HomeTelevision2019 Royal Rumble Review: The Man, The Moments & One Wild Ending

2019 Royal Rumble Review: The Man, The Moments & One Wild Ending

I love this pay-per-view, or “WWE Network Event.” The Rumble match always signified something exciting because there is supposed to be a level of unpredictability to the Rumble match itself. Does it hold true this year?


Glorious (Bobby Roode & Chad Gable) retain the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Rezar & Scott Dawson

Eh. Had to be the opener. Authors of Pain member Akam is injured, but throwing a RAW guy in there was a questionable call. I suppose WWE thought it would  have people talking, but from the live crowd, more people were sleeping or checking they had the right seats. Match didn’t do anything for me, and I’m still not convinced WWE is doing enough to get Glorious over as a legit tag team, even with the titles around their waists.

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Rusev to reclaim the United States Championship

Decent match. A bit disappointed they took the title off Rusev so quickly. I imagine this feud will continue onward.  Lana takes the expected injury bump off the apron, which distracts Rusev and allows Nakamura to strike with the Kinshasa. Expected finish.

Buddy Murphy retained the Cruiserweight Championship against Kalisto, Hideo Itami, and Akira Tozawa

Really good match. Very entertaining and very action-packed. I am concerned about the future for someone like Hideo Itami. I feel he isn’t going anywhere, unless he gets shuffled over to NXT where he should have been in the first place. But they still put on a hell of match tonight.

Onto the main show:

Asuka retained the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch

Hot damn was this a hot match. I was surprised at the submission finish, but it was satisfying to see Asuka gain a clean win over the fans’ top choice in the SmackDown Women’s Division. I felt Asuka got treated like garbage after her match with Charlotte at WrestleMania and constantly jobbing to Carmella, and then having a series of unmemorable matches until finally winning the Women’s Championship. Lynch is top tier, so the win gives Asuka a sense of credibility as champion. Lynch and Asuka tossed each other with suplexes and throws, Lynch eating what appeared to be some stiff kicks, and some hard shots towards the end. That being said, despite my crazy prediction of a NXT superstar winning the Royal Rumble, I’m getting the feeling this isn’t the last we see of Becky Lynch tonight.

The Miz and Shane McMahon defeated The Bar to become SmackDown Tag Team Champions

I thought this would either end in a title change or Miz would go uber-heel on Shane. The former wound up happening in a decent match. Not the best match but decent. Miz, Cesaro, and Sheamus seemed to do most of the work, while Shane-O went for some usual spots. One went unexpectedly different as his coast-to-coast got caught by Cesaro who then took the McMahon for a looooooong swinging ride. I got dizzy watching it. In the end, miscommunication between Cesaro and Sheamus allowed Miz to hit the Skull Crushing finale and Shane landing a Shooting Star Press for the pinfall victory. Wonder where this one goes from here?

Ronda Rousey retains the RAW Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks

Did not think this would end differently. Story-wise, it looked intense and “emotional” as the commentary team continuously repeated, and from my view at home, Banks carried most of the match while Rousey did a lot of these over-the-top arm drags and hip-tosses into some sort of slam. Rousey is improving real slow-like, but while she actually shows up on RAW every week, I just don’t see her becoming any better by WrestleMania. She is good with the toughness and making her strikes look good, but when it comes to wrestling moves, I’m not sold. Banks did it all, and a lot of great submission moves throughout the match. The end came by pinfall when Rousey hit “The Piper’s Pit” which looked more like a very awkward Angle Slam. Sorry, it looked very sloppy. Post-match told how the story will continue with a pissed off Banks hold up the sign for the “Four Horsewomen.”

(Although I think we all expected it) Becky Lynch wins the Women’s Royal Rumble, last eliminating Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair

Technically she was #28 as Lana never made it to the ring, and Fit Finlay allowed her to take the spot, despite both #29 Nia Jax and #30 Carmella already entering the ring. Some surprise entrants involved a slew of NXT stars, Io Shirai, Xia Li, Kairi Sane, Candice LaRae as well as returning Maria Kanellis and newcomer Kacy Catanzaro. I felt there was a missed opportunity as Rhea Ripley from NXT UK was in, and there should have been a face-off with her and Charlotte Flair. Both have similar build and stature. Crowd would have lost it. Bayley had a fantastic showing, as did Mandy Rose, Ember Moon, and kudos to Natalya who lasted since entering at #2. Overall, good Rumble match, well-paced and the choices for the 30 entrants were well done.

Daniel Bryan retains the WWE Championship against AJ Styles

I might be in the minority, but I didn’t think it was “great.” It was good, slow but hard-hitting match. The idea is the boiling hatred spilling over and the two wanting to clobber each other senseless. There were some good spots and some nice submission spots, but the ref bump gave it away this wouldn’t end well. The reappearance of Erick Rowan as likely a follower of Bryan’s new lifestyle. Makes sense, heel champion gets big guy to be his enforcer. It worked for Shawn Michaels and Diesel, right?

Brock Lesnar defeated Finn Balor to retain that other championship

Kudos to Balor for performing well. I’ll give some credit to Lesnar for selling an injury to the midsection. Balor hit everything, including the Coup de Grace, which Brock no-sold, locked in the submission for the win. Didn’t really expect much else. You knew this was going to be a “Maybe he’ll win! He could do it…. awwww.” Post match, Lesnar’s injuries suddenly vanished and he suplexed the crap out of Balor considering he couldn’t do it all match. So much for selling the match.

Men’s Royal Rumble – This match began at 11pm. Because Entrants #1 and #2, Elias and Jeff Jarrett had to do a five minute segment first. 

Three open/surprise spots were eaten up in the first few minutes by Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle, and Shinsuke Nakamura who was not part of the 21 named entrants. Other unannounced surprises were in the form of Shelton Benjamin, No Way Jose, Apolo Crews, Curt Hawkins, and NXT’s Aleister Black, Johnny Gargano, and NXT UK’s Pete Dunne. Very well paced Rumble, some solid action, notably with Mustafa Ali eliminating Samoa Joe and others. Sorry, I have to point out, when Apolo Crews got eliminated, the announce team thought it was Shelton Benjamin. Sorry.

Later on, Bobby Lashley was eliminated in seconds and then took his rage out on Seth Rollins planting him through an announce table. Braun Strowman enters at #27 and begins to clean house, lobbing Bacon Rorbin. Entry at #28 was Dolph Ziggler who eliminated Drew McIntrye. #29 was Randy Boreton, and for the love of everything good and holy, I can’t stand the sight of him anymore. Insane spot as Strowman, Andrade, Ali, and Rey Mysterio were involved in some sort of insane tower of doom suplex spot.

Crazy finish to the match, #30 R-Truth came out singing, until NIA JAX obliterates him on the stage. She takes his spot and eliminates Mustafa Ali because he didn’t want to hit a girl. Awww. Randy Orton however was willing to, but Jax fought him off, only to later eat a superkick from Dolph Ziggler. Rey hits the 619, and she is eliminated. The four in the ring were Andrade, Mysterio, Ziggler, and Orton, until both Mysterio and Orton are eliminated. It’s down to Andrade and Ziggler, and for a split moment, just ONE MOMENT I thought this would be it.

But then I remembered Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins were ON THE OUTSIDE. So they came back to fill out the official final four. Andrade is tossed first, then Ziggler, leaving Strowman and Rollins to fight it out. Action goes to the ring apron where Rollins hits the Curb Stomp to knock Strowman off the apron and to the floor. Seth Rollins is going to WrestleMania. 

Overall, I thought this PPV was definitely much better than anything WWE labeled in the last year. Including WrestleMania. Obviously it’s hard to compare to NXT, because after watching NXT, it’s hard to come back to mainstream programming. It’s possible the men’s Rumble was shortened, otherwise it would have ended past midnight. The Rumble matches were well done, some of the regular matches could have been a bit better. I wasn’t that enthused with either men’s championship matches. The Women’s title bouts were better.

I was satisfied with this one, hopefully with WrestleMania on the horizon, they will improve. I maintain a fear they might stagnate with storylines revolving around Brock Lesnar. At this point, they just have to know no one cares about him, or the belt he’s ruining.



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