry well until nearly killing herself with a top rope moonsault. We all cringed at that one. The highlights of the match, in true comedy form, Vickie Guerrero and her shrilling “Excuse Me!” nearly had us all eliminating ourselves.
The final entry of Trish Stratus was great, a number of showdowns with her past rivals and current wrestlers. It came down to Sasha Banks, Asuka, and both Bellas. Yep, Brie and Nikki were back-to-back entrants. Boy did the crowd dump on Nikki Bella. After Sasha appeared to turn to a villainous side, she was eliminated be the Bellas, who then turned on each other. This would be their undoing as Asuka would eliminate Nikki for the win.
Post match, both Alexa Bliss and Charlotte entered the ring, but before Asuka could give us a clue to her choice of title match for WrestleMania Ronda Rousey showed up, pointed to the sign, twice, and the shook hands with Stephanie McMahon. She pointed to the sign folks. You know what that means.
The major downsides were the eliminations and the excessive use of rolling under the bottom rope for a rest break. Sasha, despite drawing #1, spent more time on the outside than in, She wasn’t the only one. The eliminations, seem to come pretty quickly, were four or five women, at most were in the ring at a time. It bugged me a bit to see a past star, such as McCool have so many single eliminations. The first ever Women’s Royal Rumble earned a 4 out of 5.
WWE booked tonight’s show for the fans, satisfied the internet gremlins, while still leaving us to wonder if any of this will stick past the next Raw and SmackDown PPVs.